By Gary Lewis
The water level is good, maybe a little off-color from the recent rain. The sun is going down, dropping behind the canyon wall. The river is in shadow now. In the middle of the river a steelhead jumps, a little arcing leap that shows just the hint of color against his chrome-bright flank.
You open your fly box and tie on a pattern that has hooked many a fish for Deschutes fly anglers. Cast upstream and mend the line as the sink tip pulls the fly down. Take up the slack. Let it drift through the hole. Set the hook when the line stops or moves upstream. It might be a rock, but it might also be a fish.
The Purple Peril is one of those old standby patterns that has commanded space in the fly boxes of steelhead fishermen for years.
Tie it on an up-eye salmon fly hook. Use dark squirrel tail hair for the tail and tie in silver tinsel for ribbing. Use purple chenille for the body and rib with the tinsel. Tie in a wing of squirrel tail hair and wrap a soft hackle, sweeping it back toward the point of the hook.