It’s just turned dark here in Sisters and it’s raining, mixed with few snow flakes. While that seems horrible, I am warm and fulfilled with happiness at how things are going in life, and at the shop.
Moments ago I got to go out and cast new streamer rods with the co-owner of Echo, Mr Tim Rajeff who is arguably one of the greatest fly casters on the planet. We talked rod design and about fishy places while hucking 7 weight fly lines down Main Avenue.
Eclipsing that, tomorrow is the 9th anniversary for Tina and I. Last year we celebrated in a beautiful restaurant in Havana, Cuba amongst some really good friends who traveled with us. This year, as we celebrate 9 years together we plan to fish the Metolius and stay home for a delicious dinner of Sisters Smokehouse Steaks. I think we’d rather be out on an adventure but it is most important to be together and take the best of what life has to offer in the moment. And this is it!
Speaking of taking the best of what life has to offer, I know so many of you will agree that fishing is pretty synonymous with life, so there is still a bunch of good fishing to be had and I want to breakdown what you can look forward to over the next little bit here as we march towards December.
First of all, as of November 12, 2020 the Cascade Lakes Highway will be closing. I would think you’d be a foolish to be navigating around there even today with the weather in the mountains being very socked in with cold, snowy conditions. The Paulina Lake snow gate will be locked up on 11/12/20 too, leaving us no more access to the lakes up there until probably next May sometime.
It was truly an incredible season for us up on the lakes. Steve, Troy and I all ran a lot of guided days on the lakes and really enjoyed the bounty of the 2020 season. I continue to learn more and more each year, and broaden my scope of how I fish the lakes and what I use. I love that most about fly fishing; that you never know it all. It is a “match of skill and wits” and the game we play is the best game in the world.
April 22 is 163 days away and that is when we will will surely be back launching boats on Crane Prairie and possibly other Cascade Lakes.
We can guess we will be on South Twin sooner than that to get out for some early “Bobber Down” action!
I can’t wait.
Until then we will hit the Metolius, the Fall, Crooked and head down the Deschutes for some Euro Nymphing action or swing for Steelhead.
So let’s talk about that and give you something to look forward to NOW.
Metolius- there are good afternoon hatches of BWO and some Cinygmula mayflies, plus a good number of October Caddis.
Nymphing throughout any part of the day is going to be your best bet, but have your dry rod rigged by noon because sometime between noon and 3 you’ll find fish looking up to one of the hatches.
Golden Stone Nymphs and Caddis Pupa are solid all winter. Various small mayfly nymphs, Zebra Midges, Eggs, Jigs, Perdigons and Rainbow Warriors are pretty hot winter flies.
Bull Trout are active and taking streamers well, in fact my good friend Mike landed 3 yesterday. Mike is a rat bastard. Even though he is a cardiologist he made my heart hurt with the text last night saying he had his best Bull Trout day ever. He invited me to go, but Tina and I were in Washington and couldn’t make it, but we will go tomorrow with out him and hopefully the Bull’s will still be hungry.
Crooked River is fishing well. Whitefish are starting to spawn so there are eggs in the drift and fishing a yellowish egg is excellent. Zebra Midges and tiny BWO nymphs will round out what you need for down below. On top look for a light hatch of mayflies around noon and some midges here and there that might bring some fish up to the surface.
Be careful not to wade on whitefish Redds (spawning gravel) and be respectful of the process these wild fish are taking to propagate the river for the future.
Fall River is nice that some of the weekday crowds are lower now. Weekends are still pretty busy. There has been a really good hatch of Baetis in the afternoon. We have several awesome flies to match this but the KD Dun and the Knock Down Dun are incredible on 7x. Did you know there is a 6.5X tippet? For a lot of anglers 7x freaks them out but 6 1/2X is the wonder drug. And it fools fish. Try it next time you are around the Fall River.
Nymph fishing is always a great bet on the Fall River and you’ll want a variety of small Tungsten Perdigons, Jigs, Micro Mayflies, 2 Bit Hookers, Zebra Midges (checks out our new double bead zebra) and Eggs.
Our guide team has been finding some steelhead on the Lower Deschutes in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek area, and I hear from some customers around South Jct has been producing too.
Trout Fishing is still very active, with stonefly nymphs and October Caddis Pupa doing great trailed with a Blue Prince, Soft Hackle PT and a Purple Perdigon.
For Steelhead we’ve started to go Skagit with sink tips at this point, and to a larger profile fly. Nymph fishing a Double Bead Peacock (we call it a cheeseburger) with a lightning bug dropper is absolutely a killer nymph rig for steelies with an indicator.
I’ll update again around Thanksgiving. Nothing really will change in terms of fly patterns or fishing conditions or access until we see a real burst of winter. The long term forecast looks showery and with mountain snows. Lets all hope we get a great snowpack this winter and great water conditions for our 2021 season.
Be well and talk to you again about Turkey Day.