Friday, October 28, 2016

Smith Optics: Amazing Customer Service!

I wrote a post about three years ago concerning some bad experiences I had with Costa Sunglasses.  About a year ago I switched to Smith Optics, and wrote a review here.  Basically, I was quite happy with the performance and fit on the Smith Polarized glasses.  A few weeks ago I was forced to submit a warranty claim with Smith Optics due to an issue with the nose pad.  Smith Optics handled my claim within a few days, and I couldn't be happier with their customer service.  Smith Optics clearly stands behind their products.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Born under a bad sign - Toccoa Tailwater

Sometimes things are just too perfect.  Saturday was one of those days.  Friday afternoon the temperature dropped.  It was below 40 degrees Saturday morning.  The temperature topped out at around 60 degrees.  Hardly a cloud in the sky.  The Toccoa generator was scheduled to shut off around 1:00 p.m. I debated between going to the Toccoa Tailwater at Curtis Switch or heading up to the mountains to fish Noontootla.  I decided on the former, and headed to Curtis Switch around 4:30.  I got to the parking lot/boat launch - not a single car. No anglers on the water.  It was either a perfect day, or something was wrong.  I checked the river thinking maybe the flow was too high for wading, but it was perfect flow for wading.   A few caddis were rising as I put on my waders, and a nice hatch of midges was coming off as well.  I had the whole stretch of river to my self, a hatch, and my six weight strung with some new flies I wanted to try.  
Then.... I stepped into the water.     
Hmmm. . . . Sure feels warm.  I usually get a little cold wading the Toccoa, but not today. I put my hand in the water - it felt like it was close to 70 degrees.  I waded downstream and immediately noticed blooms of something growing off the bottom.... and thick too.  I made my way quickly to my favorite spot about 1/3 mile downriver - I always see fish and catch fish in this section.  An extremely thick hatch of midges was coming off the water, mixed with some size 12 caddis (maybe October caddis?), but there were no fish rising. 
What looks like bubbles and colored white in the photographs are actually bugs.  
I switched to a size 18 rainbow warrior - usually this fly is a slump buster for me.  I got a fish within a cast or two, but it was a large hornyhead, and not the trout I was looking for.  I saw a few small trout rising, but they were few and far between, and very small.  I got out of the water after fishing for about 1.5 hours, and headed back home.  
I've had some tough days on the Toccoa, but that was many years ago.  The river looks to be in bad shape.  I'm not sure of the cause, though I suspect the extremely dry and hot summer has created a lack of cold water in the lake.  I sure hope we get some rain soon. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Deschutes River

 We flew into Portland, Oregon on Thursday.  Our host, Curt, who is an avid steelhead angler and lives near Portland, Oregon, immediately took us to a local bar for lunch and some good local brew.  We then went to the grocery store, and picked up some food for dinner.  Curt is single, no kids, and has a sweet house.  We cooked amazing pizza in his wood fire outdoor oven and then watched a movie in his gigantic home theater.  The next morning we hit the road at about 7 a.m. with the toon in tow.  We went to a local fly shop near the Deschutes and were met with bad news.  The river was blown out in the section we were planning to fish. Apparently the White River flows into the Deschutes and makes the visibility in the water very poor. We decided that despite the bad fishing conditions, we would head down river and enjoy a good camping trip.  We floated for about 2 hours and set up camp. Curt had us set up like a luxury outfitter.  We had cots, sleeping pads, and even a gas fire pit.  Curt cooked us three meals a day, and we had ample whiskey and beer.  He even packed a $100 bottle of red wine.  We fished the river hard for three days without a steelhead to show for it.  We did pick up a few rainbows (by accident) and saw a lot of wildlife and beautiful scenery.   We spoke with at least 20 other anglers, and nobody had caught a steelhead.  I wasn't really expecting to catch a steelhead on this trip, so there was no disappointment. I wanted to experience the Deschutes, and we did so, in a first class manner.