I took the day off the lakes today, concerned for the fish in the heat. So let’s start talking about the major heat wave hitting the the region now, and what’s safe for fishing and what we ought to leave alone until we see a cool down.
I’m quite concerned for the fish in Crane Prairie, Hosmer, East Lake and what’s left of Wickiup, (and many other lakes). Ethically, we are catch & release anglers for a reason. We want to see trout survive. We want to share that catch with someone to also catch in the future. We want to see that fish grow, and spawn, and be apart of an ecosystem that we all cherish.
As water temperatures will soar to levels potentially lethal to our trout in the next few days, we need to step back and let these trout rest, and find refuge in colder, deeper waters. Sure, you and I can go find them on the thermocline, but we’d have to fight them up to the surface and release them back in that unhealthy water. For what?
There are still good places to fish through the heat. Places that year after year have proven resilient to very hot weather patterns. Obviously the spring creeks (Metolius and Fall) stay very cold, the headwaters of small rivers and creeks (upper D, Upper McKenzie, Upper North Santiam) do well too. Cold water coming from reservoirs called tail water rivers ( Lower Deschutes from WS to Wapinitia and Crooked River) are good at this time too. Paulina and 3 Creeks might hold up ok for a few really hot days, but even so, going early and late ought to be part of the plan.
Metolius green drakes are about done. Many of the afternoon hatches are shifting towards evening in the middle and lower river. PMD’s, Baetis, Caddis, yellow sally’s are all over the river. Golden Stones are beginning to show in small numbers on the upper river. Salmonflies are often found below Bridge 99 about 4th of July.
Fall River is seeing some good days. Standard summer stuff, euro nymphing is the best, dry fly action is limited somewhat from the fact those big stockers don’t rise very well to the hatches. That’s not to say there is no dry fly action, but we sure wish it was like the old days. Streamer fishing is good, and can be a lot of fun to watch the trout chase down a sculpin or leech.
The Lower Deschutes at Warm Springs saw a range fire start yesterday at the old Warm Springs Mill site. It was 600 acres this morning but it sounds like we dodged the big one as things are reopening today. Fishing is very good on Caddis now. There are PMD’s and Evening Duns too. Nymphing is solid and some really nice trout are being caught.
We recommend resting the middle Deschutes for the time being, or at least only fishing it from dawn to about 11. Think about a voluntary hoot owl restriction this coming week.
The Crooked runs cold, but still going early or late will be better for your comfort in that canyon. Wet wading days are here. Hatches are late in the day, with some Caddis and PMD’s and rusty spinners bringing fish to the top to feed. Nymphing is the best option for sure. The split back PMD is one of our top picks now, but a mix of small brown or olive perdigons, scuds and zebra midges are good.
The McKenzie is fishing great. For walk and wade access try the areas upstream of McKenzie Bridge. This is the time of year you’ll see Green Drakes up there. Caddis, a mix of mid-size stones and some yellow mayflies will round out your day box. The river below McKenzie Bridge is best floated in a drift boat, and is seeing all the above mentioned flies but the drakes are done there.
I’m guessing about where things will end up at Paulina after the extreme heat, but I think areas of the lake will remain in the safe zone ( under 68 degrees F). This week we saw great days on beetles, Chironomids, callibaetis nymphs and a little bit of leech action. Water temps started the week at 62, and went to 58 Tuesday after some significant thunderstorms churned over the volcano Monday night. It is a deep lake with lots of cold water reserve, it’s my top choice for a quick bounce from the heat.
I’m also hopeful for 3 Creeks Lake due to the size of the lake and it’s elevation. Right now it is prime and fishing is good. Callibaetis, black Caddis, midges (red is best), damsel nymphs, leeches and terrestrials are fishing well there. ODFW has recently stocked rainbow trout for the season. Karinda is planning to have the boat rentals available this weekend. She’s the new owner of the store and is someone we want to support.
I really hope you’ll give some rest to East Lake, Hosmer, Crane, Lava (which sucks anyway and side note ODFW believes they had a winter kill), Davis and others this week. The fish will be stressed. I fished Crane yesterday, it was hard to find cold water. Fishing was slow. The algae was terrible too.
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