July 3rd, 2020 fishing report

if you’ve been in Central Oregon this week, you know how excited we are that as of yesterday the strong winds finally stopped blowing so damn hard. Oh my gosh, it was relentless from last saturday until wednesday night. And when we woke up yesterday morning, it was done.
I wish I knew more about meteorology to know why we set up in that water pattern. I also wish I knew more about the affects of weather and fish. I know from 30+ of boating that I own the safest boat I can find to cross choppy lakes in a stiff wind, and I know I can safely anchor it and hold it in place and yet I don’t know the relationship that occurs under the water. Sometimes in the wind the bite is totally off. Sometimes it is enhanced. I can tell you from my experience on the lakes this week that the fishing was vastly improved once that pattern moved on. More on that later.

We are looking at warm days in the mid 70’s and cool nights in the 40’s for the upcoming forecast. It is just about perfect for a july forecast and I anticipate seeing some really good fishing around this really good weather pattern.

Coming up on the full moon Sunday, there is some good evidence that there is a good bite around 2 o’clock in the afternoon during a full moon. I was taught that many years ago by an old mentor and have noticed some correlation with that theory. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on fishing during a full moon. I think it is a bigger deal on lakes than in rivers and streams.

It is funny how so many things connect to the fish, from the weather to the phases of the moon, to how hard we are willing to work to catch fish, and figure out how to make the best approach and pick out the best flies and tackle to fool these suckers!

On our favorite river (the Metolius) the Green Drakes are done until September. It has moved on to several other things, especially PMD’s, late afternoon BWO’s, some Mahogany Duns, Yellow Sally’s, Golden Stones and plenty of Caddis. Rusty Spinners at dusk.
Nymph fishing is excellent. Especially Euro Style.
I know the Bull Trout fishing was good this week on big streamers. The last few years we’ve noticed the lake run Bull Trout have started coming up earlier than in years past and to me, there seems to be a lot of big fish in the system now. July is a very good Bull Trout month.

Down the Lower Deschutes the Caddis continue to be the main event, but PMD and Pale Evening Duns will be very important through summer.
Caddis Pupa, X Caddis, Finfetcher Caddis, Iris Caddis, Spent Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis and Parachute Caddis will be your hammer time flies throughout the day, especially in the evening as the sun goes behind the canyon and the shadows of evening overtake the water.
PMD’s and PED’s will be matched with Purple Haze, Purple Comparadun, Parachute Adams, Yellow Parachutes, Sparkle Dun, Comparadun and Light Cahill’s.
Our guides have been crushing it Euro Nymphing most days. Really fun fishing. We do admit that during the heavy winds we had this week, those conditions made Euro Nymphing really difficult if not darn near impossible to control the drift. It is always smart to be prepared for different conditions and vary your approach accordingly. This can be a dry/dropper or an indicator rig with split shot between the nymphs.
On the Upper Deschutes there is a lot of crowded conditions near Crane Prairie up to Little Lava Lake. This weekend I would skip that.
The Deschutes coming in to Wickiup at Sheeps Bridge is already down to the river bed and is producing some bigger browns, rainbows and whitefish. Sad to see how early Wickiup is being drawn down but it does expose some good river fishing in what is veiled as a lake for part of the year.
I like summer days on the Deschutes from Wickiup to Bend. There are plenty of out of the ordinary access spots that will not be as crowded as more well known or popular areas. Go explore. I cant tell you how many nice evenings over my life I’ve had fishing dries in that area. In fact, in June 1980 my first ever fly fishing experience was near Benham Falls and I can tell you a Renegade is just as good on those fish in 2020 as it was 40 summers ago.
The Middle D from Bend to Lake Billy has some good morning and evening fishing and is good. Depending on the area, you’ll see some spots with a lot of caddis and other areas with more mayflies (PMD, PED, BWO) so be prepared for that. If I was to pick my top Middle D flies (dry) I’d say X caddis, Renegade, Purple Haze, Yellow Sparkle Dun and small Parachute Adams.

The McKenzie is one of our guiding hot spots all summer and fall and our guide team has been seeing very good fishing over there using a combination of Dry/Dropper, match the hatch dries (PMD, Epeorus, Caddis, Stones, Terrestrials), Nymphs and Euro Nymphing techniques.

I do not understand why the Crooked is up to about 300 CFS. Seems like a waste of water we will need for the fall and winter. I have heard mixed reports on the fishing, from very good to not that great. Everything I have heard lately had revolved around fishing small midge and mayfly nymphs with Euro style or with a little yarn NZ indicator.
Perhaps an early season lull in the action? We’ve seen it before on the Crooked in June so I am sure it will bounce back soon.

The Fall River is very good and sadly, it is very crowded. Seems like a lot of people in Sunriver for holiday so it’s adding to the situation. One way to counter is to go early in the morning or go late in the day and stay to dark. You’ll miss some of the special parts of the afternoon hatches like PMD’s, Yellow Sally’s and the best opportunity for Ant action. But in the morning you can nymph with good success, and more than likely will see midges hatching. In the evening it will go to BWO, Caddis and Rusty Spinners and can be fun to swing soft hackles and rip a few streamers off the banks and through the pools. I’ve also had some good success drifting…..wait for it….wooly worms in the evening on the Fall River. Weird stuff that works. I love this about fishing.

Crane Prairie is good, water temps for July are prime, damsels are moving and it is a top pick for the lakes to choose right now. Leeches and Chironomids are certainly very important food sources and need to be matched.

If you have any plans to fish Hosmer in the near future plan to get up there very early in the morning before the hoards of boaters. Or go about 5 PM when a lot of folks are off the lake and headed for dinner.
There is a good callibaetis hatch so you can see callibaetis in the late morning, afternoon and evening depending on the stage. Damsels are getting active so nymphs are essential and soon the fish will crush adults. Alder flies are hatching (Black Elk Hair Caddis is a good match), Long Horned Sedge, and some Traveling Sedge and now at dusk Caenis Mayflies which are matched with Trico Duns and Spinners (bring 7x tippet for this hatch!).
Balanced Leeches are also a great bet at Hosmer.

East Lake was good this week again with Callibaetis and Beetles, and yesterday we also caught fish on Ants and with a Royal Elk Hair Caddis to match the Alder Fly hatch we saw in the afternoon.
I have barely fished anything other than dry flies on my last several trips, so that is lucky and fun, but I am prepared with callibaetis nymphs, chironomids, scuds, damsels, flashback PT, and leeches.
Love that the water temps yesterday were high 50’s in the AM going only to 62 in the afternoon. Good conditions for the trout.
Saw very little pollen and better yet, very little on the bloom that I reported on when I last wrote a report Sunday.

Three Creek Lake is great. Callibaetis, Black Caddis, Midges, Ants, Beetles and Damsels. It is crowded in ways I would have never have imagined when I began fishing it back in the early 80’s.

As Central Oregon tourism has exploded in the last few years, I think about places that get hit so hard over these summer days and what our responsibility might be to not get everyone going to all the same places day in and day out. We understand this fishing report and what we say in the shop influences a lot of decisions as to where to go fishing.
How can we encourage people to broaden their horizons?
How can we get someone to go take a float tube to a mountain lake they need to hike up to, or drive a rough road to get there?
Or to go fish a little creek that might have 5″ to 8″ trout but you’ll be all alone catching natives on dries?
Or try a new species like bass or crappie instead of trout always? There is so much water in Oregon, and so much that is within 2 hours of Sisters/Bend that never has the crowds. It would be counterproductive to start naming them here but if you start thinking about places you can go that would have no other people around. To me, that sounds like heaven these days.

Finally, going in to a holiday weekend I am thankful we’ve gone to mandatory mask wearing indoors in public spaces. We need to keep everyone safe and keep the economy going. I can tell you Sisters, Oregon is vulnerable to Covid and we appreciate the extra effort in people wearing masks now. We love FFP customers and we know a lot of FFP customers love us too. Thank you.

One thought on “July 3rd, 2020 fishing report

  1. Jeff

    Great report!. I love the idea of branching out and exploring new places. My boys and I fished Prineville res recently near the dam and were catching bass left and right and my 10 year old hooked into a nice 17 inch rainbow. I think one way of getting the word out about new places is to report on them. Maybe tap into other fisherman who have been there or are going to some of these places and are willing to give you a report, take some pictures. “Fishing reports from the field” If you gave me a few places to try I would be happy to go there and report back to you. Just a suggestion, keep up the good work. We always love going to your store, it’s the first thing we do when we get to sisters. Alright second thing snow cap is our first 🙂 I wanted to suggest, can you put names on your flies? Or at least the popular ones, my only pet peeve is not knowing what the flies are. Your crew is always so helpful picking out the flies for me.

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