Almost caught a fish, Klickitat.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
Klickitat, not so early 8/25, because I was out late at the Willie Nelson concert at Maryhill Saturday night. A young drunk woman kept pestering me to buy her another red wine. I told her to leave me alone. Still she persisted. "Why". How to get rid of her. Then I knew. I told her "because you've had enough, ...... and you're fat." So she dumped the rest of her glass on my lap. But she left me alone after that.

It seemed to me that Willie's Band was having trouble staying with him as his tempo and chord changes were sometimes erratic. He's 80 now, after all.

Willie stopped playing at 9:30. Past his bedtime. Mine too. Then it took an hour and half to get out of there from down in the reserved seats. We were herded out of there like we were headed to Dachau onto Goldendale school buses that shuttled us back to our cars over at the museum. The process was so tedious it was bringing out the worst in people. Some people were crowding forward past anyone else, others jumping the fence, others were berating the event staff. Someone puked on the stairs. Another guy was bent over the fence, puking. A woman outside the fence looking for her friends was calling two names over and over, so I started yelling for "Stella!"

I managed to get out on the river by 7:00. That's why I had to drive 8 miles upstream before I found a place to fish. Either people are starting to catch fish or they were looking at the same signs that the water might clear up a bit, because there were a lot more guys on the river than last week. Lots of young dudes in threes throwing spinners this year. The water was still milky but a little green. I could wade in mid thigh and still see my feet, and that's good enough.

I was working with a new knuckle head lab that I want to learn how to be a fishing dog from my old perfect lab before I lose the old girl, so I did something different and got across the river where I could fish my favorite little run and keep the young dog safe from the road. On the other side of the river, all we have to worry about is stumbling into some hick's pot grow and getting shot.

I picked a spot to cross that turned out to be pretty dodgy. Not crossing there again, it gets deep and fast along the far back. As soon as I got out on the other bank, it started raining, and I'd left my jacket in the truck.

Wading the opposite side of this run proved to be just as difficult as fishing the road side, especially since I couldn't always see my feet. I got a little trouty pull in a trouty spot at the head of the run. As I worked down to where I've caught fish before, I could see why the run produces steelhead on the swing. The bottom has bedrock slots and slabs and boulders. The water velocity slows down to just perfect and the depth is just enough that a 12 ft. standard AirFlo sink tip is just right. I had just taken a break and was wading back in, working some line out. I only had half the head out and was stripping more, when a fish grabbed my big pink fly out of the pile of slack and blasted out and downstream with it. Then the fly popped out and flew into the tree above me. I just had time to say "Oh shit!...Oh, shit." The first Oh shit was eyebrows up, the second was with arms slapping down to the sides in despair, after ducking the fly snapping back.

Then it was time for ice cream at the Klickitat Trader and an afternoon nap.
I thought Willie killed it. Awesome show forecasted by an amazing gorge sunset. That line to get out of there, not so much....

I also caught a steelhead, just not on that river. Maybe if you weren't so grumpy about a great weekend that fish would have wanted to hang out longer?