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.