Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Changing Gears

Well, a lot has happened since the last time I updated the page, so this is gonna be a long one. I left Dillon last Thursday after sleeping in nice and late, and headed for Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. The drive was going great until I got to the top of the pass coming into Idaho. Luckily I was only a mile from a town when I got a flat on I-90. I pulled off, filled the tire with a can of "Fix a Flat" and rolled into the town. When I got to the gas station the tire was flat again and I tried to fill it up at the air compressor and it just blew out on me. So I put on the spare and limped it into Coeur D'Alene.

I met up with my buddy Jay in CDA at the Castaway Fly Shop. That night we grilled out, drank a few beers and hung out for a while before crashing. Friday we headed into Washington and met up with a couple of his buddies on the upper Columbia. It was pretty late in the afternoon when we put in, and the plan was to float until about an hour after dark as that's when the Hex and Drakes would start showing up.

About an hour into the float I hooked into this guy. It's a bizzare experience trying to fish a river that massive, but Jay knew exactly where he'd be and coached me right into him.

After a hell of a fight we got him into the net. I wish I could say I was the first person this guy ever met, but he had a floy tag in his back from BC.

Sunset on the Columbia.

Jay, rowing my ass around

Unfortunately, the hatch never really materialized that night, but it was an awesome experience never the less.

Saturday was pretty much wasted dealing with my tire. After only a year, and 16,000 miles I had completely worn out an entire set of tires! With the pro-rated warranty it ended up costing me $200 for the new set, but on the plus side at least I should be set for another year. I spent the rest of the day tying flies and BSing in the fly shop.

Changing Gears: Steelhead

Sunday, Jay, his fried and coworker Adam and I were supposed to head down and fish the Clearwater for some steelhead. But Saturday, Jay found out he had to work, so Adam and I rolled down by ourselves. Since I missed 3 days of fishing so far, there were a few things I still wanted to do that I haven't had time to get to yet. So I was on the fence about going to the Clearwater. But I decided to go anyway and I'm glad I did.

With Adam's help I got my spey rod dialed in and got some much needed instruction and casting practice. I hooked into one fish prety shortly after getting my cast working, but lost it after just a moment. I got a few more bumps on my fly and just as the sun was setting over the town of Lewiston, I hooked into another fish. This time I remembered to give the fish the loop of line I was holding and it was on.

Once she realized she was hooked, the little girl put up a fantastic fight, taking several good runs. But I eventually got her into the gravel and Adam snatched her tail.

It may just have been a small hatchery Steelhead, but it was awesome! What that fish did for my confidence for BC was tremendous.

Adam and I called it a night at that and rolled into town for dinner. We got some food, set up camp and got a few hours of sleep. We were back up at 4 in the morning to put in for a first light float back to the prime water. We both had a few bumps just as the sun was rising, but couldn't turn any of them into hook ups. We ended up pulling off the river around 8 in the morning and then we went our separate ways. Adam headed back to Coeur D'Alene and I headed up east. Adam sent me up to the North Fork of the Clearwater and I broke my new "Clearwater" rod in on some nice West Slope Cutthroats. I didn't find any of the big Bulls I was looking for, but it was gorgeous and I had a great time.

Yesterday I made it from St. Regis Montana up to McBride, BC, by way of Kootenai, Banff, and Jasper parks. It was an amazing drive, but I was bushed by the end of it!

Today I finished the last leg of the drive up to Smithers. And tomorrow I begin a week of Steelhead fishing in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

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