Peninsula Fly Fishers

Floats on the Deschutes, May and June

by J C Poulton

August 2006

I have a deep affection for the lower Sac, but I have to say that since I live part of my year in Oregon, I have found that I truly like fishing the Deschutes from Warm Springs to Trout Creek; that is the one day float, floating past the Indian reservation on the left bank; sighting ospreys and eagles, down the beginning of the Deschutes River canyon with towering rock formations and the quiet; interrupted by the rafters,  other guide boats and  the wandering bank fishermen.

Our guide was Brian Yates (541)923-8550, has his own outfitter's license.(no middle man) I have used him almost exclusively for the past few years. He serves a wicked hot lunch of teryaki chicken or steak (you make the choice).

Stopping places like 'Frog Springs', 'Big' and 'Little Indian', the 'Kauffman House', plus numerous other picturesque spots. Our first trip was in May. We expected to hit the salmon fly hatch, but were told we were early by a couple of weeks. Nothing on the surface, no birds working and clouds everywhere. It rained while we were lunching under a river alder; Brrrrr .... that rain was cold with a wind blowing right in our faces, right up the canyon.  Even adding clothes didn't really warm us up. One thing good was that my mends were perfect (wind aided). We were off the water earlier than usual.

We did manage to catch a few trout and of course a few whitefish (they don't fight as well as the trout, but...they are indigenous to all western rivers. Besides they taste pretty good  baked.

When we got back to Madras (we leave our car at the Safeway lot), I noticed as we topped the hill coming back into town that everything looked white. It had hailed and had we had three or four inches of ice pellets over everything, including the car. More interesting was when we pulled into 'Black Bear' for dinner, our car was the only one melting. It had only hailed on the north end of town.

You might have noticed that I was not at my usual place by the door for the May, June or July general meetings. That was because I was fishing. The first two months Bobbie and I were on the Deschutes. I had windows when I could get away and unfortunately it was the PFF meeting week. Our second float of June was more to our liking. We knew that the salmon flies were working up the river, but how far that was anyones guess. The first part of the morning there were a few clouds and no bird action on the surface. All our fish came
off of indicators with large flies (pheasant tails size 8, then dropping to a size 16 or 18 'Copper John' or some unknown nymph in various colors. It was a fair day with a few 'redbands' in the 12-16 inch size; a few whitefish as usual and other trout.
Brian Yates holds JC's Redband
Brian Yates holds JC's Redband

It was after lunch and one of stops was 'FROG SPRINGS', a favorite spot of Dave Black's when he is fishing the river. The spring was really gushing water. Bobbie was fishing above the entrance of the spring run off with Brian watching. I was just resting along the bank at that point. The water coming into the river at that point was muddy so there was a definite line for fifty feet or so down river, but I also noticed that fish were rising for 'salmon flies', those big bruiser flies were flying across the river or dropping like dive bombers, knocking themselves semi-conscious so to flutter as they drifted. Easy targets for hungry fish. I called out to the others and we all switched to dries. Dropping the fly just beyond the mud line and feeding line for a good drift, pulling back and doing it again. I had a strike that nearly pulled my rod from my hands. When I reeled in all that was left was my tippet. Adding new
stronger tippet  and a new fly.line, I flipped out again. I was ready when  it took. A few mintues later I landed a 16 inch 'bull trout', the first I had ever seen outside the Metolius River. They are really an ugly fish, but a fierce fighter. Releasing it back into the current and with a new fly on another cast. The take this time was a beautiful 'redband' rainbow, a real leeper. As suddenly as it began it stopped. The bugs were still around but the fish were down so we moved on down river, but for thirty minutes it was heaven on earth.

That waas the only dry fly action we had all day, but it was worth it. Come join us on the river and make your own dreams...JCP

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