Weekend One – Upper McKenzie and Deschutes

The wife and daughter were away last weekend so I went out Saturday and Sunday for some roaming and fishing. On Saturday I went to the McKenzie and had a beautiful fall day with rain and moody fog (man I love fall in the NW).

I caught a dozen or so nice rainbows on dries with the Parachute PMD being the go to fly on the upper river for some reason. The flies in the air were all darker but the fish were not keying in on my dark flies. Sometime you just have to un-match the hatch a little. In the middle of the day I saw a Morell fly box float by and I managed to reach out and snag it with my net. I took it up river to see if there was anyone around the corner that might have dropped it. Ends up it was a group of guys who just earlier that day were making a racket in the pull off on the road and one of them tossed a rock in the water to make his friend look and almost beaned me in the head. I thought about keeping the box as pay back but that just wouldn’t be good karma. Shortly after returning the box I got four nice 14-16 inch fish in four casts. Nice.

I loaded up a shopping bags worth of yellow chantrelles in an hour on the way back down to Eugene. I set a course back home and tried to decide what to do the next day.

If you have been around my site you know I love release videos. My wife has told me I need to keep the camera in the water longer but the McKenzie is freezing so this is all I could manage:

I headed out to the Deschutes Sunday even though all I have heard is lackluster reports about the steelheading. When I drove past the White River it was puking mud into the Deschutes. It literally looked like a river of mud. I worked my way through Hole in the Wall with not a tug. Did a run near Pine Tree and nothing. I shelved the spey rod and decided to work some of the back eddies for trout but only found a few pipsqueaks in the 16 inch range. I was fishing a spot that usually holds lots of  large trout and a large steelhead jumped four feet in front of me. They love to jump right next to me in that river. I have not had that happen to me anywhere else. Hmmmm…

The fishing was slow so I spent an hour cleaning up beer cans and flip-flops when I came across this in the rocks:

I brought it home and might sand it down and see if I can do anything with it. Whatever I do with it I thought it was cool and wondered where the fisherman that used to belong to the net is. I also found some cans of unopened beverages with the labels worn off and I am a little scared to open them so I can recycle the can. Does five year old beer that has been baking in a desert stink? I am only guessing it’s beer in the can as it’s the Deschutes.

On the way home I stopped at a favorite spot and found two and a half shopping bags of white chantrelles in an hour and a half. It was weird because almost all the mushrooms were just under the soft soil so they just looked like mounds of dirt and pine needles. The two dehydrators have been running nonstop since Sunday but I just about have them all done.

New flies

I had to fill out some of the basics in my fly boxes in a hurry so I placed an order with Big Y Fly Company. While I really like to support small fly shops I just cringe at the thought of the basic Adams and BWO’s being $1.95 a piece. Big Y has many of the basic patterns at about $.57 a piece, And hey the company is located in Oregon (I’m sure the flies are tied somewhere else but that is typical these days). Tying your own flies is definitely cheaper once you pony up to get started (or use a friends gear who stopped tying, thanks Alex) but sometime you just don’t want to sit around making 36 of the same BWO pattern. Also we don’t have a fly shop in Portland that is very good so the only time I get flies is in Eugene (Caddis Fly Shop) or when I head to the Maupin (Deschutes Angler).

So here they are (remember I am just filling holes):
8 Bead Head Copper John, Green, 14
12 BH Flashback Hare’s Ear, 14
12 Adams, 10
32 BWO, 12, 14, and 16
4 Spinner Adams, 14
4 Epoxy Brass, 12

That should tide me over for awhile. While, that and I tied about 40 Elk Hair Caddis in the last two weeks. Sigh… I need more fly boxes.