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The Gearboat Chronicles

Operation Steelhead Smoting

Attention steelheaded fishes of the Grande Ronde River: I feel it is only sporting to give warning that I am coming for you.

It shall be an attack by water. You are right to tremble.

Some buddies and I are launching for three days from Minam to Troy, and we planned it for the very day the recent sunshine spell turns to nasty rain. Perfect.

The lineup looks like this: Fargo Kesey. Known him since 6th grade. I’m predicting I will catch more fish than him. His brother Dave is the same fisherman steelhead parents warn their smolts about.

Then there’s Chadwick Crawford. My brother-in-law. Also goes by ‘Crawdaddy.’ He is feared by shellfish and finned creatures alike.

Dave Rooper, a formidable fisher. And the father and son team of Mike and Patrick Baird. Fish magnets all.

It will go easier on you if you cooperate, steelhead.

Our plan is this: fan out in a three raft phalanx, or the ‘flying wedge’ as it’s known in the Ukraine . . . camp and fish and tell ghost stories and skip rocks and tell lies.

It shall be a ‘hoot,’ steelhead. We are glad you are down there on the Wallowa and Grande Ronde in record numbers. We would like to meet you. Especially me. These other guys, don’t worry about them. But I’ll be the guy in waders drifting a number 6 prince nymph your way. Try it. We’ll have a little tug of war and I’ll send you on your way.

Should be a good three days. Fishing guru Tom reported back from the fishing train today and claims to have lost count of how many steelhead he landed. I don’t know if that means he’s just bad at math, or the fishing is just that good.

I aim to find out.