November typically signals the end to river floating season. In the past, seeing November roll around was a bit depressing. No more floating, fishing is pretty much over and the days are really short on daylight. It seems nowadays there’s no shortage of things to get done in November, so it’s not all that depressing, but it still marks the end of river floating season. And wow, was 2017 a season for floats.
I feel very lucky to be able to live in a place that I can float 7 rivers in a year (some multiple times) all within a one day drive of the doorstep. So these are my thoughts reflecting back on a year of being lucky enough to float over 360 miles on 7 rivers in Oregon in 2017.
How amazing is it to have the Deschutes as your backyard river? 1.5 hours to the put in, abundant permits, amazing trout fishing with bonus steelhead in the fall, and great camping and even hiking if you make the time for it. Trips to the Deschutes are kind of the bookend to the floating season. It is typically one of, if not the first trips of the season and is also commonly the last trip. It seems like it is always a good time to float the Deschutes with a wide season of good weather, predictable flows and great fishing, I don’t know what else to ask of a river. Fishing seems like it is on the decline, but I don’t ever see a year in the future without the Deschutes.
It was a first for a trip down the Owyhee and I dearly hope it’s not the last. If it is possible to float this river every year (unlikely due to flows) I would. Remote and beautiful it is a true favorite and I can’t wait to go back. It’s hard to describe, so maybe I won’t try.
North Fork John Day
A river of contrasts. Starting in the high mountains and ending in the juniper plateau country. This river passes through what may be my favorite part of Oregon.
The longest undammed river in Oregon and wow does it flow free. Usually a reliable bass fishery in mid-summer, it can be crowded and remote at the same time. Canyons and rock walls that you have to see to believe, and some of the longest trips you can do on a river. This was a multi-trip river in 2017. From bass fishing to star-gazing, this river has it all.
Clear and cold, the McKenzie may be the best water in the state. If you haven’t seen the magic of how clear the water is you would never believe me. Typically a day trip and mostly fishing for planters while watching the splash and giggle crowd float by, once in a while you hook into a surprise. An essential annual trip. Quintessential Oregon.
A bit of a drive from home compared to most rivers and hard to hit right if you really want to get into fish, it is well worth the drive. Campsites to die for, a fun float for all, why haven’t I floated here more? Something to ponder over the winter.
The magica river. Enough said.
And back to the Deschutes
And so the sun sets on another river season. Time to start planning for next year.