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Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.

Deschutes
by Mark Littleton
07/01/2003

Iíve found that in this life there are lessons that need to be learned over and over again. You know what I am talking about. The kind of thing that you do and say ďIíll never do that againĒ, then the next time you run into that situation, you make the same mistake again, just like you had never done it before. For me, the Deschutes is one of those. Iím never going back there again Ė until next time.

The Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes is legendary. This is a prolific hatch of giant bugs that are said to make the fish feed like Anna Nichole Smith coming off of a diet - stupidly gorging. Stories abound of fisherman who try to be there for this hatch (in late May or early June), and never make it there at exactly the right time. I have never hit it exactly right. This year Randall, his cousin Chris Bolm and Jim Hill the fly tycoon, decided to once more try to be there at the right time.

Iíve been to the Deschutes quite a bit and have a somewhat jaded view of it. I have never had what I would consider to be great fishing there. Until recently I always told myself that I wasnít there at the right time or that I just hadnít figured it out yet. My current theory is that the Deschutes is just plain overrated. These days I go to the Deschutes once or twice a year. I donít go more often because it takes me at least 3 months to forget what an awful place it is. No matter how miserable the trip is, I always come back for more - eventually. The lessons that never make it from short-term to long-term memory are:

1. This is a windy, hot, desolate, snaky, hot, god forsaken, windy, nasty, snaky, hot, rotten, windy, miserable, hot place. Beautiful, but did I say hot, windy and snaky?

2. The fishing is as good or better near the road, as anywhere that you have to hike in to. This is one I keep learning the hard way. Even though I knew this last year, this year Randal, Chris and I took a hike to the undisturbed water far from any vehicle access (Jim wisely stayed and fished near camp). Our little outing started out pleasantly enough, a late morning hike along the railroad tracks. Then we started to find ways down to the water, usually through ideal rattlesnake habitat. We were fighting about who had to lead the way since the guy in front is the most likely to step on a rattler and get bitten. Randal, who hates rattlesnakes, tried the old ďyou know itís always the second guy who gets bitĒ trick. Chris and I didnít fall for that one, and kept maneuvering to be last in line. After a fairly unproductive late morning/early afternoon we headed back to the truck in the mid-day heat. This turned into a grim, waterless death march. Back at camp, the smarter and better hydrated Jim seemed content with his day Ė triggering the urge to kill.

3. What do you do all afternoon? The best fishing is usually in the late evening. The days are hot and miserable and the campgrounds offer almost no shade. This leaves a big chunk of your day with nothing to do but swelter and whine. One day we tried drinking to see if it would make the day pass more pleasantly, it didnít.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This pretty much sums up my relationship with the Deschutes River.



More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
05/01/2013: Subaru Magic by Randal Sumner
01/19/2012: Ding Ho by RandalSumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
11/30/2006: Old Whitey by R.Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
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12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
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09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
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07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
04/01/2001: What Are They Doing Up There? by Mark Littleton
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner