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Rediscover Home Waters


I feel very fortuante to be able to live within walking distance to one of the true blue ribbon trout and steelhead fisheries in the Northwest. Having lived in the Maupin area now for over 15 years, it sometimes seems there is nothing for me to discover in this section of the Deschutes River.

I have my favorite sections of river, my favorite sections of sections even favorite rocks of favorite sections of sections. I have dissected the river down into tiny stitches of water, and know what has proven successful at what times of year, and what time of day. In short, it is easy to think that there is nothing to be learned, nothing new to try by going out and fishing this afternoon.

This is not to say that I catch a fish every time I go out. I don't, partly because I usually fish in short chunks of time. Grabbing a couple of free hours here and there. I usually pick out my primo spots for whatever season and water level, and give it a shot. But I am saying I feel that I have gained all the knowledge that can be gained for this area. Or more accurately most of the time I feel that way.

It is not the first time I have felt that way. Before moving here, I had another stretch of the Deschutes I called my 'home waters', much smaller and more remote. I fished it upwards of 90 days of year. Having to commute there, I spent more time there once I arrived. Of course I had much less responsibility back then, but it was nothing for me to drive 4 hours round trip to fish 4 hours on a day off. I felt the same then about that stretch that I do now about Maupin.

But it was just a couple of weeks ago, insted of driving to my fishing destination, I decided to walk. Walk along the riverbank. Taking in the river in great detail, slowly. Maupin is fished heavily and there are well worn trails to the best fishing spots. And frankly some trails lead to spots that have never been productive for me. Anyway, waling along, I noticed from the river abnk, the riverbed. I found a formation of rockbed that sub-consciously I have always liked to fish. Above that was a large rock that created a nice surface riffle, and a likely spot for fish to lie. Surprisingly there was no trail. The spot had the added advatantage of being inconspicous from the road, and of having no pull-outs for parking. You would have to be walking to spot it. There are plenty of pedestrians along the river acces road, but very few of them are fishermen. They, like me, have become lazy.

I found a gentle slope down to the river, and with little effort was through the brush. After just a couple of casts I had landed a nice 14-inch fat salmonfly stuffed redside. And a few minutes later another one. Moving up river and down river just 20 feet or so, produced a couple of more. Catching fish is exciting, catching fish in a new spot or new technique is more exciting.

I have been back three times, and except for the last time, when I missed two strikes, I have landed nice fish.

The lesson here though, is you can never know everything about a place. Nature changes too much. Perhaps the underlying surface had just changed last winter during a high water spell and created this up till now undiscovered fishing spot. Or perhaps it had been there for years, I don't know. But you can bet it has spurred my pioneering spirit, for me to keep looking for new ways and new spots to fish my home waters. And when I tire of exploring I have a whole repotoire of fishing spots and techniques to revisit like old friends.

Check out our Deschutes River 48 Fly Assortment: