You know....the Fall River Outing? Passing along a few rumors from Andy who says that although he has been fishing the Fall for over thirty-years [yes that is 3-0 years], he has never seen rain to the extent experienced during the TVTU outing this year! Heavy rain storms often come and go in a few hours this time of year he said but never the ENTIRE trip. You may recall this outing was during the September 27th weekend with the record rainfall and flooding in the Portland area.....
and this author happened to be in the Wallowas during the same time [and therefore, missed my opportunity for the Met] and can confirm the NE corner of the state did not escape this Pacific NW storm system either. It actually left us not only with high winds and torrential showers for days but we got thunderstorms with snow squalls to boot!
Andy continued that when not fishing, the group of attendees hovered under two sun shades - turned rain shelters - giving them needed protection from the elements.
Note how he did say - "when not fishing!"
Good die-hard fishers never let rain dampen the effort!
The pop-up shades - one ten by ten foot and one twelve by twelve foot - provided the needed respite for the twelve participants. Thankfully one of the twelve attendees for dinner on Saturday night was a member who had been a Seagrams blender and provided the rest with an impromptu evaluation and testing program....solely conducted as a warming effort.... Just fishers being fishers and warming the hearts and souls while telling stories!
True to the early fall - Andy adds that though the morning temps started in the 25 degree range - once the rains came the lows did not go much below 40. Upon the Tuesday exodus, it was snowing over Santiam Pass but little was sticking - a bit early on the snowfall according to the 30-year veteran but hey - it's been a dry year! All in all though - another good memorable trip to the River! And everyone's worries about a lack of campfires due to dry conditions - dry was not the issue.
The big news is that the Fall River hatchery is closed. This was supposed to be a cost cutting venture with the Wizard Falls hatchery picking up the slack - not really a 'cost-free' exercise especially since, Wizard has to be upgraded first. Upgraded means Wizard Falls hatchery is scheduled for more and larger pools, new and improved equipment, etc. and most of the personnel at the Fall River hatchery have been transferred to Wizard Falls. So what might all that mean? The Fall River raised and released 750,00 fish a year, and it is believed by some that the trophy fish that were once in the Fall River will not be available in the near future. The general thinking from that area is that their economy will take a hit with the downgrading of the Fall River, or at least they see it as a downgrading of the fishery. There are those who have argued for years that the Fall River was damaged by the release of hatchery fish. One could certainly speculate that without the release of trophy fish in the river, poaching may decrease and maybe smaller native fish will have a better chance to grow and survive.
So the remaining BIG question - while dodging
the rain drops/deluge were fish being cooperative?
"We had people all over the river and reported, rainbows (both fin-clipped and not), browns, and brookies. The Bend Chapter asked us to do a survey on the fish we caught - size, fin-clipped or not, specie and location. We were even given permission to fish part of the river which is on private property. I would say that maybe one in five fish I caught was a native (not clipped). Few of the fish we caught were longer than 14 inches. We even had one report of a large brown coming from under the bank to attack an 8-inch rainbow that had taken a fly. There was witnesses to this event as the brown made two attempts to eat the rainbow. This is proof by one of our own members that the large browns have returned to the river after the fire retardant spill years ago. I've known for years the browns are there, but I have never fished for them, and yet I also know that other fisherman stand guard over the brownie holes religiously, for many, many hours."
So there it is - another eventful trip with stories to boot! Hopefully you can join one soon - but you better hurray as the last trip is October 18!!