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Rolling down the Lower Deschutes with the guides of Fly and Field Outfitters in the Spring is about as much fun as you could ever want to have. The crew pulls out all the stops and I was treated to the experience as a client over the weekend.
The purpose of a shake-down trip is to ensure that all the boats and gear are properly set up for trips of this type. We embarked on a 3 day float from the put-in at Trout Creek with the take out being Harpham Flats. Bringing enough gear and food to fill the bellies of 6 grown men is no mean feat and the newly acquired "Barge" as we ended up calling it was going to be tested in many ways. Martin Ciszek was to be the Captain of the barge and we scooped up a few more of the guides including Shop Manager "Big Wave" Dave Merrick, Guide Service Manager Griff Marshall, Mitchell Malcolm, and Andrew Hasbrook - along with yours truly and my boon companion Dannyboy the wonderdog. My cameras and gear in tow, I was in for one magical experience after another.
Filled to the brim with camp/cooking gear, supplies, good cheer and way too much fly gear - we pushed off and headed down the river. We found ourselves in short company on the Lower Deschutes, and we were able to pull off on just about every spot we could ever want to fish - and we fished each spot super hard. Some of these spots there were easily a dozen fish brought to hand by each of us.
Wading gear from Patagonia and Simms along with rods and reels from Sage, Echo and Redington - we tested the boundaries of the manufacturers intended use over and over again. The main reason is to make sure they have their gear properly ready for the clients they take out on the water. Alternately this is a great way to share the experience and learn from each other the character of this water and each other. Gear for the weekend included a variety of single hand and switch rods purposed to feed our need to deliver dries softly, roll nymphs along the bottom, and swing streamers through the buckets found throughout this stretch of river. Lines from Rio and Airflo were the primary delivery tools for the chosen flies along with leader and tippet suited perfectly for these waters.
Legendary things happen when you are out on the water with good friends and companions. This trip was to be no different and the stories that came from it will be relived and retold for years to come. I can't say exactly what transpired during this trip, I can tell you that if you walk in and ask about it at Fly and Field Outfitters you might get a look and a whisper of what went down. Luckily all things work out for the best and the seasoned guides were able to pass on critical knowledge of the river and how to navigate some of the treacherous spots that it contains.