Hooked on a Feeling: First Central Oregon Fly Fishing Trip a Success

Under blue skies scattered with beauty clouds, we hopped into a 21-foot fishing boat on the banks of Lava Lake.

Cruising slowly to avoid a wake, we passed a few other Tuesday morning anglers who waved at us as if to say “have fun, but don’t take our fish.”

We found our spot on the far edge of the lake, let loose the anchors and got to work.

Fred, our guide from The Hook Fly Shop, handed me a fly rod, gave me a couple of quick pointers and I cast my first line – my first line ever – into the glass-like water.

Less than a minute later, I reeled in a pretty little rainbow trout.

A group of four people look over the mountains while in a boat on Lava Lake in Central Oregon.
Two men fish off the deck of a boat at Lava Lake in Central Oregon.

They kept biting, we kept reeling them in. All told, some 33 fish found their way onto our hooks over the course of a couple of hours. Everything from “pizza toppings” to a few 17-inchers. (A few of the “big ones” taunted us, jumping from the water near the boat as a reminder they were still out there…happy to remain the ones who got away.)

“It can’t be this easy,” I thought. But in Central Oregon, it is.

You see, here, fishing is actually fishing. A sport. An activity. Don’t take your eyes off the indicator for a second or you might just miss the next bite. The BIG one.

For a rookie like me, going with a guide was a perfect introduction to the sport.

They’ll get you to the lake. They’ll get you on the boat. They’ll put the rod in your hands and show you exactly how to throw a cast. And they’ll even pull in the fish and take it off the hook. In between catches, they’ll entertain with fishing stories and Central Oregon history.

All you have to do is pose for the photo with your fish and act like you knew what you were doing. Because by the end, you totally will. And just like all the fish, you’ll be hooked.

As we headed back to the shore, we waved again to the anglers we passed before.

“Sorry, we took all your fish.”

A woman holds a fish on a boat while two men fish in the background at Lava Lake.