As October winds down and November begins my thoughts begin to drift towards the late archery season here in Oregon and huge redband trout gorging behind spawning fall chinook salmon. This year I was fortunate enough to fill my deer tag so chasing blacktail deer is out of the question (maybe a cow elk). I have been drawn to thoughts of the huge pig redband trout of the Deschutes River. No other time of year allows consistent action for large (very large) redband trout like the chinook spawn in fall. Most anglers target steelhead during this time of year so the trout do not get the pressure. Concentrations of spawning chinook draw in the trout to feast on eggs and all the insects that get kicked up by the commotion. It only takes a few chinook to draw in the trout. Herds draw in the true pigs.
In mid-October a strong frontal system produced some pounding rainfall on the glaciers of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. The glacial silt runoff turned the river an Alaskan grey with visibilities of less than a foot that remained for over two weeks. The fish faired fine. I think the increase in river level and the color drew a huge push of chinook upstream. I tried my luck in a few of my usual haunts and egged up this sporty fella behind a group of spawners I located in the glacial tinge. It is the usual “Turb self-photo” hence the dry bag and buckle in the foreground. Self photos just add to the adventure.
Of course none of this would be possible without my Watermaster Kodiak. This boat allows me to sneak into the tightest spots and tie up to twigs where drift boats would spook the whole herd. You have to watch the rods because there are a thousand ways to snag a 13 foot spey rod in the brush along the bank. I hope I do not learn the hard way. My advice: break the rods down, secure them with rubber bands, then lash them to the boat. It may create a few interesting tangles from time to time, and slow down the fishing, but you won’t end up with a six piece spey rod, or worse a six piece spey rod and a five piece single-hander.
No words can explain the action or the size of the pig trout that suck up behind these groups of chinook. A few photos is the best I can do to explain the quality.
Since the chinook are present in numbers the occasional dorsal or tail hook up threatens to take your rig- or worse, splinter your rod. My advice is to snap your line with the rod pointed right at them. If you use maxima, half the time it pulls out of the soft flesh.
Every so often they develop a hunger for the egg. If that happens there is usually a battle. My advice: play to win!
I rarely take people to my go-to spots. Other people rarely take me to their go-to spots. It does happen. Appreciate it when it does. This time I chose to share the spots and the knowledge of how to rig up for these pig trout slobs. The river gods responded with a gift of their own.
Sir slobness (not the angler) made an appearance. Truly the biggest redband I have handled to date. Bigger trout exist, many in our dreams. This one is a pig trout for sure.
Please handle with care and release wild fish to keep the dream alive.