As the month of October wound down, and some record-setting rain totals filled in, steelheading was good for those willing to brave the elements.
While always aware that we were at the mercy of the Army Corps of Engineers whims of dam control, the river level remained stable and fishable despite blown-out conditions downstream of rain-swollen major tributaries. On a typical day, by keeping our heels dug in upriver most of the trip, anglers enjoyed good fishing followed by a leisurely float out once the clarity and level degraded.
In amongst the soaking-downpour days (there were many!), there were still days with beautiful fall conditions to savor and great memories made.
Finally (inevitably) the other day, the rains were not to be denied: the gates opened at the dam, the river filled with leaves, logs, and riparian duff, and just like that, it was over for good. Now looking forward to late-Fall salmon season on the coast, and winter trouting and steelheading in the early months of the new year, it’s nice to remember the still-warm glow of yet another glorious October in the Willamette Valley.
The first couple of weeks in October have been a great reminder why we live in Western Oregon. With mellow cool weather, rivers in perfect shape, and fishing simply excellent everywhere, the biggest daily challenge has been deciding which fishery to enjoy.
While most anglers put their energies into the coastal bays, trolling herring for ocean-fresh salmon (any boat that’ll float will do),
back here in the Valley, we’ve been enjoying outstanding fly fishing for trout and steelhead. The annual October Caddis hatch has made for some memorable days on the Lower McKenzie.
And thanks to a generous return of summer steelhead to the upper Willamette Valley, we’ve seen some of the best Dry Fly Fishing for these great migratory rainbows in recent memory. Whether chugging a dry across the shallows or swinging for the fences with a spey rod, the fishing has been steady.
Now here in mid-month, the rains have come as they always must here on the windward side of the continent. As the rivers rise and fill with leaves (and fresh salmon), our focus shifts to the excitement of late fall and the challenge of timing the spates in pursuit of the Pacific King. Tying flies, dusting off the 10-wts, buying hand-warmers at Bi-Mart; there’s plenty to keep you busy while the rain and wind pound around outside the house. Here in Western Oregon as one season winds down, another adventure is always on tap.