Jeff Hickman, Deneki Outdoors alumnus and celebrity Oregon fishing guide, visited BC West in early July and got to partake in the real, real good fishing for steelhead and chinooks that’s been happening on the Dean this year (it’s back!).
Jeff put together some great words and photos from his trip, just for your reading pleasure. What do you think – did he have a good time?
Jeff Hickman’s Report from BC West
How do you begin to describe the best fishing trip of your life?
That is what I have had to do several times since getting back from my last trip to BC West on the Dean a couple weeks ago. All my friends have asked, “how was the trip?” All I can say are things like: really, really good or plain and simple…epic.
I might tell my fishing friends little stories about the fishing. Stories like, the big steelhead that ate my prototype Idylwilde fly and instantly took over 100 yards of backing off my reel the first run while completely out of the water the entire time, greyhounding…cartwheeling…tail-walking…over and over again…I still can’t believe that one stayed on the line. Or I’ll tell them about the steelhead that I hooked while standing on the end of the island at the top of Bill’s Run. That one spooled me in 30 seconds but luckily stopped just long enough when it hit the arbor knot for the boat to pick me up and drop me on the bar below, only to nearly be spooled a second time.
I tell them about the giant Chinook that ran full speed nearly half a mile downstream, leaving the pool down the channel on the far side of the river, making me chase it running waist deep all the way across a wide tail out that I wasn’t sure I could make it across, to eventually land the fish alone, completely exhausted, just above a log jam it nearly swam into. In my excitement I slipped up and was quickly reprimanded for using profanity on the radio in the peak of my glory. I tell them about the steelhead I hooked on my 12’6” 6wt Ross Reach rod that left the run cartwheeling all the way through the wave train deep into the run below. I had no way to chase this one and with some patience and my rod tip in the water the big chrome buck somehow swam all the way back into the run and I landed it right where I hooked it.
Some people ask, “how many did you catch?” “I don’t know”, I reply. I caught enough…maybe even more than enough. That isn’t important to me. For me there is no way to quantify the success of a fishing trip. Each encounter you have with one of these amazing animals is so special I feel it is disrespectful to simply give it a number. I don’t want any fish I ever catch or hook to simply be a number – they are so much more than that.
While good fishing helps make a good fishing trip, for me, what really makes a good fishing trip is the company that you share the experience with. That is the hardest part of the story to tell. This last trip to the Dean I shared with a great group of guys. All were generous, kind and funny. But most noticeable of all was how positive everyone was, probably because we all felt so lucky to be in such a magical, wild place, experiencing the trip we were having and the camaraderie was contagious. The entertaining banter was relentless, priceless and served as proof of how comfortable we all were with each other’s company. The stories of the shared experiences, the people, friendships and jokes are what I will remember most from this trip…well…that and also when Horatio got “stuck” on his ATV.