Sunday, January 18, 2015

River booty

Over the past week or two, things had settled down nicely.  The river dropped into fishable levels and the steelhead responded to our swung flies.  Three one day, one fish the next.  Nothing red hot, but at least fish were there and willing.  

Then the rains returned.  The river turned the color of coffee with too much creamer and went high...again!

Since last months high water I've become a bit of a pirate.  I've found more river booty than I ever remember.  Length of stairs to make traversing the steep bank to my dock a little more friendly. Check. Four gas cans (all with at least a little gas), 50' length of rope, bungee cords, blue plastic tarps, fishing tackle, tip of a fishing rod (X's 2). Check. Big knots of mono from many years of side drifting rigs probing fishy looking seams getting hung in the same spot.  The high water from last month uprooted these wads of gear and left them in streamside willows. 

20 minutes with a good pair of scissors in the shop as the rain came down, revealed a bunch of tackle that I'll likely never make use of, but at least the wad of bird tangling mono is forever off the river.

So with the river running impossibly high and muddy, Hunter and I decided to go see what we could find.  Not a shotgun or fly rod in sight.  Just a couple of pirates on the high seas looking for treasure and adventure.

Not 15 minutes away from the boat launch we found more chunks of "boat dock styrofoam" hung in log jams and shore side weeds than we could fit in our ships hold.  We came upon a larger vessel than ours, hung on anchor along the side of Steamboat Island.  A little further down the bank we came upon a small row boat.  I spied a third vessel in a painfully awkward list further down the island?  This nearly sunk boat came complete with the first human we'd seen since leaving Reedsport.  This fellow looked damned cold, damned wet, damned thirsty and very damned hungry.  He waved us towards him and his ill fated vessel.    

First mate "Bug" and I cautiously approached and learned that this poor fellow had spent a long, cold, wet night upon this "salvaged" vessel.  Apparently, the previous months high water had torn this old boat from its moorings, leaving it heaved, high and dry on Steamboat Island.  This fellow pirate had learned of the vessels fate and had come to retrieve her, only to find himself in last nights storm, without a vessel that he could get underway.  A long, cold, wet, hungry night and part of a day until we came along.  

We ferried the man back to the boat launch where his vehicle awaited him and headed seaward once again in search of booty and adventure.

A short while later we came upon a neighbors dock that had also been torn from its moorings during  the storm and high flows.  We made fast a line to the dock and towed it back to its place along the shore.

We left the dock secured with a length of rope.  No note.  No mentioned of our efforts to any neighbor.  We just took off like the pirates we are in search of more adventure.

I really would prefer to be swinging flies with Bug, searching our favorite winter steelhead runs.  But if Ma Nature chooses big muddy water instead of good, decent "steelhead green" flows for our home river, spending the day on the high sea's searching for treasure and being on the water with my son is okay too!  I just want to be on the water.