I have fished.........I have fished most of my life. I picked up the fly rod 15 some years ago and it changed the way I not only looked at fishing but how I looked at life. From that first day of fly fishing I spent the next decade, plus, searching for ways to submerse myself in it. I fished almost everyday for years and eventually became a guide. The guide game quickly accelerated my skills to a higher level......I was on top of my game. My first son was also born on my first year as a guide. The next year my second son. Now life had been changed in a way that if you are not a parent you cannot understand. As the years went by I started to notice that it became harder and harder to spend all this time away. The summers guiding in Alaska became almost unbearable. Spending all my days on the river was coming to an end. The years flowed on. Life became even more enveloped by storms that we must all pass through, I found myself drifting away from the guide life. 8 years after son #2 came son number three and 2 amazing step-daughters.
Once I had stopped guiding I learned even more about fly fishing. The need for big fish and the latest gear started to fade and I found myself standing in a river with a half empty vest staring at a duck gingerly minding his own business in a back eddy below me. All I could think about was that duck. I have always known there was more to fishing than just fishing but on that day, as fish were rising right in front of me, I realized I had made fly fishing my life and not my goal or hobby. When you slow down and really look at every aspect of the river as a whole than you will learn things about fish that you never though possible. You will also most likely learn a few things about yourself too.
So fast forward to today. I am in a place, that when I was younger, I swore I would never be in. I had heard stories and read articles by the greatest of gurus and guides all talking about going through this "stage" of fly fishing. It is the time when you don't or can't fish as much as you would like due to responsibilities and/or life in general. This stage is ok with me because I know that I have bones made of graphite and fiberglass and veins of fly line. Forever I will have trout dancing in my head. Now every trip to water and every fish caught is a special moment, every minute spent with good friends a time to celebrate.
So I guess I am saying if GlassyWaters seems dead it is not. It is alive and in my head everyday. Even with there is nothing to blog or no time to do it.
Long Live the "Weekend Warrior" and may the person that looks down on them buy a bad spool of tippet.
Time changes things.......Age changes things. It seems as you get older it becomes harder to wrap your tired hands around time. I would love more time. More time for family, more time for fun, more time for fishing. I know that at times life throws you curve balls and sometimes you have to "bear down" and work hard to get through it but.....I am haunted. HAUNTED I have made a big move back to the place of my birth, the isolation of the central Oregon coast. This is the land where I spent my youth. Crashing through thick rainforest's and bushwhacking my way up small crystal-clear creeks so buried in the depths of mother natures lush bosom that at times could hardly muster the courage to drag myself home. HAUNTED
Driving by these rivers and creeks I am flooded with memories of water and fish. But alas TIME has caught me again. Time (among other things) has taken the fish. The rivers and creeks no longer holding the numbers of trout and sea-run fish that they once did. The fishing seasons have been shortened and the deadlines moved farther down stream. Do people not understand that fishing is my life? I need it. Of course the answer is they do not. HAUNTED
There is hope though. Hope that the crome bright, steelheaded beasts of winter will make a strong appearance in a few months. I will not hope for the time to pursue them. I will make the time. With the extension of my soul I will swing faith through frigid and twisted currents and with hope I will find freedom.
Well folks, it has been a long time coming. For reasons that would be to lengthy to go into, I have been without a fly rod in my hand. But the time has come. This is the return of Glassywaters!
This morning I was faced with the decision of were to go throw a line. After much thought I decided on fishing off of the jetty in Yaquina Bay. Yaquina Bay is located in Newport, Oregon. This is a fishery that I have fished on and off my entire life. It is also a 15 minute drive from my house so it will be the location of many future posts. While Yaquina Bay is home to many species of fish (Lingcod, Greenling, Flounder, Pile Perch, and many others) today's journey was in pursuit of Black Rock Bass.
High tide was at 2:30pm so naturally I was there before 1:00. You have to be rigged and ready if you are planning to fish the jetty because the tides wait for no one. Most times you fish hard and when the tide goes slack the bite turns on like a light switch. This is exactly what happened to me today. But as quickly as it turned on it switched off. I did, however, manage to land two hard fighting bass. Both of a respectable size.
Fly selection for this kind of fishing is easy. An 2-3" minnow pattern will work but I like a tan or blue Clouser Minnow. I also use custom cut shooting heads that get my fly down quickly and keep it there. The hard part about jetty fishing is "rock hopping". You have to cover alot of jetty sometimes to find the spot where the fish are actively feeding. When you find that spot fish it hard because there should be more than one fish there. More often than not I like to fish the jetty at night with lanterns. The light brings in invertebrates which bring in baitfish which bring in bigger fish. Fishing the jetty at night is a dangerous affair however and should be done in the company of a fishing buddy. Day time trips can be productive too and the jetty is a quick fix when you NEED to wet a line.
On a comedic note, I found this "vessel" washed up on the South Jetty. If you can't tell that is a motor at the lower left hand corner of the platform. It appears that someone needed a boat and decided to make their own. Not a big surprise I found it where I did. You might be a redneck if you..............
The day was spent loading 60# bales of hay onto a flat bed truck in the searing heat. By the end of the day I had personally handled over 14 tons on hay. That was hard work but staring at the pond all day watching the hawks and eagles fish was unbearable at best. When the last load of bales was finally stored away in the hay barn Seth and I made for the nearest stock pond. This pond was not for fishing but for washing the days worth of dust, grass, and sweat from our aching bodies. After cooling down and having an icy cold beer we went over to the fishing pond. We strung up our rods with an electrified feeling, charged up with the knowing, not wondering, that we would catch fish. You don't get to experience that feeling often and it comes with mixed emotions. Should it be so easy or So what if it is easy I have a shot at a wild 10lbs trout are examples of these feelings. These fish are wild no doubt about it. The pond was stocked years ago and has not been stocked since. It has a small feeder creek coming into it that not only give the fish a spawning area but it also provides a steady supply of cold water through out the hot summer days. A healthy population of fish of all age classes and the fact that the spawn has been witnessed is all the proof I need to know that these fish are wild. Did I mention that the larger fish fight like Steelhead? Cartwheeling and ripping line across the still surface of the pond.
We started to catch fish right away and on my 2nd cast I caught my 2nd fish. It was the 10+lb "Bruiser" pictured below. Using 8wt rods and super stout leaders is a must on this pond. Not only to keep the fish out of the weeds but also to land the fish as quickly as possible. Once revived they can slither back into the weedy depths where they are cooler and safe from the many birds of prey that watch over them like ancient warlords. The "Bruiser" tested my tackle almost to it's limits. The take was savage. An eruption of water and weeds. Then came the run. It made it to the middle of the pond literally in the blink of an eye. I hit the breaks and leaned back on the fish as hard as I could without severing my leader. Thankfully it worked and I got her head turned back towards me. When the fish came to hand the size and beauty was shocking. Leaving Seth and I, jaws dropped and eyes wide, in awe. The rest of the evening was spent steadily catching fish, some going to 20 inches, most measuring in at around 12-16". With each cast though, we wondered if this was the cast that would bring another "Bruiser" to hand.
Well the Stonefly season is but a distant memory here in Central Oregon. While I did not get out as much as I would have liked I did manage to get out a few times to spend the day with these incredibly large and intriguing bugs. These photos are from a trip some friends and I took to the Lower Deschutes River. Stonefly season is hard for me to let go of and I will think about it for the many months to come. Dreaming of stealthfully working my way through the tall grass along the river bank looking to slam my fly on the water below overhanging tree branches. Maybe bouncing my fly off of large rocks and into kitchen sink size eddies waiting for that eager oversized trout to engulf my offering. At least there are more bugs to chase and I am positive I can find a way to "distract" myself until the big bugs come back around.
Oh, private ponds. How many of us have been driving down the road and seen a glimmer of water through the trees or over a fence? How many have thought, "I could be in and out of there in a flash under the cover of darkness" or "I wish I had a pond of my own". I am one of those people and have had a fascination with hidden waters since my youth. This post is about a recent trip to such a place but did not involve a night time mission or paying for it.
This pond is nestled in the foothills on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mt. Range. I am fishing the pond with my future brother-in-law, who was kind enough to extend the invitation to fish it. Folks that have been following Glassy Waters since the beginning may recognize this place as it was the topic of my very first post. Well it has been quite some time since my last trip to this pond and I was excited to get back on it. I have said before that the rainbows in this small body of water are not smart or picky but they are strong, hard fighting fish that can make you gasp and giggle simultaneously. On the last post I ended saying I would be back with an 8-weight and heavier tippet because these fish will take you straight to the weeds and bust you off before you can say, "@#$%!" Glad I did because we didn't break off a single fish this time. Seth and I fished the pond for about an hour and a half and had a fish bite, slash, or hammer our flies on virtually every cast.
Throwing poppers was the highlight of the evening. Watching twenty inch trout chasing down top water flies is about as thrilling as it gets. Except maybe when you see one appear out of no where right under your popper and then it sips it in like a size 12 Adams. I hope I am not haunted for long by this pond before I get to fish it again.