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Fishing Reports

Snow Day

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 22, 2018


By Josh Linn

Fishing reports haven’t changed much, but the weather sure has. It finally feels like winter out there. If it snowed a foot in Portland I wouldn’t complain too much. One of the nice things about a low snow elevation is that no matter how much it rains the river won’t rise too much, but it will come up, and it will have some color. When the river is blanketed with a fresh layer of snow it’s so quiet and pristine out. It feels so fresh and clean.


Monday I fished with my good buddy Dave and there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. We started a little later than normal hoping that it would warm up and some of the snow would melt away. We got to the boat launch and it was breathtaking out. Crystal clear blue skies and the light winds created whar would be considered a "Bluebird day" if you were a skier. Typically if it’s good on the mountain it’s going to be good on the river.

We set off in Dave’s jet boat and ran up river. We got to one of my favorite little runs right at the bottom of an island where the two channels come back together. It has a soft inside and a deep channel out in the middle. The water had come up a bit since last week. I had been fishing a very fast sinking skagit line and was hanging up quite a bit when I got to the inside soft stuff. This week I wouldn’t be dredging the deep channels. I would need a setup that would allow me to fish inside into the soft water.

I stuck the rod under my arm and started the process of changing my head and sink tip. While I was fumbling around and watching Dave make some casts I started noticing a lot of bug activity. There were midges and BWO’s coming off all over the place. Then I noticed a giant mayfly pop up to the surface and float away. Then another and then another emerged. It was one of the best March brown hatches I have ever seen.

The other day I had been talking to a customer saying I thought that hatch might happen early this year on the McKenzie or upper Willamette and it might be worthwhile to start poking around down there. With this weather the Deschutes and Metolius are bound to be good too. Fresh snow will give any fishery a facelift.


Talking to guys out in the field it sounds like the steelhead fishing on the coast is picking up. Rob and Todd from Water Time Outfitters are still having good fishing. Todd keeps sending me pictures to rub it in.

The Sandy had been low and clear and that little squirt of rain we had brought it right back to life. Marty had a good day out there Friday and sent a couple of pictures. It looked like one of the fish had been caught on a fly similar to the ones he tied at the shop on Saturday. That's definitely a guide fly, quick to tie and it catches fish.

When this storm passes and it warms up a couple of more degrees, the rivers will come up from the melting snow. We should see the fishing pick up all across the area. March is the time for big wild winter Steelhead in our local rivers. Keep an eye on that gauge and get out there.

Crittering Around (ask Josh)

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Josh Linn
Apparently, I was the only one out of the crew that went fishing this week so I drew the Fishing Report straw. 

Normally on Tuesday everyone comes in and tells us all about their trips over the weekend, Trout fishing on the Deschutes or the Metolius, Steelhead out on the coast or in our local waters. Not this week. It seems like the lack of rain, nice weather, and the low clear water has turned people's attention elsewhere. I know a lot of people needed to catch up on yard work in this unusually early “spring”. I sure hope this weather does't last and we get some rain soon. I mean seriously, sooner or later that has to happen right?

So, I actually did get a couple of Fishing Reports from around Northwest, but none of them are very close to here.

Guys on the OP have been getting fish, but the water is starting to get low. 

The Clack and Sandy are both really low and clear. With that being said, I did hear about a couple of fish caught on the Sandy, but unless we get some rain the rivers are going to continue to drop and clear. I jet boated around the Clackamas on Sunday and got to fish some of my favorite pieces of water. Similar to a lot of peoples stories we were also blanked. 

The coast is also getting low, but Rob and the Water Time Outfitters gang are still getting fish out there.

I have heard that the fishing on the Mackenzie river has been good and it seems possible that the March Hatch could come off early.

Earlier this week, I did a presentation at a Fly club and I was commenting on how it used to be back in the old days before marmot dam came out. In the old days it seemed like 1800-2600 cfs were great flows for the Sandy. The river was very fishable, and it would still have a little color. Now when it’s at that level we are pretty much complaining about how low and clear it is. One of the things we really need to do when it’s like this is change up our tactics a little. When the river’s low there are a lot more spots to fish. We need to critter around more and fish all the little nooks and crannies. Find the deeper buckets. Fish heavier sink tips down in them and see what you can dredge up. The fish aren’t necessarily going to be in the shallower runs.

It probably sounds like I’m saying the fishing is hard and I am, but I’m also telling you you can’t catch one from the couch. So have some faith and play the odds. The more days you spend on the water the more likely it is you’re going to catch one.




A River Between Them

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 08, 2018


This week, Nick and Josh are tag teaming the fishing report and taking on this new responsibility with gusto. It's understandable that after working all week together they might need to take a break from each other over the weekend. With Nick living in Washington and Josh in Oregon, one would assume that they would find plenty of personal space on the water to recharge their batteries. Well, they both ended up on the Sandy this past weekend. Go figure. We'll kick it off with Nick...


From lots of rain to lots of sun this winter weather can’t decide what it wants to do. If you're not fishing, we hope you’re enjoying these warmer temperatures. 

Trout fishing on the east side has been heating up, literally. Pleasant temperatures have been leading to a better Trout bite. Nymph fishing has been working the best. So try using smaller patterns like Silvey’s Super Sinker or a Prince Nymph. We should start seeing better BWO hatches so don’t forget to make sure you also have a few of those in your box. This spring-like weather isn’t going to be around forever, so take advantage of it while you can.


Steelheading has still been a little lackluster in the local area. There are fish around, but not in any big numbers. The best way it seems to find fish this year is to play the numbers game; fish as much as possible and you're bound to find one at some point. Last week, the Sandy River was fishing better, this week it was the Clackamas. Josh and I both had decided to fish the Sandy because of the reports, but apparently even us shop guys can get it wrong. A few fish were hooked, but nothing was brought to hand. We decided to make the best of it and enjoyed the sunshine and good company.

With fishing looking better this week on the Clackamas who knows what will be in the cards for this coming weekend, but that’s steelhead fishing. As Josh likes to say, “the best report" is the one you go out and make yourself. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and make yours!

Mr. Linn adds...

Every week when we open up on Tuesday a lot of people come in to share fishing reports with us. While Nick is being Nick and regaling everyone about his outings, I’m busy listening. People come in to share their weekend exploits, some are looking for sympathy while others are looking for reassurance and a few new flies. Whatever the case may be, I take note so I can relay back via a fishing report what has been happening on the water. Here are a few things I took note of.... 

I fished the Sandy this week and I don’t know if you saw it, but a few weeks ago the gauge was on the fritz. When I went out this week the gauge read 5790 cfs and noticing how few runs were fishable and how deep I waded I would guess the river was really around 7000 cfs.

While I was out I got to talking to some other guides on the Sandy and they said that 80-85% of the fish they’ve caught this season have had fresh seal marks on them. Combine that with the fact that people have regularly been seeing sea lions up in Oxbow Park and this is something that is very scary to me. It seems to me that those guys are detrimental to the survival of all Steelhead.

On a brighter note, the Clack has been fishing really well. I was talking to one of the guys that comes in from PGE and he said they passed 40 winter fish into the upper Clackamas on Monday. Nice to see some wild fish returning.

Down on the coast, Rob Crandall and the guys are tearing it up on the swung fly. Yes, there is still some bobber lob'n being done, but with Rob's Devil's Candy arriving in the shop there has been a whole lot of swinging going on. A bit of rain wouldn't hurt, but there are fish to be found all along the North Coast. 



Swinging in the Rain

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 01, 2018

With all the high water last week fishing opportunities have been a bit uninspiring. Steelhead fishing has gotten a little interesting with sea lions being spotted in the lower Clackamas and Sandy rivers, their presence can push fish around and make your finned friends a little stressed out. Fear not, as our water levels drop those beasts will probably move back out to the Columbia and Willamette. Reports of Steelhead being caught are scattered across the area depending on the day.

The smaller coastal rivers stayed in good shape during this last weather system and Water Time Outfitters say that there has been a push of fresh fish. The Clackamas has been spotty, but has stayed fairly fishable even in this high water. The Sandy River was the place to be with a few more fish being reported there, when it is not blown out. Our friend, Brian Silvey does have some February openings.

So my tip to you this week for you Steelhead chasers is watch your water levels, fish whenever possible, and don't give up. Your next pull on the Steelhead slot machine could be the one. You'll never know unless your out there.

Other angling possibilities include the east side of the Cascades for some winter Trout action. If you haven't noticed it kind of feels like spring around here, which doesn't seem right because its only the 1st of February and the Ground Hog is making his appearance tomorrow. Well, if the world gives you lemons... go trout fishing. Weather reports look almost look pleasant over in Maupin, so if you have the itch to chase Trout this winter, the east side rivers may not be a bad choice. I would start out nymphing with Stone Fly nymphs and your favorite dropper or stripping streamers. If a hatch starts to bring fish to the surface it mostly likely will be a Blue Wing Olives ringing the dinner bell. The weather man says it could be in the low 60's in Maupin this weekend and that sounds like t-shirt weather to me.



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