I Just Love Fishing Central Oregon!

Now that Mary Ann and I have moved into our new house in Sisters, Oregon, we’re getting the chance to get out on the local waters to fly fish.  There are just way too many places to fish around here…it’s hard to pick sometimes.  We got out the last two days on the Crooked River near Prineville.  The Crooked is a wonderful tail water fishery that offers great rainbow fishing with countless small mayfly and caddis hatches throughout the entire year.  But, I tried throwing a #8 Golden Stonefly Nymph (one of my favorite patterns) in the evening when the mayfly surface activity quit.  I’ll bet I was the only angler on the river using big stonefly nymphs because the river isn’t known for much if any large stonefly populations.  But, I hit paydirt and successfully landed about ten larger rainbows between 12″ and 17″.  Sometimes you really don’t need to “match the hatch”.  Here is one of the beautiful fish that took my stonefly nymph, and the pattern that worked:

A Crooked River Rainbow

A Crooked River Rainbow

#8 Golden Stonefly Nymph

#8 Golden Stonefly Nymph

A New Bamboo Fly Rod Fanatic

I met a great angler, Blake, from central California last week and got the chance to introduce him to bamboo fly rods.  We spent the day fly fishing on the Middle Deschutes River about 12 miles from my house.  I set him up with a 7′  6″  medium action 5 wt rod that he fell in love with.  We got into quite  few rainbows and browns, and while they weren’t large, we had a wonderful time.  Needless to say, I’ll be building Blake a new Bamboo Fly Rod of his own in the upcoming months.  Here is Blake in the middle of a cast stalking some fish with dry flies, along with a typical brown that we caught.

A New Bamboo Angler on the Middle Deschutes River

A New Bamboo Angler on the Middle Deschutes River

A Middle Deschutes River Brown.

A Middle Deschutes River Brown.

Painting of one of my catches from this year!

A few months ago I posted the following photo of a great cutthroat I caught on a small spring creek in central Idaho:

A Big Cutthroat That Rose to a Little Yellow Sally Dry Pattern.

A Big Cutthroat That Rose to a Little Yellow Sally Dry Pattern.

I didn’t realize it but this photo turned out to be inspiration for a great painting created by Larry Harris, a frequent follower of my BLOG.  Larry donated this painting to the Catskill Rodmakers Gathering Auction last month in New York.  As it turns out, Larry’s painting sold in the auction and helped raise money for the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum.  That’s pretty cool to see that and ‘Great Job’ to Larry.  Here is a photo of the painting Larry did, along with a great bamboo rod that Larry made himself:

Larry's Painting of my Cutthroat Trout.

Larry’s Painting of my Cutthroat Trout.

My New Bamboo Rod Shop In Sisters, Oregon

Mary Ann and I just sold our house in Corvallis, Oregon after 18 years and moved about 120 miles to the east in the town of Sisters, Oregon.  We’re both very excited about the move and our new house, and we are much closer to terrific year-around trout fishing…and much drier weather.  Mary Ann has also started guiding in the fall and spring timeframes for Jeff Perin of The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters.  But, I don’t have a fully set-up and functional workshop for my bamboo rod building at the new house.  For now, I’ve shoe-horned my big tools into a corner of the garage.  And, I’ve put up plastic in the corner for a make-shift rod dipping operation.  In fact, later today I’ll be dipping the fourth coat of varnish on a new 8′ 0″ 3 piece 6 wt. rod.  Finally, I’ve temporarily taken over a bedroom in the house for rod wrapping and finishing work…sharing that space with fly tying.  I’m fully functional and building bamboo rods to meet all my orders, but it’s very cramped in this new arrangement.  I’ll break ground in the spring on a complete new rod shop…boy is that ever an exciting prospect!  Here are a few pictures of my temporary rod building set-up:

My big tools in the garage.

My big tools in the garage.

My big tools in the garage.

My big tools in the garage.

My "rod dipping" room in the garage.

My “plastic-walled rod dipping” room in the garage.

My rod dipping set-up.

My rod dipping set-up.

Rod wrapping and finishing.

Rod wrapping and finishing.

Photographing Fish When Your Alone

Trying to photograph a good sized fish when you’re out by yourself can certainly be challenging…and frustrating.  I learned the hard way last year, and ended up with a cell phone going for a swim!  Wrestling with a fish one-handed, getting it out of the net, removing the hook, positioning everything just right, and then operating your camera for a self portrait often just doesn’t work.  Here is a great way to get a beautiful shot:

Find a spot where the water is calm and only about an inch or two deep, hopefully that you haven’t muddied up yet.  Lay your rod down in the water.  Holding the leader about a foot above the fish, guide the fish out of the net with the hook still in place and slide it up to your fly rod.  In most cases, I’ve found that the fish will cooperate and lay on it’s side for a quick photo….and….you haven’t even needed to touch the fish or take it out of the water.  Slide the hook out, and with a little nudging, the fish will slowly move away.  Here is a photo I took yesterday while fishing Marsh Creek here in Idaho:

A Beautiful Marsh Creek Cutthroat Trout.

A Beautiful Marsh Creek Cutthroat Trout.

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