Early morning

I headed out for the mouth of the Deschutes at 3:30AM. A full french press of coffee was on hand to keep me buzzing through the day. I arrived at 5:25 at the Heritage and started my trek up the river. I was really hoping for some of that early morning steelhead magic. I had two hook ups with what felt like big fish, but only got good tugs and than nothing. Later in the day my reel made my ears happy with the zing of line peeling off, but after the initial run I knew there was not enough force to be the fish I had come for. It was however the largest whitefish I have ever caught and after I let it go I was kicking myself for not taking a snapshot of it.

I can’t wait to get back on the river.

Salmon River (Sandy Watershed)

I don’t explore the rivers around me nearly as much as I should. I have figured out a few of the best trout rivers in western Oregon and I tend to stick to those. This past weekend I finally decided to stop at the Salmon River, which I pass whenever I head over Mount Hood to get over to the Deschutes, and see what I had driven by all those times.

The Salmon River flows into the Sandy River just SW of Welches, OR. You can stop at the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches if you forgot anything or need a hook up on flies. Just East of Welches make a right on East Salmon River Road (at the Subway) and that will take you up to Mt. Hood National Forest area seen in the picture above. If you want to park at the designated pull outs you will need a National Forest Pass (there YOUR National Forest, but you have to pay to park at them, geez). I pulled in to one of the non-designated pull outs and skipped the fee. The area is also a great place to do some dispersed camping and skip the campsite fee also. Trail 742 follows along the river and lets you cover lots of ground quickly. All the fish I found in this upper section were in the 7 to 10 inch range. But the scenery and the pool after pool are just something else.

Another option is to pull off at the locked gate pictured below before you get to Welches and head down the trail. There is a nice outside bend in the river with lots of deeper pools. Unfortunately I was sharing one of the pools with seven drunk frat boys trying to out do each other with stupidity (jumping off eight foot high rocks into three feet of water) to impress the the two cute girls with them (ahhh. To be young). I hooked into a nice fish that headed back to the Sandy after I hooked him and after five minuets of trying to get sight of him he threw my hook. You can bet I will stop by for a quick couple casts next time I am heading out to the majestic Deschutes next time.