Posted by MNAngler On September - 5 - 2011

After failing miserably as a spin casting river trout fisherman, I decided it was time to try being a full-fledged river trout fisherman. That would mean picking up fly rod.

Brenda and my cousin left our reunion to meet up with some friends on the East coast, so on this outing it was me, Vince, my dad, and one of my other cousins, Julie. Julie’s mom came along for the ride so she could take pictures (of scenery).

Vince had his own gear, but the rest of us rented fly rods, waders, and boots. All of the equipment was high end so I was surprised the total cost was only $35/day. We didn’t even have to put down a deposit. After Vince picked out some flies, we stopped to pick up fishing licenses for my dad and Julie and we were on our way.

After bajaing through some rough dirt roads, we stopped at an overlook above the lower Deschutes River. After admiring the scenery (and taking some pictures), we noticed a trail going down a hill. It lead to a clearing and access to the river. We decided to start there. We went back to the car, grabbed our gear, and Vince helped us get set up.

Vince then took us to the river and gave us a quick lesson in fly casting. I got caught once in a tree and once in a bush. Dad landed a pine cone in the river. Julie managed to avoid getting snagged. After a few minutes of practicing, we felt we were ready to go.

All of us went back to the clearing to put on our waders and we trotted through some tall grass downstream from where we were practicing. Julie was furthest upstream, then Vince, my dad, and me. The tall grass ended abruptly in the river and when you got to the edge, you could see why. Just passed the grass, there was a good 2-3 foot drop. I was careful not to get too close to the edge.

I did my imitation of a fly fisherman using a Parachute Adams fly. Vince told us that the key is to pick a target and cast upstream of it so that the fly floats downstream through your target area. My fly disappeared under the water several times and it took me a few times to realize that that was caused by the line and not by a fish.

As I stood there casting, I began to think of the time as more practicing fly casting than actually fishing. I was having trouble straightening my leader and tippet as they hit the water (they were curling and looping at the end). I knew I’d be in trouble if I got a strike. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), that wasn’t an issue.

I didn’t see much structure, the water was pretty deep, and the water was moving pretty fast. I would have been surprised if anything hit my fly in the middle of the river where I was casting. Vince later ended up next to me and I saw him casting to the middle of the river so maybe my efforts weren’t totally wasted. Later, I even noticed some logs and branches under the water.

We all tried for about an hour with Vince being the only one seeing any activity in the water. We then decided to pack up and head to the Fall River.

We found a spot where there was a small waterfall. Julie stayed upstream of the waterfall while my dad, Vince, and I went downstream. I first tried fishing just passed the fall’s rapids, but the sun was on its way down and I couldn’t see where my fly was landing so I decided to go further downstream.

I settled on a spot where there was some branches in the water near the opposite shore. I made my way into the river and started casting at the branches. I saw some activity and got excited when I thought my fly was being attacked. In truth, the fish were hitting real critters ahead of my fly.

Vince walked by and gave me some tips about setting the hook. He said I shouldn’t set the hook like I would for a bass. I should pull the line with my left hand while raising the rod tip. I did get some hits, but when I tried the technique, I ended up pulling line out of the reel instead of straightening the line to the fly. Oops.


I spent the next hour or so trying to hook one of those little buggers hiding under the fallen branch. I missed several hits. My fly was getting waterlogged and going under the instant it hit the water. I blew on it to try to get it to float better with mixed results.

Eventually, we had to leave and when we got back upstream, we found that Julie had caught a little guy. Vince got two.

This was my first ever experience fly fishing. I can see the draw. The setting is peaceful and beautiful, and the fishing is challenging. It’s exciting when the fish hit and I can only imagine the excitement when a big one hits.

I enjoyed the challenge of fly casting. But the “match the hatch” aspect would drive me crazy. In bass fishing, you have to figure out what the fish are eating, but it’s isn’t as much of a precision art as it seems to be with trout. I admire you fly anglers. I wouldn’t have your patience. I would, however, like to try it again some day. Maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to fish with one of the master fly angler bloggers (e.g. Troutrageous, the Outdooress, Lunker Hunt, the River Damsel) in the future. In the meantime, I’ll stick with chasing bass and keep myself from feeling like a fish out of water.

7 Responses to “MNFlyAngler”

  1. Clif says:

    You have to start somewhere, and that looks like a pretty place to start.

    You’re already light years ahead of where I was on my first day. I didn’t have anyone giving me pointers.

    Now you need to mix fly fishing with bass fishing, that’ll get you going I’m sure.

  2. argosgirl says:

    Sounds like a good outing even if you didn’t get a fish. I’m starting my adventures with a fly rod and I have spent lots of time being frustrated with my poor casting abilities :) Only experience will help.

  3. Bruce Mackay says:

    I have flyfished for years there is no rush like fly season but I really like the Kamloops trout fishing in central BC

  4. [...] Reviews Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned. It’s been nearly three weeks since my last blog entry. I have no excuse, really. Life has just gotten in the way of… well, life. I’ve only fished a half hour since doing my fly fisherman impersonation in Oregon. [...]

  5. Barnacles says:

    I know this is late comment but I wanted to commend you on your first attempt at fly fishing.
    It just takes a little practice.

    For what it’s worth, it took me years to figure out bass fishing!
    I suppose each has their challenges.

  6. Chris Schatte says:

    You have to be patient, and have a decent fly assortment to match the hatch. Which may seem complicated, but actually is not. Just love fly fishing!!!

  7. [...] MNFlyAngler – a bass angler out of his comfort zone [...]

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