I went on a short float today on the Deschutes River from the re-regulating dam downstream to the boat ramp at Warm Springs. I hoped to catch a few steelhead, but the redbands were stacked in the riffles like cord wood feeding on eggs behind spawning chinook. I could not pass by without giving my reel a workout.
Fishing was fast and furious right from the start. I used my standard fall rig, a weighted size 2 black stonefly nymph with a bead egg dropper. Some of the biggest redbands I tangled with were sucked up right behind groups of Chinook actively digging redds in the knee-deep water. The current wast fast so the takes were quick with the indicator racing upstream. After a strip hook-set most fish made a strong downstream run. Some went to the air to show their prowess while others just peeled line. After losing the first four fish in less than 20 minutes I realized I better not horse them on my 8lb maxima ultragreen tippet and 6lb ultragreen dropper.
It was cool to fish Alaska style in Oregon behind spawning salmon. All the of the fish I landed were plump and sporty, peeling line and requiring me to head back to the shelter of the bank water to land them. This fishing was good enough for me to limit this trip to a solo mission to catch them all for myself. The self photos using my Joby tripod will help preserve the memories of the blistering battles with these wild pig trout of the Deschutes.
I will be the frist to admit the Deschutes River has no secret spots and gets pounded by fisherman daily. For many years I went home frustrated and fishless. I have lived only 15 minutes from this treasured river for seven years now and have made the decision to figure it out. Well I can’t say that I am a Deschutes expert. I do feel if I can pick my day and work the water I can usually bury my hook into something beside the bank side brush.
Steelhead are in the river from the dam to the mouth (100 miles) and I have brought more than one to the bank this season. I plan to probe my favorite runs at least one more time before the late archery season opens and my thoughts focus on rutting blacktails in the Cascades.