Aimee and I recently took a trip from Colorado out to Oregon. The trip was for her to drum up more publicity for her recently released book Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon’s Wolf Country. For more information on the book and pictures of her book signings check out her website at http://drysidenotes.wordpress.com/. The trip was a whirlwind of travel, but lucky for us we were able to stop for a day of fishing on the Owyhee River in Oregon on our way home.
I have fished the Owyhee several times and fishing it in October is always interesting. The browns are paired up and spawning hard, so sight fishing feeding fish and solo fish is the name of the game. This year was especially interesting as the flows were down to the winter level or 25 cfs. Since the Owyhee normally runs around 200 cfs it is a big change to have the flows be that low. The riffles were tiny and filled with spawning fish. As a result we were pretty much only able to fish the slow pools.
Normally the Owyhee has so many bugs that you are astounded that the fish ever pick out your imitation. I have never seen as many naturals on the water as I have here, but this trip was different; there was a slow, ponderous midge hatch and that was about it. We caught a few on dry flies, but most of the action was sub surface, they were eating the heck out of the zebra midge. The problem is that the water is flowing so slow in the pools that a fish can eat and spit your midge without ever moving your indicator or dry fly. We had our best luck dropping a midge about 12 inches below a size 18 dry fly and watching for the fish’s mouth to open. When you see the mouth open, set the hook!
It was a short trip, but fun. And really nice to get at least a little relaxation after 11 days on the road.