A Second Date with Oregon Fishing…

by Rebecca on August 5, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~A River "X" Brown~

As pledged, I headed back into Oregon this last weekend to see if the fishing chemistry I felt the first time around was simply an infatuation or if it had the potential for a long term relationship.

My first stop found me visiting the “River X”– Since I’m fairly certain all forms of communication (cell phones, email, Internet, smoke signals ) are being monitored daily by a group of dedicated vigilantes about said river, I’m scared to death to even mention it under my breath much less write about it in my website.

I’m not sure what the penalty for mentioning the real name of said river is, but my imagination has put it up in the ranks of medieval torture executed through the use of  Bamboo fly rods, wire fly line and size 4 hooks.  Anyway, I went there Friday and had a fantastic time. The fish weren’t shy about slurping down dry flies and I was entertained for hours. In hindsight, I wish I had just stayed there the entire weekend, but I was feeling adventurous and at dark turned the Fishcruiser in the direction of ‘somewhere’ middle-ish Oregon. So long Sweet Wyoming River X ~

3:00 a.m found me pulling over along side the John Day river and I stayed in that general area for the rest of the weekend. I have no doubt that most people in this world research the rivers they seek out prior to arrival and come prepared with knowledge, a game plan and are not likey to be surprised by things like, “Welcome to the John Day River, proud home of the Small Mouth BASS..”

I am not one of those people. I don’t roll that way. Rarely are my trips researched, structured, intentional or planned. One hour I can be sitting in my home doing the laundry and the next I’m driving down the freeway in hopes that I run into a river eventually. In my humble opinion, spontaneity keeps my life interesting and if the price I pay for such haphazard ways is being forced to fish for Bass over say, Trout. I suppose I can live with the repercussions.

The John Day river was a lazy, slow rolling piece of water where a smallie could be caught just about anywhere. I figured out rather quickly that the goal wasn’t about catching one, it was about catching one bigger than 7 inches long. Oh, a bonus goal: Avoiding the multiple rafters, float tubers, water noodle ridin’ people who seemed to be spaced out equally —- 25 feet apart—- the whole time I was trying to fish. If I had a new fly for every time someone asked me, “Hey, hows the fishin’” I’d have a full box.

I should have stayed at the River X (in Washington of course)

Middle Fork of the John Day

Instead I headed over to the Middle Fork of the John Day and proceeded to catch enough small fry to fill a whole can of sardines. Feisty little buggers at any rate…

At this point I feel like I’ve gotten my moneys worth out of my non-resident Oregon licence (106 dollars!) but I’m not done cashing in for a better rate of return.

X here I come…located in Nevada of course…


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

ShoremanNo Gravatar August 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and next Nevada. You’re getting closer to California every day.



Kentucky JimNo Gravatar August 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Yeah, you’ll get to California sooner or later. But I can’t wait that long. I’m coming up your way end of next week. Fishing in southern Wyoming first, then the West Yellowstone area. That is, if I can recover from the mauling my daughter put me through when I visited her in Sequoia N.P.


KirkNo Gravatar August 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Spontaneity has it’s charm, that’s for sure. The wind in the hair, no clock or destination waiting for your arrival- just the open road stretched out before you. Someday point the nose of the Fishcruiser northwest. Not many smallmouth up here to cause disappointment…in fact, plan a fall steelhead trip on the X River or perhaps the Y or Z Rivers.


mikenuttoNo Gravatar August 6, 2010 at 1:27 am

vigilante I dont think so ! It is funny people dont get it when you find a river like the river X if you talk about it .It gets destroyed by the hordes of fishermen who have no respect for rivers like that ,and that includes fly fishermen ! If you find the river it is a reward .It wont last forever because some will talk to some one and then it will be everywhere . This is what has happened to so many rivers over and over ,so we vigilantes just like to keep our mouths shut thank you !


ColoradoAnglerNo Gravatar August 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

“Damn you, stoopid river destroying angling hordes! How many more rivers must perish in your bloody quest for sport?!?!”


RebeccaNo Gravatar August 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm

@Shoreman & Kentucky Jim ~ Yes! I will make it down to California someday and hope when I do you are both ready to show me all the fun spots.

@Kirk ~ Someday I’ll edge farther Northwest. This has been a strange year for me. Usually I head East, but for some reason Oregon has had my attention lately. Once I’ve completely explored it, I imagine I’ll need new scenery and new Rivers (not many bass? Bonus!)

@Mike ~ I hope you weren’t offended by my use of the word vigilante. I know you all feel very strongly about the River X, hence my not mentioning said location or actual name. One of the best things going for that river is it’s location. It’s not exactly -travel friendly- for a lot of people. Call me an optimist, but I would like to think that the people that visit that river, or any river for that matter, see it as a treasure and are respectful to it and the fish. That mindset will keep it around for everyone to enjoy.

@ColoradoAngler ~ Umm……going back to my corner now


ClifNo Gravatar August 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

oooo….CoAngler was moved to use HTML to italicize and boldify his response.

I wonder what his feelings are on the subject…


jackiNo Gravatar August 13, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I love your spontaneity and sense of adventure. I hope you don’t get down by any negative comments left here! Follow your instinct, that’s what I always do anyway …


Paul SankovichNo Gravatar August 23, 2010 at 6:01 pm


I’m a fish biologist in Oregon. I visit your blog occasionally and felt compelled to drop you a note after reading that you recently found yourself on the banks of the Middle Fork John Day River. Ouch. Definitely not a 106 buck fishing experience (but at least you rolled with it, which is admirable). You seem to be a good egg and apparently can keep a secret based on your posts, so I will offer ***content removed via The Outdooress for the sake of fish secrets Thank you Paul!!***
There are a limited number of angling hours in a lifetime. No sense spending them on five-inch juvenile steelhead.

Sympathetically yours,



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