Friday, September 27, 2013

Summer Steelhead on a Goofus Bug?

Doug landing a Steelhead 
Today not many fly fishers can believe the type of success that was experienced by Steelhead anglers five or six decades ago. It was a remarkable era when hugh runs of native Summer Steelhead would return to the Kalama and Wind Rivers in Southwest Washington, the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers in the Portland area, as well as the Coastal streams. However, my favorite water was the Deschutes River in Eastern Oregon. My Dad introduced me to this rich, high desert fishery in those early years when there were lots of fish and very few anglers. Back then if you saw four other anglers, it was too many. This would prompt Dad to caution me, “Now don’t tell anybody about these fish, the river is crowded enough!”

I witnessed my first Summer Steelhead caught on a fly on the Deschutes near Warm Springs. My friend, Bob Wiley and I had hiked down into the canyon to fish for Redside trout. But when we arrived at the river, another fly fisher was playing a big fish. It was a 6 to 7 pound Steelhead. After five more arduous minutes he landed it using a 5-weight rod, a dry line and a high floating fly called the Goofus Bug. This started the wheels turning in my head, and I thought, “Aha! So this is how you do it.”

I then began fly fishing for Summer Steelhead by dead drifting the Goofus Bug and other dry flies to no avail. If I had known of the greased line method of fishing surface patterns, I may have had more luck. Eventually, I discovered the technique for the wet fly swing and began my lifelong pursuit of catching Steelhead.

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