Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 88

Quest #2 Begins: Deschutes, September 2013

 As with my first quest, I decided to start a bit on the harder side and with luck finish easy on the Deschutes in July and August.  I normally have avoided the lower Deschutes over my 37 years of fishing the river. I don’t like crowds, powerboats or the feeling of competition.  I want to “feel alone”, just me and the fish!  Taylor Gareth, operator of Taylor-Made Outfitters, accomplishes this goal better than any other guide on the Deschutes.  He knows what parties are on the river, where they plan to camp and makes his plans accordingly.  And his cooking is phenomenal. September fish landed with only two days to spare!

February: Clackamas , Sandy, North Santiam  2014:

 Desperation and panic began to take hold as the month of February was rapidly approaching its close.  I had spent 3 days throughout the month fishing hard on different local rivers with no success.  I started early in the month but decided I needed to clear my work calendar to “live on the river” to prevent February from ending Quest #2. River conditions were never quite perfect and the fish were not appearing in great numbers. It came down to the wire on February 28th as the waning hours of daylight began to disappear over the horizon. Despair followed the fading light. Suddenly a grab that stuck like Velcro! Nick and I gave a “high five” to the handsome fish, the generous river and setting sun. It was the second closest call, exceeded only by a fish landed in the dark on the Deschutes in December 2012.

May and June: Clackamas, 2014.

These are the hardest months to land steelhead on the swing within the Portland metro area based on my experience.  Water and summer fish runs are subject to the whims of nature.  A bad deck of weather cards is hard to overcome and that is exactly what happened the previous year to end my quest! This time luck was different.  I say luck because the margin between success and failure is not a matter of skill.  It is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  That is what good guides are for, to reduce your reliance on luck.  For experienced anglers, guides simply put you in the position of greatest opportunity.  Nick Rowell is one of the best and why I give Nick credit for my May and June success.  He was personally vested in putting me in