Fall is in the air. Cooler temperatures and some recent rain have spiced the air with a subtly different fragrance. It smells like football. It smells like the fair and rodeo. It smells like rivers.
The counts of steelhead and salmon coming up the rivers of the Pacific Northwest are better than they've been for some time. Our local flow, a trib of the Columbia, is one of those rivers.
There's a good chance that right now there are steelhead cruising up the river just a quarter mile from where I sleep, or even holding in that run under the bridge that I like so well. And the chance gets better every day.
I'm also going to be back on the Grande Ronde next month, joining two brothers for what has the potential to be a close encounter of the steelhead kind.
So I've been drawn to my fly books in the last week or so, turning to the Steelhead sections and looking for inspiration. These two caught my eye immediately. Both are easy to tie and have the colors and materials--the look--that I really like. No disco here. These are natural, buggy, and look like something that would live in the river, not invade it.
The Skupade is also a waking fly, something that seems to work especially well on the Ronde.
The Stone Nymph--well, it's a stonefly pattern. What else do you need to say? My best steelhead last year, in the Ronde and in the local trib, hit a stonefly nymph.
Oh, I tie and fish the flash flies, too. But for now, as the vivid colors of summer begin to ramp down into the muted colors of fall, these make me happy--and give me confidence.