Bull Trout and the One that got Away

by | Mar 4, 2022 | bull trout | 2 comments

flyfishing-OregonGranny and I drove north from Ridgecrest, CA after a successful night of speaking at the Aguabonita Flyfishers Club on Tuesday night.  We drove Rt. 395 all the way to Reno, NV.  The road took us through a beautiful part of California we’ve never seen.


We spent Wednesday night in Reno with our friends Darren and Jenny Elmore.  Early yesterday we continued north and zigzagged roadways all the way to Bend, OR and will be here till Tuesday next week with Scott and Sarah Robertson.


Lake-Billy-ChinookToday Scott took me fishing on Lake Billy Chinook.  It’s a famous lake where the Crooked, Deschutes and Metolius Rivers come together.  Its also known as the best bull trout fishing in the lower 48.  That’s the main reason Scott took me here.  Though I’ve caught a few bulls over the years, I could definitely use a few more and would love top my biggest which I caught on the Kootenai in MT in 2020.


Scott-Robertson-flyfishingIt’s a 90 minute drive to the boat launch from Scotts.  After all the driving of the van since January it was nice to be a passenger.  I kicked back and enjoyed the Cascade Mountain Range as we eased our way into view of Lake Billy Chinook.  Though a cold day with a high of 44°, the wind was nonexistent and the skies mostly sunny.  A truly gorgeous setting for a day of lake fishing.


We launched at Perry South and rigged our rods.  I went with my usual streamer rig of my Winston 6-weight Air 2 with my SA Stillwater intermediate lake line and two flies.  I used a white Rich Strolis jig fly on the point and a sparkly size 10 wooly bugger on the dropper.  We took a short boat ride up near the mouth of the Metolius River and started chucking.


Jeff-Currier-bull-troutAt first we fished over about 25 feet of water.  Scott fishes Billy Chinook but never this area so we were sort of feeling things out.  After about 45 minutes without any sign of a fish we headed to shallower water.  We actually began in 4 feet with intentions of drifting deeper but Scott and I each hooked up immediately.  Scott lost his but I landed the first bull trout of the day.


bull-troutOur fishing was fantastic over the next couple hours.  We landed at least ten bulls.  Most of the ones I caught were thick 20” plus fish.  They’re hard to photograph.  Bulls are one of the slipperiest fish I’ve ever held and they love to spin and twist when you try to pose with one.  Furthermore, they always appear silver in pictures, but I can promise you they are much prettier than they appear in my photos.


huge-bull-troutThe highlight, or in some ways the low point, was the biggest fish of the day.  It was at the end.  The cold had worked its way into our bones and we were ready to pack it up.  I tossed a nice long cast and went tight right away.  I strip set the hook and about a 30” bull came near the surface, showed himself then took off.  Scott yelled, “Holy crap!  You have a big one!”


bull-troutIndeed it was a beauty and the fish fought like heck.  While bulls don’t jump they twist and pull then make decent runs.  I got the fish close enough for a good look several times.  Scott even got the net within inches.  But the oversized char made a final and for me, costly run.  Unfortunately, this fish ate my dropper and dragging behind was my heavy jig point fly.  The jig fly hung up on a rock and the fish was able to break me off due to the loss of my being able to feed line.  Dang it!


fly-fishing-lakesI haven’t lost a heartbreaker of a fish in a while.  I hate it but I guess such incidents are why we keep going back for more.  For now it’s a nice hot dinner back at Scotts with Granny and Sarah.  A home cooked meal is a beautiful thing when you’ve been on the road for almost two months.  Tomorrow we won’t be fishing because I’m teaching a full day seminar for the Fin and Fire Fly Shop but Sunday and Monday its back on the water.  Stay tuned!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Kristen J. Sorensen

    Looks fun! Sorry the big one got away!

  2. Lance

    That “One more cast before we go” always seems to pay off.. you taught me that for sure! Love that lake fishing!

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!