May 13, 2014

Deschutes River Discovery & Walk

ALASKA 2014 Deschutes River Walk-001Before heading into Bend, I had spent the night at a “snowpark” on Hwy 97.  These area areas where a huge parking lot is available at the intersection of snowmobile & cross country ski trails. 

They can be used for overnite stays without fees and have picnic areas and restrooms.  I was surprised to see frost for the first time when I awoke this morning.

ALASKA 2014 Deschutes River Walk-003South of bend, I saw a sign about “Deschutes River Access” and since I knew I would be fishing it sooner or later, stopped to investigate.  First thing I noticed was a large sign outlining canoe & float trails through the area, with appropriate take-outs & put-ins that avoid the few rapids that are along this area. (Upper Deschutes). As luck would have it another sign stated that fishing wasn’t open yet.

The trail looked nice and appeared to be a local favorite.  Since I have been trying to walk at least 3 miles a day, off I went downriver.  The crossing at an old log jam proved an interesting area for birding, with many insects moving down near the water.ALASKA 2014 Deschutes River Walk-005

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You just never know quite what to expect when you stop somewhere, but this indeed turned out to be a beautiful walk along what’s got to be one of the prettiest rivers in America!

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I walked to a nice falls area, and just enjoyed the water and sounds. 

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As I returned back across the bridge at the log jam, I thought to myself: “What a great way to start a morning!”ALASKA 2014 Deschutes River Walk-004a


FISHING the Crooked River!


By now, you’re probably wondering “wait a minute Sam, this is a fishing trip, right?”   Well yes it is, and thanks to a tip from my good friend Scott Peterson, I’m at the Crooked for two days of outstanding fishing.

The area fished was just below the Prineville Reservoir dam.  And you’re right, “below” or “downriver” up here is North!

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I did hire a guide for the first half-day from the “Fish & Field Fly Shop” in Bend.  Probably a wise move as he recommended an excellent campsite (Cobble Rock) where the fishing is literally “right out your door”.

No need to get up too early here either, as the fish really weren’t active until late morning.  The bite seem to last for a couple of hours, netting me well overALASKA 2014 Crooked River-004 THIRTY fish the first day with guide’s help.ALASKA 2014 Crooked River-003ALASKA 2014 Crooked River-006

Although he mentioned that we should be catching some “whitefish”, the days catch were all rainbows.  Top size on this River is about 15-16inches, but they are all “wild” fish (non-hatchery) and fight accordingly!

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That afternoon I spent some time exploring downriver, beautiful scenery with lots of good looking holes to try.

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The second morning, I went back to the same starting spot, and sure-nough, managed to catch another 17 rainbows and six nice whitefish.  I did save a limit today, including several of the nice whitefish, which made several filet packs for the freezer.

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So, now it’s back to Bend to figure out where to go next and try some of the craft beers in the area.