Fishing Update 3/13/21

Good morning fly fisher’s! As I get my morning going I know it’s going to be a warm sunny day here in Sisters, and that we are just 40 days from Opening Day on the Lakes (Crane and Wickiup).

Overall the early spring fishing is good, with some outstanding opportunities in a couple of places that I’ll discuss in more detail. I know a lot of us are excited to gain an extra hour of daylight tomorrow which allows for some evening/after work sessions on the local waters.

The Metolius River is funny this time of year. In my experience there are two periods when the fishing gets a bit inconsistent; part of November into December, and part of March into April. Why? Good question, but I suspect this time of year might have to do with fish movement for spawning activity or returning from the spawn in the upper reaches. Most certainly every fish in the river isn’t migrating to the upper river, but it is a curious and repeated phenomenon each year with the only other explanation begin aquatic insect movement/drift/emergence/hatch. In the Early winter I think that might be it, but this time of year there is a ton going on with drift/emergence/hatch.
Is fishing on the Metolius slow? No. You need to work a bit harder right now to find the fish, and do a lot of nymphing for your best success.

I was out there the other day and had a few fish on BWO dries during the afternoon hatch. One of my friends has been pounding redsides and whitefish (and the occasional small bull trout) on Euro Nymphs.

The best stretched are Allingham to Gorge CG, the Idiot Hole (within the Wizard Falls area) to the Powerline, Pioneer Ford to Bridge 99, Bridge 99 to the Log Jam across from Candle Creek. SO MUCH water to spread out. Look for fish rising in the eddies about noon. Besides BWO’s the Cinygmula (yellow mayfly #14-16) are beginning their spring hatch, and quite a few caddis. Your best caddis fishing is going to come on the pupa’s. There are huge October Caddis hatching now, plus their smaller cousin the Silver Stripe Sedge, smaller Brachycentrus (Tan Pupa Grey Adult #12-16) and Glossosoma (Pupa is Cream & the Adult is Smokey Tan-Grey #16-18). These are going to be the hatches receiving the most attention during the emergence. You may also see good midge hatches, and a smattering of random stoneflies throughout any given spring day on the Metolius. Stick to the nymphs on both of those for a lot of success.

We always say it is hard to beat a zebra midge and there is 2 likely reasons for that: #1, it’s a food source trout are constantly fed. Lakes or Rivers, there are a ton of midges out there. #2, with a small simple fly like a Zebra Midge there is less to refuse. It is so simple by design that there isn’t much there to refuse by a snobby trout.
So, rounding out and summarizing, look for an afternoon hatch. With daylight savings time beginning tonight the 1 PM hatch is going to be 2 PM starting Sunday. Add Yellow #14-16 mayfly patterns to your box. Bring your best nymphing gear and hit them with Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Eggs, Stone Nymphs, Caddis Pupa(!) and Micro Mayflies.

Finally, Bull Trout fishing is good on Streamers. I don’t know when the Juvenile Chinook get stocked into the river but it’ll be soon and it’ll be fun. Until then, continue to enjoy the normal swing with your streamers on a sink tip using your 7 or 8 weights and hope for a big tug! For a while this winter Black Streamers were the ticket, but lately from the reports some of my good fishing buddies have shared, color is less important than depth and presentation.

The Crooked River is fishing really well. Most days now are getting a strong emergence of afternoon Blue Wing Olives. Before the hatch nymph a Flashback PT or Skinny Nelson under a tiny yarn indicator. When the hatch happens the Klinkhammer and Film Critic ought to be your starting point until the fish start to eat more duns. At that time hit them with Sparkle Duns the BDE Dun. Knock Down Dun (Cripple) is another really good catcher!
Zebra Midges, Perdigons, Scuds, Ray Charles are hot nymphs.

Late Afternoon Midge hatches are best matched with Winklers, Century Drive Midges and Griffiths Gnats (BTW, our current G-Gnat selection has a hot pink post on top so you can see the damn thing. Now that I am in my 50’s I get it. Sorry it took me so long)

A reminder that we are offering a $350 guide trip special until 4/21/21 for 1 to 3 anglers on the Crooked and Fall River. Splitting $350 2 or 3 ways is really inexpensive for everyone, or splurging $350 on yourself is a heck of a way to get a lot of private instruction.

The Fall River was good this week throughout the river from the Headwaters, Camp Ground, Hatchery, Tubes and Falls. Our guide Troy has been having good success on a large Peacock Caddis dry. So besides the usual BWO cripple and emerger patterns look for opportunities with some bigger dries too.

Nymphing with Micro Mayfly, 2 Bit’s, Perdigons, Zebra Midges and Caddis Pupa. An olive Muddy Buddy Jig Streamer is another great fly for getting down to the fish and getting them turned on to something that really looks alive.

A reminder that we are offering a $350 guide trip special until 4/21/21 for 1 to 3 anglers on the Crooked and Fall River. Splitting $350 2 or 3 ways is really inexpensive for everyone, or splurging $350 on yourself is a heck of a way to get a lot of private instruction.

The Middle Deschutes is still running high, but will be lowering a lot in about 3 weeks. By then the March Browns should be ready to pop. Now, you’ll find some Skawla’s and mixed BWO, Caddis and Midge hatches. None of which are that important right now. It’s a nymph game for the most part, with a good smattering of streamer action thrown in.

The Lower Deschutes is good by Maupin especially in the Locked Gate area. Fish are eating Black Stone Nymphs well. Perdigons and other Jig style flies on a Euro technique are likely anyone’s best bet on the Deschutes now. If you look in the right spots you should see risers to BWO and Glossosoma Caddis. Caddis Pupa will be more important than the adult now. Float Trips are available now for $550 for 1 to 3 anglers in this stretch of the Lower Deschutes.

Haystack Reservoir is fishing well along the edges with Olive Balanced Leeches and Chironomid Pupa under an indicator. You can just walk and wade along the shoreline for success.

Lake Billy Chinook is ramping up in the Metolius Arm for Bull Trout, but I got several reports this week that were slow there. I think at this time and maybe for another week to 10 days or so, go to the Deschutes Arm instead.
I was so impressed with the safe boaters that came to the shop and discussed how to access some of the areas of that big reservoir safely before they just went and tried it. Salute to safe boaters!

Last year in April South Twin Lake was really good. I am hopeful these warm days will allow access soon to there, but as of now it remains impassible due to snow, and my guess is the lake is still iced over.

Coming home from skiing yesterday I saw a boat out on Suttle Lake. Made me wonder if they were out catching kokanee or browns? There was a thin layer of ice on the east side, but 80% of the lake was ice free.

Just a reminder that in the shop we are still wearing masks and need you to wear one inside as well. I hope you are all doing well, staying healthy and getting ramped up for a good trout season.

I have been tying a bunch of flies, mostly lake stuff that will be used for my guide trips this season.

If you enjoy podcasts, and like to listen to some Central Oregon lake talks, I have recently been on two. The February Room and the Destination Angler Podcast. You can find them on my podcast page. On both episodes I get out some info on the lakes, especially on the Destination Angler where I get down right geeky talking about bugs. In addition there is a 2019 episode i did with Dave S on the Wet Fly Swing podcast on fishing our lakes too.

Until the next report, get on the water, or tie some flies and clean and organize gear for a fast approaching trout season.

Thank you,


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