Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fishing the John Day River

It was about 5:40 a.m. yesterday when we rolled out of the parking lot at Grove Elem. School in Milton-Freewater heading for the John Day River. Before leaving home Dale checked the real-time water flow at McDonald Ferry, the river was flowing at 464 cfs which is a very good fly swinging flow. When we got to the turnaround above the Boy Scouts’ Camp at Rock Creek and parked, with only one other vehicle with a pontoon boat trailer attached. Tom and Mike with great haste suited up and headed for the river. Having crossed the river above the first riffle they moved up and took their position in the lower end of the first pool. Tyson and Dale were in hot pursuit and went just above Mike and Tom and started their casting practice for the day.
After about a ½ hour of working the head of the first pool Dale move up to the second steelie hole.

This stretch of water had in the past offered many steelhead, and once Dale had two buddies land two steelies at once while fishing here. It wasn't too many cast into this pool when Dale got the slightest peck, peck, peck at his fly. On the next cast he got a hookup, which very quickly did not resemble the jerk or run of a steelhead.

He had caught a red-eyed small mouth bass, of which the John Day River is also famous for as a warm weather/water fishery. It wasn't too much later after this catch that Mike came walking across the hill and Dale motioned for him to come join him in fishing this #2 pool. Shortly thereafter Dale moved up to the #3 pool. Having fished this pool for awhile with no success and no one from below showing up, Dale moved upriver into the Power Line Hole.

While fishing the Power Line Hole, a fly fishing stranger walked up on Dale. His name was Grant and in their conversation, it was said that Grant is from Milton-Freewater, and has been hoping to get involved with the Walla² Fly Fishers.

Dale invited him to join the club at our next meeting of Wednesday 10 November. Also learned that Grant's favorite past-time is fishing and hiking and bloging his experiences in our Walla² Fly Fishers back country. You can find Grant's back country adventures posted at fishingandhiking.com which this writer found very interesting to read through.

None of the other Walla² Fly Fishers made it up to the Power Line Hole to fish it this day. Going back down river Dale caught up with Tyson in the second pool coming from the parking lot and for an instance it appeared that Tyson had a fish-on.

Maybe the hookup/jerk that Tyson had was another smallmouth bass, as he did catch one earlier in the day.
This day with the river flow at 464 cfs wading the river was very easy. In most places the water was rarely more that navel deep and gin clear so that standing in deep water you could see your feet much like standing in a bathtub full of water.

Real Time river flow at McDonald Ferry--> http://waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/uv/?site_no=14048000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060
Best fly fishing/ wading flow is
>450 and <1000 .="" id="hotword" span="" style="color: black;">

While on the river this day we had a pontoon boat of fishers go by us that had put in at Cottonwood Bridge, and they told us that with their full day of fishing and floating that they had only spotted 5-6 steelhead on the river and hooked none.

Where are the steelies???

To finish off this great day of fishing, as Dale and Grant were coming across the riffle before getting back to the parking area they found a nice about 24" steelhead resting above the run above the Boy Scout camp, first steelhead sighting of the day for this Walla² Fly Fishers' outing. Grant did say that he hooked a couple of steelies quite a ways upriver from where the rest of us got to.

So all-in-all it was another great day of fishing and exploring the John Day River. It was not a great day of catching steelies on JD River.

Tight lines and good fishing.
Walla² Fly Fishers

Scott Peters - President
Skip Pritchard - Co-President
Barry Gould - Treasurer
Dale McKain - Secretary /
Blog Master


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