Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ain't No Rest For The Wicked.

Day Two.

The Salmon River parking lot was desolated. We were the last people present and the sun had already gone down. The air temperature was steadily dropping and the rain had not stopped. Adam and I were in no rush. We had no family to get home to, no long drive to some distant relative's house, and zero anticipation for Thanksgiving Day and the delicious turkeys everyone else would be feasting on. We slowly unrigged our rods, took off our waders, and changed out of our underarmour. Just when we finished the clouds let loose a terrential downpour. Perfect timing. We hopped in the truck and plugged in the next destination in the GPS. To our dismay, Oak Orchard was almost three hours away. We were on two and zero hours sleep respectively, just fished from dawn to dusk, and were about to embark on a long car ride at night and in the rain. Adam promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat while I was left with the suicide run to Oak Orchard.

Thanksgiving Day Meal.
All The Fuel I Need.

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

Getting Ready For The Scoop.

Chrome Hen.

Not So Chrome Hen.

The Albion Walmart parking lot loomed in the distance. Whoever built a Walmart Supercenter out there near Oak in the middle of nowwhere is a genius. If you know us, you would know that Walmart is our 5-star hotel. However, this Walmart is something special. It has free Wi-Fi in the Subway inside. The perfect place for dinner, internet, and tying flies while the resident townies give you wierd looks. The big screen tv and movies playing are just an added bonus. The Sandlot, one of my all time favorites, was playing as I pounded out some fresh sucker spawns for the following day. Around midnight, it was finally time for some shut eye. I tucked myself in the bed of the truck anticipating the 5 a.m. wakeup call and the browns and steelies that awaited.

"Small" Male Brown.

Looks Less Than Pleased With His Steel.

More Than Pleased.

I Love Catching Fish From Spots,
People Were Standing In Moments Before.

Rolling into the parking lot, we were not alone in our judgement to fish on Thanksgiving Day. We were not even the first people there over an hour before sunrise. Welcome to Oak Orchard. We rigged up and decided to fish the side with the cliff. It has a more difficult access point, is less pressured, and on this particular day we had it all to ourselves for the first hour of light. After that, the crowds emerged and did not thin out until the rain came around 3 p.m.
The fishing was sporadic. We hooked up and landed fish on eggs, nymphs, and streamers. The two largest fish were steelhead and they were accompianed by several smaller browns. It was a good day on the Oak punctuated by the usual amusement that accompanies you on this particular stream. You have your talkers, who never shut up, no matter how few people talk to them. You have your serious fisherman who block out the world and are only thinking about their swift or drift. Then you have the fisherman that are acutely aware of all their surroundings and particularly enjoy eavesdropping on the shit coming out of peoples mouths. They double task in between laughs and smirks while concentrating on the task at hand. They get the best of both worlds. Sometimes I try to block out the background noise at Oak, while other times it is almost impossible. Whenever, I fish at Oak I think about the lyrics to this one particular country song. It goes something like, "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy". That about sums up Oak Orchard.

That's What I'm Looking For.

Upon Closer Inspection.

I Love Soft Shell Jackets.
Steel Are Nice Too.


Browns in the Rain.

Posing For Her Portrait.

The best fish of the day was undoubtedly Adam's double digit steelhead. He hooked into it in the tight chutes directly below the dam and had quite the task landing him there amongst the higher flows. The water is roaring in this section and the walls of the banks are steep. There is no chance of really beaching a fish here and it is quite difficult to even net one. Adam skillfully kept the fish at bay, refusing to let him run downstream, all the while not breaking his 4x. We moved both upstream and down, tip toeing around the submerged bushes, the water almost cresting over my waders. My netting skills were about to be put to the test. After awhile, I chanced it, lunging out into the current, going for the scoop. The force of the water denied my futile attempt. Finally, after a few tense moments, the scoop was pure and the buck came to hand. He tipped the scales at 10.7 pounds. He was one thickly wound piece of muscle.


One Thick Fish.

He's Got Shoulders.

Last Cast of the Day.

Egg Sucking Leech, One Last Swing, One Last Oak Orchard Brown.

There on the banks of the Oak Orchard River, celebrating the largest steelhead of the trip, Thanksgiving was celebrated not with turkey, but with a trout that captivated our minds and satiated our appetites. I wouldn't have it any other way.

1 comment:

FoulHooked said...

Oh sure, jumping on with Cage the Elephant now. What happened to the venerable LG?

Nice buck! Thats a good holiday!