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    Fishing Reports

    Totally Epic Fishing Report

    Joel La Follette - Saturday, March 26, 2016
    Winter/spring Steelheading remains good when the weather and water levels cooperate. Big wild fish made up a large portion of the swung fly grabs this past week. The forecasted Spring Break deluge hasn't really affected conditions very much both locally and on the coast. Upward bumps in water levels have been short lived and have been followed by happy fish on dropping rivers. Pay attention to what IS happening and not was is FORECASTED to happen. That has been two very different things for most of this winter.

    "Totally epic" is how our own Nick Wheeler and his sidekick "The Stig" described the Metolius this past weekend. That is not something heard very often in conversations about this special spring creek. Hatches were slight, but Rainbows and Bulls were grabbing nymphs tumbled deep under an indicator. The Stig is investing heavily in one of the new patterns we added to the inventory that seems to be Metolius magic. Look for BWOs and the misc. small Mayfly hatch to pop on cloudy days. If you need additional intel, Nick is easily bribed with Jelly Beans or donuts.

    The Deschutes is a great Trout option for plan B if your westside Steelhead adventures are sidelined by rising water. Trout have been more active as water temps rise and with those subfreezing days of winter hopefully behind us fishing should continue to get better. BWOs, March Browns and the occasional Skwala can be seen flitting around. Please note: Yes, the upper Deschutes River is open to fishing year-round now, but please refrain from targeting spawning Steelhead and Trout. Reports and photos on social media seem to have some anglers promoting this practice. Don't be that guy! Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

    As long as I'm on subject, my friend Frank Moore down on the North Umpqua would appreciate the same consideration for the wild fish on his home waters. We are all stewards for the resource and need to set an example by avoiding spawning areas wherever wild fish swim.

    Big Bugs and seeing Redd

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 30, 2015
    Earlier this week Brian Silvey checked in to say, “it has started.” It's official, Salmonflies are crawling in the bushes around Maupin as of April 27th. With super low river flows and water temps in the mid 50s, you don’t want to delay if you are interested in fishing the hatch. Brian has a few day trips available, but they go fast. Contact Brian and ask him to take you to Joel's Island, but take a spool of heavy tippet with you. The fish are mean there...

    Although the hatch has started and is playing well on social media, it is still early and it will be some time before these bugs are seen throughout the system. Weather will play a big part in how things progress as it normally does, cooler temps will slow the hatch down and hot days will crank it back up again. The best chance of seeing bugs take to wing and fish rise to meet them is during one of those warmer days. A hot, cloudy day can pay off big-time if Green Drakes make an appearance as well.

    Local Steelheaders on the Clackamas are finding the occasional Spring Chinook grabbing their fly as it swings in search summer steel. With winter fish, summer fish and Springers all overlapping their return, it makes for piscatorial uncertainty when you do get that tug. Toss in a truck load of outmigrating Steelhead smolt and your normally steady fly swinger gets a little jumpy. On the up side, there’s plenty of tugging going on. You just have to get the right tug.

    Speaking of the right tug, I was visiting over the phone with my good friend Frank Moore yesterday and he asked me to pass on this important bit of information. LEAVE SPAWNING FISH ALONE! If you see two fish hanging out this time of year, they’re spawning. Go someplace else. Be careful where you fish and be careful where you wade. Frank told me he saw two of the most beautiful, big North Umpqua Steelhead building a redd the other day and it’s up to us to make sure they are successful. Clean gravel is a sure sign of Salmon and Steelhead eggs laying underneath, so don’t wade through it. If you see others fishing to, or wading through, kindly educate them.

    This same thing holds true on the Deschutes where resident Redsides are still spawning in some parts of the river. Leave them alone and watch where you wade. It’s our responsibility to protect these fisheries from damaged caused by anglers. We need to police ourselves and help preserve these wonderful creatures.

    Veterans Day on the Elk River

    Joel La Follette - Tuesday, November 12, 2013
    This past Monday was Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor all of those who have served our country in uniform. Flags were flown, parades were marched, jets rumbled through the sky and heads were bowed in solemn remembrance. Many enjoyed the freedom earned by those we honored by spending the day in favorite pursuits. I was no different; I went fishing.

     

    Standing in the Elk River near Port Orford, Oregon, optimistically casting for fresh Chinook Salmon, my focus was derailed when someone called out, "Joel, you're doing that wrong!" The familiar voice brought a smile to my face. I turned to see my favorite WWII veteran, Frank Moore, standing near a well used blue pickup truck with my host for the day, Dean Finnerty. I headed up the bank to greet my old friend and was introduced to his son, Frankie. Soon I was locked into the world famous Frank Moore handshake/hug, which is something you must experience to believe. 
     
    Once air returned to my lungs we all visited a bit, then Frank and Frankie readied their tackle while Dean and I returned to fishing. A few minutes after stepping into the pool a bright Salmon broke the surface with a silver flash. "There's a fresh one, Joel! Catch that one!" Frank hollered from the truck. Three casts later my line went tight and the silver flash was streaking for freedom. The battle won, Dean pulled himself away from his fishing to tail the fish and snap a few photos. Then the wild fish was released to finish its journey.
     
    Dean, Frank, Frankie and I continued to fish through the pool until my silly cell phone went off signaling the arrival of my slightly tardy fishing partner for the day, Jason Atkinson. Dean was very gracious, volunteering to retrieve my wandering friend so I could keep fishing. Soon the five of us were reunited on the banks of the Elk. Some of us old friends, some of us good friends that just met, but to a man, all of us friends of wild fish and the places they live.
     
    There are days on the water that live with you forever. Some are marked by encounters with the creatures we pursue, a special place discovered or the chance meeting of an old friend. As we add to the years those memories weave into the fabric that keeps us warm and dry on those less memorable days. Those days when the rain blows sideways and fish seem to have vanished on the wind. There are some who will never make it past those days. They will miss out on watching a Salmon slipping over the sand to find its way home. They will not feel the solid pull of a big fish and feel its heart pumping through the line. They will not have the chance to greet an old friend stream side and thank him for his service to our country so many years ago. A sacrifice that allows us all to have those days that are so memorable.  
        

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