Memorial Day fishing update 5/28/21

Another crazy week of weather in Central Oregon. 3 of my 4 guide days this week were bundled up against the elements (rain and cold) with as much Simms and Patagonia waterproof and insulation gear as we could wear. So, waking up today and seeing the forecast for the next 7 to 10 days is a welcome sight.
70’s, 80’s and even a couple of 90’s next week.
Our guide Steve said the Lower Deschutes was really windy yesterday on the day stretch. Our guide team that just got off the 3 day camp float on the Lower Deschutes said they were glad the fishing was good and the tents didn’t fly away to another county. I know all of at FFP that guide out on the lakes and rivers are ready for a more stable, less windy weather change.

So, let’s start on the Lower Deschutes for this weeks report. It is good and getting better. The warmth is taking us to the final stages for Salmonflies and Goldenstones, plus this week the Green Drakes have been making their important appearance of spring. PMD’s and Caddis are also increasing importance and they will last for the rest of trout season way into fall at this point. Pale Evening Duns will also get hot very soon for evening fishing. Think magic hour. If you’re a long time Deschutes angler you know that term.
These cold, rainy and windy events can fragment the stonefly hatch and make it last a little longer. It can also make for some slower fishing when the bugs hunker down in the bushes and trees and don’t fly. Yesterday, Steve said the wind blew so hard the bugs were getting blown out of the trees and creating pockets of feeding frenzies. So there is that element too. I don’t know why you love fishing, but I suspect it is for the reasons of surprises like that. If you are in the right place at the right time, it is so darn cool.

The Metolius is open in all sections now and the upper river is good for Euro Nymphing and some good PMD and Caddis hatches. The PMD’s and Green Drakes in the Middle and Lower River are getting better and better and we are not even to June with regards to hitting the best 2 1/2 to 3 weeks of the Drakes.
I am heading to the Metolius today for 4 days of camping and fishing. We bought a travel trailer last November for just such an occasion, and these next 2 weekends are for Drakes and Camp Fires with friends. Hope to search for a few Morel Mushrooms too.
I talked to a couple of friends on the river this week who caught nice Bull Trout. One of them was on a small olive Perdigon nymph! How about that!
Caddis are going to be going crazy with the upcoming warm weather. Pupa and Adults will be important.

Fall River is good in all sections, but the hatchery up to the headwaters seems to be the best. The PMD and Green Drake hatch is on, and don’t forget BWO, Caddis, Ant’s, Beetles and Midges.
We’ve had our best days on Euro Jigs and Euro style streamers. But when the hatch is on there has been some decent dry fly action.
One of the things I hate about the new trophy fish ODFW stocks in the Fall is they are not particularly good rising trout. The essence of the Fall River has always been that 10″ to 15″ trout that rises to a good hatch, and that is missing now. I have been asking ODFW to balance the stocking with some of the smaller fish too, as I think that is an important part of the experience out there. They are increasingly receptive to it.

The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch continues to roll on the Crooked River with Pupa and Adult Caddis being very important. Try running an Adult (Cornfed, X, Elk Hair) with a Pupa or Soft Hackle behind it as a trailer (18-30″).
Scuds, Zebra Midges and Micro May’s have been good on the Nymph side, but we haven’t seen any dries match the importance of the caddis at the moment. Renegades and Purple Haze are certainly dries I’d carry too, and be ready to fish at any time.

The Middle Deschutes is good from Bend to Lake Billy Chinook. PMD, PED, Caddis will be the main hatches now throughout the Summer. Look for areas of Blue Wing Olives too. I can relate several stories of overlooking the baetis while thinking of Pale Evening Duns, but by putting my nose close to the water and realizing there were tiny olive mayflies in the drift and soft eaters in the seams. So many of us think BWO is a Fall, Winter and Spring hatch, and we forget them in the Summer, but with at least 6 different species of Blue Wing Olives from the Baetis and Diphetor genera, these little gifts keep on giving.
There is a exceptional amount of nymphing water and opportunity anytime of the day on the Middle river.

The Upper Deschutes was quiet this week when I drove by it a couple of times. I wished I had the time to fish there, because it is rare to go by and not see any anglers on that stretch from Little Lava to Crane. I’d heard reports from the opener it was good last weekend, mostly on nymphs and streamers so far. Get those streamers in the log jams and undercuts.
I’d recommend if you are going to have PMD’s, Green Drakes, Ants, BWO’s and Caddis.

The McKenzie is fishing great with a good hatch of Drakes, Caddis and some bigger Stone’s. Our guide team is reporting good days on dries and nymphs including throughout the burn area, so we are very encouraged for another good guide season on the river.

I’m seeing a surprising amount of Callibaetis on Crane Prairie. I started fishing Crane in the 80’s and my college fishing buddy and I used to fish it every thursday morning with a crew of old guys from the fly club. Chester and I were in float tubes and Clyde, Dick and Warren were in prams. They drank Screwdrivers and we drank chocolate milk and ate Hostess mini chocolate doughnuts. And we were all there for one true reason: Callibaetis.
It was epic.
For many years the Callibaetis were in huge declines there. Since the 90’s I never counted on Crane being a good callibaetis lake. At least consistently. But these last couple of seasons I have seen more and more, so I am hopeful for a true comeback. When my friends Milt and Otto were in the boat this week we saw a lot of Callibaetis hatching, and pumped one fish that showed it was all she was eating. My friend “Blue Anchor Bob” said he found the same thing this week. Good news.
Fishing is pretty good as long as the weather is stable. And it will be now.
Balanced Leeches (black, brown and olive), Chironomids and Callibaetis plus now is the time to really start fishing the damsel nymph too.

Sharing. Collaboration. That is what makes the world go around in a positive way, and it is no different on the lakes. Maybe the waters are a “Pequod” or microcosm of the world we anglers live in? I like to think so. And while nothing is perfect, it is damn good in most cases.
I had my 1st trip to Paulina this week, on a glorious weather day (Wednesday) and thanks to some good advice from friends Timmy and Gary and especially Andy (and his fishing buddy who I am sorry I don’t know his name) we got dialed in some flies that made the day!
So here was the scoop from the lake. We started out with a couple of fish on an olive and red balanced leech but it went quiet on that. My friends Tim and Gary were doing well on a black leech with a pink bead, and grey chironomids. We moved to a new area near a couple of anglers I see frequently on the lakes and have tremendous respect for their skills and knowledge. They were hammering the fish and shares they were using small olive chironomid pupa. I changed to that for my clients and we had a really productive day thanks to Andy and his friend.
I love that, and whether that sharing of knowledge comes from the lake, the parking lot, instagram or a fishing report I think it is important that we connect through this gift of collaboration.
Scuds, 2 Bit Hookers, Beetles and Ants are also patterns you need for Paulina.

We fished Lava Lake one day this week in the crappiest weather and in 11 years of having a permit to guide the high lakes it is my 1st ever trip in nearly a 700 guide days to not put a fish in the net. BUMMER. It sucked. Sorry Skip and Sean!

East Lake is clearing up and fishing pretty well. Still some spawners along the banks I encourage people to leave alone. It will make for a healthier fishery in a week or 2 more if we do that. Their energy is on that and stressing them to fight your line is not a good deal for their health.
There are plenty of fish to catch in the deeper areas from 4 to 15 feet. Chironomids and Callibaetis nymphs are your best bets. Leeches and Scuds are on the list too. Damsel Nymphs in areas of good weed beds and reeds.
The Hot Springs area is fishing well as is the area between the EL Campground ramp and the private cabin the SW corner of the lake and near the obsidian flow to the red slide.
Fishing beetles near the shore is a favorite of mine. No Callibaetis hatches as of yet, but probably next week should see them get a foothold for the next several weeks, well into July for the 1st brood.
Cinder Hill and Hot Springs are good launches for bigger boats, East Lake CG is better for tubes, pontoons, drift boats, and kayaks.
Suggestion for courtesy, if you have no trailer and can launch your craft without a trailer, please leave the bigger parking spaces open for the trucks that do have bigger trailers as they can’t park “just anywhere” on a busy day.

I fished/guided Hosmer yesterday on a cold and rainy day and it was just terrific. There was a good afternoon callibaetis hatch and the fish were on them. It is nice to go there on days like that to escape the crowded conditions Hosmer typically sees these days with all the kayaks and paddle boards.
Damsel Nymphs, Red 2 Bits, Leeches, Small Chironomids and Zebra Midges, Ants (should be flying ants there this week coming up with the hot weather!).

And finally a note about being friendly. If someone says hello to you from boat to boat, what’s the harm in being friendly back? Grimacing, or a head nod is weird. Even if you’re from another area where friendliness is not common, it is in Oregon and needs to continue to be so.

Hello! Thanks for being here and see you on the water with a smile and a wave and possibly some decent advice.

One thought on “Memorial Day fishing update 5/28/21

  1. Thank you for this report! I will be at Sunriver next weekend snd hope to find a couple of fish in the Deschutes while I’m there. Never fished that section of the river so it should be an adventure.

    Totally agree with your comment on being friendly or at least cordial. Never understand why people can’t just say “hi” back. I just figure, it’s their loss.

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