Last week, Scott and I hosted a crew from Mongolia including “Big Fish” Bayaraa and my boss over there, Puji. They brought their good friend, Mr. Bayaar (the recently retired Prime Minister of Mongolia) and his assistant, Otgoo, in hopes of some good steelhead fishing.
While we initially planned to put them up for three days on the coast in a private beach house (giving us the run of a few of our favorite winter steelhead streams), the weather had other plans for us. On the day they came down from Seattle, Mother Nature blessed western Oregon with about 3 inches of pouring rain. With coastal rivers going up and out, we decided to call an audible and, literally as they drove south through the snow and rain, we made the call to stay in the Valley in hopes of finding some fishable water below some of our flood control dams.
We met them in Jefferson in the afternoon for a short half-day float on the North Santiam. While Puji did manage to briefly hook a steelhead in Scott’s boat, for the most part, it was a wash-out. Wet and bedragled, we made the 1-hour drive down into Eugene and reloaded for the next day.
Although the forecast called for more rain, Tuesday turned out to be a perfect day for fishing: overcast, warmer, and still. With coastal waters high and muddy, we chose to float the McKenzie for trout. It was a beautiful day, and everyone caught a fish or two in the slightly murky conditions.
While the trip didn’t go anything like we’d planned, it was still great to share some time on the local water (albeit too much of it!) with our foreign friends.
Just another example that in winter steelhead fly fishing, timing and flexibility are everything.
Check out some photos from the Mongolians’ Oregon adventure: