Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fly Fishing in the Heart of an Ancient Volcano

12,000 years ago a series of cataclysmic events unfolded 20 miles southeast of present day Bend, Oregon. In the wake of these events Newberry Caldera was born. At 4x5 miles in diameter, Newberry Caldera is massive. It boasts one of the world's largest collections of cinder cones, domes, lava flows and fissures in the world. It has also been a gathering place for humans for centuries. The earliest documented gatherings in Newberry Caldera were by Native Americans, some of them travelling very far, where they traded goods for arrowheads. These arrowheads were masterfully crafted from obsidian harvested from the vast lava flows that snake their way through the landscape of this area. Also left behind were two lakes, East and Paulina. Modern day gatherings within Newberry Caldera mostly revolve around these lakes. My story takes place on Paulina Lake.
Scott and I arrived at Paulina Lake before the sun had made is appearance over the rim of the caldera. The water's surface was glassy smooth and there was a calm in the air that charged the feeling that today could, indeed, be an epic day of fishing. The mind is awash with tactics and techniques as we rigged our rods. The engine sputters and coughs as it comes to life and warms. The anticipation is building. Today could be great.
As we idle our way out across the lake we go over our game plan. We will start by working the shoreline on the southern end of the lake. At the dock I had readied my rod with my "go to" lake system. Tandem Buggers. Keep it simple. It didn't take long before we found a willing pod of trout. Fat, feisty Rainbows eager to take our offerings and equally as eager to get away. Working the shore further, we encountered more hungery Rainbows. The count was starting to add up but we still had not found what we were hoping to find, a large yella bellied Brown Trout. It was time for a location change so we headed off for the opposite end of the lake. There are hot springs on this end of the lake and we were thinking the warmer water would bring in the smaller fish and, in turn, the larger bullies of Paulina Lake. More trout were caught but we still did not find the prize. This is how it goes on the lake that gave up the almost 30 pound state record brown trout. Don't get me wrong, we caught alot of fish and they were all great, beautiful fish but when you know there is a behemoth Brown Trout cruising through the weed beds you can't help but be a little sad that you didn't connect with one. It also can haunt you. Insuring that you will return. Standing on a dock on a calm morning thinking today could be the day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stonefly Series-Emergers

(click photo to enlarge)
This is a pretty cool shot I got the other evening while fishing a remote canyon stretch of river. The fishing was good and we had some take-downs that made us giggle like a couple of 12 year olds. This was also a pinnacle evening because Seth, a new fishing buddy, landed his first trouts on a fly. Large dry flies and a remote location for his first time? He is surely ruined.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lower Deschutes Float Trip

The following is a photo essay, of sorts, documenting a recent trip to the Lower Deschutes River. This was an amazing trip spent taking multiple floats a day down a stretch of river that has tons of good fishable water. The water was high and dirty and just a few fish were landed.(I lost a Redside that would have gone 24+ inches, OUCH) But this was truly a great trip spent with old friends, and a few new ones. Days were spent on the water and evenings consisted of eating outstanding food and drinking fine spirits around the camp fire. Paradise.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Flyfishing Team USA NW regional qualifier

Just a quick note. Bend, OR was recently the host site for the Team USA NW regional qualifier. Being that Scott Robertson is a team member and a friend of mine I got an invitation to compete. The competition consisted of 4 sessions at 3 venues. For me the first day was an A.M. session on Paulina Lake and an afternoon session at South Twin Lake. I did well on the lakes and placed 1st and 2nd. Then next day was on the Crooked River. My morning session was tough. Little bug activity and high flows made finding fish not easy for me and I placed 5th. The afternoon session on the Crooked went better and I found many large trout, placing 2nd. All this added up to taking 7th overall and I have qualified to go to the National Fly Fishing Championship in State College, PA in October. The other qualifiers were Alec Gerbec and Kurt Finlayson both extraordinary fisherman.
The Bend event was a super experience. I definitely enjoyed fishing amongst a large group of such accomplished fly fishers. Among the many people I meet are a few that I hope to get to fish with in a non-competitive atmosphere and a few I will see in PA this fall. I also have to say thanks to all the volunteers (Central Oregon Fly Fishers) without them this would not have happened. All involved were 100% professional and courteous. This is an amazing opportunity and I have alot of research, tying flies and fishing to do over the next several months. The limestone creeks of Central PA will be a true test of skills.

Monday, May 4, 2009

2 Dozen Crappy Trout Flies

(A dozen size 10 Killer Bees)

I was wading through some fishing blogs sometime ago and discovered a blog called Sweaty Waders. Sweaty Waders is the "blog-child" of Sweetwater Fly Shop in Livingston, Montana. If the name Sweetwater rings a bell that is because Sweetwater Travel (owners of the flyshop) has been the forerunners in destination flyfishing and also operates, what I feel to be, the best flyfishing guide school in the country. Being a 1999 graduate of this guide school, I can confirm the instruction and job placement is top-notch.
So I was reading Sweaty Waders and they had a caption contest going and I made my submission thinking there was no way I would win a thing. Low and behold I won and it wasn't long before Dave Goff had my winnings in the mail. It was said that I was getting "2 dozen crappy trout flies" so of course you got to be leery of what could be showing up in the mailbox. What I was thinking and what actually showed up turned out to be two totally different things and I have to say they are not crappy. In fact, with a little permanent marker work I can turn those Killer Bees into a Killer Golden Stone or maybe a hopper and those Micro Caddis will catch some trouts for sure. Maybe Dave meant Crappie & Trout flies?

(A dozen size 18 CDC Micro Caddis)