With respect to both size and nature that is… Genus Pteronarcyidae means big bugs. Big enough to resemble hummingbirds, and big enough to feel creepy when they land on your neck. Cool bugs. Salmonflies and golden stoneflies. Fish like to eat them.
Our first day was spent on the powerful and beautiful Deschutes River, watching these bugs crawl through bushes, flap through the air and be folded by hungry fish. Our big 2-inch dry flies were our attempt to connect with the local rainbow trout.
JB allowed me the privilege of casting his Sage 4 wt all day, which was great in itself. What a smooth and cool rod. We were worried that the big bugs would draw out big numbers of folks, but we didn’t bump too many people… A few campers maybe. Our approach was to walk the river, and jump down the steep bank when ever we saw water that looked good. This was a well-paced, walking fishing bit that allowed us to take in the River Valley as we fished. The banks can be treacherous. JB is a mountain goat. I’m not overly clumsy, but I’m not a mountain goat. It’s amazing to watch that guy hop from rock to rock. I think it’s because he wants so badly to fish, he maximizes speed during travel. Anyway, the approach involved a lot of fishing under over-hanging trees. Casting side-arm upstream under them, or feeding down beneath them from above. Very enjoyable. Wading was somewhat challenging, as the river is brawny and the banks are composed of large boulders. JB took a dip or two even. I came close.
Casting these big dries was the essence here – watching the fly on the water and anticipating. To be honest, we didn’t have a huge numbers day with respect to fish to hand. We probably had ~40 takes though, of which we hooked maybe 25, of which we landed maybe 15-20. Not exactly sure, but I believe I only got 5-6 fish to hand overall, of which only 3 were 12-14" (no big fish for me)… JB probably 2x that or more. The three best fish I hooked all day came off. JB landed a beautiful and big rainbow – probably 18” or so… he had to chase that one downstream.
However, the take was the deal here. Watching fish fold on the dry fly was the pinnacle.
So among the sage, the snakes and rimrock we strode along the high bank and fished at our discretion. No keyboards, no phones, no roofs. Eating some jerky and swigging some water now and then… till dark came. Good day.