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Fishing Reports

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.

How low will it go?

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 26, 2015
The chatter in the shop this last week has been mostly about about the weather, which is not in itself odd for February, but the discussion is not the traditional one. We are normally consumed with the subject of rainfall or snowfall and how it will effect our Steelhead fishing opportunities. The difference this year is we are talking about number of warm sunny days we’ve received versus the number of wet ones. We look to the mountain and see that the snow is not piling up as it should and we worry if it will this year. The last snippet of rain that blew through barely bumped the rivers before they began their crash dive to the low and clear conditions we have now. A walk through the neighborhood displays all the trappings of full on spring, with blooming trees and flower beds. Did we totally miss winter?

Even under these low water conditions anglers venturing out have found a few fresh fish. Although fishing has not been red hot, those putting in the time have been rewarded. The upside to the lack of water has been the lack of traffic on many streams. Where once a flotilla floated, now the hardcore regulars scratch out a day, finding a fish or two for their efforts. The reward in chrome and sunshine.


As I write this morning, faint drops of rain can be heard falling on the roof. Not enough as of yet to break us out of this early spring, but a sprinkle of hope for the days ahead. Maybe even a touch of snow in the mountains to hold water drops in reserve for the drier summer months ahead.

Rob Crandall and Gil Muhleman, of Water Time Outfitters, are also up early this morning and each sent me reports that I have blended here…. “Low and clear has been a difficult formula for anglers on the North Coast and a good shot of rain to pick things up would be most welcome.  We’ve been finding fish most days, but as the water drops it has been getting tougher.  The Trask, Wilson and Nestucca are often hitting prime time about this time of year so we are hopeful that conditions will improve. With a good shot of rain we expect fresh arriving chrome fish finning our favorite spots soon.

While low river levels require a bit more finesse, the last few days have been an exercise in enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer us, including several hearty Steelhead. There are plenty of fish in the rivers to exercise and hone our skills. For those interested in getting away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, now is the time. Catching is not red hot or easy, but the fishing is excellent.

The Clackamas has been a drifters paradise with nary a sled seen this week.  We are looking at a bump in water levels later this week and that should help spice up the fishing.”

Brian Silvey called me just a few minutes ago and said basically the same thing. He sent these photos from the last few days on the river and added that fishing on the Sandy has been slow, crowds are light, but both he and Marty have been getting fish. A little rain would be very helpful in warming up the water and ramping up the fishing. The last few days have seen more fish moving in the river. They must know the weather is changing.

Now, we just pray for rain.

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