White River, OR
Two weeks ago my Deschutes season was over. Then I got a
call from an interesting sounding fellow named Bob, who said that he wanted
to spend a couple of nights camping and fishing my part of the river. In further conversation, he
disclosed that he had fished steelhead before, knew how to spey cast and
would be by himself. This sounded like a fun trip, and besides, I was
looking for an excuse to set up a camp below Mack's Canyon. This would
allow me to take some of my best friends and employees fishing and field
test new equipment and take the time to generate some product photos.
The water conditions and weather predictions looked favorable for every
purpose. Bob consented to meet me at noon and would attend the first
three days of a six day fishathon. Preparations included coordinating
all of the participants, repairing some camp gear, taking my boat in for an
oil change, and the food and fuel acquisition. The day before the trip,
the weather changed from clear to heavy rain with the freezing level rising.
White River, a glacial tributary to the Deschutes, can become a real negative
factor to water clarity during this kind of weather pattern. I
called Brian Silvey who I knew would have the most up-to-date information on
water conditions on lower Deschutes. He had fished it that evening and
the conditions were perfect. Very early the next morning, I crossed Sherar's Bridge with a jet boat and Ford Excursion heavily loaded with
tackle, cameras, food, fuel and camping gear. The light was barely
coming up when I parked by the first outhouse on the access road and peaked
over the bank at the river. There was that light-colored sheen to the
water that has become all too familiar, White River puke. Not wanting
to lose travel time making my next decision as to how to adapt to
this situation, I continued to drive downstream toward the launch point.
Just above Jones Canyon, the morning light disclosed that the river was brown
enough to be unfishable. At this point my well-organized plan began to
The drive to the motel was uneventful. Bob was ready to go when I got there. He seemed unperturbed by the changing events which took some of the tension out of me. When White River goes out of whack, it removes 3/4 of the steelhead water that is easily accessed from Maupin. This tends to compress a fairly large angling population into a comparatively small area. Competition for water can become extreme. For that reason, I had forsaken this area and had not fished any of it for nearly ten years, but still remembered some of the key holds. While transporting the jet boat up and down the access road, I had passed a very good piece of water that had been unoccupied all morning. But, just as Bob and I got there another angler was getting ready to fish it.
Fortunately Larsell had clued me into another spot that was just upstream. It was during this short walk that a downstream gale began to blow. The edge water in this short run is a narrow bed rock ledge which drops off to uncertain over-your-head depth. This is bordered by a twenty foot high, steep, brushy bank that can only be fished well with a single spey cast. The downstream wind prevented this approach. Bob had to use a double spey cast which aimed the D-loop at the bank.
Bob's second cast came off smooth, and I stood high on the bank and watched the white wing of the fly as it came sliding across just under the surface of the water. Directly under my feet a green and red bullet intercepted the fly and the line leaped from the water as the rod bowed. The buck steelhead twisted and turned below the surface and was eventually brought to hand and released. The skunk was gone, and my tension disappeared with it as I realized that against overwhelming odds my client had caught a fish. Bob looked at his watch and remarked that it was 12:15, then said, "By our original plan, we would have only met at the boat ramp fifteen minutes ago."
High quality clients can put a positive spin on the most demanding circumstances,
and caring, supportive friends make every task easier. It is a lucky fishing guide that has both.
|Celebrity Tyers - Tying Demonstrations|
|Don Nelson||Mark Bachmann|
|John Hagan||Pete Gadd|
|Jack Hagan||Mike Duley|
|Henry Hoffman||Russ Seaton|
|Harry Gross||Rob Russell|
|Jim Schollmeyer||Larry Nichols||Marc Williamson|
|Jim Teeny||Scott Richmond||--and many more|
|Big Prizes !!! Raffles!!! A chance to buy stuff really cheap!!!|
|Programs are FREE !!!|
|Sponsored by: Northwest Flyfishers Club|
|Be sure to come and visit The Fly Fishing Shop table where Mark Bachmann and Pete Gadd will demonstrate the tying methods for steelhead flies that are proven fish catchers!|
Gunners Get Even
By: Bob Larsell
“Old Flies” Work, maybe even better when fished in a new way.
As we got out of Kevin’s Jeep, I
inquired of the fellow who was heading for his car whether he had finished fishing,
he replied that he had, so we moved down to the water, a favorite spot of
mine on the Deschutes upstream from Maupin.
I answered that he could use my camera to record the catch, and handed it to him as I fought the fish. After six or seven minutes of deep down pulling, the steelhead showed itself, and we were both thrilled by the size of this fish. I had to pressure her to me three times as I worked my way back to shore because each time, she wanted to run again, going out into mid-stream and taking line from my big reel.
Finally, she grew tired enough to allow me to tail her and extract the fly. It was a size four Muddler Minnow I had tied on as a trailer to the Purple Angel Tail Gunner I was using as an attractor. Most times, I won’t use a skating setup behind my floating line, but this time it was the right combination: Tail Gunner, 30” of 10# Maxima then the Muddler. During the battle the fish had, applied enough pressure to open the gape of the fine wire hook about 1/8 inch.
My Winston spey rod and Rio WindCutter
finally brought me a trophy, and BOY, was I ever grateful! My favorite
river had given up a hatchery hen weighting nearly ten pounds from water that
had already been fished by another angler, and on a skated fly! Kevin got some great
photos of the battle and landing, as the
camera battery died. I have a very nice fish to remember and a true fishing
friend for life.
More information Tail Gunner Flies.
The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR
Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes