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    Fishing Reports

    Just A Little Cheesy

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 28, 2017

    At Woodsprite Lodge, the Christmas Eve dinner was ham, scalloped potatoes, mac and cheese, cheese fondu and a cheese plate with cheddar, swiss, coastal and brie. Oh, and a salad. While this may seem over the top, it falls far short on the cheesy scale when compared to this fresh fishing report from our favorite cub reporter, Mr. Skittles...

    Hey Guys, against my better judgement Josh is having me write the fishing report this week. So, if you have any problems or concerns please file them with

    Apparently, I’m not on the naughty list this year because Santa gave me a big bar of Silver in my stocking. I had been hearing good reports about our local Washington Rivers, and Josh has been on my case about how I don’t fish them. So, I had to prove Josh wrong and boy did I. Of course, when I do go out and catch a bright winter steelhead in my new local watershed I could already hear him saying, "I told you so." As I am writing this Josh is behind me taking full responsibility for me catching the darn thing. He’s my bother from another mother.

    So, this is what really happened...
    Twas the day before Christmas not a creature stirring in our little house. A rod was strung with a fly that was right, in hopes of chrome for my Christmas delight. I headed to Starbucks on my way to the river so I could have my coffee jitters. I pulled into the parking lot to find I was not alone, there was some other brave sole out mining chrome. I walked down the trail with visions of Steelhead dancing in my head. I got to the spot, and I knew it was right. I cast my fly and to my delight a fish crushed it and what a fight.

    Around the local neighborhood Steelhead are being caught in the Sandy and Clackamas as well as on the coast. It looks like we should see some precipitation in the next couple of days here and hopefully the water levels will increase to more normal winter flows. Remember high and dropping rivers makes for happy steelhead, low and cold make for sad ones.

    We’ve also been hearing lots of reports of guys venturing out east targeting Bull Trout in the Metolius. This river has been fishing well and if you want to experience the colder version of winter there’s no better place.

    The New Year is almost upon us and it that time of year where we come up with goals to strive for. This year my New Years resolution is to feel the power and fish more. I hope one of your resolutions is to get out and fish more too.

    The End

    Black Friday and Winter Steelhead

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 30, 2017

    Our Fly Czar, Josh Linn, knocks out another fishing update complete with photos to prep you for the month of December. Get after it!

    November is coming to an end and hopefully all of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. In my world the John Day and the Deschutes are in the rear view mirror. Today is the last day to fish the Klickitat as it closes the end of November and since I'm working that's off the table too. I’m looking for chrome bright Steelhead and my gaze has turned west towards the local and coastal rivers that are easily affected by the rains. There the fish move in on the tides and high water events. The nastier the weather the better.

    I get people asking me all the time if there are winter Steelhead in the Deschutes? There are fish that winter over in the Deschutes, but they are summer fish. They have been in the river a long time and need a rest as they mature to spawn in the spring. Those fish aren’t winter steelhead.

    Winter steelhead are hard bodied chrome bright fish that enter the river systems on the west side of the Cascades starting around Thanksgiving and going well into April. These fish are sexually mature and are ready to spawn the moment they arrive. Winter Steelhead really don’t exist east of the Cascades, as they are basically coastal fish.

    This past Black Friday's Fish-A-Long cemented my drive to keep pushing and searching for that first winter Steelhead. Due to all the high elevation rains we had last week the east side rivers were high and blown out. A few folks did catch a some Trout, but I didn’t even bother to wader up. The young guns did catch fish right in front of our lunch spot and one even hooked a Steelhead on his Trout rod. What a deal! Overall it was a very fun time and you should plan on joining us next year!

    And if you’re still looking to get your Trout fix I would be thinking about the Deschutes or the Metolius now that the rivers are dropping again. Fishing will be good, but I would focus on nymphing. Stoneflies nymphs with egg patterns trailing would be a good option as a few Salmon are still spawning. Small greenish nymphs like a caddis or BWO would also be a good choice. You still have about 30 days to fish the Warm Springs stretch of the Deschutes for both Trout and Steelhead before it closes for the season. Remember that the west bank is closed. There are good numbers of fish around.

    Personally, I’m looking towards the Sandy River. I fished there the past two weeks both days the water was high. It was rainy and blustery typical of late fall fishing. We had a couple of encounters with fish, but they were non-committal.

    I know for a fact that winter Steelhead are beginning to be caught and I'm already planning my Sunday/Monday fishing outings. Sandy, Clack, or maybe somewhere on the coast, anything is possible, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the river gauges. For the next few months my fishing will be decided by the USGS gauges. When it rains and the rivers are swollen, I’ll pack my rain gear knowing that I’ll have a good shot at one of those elusive fish.

    It's Damn Damp

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 16, 2017

    It’s not raining this second, so what are you doing inside? This has been a winter of challenging conditions and this week is no different. Drenching rain has filled most of the area’s waterways and it is looking bleak if you want to get out today. Now, tomorrow is another matter as the big drop begins with the sun peaking out from behind the clouds. Even the weekend looks promising! Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but we might even see fishable water into next week!

    The only dark cloud in this sunny forecast is the Clackamas River which seems to be determined to stay above the 15 foot mark until after the workweek begins on Monday. I was talking with our man on the water, Corey Koff, and we agreed, 14 ft. is the new 12 ft. on the Clack. If the water is green, fish it. Just don’t fish the whole river, focus on the edges.

    The Sandy had color on Monday, a radical change from it’s “spring creek” appearance most of this winter. Constant rain and warmer temps knocked it out on Tuesday and it seems to have peaked at 11,400 cfs this morning and is dropping. It will probably fish tomorrow, but check the gauge.

    I wasn't sure what condition the Deschutes was in until my phone beeped a second ago and Marty check in. The river bumped up as rain and snow melt affects the flows on the east side and Mr. Sheppard reports it is off color as well. You could probably catch a fish or two, but it's not optimal. It's a good day to tye some flies or stop in the shop for a cup of coffee. Winter isn't over yet.

    An Optimistic Bunch

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 09, 2017

    If you are that person who is constantly checking the river levels and weather report as you plan your weekend, you probably have been flirting with a case of serious angling depression this week. Looking ahead to the weekend you have surmised by now that conditions will be near perfect starting at around 10:00PM this evening and ending around 8:00AM Friday. That gives you a full hour of daylight tomorrow morning and you already called in sick last week. Yup, that is depressing.

    Now, before you lose all hope of getting your boots wet this weekend you need to look on the bright side. Trout fishing is still an option and smaller watersheds may drop into shape by Sunday afternoon. You at least need to go check it out.

    As anglers we are an optimistic bunch and our current weather pattern seems to be putting that optimism to the test. The ups and downs of our favorite rivers have been a never-ending elevator ride of emotions. It’s like we’re in high school again getting mixed signals from that object of our affection. One minute we’re in love dancing through a day on the water, the next we’re crushed and standing out in the freezing rain promising to never do this again. Ah yes, winter Steelheading, I use to do that until I learned how to make baskets out of old Skagit lines…

    Yet, we persevere and seek out these proud fish in conditions that turn most imported anglers into gameshow junkies. A perfect example of this dedication is the tale of Bryan and Brian.

    It seems that our friend Bryan Petersen (owner of Cascade Payroll Service, our Royal Treatment payroll specialist. 503.608.4227 for all your payroll needs. End of unsolicited shameless plug.) was fishing with our friend Brian Silvey, AKA Number One. Now before confusion sets in I will just share Mr. Petersen’s email, or at least part of it. After all, this is a family friendly newsletter…

    “Around noon we stopped to set up for lunch. A couple of guys were casting bobbers on the other side of the river and Brian told me to fish the seam on this side. I’m fishing it, looking at the guys across form me and thinking, well they’re not catching anything, what are my chances? Step, cast, mend, step, cast, mend, down the run I went.

    Brian finally called out, “two more casts.” I thought to myself, lunch is ready, good, I need a break! As I’m thinking about warming up on Brian’s soup and toasted bagel sandwich, the line snaps taunt, the loop is gone and the rod takes leave of my hand. I’m looking down into the water as my rod it now 4-6 feet down river from me and moving away rapidly.

    Fortunately, Brian was oblivious to my current predicament or I’d now be a feature on American’s Funniest Home Videos or at the least Brian’s Instagram feed! I started chasing after my rod, which involved “running” in thigh deep water in waders. I almost caught it, but it darted off again. I considered diving into the freezing water after it, but thought better and continued my splashy pursuit.

    Thankfully, I finally caught up with my wayward outfit, but was sure the fish had departed. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the fish was indeed still attached to my Silvey's Extractor!

    Most of the battle was fought without my participation and after a brief struggle it was carefully brought to the net. Pictures were taken, backs were slapped and soon it was off again to terrorize another angler.

    One of Brian’s warm riverside lunches was the reward for my success, as I briefly mentioned the episode to my guide. Please don’t tell anyone about this, Brian missed the show and I may not have shared the whole story. I don’t want him to cut me from the A list.”

    Huh, don’t worry Bryan. Mr. Silvey only reads this newsletter when he’s prominently featured, or not fishing because the river is rising.

    Ground Hog's Day Report

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 02, 2017

    Weather has monopolized this newsletter and will dictate the fishing opportunities for the coming week. The best we can do is see what happens and plan accordingly. Forecasts have most area streams bumping up as moisture moves in this weekend. How much they climb will depend on the amount of rain we get and will have nothing to do with a Groundhog.

    Fishing on the coast has been good with fresh fish grabbing swung and dead drifted presentations. Dropping rivers there could use a bit of rain to liven things up again.

    The east wind has kept all but the brave off the Sandy River, but there have been some very nice fish brought to very cold hands. Black/Blue or Orange/Red Metal Detectors are getting it done. Mr. Sheppard is digging his well earned fame.

    While the wind is not as brutal on the Clackamas River, it's still been a bit chilly. Very respectable wild fish have treated anglers to spectacular displays of why we chase these critters over the last week. We've had more than one customer report close encounters that have left them with shaking hands and slack lines for their efforts. Those that do manage to tame one of these beasts are warmed by the memory and drawn back to the river no matter the conditions.

    Snow is still covering the banks on the east side, but Trout chasers have not been detoured. Action has been moderate, but the more optimistic among us still make the effort to rush into spring. Which as reported earlier, is six weeks away.

    My Road is Closed, I'm Going Fishing

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 19, 2017

    My phone beeped on Sunday with a text from my old friend, WaterDog. Due to unfortunate circumstances he had an open seat on Monday for trip on the coast with Water Time Outfitter’s Todd Rettmann. With warm rain forecast to rinse away our record snowfall and send rivers up and out, this seemed like a good chance to get on the water before the storm. I slipped past the “Road Closed” sign on my hill and met Jim somewhere off HWY 26 at o’dark thirty.

    River conditions were very low and clear on the North Fork Nehalem, with water temps just a few clicks above solid. At that height swinging water is fairly limited, so I focused on photography. WaterDog did his best to convince a Steelhead to grab dead drifted offerings, but we ended the day without making contact. If you’ve not done this drift you should, as it is very beautiful with stunning waterfalls and rock formations in the upper section.

    We beat the rain storm home, but it finally spooled up on Tuesday and started to melt away our Snowman collection. This sent the coastal rivers skyrocketing as well as most streams here in the valley. The one exception is the Sandy River which seems to be ignoring common perceptions of what should be happening with the rapid snow melt off Mt. Hood. The Sandy peaked at 6000 CFS yesterday and is currently dropping. Unless I'm missing something, that should be the trend through the weekend, offering up a cure for cabin fever.

    The rest of our favorite Steelhead streams may take a bit longer to come back around, but should be very fishable by midweek. There will be opportunities for the optimistic by Monday. Smaller watersheds could fish by Sunday. Check levels and tie good knots; there will be some fresh hot fish to tangle with.

    Oh Baby it's Cold Outside

    Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Current weather conditions have put a damper on fishing opportunities here in our part of the state. Local streams are icy and getting there is challenging. The outlook calls for warmer wet weather as we head into next week. That means we'll see a bump in river levels as the white stuff melts away and rain hits frozen ground. In fact, the forecast for most area streams looks like a space launch with blast off scheduled for Tuesday. Of course, this is just a forecast and we all know how that works. Watch the gage on your favorite river and plan accordingly.

    If you find yourself on the Sandy or Clackmas rivers over the next few days, low and slow is the ticket. Cold water will have fish hunkered down and lethargic. Fish deeper and slow down your swing. If you haven't tried the new Airflo F.I.S.T. Skagit head, you may want to think about it.

    Travel to the east side of the state is brutal with record amounts of snow covering the landscape. Temps in the single digits or teens through the weekend will give way to slightly warmer and damp weather starting Monday. Things could be a mess for awhile. Trout chasers should be tying massive amounts of BWOs and Little Black Stones for when things sort themselves out in the coming weeks. If you go, be careful.

    The coast will fish pretty good the remainder of this week and weekend, if you can get out of town. Conditions are fantastic when compared to what we're seeing here. Temps in the 30s and 40s seem downright tropical. Expect a bump as the next system moves in on Monday.

    Be safe out there, drive and wade with caution!

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