Photo Essay


Living in a Hickman Paradise

It is satisfying to please your guide, but I don’t get guided often. I can barely guide myself, and am rarely ever comfortable on large rivers that I’ve never fished. Generally I prefer to fish alone, or with a few buddies. Sometimes it is more fun to fish together, to heckle, watch, photograph, learn and take turns on the same water. But when the heckler is Jeff Hickman, owner and operator of Fish the Swing, and the river is the Deschutes, it is a bit more intimidating. Maybe if we hadn’t just met the day prior or if I’d ever caught a steelhead before, if I was a better caster, or if he wasn’t so tall, it might be different. But it is not and I’m feeling funny, out of my fishing sorts.

Jeff is a world-renowned guide, raised on Oregon’s steelhead rivers. He caught a giant trevally on a flip-flop fly. The water he drank as a kid had steelhead DNA in it. His element is talking grain weights and anchor placements, calmly coaching all things swing. I first heard of him from a magazine, or maybe saw him on the internet, hammering big rainbows on mice. It’s hard not to notice something like that.

I’m about one-third of the way up the golden, grass-covered shoulder of Oregon’s Deschutes River canyon. This is about as far as I’ll make it. We’ll be heading back out for the evening session soon and I have the bottom of Fall Canyon to explore on the way back to camp. The rest of the group is napping or drinking beer in the shade…

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The Flyfish Journal Volume 9 Issue 3 Feature Living in a Hickman Paradise

above Jeff Hickman, knee deep and bending bamboo on the Home Pool during an exceptionally beautiful evening swing sessions. Clackamas River, OR.


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