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Fishing Reports

Floodwaters Receding

Joel La Follette - Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Trout Bum Road Trip turned into four days of photographing animals sprinkled with a few hours of chasing Trout. Yellowstone National Park is a wondrous place in the late season before the snow falls closing it for the winter to wheeled vehicles. The tourists are gone, the animals are everywhere and the rivers are uncrowded. Having no real plans I ended up staying a few extra days in the Park and explored places I hadn't seen before.

I was able to fish the Lamar, Gibbon, Firehole and Madison rivers while dodging snow storms and hurricane winds during my visit. Brown Trout seemed the most willing to grab my streamer selection, while Rainbows preferred my go-to Silvey's Super Sinker. A Sunday morning blizzard finally chased me to the west and home.

Meanwhile here in Oregon, Trouters are lamenting the passing of the general Trout season this coming weekend, but there are still plenty of target rich environs to explore all across the state. Our popular east side streams host the dedicated all winter long so there is no need to sell off the tackle bag just yet. Layer up and get after it. What are you, a mouse?

Speaking of "mouses," my friend and fellow fly shop owner, Jeff Perin, is waging a battle royal with the mouse population around the old homestead in Sisters. I'm hoping that he can break away from the frontlines for a little angling on our favorite spring creek this weekend. Reports from that local have been favorable and demand further investigation. Besides, the dude owes me a burger and shake.

Just up the road, the Deschutes has been blessing anglers with a mix of migratory and resident Rainbows willing to play according to our Fly Czar. Since he covered the fishing report last week and did such an awesome job I've asked him to fill in the blanks for me again this week. Take it away Josh!



Not sure if you guys looked outside or saw the weather this past weekend, but it rained a lot. Like flood level rains. I’m guessing the only way you missed it is if you were in another state, like Montana or Wyoming... 

High water and big rain storms are to be expected this time of year and sadly it takes a little longer for rivers to clear. The ground is super dry, the roads have lots of dirt on them and everything washes into the rivers. Not to mention all the leaves that are falling off of the trees non stop. When the rivers finally drop and clear the fishing will be good!

I’m already planning my next couple of days of fishing and counting down the days till winter fishing starts. I’m thinking the Klickitat would be a good choice or maybe the Deschutes. Both will have lots of Steelhead and should fish good this weekend.

In anticipation of winter fishing I’ve already put my floating lines away, dusted off my skagit lines and sink tips and I’m looking for my boxes of big flies. It’s no secret that I love fishing sink tips and every day I’m thinking about fishing bigger tips and bigger flies. Right now I’m reaching for MOW tips like the medium 5x5 and the 2.5x7.5 sink. Those tips produce really well on those east side rivers like the Klickitat, Deschutes, and Grand Ronde. The flies I’m choosing are 1.5”-2.5” long, typically Black or Red. I like little rabbit tube flies like the Silveynator or mini Klamath Intruders. When I’m fishing these flies I’m typically casting them to the far bank if it’s a smaller river and letting them hang in the deeper water till the current pulls them out. A lot of the time you get the takes when the fly starts to rise up and pull into the current. Don’t be afraid to fish deep into the run where it transitions from the fishy water to the deeper un-fishable tanky stuff. As it gets colder the fish will be holding deeper and deeper.

As I sit here I’m looking at the river gauges thinking about where I should go fish. Deschutes? Klickitat? What will it be? All the rivers are quickly dropping into shape. The Deschutes at Warm Springs is almost back to normal flows. The Deschutes below White River is still pretty big. The Klickitat is up and slowly dropping, but should be in good fishable shape this weekend.

If you’re not interested in Steelhead or you want to stay a little closer there should be plenty of fresh Coho in both the Sandy and the Clack and probably a few Steelhead as well. If you want to chase Trout this is the last weekend before the general trout season closes, and with that closure comes the end of Sea-Run Cutthroat fishing.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend get out there and make your own fishing report. 

Warm up, Wet down

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 11, 2014

While another Pineapple Express tracks towards the west coast it looks like most of the real heavy rain will be making it ashore in southern Oregon and California. For California it’s one of those be careful what you wish for things. Plenty of snow, rain and mudslides are in-store for our drought stricken southern neighbors with this coming storm. If your holiday plans include driving south to the Bay Area or the Mouse Kingdom, take your Muck boots.

That’s not to say that we will dodge the all of the precip as 2 to 4 inches of the warm wet stuff are scheduled to dampen the area. To us Oregonians, that’s just a drop in the old rain bucket. While the rivers are forecast to rise through the weekend on the coast, they start their drop at the first of the week and should be in fishable shape my mid-week.

The good news is there are fresh fish in most of the north coast rivers. Dave Harrison spent a day on a small coastal stream with Rob Crandall this past week and sent me his version of the adventure…

“What a blast that was! My favorite memory was getting within inches of Rob's inflatable raft with a chainsaw. Nerve-racking in the extreme! There's also the hillbilly cardboard sign on the banks of the river proclaiming the owner has a gun and isn't afraid to use it, no hunting or fishing or you will die, etc, etc, etc... ending with a "I WANT MY SIGN BACK YOU JERKS!" as apparently the former sign had been stolen. I also learned about (CENSORED BY THE EDITOR) for coho and saw the biggest Chinook I've ever seen moving through shallow water. It looked like a dolphin in that small water - I'd say it was 30+ lbs easy, and looked about 4 1/2-5 feet long. My jaw dropped.”

And you thought fishing was all about the fish. Rob reported that Dave has signed up for the Estacada Timber Festival in 2015 when his newfound chainsaw prowess. Rob also concurred as to the size of the Chinook encountered, adding there were several bright fish moving into the river. We should be very near the end of the Salmon run with this last shot of rain.

Over on the Deschutes things finally warmed up, but with that change came a bit of a breeze. I talked to Brian Silvey yesterday and he said temps were near 60, but the wind was blowing. As things stabilize we may have a chance at some winter dry fly action with BWOs on the menu. Last week, the freezing rain kept them from popping and made driving conditions iffy. Steelhead are still hanging out all through the river, with a few fresh ones finally arriving to the party.

The Clackamas has been bouncing up and down with each passing cloudburst, but overall the color has been good. Winter Steelhead are spread all the way up to the Park and their numbers should increase as we wind down the holidays. Don’t forget to ask for a new fishing license for Christmas….

Hang-on leaves are falling

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The airwaves are buzzing as Snowmageddon blows into the valley today. Some poor rookie on the local news storm team is stuck on the Sylvan overpass wondering if four years in college was worth the rubber snow boots and bad hat. We all expected winter to wrestle fall into submission, but maybe not this soon. Those hang-on leaves are losing their grip and rinsing down the river along with our summer memories. It’s time to bundle up.

There may not be enough layers to block the windchill on the east side. Arctic winds and bone chilling temps have all but the most hardy seeking warmer past times. Those brave souls venturing out have found fish on both the Deschutes and John Day, but they are well earned.

The John Day has been colored up by what has been reported as a mudslide well above Cottonwood. The exact location isn’t clear, but word has it that it make take a spring high water event to fully flush the offending muck from the system. Until then, even small bumps in flow will probably see increased turbidity. Fortunately the slow pace of the John Day allows for sediment to settle fairly quickly as it moves downstream. Corey Koff reported yesterday that the water from Cottonwood down wasn’t perfect, but it was fishable and producing.

The Deschutes has seen anglers moving onto greener pastures, but still has something to contribute to those making the trip. Fishing above Maupin has been good and water conditions favorable. The river guides are mostly done there for the season and are preparing for their winter adventures. As stated, there are still fish to be encountered if you are willing to brave the chill.

Coastal streams are filling with Salmon of all shapes and sizes. Most streams dropped into favorable shape after the last rain and allowed anglers some successes. The annual pilgrimage to rivers on the south coast as begun. There, more rain is needed to spread the love.

Locally, the Clackamas as seen the an early showing of winter fish still mixed in with the summer catch. The traditional winter Steelhead kick off on Thanksgiving may pull a few away from football games if these conditions continue.

BC and Deschutes Steelhead take to flight...

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 06, 2014
I'm going to start this week's fishing report off with a photo of my good friend Stefan and a very nice BC Steelhead. Stefan checked in last Saturday on his way home to Germany and reported some fantastic fishing, after dealing with a little rain. By the way, he's not a morning person. In fact, he normally adds a scoop or two of instant coffee to the coffee that's been brewing in the pot for a few hours. What he doesn't drink the city of Smithers uses to patch potholes....

Now to the local reports...Once again, my phone binged late last night with a message from the Water Time Outfitters dynamic duo, Rob Crandall and Gil Muhleman. Both of these hard working guides are putting the finishing touches on their Deschutes season, but have a few days open before the curtain falls. I know Rob has a some spots open for this weekend. Contact him if you are interested.

Rob's report translated to something like "Fishing is very good and we're encountering good numbers of larger fish with some of the B-run variety reaching into the mid teens. Most of these fish are taking on their fall colors and look splendid, but are full of flight. Water temps on the D have been slowly dropping, but we are still in the low 50s."

"As for Trout fishing, we've had a bit of tunnel vision focusing on the Steelhead, but there have been some days with decent surface action. As it gets colder these days seem to be a little more sporadic. We are still seeing some Mahogany Duns, Caddis, October Caddis and Blue Winged Olives. There has been a fair number of Stonefly nymphs wiggling around on the bottom of my Clackacraft. They seem to be grabbing a ride on my Korker boots and landing in the boat. These hitchhikers are most likely Goldenstone Nymphs as they are a brown coloration with a lighter cream belly. They are averaging about 1-1/4" or so in length."


Gil backed up Rob's report with his version of the week..."Rob and I just finished a three day float. This trip was as productive as any trip all season. The two gentlemen in my boat were infected with the Steelhead craze after their first of several Steelhead on swung flies. Everyone caught good numbers of fish as there are a LOT of fish just above Maupin. We are also finding a ton of Round Butte hatchery fish between Warm Springs and Trout Creek. I'm about done for the season, but looking for anglers to extend it a little because of the unseasonably warm weather and great fishing. If anyone is interested have them email me. There are a lot of the fish in the river and they are gorgeous... Bright, perfect fins and LARGE."

Over on the John Day, we did see a bump up in the water levels with the rain and that colored up the river a little on Sunday. Conditions improved as the week went on. This is the peak time on the John Day if you're thinking about it. It is still a dry line show.

The Clackamas increased it's pace to the sea this week, but not enough to dampen the spirits of a few fly fingers. Coho are still entering the river and we're seeing a few winter Steelhead in the mix of summer fish being caught. Our dampish October/November has had benefits.

Salmon fishing on the coast was slightly derailed by rising rivers last week. Conditions are looking better for this weekend, depending on how much rain falls today. Clear skies ahead? We'll see.

Typhoon Phooey

Joel La Follette - Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our weekend typhoon warning fizzled as rain moved in slowly this week and was less than spectacular. The only real event was the large ocean swell and subsequent high surf which made for great storm watching and damp cameras. Coastal streams saw a slight increase in flow, but are transitioning back to a dropping trend. Maybe this little flush will stir things up a bit.

Action on the Deschutes continues to be as good as fall fishing should be. Trout and Steelhead are offering choices for anglers all the way up to the dam. Mix in a salmon or two and you have plenty of reasons to be there. Rob Crandall and Gil Mulheman, of Water Time Outfitters, have been logging long hours and scoring well for their clients. Rob surfaced briefly this week and sent this report...

"Fishing has been pretty good.  We've recently seen a good push of B run fish and landed some in the mid-teens.  Each day is a new game as we work down river.  Some days are hot and others is a classic search.  For the Trout hunters the Mahogany dun hatches and spinner falls have been somewhat amazing.  Many times in the afternoon and evening there are literally thousands of bugs in the air.  October Caddis are also getting some Trout to smash the surface and eat them. It's a great time to be on the river."

Elsewhere on the east side, the the flows on the Crooked have been bumped up slightly, but are still within good fishing levels. Fishing has been good with BWOs and other small table fare enticing the Trout. Same goes on the Metolius were the misc. small Mayfly hatch offers challenges and hope to visiting anglers. Although there is plenty of river to explore, we have limited time left to fish the Camp Sherman area before it closes on the 31st. 

Closer to home, Coho are still the talk of the Clackamas, but we are seeing an uptick in Steelhead encounters, including some chrome wild fish that look a little wintery. Our sprinklely weather may stir the pot and bring a few fish to a boil. There is still time left for Skaters and dry lines.  

B-Runs and Dory Daze

Joel La Follette - Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's hard not to lead off with a report on the Deschutes this time of year because it seems to be the center of our fly fishing universe. Everyone stopping by the shop wants to know what's going on there. Well, the best way to fill the information void is to go right to one of the guys putting people into hot summer Steelhead, Rob Crandall of Water Time Outfitters. Rob came up for air this week and fired off this report...

"I'm just back from the Deschutes below Max Canyon.  I had a great session down there and survived the nasty wind we had last week.  Fishing was really fairly good the whole time.  We had a few tough days, but overall we mostly had multiple fish days and some of them were pretty good ones.  We fished dry lines in the shade with most of the traditional stuff working great.  We also had some great fishing in full sun using a T-11 tip and a few of my new patterns that Spirit River will be bringing to market soon.  Kind of fun when you can double your numbers by fishing mid-day!  

There seems to be fish spread throughout the system now with pods moving through.  Both hatchery and wild fish are in the mix with some big B-run fish around to test your backing quality.  These fish are hot and often present the classic "V" formation, ripping into the backing downstream and then racing upstream. Often you'll see them jumping right in front of you while you are still looking 100 yards downstream!  This is where many of these fish are lost unless a quick thinking angler lifts the rod to get the line out of the water to stay attached to this leaping chrome bullet. Hopefully there will be plenty of that kind of action in the coming weeks.

Also, the Max Canyon boat ramp is getting closer to being finished, but please advise folks that parking is closed in certain places as they finalize their efforts there. Watch for signs indicating closed areas so construction can go on as scheduled. Tight Lines, Rob" 

While large numbers of Salmon are moving up the Columbia River system, elsewhere in Oregon the migration is just staging. We're all hoping for a little rain to get things rolling. The weather system that was forecast for this week seems to have weakened and hot weather is returning for the weekend. Not good. Pray for a little more rain. 

The ocean Salmon season is winding down, but there are still plenty of fish out there. I was treated to an afternoon of dory fishing out of Pacific City with Rob and Erin Perkins this past week. A very adventuresome way to chase Salmon for sure. While "Bucktailing" is not traditional fly fishing in the strictest sense, it has it's own traditions that go back to the early days of Salmon fishing. No herring or anchovies were involved in the capture of the fish that joined us for future dinner plans. Thanks for the great afternoon, my friends! 

On a side note, I have found that Salmon fishing regulations here in Oregon are as confusing as assembly instructions for a nuclear sub. I received a special email update from our friends at ODFW this week regarding Salmon retention limits. After reading all the regs and jumping back and forth through several pages on their speedy website I think you can only barbecue left handed fish. On Mondays. Please check the regulations before fishing on weekends or weekdays.

Trout chasers are sneaking off to hit favorite spots while the world is focused on Steelhead and Salmon. Those few rebels are armed with the standard fare, but they're tossing in a few meaty morsels for the monsters looking to fatten up before the snow flies. We're talking streamers here, Campers. Pizza on a hook. Fall is a great time to tempt larger fish with larger meals so don't leave home without something that looks like your neighbor's cat. Yes, the one you hit with that toy helicopter. 

 


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