Posts Tagged ‘Crooked River


someone down below…

otherwise solitude. Lost in thoughts, reading the water, escaping the echo chamber. Beautiful day and trout caught/released too.


time flies…

For the fun of it, my son, Tony, and I recreated an image from 30 years ago along the Crooked River in Central Oregon. I found the old raincoat and Tony found a red hoodie….we found the spot along the river’s edge and family took the shot. It was a lot of fun….


looking back…

Some 50 years ago, I started fly fishing the Crooked River in Central Oregon. My family and friends enjoyed many camping trips in the canyon back in the day…the river always runs off color but has many beautiful trout. My sons all caught some of their first trout on this river.


Here’s a pic of my youngest son, Tony many years ago.


time to think…

“The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble — to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills.” Philip Connors

chimney rock-crooked river-Oregon-SwittersB2


Chimney Rock (Crooked River)

The Crooked River is a tailwater fishery SE of Prineville, Oregon. One spot we frequently camped at was below Chimney Rock along the river. Great fly fishing and usually quite private. This image is from 1991.

chimney rock-crooked river-Oregon-SwittersB


Deep in the Recesses……………

of the recently flooded garage have been some worthy discoveries of items found tucked away and unused. I have spent days pulling soggy stuff out to dry off and to cull out stuff long since forgotten, untouched and unneeded (see my related post over at Hoarding Woes & You).

But, while prowling around, I came upon a couple fun finds that gave me fond recollections of less complicated times when my priorities were clear, simpler and fulfilling.

OreGeoNamesSBAlong with many maps, books on rocks, trees, birds and wildflowers, my wife and I always had this book along as we explored every remote corner of Oregon. We used it to help us understand the history of those remote blips on the map that we might have just whizzed on by moving from point A to point B. It made us slow down a bit to ask questions and learn.

Tucked inside the book was a hand drawn map my Harry Teel providing general instructions on how to find the Foley Water on the Deschutes River. This map was drawn 25 years ago when the access was simpler and the area less developed. The discovery of the map brought back many fond memories of Harry and Dee Teel while we visited them in their fly shop in Sisters, Oregon or shared dinner one evening on the Crooked River.

Teel Foley mapSB

Foley Fall SwittersB

Foley Water this past October

Tucked up atop the broken water heater was a wooden plaque. Years ago, Harry Teel offered a fun incentive for fly fishers. If you could catch and release a fish over 18″ with proof, he would construct a wooden fish plaque for you and attach a label commemorating the C & R on the plaque. The plaques were displayed all around the shop walls. I worked to get that plaque. My first fish was in 1988, and subsequent ones didn’t come until 1991. Eventually, Harry and Dee Teel sold the shop in order to retire. The new shop owner didn’t want the tradition to continue so I arranged to retrieve the plaque before it was discarded.

plaque fishPlaque2Plaque 1

Of course, many fish (small and larger) have been brought to hand since those times. But, those were wonderful times when Harry hoisted my plaque on the shop wall; and when hand drawn maps led the way to ‘secret’ spots in then remote canyons.


Deschutes River Passage: Restoring Runs & What All Goes Into It.

“A 12-pound male salmon, one of thousands of Chinook that biologists and volunteers released into the Upper Deschutes tributaries above the Pelton-Round Butte Hydro Project in 2008, has made history. It’s the first fish to return. A fish with its right maxillary bone clipped — a marker indicating it was released in the Upper Deschutes tributaries, swam into the Pelton fish trap on May 25. The fish had migrated down the Deschutes River in 2009, spent two years in the Pacific Ocean and swam up the Columbia River and 100 miles up the Deschutes.”                                                                                                                   

The first Chinook to return to a release area of the upper Deschutes River.

The Deschutes Passage has been an interesting project to study on many levels. The passage way construction, introduction of steelhead and salmon fry into upper tributaries of the Crooked, Metolius and Deschutes Rivers, habitat reconstruction, club participations, stream flow efforts….all the associated issues with getting Steelhead and Salmon to return above Pelton Dam. It is worth going back and reviewing the news releases and ‘science’ behind this 15 year long project if you have any interest in stream restorations or ocean going species. This returning fish is not new info. The piece is over a year old, but the project as a whole is worth digging into including recent news of some concern about the sockeye run.

 Deschutes River Passage   The archives of the Bend Bulletin might be useful also

Promoting Youth Into Fly Fishing (as the novelty fades…make it their own)


Tyler Befus & Al Cauci

Tyler Befus & Al Cauci in photo. ‘Tyler Befus may only be 10 years old but has already been fly fishing and tying his own flies for more than seven years. His fly fishing journey began when he was old enough to go along in a child backpack. He started fly casting and fly tying before the age of three and landed his first fly caught trout on his own shortly before his third birthday. He is the youngest member of the Ross Reels, Rio Products, Inc., Oakley, Simms Fishing Products and Whiting Farms prostaff teams and is a Signature Fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. Tyler frequently presents kids fly fishing programs at numerous fly fishing and outdoor sport shows around the country….’

 Tyler Befus has had some strong guidance and promotion in his ten years. His site is fun. He is published. He is confident in his presentation. He will hopefully maintain this apparent passion for the sport as he transitions away from his guiding hand…probably dad? This is enjoyable to witness as a parent, family member or nearby adult friend. I know this because my son, Tony was tying at NW Sportsman’s Shows and Fly Tying Expos at 9 y/o. We toyed with publishing a youth fly tying book years ago, but time did not allow for it to happen and the novelty of age passed by. He caught the bug at a young age and eventually made the passion truly his own.

Tony Muncy Teaching in the NWFFO Loft (3/7/09)

Tony Muncy Teaching in the NWFFO Loft (3/7/09)

 Above you see Tony, just today, at 19 y/o, teaching a stillwater class at the fly shop (NWFFO-Portland) where he has been fortunate to work the last few years. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the growth and especially the process, when the young adult makes it all their own…Today, Tony said sometimes he is surprised at how much he has learned over the years. It is refreshing to see he was paying attention. Good luck to Tyler Befus and to all the other boys and girls enjoying the sport in varying degrees. We welcome you. Dad, Mom, Aunt, Uncle, Mentor….remember these formative times.

Tony Muncy, Dad @ Crooked River, 1981

Tony Muncy & SwittersB (Dad) on Crooked R. 1991

At an early age, say 7 or 8, Tony would accompany me to a Tuesday night meet for the NWFF Club in Troutdale, Oregon. This was intended as a relaxed learning experience for both of us and a side benefit not foreseen by me was the interaction with adults, mostly men. Tony was the only youth at the meetings. He wandered about and was immediately engaged by men, who (I love them) drew out conversations and challenged him to respond with more than shyness or mumbles. Tony has never been void of words, but he learned early on to not brag, BS or fabricate (traits of normal fly fishers) because his skills were intially suspect…but, in time club members came to respect Tony’s tenacious ability on a lake, sitting well below the top of the back rest of his float tube . This was a great experience for Tony and me as well because I saw him blossom and develop without me standing over him. He did it on his own and I owe a debt of gratitude to too many men and women to mention, but in particular to John and Jack Hagan, Shirley Hagan, Tim Evans, Jack Lynch, Todd and Peggy Sloan, Lee McKee…well there were many.


This club award was special to 10 year old Tony, but aggravating to some club members. Why would you give such an important award to a boy? I appreciated the recognition for Tony’s enthusiasm, but knew there were many men and women in the club who devoted many hours to club functions and missions. But, the message was clear that the club needed new blood, that the club should encourage other kids into the mix and that Tony was a special kid in his own right. For those that sacrificed or argued nay at the time, your club’s acknowledgement went a long way in Tony’s self esteem and comfort as a young man today.

Tim Evans and Lee Clark were first responsible for gathering Tony up and convincing me to have him tie at the Portland Sportman’s Show. Back then it was sit up in front of everyone, in the middle of the action,  hooked up to a microphone, camera and monitors activated and hold forth for an hour. I can still recall when Tony blazed through an hour’s worth of material in thirty minutes and ad libbed his way through with a couple more unplanned for patterns, up on stage, for the remaining thirty minutes. He was wedged between Dave Hughes, Brian Chan and Denny Rickards that day and he did a wonderful job….most of us know how nervous we would be in the planning, preparation, over thinking it and the actual event. Tony continued this a few more times at the Sportsman Show, the Fly Tying Expos in Eugene and the FFF show in Seaside. He was recently invited to tie in a Boise, Id. show, but had to decline because of work and his fire fighter internship. In short, involve your child. If you don’t smother, over manage, over plan, over instruct your child will blossom before your eyes, making it slightly easier later when they start moving out in their own direction. You will have helped pave the way.


Brian Chan, Tony Muncy, Dave Hughes

Brian Chan, Tony Muncy, Dave Hughes


PGE, and the Crooked River steelhead restoration (Opal Springs Dam fish ladder)


I noticed in researching the Deschutes Passage site there was reference to the Crooked R. having steelhead being contingent upon a fish ladder being constructed at the Opay Springs Dam. I have questions re this project. What is the status of this project? In further researching the fish ladder at Opal Springs, I found this Priority Table for necessary steps to complete the project.    (Priorities 2008)

Salmon and steelhead migration restoration (The Outline of a Plan)
The multi-organization agreement for relicensing Pelton Round Butte lays out a comprehensive fish passage program, including a solution to facilitate juvenile fish collection efforts in the Round Butte Dam forebay. Efforts will include (all dates are approximate):

  • Construction of a 273-foot tall Selective Water Withdrawal tower to be completed in 2009. The tower will attach to the present deep intake and rise out of the lakebed about 700 feet upstream of Round Butte Dam. It will be capped with a rectangular shaped intake module that will collect migrating fish and separately send water to the generators. The tower and related facilities should cost about $90 million.<!–
  • Reintroduction of spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead in the tributaries above Lake Billy Chinook starting in 2007. (As juvenile resident kokanee migrate downstream, they may naturally convert to sockeye salmon in the process. If a significant portion of the kokanee becomes ocean-going sockeye, a major new fishery would be established.)
  • In the spring of 2009, the Selective Water Withdrawal tower will be operational and begin collecting migrating fish. The fish will be collected by a screen on the surface of the wedge, piped to a fish handling facility, and then transported downstream of the project where they’ll swim to the ocean. The water from the tower will separately pass through turbines at the base of the dam to generate electricity.
  • Long term, biologists predict that at least 96 percent of the juvenile fish collected at the water withdrawal tower will be safely transported downstream of the project.
  • By 2010 and 2011 the adult salmon and steelhead should begin a return trip from the Pacific, up the Columbia and Deschutes. They’ll be captured at the Reregulating Dam, then trucked upstream past the dams to complete their life cycles.
  • The improvements will potentially reopen 226 stream miles to salmon and steelhead migration (contingent on installation of a fish ladder at Opal Springs Dam on the Crooked River).

 Opal Springs, Central Oregon (Description)

 Opal Springs Dam is on the Crooked River in Jefferson County, Oregon and is used for hydroelectric power purposes. Construction was completed in 1985. It has a normal surface area of 5 acres. It is owned by Deschutes Valley Water District.

Opal Springs is rock fill. The core is assumed to be earth. The foundation is assumed to be rock, soil. Its height is 20 feet with a length of 177 feet. Maximum discharge is 10000 cubic feet per second. Its capacity is 58 acre feet. Normal storage is 41 acre feet. It drains an area of 3800 square miles.



Concerns in 2006: Crook County

“BE IT REMEMBERED THAT the regular meeting of the Crook County Court was held on September 20, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. in the Paulina School Gymnasium located at 70050 SE Paulina City Road, Paulina Oregon…”


CROOKED RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL/BERTA YOUTEE           (Residents concerns about Opal)  

“Berta Youtee, Acting Interim Chair of the Watershed Council, reported on the Watershed projects, the search for a new coordinator, the 1997 establishment through legislation of the Council, two-thirds of the funding for the Council and projects coming from the lottery, the partners involved that contribute which are Crook County Court, Extension, and Soil and Water Conservation District and the 60 projects done which have involved 50 landowners.   Ms. Youtee said the Council has brought in over three million dollars in grants and has been working on several big projects.  She described one project that involved twenty seven miles of creek, both the South Fork and Beaver Creek and six landowners.  The Council works with landowners that need a connection to accomplish a goal.  The Council does writing of grants and assists in finding funding to accomplish the projects being worked on by the landowners to improve the land, creeks and rivers, habitats and grazing areas.  Ms. Youtee said the Council wants to keep local control and feels the Council has built a lot of trust in the County. 

Judge Cooper and Ms. Youtee discussed the  possibility of the steelhead introduction and the lack of a plan for a local Central Oregon manager to oversee the project. Judge Cooper said he thinks since this is the largest re-introduction of this species in history, it would be really good to have someone locally on the ground, and talking with the local residents and landowners.  Commissioner McCabe said this is going to impact the lower and upper Crooked River.  He had been in a meeting yesterday and the people were not forthright with information.  He said they have a plan for a screening diversion, planning on screening the streams and ditches which is costly.  Discussion was held regarding trying to get a direction on this so it doesn’t impact as  hard.  Commissioner McCabe cautioned the use federal grant dollars because there are strings attached.  Tim Deboodt, County Extension Agent spoke of the Watershed Council and the Soil and Water Conservation District coordinating on grants and becoming active with the landowners, creating a buffer for them during the re-introduction process.  Commissioner McCabe said this is a 13 year project.  Kirk Wineberger discussed the release being scheduled for next fall of 2007 with the adults returning in 2011.   Bob Williams related his experience when he lived on the John Day River and the Bridge Creek project.  At that time, there was discussion of charging $10,000 per fish caught in streams and ditches, and water down to 10 CFS.  Judge Cooper said he thinks the train has already left the station on this project.  Commissioner McCabe said there has already been fish turned out with tracking chips that have been tracked to the Pelton  Dam.  He talked about the $100,000 fish ladder at Opal Springs. 

 Judge Cooper discussed the Bull Trout  and the cold water temperature required while some water that comes out of the ground is already at 78 degrees and there is no way to cool the natural temperature. 

 The Court and audience discussed the Klamath Falls problem with the fish and irrigators in the Klamath Basin, the lack of water for the farmers and the hope that the introduction of the Steelhead does not bring this area to the point the Klamath Basin endured.

 Judge Cooper said that he and the Commissioners delivered that message strongly when they were in Washington D.C.  The goal is to not let that happen, and there is a strong commitment to make sure it doesn’t.

Pelton Round Butte is the only hydroelectric project in the U.S. jointly owned by a Native American tribe and a utility. Currently, the project is two-thirds owned by Portland General Electric (PGE), headquartered in Portland, Ore., and one-third owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWS), through its Warm Springs Power Enterprises. (CTWS consists of the Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute tribes.)

The Tribes purchased their first interest in the 465-megawatt project from PGE effective Jan. 1, 2002. They have the option to purchase additional interests up to a maximum of 50.01 percent as early as the year 2029, according to the ownership agreement. The Reregulating Dam powerhouse remains wholly owned by the Tribes.

Deschutes Passage

Deschutes Passage

(check out pages 3 and 4 for discussion of costs for the project at Opal Springs and approval given)    

This project (The Deschutes River Passage) is moving forward but the language seems to indicate that the passage of steelhead up the Crooked River is contingent upon a fish ladder at Opal Springs Dam. I can see that funding was approved. I am trying to find any indication of work started at the dam. Let me know if something has commenced as of this date.    


First Fly Fisher Trout~Crooked River and beyond

Tony & Dad~Cobble Rock, Crooked R. 1991

Tony & Dad~Cobble Rock, Crooked R. 1991

At a very young age, Tony was scouting the drift below Cobble Rock on a chilly May day. Later, he would catch his first trout with a flyrod, a hundred yards or so upstream from this spot.  


Tony's 1st. Flyrod Trout~Crooked R.

Tony's 1st. Flyrod Trout~Crooked R. 1995

 In the beginning, there was a spinning rod with either Power Bait or a casting bubble (I’d cast-he’d retrieve) and a dry fly. Early on he enjoyed ‘The Moment’ and caught many trout. Later, I braved the frustrations of teaching him to cast a flyrod. It was, to be expected, too early and he struggled to coordinate the movements and I struggled to stay patient. But he did manage to flail away. On this day, I had positioned him on a safe rock with room to back cast and within view of camp. I ran up to camp to get something when Tony started to yell. Christ, he had either fallen in or been bitten by a snake! But, in fact he had a beautiful Rainbow Trout on and was cranking away as he had with a spinning rod at a lake. I stood there and watched him move off the rock and instinctively stop cranking. The fish moved through the threads of the currents and Tony moved slightly downstream with it, and I moved below. He walked and cranked and soon the trout was feisty in the shallows. I grabbed the leader and hollered for a camera to record the blessed event. Photographed and released, both of us a bit adrenalized for different reasons, watched the fish shoot from the shallows to the safety of a riffle. Tony had caught his first trout with a fly and flyrod. He had also reinforced C & R as a dominant practice. The surge of confidence at such a young age has never waned.

Tony~Bench L. Kamloops

Tony~Bench L. Kamloops


Still Having Fun

Still Having Fun


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