Skunked! Totally skunked last weekend. The Klickitat has really been pissing me off recently. Saturday I floated from Stinson to the Slide-in, mainly because I never had before. Two drift boats from Evening Hatch and a raft with three guys launched about the same time as me. Because I didn’t know the drift, I fell back and fished some less optimal water early on. It turned out that all the best water was down at the bottom end of the float. Some of this water I’d seen from biking in from below. So late in the day we all bunched up in the lower mile of the twelve mile drift. I had swung through some reaches, but seeing no results, I switched to a bead below a jig below a thing-a-ma-boober, since that seemed to be what everyone else was fishing. My beads were the 8mm transparent tangerine with a spot of yellow and pink nail polish formula that used to be the carefully guarded secret. Near the end of the day, as all the boats bunched up near the take out, I could hear the whoops as the other boats hooked up, while I still had nothing. I floated past the Evening Hatch and the three guys in the raft, thinking I was heading to the takeout before it got dark, but stopped at a nice hole. My damn beads didn’t work. The three guys in the raft came along while I was walking back to my cat. They had a hook up way down in the tail of this run, and the guy had to jump out out the raft to land the fish as the raft went down the chute. Then one of the Evening Hatch boats came down and one of their clients hooked up a big steelhead that eventually broke off because of ham handedness. These other boats were all nymphing on the go, one guy rowing, two fishing, single hand double bead rigs, so they always were able to cover more water with more gear than I was able to do. I had to pull my cat up on shore and wade. If I tried nymphing on the go by myself, I’d be spinning down the river and landing in the brush on the outside of a turn. The guys in the raft oozed a strange attitude. They weirdly attempted to avoid eye contact, and often wouldn’t respond when I talked to them, even when I asked them a question like “Do you want copies of the photo I took of you with your fish?” Perhaps you have encountered dudes like this. It was like if they didn’t acknowlege me, they could pretend they had a wilderness river to themselves, or something. In contrast the Evening Hatch guides and clients were real nice to me. They liked my chocolate lab riding along with me. One of the Evening Hatch guides took pity on me and gave me four of the beads that they were using. One rolled out of my palm into a foot of roiled water, but the guide went after it like it was gold, like it was the one ring to rule them all. From his reaction, I thought these beads must clearly be magic, endowed with special powers. They were 10mm, pinkish orange, translucent, and said to be florescent. I think the color is called Mottled Glow Roe. Not enough mojo for me, however, since I still couldn’t catch anything in the couple pools below. I skipped on past them to the take out. As I loaded up, they continued to torment me with more whoops and hollers within earshot of the take out. The Klickitat has really been pissing me off. Sunday I drove over to Oregon where I can always pick up several fish. A sure bet, I thought. I swung though my favorite run and right at my favorite spot I had a bump. But nothing again on the same cast, or a few feet down, or with a changed fly, or with a bead and jig under a bobber. I walked up to the next run, my next favorite, and I’ve never had a fish just dick with me so bad. I still had the jig and bead on so I ran it through first. Right in the heart of the run, this fish came up and whacked my bobber as my line straightened out downstream. But wouldn’t come back for the bead or jig or the bobber again. The water temperature was still 52F, so it’s still possible to have these fish behave like summer fish. I put on a little white winged fly that worked for me two weeks ago and swung it subsurface, starting back at the head of the run. Right at the heart of the run, I had four nips on the same cast, but no hook up. Nothing on the repeat cast , or through the rest of the run. I switched to an orange and purple fly, a heavier tip, and started back through from the top of the run. Right at the heart of the run, I had one peck, but couldn’t get it to come back. Walked back to the truck, skunked again. Still, I couldn’t call the weekend a failure. Nice weather, nice drift, saw a new part of the Klickitat, got some magic beads, nice walk with my dog, came close a couple times.