Monday, May 16, 2016

Of Briar Pipes and Bamboo Rods - A Day on the Deschutes

I had all my gear ready to head east for a day on the Deschutes river. I had every intention of getting an early start....really. I envisioned rolling into Maupin before sunrise. You believe that don't you? Yeah I also envisioned jogging ten miles and eating a micro-biotic diet while fitting into my spandex yoga pants! In other words it just ain't gonna happen.
I did head east though, with the Deschutes as my destination. I got a late start of course but kept telling myself I would "catch the evening hatch" which really means I couldn't get my over fed old ass out the door.
But head east I did!  I stopped by the Fly Shop in Welches as a matter of ritual. Leaving with a trout Spey rod.
When I got to the river it was near perfect. Good height and clarity and no wind! My favorite haunt along the access road yielded a nice rainbow and one other "drive by" but the hooked fish put the hole down for a bit and I moved on.
The legendary salmon fly hatch was still at least a week away with a few crawlers in the trees but nothing in flight.
I decided to take my "new" old Wright and McGill Granger bamboo rod with my comfortably patinated Hardy Perfect. A really nice combo actually.
I documented my love for cane rods for many years here ad nauseum.  A bamboo fly rod is wonderful in it's tradition and feel. Not for everyone though. Fishing bamboo takes the right attitude in my opinion and not everyone is bamboo worthy. also in my opinion. There is a hell of a lot of tradition in fishing bamboo and that sentiment is lost on a lot of people.
I once traded a bamboo rod to a young man who seemed bamboo worthy but was not. He attached a strike indicator to it and that is when karma caught up with him! He broke the rod on the first fish! Serves him right and I offered him no sympathy whatsoever.

I am not sure bamboo fly rods and the Deschutes river are totally compatible. The Deschutes is a big wild river. The wind can be fierce at times. Finesse is not a word that goes with the  Deschutes when the wind decides to make an appearance.. Sometimes it's just "chuck and duck" and hope for the best if the wind is howling.
Well the Deschutes canyon wind was not a sentimentalist when it came to bamboo so I put away the W&M in favor of something more synthetic.
The limited bite was pretty much over by that time and the trout weren't in the mood for anything on the surface. I called it a day about an hour before sunset as a howling wind insisted I leave.
One last bowlful of Tradewinds pipe tobacco in my well used briar pipe then home I went.
I especially enjoy the ride home through such places as Pine Grove, Zig Zag and Sandy. At times I have to dodge wild turkeys and deer in the sage and Ponderosa pine forest before I get to Goverment Camp on the road home.
It's hard to remember ever having a bad day on the "River of Wind" in all the years I've fished it. Heck, even the time I got stuck in the mud and couldn't get out wasn't that bad of a trip.
I surely feel fortunate to live in a state that has a river like the Deschutes, We here in Oregon are blessed to have many beautiful trout and steelhead rivers withing our borders.
It's kind of funny that when fishing rivers of legendary reputation you speak in a hushed tone when talking to someone. This is especially true along the Metolius. Rivers are cathedrals of nature aren't they?  I think so at least and if you only think of a river, any river, as a means to an end then you don't really get it.
I believe that fly fishing is the purest angling that there is. Think about it for a minute. You have the line, the leader and the fly. Pretty basic and simple right? Your arm is just an extension of this basic connection. No need for bells and whistles in my opinion.
I will never use a strike indicator for my fly fishing. In my humble opinion it just ruins the whole thing. Now I realize that this might make some angry and defensive....that is not my intention. It just does not seems to fit in the whole zen of it all. I am not suggesting that indicators are unethical either. They are just not for me and take me back to my gear days of waiting for a float to dip under the surface. So just stating my preference.
Warmer river temperatures have interfered with the hatches below the Pelton regulating dam to the point that some hatches have all but disappeared.
Wanted more information on this? Click on this link Deschutes River Alliance.
I figure if you love and care about a river then you do all you can to defend it.
Sadly the Deschutes as we once knew is no more. I started fishing this river in 1974 and have seen the changes over the years. The salmon fly hatch is weeks early because of warmer water coming out of the dam. The crane fly hatch is gone as is many of the may fly hatches. Hopefully it's not too late to save the Deschutes. Maybe wiser heads will prevail...maybe.
I will keep coming back though, if for no other reason than to remember all the good times I had here. To remember all the friends I fished with on this river. Some of those friends are now gone. Just like the river I once knew.

The Quiet Pool is almost 10 years old! Can you believe that this blog has gone on that long? In those 10 years I've shared just about everything with the few of you that actually read my drivel. I hope I've made a few of you laugh and think with what I've written. As you can guess I am passionate about fly fishing and wild fish. I make no apologies for anything I've written here. I've made special effort to be accurate and factual.
I deeply appreciate you following along.