A True Test of the Shoulder

by | Mar 6, 2023 | fly fishing for bull trout | 2 comments

bull-trout-fliesThe pain in my left (stripping) shoulder has eased some since the start of 2023, but it’s still there.  In February I managed to see an Orthopedic Dr.  I got an X-Ray that showed no damage.  I also got some PT exercises to try and scheduled an MRI for April 13.  Today, I put my shoulder through my own test.  Bend, OR friend Scott Robertson and I took on the bull trout from Lake Billy Chinook.



bull-troutThe weather stinks here in Oregon.  Temps are well below normal, barely topping freezing for a high and there’s been snow squalls and wind.  But we chose today because of sunshine and the wind was forecasted to be minimal with a high temperature of 39°.


Lake-Billy-ChinookWe had a 90-minute drive from Scotts to Lake Billy Chinook so we got an early start.  The roads had some ice and the mountains were covered in fresh snow.  Central OR is a beautiful part of the US and there’s plenty of fishing.  Lake Billy Chinook is one of few places in the lower 48 where you can legally target bull trout.  In fact, they have a season and it opened on March 1st.


flyfishingI promised the blog would start talking fishing soon and it will often from here on out.  Today I broke out my 7-weight Winston Alpha + lined with my SA Sonar Sink 25 Cold 250 gr.  My leader was 10ft of 0X Fluoro and as always, I had two flies.  My point fly was a heavy jig fly of white and olive and my dropper was slightly lighter and mostly chartreuse.  Bright colored flies are excellent for bull trout.  When we arrived at the boat ramp, though a tinge cold, weather conditions could not have been better.


Jeff-Currier-flyfishingScott and I fished this lake last year at the same time and we motored to one of our favorite spots.  Its an arm of the lake surrounded by canyon.  The cliffs are full of squawking chukar partridge and the scenery is spectacular.  We went to work chucking our flies.  I eased into fishing casting cautiously hoping not to hurt my shoulder in the first minutes.


Currier-bull-troutI could cast and strip.  I didn’t perform in my usual aggressive manner of trying to hit every inch of water stripping as hard as I could but I got the job done.  It wasn’t ten minutes in when I got my first nice fish.  Bull trout are beautiful members of the char family.


Scott-Robertson-flyfishingLet’s just say – fishing was great today.  Scott and I prowled our regular spots and tried some new ones.  Just about everywhere we went we found bulls.


bull-troutWhile everything about fly fishing for bull trout is appealing, my favorite part is that on any given cast you could catch a monster.  Bull trout average about 18” long, nearly each day you see several over 20”, and there are plenty of true 25” plus bulls.  Last year I landed a chunky 24”.  Today we saw our share of 20 inchers.


Jeff-Currier-huge-bull-troutThe big fish today was another chunky 24”.  He was a stud fish and came at the end of the day.  We were slowly cruising the lake not fishing when I saw a rock outcrop I couldn’t resist.  Scott was re-rigging so I made the cast.  The second my flies hit the water my dropper was engulfed.  A solid tug-o-war took place for the next few minutes then Scott dropped the net under the beauty.


Lake-Billy-ChinookWe fished till we were so cold we could hardly move to tie on a fly or make a cast for that matter.  The ole shoulder was seizing up a little too.  Hopefully its only because of the cold.  I did PT all the way home in the front of the truck.  Its looser now which means if the weather looks ok we’ll head right back on the water tomorrow.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Tad


    I hope your shoulder continues to improve.

    I am sure a great day of fishing sure relieves the pain!


  2. howie


Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!