A friend of mine recently moved to a place 15 minutes from “the ‘Clack”, so this weekend I took him up to explore a few of my usual spots. It was a great day for fishing: overcast and not too warm. Summer steelhead are starting to appear in the river, and hog lines of boats at the mouth are waiting to reel in spring Chinook.
The first stop was Carver park. Ours was the only car there without a boat trailer, so we had free rein to fish the whole bank. It was just us and quite a few different species of birds on the water.
A creek flows into the river and a good-looking run right in front of the park. A bridge just downstream took a little bushwhacking to get to, but also had some deeper water that looked promising.
We only had one hookup all day, and at the first spot we stopped. I felt a good tug, set the hook, saw a flash of silver and green, and as I went to increase the drag I lapsed for just a second and the fish shook it off. This represents a re-occurring problem in that this is my second post, about my second river, with a second escaped fish, on the exact same lure… This 1/4 oz copper spoon has been getting their attention, even if it can’t keep it long enough to get them to shore. Of all the different color spinners and spoons we flung into the water, this one is the only want to get any action. At least this time I have a witness to attest that I am not making up stories about the fish I should have had.
Our next stop was Bonnie Lure Park, a walk-in park on Eagle Creek with good bank access to the main river after a half-mile hike through the woods. Just know that you’re going to get your feet wet. For the first time there were no other cars in the lot, and I realized why: We fished and hiked up and down the river with absolutely no success.
In my opinion, the Clackamas is a better winter river as the summer crowds of drunken rafters and inner tubers often make local headlines with their inebriated antics. Having parades of people float across your line and slur “catsch any fishes?” as they go by pretty much sucks all the joy out of fishing.
On a somewhat similar note, the day wasn’t entirely a bust. Between Carver and Barton we came across a little brewery hidden up a dead-end road (Latourette Road, I checked) that was totally worth mentioning. The owner—and wife of the brew master—allowed us in a few minutes before opening and chatted with us while we sampled their BEvERages. Apparently he had worked with Rogue, but his work stood out all on its own. If you’re on the south bank of the river, it’s definitely worth stopping in for a pint.