Saturday, July 26, 2008

Word from the Deshutes

Hi Jim,

It was a lot of fun. There were quite a few 6-8 lb. natives in the
river and I managed to hook one about a mile below the Rattlesnake Rapid
on the west bank. It's a wonderful stretch of the river because you can
wade easily quite far into the river on the basalt. It's about an
hour or more walk from the car so that weeds those without heart. I
almost skipped the spot to continue working down to the woman I was fishing
with that evening. But it looked fishy - an apparently deep slot a
short distance downstream from a rock. I had barely been in the water; on the first cast fish on... Sure enough the Freight Train... I did not take
a picture, because I sort of man handled the fish and wanted to release
safely. I did take pictures of the river and a couple of other items I
found on the trip (see attached). The only drawback to the lower
river is the pretty high number of fishers - many gear fisherman - as well
as fly fishers most of whom had spey rods.
Two public comments:
1. If you see someone fishing ask if you can "step in" either above or below
them depending on whether they are steelhead or trout fishing with a
fly. For steelhead fishing you step in above the person already fishing;
for trout the opposite applies. All bets are off with gear fishers,
although the ones we encountered were amiable enough.
2. I'm never skunked "catching" all the debris people lose or leave
behind in rivers. This year alone I've found a nice cutting tool (I'll send a picture over the weekend) and those pliers (the "keepers") not to mention all the line, leader and monofilament.Imagine if every fisher just picked up one item they could easily carry...

Tight Lines,
Susan S.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Third Time Charm

This year I had the privilege to fish the McCloud 3 times in the beginning of the season. By far the best fishing I had was the the third time.
It was the first of July and the Fly Shop bulletin warned the water agency was playing with the flows; some days it would be too high to fish. I got to Ash Camp at 8p.m. with the intention of fishing the the following day. Morning arrived I met my neighbor in the site next to mine. He reiterated the warning of the erratic flows and added that he had seen 2 rattle snakes and a bear had been in the back of his truck last night. Parr for the course. I got my gear and self ready to fish by noon. There were few people in the camp site so I was confident I would have the river pretty much to myself. Crossing over the foot bridge and hiking down The Pacific Crest Trail I took the the first exit to the river.
As soon as I reached the river's edge I saw a fish rise. From then (about 2p.m ) until dark multiple hatches of P.E.D.s, Golden Stones and caddis flies increased. As the number of flies on the water increased the number of fish rising to them did too. By dusk it was a frenetic blizzard of bugs and splashing fish. As Al Swearengen would say, "It was fucking great" - too bad they can't put that on the board at The Fly Shop.
The next day the flows were up again. I was off to put some pictures at The Brown Trout Gallery in Dunsmuir and home.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Big Bugs on the Deschutes

I met Bill on the Upper Deschutes on Thursday. He had gotten there the day before and had success in stalking and catching a beautiful Brook Trout (see last pic). We fished the river around Cow Meadow. Last year there had been an intense hatch of Pale Evening Duns and, as a result, I had a good success with spinners. That had been late July. This year Spring had been late and we were early. Aside from Bill's fish, mosquitoes and otters were the most exciting thing happening on the river. After a day and great blood loss we moved on to the lower river.
Bill had heard that we might encounter the tail end of the salmon fly hatch. This report was seconded when we stopped into The Patient Angler Fly Shop in Bend to get an update and have our wallets lightened. Pumped up with new flies and novel ways of catching fish we left the shop and headed for the town of Madras. Then a little further on 97 North and a dirt road along the river brought us to Mecca Flat, the forefront of the hatch of Salmon and Golden Stone Flies.
The most sought after 100 square feet of real estate at Mecca Flat is not a campsite; it is the one lone tree that provides the only shade in the campground. The camping challenge is to find a place to kick back during the hot and intensely bright sunny afternoons between one and four. It was a relief not to have to battle the mosquitoes of the Upper Deschutes but the sun and the wind provided ample conversational material for domestic complaint.
It wasn't until the second night, when I received information from some folks from Portland, that I began to catch fish. First I happened upon Evan as he was landing an 18" fish. He had been flipping a Hare's Ear in the current behind a fallen tree. Then later, as the sun had begun to set I saw fish leaping and jumping as it was being landed downstream from me. A nice young lady in a smart straw hat called, " Little yellow mayflies", as she passed by to fish up stream. I had been fixated on the big big stone flies I had seen flying and floating by. Though the sun had gone down, there was still too much light for the big patterns to fool the fish. It was not until later, when it was almost dark, that the fish were fooled by the size 2 and 4 artificial dry flies.
Later, I on my way back to camp I stopped at a camp. It was the party from Portland including Evan, Susan and "One Fly Fiji". Over beer and snacks we all exchanged stories and information collected during the day.
Bill and I stayed another two days. In which time I caught my biggest fish on a big golden stone nympth fly I had found in a tree, a few weeks earlier, on the McCloud. we had a great lunch at The Deschutes Crossing Restaraunt, witnessed a magnificent thunder storm drench the desert, fished in a lightning storm and viewed some of Oregon's unique scenery.