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Fishing Reports

Nick's Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 29, 2018

Steelhead fishing has picked up this week with the fresh shot of rain and low level snow. All local rivers got a small surge of water and look to be staying in perfect shape. The coastal rivers seem to be producing more fish then our local waters of the Clackamas and Sandy.

Josh and I both spend some time on the coast this weekend and numerous fish were landed. At this point if you were planning on winter steelheading I would say, “Go now!” The current water levels and aggressive fish mean your chances are probably not going to get much better this.

As we edge our way into April summer steelhead should start showing up in the Clackamas and Sandy. This is when we begin to wind down our winter fishing, but you can still get that Steelhead fix before you transition over to Trout fishing. Both rivers will continue to produce fish all spring. 

Trout fishing on the east side has been lights out. The Deschutes near Maupin and the Crooked River are the subject of some great fishing reports coming in. Anglers have been catching fish mainly on nymphs: Zebra Midges, small Stonefly nymphs, Hares Ears and Super Sinkers. When a hatch appears it most likely will be a March Brown, Blue Wing Olive or Skwalas that bring Trout to the surface. Personally, I’ve done well this time of year stripping streamers like a Sculpzilla. It’s a fun way to break away from the norm and get a tight line grab. With warmer temps and nicer weather this weekend the east side rivers could be a awesome place to find a change of pace. 

No matter whether this week takes you east, west, or painting Easter eggs, fishing is only getting better so get your chores done now. Spring is here and you’re going to find yourself with too many good options and not enough time to do it all. The chaos is beginning. 


Things are looking up

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 26, 2017

Opportunities abound as we are enjoying some of the best water conditions of the winter season. Reports are flooding in from all corners of the state as anglers break the bonds of cabin fever and venture out. Our forecasted flood waters receded quickly and most area rivers fell into shape as predicted. The Sandy never really went up and out as freezing levels dropped saving us from a potential torrent. We are looking at very little change as stable weather conditions move in until late next week.

Road conditions have improved on the east side, but there is still snow on the ground. Trout chasers are setting aside the chips and guacamole long enough to break free of the couch and hit the water. Midges, BWOs and Little Black Stones are offering up winter snacks for the residents of the Crooked, Deschutes and Metolius rivers. Getting down and funky with your standard nymphs is always an option if the surface party fails to excite. Bull Trout are chomping streamers on our favorite spring creek for those braving the streamside snow.

For an on-the-water report we turn now to our Fly Czar, Josh Linn...

I fished the Clackamas with Tom Larimer and Jake Zirkle from G Loomis over the weekend. We tested out a bunch of new rods from Loomis including the much talked about Asquith, and a new series that will be debuting soon that will be awesome. The river was in great shape having dropped quickly. We put in a little late and the boat traffic was light. We were able to pretty much fish everything we wanted. There is still a bunch of snow in Hood River and Tom wasn't able to get his jet sled dug out, so we piled into his drift boat. 

This was the first time I have fished with either of these guys and one of the things I noticed was Tom changes sink tips and flies for almost every run we fished. Now, we were testing a bunch of rods so I'm sure that was part of it, but I would have been more content to fish the same tip most of the time, probably 10 or 12' of t-11. This was my first time really fishing the 13' 7wt Asquith and boy is that rod something else. It was loaded with a 540gr Skagit Switch G2 from Airflo and that stick is a real winner. It casts far, throws big flies with ease and is as light as a feather. If you're in the market for a new rod, that would definitely be one to look at. While inventory is limited on all Asquith rods, we do have a few demos rotating through the shop. Call me and I'll hook you up for a test drive. 

As you can see from the photo above, it's a fish catcher too.
 


Still Rock'n the Big Bugs

Joel La Follette - Thursday, May 12, 2016
Totally Trout this week as the Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes continues to be the focus. Last Thursday a mega thunderstorm rolled though the area rinsing the big bugs from their grassy villas. While a feeding frenzy resulted in it’s aftermath, the storm rebooted the hatch and it took a few days to see any numbers of insects back in the bushes. Some anglers found fishing slow on Friday and Saturday, only to see it rebound the first part of this week.

The numbers of both GoldenStones and Salmonflies have increased above Maupin all the way upriver to Warm Springs. This weekend looks to be approaching the peak of this annual migration. If conditions remain favorable, fishing should be epic. All of the popular patterns seem to be producing, so just make sure to have your favorites. I started off my day on Monday with a hopper/dropper combo of a Purple Chubby and Silvey’s Pupa. Action at the 9:00 hour was the result. When things warmed up I went full on Salmonfly with Morrish’s Fluttering Stone and didn’t look back. Pick your favorite and toss in the brush where those big fish are waiting.

Observation of other insects should be noted as well and could provide anglers with options in areas where the big bugs are thinning. Green Drakes, PMDs, a few March Browns and plenty of Caddis were all observed taking to wing over the last few days. While it’s early for the Green Drake hatch, be prepared when these big mayflies take flight. Lucky Steve tells us the 16-17th are the dates for that hatch.

The Metolius and Crooked rivers are also good options if you wish to avoid the flotilla on the Deschutes. Spring hatches could include most of your favorites, but it may be a tad bit longer before we see the Green Drakes pop on the Metolius. This popular spring creek tends to come alive on warm cloudy days, or later in the evening. Make plans according.

Steelhead action can still be had on the Clackamas where Springers have also been grabbing swung files. Swing a little slower if you want to tangle with the King. Airflo’s new FIST head is the prefect weapon for that task. Stop in for fly suggestions, Josh has added a few colors just for Springers.

Thanksgiving Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 19, 2015


It may seem that the last few days of precipitation have rinsed away any hopes of getting out this weekend for some pre-holiday angling opportunities. Not true, my friends! While Salmon swim across roads and through trailer parks on the coast, and our local rivers got a bit silly, the east side rivers are showing only slight increases in flows. Both the John Day and Deschutes spiked just a tad this week as the mother of all rain storms pounded the region. The trend is now for dropping levels throughout the coming week as temperatures drop into fleece zone. The long range prognostication has Maupin chilling down to a nippy 32/17 combo by Thanksgiving. Layer up and get those boots wet.


These cooler conditions may produce ice in the guides for the first part of the day, but once the sun clears the canyon it should be downright balmy. Checking in with Rob Crandall last evening produced an optimistic view for the Deschutes report. Rob and the Water Time Outfitters crew found good numbers of fish on their last outing from Trout Creek down to Maupin, with plenty of fish in the Maupin area. A few of this critters even looked to be fresh new arrivals. While floating lines may find success, a sink-tip will be handy if water temps drop with this big chill down. Trout fishing is a possibility if weather conditions allow. I did not see much activity on my adventure there this past week. Two BWOs and an October Caddis that overslept does not make a hatch.

Reports from the John Day have been mixed with most anglers checking in with little success. The cast count per fish has risen above the traditional 1000, but that should improve. Early season water levels have slowed the migration, but hopefully more fish be on the move after this wet system rinses the trail dust out of their noses. As mentioned, despite the slight bump forecasted for the weekend, the John Day looks to be stable through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Trout chasers can bundle up and head over to the Crooked River for some holiday peace and quiet. Midges and the occasional BWO hatch should provide some fun. Small leach patterns fished on a slow strip can break up the boredom of bobber watching if the hatch fails to appear. No need to be there at the crack of dawn, 9:30 is plenty early. Take your time and have a nice breakfast.  It’s the most important meal of the day you know.

Don't forget the Black Friday Fish Fest coming up on November 27th. Get signed up today!


Photos by Water Time Outfitters
 


Ditch the lawnmower and go fishing

Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 23, 2015
This Saturday is the traditional opening of the 2015 general Trout season here in Oregon. To most it’s a non event as many of our fly fishing waters are open throughout the year, and some still remain closed until the end of May to protect out-migrating anadromous offspring. Nevertheless, there are places to Trout fish this weekend that have been off limits since October and that will pull a few of you away from the lawnmower.

The Deschutes is the big draw as the entire river will be open and rumors of Salmonflies filter into the shop. We’re still weeks away from any major hatch activity, but with summer flows and temps running in the low 50s, it is not inconceivable to see big bugs take to wing in the lower river this weekend. In any case, a collection of Stonefly nymphs is a good addition to your fly box right alongside all those Chubbys. Stay close to the bank because that’s where the action is.

With the big D pulling anglers away, the Crooked and Metolius may end up being a good option for a little peace and Trout fishing. Fishing on the Crooked was hampered by windy conditions last week, but fish were feeding on top when you could get the fly to them. Adams, BWOs and small black Caddis were the reported favorites.

Steelheaders are hanging on like the last leaves of fall, but spring has not brought many summer Steelhead home yet. I hosted Henry and Dale from the Clackamas Fly Fishers this past Monday on the club’s home water, and while the weather was fantastic, we had very little to show for our efforts. I did have a brief encounter with a very hot summer fish that ran off line, thrashed about on the surface, then sent my fly back to me, but it was far too brief. Encouraging, but a little embarrassing too. Hopefully a little freshening of the river with the forecasted rain will improve the chances for success. We just need to see that rain.

Howling winds, pounding rain and sunshine

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 19, 2015

That last stormed lived up to it’s billing and brought not only the rain as promised, but tossed in some pretty impressive winds to spice things up. By Sunday most area rivers were rising fast and changing to un-fishable colors. Howling winds and pounding rain drove most anglers to shelter were power outages rekindled the art of conversation. By Monday the sun was out and the drop had started and by Tuesday  life was good again, if your power was on.

This much needed surge in river levels brought fresh fish in and cheered up those already here. While it’s still winter Steelheading and not a sure thing, fish have been encountered fairly often on both the Sandy and Clackamas rivers. Brian Silvey called last evening and his anglers tangled with three fish just yesterday. Tangled doesn’t mean landed, but fresh fish are a handful and these proved that theory. Marty Sheppard has been finding a fish for his clients on most days as well.

Rob’s Crandall was taking a few guide days off and was working on a film project. He stopped by the Lodge on Monday to borrowed a rod from me and reported last night that it’s working quite well. I’ve decided to charge him by the fish, so I should be able to raise enough cash for my Bahamas guide tips in May. From this you should guess that things on the Clackamas are looking pretty good at the moment.

Most of Monday’s coastal trips were canceled due to high off-colored water on Sunday, but the coast went back on-line quickly as proven by our “2014 Clipped Champion” George Marshall. He got a hall pass from Mom for a little fly R&D this week and scored this lovely wild buck. Mom is out of the doghouse she got tossed into after scoring a Sandy fish as George lay dying from the plague in Silvey’s boat earlier this winter. Of course, that fish did give George a little pep in his step and got him back in the water. Mom’s are good at motivating their offspring.

The warm weather has flipped the switch on many anglers and they’re now clicking into full on Trout mode. The Deschutes and valley rivers have seen a few March Brown hatches when the weather allows. Skwalas and Caddis are also flitting about in limited numbers. With very little snowpack, we should have minimal runoff to cloud streams when we transition into serious Trout chasing. Look for hatches to be even earlier this year if this warming trend continues.

Who's in the Dog House?

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 12, 2015
No, I didn't screw up, this time. Brian really did take the photo at the top of the page of Bryan. Confused? Me too. You see, Brian Silvey is the number one guide on the Sandy according to the number two guide on the Sandy, (Marty somebody) and Bryan Peterson is my number one guy when it comes to payroll. I like doing business with people who fish and as you can see, Bryan fishes. Sometimes even with Brian. Now, before you hit the delete key let me explain.

Bryan sent me a fishing report from his adventures this past week and included this photo. His report eluded to his turning 50 and his residence in the doghouse for bringing along his love interest without explaining the day in greater detail. Some critical issues were excluded from description of the adventure, causing Bryan to lose a few points. Mostly having to do with waders as a fashion statement and the restroom facilities along the river, which means there aren't any. These things of course rarely cross the mind of an angler bent on chasing winter Steelhead so Bryan's should not reside in the pooch palace for long. I thought it best to focus on the positive aspects of his report and leave the drama out and so here I provide my interpretation.

Bryan caught fish. Even in the low water conditions we found ourselves in last week, Bryan and his nine year old son, Adam, landed fish on a coastal stream, on swung flies. No beads and bobbers for these guys. Three fish to hand on the coast before heading to the Sandy the next weekend where Bryan’s stint in the Bow Wow Hotel started. In all fairness it did sound like things were tempered by a beautiful sunny day allowing for some vitamin D intake. All in all I think our payroll guy came out fine with one tanned girlfriend and a nice 15lb wild fish to hand. Am sure a nice dinner out on the town will clear the slate.

Meanwhile, as the clouds move in for the weekend anglers are torn between the hunt for Steelhead and the chance to toss dry flies at Trout. Skwalas have taken to wing in the valley and March Brown are also filing flight plans. The warmer cloudy weather is perfect for those interested in drifting the McKenzie, Willamette or Santiam rivers this coming week. If this weather pattern holds in the coming weeks look for the Caddis to show up a few weeks early.

Even still the Steelhead call is strong and after swinging through low water for the last few weeks, Spey casters are looking forward to a freshening of all Oregon streams with this current weather event. Forecasts don’t have things getting too out of hand, with dropping rivers by Monday. Of course we will have to see what truly comes to pass, but it is encouraging.

With the Clackamas and Sandy river bumping up a bit with the rain we should see improvement in the catch rate even though both streams produced for those willing to put in the time during the low water. The first summer fish of the year has made it’s way over Willamette Falls so I guess we’re rolling solid into spring. Dry line tactics are on the horizon.

Further south, the North Umpqua is a spring favorite and not as populated as some metro rivers. Fish are all the way up into the Camp Water at Steamboat, but remember it is important to avoid spawning fish. There are places that are easy to see that these fish have staged to spawn and we should leave them alone. Be smart, protect the resource and have fun. See you on the water. 

Just like falling off a truck

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 05, 2015

It’s always hard to get back in the swing of things after a couple days of fishing. Sitting down to write does take away from my time at the fly bench, but I promised you all a fresh report so at the keyboard is where I find myself at this early hour. The task should not be too hard as the week has proven eventful for many anglers and uneventful for others, but they all have been kind enough to share. Brian Silvey sent along these great photos from the Sandy, and George Marshall checked in from the coast. Combine those reports with my own experiences and poof, a fishing report has appeared. Easy deal, just like falling off a truck.


Relatively dry weather has prevailed over the last two weeks, but we have seen heavy showers move through parts of the northwest and freshen streams with their passing. While it remains to be seen how the current system will effect the weekend angling opportunities, you should be in fine shape for the next few days.


The Marshall family has taken full advantage of clear streams and fresh fish these past weeks and chased Steelhead with a vengeance . Mom Kirsten got on the board with a very nice fish while fishing the Sandy River with Brian Silvey, as son George battled the leftovers of a nasty bug. George wasn’t going to miss a day of fishing and rebounded nicely a week later on the coast. Our “Clipped Tying Champion” scored this very bright wild fish on the Wilson while the rest of the country watched some lady dressed like Jeff Gordon’s race car ride a lion. By the end of the game that all made sense, while the action on the field did not. I believe most of the city of Seattle would have rather been fishing with George that day.

Steelhead junkies have plenty to be happy about with fresh fish moving into most area streams. The coast is seeing some nice wild fish swimming home as the hatchery returns start to fade. Same goes for the Clackamas where chunky natives have showed up in the catch. As long as the rivers are in good shape, you have plenty of options. Take advantage of falling levels and fish to happy fish. With both dry and rainy days in the forecast for the next week, we’re probably in for a bumpy river ride as levels rise and fall. Hopefully a little snow will grace the mountain in the process. We need it badly.


Trout anglers will find little traffic and plenty of action on the Deschutes if they are willing to make the drive. While surface action has been sketchy, nymphing has proven to be effective on big fish looking to get bigger. Stone nymphs with Mayfly trailers seem to make it happen. Keep an eye out for BWO hatches when condition allow.

The Metolius was less than welcoming on Monday as sunshine pushed the clouds away leaving three anglers to walk the bank in search of feeding fish. With only the occasional Caddis taking to wing the Trout seemed to be resting elsewhere. While a few Bull Trout were encountered, the action was slow and the only feeding was at the Mexican place in Gates on the way home. That’s the Metolius for you. I have a first hand report that says the Crooked wasn’t much better. It may have been the weather system that move through on Monday, or just two truck loads of bad mojo.

Look to the Skylight

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 15, 2015
Winter fishing reports address the moment and those that have recently past, but as we all know things change quickly around here. We use what resources we have to try and predict how these changes will effect our angling plans, making our best guess much like the weather professionals on TV. Sometimes we’re right and sometime we are less right. It’s a game to be played in an effort to better understand our rivers, their watersheds and the fish.

I started plotting river levels and rainfall back in the 80s when my source of information was the daily paper. To say this method was delayed and inaccurate is a bit of an understatement. It did offer me a better understanding of the cause and effect our Oregon weather has on my angling opportunities. Some rain is good, a lot of rain is not so good. Now I have websites and phone apps that give me updated levels, forecasts and predictions in an instant, but lately they have been less accurate than my old graph paper pinned on the wall. I’ve added another resource to my river prediction arsenal, my bedroom skylight. If the rain wakes me in the night by beating on the skylight, we’ve had a weather event and local rivers will be rising. If I sleep soundly to the gentle tap of a light rain on the glass we are probably in good shape.

So, if you’ve glanced at the NOAA prediction for your favorite river this weekend and then made plans to go antiquing, you may have made a good call, or a very bad one. Steelhead have been plentiful on the coast and a slight bump up from a passing raincloud would be most welcome there. The numbers reported by Gil and Rob of Water Time Outfitters on the NFN this past week were silly. My buddy, WaterDog, and his friend Duane had an epic day on Monday, tangling with at least eleven fish while fishing with Rob. They report plenty of chrome bright fish in the mix as well as some very large wild fish.

Meanwhile, the Sandy and Clackamas have been sharing some lovely fish for those enjoying the mild January weather. While sunshine is not something we normally encounter in the depths of winter, armed with our Costa sunglasses we have endured. While not as prolific as the coastal streams, these watersheds have been producing some impressive bright fish. 

For those wanting to tangle with some prime winter Steelhead, look south to the Umpqua. Dean Finnerty reports it's swinging time on the Ump and there are some big fish around. While it's a bit longer of a drive, you may miss the rainstorm. If we have a rainstorm.

I’ve often suggested having a plan B in the event the rain does fall in Biblical proportions and truly takes the rivers through the roof as predicted. Go Trout fishing. The Deschutes, Crooked, Metolius and Fall rivers are all capable of entertaining you for hours if you just have to get away from football. Midges, BWOs and even little black Stones are on the menu, with subsurface presentations filling in the void. Even in cold, damp weather the fish have to eat.

By the way, rain just started hitting the skylight very lightly.

Turkeys, Stuffing and Trout

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving is the traditional kick off to the winter Steelheading season, even though in some places winter fish having been showing up for weeks. Anglers get out of kitchen duty as they ply our local waters in search of the first chromer of the season, while at home the non-fishing family members roast turkeys and bake pies. I’ve been late to dinner a few times myself over the years as tangling with a hot fish delayed my appearance at the family gathering. You may get leftovers, but making sacrifices is what winter Steelheading is all about. Catching fish is what winter Trout fishing is all about.

If you have a hall pass this week and want to avoid the shopping madness, grab your gear. Trout fishing on the Metolius River has been bolstered by hatches of BWOs and misc. Midges. Dress for the weather as temps in Camp Sherman are on the cool down again through the weekend. Bull Trout are active this time of year so look for them to be in ambush locations seeking an easy snack. Sculpin patterns and other large streamers fished on a sink-tip line are the needed tools for success. Floating lines and very heavy flies will hook fish in some locations, but don’t knock yourself out on the cast. Worse yet, don’t smack your new rod with those flies.

The Crooked River is also seeing hatches of Midges and BWOs. With plenty of Trout filled water available this is a great destination for a little river therapy. Water levels are good and the weather looks ideal today and Friday with temps in the 50s and clouds. Chillier conditions are forecasted for the weekend.

The Deschutes bumped up a tad and added a little color with the melting of low level snow. There are still Steelhead available if you are interested. With cooler weather coming this weekend, the river should be in good shape fairly quickly. Watch the river gauges for the drop.

The gauge on the John Day is no longer ice effected, which is a good thing, but does show a rising trend. I've  had no eyes on the conditions there, but if the rumors are true this bump up could rinse more muck into the river. Just keep that in mind and check local sources before making plans. I would love a boots in the water report...  

The Clackamas River has had several confirmed reports of fresh winter Steelhead. The Barton area down river is your best bet, but there are probably fish throughout the waters below the dam. Hatchery summer fish are grabbing flies and there seem to be plenty of them needing a place to spend the holidays. Invite them over.

Over on the coast, conditions change with each passing weather cell. Keep an eye on the sky and the river levels. Some systems are dropping, while others are on the rise. Salmon in various degrees of decomposition are hanging in the deeper holes, while winter Steelhead are starting to show in the lower rivers. Things will pick up soon so pace yourself Campers. On the water and at today's table too.

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