Got this email from Alex who was lucky enough to hit up the Deschutes just a few days after our previous outing:
Same fly, same weather, same spot…
Not sure if it was the same fish, but it sure looks like fun!
While Friday was my birthday and I was able to wrestle Alex away from his work long enough to get out to the Deschutes. I usually hit up the coast for some winter steelheading for my birthday, but with this crazy dry weather we are having that wasn’t an option. We decided to work up the west side of the river which I haven’t done for along time either. Usually I stick on the east side so I can hike up miles and get past the crowds. While we got down to the river and at the first spot we stopped at I worked the upper slow water while Alex worked just below the riffles. Shortly I had my first nice steelhead of the day on. Happy Birthday to me!! The male put up a fun fight and and just as I got ready to grab him I heard that dreaded snap. Oh well. The fight was great and you don’t really need to see another photo of a steelhead here anyway. I was in high spirits as the morning had just started and Alex and I went back to our respective spots on the river. Not 15 minuets later I got into another fish, but this one was a little different. I know there should not be any B runs in the river right now, but after this steelhead made one epic boil on the surface it turned and bolted for the Columbia. My 7wt switch rod instantly felt underpowered and the line was peeling off. Three quarters of the way through my backing and many a sore arm from fighting later the fish broke off. Damn! It was the hardest fighting steelhead I have ever encountered and that includes those wild brutes I caught up on the Clearwater. Alex took a funny video of me and the whole time I was using rather colorful language to describe how I was feeling. Ha!
While I got two more takes in that area, but no more solid hook ups so Alex and I hiked way up to another good spot. When we finally got up there I headed up a little higher and Alex stayed just above the rapids. Not 5 minuets after I walked up the river I hear the “fish on” whistle and came running back down the river. I netted the really nice wild male for Alex (while the fish was sticking out of wither end of his net) and handed it over to him. He went to pull the fish out of the net and let the net go, but unfortunately it was no longer attached via his bungie cord as I had taken it off to net the fish for him. “Your net” I said and Alex whipped around with the fish dangling in one hand and made a wrong step and went straight down on hi butt. I grabbed the note and glanced over at a really nice steelhead that took that dip to make a run for it.
So no photos of fish, but it was totally one of the most memorable days I have ever had on the river. We were laughing all the way back home. What an awesome birthday.
And a big shout out to my beautiful wife for watching my children who I hear were a handful that day.
Cast, mend, mend, drift. Cast, mend, mend, drift. Fish on! Oh damn. It’s a snag. Pull. Pull! PULL! Than the sound of 12 lb line snapping. Reel in the line and take an assessment of whats left. Not much. Start the rigging process. Nah. Time for some sunflower seeds on the side of the river taking in the beauty of this little coastal gem. I look over my shoulder and spot some bait casters that had been watching me in the run. They walk by “Damn, sucks getting broke off”. “Not if you caught one of these in that run” I reply and lift a 28 inch super chrome steelhead up. “Damn!” was all they could muster.
It was a fun moment on two counts:
1.) Usually the bait guys have the steelhead
2.) It is super early in the winter steelhead season and I already found one.
Alex and I had been out a week before this while the water was dropping from the heavy rains we had, but the river wasn’t in good enough shape yet. I thought there was no chance on this weekend as it has remained totally dry since that heavy rain and the rivers were low and super clear. Ok, fish the deep pools I thought. Nothing. Ok, I’ll try deep run. Nope. While, lets swing some flies through those sexy looking riffles. Score. The fish took the fly with a vengeance and leapt in the air. My scream of excitement rang out down the river as I fought to keep the fish from running down the large rapids just below. The new Beulah Platinum Switch 10’8″ 7 wt was a dream to fight the fish with (and to cast on the smaller river). A little later the two fly fisherman that had been down river from me came by and said “We could hear you all the way down there”. Yeah, sorry guys I was just that excited to land this chrome beauty.
The hatchery fish came home with me and I poached them with a delicious sauce of garlic, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, lemon, pepper, and other yummy things that my wife made. She whips up the most delicious sauces!