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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.

Road Trip to Paradise
by Randal Sumner

The last of April provided some beautiful hot weather, and as the temperature went up so did the Yakima River. Spring runoff: the bane of trout bums everywhere. The Yakima turned from low, clear and perfect to brown churning soup.

The trout bums have a contingency plan for this annual event: we take a road trip to the Deschutes River in Oregon. Our day started with a healthy dose of bacon and eggs. The bacon grease surging in our veins, we loaded the gear in Mark's Suburban, Goldie and drove like the wind. The trip to Maupin is only about two and a half hours. Dropping down the hill into Maupin from The Dalles you get your first glimpse of the nasty old Deschutes boiling down the canyon. It's big, it's fast, it's deep, the color is emerald green, you instantly recall the misery and frustration of fishing here, there is some hyperventilating. I used to have the same gut response cresting the road to the North Shore of Oahu and first seeing the surf at Haleiwa, surf bums, trout bums.

After buying a fishing license at the lumberyard we cross the river and make a stop at Canyon River Fly Shop. The owners John and Karen Smeraglio are both there to chat. I like these people and I have an idea John is a fine angler. The shop's inventory is no nonsense, just the good stuff. John gives us his usual vague, dreamy fishing advice. I understand, after all he is a fly fishing guide.

Here is what I know about fly-fishing productively on the Deschutes, you will be nymphing all day. Yes there are hatches and they can be fabulous, but mostly its deep water dredging, which I personally love. Real men Nymph. Fishing from a boat is illegal so you will be wading and walking all day. The wading is tough. Huge slimy boulders, deep pockets, fast currents and really steep ledge drop off's take there toll. As for the walking it's no picnic either. The Deschutes River canyon is perfect rattlesnake habitat. Unless you're from Australia most people I know find it a tad disconcerting to stroll among the vipers, bit dicey mate. Then there is the relentless wind howling through the bottom of the canyon, which is blessing considering the blast furnace air temperatures.

Why do we bother to fish here at all? I suppose its simple; this is great trout fishery that demands your full attention, skills, and respect. When you think you know something about trout fishing take it to the Deschutes and see how you do.

With all of that said this is the time (15th of May to the 15th of June) to be down on the Deschutes to fish the salmon fly hatch. Huge dry flies fished in the late afternoons, if you catch this hatch right it can make you look for real estate in Maupin.

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
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
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
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
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
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
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