The Elliott “Bumper Dumper”

SOS’s second trip to the Elliott State Forest involved two other post 9/11 veterans, a LOT of rain, blown out river, and a mission from ODFW to clear any debris from the Elk Creek fish ladder.  This particular time of year tends to bring the first winter run of wild steelhead.  The remote location of the fish ladder and lack of ODFW staff makes it next to impossible for them to clean a vital bridge in the West Fork Millicoma watershed.

The two veterans involved were both “first time” fly fishers.  One veteran recently retired from the Oregon National Guard who is going through a big transition.  The second veteran who is 100% disabled, has lost his sense of purpose in life.

I left my notebook in the pickup the first night and my “fart sack” was warm. That, combined with a downpour of Oregon “sun” prevented me from writing…

12/10  0300ish I had a horrible flashback. I awoke to pounding rain, my heart thumping, and the dreaded gut feeling to move. My thoughts raced from hide position to hide. Was I still on the DMZ? Or, was a camel spider stalking me? This was a bad one. I had to move fast. Fumbling around in the tent, feeling for my headlamp I crawled out into the downpour. My boots almost coming off in the mud and my lamp beam cutting through the rain I ran to the nearest tree for cover. Was it over yet? NO. As icy cold fingers ran down the back of my neck, I watched stream not unlike the torrent waters  of the Millicoma flow, it barely waited for the green light of my pulled down waders. I took a Deep breath and relaxed.

The “flashback” was over…

12/11 To put pen to paper  and attempt describing the Elliott State Forest as well as my  amazing company would be impossible. A picture may be the best word.


North Umpqua Jazz

Rusty’s Journal on Fly-Fishing Outing (Between Toketee and Lemolo) November 30, 2016

Cold feet because of thin socks.

Clumsy fingers that have forgotten how to tie with gloves.

Several cups of coffee reminding me how many layers are under my waders.

No back-cast room, the trees have collected several flies already.

Snowflakes telling me to pull up my collar.

Good friends finding and “loosing” at the same time.

Just nod my head and smile, I can’t hear a word they say!

A long, slow, dark and rainy drive home.

The look on my wife’s face when I bring home a fish.

And the squeaks of excitement from our little boy when he touches his first fish!


Thank you, George

Thank you, Terry

Thank you, North Umpqua

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