Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 85

mid-morning sunlight just beginning to cut through the low-hanging fog.  At that moment I decided I would try to catch a steelhead every month of the year for 12 consecutive months within a two hour drive of Portland!

Quest Begins –Deschutes, December 2012 

I decided to start my 12 month quest on the hard side and, hopefully finish easy, assuming that July through-November are good months to catch steelhead on the Deschutes.  As we started our decent into the dark Deschutes canyon, the outside temperature registered 17 degrees, one of the coldest spells in recent memory.  It makes no sense to be here, I mused, but this was my best option based on all of the information I had collected on all local streams and from my gaggle of guides who increasingly became part of my quest.  I had proven to myself that you can catch steelhead on the swing under these conditions.  But, nothing all day. One last cast as darkness descended. A grab, a run, a leap, a headshake and gone! Out of light, out of water, but one token last cast in the darkness of the night. Amazingly, another grab, another leap and head-shake, but this time a small six pound buck landed. Time to face the wet, cold and windy days of January to continue my quest.

Quest #1 Ends Clackamas and Santiam Rivers, May 2013


With six successful months behind me, I booked a trip with the “King of the Clackamas”, Jeff Hickman, knowing that May is always a tough month between the summer and winter runs.  Nothing, not even a pull. One more chance in May with my “go-to” guide when I need infinite flexibility and perfect water and weather conditions. Nick Rowell picked our favorite spot on the North Fork of the Santiam, but nothing all day and into the dark of night.  What a disappointment for both of us to have to start all over on my 12-month quest (certainly better for Nick than for me)!