Some weeks have been blessed with a bounty of fish and some have been the “should have been here last week” trips. All in all, no matter what week we have, its still a special trip. Fish or no fish, there is no place in middle to late October I would rather be.
Just like every year, the calls of the Skeena tribs call my name in my sleep and shout at me as im trolling the local waters in September for pinks (on the odd year) and the summer runs in the upper streches, but I still can’t avoid going to the Ronde.
The Ronde is a special river. It is not known for the record breaking steelhead you find in the Clearwater or up in B.C. It is not the kind of river where you can go expecting 17 hookups out of the boat like you might on the Methow. For myself, its not always about the size or the numbers of the fish during the trip. Its being on a river that is as rugged as it is beautiful. The lower and middle streach of the river gives you the feeling of total isolation in the wilderness. And, as you are surrounded by all the wonderment of pheasants flying above, big horn sheep scaling the rock cliffs, deer poking their heads out of the brush, and grouse and chucker thumping away in the early morning or late evenings, every fish ends up being a supprise with so much to watch around you.
But the fish are not the only reason to go to the Ronde in the fall for me. For the last 19 years it is a trip with my father and, most years his long time fishing buddy. Over the years, there are many memories with past fishermen and friends that have come and gone from our camp on the river. Some years there are two of us and some there are six. But every year is rehashed around the campfire at night with our wonderful libations in hand.
One would blame the hooks, the line, the fisherman, but out the three of us this year, there were different lines, different tippets, different hooks (just about everyone you can think of). My theory was, it was just the fish.