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The Gearboat Chronicles

Wallowa County Steelhead in Six Casts

You know those days when you don’t really expect to catch fish, but want to go fishing anyway, then you do catch fish and it’s super-dooper great? Yeah. Doctor Jim Hepworth and I had one of those days.

Six casts. Just half a dozen flips of the fly line and zango – fish on.

Then Hep trudged us down some goat trail last used by a blind goat back in the late-1800s, and even then the goat only traversed the so-called path on a dare.

I had my doubts. About this trail being worth it. About my waders surviving the thorns. About how bad my case of poison ivy was going to get from slipping through the thicket of oldgrowth P.I.

Then I couldn’t march anymore because of all the weight from sweat collecting in the legs of my waders. Longjohns and heavy fleece pants seemed like a great idea in the early morning, but once the sun broke through I had my own personal sauna from the waist down.

Hepworth can cover some territory, I’ll give him that.

And he was right about the trail being worth it.

Notice the overhanging limbs on the far side of the river in this next photo.

Just upstream the limbs reach down into the water, forming a perfect mess for a fish to retreat into, tangle your leader and get shed of a hook.

Jim hooked a wild male and the fish sought refuge in the sticks. Somehow Hepworth managed to coax him back out.

Mr. Fish took another run into the sticks and Mr. Hepworth again eased him back out. That was a particularly fine bit of rod work, if you ask me.

Here’s the fish on his side after saying, “Who is this wizard?”

Next slide, please. Ah, yes. Here we have the same fish and you can see the water clarity is reminiscent of Tanqueray.


….aaaaaand he lands it.

Last creel report I saw averaged 10 hours per fish. We had a surprisingly good day, fishing from about 10 am to 2:30, landing three steelhead and missing three others that grabbed but escaped the hook set.

Let’s go fishing. Give Paul a jingle to set up a guided steelhead trip.