I have not had good luck with standing up in rivers lately. I am not sure if the felt on my boots is getting too thin, or there is just a lot of algae on the rocks, but I have taken a dive more times than not lately. This last Saturday on the Deschutes I got into the nice fish in the picture above. He took off down a heavy set of rapids and all I could do was chase him down the river. I was trying to be careful and before I knew it I was over my hat in water. I jumped back up as quick as I could and kept fighting the fish down the river. When I landed him the passing rafters let out a great cheer for me (only time I have ever thought it was fun to see rafters go by). I went back up to the spot I had fallen and found a 2 foot deep and 4 foot across hole in a rock that was shaped exactly like a bowl—and covered in moss to boot. I went to the bank, laid down, and threw my legs above my head and let all the water run out.
The fish are holding tight to the banks and they are still keying in on the Chubby Chernobyl or a Norm Woods Special. A few were found with a nice heavy Stonefly nymph but if there is any chance of large dry fly action on the Deschutes I have to go there.
There was one fish spot in particular that I was super excited to be able to get to. I bushwhacked my way down to the river (paranoid of rattlers in the grass from last week) and then walked up the river on the slick rocks for a good distance until I was thirty feet below the spot I wanted to be. A big rapid to my left, blackberries right up to the water for 100 feet in either direction and a large tree hanging out over the water. The trees branches were about two feet off the water and below the tree there was a large submerged rock. I was either going to loose a lot of flies to that tree or find a really nice fish below it looking straight up for the falling Golden Stonefly. I took a deep breath and got a good casting rhythm going and laid my fly a few feet up under the low hanging branches and just in front of the rock. SLAM! I was so excited to have found the fish that I ended up taking the awful photo below. But the fact that I was able to get my fly in that spot had me super psyched. Its fun when you can tell you are better then before.
I can’t believe I have barely seen anyone out this year for the stonefly hatch. I saw only a dozen or so fisherman all day (almost all on the other side of the river, and it’s a big river) and last weekend there were about the same amount. I am glad to have the river to myself.