Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fly Fishing Coincidence on Deep Creek

Deep Creek, Oregon
Deep Creek is a small tributary of Oregon’s Clackamas River, and years ago it had runs of wild Steelhead and Coho salmon. Today much of it is on private property, and it is closed to fishing for anadromous fish such as salmon and Steelhead. However, years ago before these regulations were instated, two very similar events occurred on this stream to me and my close friend, Larry Lindstrom. His story took place when he was only 7 years old and my story occurred when I was 21 years old. 

My episode unfolded when I was visiting a friend who owned property near Deep Creek. The stream was low and shallow in most places, but there were small, 3-to-4-foot pools here and there that were overshadowed by Alder trees and underbrush. Using my 8-foot, 5-weight, glass Fenwick rod, I waded downstream, repeatedly casting into the pocket water using a small, orange yarn fly. I was hoping to catch a few Rainbow trout when suddenly a large splash erupted and a 6-pound Steelhead headed down river. My elation ended quickly as the fish jumped once and shredded my 4-pound test leader. I was totally distraught, but my pursuit and love of fly fishing for Steelhead was christened that day. 

Larry’s experience took place on Deep Creek at his father’s house further upstream. His dad outfitted him with an old 8-foot vintage South Bend bamboo fly rod, a worn out South Bend casting reel and a tattered spinning fly. After a few words about safety from his dad, he headed downstream and began to fish. Incredibly, after only a few haphazard casts a 6-pound Steelhead grabbed his spinning fly and tore down river with Larry screaming wildly. His dad heard him yelling and fearing the worst he charged down to help his son. Unfortunately, after several minutes of intense instruction, the fish broke the line. To this day, Larry is still a dedicated fly fisher and has mastered the art; however, he still laments the day he lost his first Steelhead. 

We have since discussed the unlikely odds of two beginners fly fishing the same stream years apart and hooking and losing their very first 6-pound Steelhead. It’s amazing how agonizing defeats can leave such lasting impressions. 

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