Winter trout swinging

Deschutes Trout Spey

So before we get started let’s take a moment to prove that yes the Deschutes will provide the tug on streamers even in the winter. This blog post covers several trips in the last month.

Eric testing his new G Loomis IMX-Pro 41111-4 lined with an Airflo Skagit Scout and 10’ of t-14 P: Zach Epstein

The first trip we floated a short section of the river on a partly cloudy day in hopes of testing some new lines, rods, and flies.  Eric had his new IMX-Pro short spey, I had the new Spey lite series of lightweight compact integrated lines for Scientific anglers and Robbie had well… Robbie brought the beer. Water temps were in the mid forties and the river was hovering around 4,500 cubes.  It’s the middle of winter and the fish are lethargic and not exactly full of piss and vinegar.  We had a slow day filled with lots of fly changes. Eric stuck with a steelhead presentation and a heavy tip. I went with floating line, long leader, and tungsten soft hackles. Eric won hucking the meat.  We fished deep runs with tanks near the shore, buckets, and a boulder field.  Honestly we were every where you would find trout in the winter. Probably the best part of the day was taking a break from the rain and dreary weather on Mt. Hood and hanging with friends on the river.  We did the usual; I make fun of Eric, Robbie Makes fun of me, I fall out of the boat, Alaska stories, and talk of bass.  I think the most interesting part of the day was how quickly you can get results by changing flies. Trusts your gut that fish are present and work that water.

Eric’s reaction upon learning this was not a bass trip but a trout trip.  P: Zach Epstein

Later in the month Robbie and I decided that once again we needed sunshine and some trout.  So we headed out to my favorite river right campground below Maupin and strung up the trout speys.  We arrived in the late afternoon and were moving at a really casual pace.  It was windy and in the 50’s.  I swear the feeling of warm wind after a summer in Alaska followed by your typical PNW fall and winter was worth the gas money alone.  Fishing was exceptionally good that afternoon. Fish were jumping and swimming around us with wild abandon. I had tug after tug and between the two of us I think we cleaned up shop pretty well. Its really fun to have a lot of hook ups, hoot and holler with your buds and generally be pretty stoked on the river.  I used a lot of t-14 on this trip, the river got a lot colder and I wanted to stay deep and slow. If there was a F.I.S.T head for 3-4wt speys I would have used it. No matter what I want to animate that fly just at different swing speeds.

Robbie puts one on the bank with a rusty micro sculpin. P: Zach Epstein

Typically, I find that gentle animation of the fly pays off. I stole a euro nymphing technique and instead of jigging the fly as it swings across, I drag (towards the bank) and relax the fly. Think of the relaxing step as a quality mend like you would when setting up your swing. Just enough to keep the line straight but fast enough to not pull the fly up.  What that does is take the slack line you find in jigging a fly and replace it with animation under a tight line.  There’s a million different ways to do this and no one way is the end all be all.  I just cycle through presentations till I get results.  Some I start with based on environmental factors like changes in barometric pressure or wither or not a fish has cover and concealment near by.

The Orange Crush defying Deschutes logic. P: Zach Epstein

So there you have it, trout on a swung fly. I hope it motivates you to give it try, we are stocking all the gear you need from G. Loomis, Winston, Echo, and Airflo. Don’t be left single handed, come in and talk to us.

Posted by Jack on 03/06 at 10:00 AM in (0) Comments






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