Happy New Years to our friends out there. Some of you are fishing and some of us have stayed home because of the weather this last week or more.
My first fish of the new year was a nice blue fin trevally in North Kehei on Maui, caught on the low afternoon tide on a yellow eyed crazy charlie on 1/1/20. It was a good way to ring in the New Year. Upon returning home from a fantastic family vacation (thanks Mom!) I’ve been fighting the head cold going around and finishing my end of year reports for guide trips and applying for the 2020 guide licenses so, so far there has not been any time for me to hit the water. And, the weather here has been crappy for about 10 or 11 days. Kind of cold, kind of snowy and pretty darn windy.
I mean, it’s been fishable if you’re prepared for it.
We have not been dumped on with the white stuff, but here in Sisters we have 7 or 8 inches, and there is about 10-12″ on the Metolius, a little more at the Fall, way less at the Crooked or Deschutes.
Over all, the winter weather has been fine. No big snows, no arctic blasts (yet) and that has lead to some good access and some pretty decent fishing.
So I am going to break down several places to fish now in one combined fishing report for all the waters we are recommending fishing now and for the next month or more as we march through winter and can see spring on the calendar.
The Metolius- Phil that runs my office was out there last week before the storm and had an amazing afternoon hatch and caught 5 on BWO dries. My friend Rich had a similar day yesterday and several of the guys that either work at the shop or hang out here a lot have been hitting the river and finding good nymph action from about 11 am to 3 or 4 PM. Fishing has been productive from Allingham to Candle Creek. Remember on the Metolius, you might be at the Fish Trap eddy and see zero hatch when another guy is upstream at Allingham and hits the hot rise. That’s how it goes, so be prepared with nymphs too. We love golden stone nymphs, eggs, blue prince, red lightning bug or copper john, zebra midges, micro mayflies, wd40, 2 bit hookers, perdigons and jigs.
Certainly streamer fishing for for bull trout is a great option now, as is dead drifting streamers or nymphs under an indicator for bull’s.
The Fall River- with more snow on the ground in Southern Deschutes County be prepared for that when you visit the Fall River now. The difference in weather from day to day makes a huge difference in the fishing and even on how the fish will bite this time of year. I had a buddy there recently who fished 2 days in a row, one warmer and calmer and the second on a day the change to the pattern we are in was coming. The 1st day offered good hatches and plenty of catches on both dries and nymphs, that second day proved to be quite a challenge with much fewer fish even hooked, let alone landed.
There have been decent BWO hatches, some little black winter stones and midges all coming off and bringing the fish up to eat.
Nymphing euro style is likely your best bet in most places. That said, someone I know and trust said his party was going for a long drift with an un-beaded Pheasant Tail nymph, with really good success too. This is what I love about fishing, there are so many ways to approach the water.
The Crooked River- water levels are staying in the 100 cfs range this winter, which is a great level to keep the fish and the bugs healthy. Overall the fishing has been very good, especially fishing midge larva and pupa, tiny BWO nymphs and small perdigons.
On days that it is warmer and calm winds about 3:30’ish you should see some good midge hatches and fish rising to emerges and dries in the flats and seams below a riffle.
Scuds and Eggs and also recommended now, and it’s never bad to add a Prince Nymph to the winter Crooked River selection.
The Maupin area on the Lower Deschutes– The drive up towards locked gate delivers many miles of good nymph water and the fishing is quite good now down there.
I always liked the Deschutes there in February, but it seems now, this January since it has been relatively mild compared to the cold winters we tend to see, that this section of river is better than average.
Stonefly nymphs, Copper Johns, Perdigons, Caddis Larva (green rock worm) BWO nymphs and zebra midges are patterns we recommend.
I can tell you I once fished an eddy just below Maupin on Super Bowl Sunday and had a good afternoon BWO hatch and several nice redsides to the net, so if any of you are skipping the game in a few weeks, that may be an option.
Go have fun. Hope to see you on the water and in the shop soon!