Jeff’s fishing report 10/12/20

Happy (windy) Monday everyone. I was supposed to be on the water today and tomorrow, but realized in the wee hours of the morning that the wind was going to win today. So first thing this morning I had to call clients to reschedule trips that were scheduled today and tomorrow.
The 2 weather app’s I use are showing wind gusts in the 40 mph range, and sustained at 15 to 25. That is no fun for boating and could have even been dangerous.
Yesterday I drove to Portland to pick up my mom after a hip replacement, and decided to go down the McKenzie to get to over to I 5. Holy smokes that was sad to drive through there. The area from just west of Tokatee Golf Course down to almost Leaburg Lake was truly a disaster.
I can only hope to see a clean up area and restoration that creates a changed but still beautiful fishery in the years to come. What I saw yesterday was so sad, I just can’t imagine how it will be ready to float and enjoy in 2021, but we will see.
It was a relief to see the upper river from Clear Lake, down through the Blue Pool and the Falls, and all the way to Paradise and Mckenzie Bridge were unscathed. And, the area down river from Leaburg Lake looked great too. It will be interesting to see how we as a guide team that love the McKenzie so much can react and adapt to the changes that suddenly came in the Holiday Farm Fire last month, but in the end I know it will be a good place to fish again, clean up and rebuilding will occur and nature will bring back the riparian areas with thick green willows, stream side grasses and eventually trees regrowing on the hillsides and mountains surrounding the river.

I do see recent opportunity for some fishing on the Upper McKenzie, especially walk and wade trips around the Deer Creek Road access for the most part. I am not sure if boat ramps are open for the upper river, they appeared to be, but not sure if you can get a shuttle up there at this time. The water from Ollalie to Paradise is quite technical but can be good fishing. I know the ramps on the Lower McKenzie are open from Leaburg down to Hendricks and down to Hayden Bridge too, and I know shuttle drivers are available and back to work in that Lower River area.
It is October Caddis time, plus Golden Stone Nymphs, Perdigons, Jigs, Mega Prince and Possie Buggers. On top, use Foam Elk Hair Caddis, Chubbies, Norm Woods and various mayfly patterns to match the hatch.

Closer to home, the Metolius is fishing well. Green Drakes are pretty much done (see you next may my favorite hatch), but there are some stragglers and the fish still want to eat them. I spoke to 2 friends who on Friday and on Sunday who did well on drakes. That happens but now is the time to be thinking of Mahogany Duns, BWO’s, October Caddis, plus tan (16) grey (14) and amber (12-14) caddis, PMD’s (soon to transition to cinygmula) mayflies.
Lot’s of dry fly fishing to be done, so get after it.
Nymph fishing is excellent. Perdigons, Jigs, Golden Stones, many types of caddis pupa and Eggs!
Streamer fishing for Bull Trout is a Fall Favorite for many of us. Such a fun time of year to target Bull’s.
We have 19 days left to enjoy the upper river above Allingham before the winter closure.

The Crooked is running 50 cfs. That is frustrating to me because I thought there was a rule to not let it go below 75 cfs. Something I need to research.
Even in the low flows the fishing is really good. There have been excellent afternoon BWO hatches mixed with some midges that could happen anytime, some PMD’s and of course scuds and other nymphs are quite effective.

The Fall River is fishing well, as it usually does in the fall. On most days you’ll find a good BWO hatch. There are still some hold-on’s with PMD’s and summer caddis. Midges are also important now.
Perdigons, Jigs, Micro May, 2 Bit Hooker, Rainbow Warrior and heavy Egg flies are the top nymph choices.

The Middle Deschutes is seeing some higher flows now that the canals systems are turning off. This can create some really good streamer fishing opportunities and excellent nymph fishing. I remember being down in the Steelhead Falls one day the water was rising and absolutely hammering fish on stonefly nymphs.

Our guide team is loving the Lower Deschutes now. Fishing is very good. We’ve had great trout days on the day trip (WS to TC) and down to the Maupin area, and we’ve found plenty of steelhead all the way from the Mouth of the Columbia to the Mecca area.
While most of the catches are coming on various nymphs (Caddis Pupa, Perdigons, Jigs, PT’s, Psycho Prince and Zebra midges, look for risers on the banks, under the trees and in the eddies and especially in the evening.

Crane Prairie is pretty low (about 65% full, so plenty of water for boating and fishing) and seems to be producing well in the Deschutes, Quinn and Rock Creek areas. I have not talked to anyone out in the Cultus area, but it must be a tad challenging to get into with all the exposed stumps at 65% pool.
Olive, Brown and Black Balanced Leeches have been the best. Chironomids, Boatman, Scuds and standard (non balanced) leeches have also been good.

Hosmer Lake was good for our guides in the last few days. It was even too windy for us to guide there today, but we will be back soon enough. You’ll see a few risers to floating Backswimmers and floating Water Boatman, or a little midge hatch, but mostly it is slow sinking lines, long leaders and light leeches trailed with a soft hackle, or under an indicator with a leech, scud, boatman or midge pupa.

East Lake in my opinion is a bad choice. Maybe a little better for a pontoon boat or tube, but it is very difficult to launch a boat as EL CG ramp is so low the dock is virtually unusable, and Hot Springs is so low you’ll bang your prop or hull of the boat on 3 big rocks just under the surface at the end of the dock. In addition to launching difficulties, the lake is really dark, off color from a abundance of dying weed beds I guess. But usually this time of year it’s clear as a bell and visibility to nearly 20 feet is expected. Now it is dark green and kind of gross.
We rose some fish on beetles but decided after a short time to move down to Paulina when the wind picked up.
Maybe in the next 19 days it will fish well on the shorelines for brown? I hope so. It typically is great in late october, but plan on bringing a small boat or pontoon. Balanced Leeched and Balanced Minnows will be what I’d most recommend.

Paulina was awesome all week, especially on Balanced Leeches. One of the days was particularly good dry fly fishing with small Black Foam Beetles. There are some really nice browns getting schooled up to spawn later and they appear to chasing Tui Chubs around now.
One of the nicest Browns one of my clients caught last week came on a Chromie Chironomid. Watched a 10 pound’ish Brown feeding on a shoreline last Monday and he was cruising around eating small nymphs, not a care in the world. We were in awe as his white mouth (big white mouth) opened to eat, and then would move a little ways and do it again, and again. Sigh.

Finally, South & North Twin Lakes are high on my list for fall fishing. Balanced Leeches and Chiromids are recommended for both places. Small Lakes that stay out of the wind compared to the other larger bodies of water. No motors and great for a tube, pontoon or drift boat.

Be good, go fishing. Our season is quickly coming to an end. Not that fishing ends, but the lakes will get cold and snowy and they will soon be done until spring. Lots of good fall river fishing ahead, at least well into November and we have much to report on and talk about for a long time to come.

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