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Oregon Warmwater Gathering Report


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Monday: Paul Arden
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Ronan's report

Wednesday 29th July, 2009

Here in Oregon, anglers obsess about the big three - salmon, steelhead, and trout. Primarily native, coldwater species. But for the most part, our native coldwater species are having a hard time due to the negative effects that humans have had on their habitat. Dams create stagnant pools from free flowing rivers allowing the water to warm up under the hot sun. Other rivers are dewatered to irrigate crops, again resulting in warmer water conditions. Add climate change and you have trouble for fish that need cold water to survive.

But fish are adaptable, and people have never been shy about transplanting species between regions, or even continents. It's no wonder that introduced warmwater species have begun to thrive in our impacted and artificially warmed rivers and lakes. And, while you may not agree that non-native species are better (or even good), it is difficult to argue the fact that there are now warmwater fisheries available to anglers that were not around many years ago.

With that in mind, a small group of Sexyloopers set out last weekend to explore some fly fishing for warmwater species. I'm not going to name any of the waters that we fished as keeping a secret seems to be rapidly becoming the greatest of the lost arts in flyfishing (but that's a whole different FP). I will say that we fished only public water via public access, and none of us had fished warmwater in the places that we fished before this trip. Life is an exploration - bring flyrods.

Things really turned out great. Justin discovered the perfect campsite on Friday, and Rob and I arrived later that night. We were treated to some fine fishing for smallmouth bass all day long on Saturday, and before breakfast on Sunday. This was great topwater action with small poppers. Very visual and exciting. It was especially good after Rob invented the greatest topwater bass fly of all time while tying flies on my tailgate during breakfast on Saturday. Below the surface, we spotted a number of catfish and suckers, but we were unable to take them on flies even though we tried.

Later on Sunday we abandoned the perfect campsite and switched waters in hopes of finding a few different species. The weather was extremely hot all weekend (highs in the 90s and triple digits), which I think hindered our luck a bit. We didn't see any largemouth bass or other sunfish like bluegills or pumpkinseeds. We did happen into a fair number of carp in the superheated water along the shoreline of one reservoir. Most of these fish were sunning and uninterested in feeding, but we managed to find a couple of them who were willing to eat. Very challenging and great fun to sight fish like that.

Even though none of us are about to quit fishing for salmon, trout, and steelhead, this weekend was a nice change from the norm and a revealing look into some new and interesting fisheries. It goes to show that keeping an open mind when it comes to fishing will often lead you in great directions.

Fish On,

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