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Fishing Reports

Black Friday Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Royal Treatment crew felt a sense of pride last week as we kept at least 35-40 people away from the malls on Black Friday. Those hearty souls braved a threatening forecast only to find that you can't always believe the weather girl. We treated them to a delicious warm lunch, far too many sweet treats and a private lesson in Czech nymphing offered by our Fly Czar, Josh Linn. Oh, and there was plenty of fish caught too.

Gray skies dominated, but the forecast gale failed to materialize. Winds were light and variable most of the day, with the drizzle of rain not even drawing a notice from the gathering of Black Friday protestors. There was a little squall that moved through in the late afternoon, but even it was short lived. It was the perfect day to fish the Deschutes.

There were a few BWO flitting about, but most of the damage was done subsurface with a variety of nymphs. The resident Redsides fell prey to most of the jig-style baetis patterns offered with a Czech nymphing presentation. Josh's version of the GTI Caddis also proved its worth.

While the focus was on Trout, Mr. Skittles has been bumping into Steelhead on the swing and, dare I say it, while nymphing. Thankfully, only hatchery fish were duped by this method and Nick bonked one for the freezer with his rendition of the Squirmy Wormy. No, that pattern will not be featured as a Fly of the Week. You must ask him directly about that one.

Since I spent most of Black Friday in my riverside kitchen, I made a return on Monday to spend a little quality time with the river before the holiday madness consumes my calendar. I swung flies in a few of my favorite runs without success but did well in the Trout department with Josh's GTI and Mic Drop. As I write this report, I realize that a lot of Trout have come to hand over the last few months and I can't say I've cast my fly line outside of the rod tip except for that film thing I did. There must be something to this Czech/Euro thing.

If the weather cooperates, Trout fishing on the Deschutes, Metolius, and Crooked should hold up nicely. As mentioned there are also a few hatchery Steelhead that need to be retrieved from the Deschutes. Sink-tips and winter style patterns can tempt those leftovers into your freezer.

Closer to home, we are waiting for the arrival of our winter fish in the Clack and Sandy. A few encounters in the Clackamas have been spurred by the recent rains. Hopefully, that trend will continue.

















First Nation Extended Summer Season

Joel La Follette - Thursday, October 18, 2018


It may not be politically correct to say Indian Summer, but how else can you describe our weather? The last few days have been absolutely incredible. Next week though, the Weather Channel girl is threatening a dampish change to the forecast. Enjoy the sun while you can, but look for your fishing options to improve as rain moves in. We could use some water!

The Fly Czar and our new Head of Security headed east this past Monday after overseeing the very successful Fly Fishing Symposium. LT has recently retired from the Portland PD and you will see him in the shop occasionally keeping the peace between the Fly Czar and Mr. Skittles. In any case, the guys found a few willing fly grabbers on their adventure, but also found the take-out gate locked at Starvation. Check in with Josh before you make plans to launch a drift boat.

Meanwhile, the Deschutes continues to be rather good for Trout and not too bad for Steelhead. We are not seeing the best return ever, but it is Steelhead fishing, and it's never easy. Hatches of misc. Mayflies, October Caddis and small tan Caddis are keeping things interesting for Trout chasers.

Our recent infatuation with Czech nymphing has really upped the interest in Trout fishing around the shop. After I graduated from the Fly Czar's clinic last week, I spent 3 days on the Deschutes putting the skills I learned into practice. The number of fish landed over the trip was very impressive given the fact that I never made a cast with the fly line out of the rod. I did keep it a little "West Coast" by fishing a Silvey's Super Sinker and Caddis Pupa instead of the more Euro-style offerings. The Super Sinker was the star until Caddis started to flitter about, then the Pupa rocked it. It's nice to have that one-two punch on every cast.

Sea-run Cutty lovers have one last week to get it out of their system before the season comes to a close. Rain will help their efforts and will also draw fresh fish into tidewater for the Salmon fanatics. All good news for sure.

Closer to home, the Coho in the Clackamas are getting a little stale and the numbers of fresh fish returning are dropping off some. Rain may help, but we now wait for the first of the winter Steelhead to really provide the action. Let it rain.

Field Trip Gone Wrong

Joel La Follette - Thursday, October 11, 2018

by Josh Linn, the Fly Czar

Last Saturday, Mike McCoy from Snake Brand Guides shared a presentation on Czech nymphing. He then followed up with a great tying session at the Tyer’s Table. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the European nymphing techniques are gaining momentum here in the Northwest. If you want to catch fish, it’s a very effective method. 

The next day, Joel had an outing with his Reed College class so Nick and I volunteered to help. By 9:00 AM we were at Harpham Flats ready to meet up with the students. While we waited for the van to arrive I gave the boys a quick tutorial on Czech nymphing.


The first time I used the Czech nymph style of fishing was about 10 years ago. This technique is a little different from the other Euro nymph styles like French or Spanish. Czech nymphing uses a short line, nymphing right off the top of the rod technique. It utilizes a shorter leader with a low rod angle and leads the flies through the water. The other techniques involve a longer leader where you dead drift under tension with a little more range.

Nick and I stepped into the water and in a couple of casts, I had my first fish to hand. I was a little rusty, but it came back fast. We moved just a little further down the run and in no time I landed another Trout. At that point, I looked up at Nick and told him, “That’s how it’s done.”

We headed back to the truck to see what Joel was up to, but he and his truck were nowhere in sight. Thirty minutes later he returned. He had received a phone call from the van driver stating they had just crossed the bridge in Maupin and asked if he could come up there to meet them. Joel drove into town and didn’t see them anywhere. He called the driver and asked for specifics as to where they were. That is when the driver asked Joel to spell Maupin and put it into his GPS. He put the phone down and Joel heard cussing accompanied by, “How the heck did that happen?” The driver picked the phone back up and they were somewhere south of Eugene. Joel instructed him to return the group to the college. They would not be fishing today.

That meant we had the day off and it was time to fish!

We headed up the road to a spot above the boat launch we all love to fish. My Czech nymph rod was still rigged up and Joel hadn’t gotten his lesson yet. We returned to the river. As I‘m explaining the technique of leading the flies through the run, on the second cast I hooked a Trout.


Moving upriver about a step I made another couple of casts and was into another fish. Joel’s got the idea. He took his rod and worked his way downriver. After a minute or two he’s into his first fish. 


We keep fishing and hooking fish throughout the run. Joel is like a surgeon dissecting every nook and cranny of the tail-out. Every time I look down the river he’s got another fish on. I switched to a heavier fly fishing deeper and immediately hooked a much bigger fish. I can’t lift it off the bottom very well with the 10’ 3wt, but when I do it appeared to possibly be a Steelhead. It rolled on the surface and popped off. At that moment I feel doubt creep in and wonder if it really was a Steelhead.

I continue to work my way down and a minute or two later I hooked a steelhead. This one stayed on and there is no doubt it is a Steelhead. I give out excited cheers as Nick made a splashy dash to bring the net. Any doubt about the first fish being a Steelhead dissolved because I can see this fish is smaller than the previous one.

I fought the fish hard to not over exhaust it. It’s a fierce battle and all I can think about is not breaking off the light 5x tippet I’m using. Nick grabbed the net and I lead the fish toward him. The fish turned with a last big thrash and it broke off.

That’s not the first Steelhead I’ve broken off and it won’t be the last. Even just hooking one had me elated, to say the least. I re-rigged the rod and handed it to Nick. I didn’t need to fish anymore, my day was complete.

By now, Joel’s up at the trucks having a sandwich in his kitchen on wheels. I walk up to chat with him about this new technique. While we are talking we watched Nick catch a couple of fish.

We spent about an hour fishing and put on quite a clinic. I don‘t know how many fish we caught, but it was a lot.

While we are eating a little lunch and Nick was polishing off some leftover cake,  a couple of our regular customers pulled up. They tell us about their day of fishing. It was a little different than ours. Joel’s tells them about the Euro technique and offers to give them a little demo. 


We all head back down to the water. As Joel is giving them a quick rundown on what to do, he hooks a fish. We offered them our rods to give it a try. They were getting the hang of it pretty quick but weren't hooking any fish.  I'm guessing they figured we caught them all by this time. One guy handed me back the rod and asked for a further demonstration. I was a little reluctant still riding high from earlier, but I give in.

 

I make a couple of casts and hook my third Steelhead of the morning on my Trout gear. This one is closer to the tail out with a rapid right below us. There is even less hope of landing this fish with such light tackle. It is a heavier fish and I tried to put a lot of pressure on it. It made a dash for the rapid, but I stopped it and turn it back towards us.
 

The pressure to perform was real with an audience cheering me on. By now, I‘ve switched to being confident about landing this fish. A large piece of soft water right behind me would make for a great landing spot. I formulated my plan. Leading it back I realize there is a shallow sandbar between the fish and the promised land. I took a quick look around and reaffirm that this is still the best plan. As I pull it across the bar (bad idea) the leader broke and the fish came off. The fish is surprised at is sudden freedom, so Nick and I both make a move at it with visions of us tailing it. Not so much. The fish gathered his senses and swam off. Like I said earlier, that wouldn’t be the last fish I ever break off.

Oh yeah, I guess you guys were reading through this looking for a fishing report. Some of you may have heard the fishing has been tough and there’s not a lot of Steelhead around, I’ve heard differently.....and Trout fishing is awesome.


No Lack of Talent

Joel La Follette - Thursday, October 04, 2018
Christine Switzer Photo

I did manage to go fishing this weekend if you could truly call it that. I spent some time wading in the cool waters of the Metolius with a fly rod in hand making several hundred fruitless casts and a few not so fruitless. That in itself is not an unusual occurrence; a fact that is well documented by those who ply these waters. What made this day more unusual than most is that I had a film crew recording my every move from several different angles, and a crowd of curious onlookers watching the proceedings.

Megan Gray Photo
This crew, if you must know, was attempting to portray me as a wise graying entrepreneur living out his passion in the fall of his life. Evidently, my unusual career path was found to be intriguing by the account principals so this little band of young talented advertising geniuses was tucked in an airplane in Charlotte, North Carolina and flown out to the Great Northwest. The poor kids didn't know what they were getting into.

When this adventure was first proposed it was to be a simple photo shoot at the shop and perhaps on the Clackamas River. After considering the story I wanted to be told I requested we venture a little further afield to the Deschutes or Metolius. The images of the Metolius I sent evidently won them over, and that is how I found myself casting to Trout with a camera pointed in my face. 

Upon arriving at the river I found that even the simple task of wadering up and tying on a fly needed to be well documented; further delaying my angling efforts and establishing that this was not a fishing trip. I resigned myself to the task at hand and became a tour guide, naturalist, conservationist and ambassador for Oregon. Oh, and as they say in the business, "the talent."

Not wanting to drown David the photographer and be responsible for dampening expensive camera equipment I chose a simple location near Bridge 99. Wearing an ill-fitting pair of boot foot waders David looked like a young fawn taking its first steps as he navigated the rocks and boulders in the river. He positioned himself between me and my casting target to capture the intense action of fly casting and the contemplative expression on my face. He didn't like my expression. 

It was requested that I look happy to be engaged in my passion while counting down the days of my life. Right. There's a thought that would bring a smile to any face. I decided to think about lunch instead.

Having been casting a fly for well over a half century I was able to easily adapt, smiling and casting like a seasoned professional while retaining a steely-eyed focus on the task at hand. Said focus was suddenly interrupted by a Trout rising to engulf my fly just behind David. Like the true professional he is, David continued to fire off exposures unimpressed with the piscatorial encounter. I, on the other hand, was amazed at this development but held on to my poker face as I released the Trout into the clear waters of this magical river.

Back at camp, I whipped up a Skottle full of my world famous fajitas and we recounted the adventure of the day. Our time together would end the following evening after a brief tour of Oregon and a visit to the shop where this story was supposed to be told, but, as I said, they didn't know what they were getting into.



Christine, Megan, and David now have an appreciation for Oregon...

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.

Nick's Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 29, 2018

Steelhead fishing has picked up this week with the fresh shot of rain and low level snow. All local rivers got a small surge of water and look to be staying in perfect shape. The coastal rivers seem to be producing more fish then our local waters of the Clackamas and Sandy.

Josh and I both spend some time on the coast this weekend and numerous fish were landed. At this point if you were planning on winter steelheading I would say, “Go now!” The current water levels and aggressive fish mean your chances are probably not going to get much better this.

As we edge our way into April summer steelhead should start showing up in the Clackamas and Sandy. This is when we begin to wind down our winter fishing, but you can still get that Steelhead fix before you transition over to Trout fishing. Both rivers will continue to produce fish all spring. 

Trout fishing on the east side has been lights out. The Deschutes near Maupin and the Crooked River are the subject of some great fishing reports coming in. Anglers have been catching fish mainly on nymphs: Zebra Midges, small Stonefly nymphs, Hares Ears and Super Sinkers. When a hatch appears it most likely will be a March Brown, Blue Wing Olive or Skwalas that bring Trout to the surface. Personally, I’ve done well this time of year stripping streamers like a Sculpzilla. It’s a fun way to break away from the norm and get a tight line grab. With warmer temps and nicer weather this weekend the east side rivers could be a awesome place to find a change of pace. 

No matter whether this week takes you east, west, or painting Easter eggs, fishing is only getting better so get your chores done now. Spring is here and you’re going to find yourself with too many good options and not enough time to do it all. The chaos is beginning. 


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.


   

Black Friday Fish Fest Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 01, 2016



In spite of having his fishing prowess called into question a few weeks ago by one Marty Sheppard, our Fly Czar, Josh Linn, successfully connected Royal Treatment’s Youth Ambassador Ian Wildermuth into this beautiful Deschutes fish during the Black Friday Fish Fest. This is two years in a row that Josh has coached Deschutes Steelhead newbies into their first Deschutes fish. While this fish was landed and released last Friday, Ian’s smile has not faded. I understand that completely. Well done, Mr. Linn. What say you Mr. Sheppard?

Conditions on the Deschutes are as close to perfect as they can be, yet angling pressure is very light. The dismal Steelhead return this year has anglers looking elsewhere for the tug as this season fades. Trout chasers have been getting more instant gratification as midges and BWOs bring feeders into range. Winter tactics will come into play as temperatures drop this week. Dress for success and be careful when wading. It’s going to get chilly and you don’t do that Popsicle impression very well.

The John Day River is still on the lips of the faithful. Marty Sheppard and Brian Silvey both eluded to a fairly productive week on that desert stream. The fish are beautiful and the success has been much more memorable than that of the Deschutes. There is still time to convince these guys to get you into a fish, but that window is fading. Call Little Creek Outfitters today, operators are standing by.

If the east side temps give you a brain freeze just thinking about it, the west side has already seen action on the Sandy and Clackamas rivers. It is early, but the precipitation we’ve endured has called a few fish home. It comes down to those windows of opportunity when rivers are on the drop between weather systems. Looking ahead at the river forecast reminds one of a tumultuous week on the stock market with plenty of ups and downs. Tye flies on the ups and fish on the downs. Be safe.


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.


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.

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