I had posted a picture from the top last year: https://nooksand.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/the-chasam/
I was very excited to see this area on the river. On the north side, as i expected there was isolated old growth Douglas-fir with a mix of various hardwoods. The south side of the canyon had more live oak and was much more weathered and fractured. Rock falls are all along the canyon and I can only image what it must be like down here in the winter when the river is bombarding the canyon walls with non stop basketball sized rocks.
Eventually we made it out of the wonderful canyon, but were dismayed by the lack of fish. Infact I didn’t see a single adult. Collectively one was sighted between the upstream barrier and the canyon. 2013 has been a low water year and the temperature of the river was less than ideal. We could only hope that the fish were tucked up lower down river in mouths of tributaries where the water temp was cooler.
Then we came across another natural barrier, one that was not there in 2008. Excited at the prospect of finding the adult fish we all made haste to climb down to the next pool. And sure enough, we counted over 40 adult summer steel head in that pool alone. Unfortunately, my camera didn’t take any of the underwater pictures I thought I took (I think the water pressure prevented the touch screen from working within my vacuum sealed protector) , so I have no action shots. But needless to say we were pleased with the steelhead numbers.
The rest of the day we saw adults in all the larger pools. Interestingly, the last 1.5 miles of the trip where by far the hardest. The boulder fields below the “canyon” are exhausting to scramble down. Much of it is too dangerous to swim so you are forced to constantly be bouldering over the unpredictable terrain. Not that Im not complaining, it was great fun, but I was thoroughly exhausted by the time we got out of the water….which was about 7:30 PM.
By the time we finally got back to our trucks at the put in, it was close to 9:30 PM. Here was one last shot as I pulled out of the river canyon and began making my long drive home.