We continue to have nice weather in the Sisters/Central Oregon area making getting here, getting around and fishing a lot, lot better than this time last year. The roads are clear, there is little to no snow on most of the rivers and fishing is fair to good on the big 4.
So here’s the rundown.
Metolius is always a solid winter contender and fun to fish any month, but there is something special being out there in the winter with a good lunch, a thermos of coffee and the realization it is one of the quietest times you’ll see all year.
Not much in the way of consistent hatches, a few BWO’s, some midges and mixed caddis coming off but most days the fish are not looking up much. No problem.
Nymph action is consistent with Blue Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midges, Lightning Bugs, Jigs, Eggs and Golden Stones.
Streamers have been good for trout (think smaller patterns like Sculpzilla Jr) and for Bull Trout (with the gnarly streamers and sink tips).
Crooked River is a tiny nymph show and don’t do anything but fish them slow.
Do you know how to drop shot? Have you tried a sighter instead of an indicator? If you are sticking with an indicator are you using the right kind? It makes a difference, especially in the winter.
Our favorite set up would be a FTB sighter, 6x fluorocarbon tippet, the split shot on the bottom with the first fly tied 6 to 8 inches up from the shot on a 3 or 4 inch dropper tag, then the 2nd fly 15-16 inches above the 1st fly on a 3 or 4 inch tag.
Lot’s of short cast and controlled drifts. It really works!
If not that, then use a 9′ 6x leader, cut off 18″ of the tippet end and add 18 to 20 inches of 6x fluorocarbon to the 1st fly, then add 15 to 18 inches of 6x or 7x fluoro tippet off the bend of the 1st fly to the 2nd trailer fly.
Add (or not, depending on depth) a split shot right at the tippet knot, and up from the 1st fly about 3 to 4 feet attach a NZ Wool Indicator.
Zebra’s, Midge Winklers, Micro May’s, Scuds, Ray Charles, PT’s, Purple Caped Avenger and possibly some risers up on Midge Pupa and Adults around 2 or 3 PM.
Fall River is one of my favorite places to fish in the winter. I love poking around looking for risers. It’s going to be one of two things this time of year, BWO’s or Midges. If they aren’t rising, it can be a challenge to figure out which nymph they will eat, but often a BWO 2 Bit Hooker or Depth Charge PT with a Zebra Midge dropper. Some days they love eggs and other days they ignore the heck out of eggs. That’s Fall River for you…
When the fish are up use a 7x tippet and an emerging or crippled Midge or BWO.
The Deschutes is still a good option and with no road access problems going in and out of Trout Creek or South Jct, it adds a lot of access points to the river.
People have been catching some steelhead on the Lower River from Warm Springs to Macks Canyon.
Steelhead have mostly been caught on Sink Tips and Larger Intruder Style or A-Leech type flies.
Trout Fishing is decent. The fish are taking stonefly nymphs and lightning bugs as well as anything. Swinging Sculpins and Lead Eye Wooly Buggers is also a great bet for trout and can be quite good for Steelhead too.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Middle Deschutes lately. My feeling is the water is high and cold and the Middle river is not that good this time of year. With limited day light and limited time on the water, it would not be my choice as a place to hit until spring at this point.