Spring has sprung here in the high desert of central Oregon and transitioned into summer rather quickly. Temps have been well into the 80s here for the last two weeks or more. Rain has been scarce and folks are worried of what the dry season might bring.
As we await the furious top water action the Deschutes salmon fly madness usually brings we scheduled our annual trip to stillwater plumpkin paradise where the trout are hungry and fat. We left at dawn and headed east in to the sun. The thunder shower overnight washed the dust off the roadside vegetation and showcased the short burst of spring color in this dryer than average spring. I was happy because the moisture kept the dust cloud down and off my boat. There is not much worse than a layer of dust on your boat when you arrive at your destination.
We got camp set up quickly and claimed our shady home for the next few days because I expected a train of people to be showing up to try there luck for the plumpkins.
We searched the murky water for hours before we regrouped and thought about a systematic approach to cover the water and find a tug or two. We saw one other fish caught by a bank angler. The murky water was throwing us off and left us wondering if the trout could find our offerings. We napped in the shade, re-rigged the rods, and refueled with a few snacks and drinks. A slab of sausage on a bagel kept us full through the evening hatch.
With our tactics revisited and a plan to cover the water systematically we headed out and ‘slowed down’ to figure out where the trout were and what they wanted. A few stops into our searching grid we connected with a plumpkin slob. Using the the fish finder along with keeping track of where I was getting weeds on my offerings I located a weed line in the murky conditions and anchored up in search of cruisers. Making sure I stayed just on the edge of the weeds we focused our efforts and stayed put. Eventually this patient approach paid off.
We got our photo to document the specimen for historic purposes, had a high five session, and let the pig go out of respect. The shoulders on this thing were immense and proved the growth rates that are touted from this plumpkin paradise. This was more than an ice breaker in our book. We could have left for home as soon as the beast swam into the murky depths, but we new better. We would be back early in the morning for a few more slobs and a stringer of pan fryers for home.
The next morning we were up early ready to restart our searching grid with the technique of choice. The weather was perfect warm with a light cloud cover.
With our new technique the pan fryers came quickly.
We did have to sort through a few slobs to get our stringer loaded with some fish to take home. I will say “It was fun!”
Again our story is release the big ones out of respect with the hope they will grace us with a tug next year. Keeping dreams alive one release at a time.
With the stringer full and tied off to the boat we pointed the bow to the ramp and motored back slowly. On the way back we discussed the importance of not giving up our secret technique. We decided it would be best to tell folks we got them on rainbow power bait, and to make sure to keep it fresh and out of the weeds.
Releasing the big ones