The good, the bad and the ugly 4/9/19

I’ve been traveling and fishing out of the country for the last 12 days and have been keeping an eye on the weather and water conditions here in Central Oregon.

On my drive home from the Portland airport today I drove up the North Santiam which was raging, then pulled into Suttle Lake to see if the main boat ramp was open (nope, still a fair bit of snow although someone did punch through and the previous tire tracks were down to wet pavement so maybe less than a week to launch there).

More importantly though I swung over to the Metolius and checked out the headwaters area near Tract C, Lake Creek, Camp Sherman, Allingham, Gorge and Wizard Falls.

All said, the river is in great shape above gorge and so definitely fishable from Allingham to Gorge.

Not the same story once you get past Canyon Creek which is puking high, dirty water.

My opinion is from Canyon Creek down thru the Hatchery and to Bridge 99 and below are going to be unfishable for several days (maybe longer?).

I like high water for Bull Trout fishing but the dirty water is a game changer for the worst.

The Crooked River and the entire Deschutes are totally out of the question for fishing now due to really high flows.

So here’s what is fishing:

1) Metolius from Allingham to Gorge. When I pulled in about 12:15 there were not many mayflies hatching but some. These are Baetis kind of days and this is the time of year to see cinygmula mayfly hatches too.

The first photo shows the confluence of Lake Creek with the Metolius. All clear and no problems other than Lake Creek is a little high. Remember there is no fishing above Allingham until late May so don’t go fish this section.

The 2nd photo shows the view looking downstream from the Allingham Bridge. All good with some slight tint and maybe 3 to 5 inches higher.

The 3rd photo is at Wizard Falls. Most of this heavy runoff is coming from Canyon Creek, although I’d guess Jack Creek plays some role too. It’s pretty yucky for the time being. As soon as the rain tapers off, and if we get some cold nights it will clear fast and I bet the Bull Trout fishing will be hot.

2) Fall River is Spring fed. No real outside influences other than snow melt right on the banks and that doesn’t change levels much, but I hear the river is up a little. still fishable. Nymphing and Baetis hatches will be good.

3) Chickahominy Reservoir. It’s a 2 hour drive east of Bend but totally worth it for the rainbows hitting balanced leeches and water boatman. I’ve heard several good reports. Wade fishing the edges is the way to go.

4) Haystack Reservoir. This is the time of year Haystack shines for fly fishing. Work the edges by wading and use balanced leeches and woolly buggers and chironomids under an indicator. Don’t fish too far out, the fish will be near the shore line.

5) private lakes. There are a lot of them around Central Oregon and they are turning on now with the warmer weather, and they are filling up as the irrigation runs are beginning this week too. Longhollow near Sisters is our choice for near the shop.

6) I’m going to research other places this week. I’m hopeful that North Twin should be open, or getting close. I’ll check. Also thinking about Davis. It was frozen 2 weeks ago so I’m guessing no, but should be getting close.

Let me just say the high water on the rivers is a good thing. It’s moving things around, creating better habitat, cleaning silt and algae buildup and making spawning beds more productive.

It’s a temporary inconvenience to not be able to fish everything we want to fish this week, but in the next week or so, to the end of the month the story will be way more positive.

Many of you read my report frequently. I was mistaken earlier when I said I doubted the Crooked would see any high flows. Those late winter snows were a game changer for a lot of reasons and adding these days of heavy rain on top of that snow is a high water event waiting to happen. And so it did. I try my best to say accurate things and provide honest reports but guessing the future is never easy, and all I can go on is about 40 years of experience watching and paying attention to what weather does to to our waters and fisheries.

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