The Seventh Season

By Scott O’Donnell


For me there seems to be seven seasons annually. There’s winter at my home on the Oregon coast, my off-season, where I love to hunt waterfowl and fish for bright winter run steelhead when the rivers are right for the fly. Then comes spring and I’m back to guiding spey casters on my home rivers for wild steelhead and perhaps maybe an early Springer (spring run Chinook salmon).

My spring season is really two consecutive springs, because at the start of June, long after the explosion of a thousand shades of green happens along my coastal rivers, I travel north to Alaska where the budding season is just getting underway. The salmon fry are stirring, the bugs are popping, and the rainbow trout fishing is fantastic. We’re fishing fry flies, dry flies, nymphs, streamers and mice.

Then summer comes and with it the adult salmon return to their spawning grounds. We’ll catch a few of these bright beauties on their way, but it’s the spawn we’re waiting for, to fatten up our trout even more. When the salmon start to die off so too does the flora of the tundra creating dazzling displays of fall colors in mosaic patterns for float plane passengers to enjoy.