I don’t know about you, but May is my month.
OK, it’s really the start of my favorite stretch of months because it just screams prime fishing season has arrived, and it is so full of hope.
May brings water temperatures that influence the metabolic rate of the trout we are pursuing. Water temps above 55 get a trouts metabolism ramped up. They have to eat. And eat they will, gobbling up all the nymphs and dries they can.
Some of my favorite hatches begin in May: Green Drakes (my all time fave), Salmonflies, Goldenstones, PMD’s (the hatch of summer!), a cornucopia of caddis, plus warmer days make the ants and beetles more active and they end up in the streams and lakes in different ways and if you’ve read my reports for a long time you know I am a big fan of terrestrials.
And May is my birth month. I don’t remember a birthday in the 30 years i’ve owned the fly shop here that I missed a day on the water. This year, for my 52nd birthday I will be enjoying my special fishing day on a warm saltwater flat in Belize. That’ll be a first for my birthday. Usually my birthday is spent fishing salmonflies on the Middle D, or Drakes on the Met, or stripping sinking lines on one of my favorite lakes.
It has been 14 months since our last big trip. We usually go 3 or 4 times a year to a far off fishing destination. This one feels really exciting again.
But as exciting as the big trip is, I look forward to being home on May 16th and getting out of the waters here, right in our own backyard. This place is so special, and May for some reason makes it even more so.
The Metolius is ramping up nicely. Lot’s of good reports of nymph action, and dry fly eats on PMD’s and BWO’s.
Please don’t jump the gun on fishing the section above Allingham. It’ll open in about 3 weeks (5/22/21) and then you are good to go for the upper river. Protect the redds.
BWO #18, PMD #16, Tan and Olive and Grey Caddis #12-18 are your primary Dry and Emerger targets. Green Drakes are worth carrying, but really won’t be an important daily hatch for another 2 or 3 weeks.
Brown Perdigon’s, PMD Micro Mayfly, Sparkle Pupa, Golden Stone Nymphs, 2 Bit’s, Zebra Midge, Frenchie, 3 Dollar Dip and Walt’s Worms are all our favorites for the moment.
Bull Trout fishing remains consistently good.
The Lower Deschutes is amazing right now. Our guides have been having incredible success. Maybe 2021 is the best opener we’ve ever seen.
It has been mostly a nymph fishing game so far, but there are already some Salmonflies on the grasses. I’d guess by Mother’s Day the Salmonfly hatch is going to be on fire.
There are good PMD’s and Caddis hatching. You might run into a remnant of the March Brown hatch, but that is about over until next season at this point.
We have a couple of new Caddis Pupa patterns that have been red hot.
Our guide team is getting busy, but next week is still fairly open if you’re looking for a trip before the salmon fly madness begins.
The Middle Deschutes is also quite good throughout most sections of the river from Bend down to Lake Billy Chinook. The lower stretches of the river around Crooked River Ranch/Steelhead Falls have a full blown Salmonfly hatch. They will work upriver pretty quick with the warmer week forecasted.
Goldenstones are soon to follow.
PMD #16 and Pale Evening Dun #12-14, Caddis (Tan #14-16, Olive #16-18) Purple Haze #14-18, BWO #18-20 and Renegades are all great on the top if you’re not seeing big bugs where you are. One of our good local anglers was in the shop yesterday stocking up on Clark’s Stones for the CRR stretch. He lives there and said the fish are taking the Clark’s in the morning quite well. We are always find of the Chubby’s (purple is great plus more match the hatch colors of course).
The Upper Deschutes opens May 22.
The Crooked is running perfect at 180+ CFS. We love the flow. Fishing was great yesterday on Zebra Midges from a report from our friend Doug. There are some decent afternoon BWO hatches and a few mixed caddis and midges that may be important day to day on the surface.
We are likely a week to 10 days away from massive caddis emergences as the Mother’s Day Caddis will get rolling mid to late-May. I’d recommend using a Grey or Green Pupa now #14-16.
Scuds, Micro May, Skinny Nelson, Perdigons, Flashback PT and various Jigs are all good euro style or under the NZ Wool Indicator.
The Fall River is also fishing well, some recently stocked fish have given a boost to the river and that is fun.
Your main afternoon hatch now is PMD #16. Don’t overlook BWO’s in a #18-20 as they can get overshadowed by the bigger hatches, but they remain important nearly everyday. Especially important on cooler or darker days.
Caddis #14-18 and Midges #20-24 are a couple of other flies you won’t won’t to be without on the Fall this month.
I like the Henryville Caddis the best, but any of the CDC type caddis are also favorites there.
On the nymph side, look for your heavy little bombs to be most productive. 2 Bits, Tungsten Micro May, Jigs, Perdigons, Walt’s Worm, Zebra Midges. All good, but especially so with a light fluorocarbon tippet.
Our guide Troy floated the McKenzie through the fire zone a couple of days ago and had very good fishing for wild rainbows. I was encouraged by this good news and hope we can be back to guiding on that stretch in the next weeks and moths of the upcoming season.
To the best of our knowledge there is still no access to the following lakes due to snow, road closures or lakes still being iced over: Three Creek Lake, North Twin, Hosmer, Lava and Little Lava, Paulina and East Lakes.
Crane Prairie so far for me has been slow. On the days I’ve spent there we have taken most of the fish on a Spectrum Brown Balanced Leech. Black is a 2nd choice based on fish to the net so far.
There are a billion #24-26 black midges hatching. Bring a head net or at least a buff/face mask to cover your face. It’s like a National Geographic documentary but you’re in it and you’re suffering through it. I have yet to talk to anyone so far that has really had a good day on Crane so far for the 2021 season. Seems strange to me. But that said, I can’t wait to get home from Belize on May 16th and start up there again!
Wickiup has been slow. Joey has been up, my friends Mitch and Terry were up. Slow. What the heck? Anyone finding fish. Was there a kill? Did the fish all go into the Upper Deschutes below the reservoir? A combo of all the above…
South Twin is a good bet for lake anglers looking for a small lake to tube, pontoon or row a drift boat around. Damsels on the edges, leeches on the transition shoal and chironomids out on the deeper flats.
Now, a little opportunity to have a Jeff rant. I have to do this time to time for sanity. I’m going to get 2 things off my chest and the season has just begun.
We’ve talked about this before. Music in your boat is annoying to others you’re sharing space on the water with. Even if your a hundred yards away. The sound carrying across the lake is going to go a long ways.. If you are playing the Bee Gee’s in your jet boat on Crane you are an idiot. Kenny Chesney on the lake does not make me happy. AC/DC makes me upset. Yanni…. I may kill you in my dreams.
If you throw a cigarette butt overboard into a pristine mountain lake you are an idiot. That is litter and that not only takes years to go away in the environment, a single cigarette butt pollutes several gallons of water. Cigarette Butts are not paper and cotton as too many people think. Butt/Filters are cellulose acetate. I don’t give a F**K if you harm your lungs with it, but I do give a F**K if your discarding it in places I love.
One cigarette butt is a hazard to wildlife who may mistake it for food and die from the poison ingested. The Chemicals when introduced to the waterways inhibit plant growth. Microplastics from the slowly degrading butts pollute our water. The estimated time for that one butt to degrade is about 10 years.
Smokers may not believe they are killing fish and other wildlife with an improperly disposed butt, but they are.
Don’t be a jerk, dispose of a butt in your garbage can, not on the bank, and never in the goddamn lake! (or river)