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.