Good morning everyone. It is an exciting day around Sisters and the Metolius as the rest of the upper river opens today. Openers for the late trout season include the Upper Deschutes, Whychus Creek, Tumalo Creek and the Metolius from Allingham up the headwaters. If you wondered why some of the waters are a month later than the general trout season, it is to protect critically important spawning areas so our wild trout populations can thrive without getting stomped.
Speaking of stomped. We have a favor to ask.
There is a lot of stream riparian zone habitat restoration going on at the Fall River near the Tubes. It is signed and in some cases it is marked with string where not to walk. But….a lot of people are ignoring the closures and stomping down the area they are trying to restore.
Habitat makes fishing better. Let’s all try to work together to not destroy it.
The Metolius is fishing really well, with Green Drakes taking the top spot in exciting fishing chances. The hatch seems to be a bit early this year, so we can’t be sure how long into June it will last. Certainly we see Drakes in mid-May, but they usually really get going about Memorial Day and last to almost July. There is not quite yet any major hatches where you see “the helicopters” hovering all over, but enough each day between 2 and 4 (maybe 5 PM) to get the fish on them!
PMD hatches are coming just before the drakes on most days and have provided excellent fishing.
Look for a lot of smaller summer Caddis (#12-18 in tan’s, grey’s and olive tones) to be important and never count out BWO’s on the Metolius. Baetis (Blue Wing Olive/BWO) are year round hatchers on this spring creek.
Plenty go good nymph action, with Euro and Indicator fishing depending on the water and where you are and what you’re trying to imitate.
The Salmonfly and Golden Stone hatch is in full swing on the Lower Deschutes from Warm Springs through Maupin. Lot’s of bugs, but this darn cold snap has fragmented the hatch a bit as the cold weather makes them not happy to get out of the bushes and fly. The fish want to eat them for sure, so get in under the trees and along the grassy banks and fish it hard. Looks like another few days of cooler weather and then a good warm up coming again. This should be the best opportunity for the 2021 hatch to really hit it well!
Besides big stones, PMD’s are very important now. Caddis too, particularly #14-16 Tan and Olive X Caddis and Corn Fed Caddis. The Pale Evening Duns are starting to pop, and in June and July and early August that is a very cool evening hatch to match, offering great dry fishing during the magic hour along with the summer caddis hatches.
Also, while not Metolius caliber, the Lower D is a Green Drake hatch river too. This is the time it happens. In fact, today and tomorrow with the cooler and cloudier weather are perfect conditions to see a good Drake hatch there, so pop some sparkle duns in your box with the salmon flies and keep an out for the big mayflies.
The Middle Deschutes stoneflies have mostly passed but there are still a few around and pockets of importance for the big bugs for about another week. It is mostly caddis, PMD, PED and some baetis.
Lots of incredible Euro Nymphing to be had through the Bend to Lake Billy Chinook access points, so no matter what time of day you get to the river there will be opportunity.
The Upper Deschutes opened this morning. That means the sections above Benham Falls up to Wickiup, the Browns Mtn area between Wickiup and Crane Prairie, and the section we refer to the headwaters from Crane Prairie up to Little Lava Lake.
No reports yet, but some of the shop staff were headed up there today.
My guess is they will hit them on streamers in the log jams, Euro nymphs in the runs and maybe see some PMD hatches on top. History repeats itself you know!
Fall River is fishing well, yesterday I saw some good BWO hatches in the afternoon and finally a good PMD and a few Green Drakes in the late afternoon.
Because I got blown off the lakes I guided the Fall on friday and it was a great reminder of the importance of Euro Nmyphing vs. Indicator approaches, as the Euro technique was far more effective. Also, I am a total long light leader fan for dries. 12 feet is a starting point, and 5x to 7x (lot’s of 6x) tippet is critical. My guys were blown away at how the fish responded to the fly and how much better their drifts were because of the leader set up.
Seems like there were not many fish in the Falls and Tubes area. Hatchery and upper River were better.
Crooked River is good, with a lot of Mother’s Day caddis now and some PMD’s. The River is running under 200 cfs so it appears the shortage of water in the reservoir is causing them to conserve some now.
Nymphing is far and away the sweet spot on the river now, with Caddis Pupa, Zebra Midges and PMD Split Case Nymphs doing best. Soft Hackles are also killing it.
At about 1 PM the dry fly fishing gets hot on X Caddis, CDC Caddis, Corn Fed Caddis and Elk Hair Caddis are all good. Purple Haze, PMD Comparadun, Knock Down Dun and Renegades are good on top too, so keep an eye out on those during the non-caddis times or during a masking hatch.
The McKenzie is fishing really well for us, even throughout the burn. The guide team is going frequently to get it dialed back in after the devastation last September, and they are pleased at what they see. Our shop manager Brad had some really good Green Drake action there this week and is back today to see if there is more! Caddis and larger yellow mayflies are also on the menu, and we’ve found chubbies to be good on top too.
Nymph action is very good, especially larger bead euro jigs, possie buggers and mega prince.
Crane Prairie is fishing ok, depending on the day it is up and down a bit. We fished in Cultus a couple of days ago and it seems better than Deschutes side for the most part. I have not heard of any good action at Quinn yet. How about you?
Black and Brown Balanced Leeches and Red Ice Cream Cones were our best flies this week. I do look forward to some more stable weather and hope that is the turn around we need for more consistent fishing.
Hosmer Lake and 3 Creek Lake are not accessible. Hosmer should be open May 26th as they plan to open gates from Lava Lake cut off to Mt Bachelor then.
3 Creeks is still really deep on the drifts. It may be mid June….stay tuned.
Paulina Lake is fishing well on leeches, scuds, chironomids and red 2 bit hookers. Access and water levels are good.
East lake is very low and is challenging to launch any boat with a V Hull or bigger than a drift boat due to low water, docks that are too short and exposed boulders on the ramp and dock areas due to a second year of low water.
Is this the new normal for East Lake? More than likely, which I ask you to please call the Bend Fort Rock USFS District Rangers Office and ask them to place 2 extensions on the dock at East Lake Campground, and to remove/move the boulders on the ramp and dock areas at EL CG and Hot Springs. The low water makes these boulders a launching or docking hazard and someone is going to have an accident because of them.
We are obviously in a new weather and water cycle all over Oregon, so they can’t manage it like the good old days, the USFS needs to adapt the facilities to the way it will probably be in the future and that is more low water.
To me, it seems simple to use a tractor and move the boulders out of the path of outgoing and incoming boats using the docks and ramps. And it seems wise to put to more pieces of dock (enough for a 16-20 foot boat to have room for a trailer to back in) and keep people safe on a windy day trying to load up a boat.
Next…. There are 1000’s of rainbows along the shorelines going through the motions of spawning. I don’t know if this is a successful endeavor for them or not. It would seem likely some would successfully spawn on the springs and in aerated rocks along the shoreline. So, my advice is to let them do their thing for another week or 2 and leave them alone. If they are in a few feet of water or less, in pairs or multiples, don’t fish there. Fish the 5 to 12 foot zones with indicators and nymphs or sinking lines and leeches and leave the spawners be for a bit. Those fish will come off the spawn healthier and more catchable if we do that for them now.
Also, the lake appeared to be in turn over this week. Very green. If indeed it is a normal turnover it takes 4 to 10 days to clear up.
Last fall the lake seemed very green then too. So maybe it is something else besides turnover, but turnover is a natural process of most lakes after ice off that allows the cooler surface water to sink and the warmer water at the bottom to rise, bringing with it all the dead algae and weeds and things that stain the water. It is in inconvenience for a week but it is a natural and good thing for the lake.
Also, we need to encourage ODFW to do the Tui Chub traps in the lake again this season. They took 2020 off due to Covid and chubs came on in force. That is bad for the trout. Let’s keep on the agencies that manage this and not let one of Central Oregon’s best fisheries go by the wayside due to mismanagement.
How can we band together as individuals and as guides and fly fishing club people to keep asking for what the lake needs from the Forest Service and ODFW? I am open to dialog here. Please reach out and let’s work together.
On Thursday it was so windy at Crane I took my guide trips guys to North Twin. It was also cold and windy but fishable and pretty decent on Olive Leeches fished on an Intermediate line.
We also fished a Type 3 and Type 5 line and got fish on those deeper and got one on a Tequila Blob with a fast strip. Indicator fishing was slow. They wanted it stripped.
I’ve heard South Twin is even better, we just are not allowed to guide there.
Be well everyone and see you on the water or in the shop.