Man, I love the Deschutes

With wind, cold,  and rain descending on Oregon I couldn’t make up my mind the night before what to do the next day. The road that heads to the Deschutes (84) is one of the worst roads I have ever driven in bad weather. Huge ruts with standing water and wind that is desperately trying to push you over the edge into the Columbia. I had to go though. The cold weather always signals an end to Deschutes trips and the start of the coastal steelheading. Only problem is I love fishing the Deschutes so much. I got there and landed a small steelhead within the first 30 minutes. So I decided with the skunking I had the previous trip out off I would hike up the miles to my favorite spots one last time. I fished my first favorite area and nothing so I headed up to a great run and fished the whole thing and still nothing. A little bummed I headed back to favorite area and decided I was going to get a fish from that spot. So I stood there like some type of dork who could not get the point and worked my grid system out foot by foot. Then I got into the beauty up above. After a beautiful fight and several aerial displays I got the fish to the slow water and managed to throw my camera up in the grass and self timer the picture. I totally rejoiced in letting the beautiful wild fish go. I walked out to the end of the area and looked back up and felt sad that I would not be back to that are for months. The river has had so many awesome memories this year and over the past few years. I love going there and can’t wait for the weather to warm and bring in the 2014 summer run.


“Now the virtue of trout fishing is that it, of all pursuits, rewards the dreamer with the realization of his dream.  The trout are more beautiful than he remembered them as being, and the day, the scene and the occupation are the harmony. That is why men go trout fishing. “ Ben Hur Lapman

“It is the glory of the art of angling that its disciples never grow old. The muscles may relax and the beloved rod become a burden, but the fire of enthusiasm kindled in youth is never extinguished”  George Dawson

“You will search far to find a fisherman who’ll admit that a taste for fishing, like a taste for liquor, must be governed lest it come to possess its possessor.” Sparse Grey Hackle

Hope Chest

Just saw someone towing a large fishing boat with a cooler on the back that had the words “Hope Chest” stenciled on it with a outline of a fish. I would have snapped a photo but I would have caused an accident. I may have to crack out the stencils and spray paint and funk up my cooler.

Upper McKenzie – Nice fish but they were sporadic

The upper McKenzie was nice on Thursday but the fishing was extremely sporadic. I showed up about 10:30am and had a few really nice fish on #12 Parachute Adams that I tied a little mahogany dubbing into. Four nice 16-18 inch fish like this one in an hour:

But then it was dead for two hours or more. You could see a few fish rising around but they were not taking anything I was offering. In the afternoon I switched over to nymphing with a #16 BH flashback pheasant tail and a #18 mercury pheasant tail lower. They were nailing the mercury pheasant tail the whole afternoon all the way until the sun went down:

Three days

I had a great three day weekend this past weekend. Since the wife and kid are out of town I headed out on Friday afternoon with my fishing buddy Alex to see if we could find some fresh salmon moving up with the rain. We headed over to the North Fork of the Nehalem near the hatchery and fished about about a mile or so down river but found nothing. When we got back near the hatchery we saw some dark salmon moving up over the riffles and a few bait fisherman who were not having any luck so we decided to move on. We headed an hour north to Big Creek where we found lots of way to far salmon running around. My friend got a rock of all things stuck in his tire and he had a huge leak so we put on a spare and headed back to my house to regroup.

The next morning we headed down to the McKenzie and what a day. After explaining the in and outs of my favorite section of river to a fellow fly fisherman I headed on down and threw on my go to parachute adams and nothing happened. No fish. Ok, ok I can figure this one out. I looked around and saw no mayflies yet. Alright, how about a stimulator?

Alright! After an hour or so of fish eating the same stimulator it lost all ability to float. As I was switching flies I noticed it had gotten a bit later in the day then I thought it had and I looked up river and saw the larger fish rising in the riffles. I headed up to them and put on my parachute adams and was rewarded with this beauty:

I know, three photos of the same fish is a bit excessive but it was a really pretty fish.

After that beauty we caught a few more but the day was slowing. I like the light glistening of the fish in this photo.

We headed south to the Willamette that afternoon and the next morning we went below Dexter dam and did some spey casting for Steelhead. While, Alex did spey casting for Steelhead and I did an interesting blend of single and souble hand casting as I had forgotten my spey reel. Alex snapped this great photo of me:

We found no steelhead so we opted to head up river and find some fun trout. We stopped up above the Black Canyon campground at a place that looked promising. We walked down to the river and I started working my way up river trying out my Ice Dub Prince / Mercury Pheasant Tail combo that had worked so well on the McKenzie. I was fishing a beautiful deep side pool and as I let my nymph swing it stopped. It seemed like such an abrupt stop that I figured it was a rock so I gave a little yank. Then the rock started to move out of the pool towards the whitewater which was moving super fast. I fought the fish for five minuets and getting him out of the twenty foot or so seep pool was really fun. My first large fish on the Willamette. I will definitely have to go back soon and see if he has friends in the pool:

On the way back through Eugene we stopped at the Caddis Fly Shop and I picked up a new #2 Microbarb Saddle in brown to replace the one that I have stripped of every usable feather. Now to get down to business and tie some lovely dry flies. Hmmm, which to do first?

Back on the McKenzie

The weekend after we got back from our trip to Colorado my family headed down to the McKenzie to have a little time together and let my wife, who had just taken a class the previous week, get in some fishing. I was the first to kick things off with a nice little rainbow on a #10 Parachute Adams that I had just tied that morning.

But then an hour or so later the best thing happened… my wife saw a fish rise a few times and decided that she was going to catch THAT fish. So she waited until the correct timing in the fishes rising and voila! Look what she found

Awwww…. what a happy fly fishing husband I am.

There were more fish after that but nothing could compare to her fish. Now I just need to tie some more Parachute Adams to make up for the six I lost. Aww, schucks I have to tie flies.

It’s been awhile… Part 2

So the next day after catching the resting—yet hungry—fish (see It’s been awhile… part 1) our little group made up of my mom, dad, wife, child, and me all headed over to the Eagle River. We stopped by a fly shop in Minturn and picked up some more red WD-50’s in some ridiculously small size (typical small CO flies) as that is all I could get the fish on Gore Creek to take. We headed just down river from the town a few miles and picked a spot that was good for my wife and mom to fish since they don’t have waders (yet). The four of us worked the nice little stretch but it was my wife who was getting in the flow that day. She caught two beautiful brown trout! This just a day after taking her Blue Quill lesson. Rock on! My wife, Yeah!

The next day we headed back down to my parents house. We had one more day on my wife’s fishing permit so we randomly stopped at Clear Creek near the town of Idaho Springs. Just off the Interstate we found a nice little stretch and got fishing. With just an hour or so before we wanted to be back in the car I decided to cast a few times into each nice spot and move on hoping to find a hungry fish. With the time ticking down and everyone heading back to the car I found this guy in a nice little pool behind a boulder

The day before we left to come back home I thought it would be fun to take my wife and mom up into Cheesman Canyon since neither of them had ever seen it. They both made it through the long hike in and out with flying colors! We caught no fish that day but it was great to spend time with my ladies (wife, mom, and daughter).

It’s been awhile… Part 1

So I have not been posting because I am a bad traveler. I went to Colorado and remembered every possible fly fishing related item but forgot my cameras photo download cord. While actually I forgot the battery charger, toothpaste, and warm enough clothes for a winter blizzard in September.

The day after my wife, child and I arrived in Colorado my dad and I headed up to 11 Mile Canyon on the South Platte which is west of Colorado Springs. It’s a beautiful small river that tumbles through a narrow rocky canyon. Some of the huge rocks that have come loose from the surrounding rocks have found there way into the river and make for amazing pocket water fishing. In front of a fifty foot boulder that was blocking the entire width of the river I found this beauty on a #16 Red Copper John.

The next day my parents and the wife and kid headed up to Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, CO because the owner Jim, a really great guy, does a free basics of fly fishing class on Saturday through the summer months. My wife and mom had a one hour guide to knots and fly selection and an hour on casting with practice in the field on the side of the building. A two hour lesson for free! While, not really free as two hours in a fly shop is a dangerous place for a dad and son who both fly fish. My dad ended up leaving with a new Sage 3 weight Launch rod and a Ross reel. Mostly, I think, because I never shut up about how much I love my Sage VT2 3 weight 7’6″ rod and my Bauer Mackenzie Superlight size 2 reel (btw – Blue Quill will put a free fly line on most of the nicer reels they sell. That’s where I got my reel).

The next day my dad and I headed out with his fishing buddy to 11 Mile again. I only had one really nice fish on early in the morning but I learned quickly why 7lb tippet sucks. Also the fish was on a size 26 Parachute Adams and I didn’t feel like putting something that small on again which was probably my mistake. Of course I find it a little amusing that a few days after I was back in OR the only fly the fish on the McKenzie would take was a size 8 or 10 Parachute Adams—bit of a difference in size there. The Trico fall in the morning was amazing and the fact that no one else around seemed to be getting into the dozens of fish slurping the drowned Tricos made me feel a little better. (that’s me in the Photo, thanks CJ)

Then the snow kicked in. It’s really hard to get motivated to go fly fishing in snow that is coming down in September. Especially when all the clothes I brought along were for 50ish degree weather.

A few days later I got out of my slump when we headed up to Vail, CO. My dad was going to a business conference and we got to stay in a fancy condo that just happened to look right out on this:

Gore Creek flows right through the middle of Vail and is really beautiful and full of fish. I went down from the seventh floor condo and peered in the water directly behind the building and saw several ten to twelve inch fish rising. I couldn’t wait for the elevator back up so I ran back up the stairs and tried to be helpful getting all the bags in the right rooms so I could bust out of there. I headed back down and got two hours of fishing in and caught three fish. I feel like that is pretty good considering that there is a path running along the creek and it is right through the main part of Vail and these fish are cast to constantly.

The next morning I went out on the creek before the wife and baby woke up and was surprised when my mom came along also. She would point out fish to me and I would try my hardest to show her what a great fly fisherman her son was but of course I got nothing. On the way back to the condo I told her we had to stop and see these large twelve to fourteen inch fish that were resting in a deep hole. We were standing on a rock edge about five feet high and looking down at these five beautiful fish in five feet or so of water just resting on the bottom. “Catch one” my mom said. I told her that resting fish are not eating fish but after much coaxing I dropped a line down in front of the fish. And wouldn’t you know it, I see a head flash to the side and the fish is off. Now I am trying to figure out what to do as there is a five foot ledge between me and the water. So I bring the fish thirty feet down river and I hop down the boulders and let him go. The whole time my mom is whooping and hollering and running along after me and the fish. OK, I was wrong. This sleeping fish does like to eat. Hey fish, Thanks for making a son look good!


Not a bad haul for the start of the season—2.5 pounds of ’em. It’s more complicated to hike through the woods and bend down to cut mushrooms with a baby on your back, but it was a great time with my family. I made some delicious Chanterelle Risotto (a specialty of mine—learned from a friend) that Emily and I just couldn’t stop eating. Can’t wait to fry up some Risotto patties for lunch tomorrow!