Labor Day fishing report 9/3/2021

Good morning angling friends, I am betting a lot of you are planning a weekend trip to fish, or some of you are going to wait out the holiday and head to your favorite places early next week when the crowds thin out.
I am headed to the Metolius for some camping and fishing with Tina and our good friends Clell and Dove through Monday, and we are really looking forward to fishing each day, and eating great food in camp together each night.
So, with weekend plans on the Horizon (for you and for me), I needed to get the weekly report out a day early.

The Metolius is seeing a big increase in Green Drake hatch activity. There are 2 distinctly different “drakes”, and size is a big factor in matching the hatch. It get’s complicated when they are both hatching in the same hole and at the same time. But that is the game we play. The bigger drakes are #10 and the smaller Flav’s are #14’s. Emergers, Cripples and Duns are all important and from day to day, hatch to hatch, weather conditions and light intensity, you may find one fly worked well yesterday but not as good as another pattern tomorrow. Do you love that? I do.
PMD’s #16 (nymph/emerger/cripple/duns/ and Rusty Spinners)
BWO’s #18 (nymph/emerger/cripple/duns/ and Olive or Rusty Spinners)
Mahogany Duns #16
SO MANY Caddis #18 (Yellow) #18 (Charcoal) #16 (Olive) #14-18 (Tan) #8-12 (Orange). Deep Pupa, Emerging Pupa, Adults, Egg Layers and Spent Caddis are all important flies to have in the box. It’s not just a simple matter of tying on an Elk Hair Caddis on technical Spring Creeks.
Also the Little Olive Stoneflies are everywhere now. If you see fish rising a lot and you can’t decipher what in the heck they are eating, lean close to the water and look to see if little stones are floating by, bedraggled in the film. If so, a small Olive CDC Caddis, Hemingway, or Double Wing CDC Stone is good. We often trim the hackles flat on the bottom to get the effect of the low floater.
Golden Stones, Salmonflies and the really big Willow Flies are on the menu and can be locally important deepening on what spot you are fishing. It seems the lower water in the Upper River above Lake Creek has moved fish down river, there just isn’t the holding water to keep them protected in that upper mile and half maybe. I do know for sure that this summer the Golden Stones (a typical staple) have not been as productive way up river.
Nymph action is very productive at Non-Hatch times with Euro Nymphs.
Bull Trout fishing is good to very good with Streamers.
We are in the best 6 to 8 week period of fishing of the year on the Metolius in my experience.

The Lower Deschutes trout action is good, our guides are seeing good morning nymphing action, extending to the afternoon and then seeing a slot of caddis, decent PMD’s, some straggler Pale Evening Duns and midges. In the afternoon look for bank feeders under overhanging trees and especially in eddies. In the evening dry fly risers will be in a lot of water types from riffles, runs and eddies.
The fish seem to be looking for small black stonefly nymphs now. So a Girdle Bug with a Caddis Pupa dropper is a great combo. Flashback PT’s, Perdigons, Jigs, Copper John, 2 Bits and Split Case Emergers. Warm Springs to Maupin is all good.

The Middle Deschutes is in great shape from Bend down to Lake Billy Chinook. Morning, Afternoon and Evening fishing is all good. Like the Lower D, morning is going to be a nymph show, with a heavy emphasis on Euro Styles.
PMD and BWO hatches are strong in many places and a good number of later summer caddis are out. I love Purple Hazes and Float & Fool for attractors. A few places around Tumalo can offer some good hopper action.

The Upper Deschutes is open for just shy of a month now. That area down from Little Lave Lake near the Blue Hole is a neat spot on a fall day, as the Brook Trout and Whitefish can get pretty thick up in there. Usually nymphing is our best bet up there, but the streamer options can be pretty fun too.

The Fall River is good. It is a “trout hunter” situation, stalking the banks and looking for the fish. That is super cool to me. Small Streamers on a sink tip or short Airflo Poly Leader is killer. Euro Nymphing is too. There have been some good hatches of PMD’s and BWO’s and Caddis. Look for these other things to be important too: Hoppers, Ants, Beetles, Yellow Sally’s, Midges, Olive Caddis and Mahogany Duns.

The McKenzie is great fishing. We’ve been spending a ton of days in the Blue River/Finn Rock area and nymphing up a bunch of nice trout. Hatches are good, with a mix of Caddis, Stones, Yellow Mayflies and even a few Drakes.

The PMD hatches on the Crooked are just excellent now and should remain strong for quite a while as we will also add increasingly good hatches of BWO’s there too. Afternoon dry fly action is usually spot on! Nymphing is great too, Split Case PMD’s, 2 Bit’s, Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Rainbow Warriors, Scuds and Skinny Nelsons.

East Lake is just excellent with Callibaetis now. Fish the hatch from 9 am to 2 or 3. Might last for several hours on any given day, and it could be shorter on some days, but fish are looking for emergers and duns and spinners of our favorite lake mayfly. When I guided there 2 days ago, after the hatch we worked the fish with black beetles #14 and got into some great fish on that too, and a couple on Ants.

Speaking of Ants, Ants and Hoppers were our best flies at Paulina Lake this week. Not many Callibaetis this week at Paulina so that is slowing down but not to worry if the fish want to eat terrestrials. Black and Watermelon Balanced Leeches, Red 2 Bits, Chironomids in various sizes and colors but especially Red #14, Olive #16-18 and Brown #16. Still some damsel action on warm days.

Hosmer Lake is great, good action on Chironomids, Mayfly nymphs (but no hatch), Leeches, Water Boatman and Damsels. Fish rising may come to ants, adult damsels and certainly consider floating water boatman now for fall conditions.

Three Creeks Lake is also good. Nice fish being caught every day and surprisingly a lot of callibaetis hatches too.
Leeches, Chironomids and Flashback PT’s are very good, and prepare to fish the columns using every line from a Hover, Intermediate, Type 3 and maybe a Type 5 with something you want to move quickly like a Booby Fly. This weekend is sure to be quite crowded up there. The Store and Boat Rentals will close after monday and that ought to make the lake a really quiet place to spend a fall day until it freezes up.

Crane Prairie is hot and warm. My friends were there a couple of days before I went this week and could not get over how hard the fish were taking balanced leeches and how many they caught. We went and it was fair. We got them on Balanced leeches and wind drifting a Vampire Leech. Water temps are great, water levels are low but quite fishable. I look forward to more fall days on Crane.

Be kind to one another on the water and at the boat ramps. Hope to see you on the water.

Jeff

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