Goin’ Coastal

The Mighty Chetco River!!   Photo by: Camille Egdorf

The Mighty Chetco River!! Photo by: Camille Egdorf

One week, Justin and I decided to head to the coast and chase some serious chrome. So we packed our gear, hitched up the boat and drove four hours to the Chetco river in Oregon. We arrive to the Chetco around midnight, and find a good gravel bar to spend the night. Out of habit, we both rush down to inspect the water conditions, even though it was pitch black out. Standing there listening to the river flowing by in the dark made me giddy with excitment for the day to come.
The next morning came in what seemed like decades. We rolled out of our sleeping bags around 5:30-6am and drove to a small grocery store to grab some grub and get our shuttle taken care of.  From there we launch the boat and begin launching line.
Photo by: Camille Egdorf

Photo by: Camille Egdorf

The water was perfectly clear, in fact it was so clear that it was deceiving. Water that looked two feet deep was actually 8 feet deep. I’d never seen such clear water before. Although beautiful, it did have it’s negatives. Fish could see us a mile away.
So we’re drifting down the river in the early morning with a thick fog covering the hills. There’s no one else on the river, and it was completely quiet. Both Justin and I are staring at the water below us.
” This is dirt magert,” exclaims Justin.
I chuckled to myself, mainly because I had never heard that expression before.
Getting Dirty  Photo by: Camille Egdorf

Getting Dirty Photo by: Camille Egdorf

We stopped at a gravel bar and started shooting line. My casting was still pretty meager, and after watching Justin throw some perfection, and asked him to help me out. After the quick lesson, my casting dramatically improved and soon I was casting marvels. I even succeeded in catching a 17inch steely. This steely was different from the others. There was no strip down it’s side and the spots on it’s back were very faint. It was a beautiful fish, and I couldn’t wait to see what an adult looked like.

The rest of the day was spent drifting and hitting some sweet looking runs. We never did catch an adult but we did see large amounts of fish as we drifted, so they were there. We just had to find them.

We geared down at the boat take out, and then headed to town for some great Taco Bell action, and re-stock on grub. We were right on the coast so we thought it would be fun to swing by Chetco Point. As Justin was snapping pics, I took off down a small trail I found that went out to a rocky point. I wasn’t sure if I was tresspassing or not, but the draw of the trail was too good to pass up. Justin followed in my tracks.

Chetco Point  Photo By: Justin Miller

Chetco Point Photo By: Justin Miller

We ended up on a point that was a good 200 yards off from the main beach. We both stood out there and gazed at the vast ocean before us. I think we were thinkin the same thing.

“How many steelhead are out there?”

While we were driving back to the gravel bar, Justin and I were talking about tomorrow’s fishing plans. We had decided to do the same drift again, when out of the corner of my eye I see this small black figure run off the road in front of us. It was dark so I couldn’t get a positive Id, but after the extensive “Big foot” talk sessions I had with Frank, I immediately thought “little big foot”. Both Justin and I are not sure what it was but we agreed that it was a small black bear. To say the least, I was still hesitant to hit the bushes that night.

Back at the gravel bar we decide to build a fire and whip up some steelhead flies. We searched the forest around us for any wood that was slightly dry ( Everything on the coast is soaked in H2O ). We piled twigs and cardboard up and fired it up. It took several tries but some “Vitamin G” did the job perfectly. Justin set up a make-shift table from coolers, and started making works of art. Watching him tie up his bug, I remembered what he did, and once he was finished I gave it a try. I have to admit, tying steely flies next to a great steely river was definitely “dirt magert”.

Working fly magic!  Photo by: Justin Miller

Working fly magic! Photo by: Justin Miller

The next morning was cold. Frost covered the truck and my waders were frozen to a crisp. Not a great way to wake up in the morning.

Going through the same routine as the day before, we started our second day of chrome chasing. I chose to rock the fly I had tied the night before. The thought of catching an adult steelhead on that fly was too big to over-look.

Fly I tied beside the fire! Photo by: Camille Egdorf

Fly I tied beside the fire! Photo by: Camille Egdorf

We saw several fish throughout the day, but nothing put a bend in the rod. Justin had one give him a good hand shake but the steely eluded him. Floating the river all day and swinging winter flies was a ton of fun. Although we never did catch an adult, it was a great experience for me, and I learned truck loads about spey fishing. I can’t wait to get back there and give those steelhead another go round.

On the way home, we decided to stop and see the great Redwoods. I had never seen them before so I was really looking forward to seeing some massive trees. We drove into this small camp ground and right away there was this gigantic redwood beside the truck. I was amazed! The amazing thing about those trees is not only their size but also their age. I had no idea those trees were 2000-4000 years old. Seeing those trees was very moving and memorable.

The trip to the coast was a high-light of my stay in California. Thanks a mil for dragging me along Justin! It was tons of fun and was fo sho Dirt Magert! I can’t wait to hit the coast with you again!

What a massive tree!  Photo by: Justin Miller

What a massive tree! Photo by: Justin Miller

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