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day10 on the d.
last day on the river for me for 2013. as it turns out the river gods smile on me and give me a going away present of a day. i make my way down the morning run and about half way down i get a pull but once again can’t make it come back. further down the run another pull. i take a couple of steps back and give it a super slow presentation like i have done so many times before. harold calls this presentation the creepy crawly because the fly swings through at a painfully slow speed. after what seemed like hours, the fly is finally nearing the end of the swing. i am already planning my next cast and what i need to do to give the fish a fast broadside look at the fly when there he is. the tug startles me because, you know, that never happens for me. i give the rod the sweep toward shore and find myself doing battle with the first steelhead i have ever hooked on the “second try” after it says hello. the fish charges downstream stalls for a bit then charges back upstream and takes to the air right in front of me. it makes a series of rolls and runs then comes unbuttoned. that’s okay. i was just stoked to get him to grab. harold gets a boil on his fly but nothing else. we take a break then decide to head down river. i break down my 7136-4 one, it’s steelheading work is over until next year. i string up the 6126-4 one to give the rod one last taste of the deschutes. just by total chance we get a super popular run that is really hard to get and are we are stoked just to be able to fish it. i don’t get anything but harold “picks my pocket” and hooks a nice hard fighting wild fish following me down the run. this was already a great day as we don’t often get a chance to fish runs like this one. little did we know that it was about to get even better.
the vehicle of a steelhead addict that needs some serious mental help.
we drive further down river to a good long run that connects to an even longer and better run (one of the most popular on the river). not surprisingly, there was someone in the primo run so we fished the run above it. i started down and got about a hundred yards before the whole trip (the long drives to and from the river, staying up late, waking up early and fishing hard all day) just caught up with me. i had reached my limit and was too beat down to go any more so i jumped out of the run and wobbled exhaustedly up the trail back to the car. i drank some liquids and just sat there in the car in an exhausted daze. i’m not sure if i actually fell asleep or just spent the hours teetering on the edge of passing out. when i snapped out of my trance the sun had dipped below the canyon walls and the river was shading over. i looked down the road some three hundred yards and saw that the car that was previously in the primo run below us was gone. i couldn’t believe it. here it was the prime time of the day and no one was at perhaps the thoughest run to get on the entire river.
now that's a long run. this one is right above perhaps the best run on the entire river and on this magic day it just opened up for us right at prime time.
rejuvenated from my restful trance and excited by the oportunity to fish this prime run that the gods so generously offered me, i jumped into the drivers seat and headed toward it. i caught up with harold who was still fishing about a hundred yards down and yelled to him that the run was open. “yeah i know, i’m headed there now. go take it,” he yelled back. i drove down to the pullout, parked the car, grabbed my stuff, flew down the trail and into the water. i immediately saw why so many people like to fish this stretch of river. it is one sweet looking run. it is long wide and practically swings a fly on its own. all you gotta do is cast it out and hold on. as a bonus it also has a reputation for kicking out a lot of fish. i fished down the run in amazement that i was actually there swinging this world class piece of water. harold finally made it down to the run and started fishing it too.
the light was beginning to fade into darkness when a steelhead climbed on to my fly. it fought quite well on the six weight but i managed to get it to hand a beautiful bright hatchery fish and the last steelie of 2013 for me. soon after harold got one too. i casted a couple more times but couldn’t see my line in the near darkness so i bombed out one more good cast that shot out the running line and yanked some line off the reel as the leader turned over, cranked it up and called it done. an epic day to end an epic trip.
hooked up at a run that steelheaders dreams are made of.
last steelhead of 2013. absolutely fabulous.
10 days on the river, 13 pulls, 9 hookups, 6 steelies landed. steelhead 2013... absolute good times.