I hope all of you have had the chance to go be on the water someplace recently. It has been a wild week with fishing, and also some pretty terrible weather in a lot of the places I have been fishing and guiding.
Last saturday, after hitting the “publish” button on last weeks report, Tina and I headed out for the weekend on the Metolius. We pulled in to Pioneer Ford CG about 2, leveled the trailer, put on waders, boots and rain jackets and grabbed our friend the birthday girl from the camp next to us and headed to the river.
Look, I have fished the Metolius most of my life. What I saw was nothing short of amazing. The PMD’s were in full swing but just finishing when we got to our spots. But the Green Drakes were about to pop, and pop they did. In 4 decades of loving and fishing the Metolius, I have never seen a better Green Drake Hatch. So many drakes hatching and floating down multiple current seams, struggling in the riffles to take flight, and some being sucked into the eddies. In all of these water types trout were waiting, on the prowl really trying to take in as many calories as they could get in a short amount of time. Light showers and a thick grey cloud cover kept the hatch vibrant for well over an hour and half. I left the river in awe.
Yesterday, on a day off from a wet and cold week on the lakes we went back to the river. It was warmer but also wetter with some strong showers passing over a few times during our fishing session. The PMD hatch was strong and the drakes came later and not as heavy as 6 days before, but the fish still want to eat them when they are fluttering out of the currents and trying to take flight.
We live near the best river I’ve ever fished in the entire world and that place is as special as it gets.
So, treat it as such when you visit too. Handle fish carefully. Release them quickly, with photos only in the water and ideally cradled in the net. Give other anglers space and never leave trash, cans, bottles or cigarette butts where you’ve been fishing or hiking. It takes all of us to keep places like this perfect.
Metolius- As mentioned above, PMD’s and Green Drakes. Also mix some BWO’s in for the mayfly trifecta. Spinner falls at night are matched with Rusty or Olive Spinners #16-18. Rust is the best.
Caddis hatches were off this week with the cool and wet weather. That usually means when it warms up and dries out it will be stronger for a while. So, this coming week is going to be a good caddis week.
The river is fishing well from Riverside CG all the way to Candle Creek CG. That is about 14 miles of water to explore.
The upper river is great Euro Nymping and Golden Stone nymphs. The Golden Stone hatch is probably going to start by next weekend with the 1st few bugs coming to the stream banks soon. Keep and eye open and we can share stories on the timing of the big bugs soon.
Lower Deschutes is getting more quiet, especially on the weekdays Monday through Friday as the Salmonfly hatch is over for 2021. Once that happens it transitions to PMD, Pale Evening Dun and a lot of Caddis for the rest of June and all of July. August will have future transitions to discuss but for now plan on a lot of caddis and yellow mayflies.
Nymphing and Dry Fly fishing are very good.
The Middle Deschutes is good too, with PMD, PED, Caddis and attractors like Renegades, Purple Haze and small Stimulators. From the Bend/Tumalo area to Lake Billy Chinook the best fishing is 6 am to 1 and in the evening from 5 or 6 to dusk.
The Upper Deschutes in the Headwaters stretch is fishing nicely, with some Green Drakes, PMD, Caddis, Ants, Beetles and should be seeing Golden Stone adults any time.
Streamers and Euro Nymphs are quite productive up in the runs, small pools and log jams.
The Crooked is still excellent but the massive caddis hatches are coming to an end. There are still plenty of caddis for the rest of summer, but the blizzard caddis hatch has slowed to a more normal emergence.
PMD and some Mahogany Duns have filled in on the dry fly side.
Euro Nymphing with perditions, jigs, zebra midges and 2 bit hookers is excellent. I heard a really good report of great catch rates on a midge winkler but fished deep instead of in the film as an emerger.
The Fall River is good from the Headwaters, Campground and Hatchery areas. The Tubes and Falls don’t seem as good. Likely reason is that ODFW has not stocked as many fish there because people wouldn’t stop trampling the restoration sites to get to the fish.
The FFP guide team has been getting most of the fish nymphing and streamer fishing. There are some good hatches of PMD’s and Caddis and a few mixed midges and small stoneflies that can be important at any given moment.
The McKenzie is fishing really well. A lot of good dry fly action on Mayfly, Caddis, Stimulators and Chubby’s. The area through the burn seems to be as good as it ever was, just hard to look at in some areas.
Crane Prairie was as good this week as I’ve seen since the 80’s. A few years ago I would only see light to moderate activity of callibaetis, but twice this week I saw 2 of the best callibaetis hatches of any lake, any day I have ever fished. Nymphs, Emergers and Duns were all very important for us.
Balanced Leeches, Damsel Nymphs and Chironomid pupa are important at any time on Crane, but this week it seems the Callibaetis overshadowed everything else.
Hosmer this week was fair. Tonn, Steve, Troy and I all guided here multiple times over the week. There were some fairly good Callibaetis hatches but the fishing was much slower than the week before. Weather trends might have adversely affected the bite, but patience always led to some nice fish, whether that be grinding it out on dries and emergers during the hatches, or being patient with the nymph/indicator rigs. Far and away the best 2 nymphs were a red chironomid and a callibaetis nymph. One day, the static indicator rig just seemed to be something the fish were not going to eat at all, so we switched up to the an intermediate line and stripped nymphs with better luck.
East Lake is fishing a lot better. It looks like ODFW will be stocking new rainbows there the week of 6/21 too.
I am probably going to start guiding there in my drift boat due to low water and tough launching conditions with the bigger Hewes Craft. This is the time of year the Callibaetis hatch is getting off to a great start. Chironomids are important. Certainly you’ll catch a pile of 8 to 12 inch Kokanee, not trying hard, and then the anglers that try a bit harder will find some nice rainbows and Browns in their net at the end of the day too.
This is the year for pontoon boats, float tubes, drift boats and small light boats that are easy to get on and off a trailer at a ramp in shallow conditions. Without the competition from bigger boats the rest of June and a lot of July might make East Lake the perfect place to be actually. Bigger boats should plan to use the Hot Springs ramp and dock and thank the USFS for the extensions they put in there for us and the boulder removal too.
Paulina is good. Not so many Callibaetis, but good on some days in a few places over the weed beds. Leeches, Chironomids, Ants, Beetles and damsel nymphs are all good bets for the lake edges. Seems amazing on a second year of seeing the lake 3 miles to the east (East Lake) so low, yet Paulina so perfectly full of water.
it makes me wonder if East Lake has sprung a leak and seeping in to Paulina through the porous rocks?
Three Creeks Lake is all accessible to the boat ramp and is fishing well for holdovers and wild brook trout.
Leeches, ants and chironomids are the best flies now. Should see the 1st callibaetis hatches of the season with the warming weather this week. Also as we approach our longest day of the year that evening fishery is pretty darn epic on black caddis, midge adults and callibaetis spinners.
Finally, we added a new addition to the FFP family this week. Last night Tina and I welcomed to our family an 8 week old Field Bred (English) Cocker Spaniel to our family. In the fall, when guide season is done and I am actually back in the shop for more than a moment during any week, he will be here to greet people and get to know a lot of new friends. If you follow the FFP Instagram page I posted a photo of the cute little guy last night. Check him out and let me know how you like his (fishy) name.
See you on the water!