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Fishing Reports

Ode to Smelly Cat

Joel La Follette - Thursday, September 27, 2018

Kinetic Type // Smelly Cat // Final Iteration from Emma Thompson on Vimeo.

Report by Josh Linn, the Fly Czar

I spent another weekend floating the familiar water of the Deschutes from Mack’s Canyon to the mouth. I first started making this trip nearly 20-years ago. Every year new stories layer on making it more and more special. Sadly, this year the lower 24 miles was ravaged by fires from canyon rim to canyon rim all the way to the water. I’ve seen fires down there before, but nothing like this. To add insult to injury the run is at an all-time low. Now that sounds ominous, but the only way to catch a Steelhead is to actually go fishing, and I want to catch a Steelhead.

So we packed up the truck and made a mad dash to the river after work. We pulled at sunset, packed the boat, and pushed off from the boat launch in the dark, heading for our first night's camp. It was cloudy and warm making me suspect that fishing had been good earlier in the day.

We made our meager little camp of a couple of cots and chairs and were all set. A small camp that’s fast and light is the best way when you are on a Steelhead mission. You can be out of camp at first light, no dishes and very little packing to do. If you fish with me there aren’t going to be many luxuries. I come to fish, not camp.

We fished our camp water at first light and were running and gunning all day. There were very few other boaters around and we had our choice of prime water. We cover about 10 miles of water by the time we got to camp with zero fish to hand. By mid-afternoon, the wind was howling and I wondered if the evening fishing was even going to be a possibility.

We made camp at the Corral, in prime Steelhead territory. In years gone by I’ve guided quite a few people into steelhead there and even caught some myself. Sadly, this wasn't going to be one of those times.

The next morning we pushed away from Camp at first light and rowed for one of my favorite spots, a steep ledgy run right at the bottom of a hard corner. I let Eric fish the run first last time so this time it was mine. I had been fishing a Green Ant for the past few days with no success and decided it was time for a change. I don’t carry a lot of flies so the choice was pretty easy. I pull out a size 5 Smelly Cat, my purple and chartreuse go-to fly.


I started by fishing short making every cast count. I got to about 10 strips of line and start working my way down the run. I came to a small boulder section about halfway down the run. I know this spot to be one of the buckets, I started fishing more intensely. If it’s going to happen, now would be the time. At that moment I felt it, that familiar feeling. A little tug, not hard, but I knew it was a fish. It kept pulling slowly. I’m not 100% confident it’s on, so I don’t set the hook, I keep waiting. All of a sudden it jumped out of the water. Woo-ha! Fish on. It made a few more jumps and a couple of hard runs but in the end, I won the battle. We snapped a couple of pictures and sent her back on her way. 



We finished up and pushed off in search of more fish. By the time we got to the boat launch we had put three on the beach and I’m feeling like we had a successful trip. Fishing might be tough right now, but they are harder to catch from the couch.




Mr. Skittle's Birthday Adventure

Joel La Follette - Thursday, September 13, 2018
Nick's birthday was this past Tuesday and to celebrate we spent a couple of days on the Deschutes. If you’ve ever been into the shop and interacted with us you’ve seen the Laurel and Hardy routine play out in front of your own eyes. Well, on this fishing adventure we had a third person our great friend Eric Gunter. Because of the antics we knew would ensue we asked him to offer his unbiased third person account of this adventure.



By Eric Gunter

I haven’t spent many days on the water this year. I make the typical excuses: time, money, girlfriend, too hot/cold/wet/windy, etc. Overnight river trips I cherish and take advantage of them when I can.

I’ve learned much about navigating a boat/raft on moving water from one person. He has been generous with experience and has displayed great patience with me while I ask endless questions, many multiple times. This last weekend we were floating from Mack’s Canyon to Heritage Landing. The second boat in our party was being skippered by a virgin to the lower river.

New adventures should always include the pucker factor. Preparations need to be made. Shuttles need to be called in. The appropriate ratio of foods to sugars need to be purchased and properly hidden, all portioned for the days that lay ahead. A checklist of items needed on the boat: life Jackets, anchor, oars, straps, ropes, stoves, utensils, etc. has been gone over at least 3 times and you’re still confirming you have it all.

New water raises questions. And some people, in particular, ask a lot of questions. Are there any waterfalls, side channels or braids I should avoid taking my boat over, down or through? What are my emergency egress options? How many river miles? How many days do you have to float those miles?  Where do I fish? Can my boat survive its maiden voyage? What do I do about power boats? What do I do about a shuttle? All great questions. All questions and their answers are preferably known by all individuals in the party and should be confidently confirmed. We are talking about navigating a section of moving water with a long, well-documented history hoping for a prime camp that will afford you opportunities that evening and at first light.

Now, one of the benefits of being friends with an experienced oarsman and fly fisher, I get to sit in the front of the boat while he maneuvers us through the incredibly beautiful Deschutes River Canyon. Placing me in all of the best places to swing flies for wild steelhead. I get to enjoy the flow of the river, watch for Osprey, Bighorn Sheep, and all of the amazing creatures that inhabit the canyon.

Seeing firsthand the remarkable comeback of riverside vegetation after two fires burned much of the lower rivers landscape. Rowing downriver, well trying anyway, through gusting/sustained winds for hours making little progress while the topsoil from the farm fields above the canyon walls blows into the canyon obscuring our visibility while I sit in the front of the boat happy that I am not wearing contact lenses. I still have dirt exiting the pores of my body.

Another benefit of being with an experienced person is that they have the ability to give very precise and direct instructions/responses to these questions that should be asked. If you're not listening, you will find yourself needing to ask again. This is typically greeted with even more precise and direct instructions. Finding yourself now with less information than you received from the initial response. So having a question that you are pretty sure you already know the answer to is met with something like “What’s the question? To which the response is “Where are we camping when we get there? Now, this causes pause to allow a well-crafted answer.

I’ve never really tried to learn the names of all the runs to fish and rapids to run. This, unfortunately, does not mean that I do not ask…. I try to focus on the geography and geology and how centuries of time have passed while this canyon remains beautiful to this day. Having an experienced friend really helps with this process. History becomes more important with this documented region of Oregon. So knowing the names of some of the side canyons and the folks that traveled down them to create homesteads and live a life of self-sufficiency, railroad construction and devastation does garner knowledge.

The first night we arrived at the boat launch late, just before dark. We packed the boats and launched in the pitch black. This is a thing we’ve done many times before but raises questions from someone less experienced. We floated a mile or so to our first camp, navigating by the stars.


By this time the birthday boy is deep into his first bag of skittles and is contemplating what other sugary snacks he might have.


That first night is spent photographing the stars and anticipating an exciting hopefully fishy trip.


We are up early the next morning. We spread out in front of Camp and get to fishing. Nick is the last man fishing and is deep into the run. On what seems like should be his last cast he hooks a hot, hot fish. Before we have time to react we can see it cartwheeling off in the distance. After a long hard fight, Nick wins his birthday battle and his first gift is in hand, a 4 or 5 pound wild little net runner. The fish is a perfect specimen and after a couple of pictures, the little beauty is set free.


We push down the river looking for new water, more fish, and our next camp. The river is surprisingly quiet. Brian Silvey and his group of anglers are out and we hopscotch with them. We arrive at our next camp at around 2:00. Sadly we didn’t hook any more fish but we had a great time.

Shortly after we arrive at camp Nicks curiosity gets the best of him and the questions begin.


What were the names of those runs, where did we camp, where is Silvey camped? Zappy’s, Zapperinos, Ned Flanders, Trans Silvey Ania, Austin Millbarge, Nick’s Fish Hole. Where is that next run? Wrong Turn at Albuquerque? What is the name of that camp?

The further along we get in the day the bigger Nicks antics became. “I’m going to have Mac and Cheese if I can find my blue bamboo spoon. Along with German Chocolate Cake and a few other sugar food groups.”

Nick, “While you were asleep some guy walked into the top of the run in front of camp.”
Josh, “ Oh yeah? What did the guy look like?”
Nick, “He wasn’t wearing a shirt but did have on a gray Simms fishing vest, carried a Spey rod and he might have had a prosthetic arm.”
Josh, “Oh yeah? Hmm?
Nick, “Or did he have a white long sleeve shirt on? Or was he just wearing a dark tee shirt tucked into his waders? I don’t know, I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time and just saw this blur of a guy walking down the trail.”

For Nick, giving up the tent was a big step. Sleeping under the Milky Way framed perfectly between the canyon walls on a cot was an acceptable 2nd choice. The second night’s camp, a day closer to his Birthday, was greeted with a hammock hung across the entrance to the camp. Thus began the evening's discussion of being either duct taped or cargo strapped inside of the hammock along with a few rocks would really teach him how to navigate the river.


Having a healthy sense of fear is paramount to having an enjoyable time on the water. Respect must be given and patience and relaxation should be employed. Pay attention to your gut. Trust your instincts. Listen to your friend with the ability to safely pilot you down the waterway.

Happy Birthday, Nick!
It was a pleasure spending time on the water with you and I hope we do it again soon. I am glad you caught the only fish of the trip…not really.


Riding the Heat Wave

Joel La Follette - Thursday, July 12, 2018
Nick Wheeler Photo
We're heading into a warm spell this week that will make standing waist deep in a cool stream sound like heaven right here on planet earth. As long as you're wet you might as well make a few casts. You just might have to think outside the box to find water void of swimmers, floaters and stick chasing canines, but there are options.

First on the hit parade is our favorite spring creek, the Metolius. Running at a chilly 48 degrees most of the year the Metolius is consistently inconsistent when it comes to fishing, but with a little leg work and some patience it can pay off with fat Rainbows and broad shouldered Bull Trout.

I found myself boots wet on the Met this past Monday and would gladly repeat the adventure even with the lack of measurable success. PMDs and misc. small Mayflies failed to draw much attention, but stories of bent rods filtered through the smoke in the filled campgrounds. Look for Mayfly hatches from 11ish into the evening. From the Gorge Campground upriver Goldenstones are crawling out on the bushes and getting fish and anglers excited. Old school Clark's Stones are getting it done pushing popular foam creations to plan B status. Bull Trout are present and taking nymphs and streamers much to the surprise of light tackle Trouters sharing the tales in those smokey camps.

Mr. Silvey rang me up the other day from his ranch near Maupin with a favorable report from the Deschutes. It seems the dry fly action has been good most mornings and that has recently extended into the early afternoon before the hot sun drives everyone including the fish into the shade. Evenings have been very good if the wind doesn't kick up. Misc. Mayflies, Caddis and Craneflies have been giving glimpses of what's possible with cooler river temps. So far, the Deschutes has been running slightly cooler than last year at this time. Brian does have some availability this month and reported that the fishing pressure has been light. Give him a call at 800-510-1702 to get in on the action. I find that Brian takes it to another level if you bring cookies. Just say'n.

Higher elevations offer another escape from the heat as the Callibeatus hatch kicks into high gear on our Cascade lakes. Clouds of these Mayflies are pulling timid lake residents to the surface on Mt Hood impoundments and Central Oregon lakes. My buddy, Jeff Perin from the Fly Fisher's Place in Sisters has threaten to take me out in his aluminum yacht to sample the action first hand. If I can free up some space on the calendar that might be a very interesting trip.

The last time we fished together I learned a new hook setting technique that involve not letting the fish know it was hooked. It's very effective for releasing the fish closer to where he was feeding and follows the #keepemwet mantra nicely. No, Jeff, I'm not going to forget the Sister's hook set.

For those ready to swing flies for summer Steelhead there have been confirmed encounters in the lower Deschutes. Floating lines, your favorite fly and a sack full of optimism is required. Fish numbers over the dams are optimistically creeping up.

Locally, it's going to be tough sledding on the Clackamas with the warmer temps and the rubber boat hatch in full swing. If you can pull yourself out of bed in the dark and be on the water when the sun pops up you have a chance at some fresh summer chrome, but note the river is already warm enough for a morning swim. It's not impossible, but maybe the mouth of the Deschutes or Klickatat is a better option.
Mitch Moyer Photo
Last, but surely not least is our theater of operations for this weekend's outing on Puget Sound. Reports filtering out of the Evergreen State have been exceptional and we're hoping for a repeat of last year's success for our group of adventurous anglers. Baitfish are plentiful and the resident Coho and Sea-run Cutthroat has been feasting on the abundance. The tides are identical to our last visit so our hopes are high. In any case, there will be S'mores involved.

Josh's Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 29, 2018

So, this week Nick and I both went fishing. Oddly in some ways it reminded me of the Civil War: steelhead angler against steelhead angler, the North against the South, beads and indicators against swung flies. I know sometimes there is a division between swinging flies and fishing indicators, but the reality of it is the indicator is a deadly effective technique and some rivers are more suited to it. 

I personally caught my first steelhead many years ago on the Deschutes on a green rock worm fishing with my good friend Doug Cook. That was probably back in 1997 or 98. At that time the only way I knew how to catch a steelhead was with an indicator. It was effective and caught more fish than I can count. 

It’s been a long time since I caught one on an indicator. I barely fish an indicator when I Trout fish and never when I fish Steelhead. It’s kind of like how many anglers move through the stages of fly fishing. At first the goal is simply to catch one fish. Stage two generally involves trying to catch a lot of fish. The third goal most often is trying to catch big fish. Well, I’ve kind of moved beyond that. I have caught my first one, and a lot of them, and even some big ones, but now I choose to fish the way I want too. I mostly dry fly fish for Trout or swing streamers. For targeting steelhead I prefer to swinging flies and honestly, I prefer catching them on a sink tip. It all boils down to personal preference, and should not be a me against him, or this way is better than that. Fishing is fun and at this time of unrest and division in the country we certainly shouldn’t let something as petty as fishing tactics and techniques come between us. If you want to catch trout or steelhead with an indicator, we will help you do it. If you want a little more info on swing techniques, we’ve got you covered. Don’t be afraid to come in and ask for help because we have literally done it all. 

Ok, off of the soap box, I’m sorry for the rant. Anyway, like I said Nick and I did fish the coast on Monday. We met up with Rob and Todd from Water Time Outfitters and then went our separate ways. Nick went north and I went south. The river they fished had been low and clear. I went south to the big river. It was on the rise and a bit colored up, but this is winter fishing and like I’ve said before if there is even some visibility you’ve got a chance. 

Over the years, Bob the shuttle driver has told me a million stories about how he caught 6 or 7 steelhead on the day I didn’t float because I deemed the river unfishable. Nowadays I will pretty much fish unless the river is chocolate brown with trees floating down it. 

As we floated down I saw a fish roll. The water was warmer and fish were moving around. We stopped at the first run and made three or four passes through. While I was standing on the bank talking with Todd he got a good solid grab. It pulled line off the reel, but didn’t stick. We moved on and saw a couple of more fish roll. We pulled into one of my not so favorite runs, but one that I had fished many times in the past. I like to fish runs that are interesting; they have features and structure, maybe overhanging trees with difficult wading. If I’m not going to catch a fish I like the success of not falling in. 

We hopped out of the boat and I went to the top of the run while Todd started low in the tail-out. I was about ten casts in and saw Todd hook up. From what I could tell the fish grabbed the fly and started tail walking across the surface. After a good strong battle Todd won out over the steelhead. We set it free and took a minute to rejoice in the adventure.

Once Todd calmed down he said he had seen a couple of fish roll out in front of him. I stepped in where he had gotten out and started casting and stepping down the run. My fly was ticking bottom a little more than I like, but I opted not to switch tips and kept casting. Todd was moving the boat down to where I was fishing and as soon as he dropped the anchor I got side swiped by a steelhead. There was no tap tap, slow pull, this was straight hit and run. The fish went right to the surface and started thrashing about. There is something magical and energizing about that blind grab. I released my fish and our day was as good as done. Like I said before, I don’t need the biggest or the most. I prefer quality over quantity. Add in some good friends and beautiful scenery, and I’m as happy as can be. 

Crittering Around (ask Josh)

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Josh Linn
Apparently, I was the only one out of the crew that went fishing this week so I drew the Fishing Report straw. 

Normally on Tuesday everyone comes in and tells us all about their trips over the weekend, Trout fishing on the Deschutes or the Metolius, Steelhead out on the coast or in our local waters. Not this week. It seems like the lack of rain, nice weather, and the low clear water has turned people's attention elsewhere. I know a lot of people needed to catch up on yard work in this unusually early “spring”. I sure hope this weather does't last and we get some rain soon. I mean seriously, sooner or later that has to happen right?

So, I actually did get a couple of Fishing Reports from around Northwest, but none of them are very close to here.

Guys on the OP have been getting fish, but the water is starting to get low. 

The Clack and Sandy are both really low and clear. With that being said, I did hear about a couple of fish caught on the Sandy, but unless we get some rain the rivers are going to continue to drop and clear. I jet boated around the Clackamas on Sunday and got to fish some of my favorite pieces of water. Similar to a lot of peoples stories we were also blanked. 

The coast is also getting low, but Rob and the Water Time Outfitters gang are still getting fish out there.

I have heard that the fishing on the Mackenzie river has been good and it seems possible that the March Hatch could come off early.

Earlier this week, I did a presentation at a Fly club and I was commenting on how it used to be back in the old days before marmot dam came out. In the old days it seemed like 1800-2600 cfs were great flows for the Sandy. The river was very fishable, and it would still have a little color. Now when it’s at that level we are pretty much complaining about how low and clear it is. One of the things we really need to do when it’s like this is change up our tactics a little. When the river’s low there are a lot more spots to fish. We need to critter around more and fish all the little nooks and crannies. Find the deeper buckets. Fish heavier sink tips down in them and see what you can dredge up. The fish aren’t necessarily going to be in the shallower runs.

It probably sounds like I’m saying the fishing is hard and I am, but I’m also telling you you can’t catch one from the couch. So have some faith and play the odds. The more days you spend on the water the more likely it is you’re going to catch one.




The Law of Averages

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 18, 2018

I’m sure you’ve heard steelhead referred to as a fish of 1000 casts. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes it’s less. Steelhead fishing is about playing the odds. You might go four, five, or six days, maybe even a few weeks without catching a fish, but then you might get into a little streak and that brings you’re average back up. It all about the Law of Averages.

I know steelhead fishing has been tough the last couple of weeks, I keep blaming it on the weather. These high pressure systems that push the rains north and south and cause the strong east winds really wreak havoc on our winter fishing. Another thing that might get be causing the slower fishing is there might not be all that many wild fish around. I know when I look back on my steelhead catches over the years that I end up catching about 75% wild fish and 25% hatchery fish.

Quite often when I land a fish I will do a quick inspection of said fish to see what condition it’s in. I have a mental checklist - is it male or female, how bright is it, check out the anus to see how far or close to spawning the fish might be (more important in the spring when there is a mix of fresh summer and winter fish around), quick inspection of the inside of the mouth to see if there are any other hook scars. Sometimes you catch a fish and it will still have a hook buried in its mouth and another scar in the gum line and then the fly that you hooked it with still dangling out of the corner of its mouth. Those fish are biters! You don’t see a lot of hatchery fish like that and it might just be because most hatchery fish get whacked for the table or that they just don’t bite as well. It’s hard to say.

I guess the point of this long tale is that fishing is tough right now, but that will change soon hopefully. I fished with this guy in Russia and his saying was one cast can change your life, meaning that the next cast might be the one that you get a fish on and then you're looking up. Your outlook has changed and instead of talking about all the days you went without a fish you're talking about all the jumps and runs the fish made. Your outlook just made a 180 degree turn.

This week, the weather was like a roller coaster ride and I would expect the same for the upcoming week. It’s supposed to rain pretty hard the next couple of days. If the snow level stays low the rivers will bump up a little bit, but will be very fishable. If the snow level rises we won’t be fishing for a couple of days. Whatever happens we are going to have some great conditions the next couple of days. Fishing should be good on the front end of the river bump and then once it peaks. As long as there is a little visibility the rivers will be fishable.

I talked to guys on both the Sandy and Clack and fish are still being caught. As a matter of fact Corey did a guide trip on Wednesday and his client hooked two.

Rob Crandall of Water Time Outfitters has been fishing the coast and they are starting to pick up fish out there as well.

I also heard a couple of reports from guys fishing trout on the east side. The Deschutes was pretty slow with no real hatches to speak of, but very few anglers to compete against. The Metolius on the other hand was pretty good with a good BWO hatch midday.

I haven’t landed a fish yet this winter but I know it’s about to happen. Keep going, keep playing the odds and sooner or later It will happen, it has to happen.


Fishing with Worms

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 09, 2017

By Josh Linn

Photos by Corey Koff, Nick Wheeler and Josh Linn



While Joel has been on a three day trip to the John Day with Marty and Brian, Nick and I have been out causing trouble and chasing steelhead. As Nick and I are reporting back on our fishing adventures for the week, I ponder what lessons might have been learned or any insights gained. I ask him if he has gleaned any little nuggets or had some tidbit for me. He tells me sadly, “The early bird doesn’t always get the worm.” 




We were on separate outings, but on Sunday morning I saw Nick, along with Rob and Erin Perkin at the boat launch. We had a quick talk and I told Nick I had heard there were some people camping where he wanted to fish. Apparently, he didn’t believe me because he hiked straight out to the spot. It's always better to see for yourself, and he was sorely surprised when he saw that there actually was a boat camped in there. He was sure that because there weren’t any cars in the parking lot that he was going to have his pick of spots. In a daze Nick came up with a new plan. They moved on to his second choice of runs and again, there were anglers in that piece of water. It was a little confusing considering there wasn’t a single car in the parking lot. By the end of the day they had found some good water and Nick and his companions did end up landing a couple of fish. Really his nugget was; "Be flexible and always have a backup plan or expect the unexpected.... 



I came back with a different lesson in mind. I floated on both of my days off. It was cold and and awesome! I love the fall I like the crisp cold days. The beauty of the hills with their fall colors reds, greens, and yellows is breath taking. The weather had changed as promised. There was snow a little further to the NE and it was raining extremely hard to the West. We were in a little pocket that was cold and cloudy between the two fronts. Daylight savings had moved our start time up an hour earlier, to a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. We were on the water shortly after sunrise, and ready to fish. Our last couple of outings had been really good and we had high expectations. Immediately upon stepping into the water we could feel that the water temperatures had dropped. We could feel the chilly water through our waders. I was dressed how I would typically dress for winter steelheading but you tend to forget that the fall has its own unique cold. Its dry and cold with icy biting winds. In the winter it’s typically rainy so it’s almost always in the 40’s. I’m longing for that weather and it’s coming soon enough.


We fished a ton of prime water on our float. Runs that we have caught fish in in the past, but this time it seemed like no one was home. Had the fish pushed through? Was it so cold that they were deeper in the tanky water? Or were they just glued to the bottom unwilling to eat? Without being able to communicate with the fish it’s hard to know exactly what was going on. What I do know was that we weren’t moving any fish. 

We weren’t losing hope and we were still fishing hard. We got to our last run of the day. It was getting late and had about 45 minutes to an hour left of fishing. This was quite possibly the best run on the river, this thing is a Mecca for steelhead. Eric steps in first and starts more towards the middle of the run. After a few casts I see Eric has hung up on the bottom. I toss out a sarcastic, yet comical remark, and he gets his fly free and is back to fishing. About two casts later I glance down just in time to see his rod start to bounce from the pull of a steelhead and then go limp. Sometimes you get a strong pull and it doesn’t connect. He makes a few more casts from the same station before moving and about 5 steps down to where he gets another good grab. Again I see the rod buck from the hard grab and the fish pulls a little line and then slack. Eric is dumbfounded. He strips in his fly and finds that his hook had broken off when he was hung on the bottom. He ties on a new fly and gets back to fishing. He makes it all the way to the end of the pool and literally on his last cast I look down to see where he’s at and I hear him saying, "Eat it, eat it, eat it," and after the third eat it he drives the hook home. The fish comes flying out of the water. Redemption! That was a sight to see. 




Typically when I’m fishing or guiding I am always resolute in checking my leader for wind knots if I make a bad cast or to check my hook if I hang up on the bottom. Eric had made a quick visual survey to see that he still had the fly but didn’t check the hook and that’s what I probably would have done too. So my lesson or though is don’t get complacent with your tackle. Inspect. Inspect. Inspect. If you have something happen, a bad cast, or tick the bottom, or something else check your gear to make sure it’s all in perfect working order.

Nick and I have been finding fish lately, and all of them have come on the same basic tackle setup. We have both been using lighter rods, I don’t really think it matters too much as long as you can cast it and fight a fish quickly with it. Seemingly the key to our success has been a 2.5’ Floating x7.5’ sinking t-11 MOW tip and a fly that is about 1-1.5” long. We have been fishing mostly Klamath intruders. This sink tip seems to get this smaller lighter fly down to the right depth and still swing into the soft water where fish seem to be holding.



As far as other fish reports go I haven’t heard back from a lot of people, so I don’t have a lot to report, but here is what I’ve heard.

I got a report via Satellite from Joel on the upper John Day. It’s been pretty cold, but his group has gotten into a few fish. Fish were taken on Purple Muddlers, Silveynators and Klamath Intruders.

Rob and the Water Time Outfitters gang are on their last camp trip of the season and they are still hitting good numbers of fish between Warm Springs and Maupin.

I talked with Jake from G Loomis. They were on the Deschutes and ran up from the mouth in a jet boat and they did quite well.

Seems like the Deschutes really got a late start but is fishing good right now. The secret is to cover as much water as possible.

A couple of different friends of ours were out on the Klickitat and they both said it was extremely cold and sadly no fish.

If you are planning on heading east prepare for cold weather and the possibility of snow.


It's Going to Get Chilly

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 02, 2017

Once again I'm relinquishing the pen to Josh Linn for this weeks fishing report. Since joining our family, Josh has proven he can pick up the slack when I'm faced with other distractions. Like prepping for a 3 day drift trip on the John Day River. While I figure out how to avoid frostbite next week, I'll leave it to Josh to help you make your angling plans...

Fishing report, how about a fishing forecast? This weekend the time changes and so does the weather. Rain is in the forecast and possibly snow on the valley floor east of the Cascades. It could get very interesting for our fearless leader and his party.

A long long time ago, on one of the first adventures I made out to the Grande Ronde for a multi day steelhead trip we had one of those epic cold snaps. Ever since then I’ve gone out of my way to be overly prepared. I had guided out there for a few seasons and couldn’t wait to get out there and do a float on my own. We had been planning this trip for a couple of months and were scheduled to leave the day after Halloween. We launched early, the skies were crystal clear and the air temps were cold. It continued to get colder and the river started to freeze. The water had turned slushy and by the end of the trip the river had frozen over. Well, suffice it to say the fishing was not very good. We did end up catching a few fish, but in the end it isn’t the fishing that I’ll remember about that trip. The hardships make the adventure. It’s called type three fun.

That’s not the only cold trip I’ve been on and I’m sure it won’t be the last. If you fish in the fall you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into that kind of weather sooner or later. Now, it’s not gonna be that cold this week, but it is going to be cold enough and that makes for some great fall fishing.

I’m going to pack my cold weather gear when I head east this weekend. Zero degree sleeping bag, wool blankets, Simms down stream jacket, and of course my bootfoot waders.

So where am I gonna go? So many choices and only so many days. I’m going east to chase steelhead. I know that all the places I usually fish have been fishing good. There are steelhead spread throughout the Columbia river and its tributaries. Rob and the Water Time Outfitters gang have been doing well in the stretch from Warm Springs to Maupin and the Mack’s Canyon area and below is still producing fish.

The Klickitat is still going strong and is open till the end of the November. Fish are spread throughout the river, I would expect to do better higher up in the system.

Marty, Brian, and Corey have been on the Grande Ronde and doing well. I’m sure with that last rain there are fish everywhere in that system. If you want to venture even further the Snake and the Clearwater have been fishing great. So, where am I going to go? Well, I can’t give away all of my secrets.

My forecast is for cold weather, good fishing and the end of daylight savings. I’ll wait to hear your fishing report when you stop in next week.


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. 

Best, Worst Year Ever!

Info Fly fishing - Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Joel is out of town for the week chasing Trout in Montana and he left the inmates to run the asylum, meaning Josh and Nick are in charge. Since Joel’s out this week I (Josh) will be giving you the fishing debriefing. 

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.


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