On Mountain Streams


Let me start by emphasizing that I moved to Oregon to fish for steelhead That being said, sometimes you need a break from the big rivers to get out and hike in to a small tributary that holds small, wild trout. On this day, we decided it was time to hike a few miles to a river that is fed by the runoff from Mt. Hood. I have been itching to break out the 2-weight all summer and after casting sink-tips on a 13-foot Spey rod it was a welcome change.

I only brought one small box of dry flies and a spool of 6X tippet. After about an hour of hiking on a trail that followed the river, we finally put together the rods. We came up to a beautiful pool with huge boulders and downed trees. This was the ideal mountain stream pool. The trout had a perfect pocket to hold in near the fallen tree while the large boulders provided shade from the sun.

I cast my Royal Wulff into the seam and let it drift down and out of the pool. After I made a few casts, a small rainbow came up from the bottom and nailed the fly. The trail, the stream and the fish made everything perfect.

The daily grind of my 10-hour days at work has been really wearing on me lately and those few hours that I get to be outside and enjoy my surroundings give me the boost of morale I need to make it to work on Monday and look forward to the following weekend.

It doesn’t take much to put a bend in my 2-weight and these little guys barely managed to do that. If I had used a smaller fly I probably would have landed more fish based solely on the fact that I don’t think half of them could get their mouth around the size 12 hook. Days like these are not about numbers. Actually, I can’t think of any day of fishing that has been about numbers for me.

All we saw that day were rainbows, but cutthroat reside farther upstream. This tributary is a major salmon spawning area in the fall, and people can hike along the river and watch Nature at its most intimate. After the spawn, the decomposing carcasses in this river like so many others in Oregon help to rejuvenate the rivers with life-enriching nutrients.

Rainbows were on the schedule today and steelhead are year round targets, but come October I’ll be back here without a rod in my hand to watch the lives of Pacific salmon come full circle.

Wet Boots Are a Way of Life.