Oxbow Regional Park
The 14th annual Sandy River Spey Clave on the Sandy River, in Oxbow Park just outside of Portland, Oregon took place this past weekend (May 16-18). Hundreds of spey fly-fishers gathered over the weekend to attend lectures and learn from Pacific Northwest anglers.
During three days of fish-fun, attendees also had the opportunity to shop for gear and angling paraphernalia. The booths lined a reserved green open space, offering freedom to try out gear and land practice newly learned techniques.
For the fun of learning something new, I took advantage of the Friday offer for a free beginner course in spey fly-fishing (pre-registration requested). Since I had been out of state on Mother’s Day and my mom had been talking of learning to fish for a while now, I took her along adventuring.
Before the beginner lesson time, all in attendance fortified themselves with a free lunch prepared by El Burro Loco, which smelled delicious and tasted amazing. After lunch the Fly Fishing Shop and Simms Fishing Products employees set us up with waders and boots, loaned free for the lesson. We were then ready for a fun three hours along the lovely Sandy River learning the two handed fly-fishing technique.
With about 100 other “beginners”, we gathered along the wide riverbank. Deschutes and Clackamas rivers guide Jeff Hickman of Fish the Swing got assigned as our group instructor. We lucked out! With fluid waves of his hand and instructions to toss, point, follow the eagle/tree-line and cast, he bore with our newbieness. After moments of exasperation, he regained composure and patiently continued working with us. Though very relaxed, I am sure he rolled his eyes behind his big sunglasses many times – he certainly had reason to do so! During the lesson time other members of my family joined us and although late, were welcomed to join the lesson. By the end of the lesson (which Jeff graciously allowed to run long) our one non-family-member classmate, Hans from Yakima, had become a friend.
After returning our equipment, we ate another delicious meal from La Burro Loco and then headed out. While some (like my mom, me and our new friend Hans) only paid the $5 parking fee and headed home at the day’s end, many others reserved grassy spots for camping over night.
Oxbow Regional Park
3010 SE Oxbow Parkway
Gresham, OR 97080