Every Day in May Challenge: Home Waters

This is my view from my deck. The sign suggests a lot to me. My true home water below the sign is a three foot wide spring gurgling down the hillside into a wet land area behind my house. Habitat studies several years ago revealed some very small fish that had migrated up the spring from the nearby Columbia Slough.

No fabled home water out my back door or even an average stream with suitable trout. I can walk or drive five minutes away and brownline at the Columbia Slough for Carp. I have done that a time or two. Twenty minutes away is the Sandy River. A once above average Steelhead/Salmon river, it still manages some nice fish but at far less the runs of when I started exploring the waters. The Salmon River, which flows into the Sandy River, use to also be a nice Summer fishery for Steelhead and Rainbow trout. The Clackamas River is an hour away at most and it too has reasonable runs of Steelhead and Salmon, but a lousy put ‘n take trout fishery. Decent rivers, but they don’t light a fire on my passion meter.

Every Day in May Challenge graphics by Chadd VanZanten

 No, if I want to have space, better fishing and beauty, I have to drive a little farther: The Deschutes River/Maupin in 90 minutes; The Crook River 3 hours; The Hood River 90 minutes; The Wilson River 90 minutes; The Metolius River 3 hours; The McKenzie River/Middle Fork Willamette 2.5 hours are but a few home waters that I strive to fish each year.

The Deschutes River from above Maupin, Oregon

If I had to pick one “home waters” fishery that was out my back door, by that sign, it would be the Deschutes River. All of the others I listed have merit, plus others I didn’t mention in the vicinity. But, for year around fly fishing, remoteness and space plus desert beauty the Deschutes River would be it. Steelhead, Salmon & Trout occupy its length. All the insects are there. From the bank or from a water craft you will find solitude and the chance to hook beautiful fish. But, if I have to drive the 90 minutes to Maupin and fan out from there, that’s not too bad a deal either.