Jan 9, 2021 Fishing Outlook

a rainbow trout in the water

Good morning, this is the first fishing report (of many to come) for the new 2021 season.

Have you renewed your fishing license for 2021? You can do that here in the shop or on your own computer or smart phone using the ODFW website or MyODFW app. It is easy to do on your own and you can store a digital copy on your phone if checked by OSP Game Wardens.

While you are at it, getting all legal for 2021, pick up a copy of the 2021 Regulations and read about the places you like to fish, or places you intend to fish this year. We are constantly astounded by how many people that have a fishing license don’t bother to know the rules. Just like getting a driver license, when you get a fishing license you have rules to follow and you won’t really know those rules unless you consult the regulations book. It’s important.

So, I am going to remind people now (again!) that the Metolius is closed from the Headwaters to Allingham Bridge. Do you know where Allingham Bridge is? It is your responsibility to know. No excuses. It’s not the Bridge at Camp Sherman. It’s not Bridge 99. Get a map. Learn the river. The closure is in place to protect important spawning habitat.

CLOSED until spring.

Fishing reports are trends of fishing days we’ve had, or friends and customers reporting to us. I also look at weather forecast and make predictions and try hard to tell a complete story for our readers.
It’s fun to do.

This coming week of January 10-16 looks warm again. At least warm from a January perspective. Lots of days in the 40’s and a couple hitting the 50’s coming up. It should be a pleasant week to slip on the waders and be on the water.

Here is what we’d say is your best bet:

The Metolius is seeing good afternoon hatches of #20 BWO. (Maybe even some #22’s). Later in the afternoon there are a fair number of Silver Stripe Sedges and October Caddis along with some other various mixed caddis and smaller stoneflies. Most of the Caddis and Stones will be better matched with a nymph or pupa imitation than trying to fish dry, but an orange stimulator or elk hair caddis can get crushed if your willing to put in the time and prospect the water. Winter fishing is always productive on the Metolius with Stonefly nymphs (especially golden), eggs, zebra midges, small mayfly nymphs and caddis pupa patterns. For Euro Nymphers most of the perdigon and jig flies we use look like mayfly and caddis in one way or another, and these flies simply fish deeper because of how they are tied.

Bull Trout fishing with streamers continues to be very good. I say it that way because a lot of times by mid winter the fish get really “nymphy” and we get as many, or more on small red nymphs than on streamers. But the streamer action remains good.

We are getting a lot of calls about snow in the basin. It is minimal and access to all the roads including Bridge 99 is not a problem at this time. We understand the concern as so many years there isn’t much of a chance to drive past Wizard Falls in the winter. So far all the snow is just up in the mountains about 4500 feet and higher. The Metolius Basin is 2963 feet at Camp Sherman (a bit lower than here in Sisters and a lot lower than Bend).
One last warning for excited drivers going to the river.

Road 14 gets icy! Several roll over accidents occurred on the road between the highway and the spilt to the headwaters lately. Especially that last corner before the split takes people by surprise as the road may have been fine and suddenly it is not.

The Crooked River is also fishing well with midges, tiny mayfly nymphs, eggs and scuds.

The water level is up a tiny fraction to 50 cfs. Low, but very fishable.
I would venture to say a NZ Yarn indicator placed on your line about 4 feet above your nymph(s) is going to be the #1 way to catch fish over even a pure euro technique right now. Both are good, but the lanes where the fish are will set up better for upstream, or up and across presentations and in my view the light yarn indicator is better for that in low flows.
Keep and eye out for rising fish down about MP12-15 on midge pupa and adults 3 to 4:30.

The Fall River is a place where you’ll run into some winter like conditions on the roads and along the river banks. The snow is building up in the south county more than in the rest of our area. It’s elevation has a bit of snow pack.

BWO, Midges and some small black winter stoneflies are on the menu. All of these hatches can/should bring fish up to feed at the surface.

Nymphing is good but the fish are educated. It takes a great presentation to get many of these fish to open their mouth for a fly these days.

I appreciate ODFW’s efforts to stock nice trout in the Fall. As I understand it, they have moved to bringing in these fish (I guess most are brooders) from a hatchery in southern oregon. Frankly, I would rather see ODFW go back to how they did it when I was a kid, fishing the fall every chance I had, before work or after school (skipping class to go sometimes) and bring back the nice 10-14 incher’s and stock twice as many and make the river a better experience instead of a trophy experience. These brood fish don’t rise particularly well and seem to go off the bite way to much. That frustrates me a bit…how about you?

The Middle Deschutes is running high. If you know where to look there are some streamer and nymph opportunities, but careful wading is required.

We are about a month away from the Little Black Stones. If you tie flies, tie some #14 and 16 Float & Fools and Black Bucktail Caddis in a #14 or 16 to match them and then plan your fishing days around the irrigation districts stock runs if possible to experience the best wading conditions of the winter season. I’ll report here when I know they are happening.

The Lower Deschutes is open in the Maupin area and worthwhile fishing from Locked Gate to about the confluence with the White River.
Euro Nymphing has been picking up the majority of the fish I have heard of from my friends.

At this time, we recommend giving the steelhead a break and let them spawn. Besides not fishing steelhead flies and techniques, be extra cautious you’re not wading on redds.

Keep your eyes open for BWO hatches and rising trout in the eddies on warmer winter days.

What else? Well there are places to poke in and around out on the desert. Longhollow Ranch is open for year round fishing now. So if you need a lake fix, its open.

I’d be curious to hear if any of you have been on Haystack or Ochocco? They can be good in winter but more like in February and March than in January….

Lake Billy on the Deschutes Arm? Watch the wind conditions. Browns, Bulls and Bass. The 3 B’s! Maybe an option now, certainly an option in a month if the weather stays mild.

Prineville Reservoir. Probably too early…
I am thinking ahead and thinking about spreading out to avoid the crowds that all go to the same few places.

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