Trip Report A man and his dog on the Deschutes for a day

The forecast was calling for low temperatures in Maupin on Saturday morning, but I wasn’t too worried. It was also going to be a sunny day that reached to low 40’s. “We’ll just get out there are 9:30 instead of 7:30”, I told my dog. “You’ll be warm enough, I promise”.

The wife and her mother took a trip out to the coast for the weekend, which gave me and my boy a full day of uninterrupted fishing. I got the car packed up and we left NW Portland at 7:30. We only made it to Troutdale before my dog began to whine. “Alright bud, I’ll pull off and let you out to go to the bathroom. Hold on.” I pulled into the parking lot of the Taco Bell just off the freeway, let my dog do his business and then we were back in the car getting on i84 east. More whining and now shaking. “Oh, no. Dude, are you having a panic attack?”. The poor guy was so thrown off from his routine changing that he was going into a panic attack. I had to let him ride on my lap for about 30 miles before I could calm him down enough to put him in the back seat again. “Oh man, I really hope he isn’t freaking out the whole time out there”.

With the boy now asleep on the back seat, I was able to drive a bit easier and enjoy the views of highway 197. Stretches of heavy fog followed by crystal clear skies and really excellent views of Mount Hood, I knew I was going to have a good day. Now hopefully my dog does too. E1422C02-3A8D-483B-95D2-4265C583E061.jpeg 4C8A01C9-3801-428F-8B34-7C9C8591F241.jpeg
We drove down the access road and stopped at one of the public lands campsites. “10:05am, Well not too bad considering the emergency stop in Troutdale. Let’s go walk around a bit, Wesley”. With his nose to the ground we set off looking for what ever critter he was on the scent of. The temperature was around 28 or 29 degrees, but it was very comfortable. With the sun shining down I knew it was going to warm up fast. 104131F7-2D5D-4FFC-BB19-8F7C7E34BDC3.jpeg I pulled out the camping stove and began boiling water for some coffee. “We have a whole day Wes, let’s enjoy every second of it”. I looked at my phone to see how far behind my buddy was. No service. “Good. Don’t need it. I’m sure he’ll find me”.
As I was packing the car in Portland, my friend David messaged me to say he was going to meet me out there. We fished the Deschutes a few weeks ago and had one of the toughest days ever. Only one fish caught, and it was tiny. Today was going to be different.
David pulled up as I was finishing my coffee. “Cool, you made it! How was the drive?”, I asked. “I had to take it slower than usual. That frost was making me think there may be some ice”. We set up nymphing rigs and got going. There was a piece of slower water at the campsite we parked at. I lobbed one cast, got hung up, and lost both my flies. “Wow, I hope that isn’t how my whole day goes.” I re-rigged and we began walking down river looking for water.
C3E83179-AAA7-4E27-ADB6-84F3705C1CA5.jpeg We walked for about 3/4 of a mile down stream before finding more slow water. We hit a couple runs with no luck, so we kept moving. We found a cool little bank spot that was perfect for my dog, so we stopped to check it out. Perfect little run that had to have fish in it. A couple drifts and finally, “There it is! It’s small, but it’s got good fight to it.” A few impressive acrobatic maneuvers as I reel it in. Small little lady, but feisty as hell. DBDA2422-B154-4844-979E-436C5E19D97F.jpeg Now that the skunk was off the board, I was able to crack a beer open and enjoy the scenery for a bit. “David needs to get one now. No way he can get skunked two trips in a row.”
99C149CD-C9EC-47A4-B634-D2D7C8C8ADE7.jpeg 2A9B858D-5082-486F-B1CD-CAF398E2E434.jpeg I was able to spot a fish from my vantage point, and I began directing David where to cast. “No. Recast like 5 feet further”, I yelled. “That’s going to go right in front of it!” Nothing. “It’s still there. Tie something else on!” Recast. “Perfect, that’s going to be right in front of it!”. Nothing. Changes flies again. Nothing. 2569E2CE-58C5-49FD-B9AB-41433FADCE3E.jpeg
“Let’s go back to get the cars. We’ll eat some lunch and then drive further down river.”, I said. “Sounds like a good plan. I really hope I don’t get skunked out here two trips in a row.”, said David. “I can’t handle that long drive back after a skunking”. I reassured him, “Don’t worry, you'll get on at the next spot.”

we fished a few more spots before pulling up to another campsite. “This spot looks perfect. There has to be a fish in here! You’ll get one on your 4th cast”, I said. “You’re pretty optimistic”, replied David. “Hey, it’s better than being pessimistic”, I fired back.
About half an hour into it David finally gets a bite and proceeds to lose it almost immediately. “Wow, this is just unbelievable.”, David said in a defeated tone. “That’s winter fishing. It’s tough sometimes. At least it was a really nice day”, I said. “There go with that optimism again”, grumbled David.

We cooked a little dinner and packed up the cars as we ate. Wesley was exhausted and sleeping in the back seat. “Good he’ll sleep the whole way home.” I thought to myself. David and I said our goodbyes, and we we’re back on the road home to Portland. All in all, I had a great day.


Retired- Navy Captain,Forester,Forestry Consultant
I couldn’t agree more. Maybe I’m totally naive, but it seems to be extremely inhumane. Why the heck would you prolong an animals fear? Take them out quick, so they don’t realize what’s happening.
The Conibear traps in use today do exactly that (take them out quick). The old leg hold traps are no longer legal in WA and several other states.

Yard Sale

Huge Member
There was a thread about his a year or so back but IMO traps have no place along a popular year round fishery. I don't bring my dogs out there in the summer because of snakes, now I can't bring them out there because some asshat wants to profit off our public land with traps? Total BS....


Active Member
The Conibear traps in use today do exactly that (take them out quick). The old leg hold traps are no longer legal in WA and several other states.

They are powerful.
Especially once you finally get it off your foot (with the help of your buddy @DannyW) and it then clamps onto your fingers. Don’t ask me how I know this :).


Active Member
I’ll also add.

After contacting ODFW and BLM I was informed I was at fault and could of been held responsible to any damages to the trap.

I contacted the trapper and he was very apologetic. Although technically he was not violating any laws, he told me he would no longer set traps in that area. He also told me he would buy me a beer the next time I was in Maupin.


Active Member
There was a thread about his a year or so back but IMO traps have no place along a popular year round fishery.
I agree 100%. If it wasn’t a crowded area, I wouldn’t mind(well I would mind less), but with the amount of people out there fishing year round, it doesn’t make sense. I really enjoy having my dog with me out there, really sucks that I have to worry about him getting killed in a trap.

edit: I always have him tethered to me with a 26’ lead when we fish, but that’s plenty for him to get caught in a trap.

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts