Friday, August 8, 2014

Steelhead Fishing with Droppers

Fly Fishing the Deschutes River
One of the most exasperating experiences of my life occurred on the Deschutes river. I was fly fishing near Ferry Canyon one morning and hoping for some good action. I had just made a cast and, as my line began to quarter down across the water, I felt a light pull but missed it. I quickly made another cast and the water suddenly erupted with a mint bright steelhead. It put up a strong battle, but after six or seven minutes I began to bring it toward the bank.

But disaster suddenly occurred. The fish gained new strength and made one last surge, 10 yards downstream right into some submerged rocks and branches. I quickly reeled in my line as I walked toward the location. I tried to free my fish but it was really snarled up. Finally, after several tugs to try to free it, I gave a few jerks and felt the line come free. Aha! I thought I got it loose, but when I retrieved the line the steelhead was gone and in its place was, to my disgust, a three- or four-pound sucker.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, but I quickly realized what happened. I always used dropper flies when I fished. I found that my chances of catching more fish increased by 20% because one out of every five fish I caught was on the dropper. Even though I regretted losing the steelhead, my theory was still intact because the sucker took the dropper. 

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