My Clearwater intro - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-30-2018, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Kalama River
Posts: 306
My Clearwater intro

Left my home river to trace some Oregon Trail AND THEN fish the Clearwater... something for everyone, you know .

The beautiful fall weather was matched by a great campsite at Pink House. Golden Age brethren get a full hookup (sorry, you non RVers - that doesn't mean the fish were willing) for $9!
Right behind our campsite was a 300yd stretch of swing water, from 40' to the winning Spey-O-Rama distance would cover holding fish. Those of you that know of it are already chuckling,yes?
Wellll... before I was able to get half my head out, a professional angler (I believe the cardboard sign he strapped to his sled said, 'Steel Dreams Guide Service') crossed the river with his kicker and motored upstream at 2mph eventually passing me less than 50' away. His four paying dudes turned their back to me. He pretended to tie tackle knots as he crept by. I waited, but said nothing. Did remind me of the Blue Creek shuffle on the Cowlitz. Only, they're busy backbouncing, then roaring upstream to do it again. This was more like, 'Flyfishermen don't belong here.' Oddly enough, not long after, another boat came upstream - a nicely painted guide boat that said, 'SteelDreams Guide Service'! This guy moved a respectful distance away from me as he motored up to the head of the run. His presence displaced the jackass that left the hole and went downstream (pecking order perhaps?).
I did stop in at the Red Shed and received some intel in trade for the tying materials I bought. So there certainly were other places to fish - lots of them. I was told that this and last year have had poor returns... sounds like home .
I had a great time nonetheless, imagining my fly swinging over fish that swam ANOTHER 400 miles after passing my home! How incredible are they!?!
I'll definitely go back.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-30-2018, 09:01 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Snake, Clearwater and tribs
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There are many great runs on the Clearwater. Too bad you had this experience, it happens this time of year. Last week I had a guide with sports start back drifting through a run I was fishing, but they would stop just above me and motor up to start again. I appreciated that and gave them a thumbs up, and they did the same to me. Someone who is much wiser and a far better fisherman told me that the boats can be a good thing because it gets the fish riled up. Sure enough, another guide was back drifting a run I was in a couple of weeks ago, on a line just about where my fly landed on each cast, and I hooked and landed two!

I encourage you to report any conflicts if they get out of hand. This is also a great time to hit the Snake and Ronde. Not as many fish as in past years, but there are still some.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-30-2018, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Clark Fork, Missouri, Clearwater, Central PA springs, Lycoming Creek is home.
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Sorry this happened to you. Most of the gear guides on the Clearwater are respectful, but some aren't. My buddy lost his first ever swung fish a few years ago because a guy came through full throttle and literally ran it over. I'm not sure how he didn't see that we had a fish on. I hope the fish survived but we certainly lost it. It was not a small fish, either.

Fortunately, it's a big river with just tons and tons of water like you described. I would agree with the boats stirring the fish up. I've hooked and seen enough fish hooked just after a boat came through to care a lot less about it. Push 'em into the soft water for me, guys.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-30-2018, 11:03 AM
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Similar thing happened to me on the Rouge (Michigan Grand River trib) I was swinging a deep hole from right bank and two guys floated right over my line. They could easily have gone down on the left but they chose to drift over the deeper water on my side. I didn't say anything and we exchanged pleasantries. I just wasn't in the mood to be confrontational. I even warned them that my fly might puncture one of their inflatables but he assured me it wouldn't and carried right on. I reasoned that they were probably oblivious to what they had just done.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-30-2018, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys. The rivers are for everyone, so I harbor no ill will towards anglers that use hardware. Technology's version of 'swimming a dog' across a salmon pool is the high powered boat. I don't dispute that it can perk up stale fish. The huge majority of the time (in my experience) it doesn't. Often, planting strategies cause adult fish to stack up (especially now that management agencies try to separate wild and cultured fish). On rivers large enough to make powered boats practical, it sets up a boat circus and combat fishing. The Clearwater above Orofino prohibits motors, so it's easy to avoid the noise and wakes.
There is no substitution for mutual courtesy on the river (hell, anywhere for that matter!). There'll be another trip, one with more time allotted to fishing. The Snake system is huge and invites discovery.
I am saddened that Columbia River fish management excludes Idaho from regulatory authority (Columbia River Compact composed of OR, WA reps only). I once posed a related question to Compact members and was summarily informed that Idaho didn't belong in the Compact! But I digress... lots to fix in the world. Trips like this one promote some reflection, I guess.
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