I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but fall is definitely here! October and November are two of my favorite fishing months. There are so many fishing opportunities it’s hard to know what to do. This time of year I personally am focusing on steelhead fishing east of the cascades, typically the Deschutes, Klickitat, Snake and Grande Ronde.
Our scouts have been reporting back to us with success stories of Green Drakes on the Metolius, coho in the local rivers, Rob and the Water Time Outfitters crew have been having great success on the upper Deschutes for both trout and steelhead, and I just got a fresh report from Tracy that she finally landed he first Deschutes steelhead! Those are just a few of the reports that we have received. Don’t forget about lake fishing, steelhead in the far eastern corner out our state like the Grande Ronde steelhead, Clearwater, and Snake. Also at the end of this month a lot of fisheries will be closing down like Sea-run Cutthroat fishing on the coast and general trout fishing. So now’s the time to get your last casts in before they're gone till next year.
Now I’m sure that everyone has heard about the poor returns to the upper Columbia river basin this year and it’s probably even affected your fishing. This year there has been a lot of talk of how poor the returns are. The ten year average for steelhead passage over Bonneville Dam is around 330,000. This year we will be around 116,000. So yeah fifty percent of average is pretty bad. Now if we didn’t actually have dams in the river counting fish we wouldn’t know how bad the returns are and we would just go fishing anyway. This era of internet fishing reports has kind of made us less dedicated to fishing. One of the things that I am constantly telling people is to forget the fishing report and to go out and make their own.
Nick and I have been making a lot of fishing reports lately, honestly I’m surprised he puts up with me. We’re a pretty good combo, Nick eats tons of candy and sugary snacks and I yell at him to quit bouncing around like a Mexican Jumping Bean.
The week before last we ran up from the mouth of the Deschutes with Tom Larimer and tested out a bunch of new G Loomis IMX Pro Short Speys. They are pretty amazing! If you haven’t touched or seen one, come by the shop. That day we touched a lot of fish but had a hard time sealing the deal. Sadly to say our landing ratio was low maybe 30%.
This week Dave Hendrie joined our party and we headed east to the Klickitat. This was the first time all of us had fished together and I’m sure it won’t be our last. Part of the reason for that might be the great fishing we had or that we all get along really well. Anyway, did I mention that we had a great fishing this trip? Our landing ratio was much better, at 80%. Unfortunately, Nick is the reason we weren’t batting 1000 as he lost his only fish. Losing that fish didn’t phase him. It just gave him another excuse to eat some more candy and tie on a different fly. Nick is always in good spirits and makes fishing fun!
We did end up hooking fish with both floating lines and sink tips. We fished T-11 2.5Fx7.5S MOW tips and a new Scientific angler dual density tip that sinks a little slower. Both of those match up well with the OPST Commando heads. My typical fall setup is some sort of short 5 or 6 wt spey rod. I especially like the G Loomis NRX 12’6wt switch rod. I match it up with a Hardy Perfect Taupo and a 375gr OPST commando head. Whichever sink tip you like and you’re ready for anything. Our most productive fly was a Klamath Intruder. It didn’t really matter what color it was they all were working, but our favorites were the Pink, Red and orange, and black and blue.
Personally, I don’t specifically go fishing to catch fish, although that is important. I go for many reasons like my mental health and trying new tackle. Our fishing outings have not reflected the poor fish returns of the Columbia River. Honestly it’s been the best worst year I can remember. What we have noticed is that the rivers are less crowded and we are still catching fish.
REMEMBER NOT EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET IS TRUE. Take it with a grain of salt and discover for yourself what’s going on out there. I expect you to report back to me next week with stories of fishing success.