First weekend of Spring Fishing Update 3/20/21

Happy Spring 2021 everyone. We made it through another winter and I know for many of us, spring is a time of renewal and a time to really get outdoors and enjoy Oregon.

The fishing this time of year improves each week and there is a lot of exciting reports to share with you now as you may be planning to come over and do and fishing soon.

Looking at the weather, we have a few more snowy days up in the mountains and ski areas. This is great news, not only adding to the base of snow we have but also protecting that base which stands at about 104% of normal.

For the most part we should see a good water year for the lakes and rivers. Wickiup will be the sad exception to that as it won’t be ever near full by time the irrigation season begins in about 3 weeks. Expect Wickiup to be low for the season and nearly dry by Fall again. The rest of the lakes and reservoirs on the cascade lakes highway ought to be great.

The next 4-5 days in Sisters are going to be high 40’s to mid 50’s. No significant precipitation is forecast although some showers might greet us here and there, especially down in the Camp Sherman area along the Metolius.

Later next week it looks like the patterns changes to a bit warmer and sunnier. I get my weather from Weather Channel Premium, and they are pretty good for 3 to 5 days at an accurate forecast. I talk about weather fairly often in my reports because it plays such an important role in our time on the water. It can even help people make a choice to drive over the pass and come fishing here. We get that an awful lot of our customer base is coming over from the valley and we want to offer good reports to enhance your fishing and to keep you comfortable and safe on the roads.

The Metolius is good, with a really good mix of active hatches every day. Blue Wing Olive’s and Yellow May’s (cinygmula) are both hatching better in the afternoon. The BWO are #18-20 and the Yellow May is a #14-16. We’ve been matching the cinygmula with a Quill Body Sparkle Dun and Yellow Knock Down Dun. Soft Hackles are also a good choice.

There are a lot of caddis out, the pupa’s of all species will be more important than the adults on any given day, but our shop manager Brad had a really fine day here on a Cornfed and CDC Caddis working some eddy lines and conjuring the fish to rise with his offerings and good drift. We have another month of seeing October Caddis and the Silver Stripe Sedges. Big and orange! More and more smaller caddis like Bracycentrus and Glossosoma will be important at, or below the surface.

Golden Stone Nymphs are always important, 365 on the Metolius. Funny thing is this time of year we will see various and random stonefly hatches here and there. Probably never enough to get the fish keyed on an adult stone, but with the good numbers of October Caddis around I sometimes will prospect with a Clarks Stone and do double duty on trying to match these hatches. It doesn’t always pull fish to the top, but it a darn exciting when it does!

Nymph fishing, especially with Euro techniques is the best way to add numbers to your net. Streamer action for Bull Trout has been pretty good this week.

FINALLY, a friendly reminder that the river is closed from the Headwaters to Allingham bridge until May 22nd to protect the important spawning areas. Please be aware of where you are on the river and avoid fishing for spawning trout or wading on their redds.

The Crooked is getting hot now. BWO hatches are strong and most days the rise to the hatch is incredible.
Having cripples, emergers and duns will help, and 6 or 6.5x tippet.

Later in the day there has been a great midge hatch. Winklers and Century Drive Midges for the emergers, and Griffiths Gnat for the adult. Scuds, Skinny Nelson, Micro Mayfly, Ray Charles, Zebra Midge are all great nymphs.

Keep an eye out for a skawla stonefly hatch! And bring some olive or purple chubbies too.

The water levels coming out of the reservoir are still low. It’ll be about 2 to 3 weeks and we should see some good bump up’s to a more normal summer flow.

Speaking of the reservoir, I had some customers in this week that fished it and caught some nice rainbows from the shoreline on Balanced Leeches.

The Fall River was good this week for our guide Adam who was out running guide trips for customers taking advantage of our spring special. Euro Nymphing has been the way to go, really presenting the nymphs to the fish in a controlled way and varying the bead size and color to make the drift as perfect as it can be.

There is a small mix of dries, but by far BWO’s and Caddis are the most important. Skittering a Peacock Caddis has been productive for us. Midges are at times, very important so an emerging and adult midge or 2 to be ready with 7x is a good plan.

Don’t be surprised to see a pop-up of March Browns for the next few weeks. They will emerge from the riffles which are not the predominant feature on the Fall. But they are there this time of year and can get the fish amped for the surface. Nearly 35 years ago my best friend Matt showed me how to fish streamers on the Fall River, and that was an eye opener. I still like a good streamer day, especially in the spring time. Maybe it reminds me of those great old days or maybe I just like to watch trout chase down my Zonker or Sculpin. Speaking of Sculpins, my biggest Fall River fish was a big old Brown that sat around the hatchery, down in the ledges. I got that fish finally on a lead eye wool head sculpin a long time ago.

A week after I caught that fish, someone else caught him… and kept him (still mad about this!) and took it to the guys working the hatchery and weighed in over 8 pounds. After that, the ledge had such an emptiness to it. It was like losing a member of the family. I’ll never know why ODFW resists making the Fall River a Catch and Release River?!!!

We got our first report of someone making it to South Twin Lake this week. Roads are still a little rough, so be prepared for winter road conditions. The Lake was half frozen but the fishing was good. I’d say by this time next week or maybe 10 days from now it’ll be good access and good fishing.

Our guide Troy has begun his Lower Deschutes season with some back to back guide trips down in the Maupin area. (remember that Warm Springs/Mecca/Trout Creek/South Junction are closed until APRIL 22).
The Lower D right now is fishing very well, almost entirely on nymphs using a combination of techniques, including Euro and Indicators. Stonefly nymphs and small caddis pupa are important. Euro Jigs are rocking it!

We should see March Browns on the Lower Deschutes very soon. BWO hatches are locally important, but not widespread in most areas down there. Look for them in the eddies and margins of the soft riffles.

The Middle Deschutes is fishing well in the higher flows. In about 2 to 3 weeks the irrigation draw down will be on for Summer and it will be a lot easier to access.

Some skawla hatch activity going on. Not many March Browns yet. Seems like April is best for them.
Euro Nymphing is really the way to go. Streamer fishing too.

The nice thing about the Middle D is how much room there is to spread out from crowds considering we consider the Middle River to be the stretch from Bend down to Lake Billy Chinook. That is a lot of water with a ton of access points.

Lake Billy Chinook is warming up and I had both good and slow reports from Bull Trout friends this week.
Metolius arm and Deschutes Arm are both spots we recommend. Get your arm in shape and grab your 8 weight and chuck some mega streamers on those back lines and drop off’s.

This is certainly the time of year so many head to the Desert and to areas east of us. I know Haystack is fishing well. It is time to hit the Owyhee no doubt. The Blitzen close to Frenchglen is good in March and April in the slow waters near the Malheaur reserve.

Chickahominy ought to be waking from it’s winter conditions and can be red hot on leeches and water boatman as soon as the ice is off.

It’s a fishy world out there. Go claim a little slice of it for yourself.

One thought on “First weekend of Spring Fishing Update 3/20/21

  1. Hey Jeff, your reports are always fantastic. If you could include a bit more on sizing, it would be fantastic. I know you can’t do all, but when you make comments like “golden stone nymphs are always important”, sizing would help the people (like me) trying to crack the code. Thanks!

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