Without question the Deschutes River is an amazing place. I have been blessed with opportunity to fish many of the West’s legndary trout waters. My skills with the bug whipper are reasonable and my fly tying skills are about the same. My ability to find fish and understand their desires is a lot better. This comes from years working in the conservation field and the need to understand fish ecology. It took me a while to figure out the Deschutes. It is a big river, deep right off the bank, burdened with regulations, and loved to death by fishermen and women just like me. Two things I have learned about the Deschutes that have improved my catch rates are:
1. Get up early and get there first. Sloppy seconds can be less forgiving.
2. Slow it down. Stop and think about what you are doing and dissect the river. Then it will not seem so intimidating.
With that 2013 proved to be a good year on the Deschutes. The steelhead run was pretty paltry. Fall Chinook were off the chart due to the record return in the Columbia River. Trout were getting fat on all the food available to them over the course of the year. Fall is the best time on the river because all the target species are present in the highest numbers and they are aggressive due to the uptick of their biological clock caused by the changing season.
The combination of power and beauty within the redband trout population never ceases to amaze me. Of all the wild creatures I cross paths with the Columbia River Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) are by far the most stunning. Do not get me wrong chrome steelhead are a thing to behold, but the variation in coloring of the redband trout is a true representation of mother nature’s artistic power.
Dr. Robert Behnke in his book Native Trout of Western North America believes the origins of the Columbia River Redband Trout came from a mixing of coastal rainbow trout and cutthroat trout when the species came in contact after the last ice age.
I make sure to save a bit of my “use or loose” vacation time for this time of year so I can spend a day or two reminding myself (and the fortunate few who tag along) of this power and beauty.
Due to his infamy and paparazzi appeal I need to include some Russ Mitchell porn in this post.
It is tough for Russ to break away from his life of stardom, as a retired pro-athlete waiting for induction into the Hall of Fame. His constant touring promoting the “organic only” lifestyle and autograph circuit from his days as an all pro snatchback for the Redmond State Sasquatch requires a bit of down time. When Russ has the time he wants to fish, so he calls The Turb.
It was a good thing we had the discussion the night before whether or not we should bring the back-up rod. Russ put the meat to the next fish and I jumped in for a rather rare over the shoulder shot.
With the growing fan base and the popularity Russ brings to The Turb Memoirs the board of directors for Turb Media Group unanimously voted to fund a full length feature film of Russ’s adventures. Please take a minute to watch the trailer below.
Before I take Russ out for the day I always test fish to make sure it is up to his standards. Nothing makes him more crabby than a day of sub-parr fishing. Included below is a short selfie video of my test fishing.
Until next time. Respect the river and try not to cry when you overpay for your 2014 Oregon fishing and hunting tags.