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Assessing the 2018 Fishing Season

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  • Assessing the 2018 Fishing Season

    This time of year, I like to look back on the previous 12 months fishing and see if I learned/changed anything. This year, a lot of attitude shifting.

    1. Steelhead. Due to family/travel issues I only had four days of winter steelheading, all on the coast and not a single day on the Clackamas or Sandy (unusual). Two of those days were half days, so maybe 20-22 hours of actual fishing. One fish hooked and landed. Summer steelhead effort was low--two full days and four half days, about 40 hours of fishing. Three fish hooked, two landed. So about 60 hours of fishing for four fish hooked. That's a fish every 15 hours, or one hookup every 1200 casts. Conclusion: Man--what a waste of time and effort; but I can't NOT do it 2019.

    2. Trout in Rivers. Much more time than usual, almost all on the Deschutes. I started the Euro nymphing thing and found it enjoyable and productive. With both dries and nymphs, I felt reconnected to trout fishing on the Deschutes. Conclusion: more trout fishing!

    3. Trout in Lakes. I used to love lake fishing, but didn't do much the last ten years. I joined the Oregon Fishing Club and spent numerous days on their waters. Really enjoyed it. Conclusions: more trout fishing on lakes! Also, Mrs. Fuzzy likes lake fishing way more than wading rivers, and she doesn't like chasing those stupid steelhead (she never got a hookup).

    4. Shad. One outing on the Willamette (less than usual); ended up with 15 cans of smoked shad. Conclusion: shad fishing is fun when you haven't been catching other fish (like those stupid steelhead), but after a while the thrill fades. Once or twice a year is about right for me. Also, it's hard to give away canned shad to people who have eaten canned shad before.

    5. Carp. Carp used to be a really big deal for me, but in 2018 I didn't get out once. Not once. Again, it was a timing issue with family/travel. Also, I was having so much fun with trout that I wasn't strongly motivated. Conclusion: get out there in 2019 and do it, but don't sacrifice the trout fishing for carp.

    6. Bass/Panfish. Caught some on little ponds in Savannah where my daughter lives. Some success, want to do more. Very convenient and uncrowded. Conclusion: do it more when visiting, but bring bug repellent.

    6. Saltwater. Only got in one redfish trip when visiting my daughter. One fish hooked and landed, which is a lower hookup rate than usual. Conclusion: even so, it's worth doing and the odds are better than for those stupid steelhead. Also it's warmer.

    7. Destination angling. Didn't go anywhere special in 2018, but starting to feel a jones for bones; haven't done those guys since 2007. Conclusion: not going to happen in 2019, but maybe in 2020 . . .
    aka Scott Richmond

  • #2
    Nice list....I do something kind of similar in winter. I make a list of places I want to make happen this coming year.....I used to spend winters researching the Sierra looking for big trout potential....typically hike in I'm doing that for the Cascades.


    • #3

      I like your list. I had a lot of good fishing in a bunch of places in Oregon this past year. I got to the Owyhee for the first time. I caught shad and a nice coho and a saltwater searun cutty, each of which I have missed out on for a while. For 2019, I have three OR counties left to check off, and I need to catch a catfish and a tuna...! Oh- and then there's those tiger muskies...

      How about we do a rondi in South Louisiana...? Sightfishing for redfish is the best. I got one this past May in Savannah GA after a biz trip in Atlanta. I've never had a redfish day where the fishing was hot, but the scenery and aquatic life that surrounds you on those trips is always amazing.
      Last edited by Doublebluff; 01-07-2019, 04:52 AM.
      You don't need no gypsy to tell you why,
      You can't let one precious day slip by.


      • #4
        Hey Uncle, good stuff.

        In '18 I seemed to fish a sculpin pattern more often on the McKenzie and even on the D...less nymphing and no steelheading (but got two anyways).

        My exotic destination was a first time striper trip to the Cape of Cod. Totally mesmerized by the walk and wade beach fishery. This year will be the Middle Fork of the Salmon.

        Eugenially, Stevie

        PS. Remember, the definition of hell is catching a fish on every you're in steelhead heaven!
        The Catchin' Ninny


        • pigs
          pigs commented
          Editing a comment
          '18 was sort of the year of the sculpin for me as well.....good way to sample the mature fish of a stream.

      • #5
        My list by season

        1. Winter- January- March fished some OFC waters regularly. Had several good days fishng slow and low. Steelhead was slow at the start (no hatchery fish this year), but I did pick up a few wild fish before April 1.
        2. Spring- April - June. A few pond trips, but limited due to a long-term sub job teaching math (the money was good, but the commitment of time cut into the fishing considerably). After school was out there were a couple of decent weekdays on ponds, and one day on a small piece of the Willamette. Did not make it to East- will remedy that this year.
        3. Summer- July-September: No summer steelhead, a few club-pond Bass, and a couple of fun creek and river trout trips.
        4. Fall- October, November- took another long-term sub job (I need to work on the "NO"), so no weekday trips. Did take a week out of the job to go tothe Missouri and Yellowstone. The Missouri was good for size and number of fish, but Yellowstone Fishing was not as good as some years, but being there with some friends was as good as always. there was one epic pond day, along with some good to great ones.
        5 Winter December. No steelhead trips. The pond fishing was fair to good, with some 20"+ trout to the net.
        If success was dependent on numbers, I think 2018 was not as productive as some of the previous years. If the annual evaluation was graded on hours spent- I think it would come out sub-par. If those were the actual annual goals, the year was not a great one. For me, it is the subjective, and not the objective that made the year great. Friends and family, eagles and kingfishers, geese and goslings, drives and scenery, beer and Pizza, and arriving safely at home make it positively memorable.


        • #6
          2018 was a record year for me since I decided to go C&R exclusively.
          My best trip was to Paulina Lake in late July. Over four days I fished 17.5 hours and netted 109 trout, not counting chub or dinks.
          I like Phamily, Phriends, Phly-Phishing, and Phood......wouldn't you know it, I live in Philomath, Oregon!


          • Crawbugger
            Crawbugger commented
            Editing a comment

        • #7
          What was that again about "stupid steelhead"...??


          • #8
            Can't complain about the 2018 Fishing Year. Few things off the top of my head.
            • Spent a lot of time on the D early in the year healing from divorce. You know...instead of drinking too much whisky belly-up at a dive bar muttering dark stuff, I drank a little whiskey and went fishing! Timed some nice BWO hatches early season and had a good day in May slamming Big Bugs. I started swinging way earlier than usual and realized I'm getting old because the catching isn't as important. Hah.
            • Nailed a handful of Tiger Muskies including one that I called The Tank.
            • Had a memorable battle with a steelhead on the D in Sept that I landed on my 5wt trout rod. Cooked that sucker up riverside for my buddies.
            • Ended the year on the Wilson in December catching (I'm counting it!) and losing the biggest steelhead of my life. See Winter Steel Thread.
            Looking forward to 2019 I really want to fish top water Bass at Silver Lake in WA. Early morning glass slamming the lily pads with Mt. St. Helens as a backdrop sounds pretty nice. Maybe I'll give Carp a try too. Maybe SRCs in the Salt?
            Choices! We have a lot of choices in Oregon.


            • #9
              Like others, I had a pretty good year, although big fish were pretty thin on the ground. Got my first SRC, as bycatch while stellheading in January, and had a tiger muskie on for a few seconds while hanging around with Randy. Otherwise a lot of emptyhandedness with those fish, but a lot of good times with good friends. Plus I got a piece of Mr Chin's riverside fish, and it was delicious. I finally got up to Timothy a few times for the hex hatch last summer, which was a lot of fun. I had a couple of successful days on the Met, and feel like I'm starting to uncover some secrets there. I also got to play with some new gear. I built an ARE spey last winter, which I really liked once I got the right line for it. I also rewrapped an old Montague bamboo rod, which turned out to be a nice light 4wt rod. Looking forward to more in 2019, with some camping on the D and the East Lake hogline.
              Support the Deschutes River Alliance: Cooler, cleaner H2O for the lower Deschutes River


              • #10
                For me it was definitely quality over quantity in 2018. I made the most of my opportunities, fished old haunts, learned new spots, and caught some nice fish. Some highlights:

                -Caught several smallmouth, including a very nice one, from a rocky bank on the lower Willamette, 100 yards from my work parking garage in Portland. When the water came down later in the summer I got to see where all the structure was, I'll be back this spring.

                -Spent a day swinging for steel at the mouth of the D in October. Skunked, but it was amazing walking among the new green vegetation sprouting from the earth torched by the Substation Fire just three months earlier.

                -On an overnight trip to a wedding in McKenzie Bridge, nymphed up two rainbows from the Blue River behind our Airbnb in the 30 mins while my wife got ready in the morning.

                -Played hooky for a nice spring day of cheap fun catching stockers and small panfish at St. Louis ponds.

                In 2019 I hope to break my long steelhead slump and better dial in the area's warmwater opportunities, especially lower Willamette bass.



                • #11
                  My list in 2018 remained with many places unchecked.....I attribute this to trying to maximize my fleeting time on the water, which I think I did for the most part, but it keeps me from branching out more.....playin it safe I guess.

                  I failed to make it to the O in '18.....that bums me out, cuz first time I went, I vowed to make it an annual trip.....I wish it wasn't 8 hours away!

                  I did get pretty well acquainted with the MFW....I'm a fan

                  I also spent some time on the lower D, and had an incredible trip in the fall.....a reminder for me how special that river is

                  I started off '19 with an awesome New Year's day session....going to the D this weekend....I figure that'll keep the shack nasties at bay for a couple weeks...

                  In '19 my list so far

                  1. O....I'm makin it happen!
                  2. Unnamed lake Eastern Sierra....prolly won't make it, but it's always on the list.
                  3. Unnamed lake McKenzie drainage
                  4. Unnamed lake Clack drainage
                  5. Truckee/Pyramid in spring....another longshot...really had it good down there!
                  ​​​​​​​6. Backpacking to fishy places with my kids


                  • PhilR
                    PhilR commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I might have to pick your brain about the Truckee area. My brother lives in N Tahoe, and is getting into fly fishing. Pyramid would be a kick someday, too.

                  • pigs
                    pigs commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Chin, went to the D this last weekend, and afternoons till dark were really good.....the water is around 45 degrees, and the fish were pretty active in the slower water you'd expect to find em in....eggs, worms, Jimmy legs, PT's....euro nymphing was the name of the game with the occasional bobber launch to the far out slots.....smattering of bwos and my buddy did get one on a cripple....we had a few risers on a slick above the eddies above the gate.

                  • pigs
                    pigs commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Phil, I'd be glad to impart any knowledge I acquired......the Truckee is a tough river for a beginner, but if he sticks it out, he will be rewarded......there are some great lakes close to him as well

                • #12
                  2018 was a very good year to me. Since I now live in the Tri-Cities during the school year and Baker in Summer and weekends only I have been exploring the Columbia Basin a lot, almost all ponds and lakes. If the winter is mild I can fish lakes year round. Haven't been for about a month now, because I've been very busy at work and with Christmas. I have mostly been fishing small out of the way lakes that receive small stockings of fingerlings. The fishing has been good and a couple of bass lakes are by far the best I have ever fished. That being said, both of my best numbers days for trout were in Baker County at high elevation lakes, bobber fishing. I fished the O a couple of times, always a good time. No Steel for me.