Central Oregon Fall Fishing Outlook

Not that we don’t fish in the winter, but now is the time to go if you prefer warmer and more comfortable days.

Starting October 3rd, the weather forecast gets better and better and we are excited to go fish, and we are excited to get out and guide all of our special customers who want to finish out the season on a good note.

After the hot and smokey summer, if you feel you missed out on some fishing you ordinarily would have enjoyed, now is a wonderful time to be in Central Oregon to fish and travel and make up for that loss you may feel you had in August and September.

So, here is a rundown of our favorite Central Oregon Fall guide trips:

1/ The Lower Deschutes

Whether it’s for trout or steelhead (or both!) October is one of the best months of the year to enjoy a float on the Deschutes River.

2017 brought us one of the best caddis years on record, with many, many Redsides caught on Pupa and Adult patterns. That trend has slowed from Summer peak but is still going strong. Our guide Adam Ross experienced his best day of dry fly fishing all year just a few days ago, and it was all on the X-Caddis.

FFP guide Troy Leedy went in search of Steelhead last week and found fish down near Mack’s Canyon. With Steelhead counts below average for 2017, it is nice to see that in the last week more fish have come over Sherars Falls over the last 4 or 5 days than have come up all season.

Ben with steelhead on deschutes

Ben with an early October steelhead on a Frenchie while nymphing the Warm Springs to Trout Creek drift

That puts us on the hunt for these fish up in our day trip section and makes for a great multi-species trip for you to look forward to. All of our guides are here to help you make the most of the Lower Deschutes.

When you go with us, expect your trip to include Dry Fly fishing for trout, Nymphing for trout or steelhead, swinging with Switch and Spey rods from 3 weight to 7 weight and a lot of instruction. Call or email us to talk about a trip. 

2/ The Crooked River

The Crooked River has been awesome all season since the runoff quit in early May, and is about a week away from going back to low flows as the irrigation seasons are ending across farms and ranches throughout Central Oregon. That means easier wading, and great fishing.

The Blue Wing Olive hatches are strong and in the last few weeks we’ve finally had some exceptional dry fly days. If you follow our online fishing reports, you know we had an incredible year of catching fish on nymphs, but not so much on dries. It is nice to see the trout reacting to the dries with a change of the seasons.

The nymph fishing on the Crooked River is incredible and our guide staff have adopted the Czech style techniques because they are catching a ton more fish, not to mention it’s just more fun to connect to a trout on a tight line. If you haven’t tried it and want to, now is a great time to do it.

Late October and November

Looking farther out, as we move into the late month and into November, the Whitefish will be spawning and the egg laying creates a feeding frenzy that can be some of the best catching opportunities of the year. Don’t miss it!

  • Fall River in October and early November is my favorite time of the year there. We see strong BWO hatches that will bring the fish to feed on the surface big time.
Mary Ann and her client on the Fall River October 3rd.

Mary Ann and her client with a nice redside on the Fall River October 3rd.

  • If you are looking for big fish on the lakes, I plan to guide East and Hosmer well into the end of the month. Right now I am still using my 18’ sled on most of the lakes, although I expect the USFS to be removing the docks very soon and that makes launching a big boat like that a lot harder. Knowing that, I bought a new and efficient 8hp long shaft Yamaha for my 16’ Clackacraft which I can launch anywhere and this will extend the season by 2 or 3 weeks for us.
clackacraft boat

Jeff’s Clackacraft

  • Fall on East Lake is very special with a lot of the big fish coming close to the banks to feed before winter sets in. As of yesterday we were still catching a lot of fish on dry flies!
  • Fall on Hosmer is also great with the Brookies spawning and the Rainbows and Cutthroat getting stuffed for winter. Last week I was fishing Hosmer with small Olive Wooly Buggers in the Upper Lake on an Intermediate Sink Tip, and a Blood Worm in the Channel under a NZ Yarn Indicator casting to cruising trout. It was magical, and all the fish were healthy and huge.
  • Crane Prairie is another fall favorite as the fish start moving out of the channels and back into the main bodies of the lake. I love stripping small leeches this time of year. Crane is an excellent back up for me if the higher elevation lakes have poor weather, Crane is often much better.

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Metolius River

tina metolius redside

Tina with a Metolius Redside

All the trips mentioned above are trips we can guide you on, but I also want to share the excellent October opportunities you can experience on the Metolius on your own. We always consider the Metolius to be our home waters. It is 20 minutes from the shop and quite frankly one of the coolest rivers on the planet.

The Drakes and Flavs are winding down, but until Mid-Month I’d say you’ll see hatches of both continuing to mix in with other mid-afternoon mayflies like BWO’s, PMD’s, Mahogany Duns and Cinygmula. In addition to the mayflies, there will be plenty of little tan caddis to match with either Pupa’s or Dry Flies in October too. If you haven’t seen our little Tan CDC Caddis called a Siddac in size #16 you are missing an excellent Metolius pattern.

October is an excellent dry fly month on the Metolius. One other dry fly to keep fishing in October is your Clarks Stone’s. Besides seeing the end of the Golden Stones for the year, in October there are a lot of October Caddis (imagine that!) and the Clarks Stone in a size 10 is a great imitation for both the Caddis and the Stone’s.

Right now the Kokanee are in the river and spawning heavily. This is a good thing for a lot of reasons. First of all, Eggs! Millions of eggs get dropped by thousands of spawning Kokanee in October. Many eggs end up in the drift and are a favorite of all the other fish living downstream of all those spawning salmon.

On top of the egg explosion, Kokanee make the Bull Trout go wild. The predatory Bull Trout will eat a whole Kokanee and be quite happy doing it. Fishing a big white streamer is certainly a great way to match that “hatch”.

Come to the Metolius this October and enjoy some great dry fly action on your 9’ 4 weight. Bring your 7 or 8 weight to cast the heavy streamers , and bring a 10’  4 or 5 weight for nymph fishing.

2 thoughts on “Central Oregon Fall Fishing Outlook

  1. Metolius has been fishing real well!! Been doing great there. What size frenchie and color are you guys liking on the Deschutes? Great reports btw. I read them religiously!!

    • The Frenchie we like (and sell) comes from Dreamcast and it is in a #16 and #18. We favor the #16. It is a PT body and has a UV dub thorax that is pink and has a bright red thread head behind the gold bead.

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