Jeff’s fishing report 8/22/20

it’s been a little unsettling this week with the Green Ridge Fire that started above the Metolius with a bolt of lightning on Sunday evening. The Metolius is our favorite river (my favorite in all the world) and is our home waters. When a fire is so close it makes us all a little uneasy.

So, after a weeks worth of bad news and following all the fire reports I can read, this morning after my weekly casting lesson at Black Butte I drove down to see for myself what it looked like. I was optimistic.

I drove the low road to Camp Sherman and circled behind the store and went north on the high road, and then came back to Camp Sherman on the low/Camp Ground road and back to the high road past Riverside CG and the Headwaters on the way back to Sisters. Imagine a figure 8 around the Sherm! This morning was smoky out there. Not bad smoke, but certainly enough to make you know a fire was nearby. That’s the 1st time since the fire began it was smoky in Camp Sherman, and it was just a combination of a small wind shift (to near no wind) plus it was cloudy this morning and that held the smoke down in the river corridor until it lifted as the afternoon heated up.

It was smoky on the ridge above CS, so it was hard to see any active burning. I know it’s up there, but it is way higher up from the 14 road than I had worried it to be. I know the USFS and Fire Crews are worried about it coming down the hill to Camp Sherman, but I also know it is a HIGH PRIORITY to keep that from happening. So, we are all crossing our fingers and I know that many of you are doing the same.

There might be some small blessings in that nature is getting a small break from the abundance of people that were out there all spring and summer. It was very quiet. One angler is all I saw. A few cyclists. A group of four hiking. Campgrounds have emptied out by half or so.

In a week or 2, the fire will more than likely be contained, and things will pop back to what they were, and by then we’ll be looking at the Flav’s and Fall Drake hatches and abundant hatches of so many other mayflies, caddis and stones, that the fire will be be mostly forgotten and all that will be left to remind us of it is some charred trees about 2000 feet above the river and leave us feeling lucky we didn’t lose such an Oregon treasure.

The Metolius is still one to proceed with caution. My trip there this morning to scout it out was positive and like I said, more optimistic than expected.

I was surprised by how little Fire Fighting activity (trucks and crews) there were. Earlier this week I posted a special report here to recommend staying away, as I wanted to keep you safe and, as importantly stay out of the way of fire fighting efforts. But, it seems that will be easy because the fire fighters don’t really appear to be using the 14 road as much I thought they would be.

This week down in the hatchery area the Bull Trout fishing has been hot on streamers.

The Ameletus mayfly hatch (Olive Haze 12-14) is going well. PMD’s and BWO hatches are around, timing has been all over the boards from noon to 7 PM. Be ready.

Ton’s of little Micro Caddis out now.

The Upper River is seeing some decent Golden Stone hatches and Yellow Sally’s. Hoppers and Ant patterns are worth prospecting with too

Below 99 there are Golden Stones too. Willowflies are just beginning their emergence there, and expect to see some Willowflies and Salmonflies near the hatchery in a week.

Fire conditions may change so we will keep you posted but for now I cant see any reason to stay off the water.

The Lower Deschutes was good this week with bank and eddie sippers throughout the day and increasingly good dry fly action in the evening to dark.

Small X Caddis and Iris Caddis for emergers, Fin Fetcher and CDC Caddis for adults. Purple Haze have been solid, along with PMD Sparkle Duns for the mayfly hatches.

Day time nymphing has been fair. Stonefly nymphs, Caddis Pupa, Micro Mayfly, Soft hackles and Zebra Midges are good.

Steelhead are starting to show up higher than Mack’s Canyon so from Sherars Falls to the Columbia definitely has a good run of steelhead. The guys from the shop that have gone have said it’s ok swinging but better nymphing.

The McKenzie is great as it has been all summer. Guide team is kicking it with Euro Nymphing and a mix of great dry fly action most days. One of my guides said he had never seen such a great dry fly day than he had a few days ago there. Parachute Adams, Stimulators, Chubbies, Cahill’s, Elk Hair Caddis and H&L Variants are all great dries to try.

As mentioned last report, a Grasshopper can be a good choice on some of the banks too.

Fall River is fine. Still a lot of people. Go early and go late and avoid 10 am to 5 pm if you want a better experience with solitude.
Ant’s, Hoppers, PMD, BWO, small Caddis, Midges and Yellow Sally’s are good dries.

Perdigons and Jigs for Euro Nymphing are great. Eggs, Micro Mayflies, Zebra Midges and Soft hackle PT’s for nymphing.

Swinging streamers like a Sculpzilla or stripping them off the banks and through the pools can produce too. Try it.

The Crooked River is a mixed bag. Catch rates are good to very good most days, but there is a lot of people there and there is a lot of slimy dark green moss in the drift. Be prepared to clean it off your leader and fly frequently. In this case, when the moss drift is so abundant I prefer to stick to a single fly to not have to clean so much off between casts.

Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Midge Winklers, Skinny Nelson’s and Scuds are all good.

In the evening there has been a good caddis hatch that a small X Caddis (brown is best) is a great match for. Not many people stay past 4, so it is nice to get a break from all the people in the mid day

East Lake is fair. Nice to see a few more Callibaetis hatching this week up there. The Beetle and Ant bite has been my best method.

Be patient with the chironomids. Move around. Look for about 15 to 18′ and try an all red blood worm for sure. Small Olive Ice Cream Cone, Red/Black Zebra, Summer Duck, Chrome ribbed Black are all possibilities. It’s not like a mayfly hatch or caddis emergence. Chironomids can be different every day and even change during the day or in different parts of the lake.
Balanced Leeches are certainly worth a shot too under your indicator.
Seems to me the damsel action is about over with likely most emergence behind us and some adults still flying.

I am guessing the lake is 2 to 4 feet low. Crazy. For my boat it is impossible to use the EL boat ramp, so I am using Cinder Hill with no problem.

Paulina is also fair. I had the greatest folks in the boat yesterday who caught a few nice fish but hoped it would have been better for them. It was so windy yesterday the fishing might have been off because of the weather. The Red 2 Bit Hooker accounted for most of the hook up’s we had. The fish we caught were all good rainbows with lots of fight and great jumps.
Lately, Olive and Black Balanced Leeches have been really good. Just not yesterday.

Beetles and attractors on top and not just in the shallow bank water. On a recent trip we rose some really large fish on a red tarantula in 50 feet quite aways off shore. Those big fish cruise out there, so look for them and what are often random but explosive takes.

Another fun thing to do at Paulina is fish big streamers on sinking lines near the drop off zones. 7 weight rods are good for this as you won’t be effective with a 5 weight turning over the big flies. It’s not a numbers game but it is a potential day maker on this lake.

Crane Prairie is good in the Quinn and Deschutes area. Hanging leeches and nymphs (Zebra, a mix of chironomids, PT and San Juan Worms) under an indicator are your best chances for success. But seriously don’t count out a stripped leech, scud, water boatman or damsel nymph on an intermediate line. Water levels are dropping to the high 60% pool. With Wickiup getting down to 10% I would imagine CP is going to go much lower….(???) But should be good all fall for fishing.

Hosmer Lake is good. There is a good callibaetis spinner fall in the morning and some duns hatching about the same time and duns on and off throughout the day into the early evening. Lot’s of damsels still.

One of the fish I did a throat pump sample on this week had a lot of water boatman, a lot of daphnia and a scud in him. My best fly this week was a Pheasant Tail with no bead and not flash under an indicator.

3 Creeks Lake is fishing well with Callibaetis and Chironomids leading the pack as the best flies. Leeches and Beetles and Ants are important. The best hatch has been after one and fish will be rising up to dark on most days. At dusk they might switch to midges or small black caddis.

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