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Outside » Outside Features

What the Fish Are Eating

It is feeding time for salmon and trout



Peter Bowers is the high-energy and disarmingly friendly owner of The Patient Angler, a popular fly fishing shop along Bend's Third St. The store is tidy and small, barely the length of a standard river fishing boat. But within the small space is both a wealth of knowledge and enough fishing flies to reel in every fish from each of the Cascade Lakes.

Bowers has been fishing his whole life. His grandfather first took him fishing, he says, and "down through the generations." Sixteen years ago, he turned his passion into his profession, against warnings from some friends who cautioned it might dampen his enthusiasm for fishing.

Just the opposite has happened. "I wake up every day without an alarm clock," says Bowers, adding, "excited to go to work."

"What is most important is to correlate where you are going with when," he says. Currently, he recommends Crooked River, but is most excited about opening for salmon fishing on April 26, when 100 miles of the Deschutes River fills with spawning salmon.

"Anywhere on the Lower Deschutes," assures Bowers. "As the water warms, (the fish) move upstream."

Exactly where to find the fish—whether salmon during springtime runs or brown trout in later summer—is a moving target, but Bowers provides an informative, yet informal, daily report: He says just call the shop, and he will provide recommendations for where to go and when.

The Patient Angler

822 SE 3rd St.

(541) 389-6208

Bend Fly Fishing Festival

10 am – 4 pm

COCC Wille Hall, 2600 NW College Way, Bend

What to feed the fish? A selection of recommended flies:

Blue Wings Olive: Right now, Bowers recommends fishing the Crooked River, a tributary to the Deschutes River, and especially recommends the Blue Wings Olive, which mimics a mayfly that "Loves overcast winter days," and that pulls out cold water trout.

Rogue foam # 4: With various colors, and with wiggly antennas, Bowers calls this a "big and ugly" fly. He adds, "it lands in the water with a whack; its' like a dinner bell (for the fish)."

Chubby Chernobyl: Equally plump and foreboding as the Rogue foam, this fly almost looks like it has a fanning Mohawk, and attracts salmon.

Caddisfly: "Every river, all summer," Bowers calls this the standard fly. Bristly, this fly almost looks like a broom head for a dollhouse.

Callibaetis: Another mayfly replica, Bowers explains that this fly, with perched wings, looks "like a little sailboat." During summer months, East Lake (east by northeast from La Pine) is hopping with mayflies, and with the trout feeding on them. Last year was a bumper crop. This fly floats casually on the water's surface.

Speckle-wing quill: Looking almost like a centipede, the fly hatches in the cool, shaded weeds. Ideal for pulling out rainbow and brown trout from any of the Cascade Lakes in June and July.

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