Welcome to Central Oregon, the land of trout, steelhead, and… bass?! For those who have been asleep the past ten years several of Central Oregon’s high cascade lakes have become home to substantial populations of hearty largemouth bass. Keep in mind this isn’t a post about conservation or invasive species. Its about bass fishing with Beulah’s platinum 9′ 9″ 7 weight.
Every summer I have a lull in my guiding schedule just before steelhead start to run in the Lower Deschutes. I have made a habit of heading up to the lakes near Bend during this time to escape the heat and do the stillwater thing. This time I was joined by my father in law Bruce Fox, lifelong Bend resident and fisherman.
For Bruce’s birthday each year “the kids” usually pitch in and we get him a Beulah rod. He has built quite the arsenal. One of the recent additions was the platinum series 9′ 9″ 7 weight. We decided to give this rod a field test chasing ole’ bucket mouth.
A few notes about this rod…
Accuracy: The way we do it this type of fishing is almost 100% sight casting so fly placement is key. You have to land the fly behind or off to the side of the bass so that the fish thinks it’s his idea to investigate the fly. The 9′ 9″ 7 wt is deadly accurate at medium to (relatively) long distance even casting huge not-so-aerodynamic flies.
Delicacy: Summer conditions on the Cascade Lakes are often calm and sunny. This year we have low water. If the fly line lands too splashy say goodbye to garbage gut… he didn’t grow that big by entertaining sloppy presentations. The 7 weight line lands softer than heavier lines, providing us with many opportunities under spooky conditions.
Safety: In our boat safety is an attitude! These bass are looking for a meal, not a snack. We obliged by casting giant streamers that I found in the saltwater fly bins at Deschutes Angler. These flies are big, and the hooks that they are tied on are down right scary. Now I trust my father in law to do his very best to avoid snagging me, but I am a little bit gun shy these days after taking a size 2 owner to the face back in April (winter steelheading accident). I have to admit that the extra nine inches of rod made me feel much more comfortable having a caveman sized hook zipping overhead.
It was a fun day, even with tough fishing and 90+ degree heat. We caught a handful of bass and even a few nice rainbows sipping callibaetis (the seven weight worked well for that also, not too heavy). We brought a few different rods but since we took turns fishing and managing the boat we never had to fight over the 7 weight.