Sorry! It's Been a While......
I apologize for leaving you hanging on this fishing report for all of these weeks. I did take some time off to go on vacation - but I am back now and the weather out here on the Deschutes is absolutely stunning! The water is in great shape throughout the open area for fishing, and we have even seen some pretty good mid-day BWO hatches.
The sunny warm weather is unusual for February - but it sure is nice. It hasn't exactly been crowded out here due to the beautiful weather, but there are a few people and a few campers taking advantage of this May-like weather in the dead of winter.
People have been doing really well using Euro-nymphing techniques as well as indicator nymphing. If you find yourself in a piece of water with little to no action, get out and move to something entirely different. Sometimes they are in the shallow riffles and sometimes in the deep backeddies.
Bright attractor nymphs with hot spots or orange heads can be good - but the water has cleared up a lot since the rain ended. With very clear water, unless you are pitching the bright flies pretty far away from you into the deep stretches where the fish see them but can't see you, the fish tend to be a bit spooky and wary of bright flies in the shallow water. If the bright flies stop working for you, change to a smaller duller nymph or a midge pattern. Tiny zebra midges with itty bitty tungsten bead heads can be very effective in the clear water.
Trout Spey enthusiasts, the swinging action is hit or miss depending on the day. Some days are more productive than others when swinging for trout on the Deschutes, so give your best spots a try early on, if they don't produce then switch to a different method. Later in the day as the water has warmed, you may want to revisit the trout Spey to see if the fish have changed their minds.
The White River is not causing any water quality issues in the Deschutes - it has cleared up nicely. As long as it isn't raining on the mountain and it stays cold up there, the White River should remain in decent shape and relatively clear.
Hopefully you can get out here to enjoy this wonderful weather window that we have been afforded. It is like summer out here, practically. Speaking of hot weather......
John and I took off to Belize for a week at the end of January and had a wonderful trip there with some old friends and new ones. We stayed at Turneffe Flats lodge and had an incredible week of guided fishing there. While there were a lot of species to target, we stuck with the pursuit of the world's toughest fish to fool on a fly - the permit. The schools of permit that we saw were amazing. This is where the biggest permit go to mess with the minds of the most persistent of fly anglers. We saw permit crushing tiny schools of sharp-nose puffers seeking shelter under the rafts of sargassum weeds carried in from the ocean with the tides. 20-35 lb permit smashing the surface all around you is pretty darn exciting, and pretty darn frustrating when they ignore every offering you present.
I managed to fool two permit on the second day of fishing - one just barely touched the fly and the other ate it. So, after 7 weeks and 2 days of permit trips - standing on the front of flats boats from Mexico through Belize and even down into Honduras - I finally got a permit to eat my fly. I was excited. Too excited. I strip set that fly as if I were setting up on a 100 lb tarpon with 80 lb shock tippet. Snap. There went my best chance. I had one other follow my fly later in the week and it was on the surface during one of those feeding frenzies. I stripped that fly and saw his mouth slashing towards it, just before he saw the boat and turned away. It was exciting.
John barely made a cast all week because he really wants me to get my permit. He has caught lots of permit - back in the 1980s and 1990s (I am SURE that they were a lot dumber back then!) So, searching for permit is what we did all day and every day for 6 days. We had a great guide. We saw lots of permit and had legitimate shots every day. I can't say enough about how great that trip was, even though I did not land my ultimate quarry. The quest continues.
Whatever your ultimate quarry happens to be, whether it be trout, steelhead, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskie, northern pike, graying, salmon, bonefish, redfish, striped bass, false albacore, freshwater dorado, saltwater dorado, tarpon, giant trevally, triggers, golden trevally, blue fin trevally, roosters, tuna, milkfish, wrasse, or even Marlin, there is always a fish out there for your quest. Quest on, my fishy friends, and have a great weekend!