Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Nostalgic return to the Nestucca River

Doug with his Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
When my friend Marty Sherman asked if I wanted to float the Nestucca River, I jumped at the opportunity. I had fished this Oregon coastal stream many years ago with good success and had nostalgic memories of its great runs of Steelhead. This popular river has a prime run of large native Steelhead in the winter and good runs of Summer Steelhead in the spring. It is also popular for Spring and Fall Chinook fishing. 

Marty fly fishing the Nestucca for Steelhead
The Nestucca was in good shape as we launched Marty’s 18-foot Clackamax at First Bridge, near the town of Hebo. It was flowing at a depth of 5 to 61/2 feet, so success was foremost on our minds. We decided to fish at the boat launch, known as the Bridge Hole, because in the past Marty had hooked several Steelhead there. We both rigged up similar outfits with a float indicator near the butt extension and several small split shots about 1 to 1 1/2 feet from the flies. I was using an orange Glo Bug, and Marty tied on a colorful streamer fly.
Surprisingly, in less than fifteen minutes, I got a good tug that felt like a Steelhead. It turned out to be a colorful 14 inch Sea-Run Cutthroat trout which was released following a few quick photos. After nearly an hour of casting without any strikes, we pulled anchor and headed down river. 

Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
As we floated the 5- to 6-mile drift, Marty pointed out four popular fishing landmarks with productive fly fishing water: the Rope Swing Hole, the Rock Hole, the 101 Camp and the Farmer’s Creek take out. We stopped and fished these areas without any success, but the pleasant weather was a fitting reward. It also gave us a chance reminisce about past experiences and plans for future trips. Sometimes fishing is not all about catching fish! 


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