As 2016 draws to a close, I felt it was only fitting to pay homage all the amazing adventures I’ve shared with friends, family and clients over the past twelve months. I hope you enjoy this stroll down recent memory lane. It’s my sincerest wish that in 2017 you help me create many more.
Oh, by the way, I had a really hard time paring this album down, so there’s lots of it. You might want to grab a refill of whatever you’re drinking before embarking…
From the day in late January when my son, Jasper, and I floated from Warm Springs to Trout Creek. It was one of the coldest days I’ve ever been down there. We caught a ton of beautiful Redbands and this little wild Steelhead. The winter fishing on the Lower D was really fun. Hopefully all the powers that be can arrange for the river remaining open in the future but for this year it will close New Year’s Day.
From the day the FFO boys floated the Lower D in February. This is a fish our good friend and hugely talented videographer Stephen Yochum landed as the entire crew egged him on. Easily one of the prettiest Redbands you’ll ever see.
From the day out on the “O” during a trip when I ran off to cleanse myself of the Sportsmen’s Shows. Every year I take the dog, the bamboo rod, a box of tiny bugs and vanish for four days. This fish just had the nastiest face!
From the day in March our “New Guy”, Andrew stuck this slabby bull and had an epic tug of war as we watched from the bank. It was a fancy bit of angling and an amazing brawl. I knew on the spot that this kid could hang.
From the day Jasper and his God Father, Enzo floated the Lower in early April. It was a stellar day on every count. Enzo and I go waaaaaayyyyy back but this was the first time he’d ever hung and fished with Jazzy, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.
From the day in early April a crew from the shop drifted Trout Creek to Harpham. Martin and Andrew had both conquered Whitehorse for the first time. There was an element of celebration and appreciation for our lives that only happens from time to time. The fish was Gabe’s. The wildflowers adorned our camp.
From the Educational Weekend at Lake in the Dunes, April 15-17. This was easily the most fun I’ve had “working” in a long time. We had the coolest crew down there, camping, fireside hanging, catching large fish, learning and making friends. The weather was epic day after delirious day. We all felt blessed and I can’t wait for the event this spring! The first pic is the amazing Julie Furber brawling a toad. Middle is part of the crew, you know, learning stuff. The third is one of the biggest fish in the lakes, landed by Joe Devencenzi with head instructor Eddy looking on.
From the day Jasper and I hiked one of the gnarlier canyons on the Middle D in late April. I’d wondered about the accessibility for years. It was every bit as hard as I’d imagined, but the brown trout would not leave our chubbies alone for hour after epic hour.
From the day my friend and client, Bill, was given a trip down the river by his wife in late April. This hook-up began with a small-ish whitefish on one of his flies and ended with this “Birthday Bully” folded into the net.
From the day -just like so many before and since- when I rowed into the throat of the caldron, heart in mouth, adrenalin coursing. It’s about the biggest rush this old guy gets anymore. Whitehorse rapid welcomes Ruby once again. Click for drone footage
From the day in early June when one of my favorite clients, Pat Burch, played a hefty Redband as the clouds across the river roared with one roll of thunder after another. It was as powerful a storm cell as I’ve seen down there, thankfully passing us just to the south. A fire was torching the forest west of Sisters later that day, a result of the storms electricity.
From the day in June I was taking a “nature break” and turned around see see this! Any guesses as to how this movie ended?…
From the morning in late June I woke up in my cot to see the moon setting down canyon. Bonus points for anyone who can guess which camp this is…
From the day in early July when I was reminded how beautiful the Upper Deschutes is.
From the day in mid July the first new Sage X rod was put through the paces on the Lower river. I wrote a review, took time off to make a video review and still await my very own. It is, far and away, the finest all around fly rod I’ve ever played with. This was a very lucky client, Steve Peters, arguably the first person to fool a Deschutes Redband with the X.
From the day in July when Scott netted a fish for ME!!! We all know how many pictures have been taken with the positions reversed. How pleased he is for me is written all over his face.
From the day in July when a son solidly out-fished his dad!!!
From the day late July when this kid caught his first fish on a fly rod.
From the day in early August I spent with Juan and Shaina, two of my favorite Californians!! These two have been out with me a bunch and each day is more fun than the one previous.
From the day in mid August this slab marched me and my pal, Andrew, a hundred yards down river under the sweltering “Dog Days” sun.
From the day in August when this kid reminded me why I love my job so much!
From the day in late August I fished for a minute after “work” and this epic Redband found the grace in its heart to engage me and my ice-cold Sweet As beer. This is one of the only “selfies” I’ve taken with a trout in the last two decades.
From the day late August when Lola brawled a 20″ whitefish from the bar at Midway Island. It was as epic a battle as I’ve ever witnessed. Click here to see her first oar strokes
From the day in early September when both clients hooked up almost at the exact same instant.
From the day in early September the Remedi brothers came back to hang for a couple days. Two of the coolest guys I’ve ever had in the boat. And fishy too!
From the day in September we netted our first steel of the season on the “Day Stretch”. Making the moment all the more cool is two things: it was my clients first steelhead EVER. And I got to drink a beer…it’s customary.
From the evening in late September when I pulled in to my “home away from home” to camp out and this sunset exploded. That night would be the last balmy one of the year. Looking forward to that time…
From the day in October when Reggie DIDN’T fall in the river at Luelling’s Bar. One of the all time classic dudes ever! And I’m not saying that because he could have me offed with the tip of a finger. Or maybe I am…
From the morning in early October in front of Luelling Homestead where I’d spent the night with one of my favorite humans, the legendary Steve Paz. This is becoming an annual tradition and something I’ll look forward to every time.
From the perfect Autumn morning when Kim stuck this toad on the “Camp Stretch”. This foxy, fishy gal has not only become one of my better clients, but far more importantly, a true friend and someone I’d fish every day of the week, all season long. Look her up if you ever want the ultimate ski experience.
From the night in October at camp when everything went a little blurry…
From the day in late October when I fell back in love with the Fall River.
From the morning in early November when I woke up in Northern California to this sight. Sadly, a foot of rain had gotten there the day before I did.
From the day in early November when my friend, the world famous bamboo rod maker, Jim Hidy, took a picture of me putting a bend in one of HIS rods. Potentially a highlight in my thirty-plus years of angling.
From the day in mid November when Jasper solidly out-fished me on the Lower D, primarily using flies that Quintin tied! A changing of the guard, during the changing of the seasons. I’m totally cool with all that.
From the day in November when Jasper set into a nice fish and then tried to strangle himself. I gotta poke some fun at the kid if he’s gonna get better than me at this…
From the day that was today, December 27, 2016. Just me and the dog, hiking down from Mecca. A beautiful day. No one for miles. Constant action from the off. Grand Slam, just not the one I was looking for: Whitefish, Butter Bellies, Redbands and one stout little bull. This trout ate in skinny water and took me for an awesome ride before posing for the picture. Today was a day alternately fishing and spending time on her banks simply adoring everything about her. There was a sadness in my heart knowing I wouldn’t see her for four months. I feel we’re being separated unnaturally, for all the wrong reasons, like her dad isn’t comfortable with how close we’ve become and thinks that time away will ease the bond. Foolish dad. Our reunion in April will be heralded with the fanfare it’s due. Until then, she’ll reside in a special corner of my heart, languishing, knowing I’m hers completely.
Happy New Year, Everybody. It’s been an honor entertaining you in any way I have. Let’s all have an epic 2017.