The December meeting was a nice way to round out the year for TVTU – a fairly decent number of members were able to take a break from the pre-holiday bustle and come enjoy a beverage with Marc Williamson while he spoke about his experiences on the Crooked River.
Before Marc took center stage to address the 29 attendees Erle – esteemed chapter President – made a few announcements to our group [which included 5 new members and 2 visitors]:
- Oregon Council recently sent out a mailer to all Oregon TU members in an effort to increase visibility of TU efforts throughout the state – each chapter included a blurb about their homewaters. There was also the requisite request for donations – in the past chapters have made specific appeals to members; the state council [which includes members of each chapter] agreed in order to better fund efforts of smaller chapters as well as state level legislative efforts, the state council would make the appeal. Funds received would then be shared across the state of Oregon. A win-win for waters across our region – many of which we share yet go ignored. This is a trial effort and we hope that your generosity allows increased boots-on-the-ground work in our state.
- Andy Andrews shared the newly released 2015 Outings schedule.As usual a few trips are sponsored by TVTU with others supported by Clackamas River Chapter – all told there are seven confirmed dates for the two chapters. We hope you are able to find one or two and join in on the fun!
- Michael Ellis took a minute to update us on the Christmas for Coho project for 2015! The dates for tree collection are January 3rd, 10th and 17th at both Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters and Royal Treatment Fly Fishing. We could use a few hands – contact Michael. If you cannot join us to help – at least bring you [and your neighbors] trees by. For $10 you used Christmas tree can join the ecosystem in a helpful habitat way!
- Project Healing Waters [contact Jerry Lorang] announced they have partnered with Cabela’s for meeting locations. This is exciting news as it provides an outside venue for the worthy effort. Programs are scheduled the 3rd Thursday of every month [starting January 2015] – 6:30 p.m. if you would like to help out or know a Veteran who wishes to participate.
With the formalities taken care of [and the food/beverages mostly on the tables thanks to the folks at the Lucky Lab], Marc Williamson took the stage to discuss the Crooked River. Marc is a lifetime fly fishing fanatic thanks to this father who started him early. He cut his teeth on the Fall River but really enjoys the scenery and spectacular offerings of the Crooked.
Marc talked about the river at all areas but mostly appreciates the upper wild/scenic sections – benefiting from less pressure and more scenery he notes it as a consistent producer. Not necessarily a large fish factory the quantity of fish for the effort is spectacular – it can be noted though for you big-fish-only-folks that the river can and will produce fish beyond 18-inches as you become familiar with it; but while searching out that picture-worthy foe you will be kept busy with 10+ inchers. It is also for this reason Marc recommends 3 and 4-weight gear [though he has battled larger fish on 1-weights with spectacular results] – simply to make the most of the quarry encountered. This is reinforced by smaller water in the higher reaches.
Water Color: don’t let this fool you; the off-color water that the Crooked can be known for is a constant – it comes from Beaver Creek; transfers through the lake and remains relatively constant. In other words – the fish do not really care – so why should you?! Fish it – you’ll be surprised. ‘Ideal’ levels will be around 250-350 cfs if you want to hone in on levels for your trip.
Where to start: good water starts below Bowman; you can find good access at all of the campgrounds below this section and with a bit of wandering along streamside trails can put yourself in less busied waters – Big Bend CG, Chimney Rock, Stillwater and Castle Rock were all noted and well marked access points.
Flies: as with most adventures start with some surveying – take a pocket seine [you can make your own or pay some company like Simms for one depending on your druthers] and sample the water; don’t pump a fish’s stomach unless keeping that fish – he worked hard for his meal! Look also to the rocks and grasses. You’re looking for the most prevalent/abundant, mature and available species – the fish will be. Now most people will note that scud patterns are all that one needs to fish the Crooked – sure they can catch fish but generally they are only a very small percentage of the aquatic invertebrates to be listed on a trout menu in the this restaurant; Marc notes that mayflies,midges, gnats and caddis are all more abundant. So along with your scud pattern bring some spinners, BWO, PMD, EHC, green rock worms and Griffiths Gnats.
So where does it go from here? Marc noted that the fishery stands up well to the pressure and the fish are plentiful however as with most water there is a key to the future – water. The fish need it. The bugs need it. We need it. Water regulation and use will be the key – as it is on all Central Oregon waterways – for the fishery going into the future. Be mindful and respect that in all your considerations on our state.
Oh and P.S. – If all else fails the native whitefish is always a willing participant! And they are pretty cool! Take care of them – they were here first most likely…