Posted on August 09 2023
Today was forecast to be cool with light showers. The entire system was blown out from yesterday's thunderstorms, with the exception of perhaps the Willow (Ed ???) and the WB above mud spewing Oquaga. Called the Troutfitter before driving up and Dave assured me it was fishable above Oquaga. Actually, I called "Vicky's Unisex Salon" first to see if I could get a hair cut appointment today and she had an opening at 1:00. Walked out of Vicky's and up to the town bridge where I saw no bugs and but two fish rising. Drove down to the Men's Club to confirm the high stained water. Saw neither bugs, fishermen nor risers in the high, coffee (black) colored water. Put on my waders at 2:15 and waded in above Oquaga with hopes of a hatch, ended up casting at rising fish non-stop until 6:00.
The fishing - There were but a few sulfurs hatching when I started. Fish were looking up and I hooked a pair of browns that went 15 inches (7 & 8) right off the bat. I then got a 14 inch hatchery fish to eat and come willingly to the net. As the hatch increased the fish rose in earnest. It turned out to be a heavy sulfur hatch which gave the feeding fish so many options that during the peak of the hatch I went over half an hour without a take. By six o'clock when I reeled it in, I had had my best fish hooking session so far during the summer sulfur season. However, landing good fish, especially rainbows, (went 2 for 6) on a size 22 hook in fast moving alga filled water is for me, next to impossible. The fish run down stream, the line picks up a pound or two of the wet heavy algae and the tiny little hook pulls out as you try to reel the fish and algae back upstream to be netted. Lost a total of six good fish today and four yesterday, seven of them were due to the algae. Landed enough quality fish that I only muttered excrement (or a derivative thereof ) once when a big brown came unstuck while I was reaching for him with the net.
The outlook - I've been hesitant to say this, but for me, the fishing has been very good for over two weeks. Why am I hesitant to say anything? Because even though the afternoon sulfur hatches are now very good, the fish are still very hard to catch. ( Fish ate my fly today when it was raining, but when it wasn't raining they mostly refused it). In addition, I have enjoyed very good evening fishing by heading downstream on the WB and to the freestones (BK, BR, and EB) whenever water temps and levels permit. Most anglers either are eating dinner or still up in the zone when I'm fishing in the evening. Evenings have produced well over half the fish I've caught. So, the fishing is good, but - - - -.