Talking Dredging Depressions and Dunkings in Dunsmuir

By Bob Ferris
My wife and I spent some time in Dunsmuir, California this past weekend—a spot filled with lovely mountain air and small town sparkle.  And as we were walking down the main drag in town getting kinks out of our backs and circulation into our buns after our long drive, we 
stopped in at the local fly fishing shop (Ted Fay’s Fly Shop).  
Being right in the heart of the territory once traversed by suction dredgers and our action the Rogue fresh in my mind, I broached the subject of these motorized bottom busters and got an earful.  A lot of it I had already heard, but two nuggets (sorry) stood out.  The first was the view expressed by a visiting fishing guide that suction dredgers seemed to have a different reality than most folks.  He felt that their little or no impact had only to do with the small and insular world of suction dredgers, because the rest of us felt their impact plenty.
The second pearl from the Dunsmuir visit was by way of advice: Where suction dredgers had worked it is always better to work a waterway going upstream rather than working your way downstream.  The espouser of this bit of wisdom opined that it only takes one experience of unexpectedly stepping into a dredging depression and going in over the top of your hip or chest waders to learn this lesson well and true.  
And why are wading fishermen not surprised in both directions?  The answer to that is a warning track of tailings—the stony frass of this type of mining.  This downstream lump of junk deposited from the dredging is a tell-tale sign that a hole and a potential dunk are forthcoming.  
We left the store the store without a purchase even at the 25% and 50% off tables.  But that did not mean that all of us were not richer for the experience.  And who knows when we will be back and what pattern or garment might appeal.