Monday, June 13, 2011

Trout Unlimited Prompt--The Canyon

Recently the good folks at the Outdoor Blogger Network linked up with Trout Unlimited for quite an offer.  Write a blog post on your favorite fishing trip, and have the opportunity to win a hell of a prize.

Click here to read more on the contest.

My favorite fishing trip is more or less one place in my mind.  The Canyon.  Enjoy the read.

My mind instantly goes to one place when someone asks a question like, "where's your favorite place to fish?"

The Canyon.

It's not unknown, but one trip down this section of the Grande Ronde River in extreme Southwest Washington and you know why it's an inspirational place.  Drop an oar into the water at Boggans Oasis and it's you, the river, the fish and 8 or so miles of road-less water that allows you to forget about the rest of the world for a brief moment in time.  As I have said before about this place, your cell phone is about as useless as a paperweight.

Its a rare place of wildness in this connected world.  You get the opportunity to really communicate, with your boat mates and with yourself to lock back in on what's important.  Your Facebook status is non impressive to the big horn sheep that stare at you from the steep canyon walls.

My favorite days on this water bring together two of my favorite things in this world, time with my father and steelhead.   It is such an opportunity to be able to sit in my drift boat with my dad as we search the water for these ghosts of fish.  I can't tell you how many times people have told me that I am lucky to have the relationship I have with my dad.  I know this, and the Canyon gives us the time when it's only us and our jokes, jabs, even a yell or two at each other.  For me, it's perfect.

The water itself is beautiful and foreboding, to be respected as it to be admired.  Admired for the fact that it's perfection for steelhead habitat.  Run after run of water to swing and deep pockets to nymph as the day progresses.  And to bring it all together, the two greatest runs to me on the entire river to end the day on....180 and Pigeon

Over time my father and I have grown to know the water intimately.  On days where commitments draw us in opposite ways, brief conversations about the day allow us to know exactly where fish were found.   The Elbow, Last Chance, so on and so forth.  Like other hallowed steelhead water, we have our names for our favorite places.

The crazy thing that this water was almost lost in it's present form.  Many don't know that it almost was the site of the last dam on the Snake River, and 2 miles of the river would have become a lake.  Thankfully, the project was defeated and never became a reality.

The greatness of this water is due to how rare of a commodity it is.  It allows for a father and son to grow closer together.  It allows you to focus on what is in front of you and only that because you can't do anything else.  It gives you the opportunity to loose yourself  as you focus completely on finding a fish on your line.  Although augmently by hatcheries, the river gives wild fish a fighting chance in spite of the stacked deck against them.

This place has to be protected and tremendous thanks needs to be given to anyone who spends their time and energy to do so.   A place can only defend itself so much, it needs advocates like Trout Unlimited, The Wild Steelhead Coalition and The Native Fish Society to help retain it's current form and ensure it for future generations.

The Canyon's walls draw you in and firmly implants in your brain.   If you haven't been, I hope you get the opportunity to loose yourself in those 8 glorious miles yourself.


  1. Sounds like the perfect place to get lost from all this. Good luck on the contest.

  2. Maybe the contest should end in some bloggers home water--because I've read of some places just as amazing as MT. This was no exception! Great read!

    (And what do I win for being your 100th follower? Anything? C'mon! ha! Great blog, glad I found ya.)

  3. "your cell phone is about as useless as a paperweight" that's always a good place to be... great post man, and good luck

  4. "Your Facebook status is non impressive to the big horn sheep that stare at you from the steep canyon walls." Very good, and a good reason to keep going back. I wish you the best in the contest, I didn't enter. Great post.

  5. Strangely absent from your post is mention of the fact that OMR out-catches you on every trip. In the spirit of the contest I suppose that's not really necessary.Great read, Josh.