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Fishing Reports

March comes Roaring

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 01, 2018
Marty Sheppard Photo

March is rolling in like a slightly soggy lion without too much bite in its roar. Our last brush with winter added to the snowpack nicely. We still would welcome any added moisture. What did fall this past week has improved angling opportunities across the region, especially on the Sandy River.

While El Numero Uno breaks in a new bright red boat, the second best guide on the Sandy has been quietly building his reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Although there has been plenty of misdirection on social media, we’ve been able to cut through the static and can confirm a few fish have been encountered and conditions have improved. Black and Blue flies are getting it done. There is a question about red boats and red flies that needs to be addressed, but we’ll hopefully have more intel next week.

The WTO guys are still mining chrome on the coast as the big wild fish return. Black and Blue patterns are getting it done there as well. Is this a trend or a conspiracy? Inquiries as to the success of other patterns have been ignored which leads me to believe there is a blackout on information so that Rob can drop a bombshell at his Steelhead presentation on the 17th. We breathlessly await the unveiling of a potential game changer from the vise of Mr. Crandall.

Trout madness is about to begin as spring hatches pop on our local waters. Vises have been cranking out March Brown patterns for months and well, it’s March. The upper Willamette and McKenzie are great places to test those collections. The Deschutes might even see a few early hatches with the warming weather and lower than last year water levels. Reports from the D have been spotty with the snow blowing in last week, but we should see a few adventurous anglers heading that way this weekend to test the waters.

Don’t forget our Spring Trout Rendezvous on April 29th! Plan on joining us for camping, fishing and the world famous Royal Treatment Taco Bar.

Zombie Bugs Invade the Deschutes

Joel La Follette - Thursday, May 05, 2016
It’s time to get your Trout face on and hit the river. Big bugs are popping on the Deschutes and near perfect conditions are on tap for the weekend. This past Monday, Team Royal Treatment split up to recon the river so we could file a boots in the water report. While Josh chauffeured Nick and the Stig on the Warm Springs stretch, I headed to Maupin to see how things were progressing, bug wise.

Bug action above White River was off the hook as Golden Stones and Salmonflies crawled out like zombies on a mission. The temperature climbed to the high 80s and that even got a few to take wing over the river. I managed 3 nice fish on big dries before I had pack it in and head home. My banjo playing buddy, Shane Blitch, spent the night and scored well the next day. Don’t wait too long or you may miss the action.

Rob Crandall was doing a father/son trip below Mack’s Canyon and his son Tanner showed pops how to get it done with big flies. Look for Tanner to be piloting his own sled in the future.

Upriver where the A team drifted, the big bugs were not as prolific yet. Nevertheless, the guys did very well drifting nymphs or swinging streamers, with streamers being the most productive. Look for the hatch to overtake the upper river and start the Salmonfly madness for 2016.

For a change of pace I met up with Jeff Helfrich on the McKenzie River yesterday, spending the day tossing dry flies at hungry wild Rainbows and Cutthroat with my dad. We landed plenty of fish with several tipping into the chunky category. The weather was warmish, but damp which brought out a springtime mix of insects. Brown and Green Caddis flitted about with Craneflies, March Browns, PMDs, BWOs and Yellow Sallies throughout the day so the fish had plenty to choose from. If you’ve not fished the McKenzie in a while, now would be a good time.


Steelhead? Yes, action continues to be fair on the Clackamas and that will continue until the river gets too warm. Sink-tips are still the best bet, but maybe dialing in an unweighted fly might save you a few bucks as the water drops. Those rocks have been hungry too. The river is at 12.2 this morning and 51 degrees. A dry line may not be a bad option for the optimistic.

Steelhead, Trout and Bonefish on the Brain

Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 09, 2015
The Clackamas and Sandy have continued to kick out a fish or two over the last week for anglers swinging flies. While some reports are better than others, there has been some good fishing on both rivers. Conditions remain good and there’s nothing in the forecast that should change that. Orange or red seem to be the hot colors this week.

Trout fishing has been an up and down event depending on the weather. March Browns are still on the minds of anglers and fish in the valley and over on the Deschutes. The Metolius saw a spurt of big winter (think October) Caddis last week as well as the usual small Mayfly hatch. There was also a hatch of a larger Mayfly that remains unidentified as of yet. I’ll work on that, but I’m guessing perhaps an early Flav showing. I’m not an insect expert, so I’ll just ask Mr. Silvey next week when he come to enlighten us all about bugs. Speaking about big bugs, the Salmonfly hatch is on the minds and lips of anglers prowling the fly bins lately. We do have plenty of patterns in stock, but check out your personal collection and add to it sooner than later if needed.

With very little snow in the higher elevations, early lake fishing opportunities should be very good. Water temps may be a bit chilly, but you won’t be dealing with iced over water. Start off the season by fishing the warmer edges and shoals for fish hunting a snack. If you have not done much lake fly fishing you may want to look into the classes offered by Rob and the guys at Water Time Outfitters. This is a great way to crack the code faster.

Bonefishers did pretty well on the flats of Belize this past week, scoring plump Bonefish and even the occasional Permit. While down in the Bahamas Bonefish were the main target with a few big Cuda mixed in. Tarpon, Jacks and other critters are still looming near Blue Holes and drop offs. Larger Tarpon are moving into the Keys just in time for my brief overnight fishing adventure on May 1. I’ve unpacked one 10 wt. and added my trusty 12 wt. to my tackle bag of goodies I plan on flying with. Fishing for big fish in the dark with Hammerheads and reef sharks circling below sounds delightful. I can hardly wait.

Marching in the Rain

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 26, 2015

While March is displaying a slight lion like departure, the adverse effects on angling opportunities have been minimal so far. We’ve seen bumps in river levels as weather systems move through, but those have been quickly followed by steady drops producing great conditions and a few fish. Steelhead anglers will just have to watch their weather rocks over the next few weeks and make plans accordingly.

Coastal catches are winding down, but here in the valley things are picking up. Spring on the Sandy and Clackamas offers some of the best Steelheading of the season as anglers spread out to other fisheries. It’s still Steelheading, and you may get wet, but at least that bit about frozen guides and frosty eyebrows has passed.

Those who have started their early spring Trouting have reported decent hatches of March Browns on the Deschutes and McKenzie when conditions are conducive to that emergence. Cloudy skies and warmer temps maximize these occurrences so excuses for missing work should be kept near at hand. A lunch meeting that goes from 11:00 till 2:00 would provide enough time to close the deal and still make it back for that 3:30 conference call. They’ll never know you are still in your waders.

We are still weeks away from any Big Bug activity on the Deschutes, but that craziness will be here soon enough. Toss out that old leader and tippet material and take stock of those bulletheads in your box. Their day is coming.

Deschutes and McKenzie Report

Joel La Follette - Tuesday, May 20, 2014
 
Deschutes Salmon flies are still on the minds of anglers and Trout alike as we head into the holiday weekend. While much of the big bug action in the Maupin area has slowed dramatically, there are plenty of Mayflies and other Trout treats to keep the fish and fishermen happy. Pale Morning Duns, Caddis, Little Yellow Sallies and even an early Green Drake or two will have you sampling your fly box throughout the day. There will still be remnants of the Salmon Fly hatch as late emergers flit about laying eggs before crashing to a watery finish. This can provide some epic action if you hit it just right. Don't give up on the Chubbys yet, but tye on a Silvey's Caddis Pupa as a dropper to cover your bases. Trust me on this one. It's also a good idea to do a little change-up on your big fly if it is not pulling the lunkers off the bottom. Try a scaling down in size, or going old school with a Clark's Stone or Norm Woods.
 
Further up the creek the big bugs are the main event and the talk of the town. Mix in a few Yellow Sallies, Little Green Stones, misc. Mayflies and Caddis and you have yourself the makings of a lovely day on the water. Water temps have risen rapidly this year so things are happening fast on the Deschutes. Insects normally seen in June have already made cameo appearances. When it comes to your fly selection, bring it all. With all the commotion floating overhead you may find fly selection is critical if you want to score. Look for places of refuge that may hide that trophy Trout. Don't pass up on heavy turbulent water, it takes a big fish to make a living in those places.


Down in the valley the McKenzie River offers a pleasant distraction for those interested in avoiding the brush banging beat of the Deschutes. Caddis and Mayflies make up the menu and the kitchen has been very busy. Warm weather combined with a little cloud cover is a match made in Trout fishers' heaven as clouds of insects take to wing. 
While larger Caddis patterns seem to take center stage on the McKenzie, PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and other misc. Mayflies keep it interesting. Fishing with Jeff Helfrich, of Tight Lines Outfitters, this past Monday Nick and I were reacquainted with the old McKenzie "refloat" technique as we drifted from Hendricks to Hayden. Lifting the rod tip and refloating the tandem Caddis patterns keeps them from knitting your leader into a sweater. While that works just fine, I'll admit I preferred to fish a single Caddis and pop it into fishy looking spots. We encountered no other fly anglers on Monday, which is in sharp contrast to my normal haunts. If you haven't sampled this famous Trout fishery, contact Jeff and get it on your schedule. 
 
Steelhead fishing in the local area has taken a back seat to all things Trouty. There is still plenty of opportunity for those wanting to swing a fly. The Clackamas has kicked out a few nice summer fish and the same goes for the Sandy River. Spey Geeks gathering at Oxbow 
this past weekend reported a few nice Steelhead and Springers grabbing flies. You don't have to convert to the Trout side just yet.

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