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The Gearboat Chronicles

Get Down Deep

Wallowa County steelhead update: Just talked to fishing guide Tom, who says the temperatures have dropped and so should you for going after steelhead. Low and slow is the key right now.

….last Gearboat update came right before Tom and I got down to the Grande Ronde the day before I left for Hawaii. Here’s the results:

Look at this beauty. . . .

Yessiree, I sure was excited to see this exotic species on the end of my fly line. Such a handsome fish. And you don’t have the same problems as, say, a steelhead being on the end of your line. Like, will it break me off if I’m not careful? Will the thrill lead to my heart rate increasing to such a degree that my doctor would be concerned? If it’s not a wild fish, shall I be dining on Omega 3’s this evening? No, trashfish really uncomplicate matters.

And my last outing with Tom that I, for some reason, said I’d post results on . . . that outing on the Grande Ronde above the town of Troy . . . it, uh . . . well I did catch fish. Just not the species we were targeting, is all.

Suckers are really underrated. Whitefish are dandy swimmers. And I will say that I’ve been enjoying the chubby, frisky trout that I’ve caught lately. They’ve been in a jumping mood.

But, uh, that particular day last Wednesday I just didn’t connect with the ol’ steelhead.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles. That’s the way the bee bumbles.

Tom is good at making me feel better in times of despair. He made good sense when his analysis of the situation focused on the shift in the thermometer that saw much colder temps overnight and he figured the fish were adjusting. Makes sense. He used a bunch of other fancy words I didn’t really understand, but that was the upshot and by now the fish have adjusted. If I was home, I’d be down there taking a crack at the steelhead of the Grande Ronde to get my mojo back after an off-day, but instead I’m perusing spearfishing regulations for Kauai and will try my hand at the Hawaiian sling today.

Meantime, here is your Gearboat Chronicles guide to the town of Troy, at the confluence of the Wenaha and Grande Ronde Rivers.

Next slide, please.

Here we have a photo of the gearboat nestled into the bank just below where the Wenaha comes in above the old bridge. Note how green Oregon is.

This here is the old bridge. It’s for walking these days, not motor vehicles.

And there can be a congregation of fisherfolk below this bridge at times, bouncing bait or spinning spoons.

This here is what a cheeseburger and fries looks like from the cafe. And a milkshake.

Tom Farnum has the water up and down from Troy figured out for approach with the flyrod. He introduced me to one of his favored glides, known as “Ass Over Teakettle,” which features some wading terrain more challenging than I’m accustomed to, but gets you into primo steelhead water that makes up for the stumbling around.

I ran through that water, waiting for that pull on the rod that erases all previous casts that didn’t result in that pull on the rod . . . it was just that the pulls on the rod last Wednesday had trout, whitefish or suckers on the other end.

Which makes me want to get back out there all the more.

So get down low and we’ll see you on the river.