Sunday, July 18, 2010

The White Unicorn of July

Mythical creatures.  Bigfoot.  Yeti.  Loch Ness

The July caught Clearwater River Steelhead.  Mythical to me no longer.

This time of year puts us at the extreme leading edge of the upcoming steelhead season here on the east side of the mountains.  Fish are pouring over Bonneville Damn in record numbers again, but it takes time for them to reach their Eastside Tributaries of the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  As of last week, 200-400 fish were trickling over Lower Granite Damn, just enough cross our fingers.   At least it's an excuse to spey cast

After a ripping day on a Snake River tributary (report tomorrow) for Smallmouth Bass, new fishing buddy Adam J and I found ourselves taking our turn down the Stink Hole on the Clearwater in the early AM.

My new Echo 2 eight weight in hand, it was time to drop some bombs and hope against hope that a player would yikeee yank yank the loop right out of my hand. 

The Echo rod just felt crisp and well balanced with a 525 grain compact skagit.  

One great cast and into the swing...bump bump KA bam. 

I hooked my white unicorn

3 cartwheeling jumps and 5 minute flight later, this little beauty was brought to hand.  One of the cleanest hatchery fish I have ever seen,  it was very gratifying to find out from the old timers who swung the run before us that it's the first fish they have seen caught since the river opened in July....

More to come, the 2010 Steelhead season for me is open for business


  1. A long time ago, when people were more quiet, there was a man named Ted Trueblood. He fished a certain river and really did well with a flyrod at a certain time of the year. He was a writer, but decided for the sake of the river, and preserving his and other's privacy, not to name it. Get it?

  2. Fishing the Clearwater early isn't a secret. After all Ted Treublood introduced the "Unnamed River" back in the sixties and though didn't mention the Grand Ronde, he invited all his friends from California up to share in the wealth of the Snake River tributaries. That impact enough and the interests in the members of the Golden Gate Casting Club, whom he was friends with spread the word just as well. Those guys brought more to the region and helped pave the way for steelheading on that part of the state.

    So yeah Millsy mentioned catching a fish on the Clearwater in July, but he wasn't the first nor will his readers cause a pandemic on said location. There are few secrets left and this is by far not one of them. All one needs to do is follow dam counts and water temps to know there are fish there. And everyone knows those early Snake trib fish end up in the Clearwater to soak in its cooler water.

    Are keeping little secrets like this a part of steelheading? Maybe if it was actually a secret. That being said, I know of fish being caught on the Sky, Cowlitz, Clack, Klick, D, Drano, Washougal, Kalama, North Umpqua, and Columbia recently. I hope nobody rushes out there to fish them all.

  3. Well said!! Mike,

    In addition to the points, for the conservation sake, anglers have been doing more good than harm to the fish population, compare to all the massive destructive issues... IMO, we actually NEED more anglers to enjoy our water and protect those fisheries...