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Deschutes Troutflies

Joel La Follette - Thursday, August 03, 2017

This week's Blast from the Past comes from the May 9th, 1907 issue of the Crook County Journal. Great Uncle Guy La Follette, the editor/publisher of this weekly publication, once again shares the family's fondness for piscatorial pursuits with his readership. One hundred and ten years later, I share it with you.
Someone reported last week that the flies of which the trout of the Deschutes River are particularly fond during the early summer had hatched and several Portland nimrods visited that famous stream. Unfortunately the report was untrue and the fishermen were unsuccessful.

Upon their return the anglers said that almost any day now the troutflies, as they are commonly known, may hatch along the Deschutes River following which for a few days there will be fishing unexcelled in this or any other country. This particular period lasts not longer than a week and during that time it is no exaggeration to say that the fish can be caught as fast as a hook and line can be cast in the water.

The trout fly is larger than the salmon fly. In the Deschutes River there is a large caddis worm from which originates the troutfly. When the weather becomes warm enough the worms come to the surface of the water and their thin lobster like shells split in the back and out crawls the troutflies. The insects are beautiful and have four long gauze wings. The insect just after they are hatched are very weak and when they attempt to fly often fall into the stream or fly near to the surface which is just as fatal. For five or six days of each year the flies are numerous.

It is a very easy matter to catch the flies, and when placed upon a hook they are certain death to a trout. When a cast is made the trout will often jump two or three feet in the air for them. it is no rare occurrence to see several large trout jump for the same fly.

During this short period thousands of trout are caught in the Deschutes River. After the flies become less numerous the trout become more wary but can be caught with artificial insects with good results, but nothing like the initial opening of the fly season.

The Yellowstone River is known as one of the greatest fishing grounds in the country, but those who have fished in the two streams declare that the fishing in the Deschutes River is the better. The trout in the Yellowstone River where it connects with the Yellowstone Lake bite with the rapidity of a swarm of sun-perch. How ever as they are so numerous and as the water is warm coming from the Yellowstone Lake, they are not so gamy as the trout of the Deschutes River where the water is always cool.

Along the Deschutes River but few fish are lost when once hooked if the troutflies are about. The fish will swallow the hook often before the line becomes taunt, and while they put up a noble battle, they are easily landed. The only thing to guard against is the line which may break if the fish are pulled in without being given time to exhaust themselves.
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