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Metolius-Windigo trailhead by Lava Lake, OregonLava Lake





A Group of Men Flyfishing





All Standing Around Lying About Who Got the Biggest One




Elevation: 4,740 Feet

My brother and I had been thinking about putting together a three to four day, self-sustained rafting trip down the Deschutes River.  Since I had been white water rafting more than anyone else, I figured we could rent a raft, I could captain it and we could stop along the way and do some fly fishing.  My father kept balking at the idea because he had some issue with my never having guided a raft down anything.  I thought he was being a big lick by not thinking the life vest around his chest was more than just for comfort and warmth.

A curious doe at the campgrounds at Lava Lake - Cascade Lakes - Flyfishing Oregon

We trashed the river trip and decided instead to go on a flyfishing expedition.  My father picked out Lava Lake, a Cascade Lakes Highway west of Bend, Oregon.  He picked out the spot and we figured that doing it just after the big Labor Day Weekend, during the week would give us the least amount of competition on the lake.  The next day after Labor Day, we pulled into the campground and unloaded everything from the trucks and setup the very spacious trailer.

Shon ODonnell at Lava Lake - Flyfishing Oregon

We filled up the pontoon, the float tubes and got onto the lake for the late afternoon and evening shift on the river.  Dad gave us a quick bit of knowledge about casting and stuff, handed out some free flies (sweeeeeeeet) and we got on our way.  Hopping into the float tubes for the first time was a bit difficult, but the flippers help it out enormousely.  I had been flyfishing three other times, and I had been skunked each of those times.  Hell, I think I had only really had about three bites in the enitre time I had been out.  Twice on the Upper Crooked River and once on the deschutes just north of Bend.  It was fun, but frustrating.  And slooooow.

After an hour of not too much and a few little fish from my dad and brother, I hooked into a fish that felt it had a bit of spirit on a dry fly.  I got it up to the float tube without too much trouble, but once he saw the boat or felt some impeding doom coming, he took off straight away from the tube, zinging my line out.  I hadn't got a good look at the fish, so I didn't know if it had too much size.  I played a bit with it at a distance before starting to reel it back in.  When it got close to the tube again, it took off a third time.  I finally got it back and got it in the net.  It turned out to be about 13 inches, not really big, but respectable.

A couple of fawns at Lava Lake - Oregon

I was just excited to have finally caught something.  My older brother caught a lot of smaller fish and my father caught a fish about the same size as mine and another 17 inch fish on top of that.  The wind had died down and it was one of those peaceful, late sumer/early fall evenings where it was warm enough to be out on the lake without a coat on.  Once the sun set, it was weather in which a coat was a necessity.  Shon wanted the fish, so he got to cleaning and gutting the fish.  I don't really care for any type of fish other than white fish and shark.  My favorite is a grilled halibut with diced macadamia nuts, tomatoes and parmisian cheese baked on top of it (Kylos in Lincoln City, Oregon).  We built up a nice fire, shot the shit, and had fantastic BBQ'd steaks and salad on a Rockwellian, chilled September evening.

We got up at the crack of 8:30 the next morning and hopped out bed to a crisp morning air.  We had loads of crispy bacon and a misers dozen of eggs between us.  The early morning on the lake yielded little to either me or my brother, but my father was able to catch a nice fish about the same size as his smaller one from the day before.  Shon caught a lot of smaller ones, but no real keepers.  I think I had three or four bites all day, but no fish.  Being skunked is never any fun.

Bike track? Or Horseshoe pit? Metolius-Windigo Trail - Mountain Biking Oregon

I took an afternoon bike ride on the Metolius-Windigo trail.  I was going to do a quick to and back up to Hosmer Lake.  The trail winds around north end of the lake and then out into the high desert forest.  It was slightly technical, but there was a lot of slightly technical.  And the trail had about 2-3 inches of dust and desert pumice.  It would have been a great ride had it not had the thick dust, but as it was, it wasn't all that great.  I was planning on doing a ten mile round trip, but I turned around after 3 1/2 or so, because it just wasn't all that fun.  I was even having to pedal downhill to keep any speed with the sand just robbing you of half the fun of mountain biking.  I would like to come back to it at another time and have some more fun on it maybe in the middle to late spring.

20050905 - Lava Lake 023.jpg

We went out fishing later that night, but the wind picked up and never died down.  I got a couple of bites again, but came up nathan.  No one really caught anything.  Now, my brother hadn't caught any keepers, but while he was out of our site, he evidently hooked into a big one.  Normally, my bullshit alarm would have been blaring like Eddie Murphy's wife when he tried out the line "I was only giving her a ride home..." line, but he had a stinking witness, an impecable witness, the man who ran the lodge.  Personally, I think he paid the guy, but I can't prove anything.  Shon fought it for a while before it jumped up into the air and beheld the spectacle of a supposed three pound trout.  Again, it would be blaring, but you can't imagine the guy in the lodge going cheap.

I find that flyfishing requires a lot amount of time and patience, not necessarily my two strongest points.  I enjoy doing it when you get something, but there can be a hell of a lot of time in between.  And it seems at time you have to be part entomologist and part time sooth sayer, but I think if you end up putting time into it, you get a bit better at catching fish more often.

Metolius-windigo mountain bike trail by Lava Lake, Oregon