Floating the Deschutes is like earning a merit badge in Boy Scouts. You have to work to plan the trip, find the right place to stay, book the guide, learn the rules. It’s a river that requires wading only, no fishing on the drift. The rainbow trout have a special name – red sides – they hit like a ton of bricks and require a special cross river set. When they’re on, the display is fabulous. Like streamlined footballs, they launch to dance on the surface, leaping two and three feet out of the river and then – in my case anyway – make eye contact as if to say “nice try – don’t forget how red I am”. The line goes slack.
My guest on the Deschutes, Jesse Lange, winemaker for the Lange Family Vineyard, in Oregon’s Willamette, hit a few white fish. His casting was spot on, crisp, confident, impressive.
I love spending a day on the river with new friends, mission accomplished.