21 years ago

Discussion in 'Arts and Literature' started by Dorylf, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Yes, it was 21 years ago when I logged my last steelhead caught on the North Fork Siletz. Shortly thereafter the river was closed—now, it seems, forever—to all fishing by ODFW.

    It was a gorgeous steelhead stream and was one of the rare fly only waters in the state. It was also a place where I paid my dues putting in the time to explore and learn the river so that I knew it well.

    That kind of knowing doesn't come cheap. It takes a lot of trial and error, bushwhacking, hiking and--most of all--time. But in the end you know its secrets, the falls, pools, riffles, runs, boulders and pockets that are its collective character.

    And all that translates to knowing where the odds say a fish will be on any given trip and under various conditions and river levels.

    When it closed, it was a lot like losing a friend. I believe I went through a form of slow grieving as, over the course of many years, I realized that the "temporary" closure was nothing of the kind and that I would never have the privilege of fishing there again.

    Looking back on the memories I have of the North Fork, whose headwaters flow through The Valley of the Giants, one of the few remaining stands of virgin Douglas Fir forest in Oregon, I know I was blessed to have had the chance to fish there at all. “Better to have loved and lost than…”

    Memories can be like prized possessions you have tucked carefully away for safe keeping but that you take out once in a great while to hold again in your hand and to touch what was--to treasure one more time, because you can’t resist any longer the antithetic blend of sweet and bitter, of sheer joy and abject loss.

    And sometimes you simply want to take a friend along on the journey because, in an odd way, it validates those ethereal threads of thought that tie you to your past and, somehow, make them real once again, if only for a moment.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. Thanks, Phil. Very good point. If the idiots at the ODF&W really wanted to return the Siletz to a wild steelhead fishery, they would have closed the river to all fishing for 10 years.

    Instead, they simply closed down the flyfishing only section of the river. The wild steelhead still must make it through the hoards of boating spin anglers in the lower river.

    If the ODF&W plan would have worked, they would have reopened the North Forth by now but they haven't so closing it to flyfishing was all for not. All they managed to do was close one of the few flyfishing only steelhead fisheries in Oregon.

    I don't believe they ever plan to reopen the river above the falls so we'll never get a chance to fish some of the best steelhead flyfishing water in Oregon ever again. And nothing was accomplished for wild steelhead... they even added a hatchery steelhead facility at Moonshine. Idiots.
  3. Thanks for sharing this Phil. The emotion you have for this wonderful river is evident. When you care about something like fly fishing - which is always about much more than simply fishing - it really does hurt to lose it. A new friend of mine recently had a serious stroke, and was facing the loss of all fly fishing. Thankfully he has recovered to a nearly miraculous degree, and was able to fish again for the first time last weekend, even landing a couple. Let's hope ODFW opens the river again some day.
  4. CC... sorry to read about your friend. I'm glad he's doing okay.

    It is unlikely the ODF&W will reopen the upper section of The Siletz as long as the current biologist is in control. I'm not exactly sure of his motives. Closing the upper section to all fishing while leaving the majority of the river open to any fishing technique will not and did not revive the runs of wild steelhead. If the strategy worked, the wild runs would be back up to speed by now and they are not.

    So, closing off the flyfishing only section of the river accomplished absolutely nothing for the wild steelhead. We lost a wonderful flyfishing only steelhead fishery for nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    Maybe the guy has it in for flyfishers.

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