Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back to the Deschutes

I wanted to get back to the Deschutes while the weather was still decent, so I arranged for a couple days off work, dialed up a fishing buddy, and off I went.

Todd and I left Lane County on Wednesday and arrived at the D later that night. After a brief sleep, 4:30 am came pretty early. We drove down and staked claim at a run, only to have somebody just take the pullout below us and step in. Oh well, not worth getting mad at, but annoying none the less. We fished through the run with no tugs for either of us. It was a good time for a breakfast regroup and to launch the boat.

After we got on the water, the sun broke through and was on pretty much every run. No grabs all morning. By the afternoon, the clouds came in the fishing got a little better. I had hooked up with the first steelhead of the trip only to lose it a few seconds later. We pushed down river to our final destination of the float. I had Todd drop me off and I would meet him at the next run down after fishing through. About 5 casts after Todd left, I had a violent grab followed by that famous tearing of line from the fly reel. A smile came to my face as I fought what felt like a good size Deschutes fish. After a few minutes the fish was coming closer to hand when the hook came unbuttoned and I was left chromeless for the day.

Good news though! After hiking down to meet up with Todd, he had landed a nice native buck of 31 inches on a hitched steelhead caddis. What a great way to end the day. Hitched the boat up in the dark and capped the night with some brats and discussion of dry line steelhead tactics. Todd's the kind of guy who has ultimate discipline. He can watch somebody hook fish on wets, but never lose focus on what he does, fishing the waker for summer steelhead. It was great to get his perspective and hear his stories from BC. Luckily for me, we were outside, so the drool didn't end up anywhere but the dirt.

The next day we fished a nice run in the morning. I ended up hooking and landing a small hatchery fish. It put up a nice fight and, after all, it was a steelhead on the beach. The weather was perfect for the rest of the day. We had some off and on rain with cloud cover and little wind the whole day. It was awesome! All the way until you get to the catching part. We didn't touch a thing for the rest of the day. That's steelheading for you wrapped up in a nutshell.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday on the Willy

I had to stay local with my fishing this weekend so I decided my best bet was the Willamette. The McKenzie has failed me several times this year while the Willy has been plain stupid at times.

Simon "Bernie" Bernatz showed up at my house at 5:50am. We hit Dutch Bros. for a coffee and were quickly off to the river. A client of mine was to meet us at 6:30 and I was hoping we'd have enough water for everyone to cover and still be happy. As we showed up another car had already beat us there. Turns out it wasn't a fisherman, but somebody who knew there were elk in the area. More on that later.

My client showed up right on time, we exchanged hello's, rigged up, and I sent Simon on his way to the Cherry hole downstream. I wanted to fish with my client and knew the spot we were in was going to be our best shot. I let him start where he wanted and I started up above him.

About 15 minutes in my fly swung to a subtle halt in a seam that I thought would just be perfect for a steelhead to by lying in. Not being used to such light takes I let the loop go and lifted the rod anyway. Weight on the end of the line and a tail flip downstream confirmed my suspicion. It turned out to be a good size buck. After a short fight I had him on the beach. Nice way to start the morning! My client, 30 yards away, never glanced up and sure as heck didn't notice that I actually caught a fish. Oh well, he was busy bombing out 100 ft of line on his old 15 foot Sage two hander.

I stepped back in the run and fished downstream for a bit when a couple of loud shots rang off at a relatively short distance. Hmmmm I thought, kind of a random spot to be hunting. I think I'll stay in the river today instead of on the trail. About a half hour later, another loud shot. After a bit I could finally see Simon making his way back up river. He gets to me and says "you'll never believe what I saw down there." Apparently a herd of cow elk crossed the river just below him. Pretty rare to see but not as rare as the Black Bear that crossed just after that. I've never seen elk down here let alone a bear, so it was pretty exciting news. Just as he was finishing up the story my reel sung like a child who wasn't getting attention. Yep, another steelhead. After a nice little fight, I tailed the Hen and got a quick Hero shot.

Not a bad morning here in the south Willamette Valley.............

This nice fish fell victim to Morejohn's Bantam.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

River of the Falls

With Monday off and the Deschutes fishing well, I hitched up the boat and headed over on Sunday night. I got to camp around 10:30, set the alarm for 4am, and fell asleep in the back of the rig.

Got up and headed down to fish a few runs. The only truck on the road was already parked at the run I wanted to fish. Solution: Go talk to the gent to see if he wants me to follow him or split the run when it gets light. He was game for the split. I basically fished the tailout and got a nice little native buck about 30 minutes in on a Purple Peril of sorts. Met up with Todd, fished the run up top and headed up to launch the boat.

Put in and to my surprise, there were probably more boaters than bankies. Finally found a run. Todd went up and I went down. A guy in a pontoon had already fished through the run, but he was a good half mile downriver, so the water had been rested a bit. About 10 casts in......grab....loop gone, hook set, fight on. I got steel peeled on this one for sure. After a great fight, brought the nice native to hand for a quick release. Back at it, 20 yards down, grab, set, fight again. Another native. Another 20 yards further stuck another. This time, it ended up being a sweet hatchery fish that ran over 30 inches.

Todd and I headed down river, opting for taking our time and letting most of the boats get past us. The clouds were out and fish were on the move. I hooked another nice one right in front of Todd on our next stop. Of course, once I told Todd "let's get a pic of this one" the fly pops out with the fish about 5 feet from me.

I let Todd go throug the rest of the run with his skater. I ate lunch in the boat while he dissappeared around the corner. Looked up behind me and notice and bit of a tailout that I hadn't given a second thought to. Hiked on up there. Big sandy deep pool. Didn't look fishy to me at all. Apparently, it doesn't matter what I think because I got grabbed and ended up beaching a nice hatchery fish.

The evening was dedicated to trying to get Todd to get one on a waker. No such luck, my thinking is the water temps may have been just a bit too cold. We were the last boat off the river and it was one long drive home. Arrived in my driveway at 12:45am! All in the name of steelhead.

Totals were 6 hooked, 5 landed. All but one came on a Green butt purple with a white wing created by master tier Chad Potter. I'm checking on if the fly has a name, but I'm thinking "Fire Starter" in honor of the brush fire just below the run where the fly did big time damage!

Hatchery fish taken from the Sandy Tailout.

Water Train putting out the brush fire.

Hatchery brute.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Deschutes Report is the deal. I had a huge post spliced and diced for the blog and as I was trying to add images, I lost my work. Not good.

I'm going to keep it short and sweet and hope to add pics later:

  • Fished Saturday morning at Pipeline - Me: 3 fish hooked, 2 landed. Casey: 1 hooked, 1 landed

  • Floated from Beavertail to Macks Canyon that day. I hooked and landed a fish midday on the "Brooksy". Casey and Miguel each hooked and landed a fish during that same time.

  • Wind picked up on Saturday night. Our tent got blasted with wind and rain. The storm did not stop the entire next day. I got a fish at first light and last light with nothing in between. The highlight of the day was when Casey followed both Dillon and I threw a run and stuck a fish.

  • Monday AM, a camper below me sprinted to beat me to the water......No I am not joking, a 50 year old man ran to the run. I fished way down river and stuck a nice fish in a tailout. Came back to the camp water before it was time to pack up and got a nice hot hatchery fish on the Purple with pink butt.

  • Totals: Cory 10 hooked, 7 landed - hot flies - Brooksy, Greyhound, Purple with pink butt

  • Totals: Casey 11 hooked, 7 landed - hot flies - Purple and pink

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mid week on the N. Umpqua

I headed down to Roseburg for a few client meetings and by mid afternoon I was off to the fly water again of the North Umpqua. I convinced my spey compatriot Chad to join me on the river. After meeting up on the lower river, we headed up, crossed Mott Bridge and booked it down river.

Fished the usual suspects including Boat, Kitchen, and the Mott Pools before heading down to try Ledges and Takahatchy. One of my favorite new links I've found comes from the steamboaters web page. It outlines each of the famous pools, runs, and slots that the river is known for.

I ended up fishing Takahatchy while Chad went down river. Fished through the whole thing, no bumps, oh well. I was standing out on a ledge of bedrock. If you've ever been to the N. Umpqua, you know what I'm talking about. The kind where it 1ft deep and the next step is 5ft deep. Well, as I turned around and started to navigate my way back towards the bank, my line started peeling off my reel. I was hooked up!

I turned aroud in disbelief and got my bearings. The fish took an incredible run towards the middle of the river capped with a tailwalking leap. A few seconds later, muddler was still in the fish's mouth, but my line had snapped. No more 8lb test.