December 4, 2013
Thanksgiving On The Deschutes River

            We did a four-day Lower Deschutes Thanksgiving float trip from Trout Creek to Maupin last week, looking to catch a few steelhead. The water was in good condition running around 4300cfs and clear, although colder than I had expected with a temperature around 46 degrees. The weather was pretty good for our trip with mostly sunny 50-degree light wind days, but much cooler nights that ran in the low 20’s, which made us have to bundle up for a good nights sleep.

            Our plan was to cover a lot of water in the first two days so we could post up for two days during Thanksgiving and enjoy life without having to breakdown and set up camp again. It’s a great time of year to be on the river, as the weather and holidays tends to keep anglers close to home, or at least close to somewhere warm.

            I had a great start to the trip as I hooked two steelhead in the second run of the day. With the mostly slow fishing reports I’ve been hearing all season, I was pretty jacked to get a couple touches, of which I landed one. We fished our way downriver for a couple of days with everybody getting some steelhead love along the way.

            Our steelhead camp for turkey day was an excellent spot to post up for a few days with lots of good steelhead water close to camp.  Jerry set up a small 10 x 10 tent to help protect us from the elements and provide a place to pass the time playing cribbage during the long winter nights. As par for the course, we ate like kings on our trip cooking up pork loins one night, flank steak another and Jimmy fried a turkey with all the fixings on Thanksgiving Day.

            The fishing was pretty good for us during our trip with everybody getting some action. I’m guessing we hooked around 17 steelhead during our trip and they seemed to be spread out pretty evenly as we stuck fish every day. Jon did take three fish from one spot on the last day. All the fish that I had landed during the first 3 days were pretty small and I was looking (really hoping) for a nice fish to end the trip on. As jimmy and I fished our way downriver to the takeout, I told him he had to put me on a nice fish before we hit the boat ramp. I even promised him a portion of the body warming fluid I keep in my flask, if he put me on a nice one. Jimmy told me he had the spot for me as he pulled to the bank just above a good looking holding spot. I jumped out with my rod knowing it was only going to take a few swings through the spot to see if anyone was home. After a few casts covering the lie, I was thinking there was no one home, but I made the proverbial last cast and sure enough, my line came tight with a beautifully colored up buck that put a nice bend in my rod. After a quick grip & grin picture and release, we jumped in the boat and headed for the boat ramp. Needless to say, our bodies warmed up on the way to the take out.

            It was the perfect ending to a great trip and I was thankful for the opportunity to spend some quality time with some great guys fishing the beautiful Deschutes River.


The Patient Angler

Peter Bowers

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