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Fisherman 5 with Amy Hazel

I caught up with Amy in November fresh off her annual pilgrimage to the Bulkley with friends. As long as I’ve known Amy she’s been an industry staple owning and operating Deschutes Angler with her husband John in Maupin, Oregon. You likely know her or have very few degrees of separation from the Hazel’s and today they advocate for their homewaters as board members of the Deschutes River Alliance. I hope you like this piece as much as I obviously did setting it up (setting Amy up really). ~ Steve


Question 1: You’ve fished a lot of places. You even did a trip around the world at one point and fished nearly everywhere. Where’s left?

I have been fortunate to fish a lot of places around the world, much of which I did on a super budget. Of the places I have already been, there are many that I would like to go back and revisit with my husband, John. In particular, I believe John would love the history and tradition of fly fishing in places like Scotland, Ireland, and England. Hiring a ghillie to guide us on a Scottish Speyside river or a Salmon River in Ireland would be amazing. I would also like to get back to New Zealand for the technical challenges of trout fishing in that beautiful country and to Argentina to swing flies for sea run browns and steelhead. Argentina has a lot of fishing to explore and a wonderful culture to experience off the water. I do go to Christmas Island (Kiribati) every year for 3-4 weeks, so my love of that place and the people there has grown exponentially over the years. I have a fantasy of chartering a sailboat and sailing the South Pacific in search of untouched islands which have bonefish flats and plentiful Giant Trevally – but, for now, I simply explore the seven seas using Google Earth.

Question 2: Favorite Spey setup and why?

I have had more Spey rods over the years than any one person with any shred of sanity would ever have. Casting and fishing with so many different two-handers has certainly boosted my casting skills and heightened my understanding of what type of action I like the best in a Spey rod. I love the deep loading action of my Burkheimer 13’4” 7 weight as well as the bend-to-the-cork action of the rod I nicknamed “the rifle” which is a 14’4” 7 weight Anderson Custom Rods ELT Spey rod. Both of these rods are my go-to for all-around steelhead fishing. These deep-loading rods are great with Scandi-style lines and floating leaders for skater fishing, but they also huck sink tips and heavy flies a country mile with ease. I use Scandi, Skagit, and Fist heads on both seven weights and have landed steelhead in the 15-20 lb. range using these rods.

During summer and early fall on the Deschutes, I often lean towards a lighter line weight because I fish Scandi lines and skaters or muddlers most of the time. I have several Anderson 6 weight and 5 weight two-handers, which cast like a dream and make a 6 pound steelhead feel like a trophy.

I love classic noisy click and pawl reels – the older the better. Made in England, thank you very much – unless I am fishing my Saracione Salmon 1, made in the USA.

Mark O’Meara and Amy on her beloved Deschutes in an image I shamelessly stole from her facebook.

Question 3: You have a million dollars for fish charities? Who and why?

This is an easy question for me to answer – I would donate the entire million to Deschutes River Alliance. As a director on the board of the DRA, I take great pride in the work that we have done and continue to do to fight for and protect the lower Deschutes River. The story of what is happening on the Deschutes is complex and difficult to summarize in a nutshell, but the river needs our help now more than ever. Read all about the issues on our website:

No need for a caption.

 Question 4: We’ve spoken at length about the dynamic socioeconomic complexities that the movie Caddyshack dissected and the dramatic character arcs that plunged the plot into whirlwind which leads me to my next question. Spaulding, Judge Smails, Carl Spackler- screw, kill, marry?

This is, by far, the hardest question on the Friends in 5, and one that I spent the better part of a week considering during a recent trip to the Bulkley. As I swung flies day after day, I finally figured out the best answer to this question, though I am extremely disappointed that Ty Webb was not one of my options.

I would have to select Spaulding as the one to kill. Sorry, Spaulding, but you are a nose-picking punk, you eat too much junk food, you can’t tell the difference between a Baby Ruth and a doodie, you don’t appreciate your grandparents, and you are horrible at golf.  You also can’t hold your liquor, though I might have tossed my cookies too if I had nearly swallowed a cigarette. Sorry, Spaulding, you are a waste of carbon.

Now, I am down to two for the Screw and Marry categories. Between Judge Smails and Carl Spackler, I have chosen Carl Spackler as the best potential husband for the following reasons:

  1. He has an excellent work ethic. Once Spackler sets his mind to a task, he is going to get it done. Look at his focus and dogged determination to kill the gopher and the painstaking effort he went to in order to disinfect the pool when the suspected doodie was floating around. I currently have quite a few packrats eating the flowers in the garden, so Carl’s rodent hunting skills will come in quite handy.
  2. Carl would love the pond that I have behind my house. I don’t have a pool, but the pond would be good for him.
  3. As an assistant greenskeeper, Carl has skills. He will keep the lawn and the trees on the property well-maintained.
  4. Carl is an excellent host, and since I have fishing friends dropping in throughout the season, Carl could be the go-to guy for serving drinks – “Cannonball Coming!”
  5. Carl could become a famous artist one day – he is a gifted sculpter of rabbits and squirrels working in the plastic explosives medium.
  6. Carl Spackler has some special grass-growing skills that he has honed over many years – and I believe that the time for his hybrid has come in Oregon. We could make millions!

Yes, definitely Marry Carl Spackler.

This leaves Judge Smails. I really don’t want to screw Judge Smails. What kind of girl do you think I am? It will be hard enough to clean up Spackler in order to get him ready for marriage – so I will save the Screw for Spackler, thank you very much. Unless…Ty Webb….still not an option?

Question 5: On a fishing trip. 5 Fav fishing drinks? They can be in MSR bottles.

I pack my booze into aluminum bottles whenever I have to keep my baggage weight down – the glass in two fifths weighs something like 3-4 lbs. Here are my fishing trip drinks:

  1. Balvenie Single Malt 12 year Doublewood – girl Scotch, the guys call it, Tasty!
  2. BEER – lots of cold beer. Lagers and Pilsners are my favorites. Heineken please.
  3. Bushmills Irish Whiskey – smooth and easy drinking.
  4. Patron Extra Anejo Tequilla – on the rocks with a slice of lime.
  5. Water – gotta rehydrate after all that booze!

I brought Balvenie Doublewood and some excellent Reposado tequila on my trip to the Dean in August. A couple of my guides and their buddies were fishing the upper Dean while I was on the lower. A few days into the trip I decided that I brought too much booze, so I wrote the names of all four guys on the MSR bottle and gave it to the Conservation Officers (Dean River Guardians) to deliver to the guys camping upriver. I told them it was FUEL and that the guys would be happy to get it. Well, when the Guardians drove the boat upriver to check licenses, my buddies said they didn’t need any fuel. Only after the Guardians left did the boys realize what that bottle of FUEL actually was and the proceeded to kick themselves in the ass for the rest of the week. Where that green bottle went is anyone’s guess….. Damn Guardians!

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