Fisher heads east to see if the Big Bugs are out and files this report...
This weekend I returned to our regularly scheduled programming: an early wakeup call and a long day on the Deschutes. As much as I hate waking up at 3 AM, it was to be a fabulous day. The weather was beautiful, for once the wind was down, and the water temperature was a premium 58 degrees. The river was a bit higher and dirtier than my previous couple trips, but it was no problem.
I had my line in one of my favorite runs well before the sun was over the ridge. Fortunately, I did not catch a fish on that first cast. I consider it bad luck to catch a fish on the first cast; the best you can hope for after that is an okay day. But the second cast is fair game. And it delivered: a nice 14-inch Redside. That run did right by me for the rest of the morning, producing zero smolt and plentiful large trout. By the time I was finished with it, the sun was getting into the canyon, and the fishing slowed down. Instead of being a blitz, it became steady. I continued to pick up fish in every spot that a fish should be, but I was connecting with only a few fish in the ‘plausible but not amazing’ water. That is until late afternoon when the clouds rolled in and the fish put on the feed bags. Suddenly I was connecting every few casts, some smolt mixed in, but mostly with good trout. As it got later and later, I was having trouble leaving. The fishing just seemed to be constantly improving, if that was possible. But after waking up at three, I couldn’t tolerate the thought of driving back at 10:30 or 11:00. I finally tore myself away from the river at seven.
I didn’t catch anything enormous, but pretty much all my trout were in the 11 to 15-inch range. Most of them were very fat, jumping numerous times before I landed them. In sum, I landed 42 fish. I’m rarely one to count my fish, but I’ve been curious lately since I’m new to the Deschutes and want to know exactly how productive a good day is. The majority of my success was on Josh’s Rib Roast pattern, a Stonefly nymph. As the hatch gets closer and closer, the nymphs are moving a lot, and the fish are interested. The rest of the fish came on an olive Mic Drop. I saw a single dead Salmonfly drifting down the side of the river, but several Yellow Sallys. Despite these and a plurality of Caddis and Mayflies, I saw only two fish rise the whole day. But the salmon flies will be here soon. Do hold your breath.