Maraca Buddies

I got back out to the Deschutes this past weekend along with Haddis Catch to go see if the big bugs were still hanging around. The grey, overcast, windy day was not making the bugs as active as they were the weekend before with the sun, but they were still hanging around in the grass. We hit up the best water we could find. I made lines to some of my favorite spots. Most of them are the super overgrown with blackbeeries type of places that you just look at your waders and say “sorry about the holes” to get into. Those spots have always produced the best for me. This time was no different. This beauty was hanging out right under some blackberries dangling over the edge of the river ten inches from the bank.

I headed down to an easier access spot and after getting rattled at by one of my maraca wielding friends (always fun for the nerves) I found this fun fighting fish.

The top action slowed and Haddis Catch went sub-surface and got into this beauty.

The best part of all was that we had the whole side of the river to ourselves! What more could you want.

Getting there

While I have had a crazy season with my attempts at winter steelhead. Only one fish hoooked way back in December. It was not for lack of trying. I went out several times, but hey I guess that’s steelheading, right?

So with the reports of the coastal rivers being crazy low Alex and I hit up the Deschutes. I was so happy to be back on my favorite river. The day proved a bit rough with the crazy wind. There were a few times I was almost knocked over and you could not stand near any whitewater for fear of getting a sideways shower. We did manage a few trout, which seeing as you could only cast a rods length or so and that if you had any line of the water the wind would pick your flies right out of the water, was pretty good.

All in all it was just great to get out there and get a fish to hand.

Winter?

Did anyone else realize that it’s already February? Not really sure what happened to January. While, that’s not entirely true. I got out one time In January to chase some chrome, but lets back up a little. Near my birthday back in December I got to head out to the North Fork Nehalem with Alex and we fished hard all day with no fish to show until Alex gave me my special present. I tied that new puppy on the end of my line and wouldn’t you know within five casts I had a huge buck on. I fought and fought to try and get him up out of the deep hole he was in. I got him all the way up to my hand and then I let the tension off (like a dope) and sure enough he was gone. Tis better to love and lost…

While then the holidays in Mexico happened which was an amazing trip with the whole family. Then my parents came out to help with the kids while my wife went to Virginia to help her mom who had a surgery. Then the norovirus hit the kids. A week of puke and poop. Yeeeehhhaaa!

I did get one trip to the area above the hatchery on the North Fork Nehalem to scope for wild steelhead on a particularly frigid day. We only saw one fish the whole day and I lost several flies in the boulder run trying to coax it out.  There was a really cool tree that had a cavity with icicles in it that looked really menacing on the way back like he was guarding some ancient forest secret and any second would spring to life.

I did get a new car which is cool since we have basically been a one car house and when the wife needed the car on the weekend I had to bum rides. The old ’96 Pontiac is finally being retired. So long old fella. Hope this new machine is a bit more fishy!

Dang trout

Well I knew it was kind of a long shot, but Alex and I decided to head up to Maupin and see if we could find any  steelhead hanging around that were hungry. We jumped out of the truck right in town and walked a ways down to a favorite spot where upon Alex once again broke a rod. He kind of has a thing for breaking rods and unfortunately last year I got that bug, but luckily nothing has happened for along time now.

Alex headed back up to the truck to get the back up rod out and I finished out the run and came back up and what should I see but The Haddis Catch machine parked right next to us. We gathered the new rod and headed down river to catch up with him. The three of us leap frogged our way down the river looking for that one big pull. I stuck with the spey rod all day and was really surprised to have several really nice redsides completely slam the new fly I have been tying. They slam the fly and your heart races then the realization that the fish is just not pulling hard enough, but hey I am not going to complain about catching some of the hardest fighting trout I know of.

We fished away the rest of the day until we were walking the tracks in the dark. We headed back up to Rainbow Tavern in town and waxed off a pitcher of beer and share great stories of fish and kids.

If, then

While if Thehaddiscatch can do a post with his three week old baby I don’t know why I cant scrape one together. Lets see…

I have been out to the Deschutes a few times this season, but since my trip with Tom Larimer my belief in using a swung fly and a two-handed rod to land steelhead has really come full circle. I have tied up some awesome little tube flies that Alex and I used on a recent trip and we had some great hook ups all around. I even landed a Chinook (I am pretty sure that is what it is. If you know different please let me know in the comments).

I also got into a nice steelhead just off a deep ledge as I have really learned the joys of T16 with the skagit head.

Alex got into what he called “a monster” with the same fly, but after a violent head shake the fish took the fly off to his hole. No doubt that fish is collecting flies and listing them on ebay. Punk.

Since the wife had the kids I went down to a favorite area on the McKenzie and got into some dry fly trout action before the season wound down. There were BWO all over the place and the fish were gorging in typical fall fattenting up style. Several 14 to 18 inch wild fish were brought to hand.

I even managed to find one 16 inch hatchery guy and brought him home for dinner. Some chantrelles I grabbed on the way home, a delicious spring salad and my box wine and I was rocking a serious bachelor meal.

Can’t wait for the Deschutes to fall into shape so I can go bug some of those steelhead again. This weekend though is Lego’s and swimming with my family.