Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Norfork River TR

Low water, rental cabin and eight college buddies- how can you go wrong?  Did I mention I hauled my 36 year old boat on the three hour drive up windy mountain roads?  Anyway, we started out Friday night with blown out water conditions from heavy rain the week before.  The Norfork looked like chocolate milk and the White looked like pure mud.  This was no big deal as we all settled in to the cabin, set up a little fly tying convention and cracked a few frosty beverages.  The next day we all woke up late with the Norfork just feet away- still pretty murky but promising.  I believe I was the second guy out the door (one of my buddy's made a killer breakfast).  The water color was still way off but we were into fish almost immediately.  The fly of the day turned out to be the old San Juan worm or a variation thereof.

Hilariously, these dries (mostly size 20s) were the only flies I tied in preparation for this trip.  Ya- there was pretty much no dry fly action that weekend- although we did try.

It turned out to be more of a streamer weekend.  Black was the hot ticket for me.  I think my best fly was one of these:

Fished it on a sink tip in all of the riffles and tail-outs.  Other hot flies were dark San Juans, various eggs and I think a few fish were caught on black zebra midges.

We caught a good number of solid browns in the 14-17 inch range- nothing huge but pretty fish nonetheless.  PS- I rarely count or measure fish so take all length and number estimates and subtract about 2 inches or 2 fish.

I believe all the browns I hooked came on smallish black streamers and buggers.

Cheesing it up with a pretty good brown. Shoutout to Umpqua for the trusty fishing hat and to Rising Tools for those incredible hemos.

So me and my buddy John took my boat out up by the Quarry Park.  Here he is holding a fat bow in a fashion that is eerily similar to the way one holds a sawed off shotgun. We caught some really fat rainbows.

The boat turned out to be a problem.  Well, more specifically, the trailer and its bearings turned out to be a problem.  After we were done with our boat trip, John held the boat while I went to back the trailer down.  I have gotten in the habit of giving the trailer a quick walk-around whenever the boat is not on it.  Welp, this time I noticed that one of my wheels was a bit askew, a tad "caddywompus" as some like to say... 

I also noticed that there was grease everywhere and on everything- the inside of the wheel, the fender, all over one side of the boat... like the scene of a robot-on-robot murder.  Just as I began to rock the wheel back and forth (which you shouldn't be able to do btw), a rough looking gentleman casually informed me that the bearings were shot.  Thanks bud.  He did not offer to help.  We limped back to camp where I discovered that the inside of my right wheel hub was full of shrapnel.

Long story short, Norfork is about 20 minutes away from Mountain Home.  Mountain Home is the nearest place with anything resembling a store.  I made one trip to Wally World at about 6 am... apparently trailer bearing come in different sizes, though the Waltons saw fit to stock only a single size.  After reassembling the hub and greasing the new bearings... I realized my mistake.  Back to Mountain Home- this time to O-o-o-o-O'Reilly's.  An amazing store employee measured my bearing with calipers and hooked us up with a new set.  We booked it back down to the cabin and somehow all got back home.  Woof.  Really good trip though.  Next time I might do a little double checking before a road trip like that with an old trailer.  Lesson learned. 

The offending wheel, pre-destruction.

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