We’d been to Oregon several times before starting our River Ramble. It was always flying into Portland for meetings/R&R, hitting Salem for state capitol confabs and occasionally, an education conference on the Oregon coast. In other words, we were always on the western side of the Cascades. It turns out, the four Trout Unlimited Top 100 Trout Streams are on the eastern side of the Cascades in what is “high desert” country.
This area has incredible beauty from the basalt cliffs that line the Deschutes and Crooked rivers to the tall pines and redwoods found near the North Umpqua and Metolius rivers. While we toured these four trout streams, we’d always look up and see the majesty that surrounded us. It seemed we always were seeing the snow fields on Mount Jefferson, regardless of which river we were on.
From a fishing perspective, we caught acrobatic steelhead in the North Umpqua, native Redband trout in the Deschutes and Crooked and one measly fish from the mysterious Metolius. I know, I know, “It’s Not About the Fish” and it truly isn’t. But we have to talk about our “excuse” for our River Ramble sometimes.
Once again, we met some incredible people and had the best guides. Tony Wratney steered me into holes on the North Umpqua, after I’d fallen in the river on my third step in, at 6:30 am, and caught and landed 4 steelhead, in one morning. I thought this was just a typical steelhead fishing day, but, I learned that it was not typical at all, but an epic sort of day. Tony said he’d not brought along his net because he was going to be surprised if we needed it. Little did we both know!
All along our trip, we’ve been blessed with finding a fly shop that really goes above and beyond in helping us. In this case, it was Fly and Field Outfitters in Bend, Oregon. We met Jasper, Gabe, Dave and Griff the first day we were in the shop. Griff is the lead guide and instructor for the shop and we were fortunate to have him as our guide. Griff gave us a most memorable day on the Deschutes. I cannot recommend him enough for his instructional techniques, his manner in working with us on the water, his knowledge of how to fish the water and most importantly, his humor and outgoing personality that kept us laughing and having a great time all day.
A few days later, Eddie Mack from Fly and Field, took us on a trip along the Crooked River. The setting for the river is simply spectacular. The fishing, both nymphing and dry fly fishing, was great. Eddie was incredibly helpful in getting us into spots on the river where fish were holding, and helping us with the flies and best techniques to catch them. Again, many thanks to the entire team at Fly and Field Outfitters for a great time.
We did our best to sample the food and drink of the area as well. We loved our time around Sisters, OR, and Camp Sherman. The Camp Sherman Store is a must stop, given its setting along the Metolius. Sisters is just 25 minutes away and also a must stop at the Sisters Bakery and Three Creeks Brewing. While the secret of Bend has been out now for a while, it’s still a place you must visit; breweries practically on every corner like Starbucks in Seattle. Bend has this outdoor vibe that sucks you in and makes you want to bike, hike, kayak, float, fish, board, ski and even surf right in town. As we were heading up to Washington, we even stopped in Maupin, a little town on the Lower Deschutes. Great fishing…. great food… great flyshop in the Deschutes Angler with three great fly shop dogs: Lupin, Nelly and KD. We’ll definitely be coming back to Oregon.
We hope you enjoy these “highlights” of our time in the great state of Oregon. It truly was outstanding!