Birthday and Graduation Bash

For the past couple years, I’ve had the privilege of spending Josh’s birthday weekend with the Fly Czar floating the Deschutes. The first couple years, it was Mack’s to the mouth for steelhead. With last year’s dismal return, the float was pushed further upstream for a trout trip.


Back in July, the steelhead numbers were looking like we’d get to make a return to the lower river to chase chrome again. We all know how that turned out with the season not opening until August 15. I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and I’ll take another year fishing for trout. It would mean sleeping in and a few more cocktails.


Per the usual, I met up at the shop about one and was surprised to see the new RT sticker on a few t-shirts adorned by the crew. I missed the reveal, but it sounds like it was the rare occasion that Josh was caught off-guard and might have been short on words. I heard a 12-year-old called him out! I’ll buy that kid an ice cream.


It was busy and lots of customers/friends were swinging by to wish the birthday boy well, so we didn’t pull out of the shop early. Food and liquids were stowed, rods accounted for and ready, off we went. (As a side note, I think Josh likes to handicap me just a bit so that he has something to razz me about. If anyone else experiences this, know you aren’t alone. I tried to be ready and loaded, but he doesn’t permit it.)


We got to the river around 6 after an uneventful drive. In case you are wondering, gas in Welches is cheaper than Sandy. Loaded and launched the boat and away we went. If you noticed the title, you see birthday and graduation. Well, I just finished up a hellacious 2 years of graduate school to earn a master’s degree in Nursing. These past two semesters have been rough with not nearly enough fishing. To say that I’ve been looking forward to this weekend is an understatement and I didn’t care whether we were after steelhead or trout so long as there was no roof over my head, and I was floating. That first night we slipped into camp, had a nice evening fishing session, then Perseid put on a show. We’ve been at this for a couple years now and this was by far some of the best meteors. Bright and long tails. It was great! Somebody kept the party going until the moon was well above the horizon.


Next morning, there may have been a brief consideration of putting on waders after I’d already been wet wading, but it quickly warmed up. We skipped the first couple spots cuz they were occupied. The plan was for caddis dries and euro nymphs. The fish were not interested in dries despite casing every shady spot along the bank. I made sure to frustrate Josh in little ways that let him know I was hanging on his every word.


Late afternoon called for a little nap, which was just what I needed after many sleepless night. Got the camp we wanted for the second night. Crossed paths with someone who has a fetish for Smurf perdigons. More music, beverages and good food. The Perseid wasn’t as brilliant, so we called it a night a little sooner.


Monday was a leisurely start. More wet wading with dry fly ambitions. It was hot, bright, sub-surface day. If you’ve fished with Josh, you know he’s super fishy. So, when he isn’t catching a fish every cast, you know it’s a grind and it gives you a little confidence. We pulled around four or five. There were many fisherpersons, but a bunch of rafts. Most sites were occupied.


All in all, it was a great float celebrating Josh making another trip around the sun and me finishing school… for the time being.

Peter Alandt
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