Weekly fishing update 8/8/20

Happy Saturday! I just got back to the shop from teaching our weekly fly casting lesson at Black Butte. It was a great turnout today, and one of the things that made my heart happy was how many young women and kids attended with the intentions of becoming fly anglers.
We have been teaching the lessons there for the Recreation Center for 34 years and this is my 30th summer of instruction there. It has truly been an opportunity to meet some of the coolest people that have become friends and customers.

Before I move on to the weekly fishing summary, I have to shout out a giant THANK YOU for all the positive emails and notes that so many people sent regarding last week’s report. You make a difference! (take a peak below for a list of folks)

I made it to the Metolius one evening this week, and it was slow at first with a burst of glory as the sun went down. I caught one of the prettiest rainbows I’ve ever held from that river in about a foot of water, a foot off the bank and sipping like a 3 inch fry. The rise rings were so tiny I almost didn’t cast to the fish at 1st, thinking it was a tiny fish. But it was in the 17′ range and imagine the brightest orange stripe down the side that you’ve ever seen on a rainbow trout, and you have the fish I caught. That and 2 others were fooled by a Purple Comparadun and Rusty Spinners. It was very special to hold such a beautiful fish. Not the biggest by any means, but truly one I’ll remember for a long time.
I heard from some great friends that are good, regular Metolius anglers that they had some good afternoon PMD hatches this week in the Middle River. That is great, and I expect this trend to continue with better and more frequent hatches coming as we move into Mid-August.
Besides PMD’s, BWO’s are hatching later in the afternoon. Caddis have been on the light side. Very soon we shall see huge emergences of yellow micro caddis mixed with better hatches of our typical size #14-18 tan and grey caddis.
We are already seeing some big october caddis which happens in August, and will be stronger with more and more emerging as we get to fall. It wouldn’t hurt to fish a pupa pattern below the Bridge 99 area now. An Orange Bird of Prey is my favorite for that.
The Upper River report was also good this week with friends doing well on Clark’s Stones in the upper river. PMD’s, Hoppers and Caddis are good too. Also, Mahogany Duns will be coming off any day now around the Gorge to Camp Sherman run.
Bull Trout were tough according to a couple of my employees who targeted them yesterday. Plenty of the big Char in the river now, but the fish were not on the feed. Tomorrow is a new day and this behavior for Bull Trout is not uncommon. They feed like crazy one day and take a couple of days off. They are certainly keyed to eat fish now, so big streamers are your best option.

The McKenzie is still hot fishing for us. Ben reported his trip yesterday was especially good dry fly fishing with his client hitting them on Golden Stone dries. All of our guides are doing well on the McKenzie and finding fish on various dry flies (Chubby’s, Stimulators, Cahill’s, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachutes Adams) and nymphs (possie buggers, mega prince, PT, Perdigons, Jigs, Caddis Pupa). Steve had great fishing this week on Euro Jigs.

The Lower Deschutes is good. My friend Chester fished the mecca area last night on his way over and reported good hatches of PMD, PED and Caddis. Fish were hungry.
I am greatly looking forward to my own first trip of the season Monday with some friends.
Our guide team reports a similar situation to Chesters, but during the day it has been more nymphing and less dry flies.
My own experience on the Lower D in August is fish in eddies sipping spent/dead and emerging stuff. Keep an eye open for that.
I am hearing from old friends who know the lower river well that there are indeed a good number of Steelhead in the area up to Harris Canyon. We are so overdue for a decent run of steelhead and it looks like with all the other bullshit bad luck 2020 has brought us so far, that at least the fish gods are bringing us a decent run of the big fish.

Our guide Mary Ann has been on the Crooked River and fishing is good for her. She reported to me good PMD dry fly fishing starting about 1, and really good nymphing before the hatch on small PMD nymphs.
BWO nymphs, Zebra Midges, Perdigons, Jigs, Scuds and Mini Leeches are also recommended now.
Besides Euro Nymphing, a Dry/Dropper system is great.
In the evening you’ll get some rusty spinners and some emerging caddis.

Adam reported the Fall River was slow yesterday and very, very crowded. I would try getting there late in the afternoon and fish to dark to try to find less people and happier fish.
Coming off a long hot spell and a lot of fishing pressure the trout are not on the bite very well. Mostly I think it is the angling pressure there.
Ants, Beetles, Hoppers could be good for you. In the evening look for BWO, Caddis and Rusty Spinners.
Nymphing is always going to be good for targeting Fall River fish. Tungsten nymphs on a light tippet is the way to go, IF there isn’t already someone on the fish. Dang.

Steve had one good day and 2 slow days on East Lake this week. He reported that on all days that a damsel nymph on an intermediate line, stripped quickly resulted in good fishing.
The Callibaetis hatch is slow now. The 2nd brood of callibaetis should happen soon. Many years that I’ve guided there, looking back at notes, Mid August to Mid September can be awesome to hit the late hatch. 2 other things, if you tie flies a size 17 (Tiemco 102Y) Comparadun with a Gray Poly Wing and Callibaetis color Natures Spirit dubbing is one of my fav’s, but for a fly we sell I’ve had a ton of success with Olive Haze #16 & 18 (!) for the 2nd brood match. Be ready for it as it should happen soon.
Yesterday morning it was 39 in Sisters when I woke up at 7 AM and I looked at the Weather Channel site for East Lake and it was 30 degrees at East Lake. Hallelujah to that. Water temps in the upper 60’s to lower 70’s had me off the lake looking at better options. I look forward to being back soon.
Chironomids have been strong options for many reasons. August is an incredible Chironomid hatch month at EL, and I have found August to be a month of picking up good fish on a regular basis using a Red Blood Worm.
I like to get out in 16 to 19 feet of water and fish the blood worm on the bottom and run a pupa (or 2) on the leader up from the larval pattern. I like a Chromie a lot, but some days Black, somedays little Olive Ice Cream Cones and some days Red Ice Cream Cones smack em.
I am concerned with the extreme over abundance of Tui Chub in the lake. These little bastards are out competing the trout for nymphs there is no doubt. We need ODFW to renew their mitigation actions to eliminate Tui Chubs from East Lake.

Paulina Lake was good this week. We found fish on Chironomids and Beetles. One of my clients had a hell’uva grab stripping a big rabbit hair streamer along a drop off. I’d have like to see that fish.
We’ve been having a lot of success with Balanced Leeches too. Especially Olive. It’s been a great alternative to East as I’ve found the water a little cooler and safer for the fish over the hot weather period we had. That is likely because it is 50% bigger (@1500 acres compared to East at 1000 acres) and so much deeper.

I guided Hosmer Lake 3 days this week and fishing was really good. We left Sisters at 6 am to get to the lake and get ahead of the morning crowds. That worked awesome. Callibaetis emergence and spinner falls overlapped from about 9 to noon. The fish liked both but appeared to be more keyed on emergers. One day we had to go to 7x it was so calm.
Olive Balanced Leeches, PT, Callibaetis Nymphs, Scuds and small Red Ice Cream Cones were all good under the indicator.
Normally this time of year I have seen really good fishing in the lower lake on Adult Damsels. This week it was slow but there were some fish taking the blue dries. We will keep an eye open and hope that improves.

Crane Prairie I heard was improving since the cooler nights and the thunderstorm. I hope that means no more mid-70’s water temps. Find the channels or at least near them and fish Chironomids and Balanced Leeches. I am looking forward to some CP action soon. My notes indicate last August was quite good at Crane for me, and I looked at fly’s and small Maroon Jig Leeches, Olive Balanced Leech, Black Balanced Leech, Hot Head Leeched in Black and in Olive with Fluorescent bead heads, and a variety of Chironomids were hot throughout the month. I recall that Maroon Leech was especially the hot one under an indicator.

3 Creeks lake continues to fish well. Reports from the lake say callibaetis are still going strong. My friend Rod had good catching (Brook Trout mostly) on a 2 callibaetis nymphs dropper system under an indicator.
Evening Caddis and Midge hatches are good.
Some customers came in for another batch of Hot Head Wooly Buggers finding success stripping them for Brookies and Rainbows.

Writing today’s report was fun. Thinking about how lucky we are to be in an area with such good and diverse fishing, and knowing that some of the best fishing of the year is close to starting….
But more than that, knowing these reports are read each week and used for the intention that I always hope they would be. So many people say they use them as a fishing tool, a travel planner, and for inspiration to dream of areas they love. That is cool.
I want to thank the following folks who took the time to write over the last week and say such nice things:
George, Jerry H, Russ M, Mike W, Patrick H, Brian F, Don M, Jeff D, Theodore L, Nick S, Marc C, Dave D, Wade K, Steve T, Bob W, Larry T, Daryl M, Jeff T, Paul M, Dave S, Michael F, Dave H, Jason D, Eugene W, John E, Kristen B, Bill M, Janet K, Susan U, Matt M, Frank P, John H and I am sure others that I am sorry if I missed you but please know how much I appreciate it.

Be well. Fish better.

Jeff

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