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Fishing Reports

Last Cast Native Trout-a-thon Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 01, 2018
This week the fishing report is being preempted by a travel log of my efforts on the Last Cast Native Trout-a-thon. As I never was much of a runner or jogger, an actual marathon would never be on my list of things to do. A Trout Bum road trip, on the other hand, is right in my wheelhouse and I took on the challenge of the Trout-a-thon with a focus garnered from years of planning such an adventure.

First, you should know the idea for this event came to me at 3:30 in the morning as most of my silly ideas do. I got up, wrote out the concept, and sent it to several of my friends at Trout Unlimited and the Native Fish Society at that very early hour. The plan was simple:
  • Bring awareness to the general population of the importance of wild native Trout to our society and our world. 
  • Challenge local anglers to discover native Trout species they may not have known about. 
  • Encourage local anglers to explore more of their state and its waterways. 
  • Raise money for restoration projects to benefit native Trout.
  • Have fun.

Since I wanted to participate and not oversee this event I passed the idea off to TU and NFS and acted as a consultant. Then I started making my plan.

The first order of business was to choose the species and their home-water that would score the most points. Then I determined the best driving route to be on location at the optimal time thus maximizing my success. Understanding the odds and setting a time limit on the effort for each location would hopefully lead to accumulating enough points to take home the title. After several revisions, I made a plan and fished the plan.


Appropriately, my day started at 3:30 on Saturday morning when I got up, tossed a few extras into the 4Runner and headed to the Deschutes.

The number one target on my list was a wild native Steelhead and the 15 points it would tally. It was also the species I was most concerned about. Given the current state of the Steelhead population in the Columbia basin, finding and landing a wild Steelhead on demand would be only slightly more likely than finding a hundred-dollar bill in the couch cushions at a Motel 6. Add to the fact that the Deschutes has a larger population of hatchery fish and you can see why I was concerned.

The odds of scoring a wild fish would have been better on the John Day, but the chance to add a Redband Rainbow and Whitefish, both 10 points, made the choice of starting this adventure on the Deschutes easy. The Deschutes was a target rich environment; if I didn't score a Steelhead, I could always focus on Redsides and Whiteys. At least I'd score points.

Having swung flies on the Deschutes since the 70s I have a few places up and down the river that stick out when it comes to encounters with Steelhead. I needed a place I could get to by first light and close enough to the highway as to allow a timely transition to my next target watershed. I picked the spot and hoped that no one else had the same idea.

Daylight came slowly as clouds prolonged the night. At 6:51 AM the phone in my backpack buzzed with a “Good Luck!!” text message from Tracy at the Native Fish Society. I thanked her and slipped the phone back in the pack and waited for enough light to fish.
My first cast touched the water a few minutes after 7:00, but I didn’t work down the run until I could see the line clearly on the surface. Keeping close to the bank to maximize the swing I worked down to where I expected the fish to be. When the fly swung through my perceived bucket there was a light tug on the fly, followed by another. The fly continued swinging but was intercepted again, this time a little more enthusiastically. One last jolting grab and the game was on.

From the hook set, it was obvious that this was the holy grail of Trout-a-thon fish, a wild native Steelhead. The fish ran frantically for the tail-out, but I was able to turn it back by easing on additional pressure. It then turned and charged straight at me, breaking the surface in an aerial display that gave me a brief glimpse of its adipose fin as it reentered the water. Now I was nervous.

After a few tense minutes, I was finally able to slide the fish towards shore and slip my net under its powerful body. A quick photograph to record the catch and prove its wild origins, then a gentle release to continue on its journey.
 


I must have looked crazy to the unknowing observer as I tossed my Spey rod into the grass and sprinted for my Trout rod as the Steelhead made its way back into the current. I dropped in at the head of the run and start to cover the water with a Silvey’s Super Sinker and a Perdigone dropper tied by Mike McCoy. Recent Czech nymphing experiences have increased my faith in this technique to produce quick results. In a few casts, a scrappy Redside lay in my net followed minutes later by a chunky Whitefish. It was time to move on to the next target. I checked my watch, and it was 8:30 by the time I was out of my waders and heading up Hwy 197 towards Antelope.



A couple years ago I had been infatuated with the idea of finding a healthy population of West Slope Cutthroat in Oregon. I spent hours pouring over maps and documents before settling on two watersheds to investigate. During an unusually good water year, I mounted an expedition to see if my research was correct and check a West Slope Cutty off my list of Oregon species. I found a short section of stream in one watershed where the gradient allowed for pools and riffles. There I found my Cutthroat living happily as they had for hundreds of years. I was now counting on them to still be there.

After hours on winding back roads and highways, I made my way up the rough trail to my destination. As I approach the stream I rolled down the window to listen for the sound of water. All was silent. I worried that my efforts would be met with a dry creek bed and a very long drive to the Metolius. I continued on and finally arrived at the GPS coordinates I had saved only to find my worst fears had come true. The creek was a shadow of its former self and trickled through the rocks and boulders without much fanfare. I was deflated.

Rain wept from the low-hanging clouds that encircled the mountaintop. I grabbed a jacket and headed into the brush to see if there was a pool or riffle that might hold a fish. I hiked upstream only to find my path blocked by a downed tree, its branches making an impenetrable barrier to any progress in that direction. I turned and headed downstream, quickening my pace as I saw my efforts slipping away. Suddenly ahead I could hear the sound of water falling into a plunge pool. I pushed through the brush and came upon a Cutthroat oasis in the middle of a dry landscape.

Back at the 4Runner I pulled my vintage Winston 4 wt. from the rod rack and grabbed my net, camera and a box of flies. Retracing my steps I once again pushed through the brush and took a position below the pool. There was no room to cast and only a small part of the pool that could offer any cover for a hungry Trout. With the fly in my left hand, I bent the rod back and fired a “bow and arrow” cast to the head of the pool. The little foam Humpy drifted about a foot and was engulfed by a fat West Slope Cutty. He knew his home waters well and raced for the cover of an exposed tree root. Carefully I guided him through the tangles and into my net. A quick photo and he was gently released, no worse for the experience.



I broke down my rod as I made my way back to the truck, arriving slightly damp from rain and perspiration. I peeled off my jacket and made a sandwich to fortify me for the long drive ahead. I now had 55 points on the board and over a three-hour drive to figure out my next move.

Night had descended on Sisters and a much-needed rain was dampening the streets. I fueled up the rig at the Chevron station and pulled into a parking lot to file an email report with my sponsors and post a few photos to my Instagram account. I would be out of communication once I made the turn to Camp Sherman, so I checked in at home and headed down the highway. It was now time to find a camp spot on the Metolius and get some rest.

The rain had splattered on the roof of my tent during the night, but the morning was dry and overcast. I broke camp, slid into my waders and grabbed my Bull Trout rod. The prize was in sight. I would score quickly and head toward the coast. I would be casting for Sea-runs before mid-afternoon and dining on clam chowder as the sun set in the west to mark the end of this adventure.

About this time the wheels came off the bus. I hiked upriver and down, unable to find a fish willing to grab my feathery offerings. I switched to a hunting mode and stalked the shore looking for targets in the cold clear water. All of my unusual spots were empty, and others held fish that charged the fly but backed off and lost interest. Two large fish connected briefly, but retired deeper into the pool, refusing to be tempted again. I watched one fish charge at my fly only to veer off at the last second and destroy a floating Kokanee carcass. Leaving a cloud of fleshy debris to drift off, adding decomposing nutrients to the river. The giant satisfied now settle into his place in the pool and ignored my offerings.

Bent, but not broken I changed my tactics and went to focus on improving my Redband and Whitey score by finding a couple of bigger fish. I ran into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years and we stopped and visited for a while. It was clear that a Bull Trout was not to be, so I relaxed and took in the beauty of the river, and enjoyed a conversation with a friend. Soon we parted, and I grabbed my Trout rod and stepped into the pool. Two casts and the line twitched, and I set the hook. Expecting a large Whitefish to break the surface, imagine my surprise to see a foot long Bull Trout putting the bend in my rod. The net flashed, and a photo was quickly taken. The little Bull Trout rejoined the rest of the fish in the pool and I headed to the truck. 



Time was no longer on my side. My watch told me I wouldn’t be able to make it to the coast, and even a shot at the Santiam was in question. A traffic jam on the pass ended those hopes so I head home and pulled into my driveway 42 hours from when I left. I had driven 651 miles, caught 5 different species of native salmonids, scored 70 points and had a fairly dirty ride to show for my efforts. Was it worth it? Yup. I’m already making plans for next year. You should join me.

UPDATED!!!
I'm happy to report that in this past weekend's Last Cast Native Trout-a-thon yours truly cleaned up in the prize department taking top honors for most points, biggest fish and most money raised. This is great news for all of you who sponsored my efforts and donated $3885 to the North Creek Campaign through the Native Fish Society. I'll be raffling off all the prizes and adding a hosted trip on the Metolius to the collection.  Of course, after reading the report of the adventure above you might want to rethink spending the day on the river with me.

In any case, once all the donations have been gathered I'll be holding a raffle and announcing the winners here in the newsletter and on Facebook/Instagram. The prizes to be raffled off include:
  • Guided trip with Kyle Smith on the McKenzie.  WINNER:  JK Hussa
  • Guided trip for two with Mark Sherwood on the Rogue. WINNER: Rocky Dixon
  • A hosted trip on the Metolius with Joel La Follette (includes lunch) WINNER: Jeff Evershed
  • YETI Cooler WINNER: Michael Gentry
  • YETI Growler WINNER: Jeff Howard

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.

The Dog Ate His Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Fly Czar had Christmas shopping to do this weekend and I was tasked with getting a couple hundred tulip bulbs in the ground so we turned the duties of writing the fishing report this week over to our very own Mr. Skittles, Nick Wheeler. Nick and his buddy Kevin hit the Clackamas River on Sunday for a little winter Steelhead action and Nick filed this report...

Well, I guess the dog ate his fishing report... he sent this.

Not much to go on I know, but I'll try to fill in the blanks...

Last year at this time we were dealing with snow and plenty of water in our local rivers. This year, we could use a bit of the wet stuff to freshen up the action. The Sandy River is running low, cold and clear and would benefit from a good winter storm. Over on the Clackamas we have near summer water levels, but it remains the best local option for Steelhead chasers. Rob will fill us in on the action there during his Winter Steelhead Seminar as he has been on the water a few times this past week. Nick reported only a possible tug during this weekend float and that was optimistic. 

While the Deschutes area was cloaked in freezing fog occasionally this week as the temps dropped, it should be a fair bet for Trouters wishing to escape the holiday rush. Overcast skies and warmer temps forecast for the weekend could bring hatches of BWOs to your favorite backeddy. This might be the best option for stretching a fly line this weekend unless you feel like hitting the Metolius.

There you'll find the same warming pattern, with Sunday and Monday looking like the best chance for surface activity. Temps should reach into the high 40s during the day, with lows near freezing. No need to be there at the crack of dawn, so take your time and drive carefully over the passes. Bull Trout are always an option.

The north coast needs some rain as well and we may or may not get it. Any bump in river levels will help bring fish in as we have 8 foot tides over the next few days to encourage them to come home. We just need a little help from the sky. Go wash your car.


   

Attention Deficit

Joel La Follette - Thursday, June 02, 2016
This is a tough time of year for the attention deficit angler. There are far too many options out there and all of them are good. While the Salmonfly hatch crawls to a finish on the Deschutes, it's ramping up down on the Rogue. Green Drakes are teasing us on the Deschutes and Metolius with Caddis and misc. Mayflies filling in the void. Eastside lakes are coming into play with spring fully gripping us. Steelhead and Springers are slipping up the Clackamas relatively unmolested. Then there's the invasive invasion as Shad in the Willamette are making our Mr. Wheeler pace the floor at night and Carpers are getting serious on the Columbia. Yup, it's hard to pick what point of the compass to follow. My suggestion? Follow your heart.

Just because we bid good-bye to the big bugs on the D doesn’t mean our favorite river is done with us. On the contrary, summer is just getting going and we’ll have plenty of options when it comes to fly selection as we move through the next few months. PMDs are already a focus, as are the Caddis of summer. The once-a-year Salmonfly crowd will figure out soon enough that it’s pretty much over and head off to dig clams or something leaving us a little more room to roam.

The Metolius comes into it's own as lupines line the bank with Flavs and Green Drakes taking wing. PMDs and a variety of Caddis are also vying for the Trout's attention when conditions present themselves. Watch more and wade less is the secret to success on the Metolius. Then there's the sleep late, fish late thing. No need to be up at the crack of dawn.

As mentioned, Shad are starting to clog the Willamette and are drawing attention from the Dick-Nite crowd. While a boat makes targeting this scaled down tarpon a bit easier, there are shore locations where a fly angler can score. Fast sinking shooting heads and small flashy flies are the ticket to success. Consult our Shad Man for details.

Green Drakes make a showing/Salmonflies slowly depart

Joel La Follette - Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Deschutes is the focus again this week as the Salmonfly hatch garners most of you Trouters attention. The big bugs are slowly fading away below Mack’s Canyon, but fish are still grabbing plump offerings bumped off the grass and brush. Same holds true in the Maupin area, with spotty clumps of Golden Stones still hanging on. Those of you venturing to these areas may wish to arm yourself with a collection of other spring patterns just to have your bases covered.

On Tuesday, I was the guest of Marty Sheppard who chauffeur Shane Blitch and  myself downriver below Mack’s Canyon to do a little exploring. There were hanger-ons in the bushes and a few dropping eggs, but the 2016 Salmonfly hatch was pretty much over. Fish still rose to Goldens, but March Browns, PMDs, Caddis and Green Drakes were more prevalent. Flocks of Seagulls working like Swallows over riffle water are a sign that something big is hatching. After observing several mid-air grabs I was able to spot a few Green Drakes taking to wing even on a bright sunny day. I even convinced a few fish that those might be a good idea.


Above Maupin fishing has been very good as the big bugs continue to be the main course in dining rooms next to the bank. Josh and his buddy Eric did the Trout Creek to Maupin run with great success this past weekend. They reported that the set up to run with is a Hopper/ Hopper/Hopper rig, which for the less adventurous of us is a Salmonfly dry, with a Yellow Sally Dropper, with an Elk Hair Dropper. Not the easiest collection of fluff to toss into the brush, but it does offer fish dining options. Just take a lot of flies with you.

Continuing up the creek we find the hatch is spotty in places and off the hook in others. No doubt this is due to the changes we’re experiencing in the post Pelton Dam mixing tower era. Consistency is not a word that describes any of our insect hatches and that may be the new normal until the issues facing the Deschutes are  rectified. Look for Salmonflies and Goldenstones to continue to hang around for a few more weeks in places up and down the river before fading into memory. It's time to start thinking about that other fly box filled with the bugs of summer and prepare for a variety of hatches over the coming months.

Have fun and be careful! 

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.

On the drop/on the rise.

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 17, 2015
Last week we saw most of our rivers go up past flood stage as storm after storm swept inland off the Pacific. Communities on the coast suffered terrible flooding as ocean swells backed up floodwaters turning roadways into waterways. Here in the valley, rivers and streams that are prone to flooding exceeded their reputation. Canoes and small craft were put into service rescuing many residents in waterside communities. This mess may take a while to clean up.

The good news in all of this is that we now have considerably more snowpack in the Cascades then we did at this time last year with more on the way. That also means there is more rain in the forecast for the low lands this week and rivers will bump up again.


The Clackamas River dropped just below 14 feet yesterday, but if this rain on the roof I hear right now does what it's expected to the river may hit 18 feet by Friday. The long range look is not very optimistic, and it maybe Boxing Day before the Clackamas fishes again. Of course, long range forecasts can be wrong.


For anglers itching to get out for a little pre-Christmas Steelhead fishing it looks like the Sandy River could be your best bet. While it was not immune to our last deluge, it did come back into shape fairly quickly and should do the same this time if it does go out. Fresh fish have been reported throughout the system and a good number of hatchery fish have already been recycled downriver. Keep an eye on the river level and unlike your stock portfolio look forward to a downward trend.

The same holds true on the coast where smaller watersheds will drop and clear sooner after the rain moves through. Conditions can change rapidly so always have a Plan B. Clam chowder and a view of the ocean is a great option. And pie, pie is good too.

Trout fishers can find peace and tranquility plus a little snow on the Metolius if that is more to your liking. Little Black Stones, BWOs, Midges and miscellaneous small Mayflies should help you crack the code. Bull Trout provide a distraction for those carrying big sticks and big flies.

The Deschutes can also be a great winter Trout destination if the weather cooperates. While not has protected from the elements as the Metolius, the Deschutes Redsides can be less selective even in winter. Sporadic Blue Winged Olive and midge hatches will occur throughout the cooler months drawing fish to the surface. Crowds will be light.

High water, high hopes

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 10, 2015
For the next few weeks I will be leaving the details of the fishing report up to the newest member of our Royal Treatment team, Josh Linn. While voice recognition software handles the problem of my one handed typing for most of the newsletter, it can't replace that "on the water" knowledge from weekly fishing trips. Since I'm benched until the first week in February, I am counting on Josh, Nick and Corey to get out there and harass the winter Steelhead. They should be able to keep you posted on what's going on.

As I mentioned earlier, I did make it over to the Deschutes this weekend for my last shot at summer fish. There were a few grabbers on Sunday, but the changing conditions on Monday ended the day early. The D below White River was on its way out with the increase in glacial flow overwhelming the Deschutes. The river above the White remained in good shape and could provide some entertainment next week if conditions don't degrade much more. You could always go fish for trout on the Metolius.

Take it away Josh…

Working on a fishing report today is hard because I'm still riding a high from the fish I caught on Sunday. The day was short and it was rainy. Nick and I got down to Oxbow and there was an accident on the road that closed the park for the morning. So we headed to another walk in spot, wadered up and rigged the rods. Nick asked me what color fly I was going to use and I told him whichever he didn't. My fly color choices were either going to be black and blue, or pink and orange, because I have complete confidence in both. I have three basic criteria for flies and I'm happy; color, size, and weight. Flies matter as long as you have faith in them and they fish the way you want them to.

I started high in the run just to do my due diligence. I made about three casts. As the fly came over the ledge I felt that unmistakeable stop and then a light pull. I knew it was a fish. Another light pull and I set the hook. Woo ha! Fish on! After about ten minutes and a few jumps and runs the fish finally tipped over. What a way to start the winter.

Now, things have changed dramatically.The rivers are up. Rain is falling and fishing is over for the week. This report is easy. Clackamas flooded. Wilson flooded. Sandy flooded. Trask flooded. Oh yeah don't forget about the east side. The Deschutes is blown out. The John Day fished Monday, but is gone today. If you are thinking about fishing this week it may be best to reconsider tying some flies instead.....

Flooding aside, pretty much everyday for the last two weeks people have been asking if there are fish in the rivers and whether they should go chase winter steelhead, almost asking for permission. Well, I give you permission! I would go when the river levels drop. If you call me and ask if you should go I'm going to tell with a lot of excitement in my voice to go and do it. Get out there and get after it as soon as it is safe again. Go make your own fishing report because if you are reading how good the fishing is you probably missed it. I know it's early, but what's the harm. When the water drops there will be chrome plated unicorns in the river. See if you can find one and then come back and give me a fishing report!

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
 


New rules, but fishing is good

Joel La Follette - Thursday, July 23, 2015
Caddis hatches on the Deschutes had our guide friends, their clients and the resident fish very happy this past weekend as clouds of these insects filled the evening sky. The warmer weather really ramped up the hatch forcing the camp cook to get creative with the open air dining arrangements as Caddis tend to get into everything. A little extra protein never hurt. Fishing was good when the wind allowed and plenty of fat Redsides came out to play. Tan Elk Hair Caddis in 16-18 did the damage on the surface while varieties of Caddis Pupa and Mayfly nymphs covered the below the surface action. Rob Crandall and Gil Muhleman finished off a successful three day drift from Trout Creek to Maupin and provided me with a couple photos of the action for this report. UPDATE: With warm weather moving in, Gil has been doing half-day evening Trout trips and doing very well. Caddis hatches have been keeping the Trout happy  and are providing some great action for anglers. Email Gil and get on the schedule.

Meanwhile Brian Silvey reported from Maupin that the Caddis craze continues with fat Trout and even a fresh native summer Steelhead falling prey to some of his magic creations. This specimen grabbed a Silvey’s BH Pupa and our good friend Steve Lawson was able to bring it to hand for a quick #keepemwet photo by Brian Silvey. UPDATE: Steelhead in the lower river are grabbing flies and water is cooler. That may change some with this heatwave, but look for cooler dam releases starting this weekend. (Hopefully)

The Metolius showed her shy side to some, while others found a few cooperative Rainbows. Caddis and misc. small mayflies sprinkled with a light showing of Goldenstones will keep anglers pawing through fly boxes to hit the right combination. Those will to take a page from old reports and dial in a Hopper/dropper combo with a Chubby leftover from the Deschutes hatch paired with a SuperSinker may be surprised with the success.

Bull Trout start their return this month as fish from the lake head up to spawn. Make sure you’re sporting the right tackle to play them quickly and release them unharmed. Bull Trout can reach up to 12-16 pounds, so that wimpy little 6 wt. isn’t the right tool. 7-8 wt. rods paired with a sink-tip line matched up with a tasty looking streamer is the best combo for hunting this carnivores of the spring creek. Don’t be surprised if that nice Trout you hook suddenly grows when a Bull Trout latches on. At that point, I’ve got no advice for you. Just pull.

Farther east, the Owyhee seems to be blessed with enough water to keep things flowing and cool. Our Owyhee expert, Nolan DeHaven, ventured over last week dodging lightening storms and sunshine to report that “Fishing has been very good the last couple days. The Browns have been taking anything from size 8 grasshoppers to size 20 zebra midges and anything in between. Caddis, Tricos, small nymphs and PMD's have all worked...oh yeah, and Mr. Hankey (mouse) has hooked a few as well! Even though the weather has  been very schizophrenic to put it mildly, fishing has been great as always. An inside source tells me the water in the dam WILL keep going through September and the temps are at their normal rate."

Steelheaders need to watch their thermometer and fish accordingly. The Deschutes below Macks Canyon has improve slightly, but is still reaching deadly temps by late afternoon. Remember this section currently falls under the 2:00PM closure rule. Fishing the cooler waters above Macks Canyon is an option.

The North Umpqua falls under the new rules, so it's been a morning show there. While not red hot fishing, there are a few fish around. Take some time to explore in the afternoon without a rod in hand to appreciate this beautiful river. Also plan a visit up to the Big Bend Pool on Steamboat Creek for some time with Lee Spencer. You'll learn a lot about Steelhead in one afternoon. Take Lee a cold beer or cookie as long as your going....

For a rundown of the new ODFW rules check out my Camp Water Blog.

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