I am just back from a 3-day float trip on Deschutes River. The trip started a few months ago when my brother pulled some permits to float the river. David Dines LCO’s freelance photographer and designer and I barely made our 1 hr flight to Redmond arriving at 1am due to insane lines and my lax approach to airline travel. As most LCO’s trips go we try to waste very little time on travel and keep it tactical. We walked on the plane 5 mins before boarding ended a little too tactical…
We had the raft packed up at trout creek by 9am Saturday morning with 10 fly rods, camera gear, and camping gear for next 3 days. The ramp was buzzing with baggers and guides getting ready for a variety of different length trips asking each other where they planned on camping some smart asses commenting simply north and others working together to find some space. Saturday was to be our best day of weather with rain forecasted for Sunday and Monday. For those of you who have not fished the Deschutes, it has few unconventional rules: You can only fish the right side of the river through the reservation, You cannot fish from the boat.
I fished a size 8 purple chubby with a variety of droppers the whole trip and with a 3x leader I fished the same fly the whole trip. The first day was my best day of fishing with the rain holding off until just after we got our tent set up. For the next 24 hours had pretty constant rain which is not what one hopes for or expects in a desert.
I caught plenty of fish the first 2 days and by day 3 the fish were keyed in on the PMD’s that were intermittently coming off. Dustin, my brother, spent most of his time nymphing and absolutely slayed them. The fish seemed to be stacked up in the head of the runs with very few fish spread out in the soft water.
While the fishing was excellent and the weather was not what had hoped for the pace of pack raft trip is great. The methodical packing of the raft to maximize space and ensure everything is available is oddly therapeutic and comforting. Finding a rhythm where everyone becomes a well-oiled machine is a beautiful thing. The trip became less well oiled when we are delayed 18hrs out of Redmond back to SF. Many beers, a few bloody mary’s, and a day later we made it back to SF.
I can’t wait until next year. If you want to get a Deschutes float trip on the books for next year now is the time to book as there are limited permits. We have a good number of guide friends up there that we know will put you on fish and run a first class camp. Email us and we will put you in good hands.