It’s time for fishing in Bend, Oregon!
I will cheerfully eat all manner of meat and fish, as long as I can convince myself the animal on my plate committed a heinous crime deserving punishment by death.
I tell you this so you know why I was nervous when I accepted an invitation from Deep Canyon Outfitters to accompany guide Michael Divita on a fly fishing trip. Deep Canyon has a reputation for making sure guests catch oodles of fish, and I knew there was a good chance I’d burst into tears if I actually succeeded.
We were joined by Visit Bend’s Director of Sales & Sports Development, Kevney Dugan, an avid fly fisherman. The three of us ventured north to Ranch at the Canyons, a breathtaking piece of private land where Deep Canyon has been granted rights to lead private trips on well-stocked lakes and ponds.
I was curious how Michael would handle the challenge of one client with expert fishing skills and one who wasn’t certain which end of the fishing pole to hold. Fortunately for all Deep Canyon clients, this is familiar territory. Michael estimates 50-percent of their clients are novices, 20-percent never-ever-newbies, 10-percent expert, and 20-percent intermediate-level fly fisherpeople (a gender-neutral term I’ve decided to invent in place of fishermen).
“I like teaching,” Micheal explained. “It’s a myth you have to be an expert to book a guided fishing trip.”
With the patience of a saint, Michael taught me two casting methods and offered tips for where to direct my fly and how to maneuver it to mimic the movements of a real bug flailing in the water. On my very first cast, he pointed out a fat big-mouth bass circling eagerly around the end of my line.
Though Kevney needed no such instruction, the novelty for him was fishing private waters not accessible unless he either books a trip with Deep Canyon or purchases a six-million dollar home on the property. He managed to land numerous trout and bass, all of which he placed gently back in the water in the spirit of catch-and-release fishing.
Throughout our half-day trip, we visited multiple lakes, caught hoards of fish, and drank dozens of a perfectly respectable number of craft beers procured from breweries along the Bend Ale Trail. All in all, the experience is one I’d recommend to fisherpeople of all experience levels.
Deep Canyon Outfitters was recently named “Expedition of the Year” by Orvis – an honor based on customer survey feedback Orvis solicits from customers who patronize Orvis-sponsored operations. They lead a variety of fishing trips on lakes and rivers throughout Central Oregon, including half-day, full-day, camping trips, and fishing expeditions in private waters.
Book early, as spots can fill fast in summer months!
So will I see you out on Central Oregon’s lakes and rivers this season? If so, do me a favor – make sure any fish you snag have a history of murderous or abusive behavior and have been convicted of embezzling from charitable organizations at least once. Thank you.