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Fishing Reports

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.

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!

No snow, let's go.

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 12, 2015
The thunder and lightening have rumbled east as buzzing chainsaws remove the trees blown over by this last passing weather system. Our rivers felt the effect, but they too are returning to normal and all is right in the Steelheader’s world. Fish were found both before and after this blustery event, with conditions looking most excellent for the foreseeable future.

Last year at this time we had Snowpocalypse 2014 throwing a blanket of white over us, postponing the Fly Fishing Film Tour and raising havoc on our streets. Then the meltdown blew out the rivers, leaving us with torrents of muddy water and cabin fever. While the timing was bad for the Tour, it was much worse for my long-time friend and fishing partner, Stefan Trischer. Stefan had flown from his home in Germany to attend a business conference in Vegas, but added a few days here at Woodsprite Lodge so we could catch up and chase Steelhead. On the plus side, Stefan got to attend the rescheduled F3T show, but we fished some ugly conditions during his visit.

You pay your money and take your chances when it comes to fly fishing travel and those of us that venture away from home know that to be true. You make the best of it, hoping that the odds will be in your favor next time. Well, Stefan has drawn a winning hand this week as he arrives this evening for another visit, right when conditions are near perfect.

Communications from the coast report dropping rivers and bright wild fish. Smaller waters came back into shape on Monday, even as falling rain tested GoreTex jackets to the limit. Most north coast streams are now fishable and producing.

The same story rolls in from the Sandy, where the storm’s knock out punch was just a slap and the river took it on the chin, recovering very quickly. Even a few of those anglers testing the rising river over the weekend were rewarded for their efforts. Again, big wild fish have been the story. The river is currently at 4140 cfs and dropping.

The Clackamas is the slowest to return to normal, as has been the case all winter. More low level drainage and less low level snow may be the reason, but I’ll have to confer with the experts on that. In any case, the Clack is at 13.71 this morning, but should slide below 13 by Friday afternoon. Fish have been found throughout the river.

I’m not even going to chat about Trout fishing this week as Stefan and I embark on a Steelheading marathon. We’ll be sampling the Sandy, north coast and Clackamas with Brian, Marty, Gil and Rob over the next five days, taking a break on Saturday to hang out in the shop. Stop by to meet Stefan and have a piece of cake. I’m sure it’s somebody’s birthday.

Rain, what rain?

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 08, 2015
Rain roared off the Pacific on Sunday putting a temporary damper on the fishing that had drawn many to the coastal watersheds flowing to the sea. It was just a minor bump compared to the deluge that caused widespread flooding and mudslides to our northern neighbors. By early Monday morning streams had already begun to drop and they continue that trend today. Fishing should remain good as fresh fish ride the wave of this last weather system home to their natal streams.

Here in the valley we awaited the pending drenching storm, but it never came. High winds rolled through the area, but lacked the moisture forecasted to raise local waters. While most of the wet stuff caused havoc in the areas south of Puget Sound and farther north, we basked in relatively mild conditions after the gusty night time wind moved through. Temperatures climbed into the high fifties and some rain made it to Mt Hood which did add to the flows on the Sandy as snow liquified bringing the river up to over 13.5 on Monday. It was a very brief bump as by Tuesday morning the river was falling nicely and producing fish as witnessed by the photos provided here by Brian Silvey. Current conditions are near perfect.


The Clackamas faired much better by ignoring the expert’s forecast and bumping along in the 12.5 to 13 foot range with premature dam releases probably the cause for any increases in flow. While the river may be a bit high for wading some favorite spots, it is still very fishable and producing. I will admit it turned a cold shoulder to me on Monday as I swung a fly through a couple runs, but mine was a mid-day adventure and more of an effort to take in some fresh air during this warm spell. Having dusted off my Spey cast for the first time in the New Year, it’s time to get serious.

Looking ahead we have great fishing opportunities in every direction. Conditions are favorable and fish are in the rivers. What are you waiting for? See you on the water.

Ringing in the New Year

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tomorrow will require a brand new fishing licence, but for today you’re good to go. Lucky for you our rivers have fallen back into shape after the pre-Christmas flooding and all are reporting fresh fish. While the east wind and chilly temperatures may keep many anglers at home close to the fire, those impervious to the cold do have a fairly good chance at success if they venture out. 

The coast is only slightly warmer than here in the valley as it doesn’t have those biting east winds. Rob Crandall emailed a photo yesterday afternoon of a fresh hatchery fish that was heading home to celebrate New Years with a very happy client. Rob reported an excellent day of fishing and added, “Steelhead are showing in the Necanicum, NF Nehalem and all Tillamook area rivers.  The last shot of rain is finally subsiding and rivers are dropping and clearing nicely.  This blast of icy weather will have fins frozen to the rocks so the fish will be low and cold. Drop down on fly sizes and think deep!”

Over on the Sandy a few fair sized chrome wild fish are showing up and taking swung flies. The river is flowing a tad under 11 feet and dropping. With no forecasted rises in the near future conditions are perfect, if not a bit chilly. Look for things to warm up on Friday with “warm” being a relative term.

Same holds true for the Clackamas where flows have yet to drop below 13 feet. The color is a very nice Steelhead green and we shouldn’t see any adverse affect from the rain moving in this weekend. Barton to Carver has seen the best of the limited action.

Overall, your chances of encountering a fresh winter Steelhead are good and will only be getting better as we move through winter. Pick up a new fishing licence and ring in the New Year right.

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