What a great week of fishing it has been. We got a taste of fall weather this week and it looks like it’s going to stick around until later next week. We love it, as it just feels better and we know what a good thing it is for water temperatures and the trout we love.
I just got done teaching my Saturday Fly Fishing Clinic at Black Butte Ranch and for the 1st time in ages had shoes and sock, pants and a vest over my t-shirt. Clouds covered the mountains today and I drove through some rain from my house to the Ranch this morning.
This past week we ran our inaugural Trout Camp at East & Paulina Lakes. We set up a camp (the same camp we usually use for our multi-day Lower Deschutes trips) and had 4 guys come up to camp and fish with us. It was an outstanding first go at something I have dreamed of doing for a long time.
Steve and I guided Tom & Terry and Greg & Rod at Paulina on the 1st day, and East Lake on the 2nd day. More about the fishing details later in the blog, but both days were great despite heavy winds the 1st day at Paulina.
As usual, let’s keep it to the home waters and start our talk about the Metolius.
It continues to be very good fishing, and now in the last 1/4 of August we are absolutely rolling into mega hatch time which starts now, rocks the entire month of September and much of October.
Last night on the river there were multiple species of caddis hatching with the fish keyed primarily on to the micro-caddis that were about a size 18. This hatch is something you can expect to see each evening now for several weeks, and both charcoal and pale yellow Iris Caddis #18-20 will be a good match for the hatch. Be prepared for other caddis in size 12-16, Olive and Tan mostly.
Hard to believe it won’t be long until we see the 1st October Caddis of the Fall! Pupa patterns will be getting important in a couple of weeks.
Tons of mayflies, including small Blue Wing Olives #18-22, PMD’s #16, Ameletus #14, Mahogany Duns #16 and spinners at dusk (Rusty 16-18 and Olive 20). It is also possible to see some spinner fall happening in the morning on the Metolius. Usually due to hot weather but possibly due to winds at night. Keep an eye open for sippy rises and assume spinners if you see it.
The 1st emergence of Little Olive Stones is beginning. Just a few. Mega coming soon. Yellow Sally’s are dwindling, but tuck a couple in the box for another few weeks.
Now is the time to gear up for Salmonflies near the Hatchery and some Willowflies to follow. These are big stones, and not a mega hatch like the Deschutes but can be important.
Goldenstones are more prevalent near the Gorge and will creep in to the canyon too. It’s hard to know when they will be around the Hatchery but no one I know has seen them there yet. Guessing September….
At this time, Golden Stone fishing is so-so above Lake Creek, maybe due to much lower water. Fishing in general upriver has been a little off. Not terrible, but we’d like to see higher, more normal flow up there. Pray for snow this winter. Lots and lots of snow.
Nymph fishing throughout the sections (Upper, Middle and Lower River) has been pretty darn good. Goldenstones, Frenchies, Perdigons, 2 Bits, Rainbow Warriors, CDC Guide Hares Ear, Red Copper John, Caddis Pupa and Soft Hackles have all been good lately.
Finally, don’t forget the Bull Trout! Lot’s of them around and they are eating streamers. Pack your 8 weight.
The Crooked River guides are talking about consistent fishing, most days with good PMD hatches and excellent nymph fishing, especially euro nymphing with jigs and perdi’s. The water is running about 200 cfs, and is in good condition and makes for good wading conditions.
Purple Haze, X Caddis, Corn Fed Caddis, Rusty Spinners in the evening, Renegades and Hoppers are great flies to use at different times of the day, and with the Hopper it makes a good indicator to run a PMD Split Case or Micro Mayfly behind.
The Fall River guide team tell me fishing is good to really good most days. The ones that really have it nailed are doing most of the work with small streamers. That said, we never forget how effective a Euro nymphed Jig or Perdigon is in the right place on the Fall!
Fish are looking up in the afternoons to a variety of things, including Yellow Sally’s, PMD’s, BWO’s, Caddis (We have a super cool Peacock Caddis the fish seem to like a lot on the Fall + Henryville’s and Rene Harrop’s Henry’s Fork CDC Caddis).
Don’t forget how Fall River fish (for that matter, most fish around forested rivers) like to eat Ants and Beetles. And Hoppers on the Grassy Bank areas.
The Lower Deschutes is great. Lot’s of nymph opportunities in the morning and afternoon and some dry fly action in the eddies and under the trees on the bank lines during the day. Magic really happens in the evening to dusk with Purple Haze, Hi-Viz Partridge Caddis, Yellow Sparkle Duns and Rusty Spinners.
Nymph a caddis pupa for sure! Money. Lots of good flies besides that but always keep the pupa on the dropper and try some PMD Split Case, Micro May, Perdigons, Soft Hackle PT, Rainbow Warrior and Copper Johns.
The Upper Deschutes between Crane and Little Lava will be open for just another 5 weeks. It has an early closure at the end of September. There is some great opportunities to catch Brook Trout now until it closes, and some really large and feisty whitefish on nymphs. Hatches are light but can include some PMD’s, Yellow Sally’s and Caddis now, and Ants and Beetles are good from time to time.
The McKenzie is smoking hot still. We are hitting a ton of fish on heavy Jigged flies and Soft Hackles. There are good hatches of Caddis and larger #14 yellow mayflies, and seems like everyday we are on the water there there is a smattering of stones that make the fish want to eat a Chubby!
East Lake is fishing really really good. Launching a drift boat or pram is ok, but I launched the 18′ Hewes Craft for the last time there until next spring. The ramps are shallow and that means for bigger boats you have to drive past the concrete and down into the rocks to get the boat off the trailer. I am switching to my Koffler boat for ease of launch and plan to ride out this incredible callibaetis hatch as long as it goes. On most years it goes to mid September looking at my notes. I can tell you this week it showed no signs of being anything other than spectacular.
Besides Callibaetis we got plenty of fish on Beetles too.
So good to be back on my favorite lake! Also so good to see people like Eric (Marion County!) and Paul and others from the fly club and saying hi and enjoying the culture of this special place. It has a vibe because there are so many fly anglers and we have connections that are special that I just don’t see at Paulina where I rarely see other other fly anglers.
BTW, on Thursday AM I had ICE in my boat parked in camp overnight. Water temps are down at 62-63. Good to see and good for the trout.
That said, damn I love Paulina Lake! the Beetle and Hopper fishing this week was really good and we got fish on Red Chironomids, Chromies, Olive Chironomids, Squirmy’s and Watermelon Balanced Leeches.
The New Hot Head Twin Lakes Special stripped on a Camo Line took some fish too.
Look for Callibaetis in the morning and probably about 1 PM too if the wind doesn’t howl.
When I was guiding there on Wednesday this week it was truly like one of my trips to the lakes in Patagonia. But fish like wind and if you and your boat can handle it I will say it is a feeding opportunity. Feeding opportunity is also a fishing opportunity, right?
Hardly anyone is up there fly fishing.
Hosmer is cooling off and that is healthy for the fish. Early morning callibaetis spinner falls and some hatch later in the morning will bring selective trout to the surface. Callibaetis nymphs and Soft Hackles are taking a fair share of fish throughout the day.
Damsels in both nymph and adult stages are still relevant.
I always like small Zebra Midges and Ice Cream Cones up there and usually use a small Corq or NZ Wool indicator for the light takes you’ll be bound to get on a tiny fly. Add some 6x fluorocarbon to the tackle bag when you are headed to Hosmer.
Three Creeks Lake is holding up, and I say that because a lot of times in August until consistent Fall Weather hits us it goes to a bit of a doldrum pattern. Not so far. We are still seeing fish on Callibaetis, and black Caddis, there are still damsels active and still good fishing on leeches and chironomids.
I don’t have a report from Crane Prairie. I am sorry. I haven’t been back yet but I am happy to see some much cooler days and cold nights have hit us throughout the week and staying the same for at least several more days.
Should be good on Leeches and Chironomids. I hope to go too. I’d like to see if there is a 2nd brood of Callibaetis hatching, because this spring and early summer the Callibaetis hatches at Crane were the best of seen since the 80’s and that should mean a great second hatch.
Water temps for sure in the channels ought to be safe by now, and likely in the flats, especially in the morning and probably in the evening too.
OK, ready for my rant for the week? For crying out loud, why don’t people use a hook keeper anymore? All this wrapping the leader around the reel and putting the fly on a snake guide makes no sense to me. I can tell you in my guide boat when a customer wraps it, they get yelled at. HAHA. Not for real, but I wonder why the trend changed because I just don’t see the point in the wrap. At some area of your line or leader has to make a turn and by using the hook keeper there is only one hinge at the tip top. Using the wrap there is a hinge at the tip top and another at the reel, and now instead of 2 lines up and down the rod there are 3 lines, and when you start stacking rods up next to one another in the boat, truck or on the bank they have more of a tendency to tangle with each other. (this is for you Rod!, you did great in boat this week with Steve and I).
So this is good, apparently it was a really good week if this is the worst of it. No bad drivers, boaters, low holer’s or jerks.
Life is good.
See you on the water,