Saturday, December 7, 2013

Snow, Christmas Lights, Rogue River Steelhead, and the Jacket that Keeps me in the game.

The Rogue Valley has been covered with the most snow that I have seen in years. It caused a cancellation of a trip on Friday as my clients tried to get back North before the bulk of the weather hit. I can't blame them as the news was calling for 2-5 inches of snow on the valley floor. 6-8 inches was more like it. The day off provided some time for some Christmas shopping (yuk), much needed time with Misty, and a snowball fight with the boys!  But, after the way swinging flies on the Rogue has been, I was itching to get on the River--its not very often you can fish the Rogue with snow on its banks.  First though,  I had honey do's to get done. Ya that's right, even guides have honey do's that need to be done before they can go fishing.

After some online Christmas shopping and getting the Christmas lights hung, the dogs and I were off to the river. We made it through the gate and noticed that there were only one set of tracks to the river bar, and they looked like a some from a kid that was playing around, so I had the river all to myself. I needed all the help I could get, when I got to the river I noticed steam rising from its emerald waters. I started at the top and swung my way through the three buckets the Modoc contains. I spent a good couple hours making my way through the buckets, spending the majority of the time in the second as its the top producer for me. No dice, and it was starting to get dark so I moved down river to the last little bucket. The ice in my guides made it nearly impossible to cast, but I managed to keep my fly in fishy water. I about gave up hope when sudden pause came into my swing then a light tug. I almost wrote it off as bottom, but I knew there was no way it was as I have swung hundreds of flies, at all different river levels, and have never have touched
 the bottom. I stripped in the Skagit Intermediate head and re-casted, making sure to get the exact same drift. The line paused again, but this time I felt the heft of a fish. I dropped my tip, paused a second, then pulled strait back. The rod came to a stop against angry, Rogue Steel! Weight turned to Powerful throbs, then to drag ripping fury! I was taken by surprise as it has been over ten hookups since I connected with a Native Rogue fish. I let the beast run until it hit the tailout leading to ledges below. I knew that if the fish made it over the riffle there was no way I could wade to it from my side of the river so I applied some pressure to the the palming rim, but it was more than the 10 lb fluorocarbon tippet could handle as it parted like a rifle shot. This fish made a couple congratulatory jumps, and returned to the emerald depths.

The sun went to bed, I loaded the dogs and we enjoyed the beauty of the snow as we made our way home. As I unloaded the dogs and the gear my neighbor made a comment to the loss sanity that was involved to wade hip deep in the middle of a river and swing flies on a day such as this. I smiled and put the rod and waders away. I thought to myself, there is no way I could have stayed out that long without my wool base layer and down jacket.

I spent several months researching the perfect insulating outerwear for fishing and hunting. I wanted the packable lite weight of down, but was afraid of it around the water. Down is only insulating when it is fluffy and dry as that's how it holds air. Once it gets wet it loses it's loft, and all of its insulating qualities--this could spell disaster on the river as I am around rain and water all winter long. Sometimes miles away from the warmth of the pickup. I thought I would have to live with the heft and bulk of pirma-loaf until I ran across a company that specializes in light weight extreme weather clothing Kuiu.  Kuiu ultralight cloathing allows me to stay warm on the river, with peace of mind, through their innovative product: Supper Down.

Kuiu Super Down Jacket
This Jacket is light weight, packable, and safe. It isn't your normal down jacket as its down has been treated with a special loft keeping, molecular waterproofing. This waterproofing has worked great. Although the jacket is considered as a insulating layer and is meant to be worn under a shell in wet weather, I have found its water resistant properties to be a asset when I dunk a arm releasing fish or retrieving the occasional fly. Check out Super Down in the Video below.

I have found this Jacket to do all that's claimed. If your looking for a down jacket that can give you a little peace of mind check out Kuiu. Here are some pictures of me testing mine and the beauty if the Rogue in winter dress.

Down Touvelle Rd.

One track and I!

Getting to the River!

Putting Kuiu through its paces!

Swinging the Second Bucket.

That fly has accounted for the last ten hookups for us.

Steam coming off the River! I guess it does that at 20 degrees.

The Lights are up! Still Have to fix the cross!

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