Out of Hibernation

These are the fish that become great memories.

It has been awhile since I’ve written a little something for the blog. As the late winter set in this year I settled into a sort of general malaise which typically snuffs out any sparks of creativity. It was an exceptionally long winter this year. I lost both grandparents and my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, my wife lost her grandmother as well as dealing her with her own fathers rapidly declining health. This all came on the backs of what seem to be universally agreed upon as the worst fucking 2 years of our generation.

These local rainbows are stunningly beautiful. Bright, thick and healthy and eager. Everything you could want in a trout.

However it has not been all gloom and doom. Last fall I made the decision to start reclaiming my health after a long “career” as a super heavyweight competitive powerlifter. At 41 years old I was nearing 370 lbs in bodyweight at 6’7″ tall. It’s no secret that big people don’t live as long. I was on multiple blood pressure meds and my all of blood work was awful. High risk for everything. As I write this I am down 90 lbs, off all medication and my last blood work panel was all back in range. I am very proud of what I accomplished in powerlifting, holding multiple state, national and world records but that chapter had to close.

A small cutthroat trout that fell to a swung soft hackle.

It is not like I didn’t fish through this time period. I actually made it out a lot. Almost weekly. The fishing was pretty slow and very repetitious. Winter here for me means fishing the larger reservoir rivers around, dragging bottom with heavy flies in shit weather and once in awhile you may get lucky and drag a fly into a trouts a mouth. I don’t hate this kind of fishing. The monotonous rhythm of lob, drift, lob drift can be pretty meditative. It’s almost peaceful. Standing in a drained reservoir in a driving wind and rain, frozen to your core and not catching fish is a great opportunity to catalog all the wrong turns you’ve taken to lead you there. Needless to say after several months of that action I was dying to cast a light line and a small fly to eager and active trout.

First wild, native rainbow of the spring season.

Slowly but surely the weather, and my mood began to improve. 30 degree days turned to 50, the nymphs started getting lighter and the last 2 times I’ve been out I’ve actually been able to fish unweighted flies on very light lines. Not quite dry fly time but it sure feels close! While tenkara rods do an amazing job nymphing they also do an amazing job at tenkara! Traditional tankara, casting unweighted flies on long rods with light lines is just the bees knees for me. It’s engaging, its active, its beautiful. The trout seem to like it as well.

My wife was going to donate this Baggalinni brand purse. I claimed it and now it makes an outstanding short trip tackle bag!
A random crappie from the Lunchtime Pond near my work.

I also acquired a few new rods over the winter. The Riverworks ZX4, the dragon tail firefox and the Diawa L LL45M. Each rod very different but so far all three have been amazing. I plan on doing a little write up soon on the Riverworks and likely the other 2 at some point. I am not a gear reviewer but there is very little info available on tenkara rods and Id like to offer my perspective to anybody interested in these rods. The ZX4 is a real gem. Ive been effectively fishing it with #1.5 level line which has been a revelation. The lightness of that line and the almost 100% lack of line drape is incredible. It can be a full blown mother fucker to cast but on the ZX4 it’s remarkable easy as long as the wind isn’t to bad.

Happily cleaning and drying rods after a successful outing.

After 30 years of fly fishing I still get as excited as a kid at Christmas for spring fishing. Oregon is magical in the spring and it has been rejuvenating to finally emerge from the long cold grey grasp of winter.

My most effective spring fly so far. A simple bead head futsu kebari with hot orange tail.
When life gets rough I like to think it could be worse. I could have been born a hatchery trout.
The humble whitefish. Proof you are getting deep enough.

I hope you all are getting out as often as you can and are really savoring the season. We only get so many springs in our lives so lets make them count!

One thought on “Out of Hibernation

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