Okay, boys and girls… Now that you’ve identified good bank water for Deschutes trout, it’s time to head down to the water. Approaching good bank water takes some consideration. It’s usually good because it’s steep and difficult to access. Why do you think trout like to live there? First, always think safety. You definitely won’t catch any trout if you fall and break yourself or your rod. Loose stones on riprap boulders are dangerous. Grass, either wet or dry can be very slippery despite having cleats on your wading boots. Furthermore, blackberry bushes can tear holes in your waders as well your arms or legs. The Deschutes has a healthy population of poison oak. This dreaded plant is always to be avoided especially if wet wading or fishing naked, as some of us occasionally do. Loose gravel on hard packed dirt is like marbles on hardwood floors. Take your time and scope out your path. It pays to have a game plan.
You must take some care when heading down your chosen path, you don’t want to kick rocks, sticks or an old rotting flip flop into your water. Creeping along and keeping a low profile is always a good idea. Remember, these fish make a living by survival.
You would be surprised how many times I have spotted a rising fish, carefully started down the bank with an eye on my target only to see another trout that was hidden from my view from above by a clump of grass or other structure. Now I get shots at two fish. If I had stomped down carelessly I would have spooked this second player.
Generally, trout will be facing into the current. We should obviously approach from behind our targeted fish, from a downstream position if possible. We rarely fish bank water from above the fish but there are a few spots where it’s your only option. This presentation takes ultimate stealth. Be mindful of back eddies… The current runs opposite of the main river. Consequently, the fish will be facing downriver. Watching the direction of foam lines is the key to success. If our trout are cruising an area we need to be even more cautious. If there is minimum foam, no shade, or little broken surface water the trout will be extremely wary. Cruising trout can be facing any direction at any time. While this doesn’t happen often on the Deschutes, every once in a while you’ll see it in back eddies. More times than not, this behavior will be seen in the winter months when low water temps will pull fish into calmer water. In the heat of the summer you won’t find many “cruising” trout because they will be drawn to faster water with more oxygen.
Getting yourself in to a good position to cast is important but don’t forget stealth. The next article on “How to rob a bank” will cover how to dress for success. Be careful, be stealthy and have fun!
-Larimer Outfitters Staff