I haven’t seen rain like this since, well, since last November when my dad came out from Ohio to visit.
This weekend my dad came into town to fish the Elk River — which according to reports just the day before he’d shown up, there was barely enough water in it to float a boat. So I was doing a rain dance on Thursday, and by Friday afternoon I was trying to dance backwards to shut the damn thing off (I call it the “Rain Moonwalk”).
We got down to Port Orford around 4pm on Friday and checked out the Sixes River: Not a soul on it and it was a chocolate milkshake. We decided to drive up to the Cape Blanco lighthouse lookout and the 65 mph winds almost blew my Honda Civic over the side and into the surf.
After that, we decided to look at the Elk River, which was rising but still pretty clear in the afternoon — there were a few boats down at the ramp. We were staying at the Steel Blue Chameleon lodge, so we decided to check in.
The Steel Blue Chameleon is a great place to stay — good food, a keg of Mirror Pond and a pool table make it pretty comfy on a rainy night. The winds howled, rain fell, and we talked smack and drank our faces off with a bunch of electricians from Eugene, OR. I’m still burping up Jameson three days later.
The guides showed up for breakfast around 6am and we crawled out of our beds to see the river was completely out of control [photo below]. Nobody going out. We were only scheduled for fish with the guides on Saturday, but the owner of the lodge said we could fish with them Sunday instead. I just didn’t see the river coming back by the next day — and my stomach couldn’t handle being locked up in the lodge with that bottle of whiskey for several more hours — so we cut our losses, paid half the cost of the trip ($350) and left to try to intercept the guys from Trout Unlimited 678 that were coming down from Eugene to fish.
We caught up with Karl and Al and crew at the boat ramp downstream and ran to Port Orford for second-breakfast and to hash out Plan B. The wind was still whipping and rain was coming down sideways, so Al opted to bag fishing and Karl decided to take us up the Upper Siuslaw in case the rain had pushed fresh fish up high.
So basically, we drove 5 hours and spent $350 to fish 30 minutes from town.
Unfortunately, it was higher than we’d predicted. We drifted from Whitaker Creek to Wildcat and didn’t see a fish. The Siuslaw was HUGE and pushy and Karl could barely get an anchor down. We were trying to troll but couldn’t keep the leaves and debris off of our lines for more than 30 seconds at a time.
This big blowout is exactly what we needed to get the season started, but it sucked that it had to happen this weekend.