Clackamas River – 8/23/2011

Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM

Location: Milo McIver State Park and then water above Fish Creek near raft launch

Fish Landed: 4

Clackamas River 08/23/2011 Photo Album

Because of a pelvic injury I dropped out of the Hood to Coast Relay, but agreed to be a van driver for the van that included Amy, Dan, Kirk and Brady. Therefore I made plans to fly to Portland, OR the Monday of Hood to Coast week. I arranged for a day of guided fishing on the Deschutes River on Wednesday, August 24.

I arrived in Portland on Monday August 22 and met Amy at St. Honore. On Monday evening Amy and I met Aaron and Jessica for dinner at their house. I stayed with Aaron and Jessica, and Aaron was my partner for the guided fishing Wednesday. Amy and I went to the Northwest Flyfisher Shop in Portland and I purchased some flies and got a recommendation from the young man at the fly shop on where I could fish on Tuesday. He recommended the Clackamas River at Milo McIver State Park.

Clackamas River Viewed from Start of Fishing

On Tuesday morning I set out on a 45 minute drive to McIver State Park. It was foggy and drizzling most of the trip, therefore, I wore my raincoat as I embarked on my fishing. I parked at the Riverbend parking lot and climbed down a steep path and then walked down along the river for quite a ways to a point where I could cross to a small island. I tied on an olive body stimulator with a white wing and then added a beadhead hares ear dropper. I tossed this from the point of the island to a slow current seam that ran along the bank under some overhanging tree limbs. This didn’t produce any response, so I moved to the long run that ran on the larger channel on the north side of the island. I noticed a couple refusals from small fish on this current seam but it didn’t generate any takes.

Screechy Bird Overhead

I decided to go deeper and switched to a strike indicator with a split shot beadhead hares ear and then a beadhead pheasant tail. This produced and I landed three fish large enough to count on the beadhead nymphs in the mid-section of the run. I also landed numerous tiny rainbows less than five inches. The action ended as I moved to the top half of the run so I waded back across to the southeast shore and up to the next run at the head of the pool. I worked several riffles with no action when I came to a long pool around the main large bend below the parking lot.

Fisherman in Nice Sized Clackamas River

At some point I lost my hares ear and pheasant tail and tied on a large caddis larva imitation I purchased along with a beadhead hares ear. I went to the top of the narrow run that angled through the long wide pool and fed some drifts along the current using the stack mend style. On one of these drifts, a fish attacked the caddis larva as I stripped line back to recast, and I landed the largest fish of the day around 11 to 12 inches.

I climbed back up the bank and walked in the grass through the park to a point where I could scramble back down a steep dirt bank. At the base of the bank the river swept around a bend and smashed against a vertical rock wall and deflected on an angle back toward the middle of the river. I ran some stack mends along the current in this area but didn’t achieve any positive results so I climbed back to the park and decided to move upstream since I couldn’t really see what the river looked like around the large bend.

When I returned to the rental car a young man and his dog were getting out of a truck and preparing to fish. He told me that four countable fish was actually good for the Clackamas at this time of year. I asked him about the water upstream and he recommended above Fish Creek and told me how to take a shortcut to get there.

I exited the park and followed his directions and found signs for Fish Creek. I made a right turn and crossed the Clackamas and parked in a convenient lot above Fish Creek. I put on  my backpack and frontpack, but as I began walking out of the lot I noticed a sign saying the lot was a fee area. I’d seen numerous pullouts along the highway, so decided I didn’t want to pay $5 and returned to the car and removed my packs and exited the parking lot. I returned to the highway and drove a short distance until I saw a series of nice pocket water stretches from the highway.

Clackamas Above Fish Creek and Raft Launch Point

I pulled into a large bumpy turnout that was an informal boat launch area and prepared to fish. I walked downstream to a point where there were some nice pockets along the bank. I had a yellow Letort hopper and beadhead pheasant tail and began flicking casts in the pockets. I worked my way up along the bank doing this for the next hour or so. While fishing a group arrive and inflated a raft and launched. I caught 5-10 tiny fish using this method, but they were all five inches or less and not worth counting. My guide on the Deschutes told me these were probably steelhead and salmon smolts. My last stop was a huge clear deep pool and I rigged up with nymphs for this water. I had a couple momentary hook ups as the fly swung, but nothing landed before I called it quits and headed back to Amy’s house.

Crystal Clear Flows on Hot Tuesday

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