Eyes Open

As in keep your eyes open, but more on that in a moment. Early morning is a delicious time on the Rogue River. There is a mix of shade and light pleasing to the setting. Bankside trees shadow pools, sunlight illuminates riffles. Early morning comfort food for the soul and mind. River View
If I am first on the water, I always expect a ready immediate strike. Of course I always prepare my anticipation for a delayed response. Sometimes the fish have to wake up. Such it was this morning. The bite did not come until 9:00 AM. A little peck…I was a slow to react, but it didn’t matter. The hen was stuck and landed. July 27 Cookie Cutter
Another hatchery hen and I’m happy to note that they have all been good fish this early season coming in around 25″ long. I don’t know if it has just been my catches, but the early runs seems devoid of the 18″ fish. An indication of good ocean conditions? Seam Line
To set my evening dinner fare the fat hen was duly processed and hung from a tree. A Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar took away the morning hunger in my belly as I further rested the water. Once back to casting, time past uneventful for a good two hours. I could see that the yellow jacket bees had found my dressed fish. Share the wealth, they wouldn’t be taking much. As it was going, it seemed I wouldn’t be taking anything more out of this hole. Then suddenly I saw a rolling dark fish in the seam line between choppy and smooth water. Wild Rogue Steelhead
Downstream and away the location called for a classic wet fly swing. Now if the fish was a jack salmon my chances were probably nil. A steelhead showing and orientated toward the surface might take immediately. To say the very least that is where a fish was and that was where I would cast. With the second cast I put sufficient mend into the swing and I was rewarded with a stirring strike. A steelhead and definitely a good one. Or perhaps just a wild one? I worried that the fish would move into the fast water and race away downstream. That would make matters most tricky. As luck would have it I snubbed away most of that first move and keep the action in the slower flow. Utilizing the power of the 13′ Spey rod I walked the fish upstream where I could play her out in the headwater of the run. For a brief moment I controlled the wild hen at the bank as I removed the Bead Head Hare & Pheasant from where it was stuck in her jaw.

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