Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Miracle on North Fork Reservoir

large lake created by a dam on the Clackmas River  near Estacada, Oregon.  Shows pine trees surrounding the lake.
North Fork Reservoir near Estacada, OR
I was just a young boy of 12 when my dad and I had a fishing experience that would rival many accounts of Ripley’s “Believe it or Not.” It happened when we were fishing for trout on North Fork Reservoir near Estacada, Oregon. It harbored planted Rainbow trout as well as some hatchery Steelhead that inadvertently would escape from the fish trap at Cazadero Dam. 

We launched Dad’s 12 foot Sea King boat into the placid water and headed out to the cadence of his 5-horsepower Scott-Atwater motor. Dad set our trolling rigs out and they quickly started dancing to the rhythm of the copper-pated spinning flies. My hopes were at a fever pitch as Dad maneuvered the boat in and out of the wooded shore line, but after two hours we only had a few strikes. I was getting a little discouraged and as I turned to complain to Dad my rod was jerked out of my hand and plunged into the water. He quickly revved up the engine and made an effort to follow my wayward outfit but to no avail. My rod was gone and I hung my head in despair, but fortunately he had another one rigged up so I could continue fishing. 

The remainder of the day was spent zig-zagging the boat in the hopes of hooking some fish or possibly my rod. As darkness began to fall, and without any luck, we headed back to the boat ramp. We were the last fishermen to concede defeat. When we docked the boat, a fellow was idly standing by his trailer and as we approached he curiously asked, “Did you guys have any luck today?” 

Dad paused for a moment and responded, “Yeah, but it was all bad. We didn’t catch any fish and when my son finally hooked one the rod was….” 

The man quickly interrupted, reached into his boat, pulled out an outfit and asked, “Is this what you're looking for?”  We were stunned. It was my rod and reel! With a slight grin he handed it to me and said, “You might want this too.” He pulled the rest of the line from the boat and handed me a nice 8 pound Steelhead with my copper spinning fly still hooked in its jaw. I was spellbound and all my dad could say was, “Well, I’ll be dammed!”

The offer to give him the fish for his trouble and honesty was graciously refused and he turned to me and said, “Son, you hooked the fish. All I did was land it for you. It’s all yours."

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