Archive for March 3rd, 2011

03
Mar
11

Fly Fishing: Muskrat Love

My dentist works hard drilling ‘n filling, so when he gets time to go wet a fly he often heads for the Deschutes R. out of Maupin, Oregon. I should point out his family camping experience at Davis Lake with the Duckling/Bass incident. It highlights the outdoor karma my dentist brings to the water that either make you want to be there or perhaps stay about a quarter mile away.

So, recently as I sat in his chair with my mouth agape and gobs of cotton separating my inner cheeks from the target zone, he told me about a recent, mighty encounter on the Big D. He took some young guys to the river to teach them the basics of fly fishing. They started near Harpham Flats and they were satisfyingly successful. He decided they should move up river to one of his favorite runs. A few more beautiful Redside’s were brought to hand and the day was good.

My dentist was using a stonefly point fly set up. He had reeled in a ways and tucked the rod/reel up under his left arm as he extricated a fly box to consider a new offering. His Stonefly swayed in the riffles below him. Suddenly, a solid jolt caused the reel to do it’s unwind thing between his biceps and his side….whoa! He fumbled to put the box back as line was racing up the guides and the reel was thumping the heck out of his biceps. ‘Fish on!’ ‘I think it is a Steelhead’.

Had to be a Steelhead, as the line was ripping out too fast for a Redside. He managed the rod and worked to regain line. It was tough. Somehow it felt a bit different. As he gained and lost line and moved toward the ‘fish’ he saw a darker then usual image tethered to the end of his line, attached to his fly.

A Muskrat! Normally, as close as a fly fisher comes to a Muskrat is to twist some dubbing onto some thread. A battle followed and the intent was to dislodge the Stonefly from the Muskrat, not just cut the line and leave the poor critter to fend. After a careful landing, the three fly fishers tentatively and cautiously contained the wild animal.


Now my dentist performed a procedure, tool (pliers) in hand, akin to a normal work day. He damn carefully avoided a pissed off Muskrat’s teeth and removed the Stonefly from the corner of the critter’s mouth. The barbed fly (another damn good reason to barb your flies) backed out and the three fly fishers stood and backed off as the animal, stunned made its’ way down the shoreline to a resting place, before further retreating into some tall grass.

Yep, ducklings, Muskrat Love…..what next?   Wildlife on Deschutes R. area





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