So I was down in Corvallis for the Fall Festival and my wife was kind enough to let me go have a day of fun on the river(s). I got dropped off at what should be 1st and B street and started off at at some concrete downstream of the Philomath hwy bridge. I was initially excited because I could see fish rising everywhere but I quickly realized that they were just minnows and fingerlings. As a matter of fact the Willamette and Marys were both absolutely full of tiny fish, about equal parts 1/2" fry and 2"ers swimming around trying to eat the fry.
Anyways, I started off by trying out a couple of spinners but after having no luck I switched to some soft plastics, primarily some small leech patterns but even those weren't doing the trick. I eventually even tried a popper, and a stick bait but with similar results.
Feeling frustrated I headed over to the footbridge that crosses the Marys next to the highway on ramp. From my vantage point up top I can finally see some fish below. Using a stick bait from 40ft in the air is a trick in itself but apparently the fish didn't seem to mind, I saw a silver flash and finally had something tugging on the end of my line! Or at least I did; as I started to hoist my catch to the bridge it shook the hook and went back on it's way. After that fish they lost interest in my stick bait and I switched back to a 1/8oz lead jig head and a tiny plastic worm but the fish would have none of that. And eventually I started tossing a red rooster tail and got a couple of good hits but no hookups, so I moved on further down the trail.
A short walk later and under the 4th st bridge I finally landed my first fish of the day, and another, and another! The pikeminnow were apparently hungry this afternoon!
Eventually the bite died and I moved on, the rail-road bridge didn't produce, but I did find a semi-freshly made trail to the river. Apparently some locals found a great place for a rope swing into the river and I was able to capitalize on their hard work clearing a path
. I worked the hole with no luck, and as I moved upstream I was greeted by an angry otter, but even it went away and in no time at all I hooked into something, only to suddenly have my retrieve come to a screeching halt! "Oh crap the otter has my fish!" I thought to myself, but fortunately/unfortunately that wasn't so, instead I had simply gotten snagged on a log and my fish escaped on it's own merits.
By this point I had arrived at Avery Park and started working my way through the various trails and river pools, some of which looked absolutely wonderful and I absolutely expected to pull a big trout out, but alas the river gave up no fish. That is of course until I got to the big pool behind the parks and rec building. On nearly every retrieve through a particular slot of water I'd see a fish flash but no bump or a tug. First thing I usually do in a situation like that is downsize, so I went about retying and in the process was presented with a black berry bush full of the most delicious succulent berries I've had since about a month ago
. So now finished retying and feeling slightly refreshed with the berries I made my first cast and was rewarded with a solid hookup into a feisty smallmouth! It wasn't huge but gave up a fight worthy of a much larger fish, it took a little line, it darted left, it darted right, the fish fought for every last inch of it's freedom, and that's evident in the only picture I got. I could feel the fish was about to get out of my grasp and instead of dropping it on the rocks and berry vines, I got an action photograph of it mid-release!
By this point my time was up and my ride was likely waiting for me, so I grabbed a few last berries and headed home.