Where: East of the mountains
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Conditions: Overcast, FRIGID
Flies used: MOAL, marabou spey, glo bug
Species sought: Steelhead
Song of the day: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Rolling Stones
Below freezing temperatures.
Small chance of success.
All good reasons to go on a road trip to me!
Banking on the fact that almost nobody would be fishing over the
holiday weekend, the four of us reserved rooms for two nights and
packed our bags.
It was time for another adventure.
Originally, it was to the Deschutes. But rain has a funny way of changing plans, and a week out from our trip, we looked east.
I hadn’t seen the river in a long time and the last time I did, it was on a late summer day and I was looking for trout.
We knew it was going to be cold but that didn’t matter–that what layers are for, after all.
And with temps like this on the way there, we were thankful that we packed warmly.
And if layers failed, we could always count on our little friends to help out.
“The river’s fishing well with nymphing set ups right now. This is
the coldest it’s been and that’s put the fish down for now. You really
have to get it in their face.”
Dang, and all I had was my spey with me.
Well, if you don’t have it, you don’t need it…
And how could a steelhead NOT want to bite one of these swinging by?
By the time we got out of the shop, the sun had quickly made its way down.
No sense fishing now…
The next morning brought a bit of sunshine…
(though not enough to chase away the cold or
prevent the guides from icing up)
…as well as access to some pretty nice runs.
But to no avail.
So we regrouped and hit a different slice of water.
“What’s the hold up, fellas?”
“Stupid slippery rocks…”
But no matter how good the water, it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I wonder what nymphing with a spey rod would be like,” I thought.
With the day behind us and a cold night ahead, our heads went to our stomachs.
“Time to eat!”
Unfortunately, the pizza place across the street was popular that night–it’d be an hour before we’d get our grub.
Might as well watch the fireworks while we’re waiting. I knew there was a reason we came all this way.
That’s right, fireworks.
Good ones. In the winter cold. That’s what burn bans during the summer will do to your Fourth of July.
Day two on the river meant new water. Despite not having caught a
steelhead, our outlook remained hopeful and our efforts consistent with
the day before.
Looks like some good water up here! Photo: Don
“Dude, I see fish! Big ones!”
A few drifts later and a hookup was underway.
Wyld Stallyns! Photo: Don
After a few shakes, I figured it out. It wasn’t a steelhead…
It was a whitey!
And you can always count on Mr. Whitey to bail you out–even in the crazy cold.
A tug is a tug, you know. Heh.
I guess we’ll have to go back to get our steelhead some other time…