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.