Fishing Update 7/31/2021

Happy Saturday everyone. This week we have plenty to talk about, both good news and bad. As I write this it is raining here in Sisters. That is a very welcome sight. A few days ago at Paulina Lake it rained all day, and often pretty hard. That also helped drop the water temps at East and Paulina. I wish we would see a month of rains for the benefit of all water users throughout our region.

On the Metolius, hatches are good, and should be getting better as we move into August. All the years I have fished the Metolius, the hatches are always noticeably better in August then they were in July. Then the really good stuff comes in September, but we will save that story for another report. A teaser if you will…
What we are seeing now includes: PMD #16, BWO #20-22, Pink Lady #16, Ameletus #14-16, Tan Caddis #16-18, Olive Caddis #16-18, Black/Dark Gray Caddis #18-20, Yellow Sally #14-18, Golden Stones #8-10, a stray Salmonfly that can be locally important #4-8, Rusty Spinners #16-18, Olive Spinners #20
You will want to match all of this from bottom to top, including emergers and cripples for the mayflies and caddis.
Spinner falls are occurring at dusk.
I think even more lake run Bull Trout have arrived in the river. It is pretty cool to see so many.
If you have not taken up Euro Nymphing on the Metolius, you really should do it. It is a way to get some incredible drifts and takes you just can’t achieve with an indicator rig.

Over at the Fall River the fishing continues to be very good this summer. A good mix of techniques will serve you well for your time on the water. Streamers? Yes. Dries. Yes. Nymphs? Heck yes!
Afternoon caddis and mayfly hatches continue. Mostly a PMD emerger or cripple #16, but Olive X Caddis and Henryville Caddis in a size 16-18, ants, beetles, hoppers and a good chance for an early evening BWO hatch before the rusty spinners hit at dusk.
Have you stopped by the shop to check out the Jig Mini Leeches I wrote about a few reports ago. Super good at Fall River now. Also an Airflo Poly Leader sink tip with one of our new Pine Squirrel Leeches is a total hit with the fish!

Crooked River is running at 200 cfs as they attempt to conserve some water in the reservoir. For now that is good. And the fishing is good. PMD hatches mixes with some caddis, mahogany duns, hoppers, Purple Haze and rusty spinners for your dry fly games, and zebra midges, Split Case PMD, Rainbow Warrior, Perdigons, scuds, micro may’s, 2 bits and tiny PT’s for the nymphs.
Best fishing is from the dam down to MP 12.
This is a river to watch for very low flows over the winter and one we are concerned about by December if we don’t get some good fall and winter rains going.

The Lower Deschutes from Warm Springs to Trout Creek continues to be good. So often this time of year the day time fishing is hit and miss and the evening fishing is outstanding. I talked to a few people this week who fished it and it was surprisingly excellent even during the mid day for 2/3rds of them. The other third said he whacked ’em on dries in the evening so he didn’t care what the day was like. I was talking to some folks who went out with our guide Ben and they had a fantastic day, and I asked if they stayed until dark and they said no, they didn’t need to. Fishing was good mid day. Every experience and every day is a little different , but trends this time of year get fish moving under trees, and in back eddies and in shallows below weed beds feeding on small caddis, PMD’s, and sometimes Pale Evening Dun spinners mid day. Later afternoon will see the PED hatch up to sunset along with a lot more caddis coming off.
We’d say Euro Nymphing is certainly out numbering the traditional indicator or dry dropper techniques but all have a seat at the table. Fish are eating a lot of caddis pupa now.
I saw an Facebook Post where a known Jet Boat guide was tagged, his clients were holding a wild steelhead out of the water yesterday. Seriously, what the F*** is going on for someone to be that stupid? Water near 70 or more, that fish has travelled through 2 dams and the heat of the columbia river, and that’s how you treat a wild fish. I am hopeful we will have a steelhead season in October and November and probably December too. I ask my friends and customers and guides to wait for cooler weather, cooler water and a sign the run is improving. Right now it is all bad.
Buy a trout spey and swing soft hackles and small streamers for trout upriver from South Jct. but leave the steelhead alone for now.

The Middle Deschutes from Bend to Lake Billy Chinook is a good bet from dawn to lunch and from 6 to dark.
Purple Haze, Yellow Sparkle Dun, X Caddis, Corn Fed Caddis, small purple or olive Stimulators and my personal favorite the Renegade will take fish on top.
Perdigons, Jigs, Psycho Prince, Copper Johns, Spilt Back PMD and BWO Micro May’s for nymphing.

I am curious to hear if anyone has fished the Upper D from Tenino to Bull Bend. With all the fish that escaped Wickiup last fall, I wonder what is happening there?

The Headwaters area of the Upper Deschutes is fishing pretty well. Nymphing the holes for whitefish and brook trout has been productive on Perdigons and Euro Jigs. Go with one fly on a 4 foot section of 6x fluorocarbon for good results. Why one fly? a few reasons: a lot of slimy green growth in some of the runs makes it way easier to maintain the clean fly than having to clean 2 at a time. #2, a better drift with one when you are steering the fly over obstacles like logs and weeds. #3, some of the spots you’ll cast to are T-I-G-H-T with cover over the water. One fly is easier to snake in tight spots, and one fly is also not so hard on the pocket book (not to mention heart) to lose!
Water is cold and running well. Not much dry fly action but at times a PMD hatch or an attractor like a Stimulator or even a Clark’s Stone will turn a fish up. Ants are a good bet on forest rivers always.

I am really happy to report Paulina has been in the safe zone water temp wise all week on the 4 days I fished it.
Ranged from 64 to 67 at the surface all week! Boom.
Also, happy to see the callibaetis coming off well now. It isn’t like East that has massive Callibaetis hatches in June, tapering in July, and starting again in August and September. It may be a single brood lake? I am learning more about it every year, this being year #2 that I have adopted it as my favorite place to guide.
Last season I saw the same thing, with the best Callibaetis hatches in August. So, we are almost to August and here they are. Be early and fish the hatch about 7 am to maybe 9, with a good possibility of seeing them again after lunch until about 4.
Hoppers were better than beetles this week. The young guy I guided with his dad yesterday did have a strong finish on Beetles yesterday.
Watermelon Leech and Red 2 Bit and Chironomids are all great now under an indicator from 3 to 20 feet under.
I am still hot on stripping Hot Beaded Leeches on type 3 and type 5 full sink lines.
Dry Damsels were a lot of fun a couple of times this week. I expect more of that this month of August.
We did some wind drifting over weed beds with a Hover line yesterday. That is good too so set your boat up with a Sea Anchor/Drogue/Drift Sock (regional terms for the same tool) and get after that. Also the drogue (my preferred term) will allow you to fish Loch Style and show the fish flies before they ever see the boat. I am doing this more and more on most of our lakes with good success.

East Lake is looking up, water temps are better and my feeling that by next week we may be in a way better position there. It is still easy to launch a drift boat, pram, pontoon or tube. Bigger boats are having trouble. Hot Springs is the best place for a bigger boat. Dual Axle trailered boats have less of a chance at any ramp. My 18 foot Hewes is about it for Hot Springs, and a no go at EL CG or Cinder Hill. SO….if you have a smaller boat, leave the Hot Springs for the bigger boats and share the space wisely.
There are a lot of Callibaetis on East now.
Beetles, Ants and Hoppers are good.
Damsels are good. Dry too.
Chironomids are good from 14 to 20 feet.
August is a time I’ve done really well at 18 to 20 feet under the indicator with the Rowley’s Blood Worm or one I tie that has an articulated tail.
I’m going to be watching East for some improving fishing and consider it often over the next month.

I am going to rest Hosmer and Crane for another week. I think better water temps are coming. Let’s invest in the future and keep giving them a break.
Crane is down to 74% pool. Lowest surface temps I heard this week was 69.
Really bad is Wickiup. 7% pool. Have zero idea on water temps but it’s done for the year. We need piped canals and better water laws and less Hobby Farms that are nothing more than tax shelters.

Three Creeks Lake is fishing good, callibaetis hatches are rolling along at less of a pace than earlier in July but still an important summer food source for a mountain trout lake. Black Caddis #16-18, Midges (Griffiths Gnat and a Red Century Drive Midge for dries), small Hares Ear under an indicator 24 to 36 inches or run off the back of a hopper or hippie stomper is a good summer combo.
Balanced Leeches and Chironomids under an indicator in deeper areas, especially around the boulders just south of the store and headed towards the beach area. It’s been fun fishing and worth the trip.
Look for damsels to be important too. I almost forgot to mention that. This time of year, every lake angler should be trying dry damsels along with damsel nymphs.

Other lakes to try this month: Todd Lake by Mt Bachelor (float tube). Meadow and Island Lake by Hoodoo (float tube). Round Lake between the Metolius and Hoodoo (float tube). Clear Lake on the McKenzie Pass (drift boat or towable pontoon-very very very cold water). All good August lakes and I know worth your time, even over the last week or two in the hotter weather.

I hope to see you on the water or in the shop. I took the week off, this was planned for months when I saw how busy my guide season was in May, June and July and again in the Fall. So this week I’ll be on the Metolius a little, taking Tina and the new puppy Drake to Paulina for his 1st boat ride and then off to SD for some Padres Baseball and fishing Mission Bay with my good friend Bookshelf (Joe).
Keep an eye out for our next newsletter and blog post about the massive importance of a good system of Lake Fishing lines. The days of having the same floating line you use for dries on the Deschutes be the best option for lakes is over, and way too many lake anglers don’t have a sinking line any faster than a clear camo. I can help you catch more fish.

Be well, pray for rain!

Jeff

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