The Observer. (La Grande, Or.) 1968-current, July 23, 2022, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 9, Image 9

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Saturday, July 23, 2022
The Observer & Baker City Herald
A superbly
colorful rainbow
trout that could
not resist a big
stimulator fl y.
Brad Trumbo/
Contributed Photo
of the Blue
Tom Claycomb/Contributed Photo
Mormon crickets — they’re actually
a type of katydid — can grow to
about 3 inches long.
Brad Trumbo
Contributed Photos
Big bugs:
the Mormon
f you suff er from bug-a-phobia
disorders then you might want
to skip over this article! My wife
suff ers from it to the extreme level
and wouldn’t even get out of the
truck while I was taking pictures for
this article. I’ve been traveling a lot
lately and have only been home just
three days in the last 32. So it was
nice to be home this last week.
I had an article written for this
week but on a Saturday Katy and I
were driving down towards Jordan
Valley, Oregon, and saw the annual
Mormon cricket migration and I
bumped this article ahead of the pre-
viously designated one.
I hate to call it a banner year
but I guess from a cricket perspec-
tive that’s what you’d have to call it.
Some years I don’t see mass amounts
of them and other years I do. I guess
according to weather conditions it
fl uctuates. Years ago on Memorial
weekend we were going up to the
mountains to camp. Right before we
got to Horseshoe Bend there were a
million trillion crickets crossing the
road. That was the fi rst big swarm of
them I’d ever seen.
There were so many crossing
the road that they had up a fl ashing
sign. The road had a slick mahogany-
colored covering due to all of the
smushed crickets. It was like driving
on an oil slick. When you drive over
them it sounded like popcorn was
Years later I was fl yfi shing the
stonefl y hatch behind Anderson
Ranch dam and there’d been so many
crickets migrating that the swirl
pools and back eddies in the river
were 1 inch deep in dead crickets.
There were so many dead ones that
there was a stink in the air.
This year is not a total banner
year but still, there are a lot of them
out right now so if you’ve never
seen them, you ought to take a drive
down towards Jordan Valley. I didn’t
notice the exact mile marker but it’s
about halfway down to Jordan Valley
where the concrete barriers are on
the left side of the road. They are
swarming over the barriers thick as a
herd of ants.
I always have to stop and take pics
and a few videos and then observe
them whenever I see them. Yesterday
I noticed a few dragging dead ones
that had been run over. I don’t know
why they didn’t just eat them right
there? Maybe they were dragging
them home to feed the family for a
July 4th reunion? I also observed a
live one and there was a cricket on
each end of him trying to eat him.
Maybe that’s why they keep moving?
If they stop someone will eat them!
If you have relatives visiting from
out of state you might want to take
them out to see this weird phenom-
enon. Probably the fi rst thought to
cross your mind will be the old Bib-
lical plagues like on the show the 10
Commandments! If you take kids,
don’t let any of them fall or they’ll
eat their eyeballs out! OK, maybe I
made up this last sentence just to add
a little excitement to the article.
See, Crickets/Page B2
Crimson Indian paintbrush
steals the show among
sulfur lupine.
The Blues are the perfect place for a day of mountain biking and fishing
ne of the many beautiful things
about summer in the Blue
Mountains is the opportunity to
The striking Bonneville
shooting star, aptly named
for its intriguing shape and
pack up a mountain bike and fly rod and hit
the trail for a little surf-n-turf adventure. The rainbow trout are on the rise,
wildflowers are in full bloom, and wildlife is at its peak activity for the year.
With streams and trails in close proximity, biking and fishing are a match
made in heaven with seemingly endless opportunities.
Recently, I found myself casting big
fl uff y stimulator fl ies to feisty rainbows in
a canyon bottom. The stream was swollen,
colored, and cold from rain and runoff . My
mountain bike was in the truck and the plan
was to catch rainbows for a while, then head
to the mountaintop for a wildfl ower ride in
the wilderness.
The river reach I selected for the day was
lousy with large woody debris and prime
pools. I had not fi shed it since before 2020
and the high fl ows that year and this spring
had carved new side channels, deposited
massive log jams, and allowed for trout to
sprinkle out all over the place. Few fi sh
were looking up, but the stimulator grabbed
the attention of those willing to play the
The fi rst pool I approached was formed
by a channel-spanning log in which water
was spilling over, creating a scour hole on
the downstream end with a gentle glide off
A mountain meadow with a Blue Mountain view is
one of the many rewards of biking in the Blues.
Brad Trumbo/Contributed Photo
to the right side. Dissecting the habitat sug-
gested fi sh would be holding at the head of
the pool by the log, on the left where fl ow
slowed against a root wad, in the fl ow seam
between the pool and glide on the right, and
through the glide itself. Maybe even a fi sh in
the pool tail-out.
Starting on the left side of the pool, a
few small fi sh came to hand from the root
wad, many of them bumping the big fl y as
it bobbed along but struggling to fi t the hair
mass into their small gapes. But big or small,
watching trout attempt to smash a big dry fl y
is always exciting.
Turning my attention to the head of the
pool, a few more dinks challenged the fl y,
each brilliantly colored like jewels in a trea-
sure chest. It seemed odd that a bigger fi sh
didn’t come from beneath the log. Shifting
right a little, I cast toward the glide.
See, Blues/Page B2
The peculiar ballhead
waterleaf is a modest plant
with subtle beauty and
The yellow fawn lily
standing like a lamp
shining on its leafy feet.