Salmonflies gone, fishing good on Deschutes River

Trout fishing has been pretty good on the Lower Deschutes the past few weeks.  The big bugs have disappeared for the most part.  One could go on fishing big bugs and still find spotty success but we have been doing much better on smaller bugs like yellow sallies and caddis type stuff.  A size 14 purple para wulff is a killer hot fly this time of year.  My last three day float started off with action on golden stone dries the first day, although we had to bow cast them under trees.  Casting way out towards the middle of the river in broad riffley water was also productive.  The action definitely switched to caddis and mayfly as we drifted closer to Maupin.  Trout are making their way into summer time "small fly" spots that include foamy backeddies and slack water where tiny bugs collect by the millions.  They are not thick in the eddies yet but I have been keeping a close eye and they are just starting to nose in to the slow foamy stuff.  Natural colored clothing and a stealthy approach will become crucial in the upcoming weeks.

I have run into a couple of really tough days... we still caught a pile of trout but they were really concentrated in one or two spots.  One other note - the trout are hammering caddis pupae/emerger patters like LaFontain's, Silvey's prime time pupae, etc.  Fish 'em with a couple split shot just a few feet under a small indicator.  You can fish this rig in all kinds of water, not just nymphing water.

Bend native Bruce Fox doing what he loves

A wild fishing spot and a nice fish

Rick Stiggins with a nice one... go Stick!!

Good times with Dan Drazan and friends!

Our clumsy little friends


Bam! Fish on. A perfect salmonfly spot.

Brian Sera and a dandy redside

In other news Cairn is almost there!  In theory our baby girl will be born in 26 days.  I couldn't be more excited for anything.  Cairn's sister took some amazing maternity photos with us the other day and while not fishing related I will post one when I get my hands on it.

Thanks for reading,



More Salmonfly Hatch Photos from the Deschutes River

The salmonfly hatch is peaking out near Warm Springs right now.  Yesterday was incredible... should have been here yesterday!  The hatch is thinning out around Maupin and really winding down below Sherars Falls.  Thats not to say fishing isn't still good on the lower river, the trout are just keying into other smaller bugs like yellow sallies and caddis.  I have been on high alert for green drakes, but haven't seen more than a couple each day.  Yesterday was overcast and rainy and still no drakes!  WTF?  Oh well, we had plenty of action on salmonflies.

Tip of the day:  fish something besides a chubby chernobyl... the trout could tie them better than we can right now.  Every angler I see is casting a white cotton ball.  Try something different.  Use classic flies like the Clark, Norm, and Kaufmann bugs, or be creative and come up with something different.

Fun times!  Thanks for checking in,



Deschutes Salmonfly Hatch Photo Report

A few recent photos from the Deschutes River...


Looked away for a second but heard the splash!

The Deschutes

Remarkable spotting

A fly I've been tying the past five years or so


Behind the alders.... classic salmonfly water

Why do rainbows love purple?

Wild rose

Thanks for checking in,



Spring Steelhead, Secret Salmonfly, and Fishing with Bob Clay

I am in no way, shape, or form ready to leave the coast and spring steelhead.  But we have to split for Maupin and the Deschutes River in a few days to be closer to the hospital in Bend for lots of upcoming doctor visits.  Cairn begins her third trimester next week!  She is doing awesome.  Beginning to get a little uncomfortable at night but otherwise it has been smooth sailing.  We went fishing again just a few days ago... very proud of her!  So we will be heading back to Maupin to plant our garden and start tying my killer salmonfly pattern (major procrastination!).  I have been holding out on this fly for five or six years now, only tying small handfuls for my clients to fish.  But I think the time has come to post a few photos and maybe a tying video.  you will want to whip a few of these up if you enjoy fishing the big bugs, so stay tuned.

Anyways, this has been a winter steelhead season of highs and lows.  The rivers were in constant fluctuation.  I lost more guiding days than I am used to and feel bad for the folks who didn't get to fish.  That is the price we pay for such a remarkable fishery here on the Oregon coast.  When the rivers were in shape the fishing was as good as I have seen it.  Very few kelts and lots of beautiful wild fish.  Also lots of genetic diversity much like I saw on the Deschutes last summer and fall.  A coincidence?  What I mean is we caught fish from 18 inches to 15+ pounds.  Having a huge range of size and age class is incredibly important to the fitness of the wild gene pool.

Speaking of wild gene pool, we have several trips in tonight's Native Fish Society auction at Motgomery Park.  Our seventh annual "Drift in to Green Valley" trip with Lange Winery and chef Richard Gherts has been a very popular item.  This year our three day Mack's to the mouth trip for four rods will be hosted by legendary Kispiox River guide and bamboo rod maker Bob Clay.  To say that I am stoked to spend a few days on the river with Bob is an understatement.  As always our crew will be involved with these trips and we are very proud of their commitment to wild fish.  They don't get the recognition they deserve.  It will be interesting to see how the big protest goes.  We are proud supporters of the NFS among other conservation and humanitarian organizations.

Here are a few shots from the river...

Casting Beulah's 13' 2" 7 wt with their 500 grain Tonic head. Bruce Berry photoA surprise visitor... Western Toad. Little creatures like this guy make for an extra cool day on the river. Bruce Berry photoSteve O'Brien with a fresh spring chromer. I suggest booking a trip with this guy, as he is yet to get skunked! And he is a fun guy to hang out with.

To my loyal clients and friends, dear fishing buddies, my dad, and my wife Cairn... THANK YOU for fishing (and putting up) with me this winter and spring season (or at least attempting to!).  It is inspiring now that I look back on it.  Time to put away the big sticks and heavy junk and get out the five weights!!  Very happy to go hunt big redsides for a few months and looking forward to becoming a dad this summer.



Suckers for punishment

Winter steelheaders are.  You have to really enjoy the fishing and not let total saturation get you down.  Winter steelhead are unpredictable creatures and the habitats that they live in are equally volatile.  When the rain is pounding and the rivers are rising I tell myself, "the river temperatures are rising", "the PH level of the water is improving", "the fish are moving through more accessible water"...  The truth is they come when they come, low water or high, rain or shine.  Your fly has to be in the water though.

Cairn's home made soups have helped take the edge off cold wet days on the river.  New England clam chowder... white chili... andouille sausage, wild rice, and corn chowder... chedar broccoli... soaked up with a rustic baguette... she has been working magic in the kitchen!



Having fun yet?

Cairn six months pregnantBeautiful femalesMean looking rainbow trout

Sun feels good