Can I Make the Cast? Pressure on in Salmon Fly City

Photo by Devan Ence
The problem was not if the fish would eat the fly, I knew he would, the question was – could I get the fly where it needed to go? Place it deep into the shade, under the tree and avoid all the branches sticking out like landmines everywhere?
I was up, it was now or never and time to perform. The camera guy handed me a rod and said the boss wants some footage of you working a fly. I was with our friends from Korkers Boot company guiding their annual over-night float trip on the Deschutes River in the section of canyon that is arguably the best trout water in Oregon. We had caught a ton of nice rainbows on dry flies as the Salmon fly hatch was full on. Golden stones and big black stones were everywhere and in this section the banks were loaded and the fish were stocking up. Big aggressive rises and splashes were heard more than seen under the big overhanging alders.
“Go get a big fish for me!” said Devan Ence of Ence Media. He was a frenzy of cameras, drones and positioning for the just right shot and now I was up. I worked into a deep bank that had a tree leaning over the edge near a boulder that jutted out from the river bank-perfect big fish territory. A big rainbow rolled on a fluttering golden stone sending small shock waves in the shadows deep under the tree. It’s fly fishing so there’s always a challenge right? I lined up the cast and delivered with a tight loop and a short 7.5′ tapered leader which should send the fly right into the shadows and plop on the water just like a natural clumsy salmon fly falling out of the tree. Fame and glory awaited as I knew the cast was going to net me a huge rainbow for the camera.
Unfortunately, my cast being about 2″ too long caught one of the many branches guarding the big fish’s lair. I pulled, it stuck. No retrieving this one with out spooking everything nearby. Ok, break it off and re-tie. I broke the fly off cleanly and started to reach for my fly box stuffed in the top of my waders. (No need for a vest here, just keep it simple with a fly box, tippet, floatant and your ready for salmon fly action). I glanced upstream to see my fly I had just broken the line from fall out of the tree into the water. It landed perfectly and floated like a natural bug for about a foot and…
…what do you know, that big rainbow came up and ATE it!
The fly was gone underwater in the mouth of the fish for about 15 seconds when it suddenly bobbed to the surface. The foam body on it buoyed it to the top and then it floated right to me! Close the fly box. I know what fly is working! I tied the same fly back on – fluffed up the material and applied some new floatant and waited a moment preparing to cast making sure the camera guy was ready. The next cast I took my time.  Getting the length of line right first, carefully side arm casting to keep the loop low and out of the tree.  This time my aim was on target; the fly landed perfectly in the shadows near the base of the tree, it floated about a foot and was quickly eaten in a splashy grab by the big ‘bow!
Fly fishing is full of challenges and sometimes it’s those challenges that we talk about later so much when we overcome them. We wanted to remind you Water Time Outfitters is here during the challenge of the Covid crisis to offer hope and inspiration for future fishing fun. We have weekly fishing tips and instruction on our BLOG, Facebook and Instagram pages as well as offer great fishing flies and apparel so you’re outfitted and ready when we can get back on the water.
This year with the COVID-19 Crisis we may have open spots for the salmon fly hatch. Typically we have a full season booked with the same customers year after year.  This year we might have some cancellations.  If your interested in being on our BACKUP LIST please drop me an email: rob@watertimeoutfitters.com
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