Trout Spey Camping Trip

Trout Spey Camping trip on The Crooked River

My favorite pool for greased lining. P: Z. Epstein

Trout Spey camping Trip
Two through five weight spey rods are nothing new to the two hand crowd.  I use them in Alaska for leopard trout, Dolly Varden, grayling. In Oregon I swing for native red sides on the Deschutes and now for the first time on the Crooked River.  So if it’s nothing new why tell you about it?  Well… because I had fun with my fishing buddy and to me that’s what it’s all about.  So, Monday morning we loaded up Susie (that’s my truck) with 3wt Winston “Microspey” rods and a 18 pack of Tecate.  There was other stuff but not really as relevant to fishing.  The drive out from my home on Mt. Hood was hectic, lots of rain and wind. As we crossed the cascades the sun broke out over the horizon and Colby put on Electric Wizard. The drive turned into a cruise as we made our way into the Crooked River.  Located Just outside of Prineville Oregon and just below Bowman damn is ten plus miles of walk and wade paradise.  I’ll spare you the travel brochure, just know it’s beautiful and easy to access. 


Micro Spey setups? Which line and what flies? Streamers on the crooked! Yea I know it seems like a whole new world but really it’s just about finding what works for you.  My boss on the Kanektok put it like this “For hundreds of years trout anglers have been trying to duplicate what trout eat… The spey angler thinks, this is the fly I like and you will eat it!“  But in all seriousness the Crooked is not known as a streamer river or a wet fly river.  Well I can tell you swinging a leech with the right speed and depth in the winter will put em’ on the bank.

Zach Epstein catches a resident rainbow on a #8 black leach swung heavy across the bucket P: Colby Olson

Our setups consisted of 3wt Winston micro Spey rods with Airflo’s Skagit Scout heads. I like my Skagit head a little on the light side when I’m using a floating MOW tip. Sometimes if the line thickness at the tip of the head matches up to something from my versitip Scandi heads, I’ll toss that on for a better floating tip taper.  Why not just use a Scandi head?  Well because I don’t need 29’ of fly line on this river and I don’t want to wade too far in to make room for that head length, again personal preference.  I went with 9’ 5x tapered leaders and anywhere from 1-3 feet of 5x tippet. Colby went with an intermediate tip and 71/2’ tapered leaders.  I changed the length of my leader to change depth and rising angle of my fly depending on if I was swinging a soft hackle or streamer.  I really enjoy these setups, some people call’em skandits. They snake roll and single spey just fine, and of course all your sustained anchor casts will reach out and hit your camera man as well.



1.Colby trying to poke my eye out. P: Z. Epstein 2.Zach enjoying a snake roll P: Colby Olson
Lining up these rods correctly come with time and experience, or a trip into our shop for a chat with us.  A few things you’ll learn when swinging double hander’s for trout is that fly selection and presentation matter.  Not one fish was caught on a downstream and across presentation.  I grease lined or swung it heavy (that’s a broadside cast with a downstream mend) for every fish landed.  If I got taps put no tug I dropped the loop and let those little marabou leeches puff up in the fish’s face.  “That last one never works…”  Cast across broadside so that the leader and tip land in the tank, opposite of the center current, and let the current pull the Skagit head down. Watch this ugly U-turn of a line slowwwwwly pull the fly downstream, funny how right as the leader makes its way into the faster water and starts lifting the soft hackle, a fish will bite. 


Colby doing his best Lani Waller Impression P: Z. Epstein
Colby threw a laser into a 10” wide foam line for this one P: Z. Epstein

At the end of day one we had plenty of fish and even a few beers left over from the day. We camped right on the river’s shore. I ate top ramen and Colby had some fancy backpacking meal (guess which one of us has a real job?) We burned a few logs in the pit and I almost convinced Colby to give up his IT career for a summer in Alaska guiding.  After two days of swinging flies for trout and hanging out on the river in the sun I came to the same conclusion I always do. How do I do that again as soon as possible with people I want to be around.  If you think you would be interested in spending some time with a lightweight two hander come in and see us. 


Hey Colby does your snopeak stove do this?  P: Z. Epstein
 
Colby warming up after a long day of fishing.  P: Z. Epstein

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