Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I’m just back from four days fishing with John B out in Oregon. We had a great time, as expected. Here is a day by day summary:

DAY ONE: Outstanding fishing for Deschutes Redsides near Maupin, Oregon. We nymphed like fools and caught many nice fish. John put me on one of his big fish holes, and I caught three of the best trout I’ve ever seen in person…. In a span of fifteen minutes. I had to edge out into some fairly heavy flow, but when I finally reached the water I was eyeing, immediately connected with a beautiful rainbow in the 17” range. The fish leapt multiple times and made some great runs… it took definite concentration to hold the fish and land it. Beautiful and strong fish – vibrant colors… amazing. John left to use a facility, and just minutes after he walked away, I found another fish of the same size and attitude connected to my #16 barbless copper john…. Landed that one, and managed to hook another one before John returned. He walked up as I was fighting this third one and helped me get it into the shallows where it popped off at our feet. I actually hooked and lost one more before leaving that honey hole.

We landed quite a few trout and whitefish… all day long. The Deschutes Valley is amazing, and it was great to do a 360 and absorb it between fish. John took me to a lot of good water, and put me on the #1 fly of the day – thanks for that! We didn’t catch 100+ fish like we did in MN, but I would rate this as a premier fishing day – as good as a person could ever want…. Fishing in tandem with your buddy, no other people around (it was a Friday) and flowing water at your feet!

DAY TWO: Carping day! We went to one of John’s carp haunts – a very cool setting. I was using a 6 wt and John had an 8 wt… both using 3x or 4x tippet and barbless nymphs. We started out wading out into some deeper water (water was up due to wet conditions preceding) and we spotted a lot of carp. It was tough to see though, given windy conditions and high water. John hooked a couple and landed 1-2 out there, and I hooked two, but both got off… one took me all the way to my backing though, on a beautiful 90 foot run straight out as we sat and watched – pretty cool. My favorite part was out of the water, up on a high bank, looking down on the carp. They were cruising and feeding between shore and a weedbank, and we could spot them pretty easily. We would boom out fairly long casts down and at an angle into the water, then watch the carp. If we saw them move to the flies we’d watch for any strange behavior – pivoting body, tilting head, mouth opening… then set the hook. This was much easier for me… and obviously very exciting. In the entire day, I hooked only 10 fish, but I’ll tell you what: they tore me apart! It was great! They made spectacular runs, and bulled and bulled… took me into the weeds and broke me off with regularity. Thus, I landed only 2 of the 10 fish I hooked… but I am surely not complaining. Spotting the fish, getting the fly in position, watching the carp behavior and seeing the take is where it’s at…. The fight is great too, a close second… actual landing is probably a distant third. For anyone who is interested, I managed quite an amazing video of John expertly casting to, hooking, playing and landing a 9 lb mirror carp – it is very cool, as I have birdseye view of the whole deal.

DAY THREE: Another carping day (yes, we were a short distance from many world class trout waters). We bopped around some more local spots, and didn’t fish too hard. We actually spent a good part of the day at John’s place visiting with his family, which was very good. Elia brought me a book and asked me to read about diggers! She is a really friendly, outgoing and communicative little girl – it was great to hang out with her for a while on this day. So, given the day’s layout, more local fishing fit well. We hit some urban carp water, and I was humbled by some of these situations: having to roll cast 30-40 feet with accuracy, trying to be very, very precise with nymph presentation, trying to detect strikes when I couldn’t see the fly OR the fish… tough, but interesting and fun time. I didn’t land a single fish in approx 6 hours of fishing – John landed two carp – a fat mirror and a common. I did hook one fish that was tailing in the shallows (could only see tail), and I foul hooked one too – but landed neither. That brand of fishing is extremely challenging… basically throwing nymphs at silt clouds that indicate feeding carp, then either maintaining contact with flies, or watching for a tail behaving in a strange fashion. Very fun and informative day it was.

DAY FOUR: We floated down the Deschutes River all day. I could stop right there and arrive at an accurate description of a good day. We did fish though – to some good success. We were fortunate enough to be accompanied and guided by John’s friend Chris – he is a great guy and a very knowledgeable and skilled fisherman. In fact, there was more humbling here, as I was now in the presence of TWO superb fisherman, and I was definitely exposed. I’m used to booming out big lake casts, or flipping short and accurate casts in our SE MN streams. This river trip required a combo – long and accurate casts… also a lot of dry fly casting, and casting without false casts – all difficult for me. I caught a few trees, fouled up a number of good lies… but eventually got into some great fish. The salmon flies were on the water, as were golden stoneflies – both are ridiculously HUGE bugs that are like protein bars for fish. We watched many of them be eaten by trout, and we fished their imitations in the form of dry flies. We landed a number of beautiful fish – many on dries… I actually only got 3-4 dry fly fish to hand, but that was great in my mind. We nymphed up a few more, and added a few whitefish to round out the day. One fish was an absolute brute – deep and strong… caught on a big dry fly. I cast up into a glare, and couldn’t see the fly… but heard a splash and set the hook – pretty amazing – something I won’t forget. We also did some great ninja fishing, as called by John – belly-crawling and creeping down to within 10 feet of some good fish… to bow-and-arrow cast to them. The river, the valley, the flow, the power, the fish… the bugs – all incredible, even when a guy doesn’t work it over like an expert. I appreciate the opportunity to fish the big river with these two guys – what a trip it was.

We’ve assembled quite a succession of fishing trips over the past few years – they’re always good… and not just because we catch fish. Thanks John, Kelly and Elia for having me out there.

I've already posted a few pictures in the previous post... and John has some here:;f=4;t=018774

Having trouble posting more pics at this time... I'll try later.


Blogger amanda said...

Wow, I just got done reading your report and also John's on the West Fly site....
The fishing is really great and all... but furthermore, I'm moved by the great quality of friendship the two of you share... something that doesn't come along everyday (or every lifetime, for that matter.)
Keep up the great work in maitaining that despite the miles and growing, changing families. Something to be treasured.

2:20 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

Oh, also - Mitch checked out your site the other day... We spent some time going through archives. He doesn't get around to sitting at the computer very often, but when he does, he thuroughly enjoys the updates.
And - we did some investigating, and found that his last haircut was just before Thanksgiving 2005. Finally, just on June 18th, he allowed me to take the clippers to his mop. I haven't done the math on how many weeks that is -But he read your comment on possibly having give his record a challenge... I told him if you beat it, you get to hang on to that title of shaggiest head champ. There'll be no more of those extremes on his head here! (hopefully, anyway.)

2:28 PM  
Blogger John Montana said...

great recap was another great trip. looking forward to our next fishing adventure!

did we get some great pictures this year or what? there are some great shots from both MN and OR.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

I'll be working on the DVD: 2006 Fishing Adventures... should be a good production. I'll take any recommendations re soundtrack.

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