TODAY: Dunsmuir – Roseburg
Rivers – Klamath (CA), Rogue (6-weight – rubber legs, big stone fly patterns, prince nymphs, RS2)
Food – McMenamins
It was raining when I stepped out of the hotel room this morning and walked down to the drive-thru coffee joint across the street. It’s got outstanding breakfast burritos which tilt toward healthy so it was the perfect place after a dinner at a brew house.
I decided to put the Upper Sacramento behind me and instead focused on the Klamath. Halfway there I received a text message from my buddy Nate who said his baby boy was born. I knew immediately I’d catch a fish, and where it would happen. A few years ago as I was driving north to Alaska for the summer, we turned off Interstate 5 and camped down river from where I-5 crossed the Klamath. I caught a few, but Nate and Brad had their best luck under the I-5 bridge. So I stopped at the bridge, and caught a nice little rainbow swinging an October Caddis. Perfect welcome to the world gift for Nate’s son. Well, it was what I could do.
So I headed north and left California for good and into Oregon. When I needed gas I hopped out of the truck and ran my card before I remembered in Oregon, gas attendants do all that for you.
“Oh, uh, forgot you help us out up here.”
I talked to my new friend a bit while I did all the work and he held a wad of cash in his head which was the “tip me” jar.
I drove off and continued north to fish the Rogue River.
Oregon has been getting a lot of rain, so most of the rivers are up and off-color. Even though I don’t really know what the Rogue looks like on normal days, the I saw the tell-tale signs of a near blowout. The water near shore looked decent, but I saw how shallow it was, and knew the really good runs were usually further out in the current. I fished the edges diligently because displaced fish will take a break there, but only managed hits from fish 12 inches and under.
Since the cab of my truck smells like wet football jersey dried in a microwave thanks to consistent rain, I put my waders under the mesh of the net keeping my tarp from whipping. Because who needs wet waders on top of wet cotton? It was a great plan until it started seriously raining once I was tracing the South Fork of the Umpqua River. I figured the waders are meant to be wet on the outside anyway, and the inside was wet from leaks anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, as long as they stayed attached to the truck.
When I got to the fly shop in Roseburg, the dude working was overly apologetic about the North Fork being blown out, as if it was his fault the rains came. I told him I was on my way to Alaska and was just looking for a little river time. He hesitated in even giving advice.
He recommended flies I would have fished anyway, but gave me a few tips on spots, so I bought a few flies in exchange for the insight. He could have been lying, but I have a pretty strong crap detector, and it was reading none with him.
I drove out the road to do a little recon and sure enough, the river is crazy big. I fished it a few years ago and it was a deep, healthy blue. Today it was brown and mean.
Naturally I satisfied man’s next most important desire – food.
Then shelter at a cheap hotel.
TOMORROW – Roseburg – Portland – 172 miles