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Creeks

The small creek season is entering it’s last months. As fall approaches and the riparian leaves begin to change colors I can feel fall steelhead calling. The great Pacific Northwest anadromous fish are on there way, but before the weather starts to turn, the mountain creeks keep calling me back. I just spent a series of fantastic days in the Cascades, quintessential days of cool mornings in emerald green valleys that only warm when the sun peaks over the towering ridgeline. Bright gold light streaming down through the foliage, dappling the creek in bright greens, yellows, and turquoises. These creeks aren’t for every angler. If you like big brutish trout, long nymph rigs and indicators, then the creeks aren’t your game. On the other hand, if you like wild, eager trout smashing any well presented dry, then the creeks are for you. I took a father and son up one of my favorite creeks a week ago. We had one goal, to get the son into a fish. I’m pretty sure that’s my least favourite goal to have on a guided trip. I can guarantee a good time, good food, good scenery; but good fishing, only a liar can guarantee that. Still, with some hope I took them up into the cascades early in the morning. When the days reach into the 80s, rarely this summer, the best fishing is in the morning and evening. We were on the water hours before the sun would reach the creek. Early morning is cool at 3,000 feet but I like the feel of the water so I wear old hiking boots and shorts. The first few steps into the creek are bracing. I position the son at the bottom of a small pool. It’s a lovely little pool, maybe 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, with a strong rip at the top and smooth flat water at the bottom. I have him cast onto the seam between the rip and a little back eddy behind a rock. The fly rests for a second, is caught in a twirl of current and whisked down stream a foot or two before, wham! a little wild trout hammers the fly. “Lift!” I cry and the son lifts up smartly on the two weight rod. Fish on! Moments later an 8 inch rainbow comes to hand. First cast. First fish. “That’s it, we’ve done what we came here to do. Back in the truck let’s go!” I joke after we release the fish. Ah, cascade creeks. Magic places where dreams come true on first casts, the scenery is always stunning and the trout usually willing. In case you were wondering: we fished the rest of the day, landed maybe a half dozen fish each, and had dozens of fish take our flies, and fished some of the prettiest water in the world.
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