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Fishing Reports

The Return of The Shad Prince

Joel La Follette - Thursday, June 09, 2016
Rose Festival weather has returned and looks to be hanging out here for at least a week, maybe more. Cloudy skies and a splash of rain here and there shouldn’t stop us from getting out and taking advantage of the season. Just like last week there is plenty of fishing to be done if one was so inclined.

Escaping to the east side of the state has the advantage of pleasant temperatures and a better chance at staying dry. While the Salmonfly hatch may be over for this year, there has been plenty of Caddis and PMDs to keep the Redsides snacking. Green Drakes are also a real possibility if the conditions and location are right. Steelhead junkies are watching dam counts waiting not so patiently for summer fish to return. I will tell you that there is at least one fresh summer Steelhead in the Deschutes right now. Do you feel lucky?

The Metolius has the attention of the guys in the shop because of a big green Mayfly. Our Fly Czar, Josh Linn, has collected an impressive array of patterns for the Green Drake hatch and both he and Nick have been field testing them. While the Drakes may be the focus, there have been good showings of PMDs, Caddis and the famous misc. small Mayfly hatch. A lone Goldenstone was even spotted looking for a date this past weekend, but it’s a bit early to get excited about that one. This is a great time to discover the Metolius.

I’ve tried to avoid it, but it has gotten too big to ignore any longer. The Shad run is here, big-time. If you really want to get someone hooked on fly fishing, this is the fishery for you. While the America Shad is an invasive species, it has become a popular target for anglers this time of year. Millions of these overgrown Herring are swimming in the Willamette and Columbia at this very moment. Millions. Water Time Outfitters is running two boats daily with up to three time slots. Our own Nick Wheeler “The Shad Prince” snuck out for an hour with Rob yesterday and boated over 30 fish. He rolled back into the shop with a bigger grin that normal if you can believe that. There are places you can fish for this “poor man’s Tarpon” from shore, but only if you like company, lots of company. Save yourself the hassle and call Rob at Water Time Outfitters. The Shad run continues through June.


When Everything Lines Up

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 07, 2016
When the Sun, the Moon and the stars combined with our local weather to provide perfect conditions on your favorite river that moment lasts about a hour and a half. So most of the time we're just not fishing in perfect conditions. We have to make the best of it and currently it's paying off on the coast for those anglers willing to put in the time.

Rob Crandall and his talented sidekick, Gil Muhlemen, have been getting clients into plenty of barbecue fodder on the north coast as hatchery fish lead the charge home. That's making for happy guides and customers. While numbers are not as high, other coastal watersheds are giving up some pretty nice wild fish for those seeking quality over quantity. Overall, it's not a bad time to be on the coast.

The action is not as hot and heavy here on our local rivers, but it is nothing that a little rain wouldn't help out. We transitioned from high flows to relatively low water in a very short time. The chilly temps crashed the NOAA graphs and now we could benefit from a little more rain. Maybe the storms that are pelting SoCal will send a little something our way besides more Californians. I did my part and washed the 4runner late last night so it should rain any second.

In the meantime, just change tactics to low water stuff and get out there. If you need a few tips on tactics stop by the shop this weekend for Mr. Crandall's Winter Steelhead Seminar. He's got all the answers.

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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