Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Oregonian Adventure... Part II, The Metolius

Usually when I venture out on a fishing trip, I pretty much know what to expect.  Especially, if I have been there before.  There usually aren't too many surprises.  I have done my homework on the selected river and usually have the box of flies that will get the job done.  Of course, there are those variables like weather and moon phases. (Yes, I do have strong feelings about a full moon the night before)  When I packed for my trip to Oregon, I just threw my boxes of flies in the suitcase and hoped for good intel from my friends who lived there.  I was going to a place that has the reputation for being very finicky and difficult to those that visit for the first time.  Or the second for that matter!  So, I would have to rely on "Lady Luck" to catch just one fish.  And I would be forever grateful for that one fish... Whatever it may be.  A redband trout, brown trout, whitefish or a coveted bull trout live in this crystal clear, 45 degree avg cold water of the Metolius River!  

I am a realist.  It's fun to dream, but I don't like disappointment.  So, I just told myself that any fish caught would be a win!!!  Truth be told, I just wanted to see one of the prettiest rivers in the nation.  The Metolius River has been on my radar for about 4 or 5 years.  I have seen pictures and have heard amazing stories from those who have been there.  It was time to see this "Heaven on Earth" that has fly fishing only sections and no commercial guiding.  My skills would be tested.  But heck, if you don't try, you will have regrets later.  So, Dan and I stayed over with my besties, Alice and John, after the day of crabbing.  Ha!  Try getting up the next morning to fish after having a 5 course meal at 9 pm!!!  We would meet up with our friend Jessie, who would travel down from Bend.  I hadn't seen her in quite a few years and was excited for the reunion.  Down the trail we went, excited and anxious to see what we could find.  Would there be any chance of a bull trout that had escaped me in Canada a couple of years ago?  The Metolius allows for you to target the bull.  Not all rivers do.  They must be caught and released though, as they are endangered.  My bucket list char would be a long shot at best.  

Another part of this adventure was to get my son, Dan, his first fish on the fly.  I had great people around me that could help with this.   I brought two sets of everything with me on the plane. Lol.  He was excited to try.  I will get my two boys into this sport before I retire from it!!! Someone needs to inherit one thousand errr... a few dozen flies and all the extra "stuff" in my gear box!

  On my third cast, I had a fish!  A sweet, little whitefish.  Whew!  The Metolius curse was broken.
  I could relax now.  Haha.  Alice was in disbelief and with her eyes rolling like...
 "Emily did it again".  Lol.  Lady Luck was with me, that's all I can say.  I was really expecting to go half a day without anything.  A few more casts and I had another whitefish. The "Queen of Whitefish", that's me!!  I was kind of hoping that it would have been one of those Redbands that I had heard about.  Well, I put out a few more casts.  And on about my tenth cast in this intimidating river, I had a another hook up on the end of my line.  Jessie, Alice, Dan, and John were above me on the bank looking down.  They started screaming!  "You've got two big bull trout chasing after your whitefish that you have on"!!!   Bull trout are very verocious predators.  I was shocked!  Was it finally going to happen?  I missed getting that bull trout that followed my cutthroat in Canada.  But, I had hope as Jessie scaled down the bank to try to net these fish for me.  I had an expert netter.  I kept my line tight and with very careful precision, brought the fish away from a fallen tree in the river.  Ugh...  We did not need any extra complications!  One of the bull trout latched on to the whitefish.  Reeling got tougher.  My arm was about to give out.  But, no pain, no gain.  Right???  Just keep going!  After a few more minutes, Jessie put out the net and with a swoop, I saw two fish jumping in it!!  My first reaction...

And the peanut gallery hooted and hollered.
Oh, and all Alice could say was, F-n Emily!  I think that was Frickin. =)
(I might have brought some magic in front of her before on a river.)
We have so much fun going back and forth.  Haha.

Believe it or not, the whitefish was ok.  
He gave me a few wiggles and smiled as he swam away.  Lol. 

Off the bucket list!  Hallelujah!!
It will always be one of the most incredible moments in my fly fishing journey.

Now....  It was time to get Daniel on a fish.  We moved down the trail to another spot and I asked Jessie to give him a mini lesson on roll casting.  He was a natural.  He picked it up quickly.  The rest of the gang went on down to the next stretch as I stayed back with Dan to cheer him on.  We were on a good corner.  I knew that it was just a matter of time.  

He caught his first two fish in that corner!!!  It made my heart happy.
 He spoiled me so much on this trip and I was glad the river gave it up to him.  Who would think that the same fly that I use on my home water would catch all of our fish... 
And it was my tied fly.  Bonus.  

  I don't usually get to share my river days with family.  So, it was extra special to have Dan with me on this adventure and for him to meet my "Friends of the Fly".
  It was a great weekend all around.

Special thanks and much love to Alice and John for giving us a fun filled two days in Oregon!
The crabbing was a once in a lifetime thing for me and the bull trout will probably be too!  Haha.

And to Jessie, who made the most amazing two fish grab with her golden net...
THANK YOU!!!   You are the best...

There is truly "an adventure in every riffle".  Since 2008, anyways.  =)



  1. That's our RD. Catching a Bull Trout. Not a small one, but a really HUGE one. I guess if you have to catch the first one (and maybe only) one, it might as well be a HUGE one. Which brings me to Dan. It's been my experience that if someone catches fish on the fly the first time out, a fly fishing monster is born. Example: Juan Lopez. Took him once and he caught a couple. Now he has about 15 fly rods. A great couple days with friends is always a good thing and to have your son with you, even better. Well done Emily.

  2. Mark - What a trip it was... Quite magical. Thanks for the comment. I do appreciate your friendship and support! I will never forget those teeth on the bull. My hand is far back from the head as you can see. And it definitely is the slimiest fish that I have ever tried to pick up. It wasn't easy!!! Lol. But, we got it done. =) I hope my son will join me again on the next trip. Pretty sure he will...

  3. Emily
    Some fishing trips one never forgets and this one will be remember by you and your son forever! You deserve a trip like this after the hardships you have suffered this past year. Take care and thanks for sharing a great post!!

    1. Bill - That is an understatement! I sure did need the R&R. You are right! The fish were just a bonus. It is soooo beautiful in Oregon. Can't wait to go back! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Take care.

  4. Really great story, Thanks for sharing.

    1. JJ - The anticipation of seeing a species never caught before was a killer. I couldn't wait to peek over the net. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  5. Emily that bull trout is one heel of a catch. A topper on a wonderful trip.

    1. Hi Alan! Yes, it was quite a thrill. I'm guessing that this will be my most exciting catch of the year. Now, to find some pretty brookies this weekend that don't have big teeth. =)