Fishing the Metolius River

From time to time I like to post contributions from people who have stories to share about their experiences in Central Oregon. This post was written by my dad, Wayne Seim. He is an avid fly fisher and loves fishing in Central Oregon.

Fishing the Metolius River

Less than an hour’s drive from Bend you can find some wonderful streams and lakes that attract fisher-folk from distant places.  The Metolius River is one of my favorites among this elite circle of waters.   It is unique. Emerging  from a giant spring, it runs cold and clear through an open forest of giant Ponderosa Pines.  Among other fish species, rainbow and bull trout thrive in the mixture of deep pools and sparkling riffles.   There was a hint of rain the day we arrived, a rare event here in July, and the campground was nearly empty.  We managed to level up our little fifth wheel in a great spot with a fine river view, sitting just about 30 feet from the rushing water.

Late afternoon found me casting small dry flies to a large rainbow, just feet from the bank.  It swam in clear view, coming to the surface to slurp tiny mayflies then sliding down a foot or so to watch for more.   Three changes in flies, and he finally rushed to nail my feather offering.  A strong fish, it was a challenge to finally lead him into the net for his portrait.   Even after I released him he hung around for a short photo shoot in the shallow water.
Fly fishing the Metolius River
That night it rained hard all night, a miracle event that must have made the record books but the river stayed clear and did not rise noticeably.  Walking along the river the next day I stopped to converse with an old geezer, just a few years younger than me, standing in a broad flow and casting a tiny number 4 rod to a host of large, rising rainbows.  “I’ve tried every fly pattern in my vest”, he remarked as I watched, “they ignore my best flies and my finest presentations”.    “Picky fish sometimes here on the river”, I remarked.   He was giving up and climbing out on the bank while I was exploring my fly box.  I selected a mayfly pattern, but only put dressing on the hair wing, leaving the rest of the body to sink below the wings, like a struggling emerger.   I took his place and immediately fooled a fat 18- inch rainbow with my new technique.   This was a strong fish that took all my attention to land without breaking the light leader.   After a brief photo session with this fish I was ready to start landing some more of the big trout still rising nearby.  Now, I thought, I have found the fly that will fool these selective slurpers.   Five minutes later another chunky rainbow grabbed the fly from the surface, but … no hookup.   Was I too slow setting the hook?   Two more times, big trout made splashy, frightening attacks on my fly without a hookup.   The emergence over, the fish quiet and my confidence gone, I retreated from the river with numb legs.   Securing the fly on the rod I found I could still feel foolish at 70.  The hook had broken at the bend, apparently when I landed the 18 incher.   Still I had my photo and a campfire ready to cook dinner waited back at camp, so it was another good day on the Metolius.
» Wayne Seim
There are three campgrounds along the Metolius in the Camp Sherman area.  Allen Springs, Allingham and Candle Creek.  There is also a fish hatchery (Wizard Falls) that is a fun place to take kids.  You can buy food to feed the fish which often include some really big trout that put on a great show chasing the food.

The closest communities to this section of the Metolius are Camp Sherman and Black Butte Ranch.  If you would like to know what kinds of properties are available for sale in those areas please give us a call.



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About Dan Seim

Dan Seim is the primary contributor to Preferred Residential's blog. He has been writing about real estate issues that affect home owners in Bend and Central Oregon since 2011.