Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spring Chinook Forecast

Here's an except from ODFW news release. One of these years, I'll create the time necessary to figure out how to catch a springer on a fly.

For the Columbia River, managers are predicting a strong return of 314,200 springchinook, which would make it the fourth largest return since 1938. The forecast also includes a record return of summer chinook (91,200 fish) and continued strong returns of summer steelhead and fall chinook. The only cloud in the 2012 forecast is coho salmon, where low jack counts last year suggest a weak return this year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rocky Ford Creek

Say what you want about Rocky Ford Creek fishing experience--how it's technical, or too crowded or full of tame fish or whatever. Every so often I need to get my big trout fix and when I had a meeting in Ephrata, the Ford beckoned.

Spent Saturday night sleeping in Big Red. Sunday morning broke a bit cool, so cool that I had to warm my butane stove using Big Red's heater before the fuel would ignite so I could heat water for french press coffee. Breakfast done, it was time to fish. Started with D'Dub's Lazy Leech in black followed by a Black Gold. For the first couple of hours the biggest challenge was not the ice in the guides, it was frozen reel and the line freezing to the rod. A weak sun finally raised the temperature to cure those issues.

The fishing was interesting--the catching was on fire. After so many fish I lost count, I started giving slack when a small fish hit. The fish were aggressive, willing to take either the leech or chironomid pattern. Made no difference whether it was dead-drifted or quickly stripped. At least three times, I hooked a fish on the chironomid and had a bigger fish take the leech.

How good was the fishing? I closed out the day with eight fish in eleven casts. Called it a day after breaking off both flies.