Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 98

Lessons Learned from my Quest

Knowing Where to Cast I remember one of my first steelhead outings on the Klamath River in the early 1960’s. Back then I was bobbing “yarn” on a casting rod.  After 3 days of frustration in the midst of fellow fisherman who were landing fish to my right and left, an old timer took pity on a 17-yer old and clued me in: I was casting far beyond “the fishing lane”.

Don’t Forget to Fish the Head of Runs and Low into the Break The largest fish landed during my quest was a 13 plus pound buck caught at the very top of a run by my brother-in-law, Mike Dunn, who had only 10 feet of his sink tip in the water.


Be Consistent and Thorough This is something I learned from my die-hard steelheading daughter. She has a well-deserved reputation among my fishing buddies as the most consistent producer.  She doesn’t make particularly long casts; she doesn’t consider herself especially talented. But I witnessed her hook 12 steelhead on a single hand rod in one day on the Deschutes, twice as many as the next best producer.  Why? Because she methodically and consistently covers the water.  Guide Marty Sheppard believes that steelhead, like cats, watch the prey through repetitive approaching rounds of enticement (Sheppard 2013. “Winter Steelhead”.  Swing the Fly, Issue 1.4, pp.18-119. 2014)  

 Keep a Sharp Hook and a Good Tie I am by nature very impatient. I always have been annoyed at my guides deciding I needed a new fresh hook or a new tippet! “For God’s Sake, just let me fish! Please! “But I have lost enough fish because of dull hooks, bad ties and weak leaders to know they are absolutely right.    


Picking Good Enablers (Doug's Favorite Guides):

Al Bagley, River Bend Guide Service (Deschutes River)

Jeff Hickman, Fish the Swing (Clackamas)

Taylor Gareth, Taylor Made Outfitters (Deschutes River and Grande Ronde)

Chris O’Donnell, River Runner Outfitters. (Oregon North Cost rivers and Deschutes)

Nick Rowel, Anadromous Anglers (Clackamas, North Santiam, North Coast and Deschutes)

Marty Sheppard, Little Creek Outfitters (Sandy, John Day and Deschutes)