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.