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    Fishing Reports

    First Nation Extended Summer Season

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, October 18, 2018

    It may not be politically correct to say Indian Summer, but how else can you describe our weather? The last few days have been absolutely incredible. Next week though, the Weather Channel girl is threatening a dampish change to the forecast. Enjoy the sun while you can, but look for your fishing options to improve as rain moves in. We could use some water!

    The Fly Czar and our new Head of Security headed east this past Monday after overseeing the very successful Fly Fishing Symposium. LT has recently retired from the Portland PD and you will see him in the shop occasionally keeping the peace between the Fly Czar and Mr. Skittles. In any case, the guys found a few willing fly grabbers on their adventure, but also found the take-out gate locked at Starvation. Check in with Josh before you make plans to launch a drift boat.

    Meanwhile, the Deschutes continues to be rather good for Trout and not too bad for Steelhead. We are not seeing the best return ever, but it is Steelhead fishing, and it's never easy. Hatches of misc. Mayflies, October Caddis and small tan Caddis are keeping things interesting for Trout chasers.

    Our recent infatuation with Czech nymphing has really upped the interest in Trout fishing around the shop. After I graduated from the Fly Czar's clinic last week, I spent 3 days on the Deschutes putting the skills I learned into practice. The number of fish landed over the trip was very impressive given the fact that I never made a cast with the fly line out of the rod. I did keep it a little "West Coast" by fishing a Silvey's Super Sinker and Caddis Pupa instead of the more Euro-style offerings. The Super Sinker was the star until Caddis started to flitter about, then the Pupa rocked it. It's nice to have that one-two punch on every cast.

    Sea-run Cutty lovers have one last week to get it out of their system before the season comes to a close. Rain will help their efforts and will also draw fresh fish into tidewater for the Salmon fanatics. All good news for sure.

    Closer to home, the Coho in the Clackamas are getting a little stale and the numbers of fresh fish returning are dropping off some. Rain may help, but we now wait for the first of the winter Steelhead to really provide the action. Let it rain.

    Mr. Skittle's Birthday Adventure

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, September 13, 2018
    Nick's birthday was this past Tuesday and to celebrate we spent a couple of days on the Deschutes. If you’ve ever been into the shop and interacted with us you’ve seen the Laurel and Hardy routine play out in front of your own eyes. Well, on this fishing adventure we had a third person our great friend Eric Gunter. Because of the antics we knew would ensue we asked him to offer his unbiased third person account of this adventure.

    By Eric Gunter

    I haven’t spent many days on the water this year. I make the typical excuses: time, money, girlfriend, too hot/cold/wet/windy, etc. Overnight river trips I cherish and take advantage of them when I can.

    I’ve learned much about navigating a boat/raft on moving water from one person. He has been generous with experience and has displayed great patience with me while I ask endless questions, many multiple times. This last weekend we were floating from Mack’s Canyon to Heritage Landing. The second boat in our party was being skippered by a virgin to the lower river.

    New adventures should always include the pucker factor. Preparations need to be made. Shuttles need to be called in. The appropriate ratio of foods to sugars need to be purchased and properly hidden, all portioned for the days that lay ahead. A checklist of items needed on the boat: life Jackets, anchor, oars, straps, ropes, stoves, utensils, etc. has been gone over at least 3 times and you’re still confirming you have it all.

    New water raises questions. And some people, in particular, ask a lot of questions. Are there any waterfalls, side channels or braids I should avoid taking my boat over, down or through? What are my emergency egress options? How many river miles? How many days do you have to float those miles?  Where do I fish? Can my boat survive its maiden voyage? What do I do about power boats? What do I do about a shuttle? All great questions. All questions and their answers are preferably known by all individuals in the party and should be confidently confirmed. We are talking about navigating a section of moving water with a long, well-documented history hoping for a prime camp that will afford you opportunities that evening and at first light.

    Now, one of the benefits of being friends with an experienced oarsman and fly fisher, I get to sit in the front of the boat while he maneuvers us through the incredibly beautiful Deschutes River Canyon. Placing me in all of the best places to swing flies for wild steelhead. I get to enjoy the flow of the river, watch for Osprey, Bighorn Sheep, and all of the amazing creatures that inhabit the canyon.

    Seeing firsthand the remarkable comeback of riverside vegetation after two fires burned much of the lower rivers landscape. Rowing downriver, well trying anyway, through gusting/sustained winds for hours making little progress while the topsoil from the farm fields above the canyon walls blows into the canyon obscuring our visibility while I sit in the front of the boat happy that I am not wearing contact lenses. I still have dirt exiting the pores of my body.

    Another benefit of being with an experienced person is that they have the ability to give very precise and direct instructions/responses to these questions that should be asked. If you're not listening, you will find yourself needing to ask again. This is typically greeted with even more precise and direct instructions. Finding yourself now with less information than you received from the initial response. So having a question that you are pretty sure you already know the answer to is met with something like “What’s the question? To which the response is “Where are we camping when we get there? Now, this causes pause to allow a well-crafted answer.

    I’ve never really tried to learn the names of all the runs to fish and rapids to run. This, unfortunately, does not mean that I do not ask…. I try to focus on the geography and geology and how centuries of time have passed while this canyon remains beautiful to this day. Having an experienced friend really helps with this process. History becomes more important with this documented region of Oregon. So knowing the names of some of the side canyons and the folks that traveled down them to create homesteads and live a life of self-sufficiency, railroad construction and devastation does garner knowledge.

    The first night we arrived at the boat launch late, just before dark. We packed the boats and launched in the pitch black. This is a thing we’ve done many times before but raises questions from someone less experienced. We floated a mile or so to our first camp, navigating by the stars.

    By this time the birthday boy is deep into his first bag of skittles and is contemplating what other sugary snacks he might have.

    That first night is spent photographing the stars and anticipating an exciting hopefully fishy trip.

    We are up early the next morning. We spread out in front of Camp and get to fishing. Nick is the last man fishing and is deep into the run. On what seems like should be his last cast he hooks a hot, hot fish. Before we have time to react we can see it cartwheeling off in the distance. After a long hard fight, Nick wins his birthday battle and his first gift is in hand, a 4 or 5 pound wild little net runner. The fish is a perfect specimen and after a couple of pictures, the little beauty is set free.

    We push down the river looking for new water, more fish, and our next camp. The river is surprisingly quiet. Brian Silvey and his group of anglers are out and we hopscotch with them. We arrive at our next camp at around 2:00. Sadly we didn’t hook any more fish but we had a great time.

    Shortly after we arrive at camp Nicks curiosity gets the best of him and the questions begin.

    What were the names of those runs, where did we camp, where is Silvey camped? Zappy’s, Zapperinos, Ned Flanders, Trans Silvey Ania, Austin Millbarge, Nick’s Fish Hole. Where is that next run? Wrong Turn at Albuquerque? What is the name of that camp?

    The further along we get in the day the bigger Nicks antics became. “I’m going to have Mac and Cheese if I can find my blue bamboo spoon. Along with German Chocolate Cake and a few other sugar food groups.”

    Nick, “While you were asleep some guy walked into the top of the run in front of camp.”
    Josh, “ Oh yeah? What did the guy look like?”
    Nick, “He wasn’t wearing a shirt but did have on a gray Simms fishing vest, carried a Spey rod and he might have had a prosthetic arm.”
    Josh, “Oh yeah? Hmm?
    Nick, “Or did he have a white long sleeve shirt on? Or was he just wearing a dark tee shirt tucked into his waders? I don’t know, I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time and just saw this blur of a guy walking down the trail.”

    For Nick, giving up the tent was a big step. Sleeping under the Milky Way framed perfectly between the canyon walls on a cot was an acceptable 2nd choice. The second night’s camp, a day closer to his Birthday, was greeted with a hammock hung across the entrance to the camp. Thus began the evening's discussion of being either duct taped or cargo strapped inside of the hammock along with a few rocks would really teach him how to navigate the river.

    Having a healthy sense of fear is paramount to having an enjoyable time on the water. Respect must be given and patience and relaxation should be employed. Pay attention to your gut. Trust your instincts. Listen to your friend with the ability to safely pilot you down the waterway.

    Happy Birthday, Nick!
    It was a pleasure spending time on the water with you and I hope we do it again soon. I am glad you caught the only fish of the trip…not really.

    Riding the Heat Wave

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, July 12, 2018
    Nick Wheeler Photo
    We're heading into a warm spell this week that will make standing waist deep in a cool stream sound like heaven right here on planet earth. As long as you're wet you might as well make a few casts. You just might have to think outside the box to find water void of swimmers, floaters and stick chasing canines, but there are options.

    First on the hit parade is our favorite spring creek, the Metolius. Running at a chilly 48 degrees most of the year the Metolius is consistently inconsistent when it comes to fishing, but with a little leg work and some patience it can pay off with fat Rainbows and broad shouldered Bull Trout.

    I found myself boots wet on the Met this past Monday and would gladly repeat the adventure even with the lack of measurable success. PMDs and misc. small Mayflies failed to draw much attention, but stories of bent rods filtered through the smoke in the filled campgrounds. Look for Mayfly hatches from 11ish into the evening. From the Gorge Campground upriver Goldenstones are crawling out on the bushes and getting fish and anglers excited. Old school Clark's Stones are getting it done pushing popular foam creations to plan B status. Bull Trout are present and taking nymphs and streamers much to the surprise of light tackle Trouters sharing the tales in those smokey camps.

    Mr. Silvey rang me up the other day from his ranch near Maupin with a favorable report from the Deschutes. It seems the dry fly action has been good most mornings and that has recently extended into the early afternoon before the hot sun drives everyone including the fish into the shade. Evenings have been very good if the wind doesn't kick up. Misc. Mayflies, Caddis and Craneflies have been giving glimpses of what's possible with cooler river temps. So far, the Deschutes has been running slightly cooler than last year at this time. Brian does have some availability this month and reported that the fishing pressure has been light. Give him a call at 800-510-1702 to get in on the action. I find that Brian takes it to another level if you bring cookies. Just say'n.

    Higher elevations offer another escape from the heat as the Callibeatus hatch kicks into high gear on our Cascade lakes. Clouds of these Mayflies are pulling timid lake residents to the surface on Mt Hood impoundments and Central Oregon lakes. My buddy, Jeff Perin from the Fly Fisher's Place in Sisters has threaten to take me out in his aluminum yacht to sample the action first hand. If I can free up some space on the calendar that might be a very interesting trip.

    The last time we fished together I learned a new hook setting technique that involve not letting the fish know it was hooked. It's very effective for releasing the fish closer to where he was feeding and follows the #keepemwet mantra nicely. No, Jeff, I'm not going to forget the Sister's hook set.

    For those ready to swing flies for summer Steelhead there have been confirmed encounters in the lower Deschutes. Floating lines, your favorite fly and a sack full of optimism is required. Fish numbers over the dams are optimistically creeping up.

    Locally, it's going to be tough sledding on the Clackamas with the warmer temps and the rubber boat hatch in full swing. If you can pull yourself out of bed in the dark and be on the water when the sun pops up you have a chance at some fresh summer chrome, but note the river is already warm enough for a morning swim. It's not impossible, but maybe the mouth of the Deschutes or Klickatat is a better option.
    Mitch Moyer Photo
    Last, but surely not least is our theater of operations for this weekend's outing on Puget Sound. Reports filtering out of the Evergreen State have been exceptional and we're hoping for a repeat of last year's success for our group of adventurous anglers. Baitfish are plentiful and the resident Coho and Sea-run Cutthroat has been feasting on the abundance. The tides are identical to our last visit so our hopes are high. In any case, there will be S'mores involved.

    Spring Trout Rendezvous Report

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 06, 2017

    The first annual Royal Treatment Spring Trout Rendezvous is in the books and it was a rousing success. Close to 40 anglers joined us for a little river side fellowship this past Sunday on the banks of the raging Deschutes. While high water kept fishing opportunities limited, there was plenty of casting action and we even broke out the “Wader Up Challenge” adding to the entertainment factor. Representatives from Loomis, Sage, Winston and Echo rods were on hand with their latest offerings allowing all who wished to test drive a new rod the opportunity. While the Scott rep was tyed up, he did send us a few sticks to fish as well.

    Then there was the food. Our “Stone Soup” potluck and Taco Bar made sure no one went home hungry. Planned or not, we had a south of the border theme with plenty of beef tacos, pork carnitas, chips, salsa and tubs of guacamole. Our buddy Brent went off menu with a pot of Cajun shrimp that tucked into a tortilla nicely and were delicious! 

    When it came to dessert what happened on the Deschutes, stays on the Deschutes. I’ll just say there was plenty of tasty after Taco treats to cleanse the palate and add to the waistline. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as vegan cupcakes…

    High water didn’t slow down the dedicated anglers who showed up to fish. After the Taco Bar closed, big nymphs and San Juan Worms wreaked havoc on the resident rainbows in the waters above White River. While the fish wouldn’t break any size records, they definitely helped chase away the cobwebs of winter. Kimi thought she was tied into a monster Trout when she scored this impressive bottom feeder. Our own Nick Wheeler did the netting and releasing honors. While it is the policy of this editorial staff to #keepemwet and not show fish out of water, this image needed to be shared. Please, #keepemwet. 

    A special thanks goes out to factory reps Tom Larimer, Erik Johnson and Eric Neufeld for joining in on this inaugural event and sharing their expertise. I also need to send out a very big thank-you to my lovely wife, Kellie, and the best mother-in-law in the business, Sally Walker, for their hard work in pre-cooking, baking and organizing this picnic. Thanks to all who contributed and attended! We’re doing it again next year on April 1st. Mark your calendar!

    It's Damn Damp

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 16, 2017

    It’s not raining this second, so what are you doing inside? This has been a winter of challenging conditions and this week is no different. Drenching rain has filled most of the area’s waterways and it is looking bleak if you want to get out today. Now, tomorrow is another matter as the big drop begins with the sun peaking out from behind the clouds. Even the weekend looks promising! Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but we might even see fishable water into next week!

    The only dark cloud in this sunny forecast is the Clackamas River which seems to be determined to stay above the 15 foot mark until after the workweek begins on Monday. I was talking with our man on the water, Corey Koff, and we agreed, 14 ft. is the new 12 ft. on the Clack. If the water is green, fish it. Just don’t fish the whole river, focus on the edges.

    The Sandy had color on Monday, a radical change from it’s “spring creek” appearance most of this winter. Constant rain and warmer temps knocked it out on Tuesday and it seems to have peaked at 11,400 cfs this morning and is dropping. It will probably fish tomorrow, but check the gauge.

    I wasn't sure what condition the Deschutes was in until my phone beeped a second ago and Marty check in. The river bumped up as rain and snow melt affects the flows on the east side and Mr. Sheppard reports it is off color as well. You could probably catch a fish or two, but it's not optimal. It's a good day to tye some flies or stop in the shop for a cup of coffee. Winter isn't over yet.

    An Optimistic Bunch

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 09, 2017

    If you are that person who is constantly checking the river levels and weather report as you plan your weekend, you probably have been flirting with a case of serious angling depression this week. Looking ahead to the weekend you have surmised by now that conditions will be near perfect starting at around 10:00PM this evening and ending around 8:00AM Friday. That gives you a full hour of daylight tomorrow morning and you already called in sick last week. Yup, that is depressing.

    Now, before you lose all hope of getting your boots wet this weekend you need to look on the bright side. Trout fishing is still an option and smaller watersheds may drop into shape by Sunday afternoon. You at least need to go check it out.

    As anglers we are an optimistic bunch and our current weather pattern seems to be putting that optimism to the test. The ups and downs of our favorite rivers have been a never-ending elevator ride of emotions. It’s like we’re in high school again getting mixed signals from that object of our affection. One minute we’re in love dancing through a day on the water, the next we’re crushed and standing out in the freezing rain promising to never do this again. Ah yes, winter Steelheading, I use to do that until I learned how to make baskets out of old Skagit lines…

    Yet, we persevere and seek out these proud fish in conditions that turn most imported anglers into gameshow junkies. A perfect example of this dedication is the tale of Bryan and Brian.

    It seems that our friend Bryan Petersen (owner of Cascade Payroll Service, our Royal Treatment payroll specialist. 503.608.4227 for all your payroll needs. End of unsolicited shameless plug.) was fishing with our friend Brian Silvey, AKA Number One. Now before confusion sets in I will just share Mr. Petersen’s email, or at least part of it. After all, this is a family friendly newsletter…

    “Around noon we stopped to set up for lunch. A couple of guys were casting bobbers on the other side of the river and Brian told me to fish the seam on this side. I’m fishing it, looking at the guys across form me and thinking, well they’re not catching anything, what are my chances? Step, cast, mend, step, cast, mend, down the run I went.

    Brian finally called out, “two more casts.” I thought to myself, lunch is ready, good, I need a break! As I’m thinking about warming up on Brian’s soup and toasted bagel sandwich, the line snaps taunt, the loop is gone and the rod takes leave of my hand. I’m looking down into the water as my rod it now 4-6 feet down river from me and moving away rapidly.

    Fortunately, Brian was oblivious to my current predicament or I’d now be a feature on American’s Funniest Home Videos or at the least Brian’s Instagram feed! I started chasing after my rod, which involved “running” in thigh deep water in waders. I almost caught it, but it darted off again. I considered diving into the freezing water after it, but thought better and continued my splashy pursuit.

    Thankfully, I finally caught up with my wayward outfit, but was sure the fish had departed. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the fish was indeed still attached to my Silvey's Extractor!

    Most of the battle was fought without my participation and after a brief struggle it was carefully brought to the net. Pictures were taken, backs were slapped and soon it was off again to terrorize another angler.

    One of Brian’s warm riverside lunches was the reward for my success, as I briefly mentioned the episode to my guide. Please don’t tell anyone about this, Brian missed the show and I may not have shared the whole story. I don’t want him to cut me from the A list.”

    Huh, don’t worry Bryan. Mr. Silvey only reads this newsletter when he’s prominently featured, or not fishing because the river is rising.

    Are you nuts?

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 05, 2017

    Are you nuts? Current conditions dictate a generous dose of commonsense if you are even thinking about venturing out into the bone-chilling temps and high east winds that are pummeling our area. Hypothermia is a real concern and driving conditions are marginal at best once you get off the beaten path. It’s a very good time to tye flies or maybe organize a fly box by the fire.

    Looking ahead to next week, a warming trend should liven up angling opportunities and help you break that cabin fever. Fresh fish were showing well in both the Clackamas and Sandy rivers before the deep freeze moved in over the New Year holiday. The warmer temps should make them happy again and more receptive to your swung offerings.

    I talked with Brian Silvey last evening and while he was buried in over a foot of snow at his hacienda by the Deschutes, he did manage a busman’s holiday on the Sandy over the weekend. He started off the New Year right by tangling with a couple dandy fish and busting a Winston Spey Rod under the watchful eye of Winston General Manager, Jeff Wagner. Oops. Brian admitted operator error and will be begging the forgiveness of the repair department. Send them some Trout flies, Brian!

    If you do attempt to get out before things warm up, please be careful. A dunking can be deadly in these icy conditions. Our mountain passes are treacherous and the Santiam Pass has seen a few avalanches already this season. Put emergency gear in your car and be smart. I don’t want to see you on the evening news.

    Rain Gear Required

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Rain gear is required this week as the another system sweeps ashore. Temperatures have dropped in the mountains so at least we're getting a little of our snowpack back. The lower freezing level will help on the Sandy by minimizing the impact of falling precipitation. The river has risen the last few days, but looks to be setting up for a drop. Old number one, Brian Silvey, guided a client into the fish of a lifetime this past week, tailing a beast of 40.25 inches x 21 on the Sandy. The native's adipose can be witnessed above. Congrats Mr. Silvey, well done!

    High water continues to plague the Clackamas this winter making the willows along the edges one of the bigger challenges facing anglers. Pressure is dropping a bit and that trend will continue as more Springers make the news on the Willamette.

    Trout options remain good, providing that the weather conditions are conducive to human survival. Rain, snow and a strong breeze help keep the masses away, but mixed in there are some fairly mild days. Be flexible and go prepared for the elements.

    Brian O'Keefe has taken up the mantle of resident Metolius guru and sends me the occasional report with photographs. Brian checked in yesterday saying, "on the stormy days the bull trout seem to bite better and then when it is a bit more mild there is a chance to see a decent BWO hatch around 1pm. Seeing some risers in the campground water."

    Brian also mentions that October Caddis like creatures are flitting about here in March and reports the trout seem to like them in the pupa stage.

    Up and Down of Winter Fishing

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 18, 2016
    Brian O'Keefe Photo

    Dropping rivers may give way again to rising waters if the forecasts hold true. Not to worry as what goes up, must come down, sometime. Like I've said before, you can't fish from the couch. Get out there and enjoy the day.

    The Sandy River took a big leap up this week, but is dropping nicely as I write this report. Rain and melting snowpack may bump it up a tad this weekend, but look for a drop again as we roll into next week. Fish have been grabby on the falling river. Fish the soft water edges for the best chance at success. Reports from Brian Silvey and Marty Sheppard confirm that black and blue flies don't work, but what do they know?

    Pretty much the same story on the Clackamas except the drops take a little longer. The river level has been dropping the last four days, but this rain will push the up button again. Fish are in the willows so don't risk your neck wading too deep. Swing your flies all the way into the bank. Lighter sink-tips will get it done in high, warmer water.

    Trout chasers will find higher flows on the Deschutes due to warmer temps and melting snow, but Trout still need to eat. Keep your boots dry and fish the edges, or hit the Metolius where the famous misc. Mayfly hatch, BWOs and other tasty treats are tempting resident Rainbows. That sounds like a good idea to me...Brian, see ya later today and bring a your camera.

    Plan B

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 11, 2016
    Looking at river level projections for the next few days leads me to believe that the prognosticators are expecting a little warm rain to send some of our precious snow bubbling down the mountain. Spikes are forecast for the Clackamas and Sandy rivers, while the coastal streams show only moderate bumps. Here's the thing, don't worry about it. Make your plan, but have a plan B. We've talked about this before, Campers. You can't NOT go just because some computer model says you should be building an ark. Keep an eye on what is really happening and get out there!

    Fresh Steelhead have been reported throughout the Sandy from Dodge to the mouth. The dropping river made a big difference in the attitude of the fish last Friday for sure. Over on the Clackamas fish have been cooperative when the jet boat population is lower. Barton Park to the mouth has seen the freshest fish.

    The Film Tour guys have been poking around the coast this week and rumor has it they even found some fish. I'm sure we'll see pictures at the After Party on Saturday.

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