French-born Chef Philippe Boulot made his home in Portland’s Heathman Restaurant & Bar for more than two decades, but has always been equally at ease with a fly rod in his hand. Far from the urban bustle, the James Beard Award-winning Boulot takes time out in the sunny Central Oregon town of Maupin on the banks of the Deschutes River in search of steelhead.

“I always fished with my dad in Normandy and dreamed of exotic destinations, and I just could not wait to come here,” he says, looking out at the sun-kissed hills above the Deschutes. “I fell in love with that river, and I have been fishing it for 16 years.”

It’s the challenge of the illusive steelhead that brings Boulot back to the water time and again. “They are magnificent fish. They are monsters,” he says. “It’s the best catch that a fisherman can ever get.”

Now executive chef of the Multnomah Athletic Club, Boulot finds great pleasure in the seasonal bounty of Oregon and the solitude of its quiet places. “I have been traveling all over the world and I found Oregon and that is the place where I want to live.”

Explore Central Oregon: Book a riverside room at the Imperial River Company in Maupin. For more fishing inspiration, check out our story Chasing Rainbows on the Deschutes.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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