Last week I took a run-up to the Upper D after work to see what we could scare up. With me was my partner in all things, Jennifer. We were on the water by 6:15 and knew that the magic hour around dusk wasn’t too far off. As usual, she hooked up within the first few minutes, but I wasn’t having much luck. I ended up with a few takes but nothing I could get a hook into. When a mother mallard herded her brood of 8 ducklings right past us, and upstream I took it as a sign that maybe it was time to move on as well.
We went back upstream to a hole we had had some luck with a few weeks earlier. Again, a few takes, but nothing landed. I managed to get all tangled up in some reeds, so I took a few minutes to get out of the water and get things sorted out and re-rigged. It wasn’t long before I put my rod down and just watched in amazement at what was happening around me.
Countless small rainbows were hurling themselves out of the water to get at the midge hatch that was going off. Two herons were standing sentinel just upstream, watching us with a barely disguised disdain. One deer was feeding calmly in the reeds right next to Jen. Another appeared from the thick forest on the opposite bank, only to be surprised by our presence and quickly melted away back into the trees. Small squadrons of both ducks and geese were banking overhead. Alpenglow was slowly making its way up the shockingly bare southwest side of Mt. Bachelor. In short, we had entered an episode of Mutual of Omaha’s the Wild Kingdom set right here in Central Oregon.
Few people are lucky enough to experience this on a random Wednesday evening. People travel from all over the country to vacation here in our backyard. Never forget how fortunate we are to live here. I asked an older couple out for a walk that evening where they were from. They said Grants Pass and that they were just here camping for the week. They shared that they had recently bought a house there but were now regretting their purchase, having just seen the beauty that Bend and the Cascade Lakes area had to offer. For me, flyfishing isn’t about catching fish. It’s a reason to get out of the house and to have a chance on any given day to have an experience like the one we had that night. It’s a reason to get off the couch and allow ourselves the chance to become another small player in the dance that goes on each day around our rivers, lakes, and forests.
I never caught a thing that night, and really, I could have cared less.