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Fly-fishing tranquil hobby, but can be treacherous


A deadly fall into the Metolius River by a Corvallis fisherman puts a spotlight on safety issues that can arise while pursuing what is usually a peaceful, serene sport.

It’s a very tranquil hobby — until you take a wrong step.

“I fell in yesterday (Monday),” said John Warren, a fisherman from Portland who was fishing with his friend at the Metolius Tuesday.

Falling into a cold, fast-running river can have catastrophic consequences.

One fisherman was standing at the river bank of the Metolius river on Memorial Day, then slipped and fell into the river, prompting a major search that ended sadly Tuesday with his body’s recovery.

Many fishermen have their own scary stories to tell.

“I went probably a good 150 to 200 yards down river before getting to more shallow waters, and at that point my waders were totally full and I was going under,” said Scott Cook, the owner at Fly and Field Outfitters.

Some have even made some gruesome discoveries, like Warren, who found a body in the Deschutes River over a year ago.

“And when we got close enough, I recognized it was a man, with a pair of fishing waders. And he was lying face up, looks like he’s been there a while,” Warren said.

Experts say there are certain things you can do to stay safe. Good equipment is key, especially a wading belt that helps prolong the time before your wader fills with water.

“Any kind of wader that you have, if you fall in, will fill with water,” Cook said. “When you fall in, and you properly roll over and put your feet up, and point them downriver, then air gets trapped in your feet of your waders and your feet become a floatation device.”

Even then, water eventually will fill the whole wader. In that situation, it is key to stay calm and think strategically.

“I would push myself off the river bottom and come back up and would get a gasp of air,” Cook said of his own experience.

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