Coming over from the Willamette Valley, Central Oregon seems like an entirely separate state. It’s rocky and dry, and the pines and juniper make the whole region smell different too. It is much harsher than the valley, with sharp volcanic rocks, steep canyons, and of course, rattlesnakes. But there’s something inviting about the landscape, the rivers, mountains and lakes that say, “come explore me, I bet you’ll catch fish.” This is trout country.
Folly Waters, or Foley Waters, or Folley Waters, is near the Crooked River Ranch and a bit off the beaten path, which is the kind of fishing I like. Wet wading in tennis shoes and shorts when it’s sunny and hot, in a picturesque Central Oregon canyon without anyone around is just about perfect in my book. We did run into one friendly mustachioed fly fisher whom I didn’t see until I heard him strip line from the reel, and we realized we’d been fishing 10 yards apart unbeknownst to each other; the whole stretch of river is pretty brushy. We were both surprised, and had a chuckle over it before I left him his spot on the river in peace.
Although the Deschutes is prime fly fishing, I’m sticking to my spinners for the moment. I did feel a pang of guilt about letting the dust collect on my fly rod, but in this particular spot, I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about back casting, as it is near impossible at the water’s edge. Although, on my last trip to this spot last year, I did manage a chubby whitefish on a nymph.
This time it was small brook trout on a small black spinner.
Sadly, most of the photos were blurry. It’s a shame, as they look like little jewels with golden bodies and ruby fins. I hadn’t caught many brookies before, and they’re really beautiful fish to look at. Some might call it blasphemous, but I think they’re prettier than rainbows.
It is tough to say one fished the Deschutes while going to only one place; the river is 250 miles long after all. It does make for a good excuse to come back again, and again. This is one small section on a long river with tons more to explore. I may not make it to all 1,000 places to fish in Oregon, but I’ve definitely got a lot more fishing to do on the Deschutes.