It’s Folk Festival weekend in Sisters. I got home from my guide trip last night and we headed out on the town to listen to some great music. All the town is a stage and it feels vibrant and good here. We are lucky.
We are also lucky to have so much good fishing here, all within an hour or so of Sisters.
The Metolius of course is the place we feel is our home waters. I was out monday with Tina and some friends and loved the good hatches we saw all afternoon! I have heard from people all week that the hatches have been really good this week, including Flav’s which I had assumed were done, but march on. PMD’s, BWO’s and Mahogany Duns are all reliable early october hatches and you’ll want to make sure you have emergers, cripples, duns and spinners to match them if you’re planing a trip to the Met in the next 2 weeks.
A lot of caddis still, from #16 Tan and Grey to a lot more big October Caddis that are size 8’s (maybe some a bit larger). The fish seem to prefer the pupa mostly on the big orange fall caddis, but the smaller caddis the trout love the adults as much as the pupa stages. Stonefly action is winding down, but certainly carry some Clark’s Stones in an 8-10 as they imitate Golden Stones and do a fine job imitating Oct Caddis Adults too.
A lot of nymph action, from Perdigons, Jigs, 2 Bits, Micro May’s, Caddis Pupa, Golden Stone Nymphs and Eggs as more Kokanee are funneling up river from the Lake to spawn.
Bull Trout on Streamers is good. 8 weight rods and sink tips are weapons of choice for swinging, but there is game in a 6 or 7 weight switch rod, a floating line and indicator set up with a streamer, leech or little red nymph pattern.
The Lower Deschutes is good for trout from Warm Springs all the way to Maupin. Good float trip opportunities, and good drive in and wade options in so many access points like boat ramps, camp grounds and others.
Nymph action is by far the most productive now, with Girdle Bugs, Stonefly Nymphs, October Caddis Pupa, Sparkle Pupa, Fox’s Poopah, 2 Bit’s, Flashback PT, Perdigons, Jigs and Soft Hackles.
Look for risers in the eddies and bank seams. Certainly a BWO hatch or caddis hatch can bring fish to the surface there.
Steelhead fishing is officially closed on the Lower Deschutes until 12/31/2021. I’ll talk more about that at the end of the report.
The Middle Deschutes is running a bit higher now that irrigation season has ended. This adds to some better streamer activity for sure, and opens up some of the runs for better nymphing. For the next month it is certainly a good spot to put on the list to fish. I’d expect some hatches of PMD’s, BWO’s and Caddis.
The Upper Deschutes is now Closed for the Season.
The Fall River is fishing well too, October is one of my favorite months to be on the Fall. BWO hatches are good, PMD’s are dwindling but may prove important from time to time over the next few weeks. Midges and Caddis round out probable hatch action you should see on most days. Ants and Beetles and Hippie Stompers are good dries to show too.
Euro Nymphing and Streamers are great. I’m always a fan of an Egg fly in the Fall on the Fall (ha).
Try getting up early and beating the crowds. Certainly it is less busy now than a month ago, but there is nobody there in the early AM or after about 4. That’s a treat.
The Crooked River water levels are fluctuating as irrigation season has ended. Yesterday it was down to a meager 40 something CFS but I see today it has been bumped back to 78 CFS. This is what we worried about in the drought once farming demands are over, no one cares about the fish. 78 works ok. Let’s hope they leave it there and wet weather hits soon.
BWO, PMD, Mahogany Duns, and Midges are all important. Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Scuds, and Skinny Nelson are great nymphs. Whitefish spawn is coming soon, and that is excellent action with eggs when they start pairing up on the redds. Until then, stick with the hatch matching stuff and little nymphs. When the water goes low, it can be an advantage in the some of the seams between the weed beds to fish directly upstream with a single nymph and a NZ Wool Indicator.
The McKenzie is fishing hot, with great catches coming while angling from the boat and dead drifting nymphs. Dry Droppers and some streamers are working too. October Caddis are becoming more abundant on the McKenzie.
Hosmer Lake is still a good bet, water temps are high 40’s to mid 50’s depending on which part of the lake you are in and what the night time lows were. Brookies are schooling for the spawn and Cutthroat and Rainbows are spread out over both lakes and the channel. We got fish on Red 2 Bit’s, Wormy’s, Leeches and Scuds this week. Fish were rising here and there, most likely to waterboatman when it was aggressive and splashy, but the sips were and remain a mystery as to what they eating. Be prepared for stripping leeches and nymphs on a Camo Intermediate line and also fishing under an indicator.
Crane Prairie is decent at both ends, so near the resort side in the Deschutes Channel area, and over on the Rock Creek and Quinn side. Stripping leeches on a Camo Line is good. Pine Squirrel Leeches are becoming a favorite of mine here at Crane and other lakes too. Indicator action is always a good bet at Crane with Balanced Leeches. Chironomids are slowing down but on warm days should remain important until it ices over. Water Boatman, Dragon Fly Nymphs, Blobs, Scuds and Leeches are your October flies to work through. Channel Marker Buoys were taken out in Mid September. These are the 4 foot tall white buoys that have a reminder of the 10mph speed limit and indicate the channel areas at Deschutes, Cultus, Quinn, and other areas on the lake. They are also good in the wind for navigating to find your boating line. I am super unimpressed with whatever government agency took them out five or six weeks before the end of the season and have made contact with the DSCO Marine Patrol and the OSMB and got zero response as to why important markers in the lake would be removed so early before the end of the fishing season. Total crap if you ask me.
East Lake just got harder to access due to the fact USFS closed the Cinder Hill Campground including the boat ramp. WIth the boulders and the massive & thick mat of weed bed off the Hot Springs Ramp most boats now are going to have a hard time getting in and out. Float Tubes and Pontoons Boats will be fine and fishing is good. Fish the edges with leeches and streamers. Beetles and Ants are good until it really starts freezing up. I had a Facebook memory pop up this AM from four or five years ago that showed me and a client named Gerry up there in the snow, 34 degrees and I remember vividly that we took fish on beetles that day too. Up until Gerry waved the White Flag and surrendered and said let’s go home.
Paulina Lake Campground is closed but the Boat Ramps there and at Little Crater remain open. The bathrooms at PL CG are closed. That is stupid. Where does the USFS think people are going to use the bathroom if they lock them up on the 1st of October? C’mon USFS, there is a MONTH OF FISHING SEASON LEFT. That is apathetic and lazy and shows the public doesn’t matter to you. (Can you tell I am mad? I am). Fishing is good. Stripping Leeches on Sinking Lines this week was my #1, but we rose a bunch of fish on Beetles yesterday and I know our guide Tonn did too the day before. My favorite Watermelon Leech under an indicator accounted for some fish to the net yesterday as well. Lately a hot headed leech has been the ticket, but yesterday they shied away from any leech with a hot bead and ate the subdued colors.
So, if our fishing season goes until 10/31 or so, year after year, I think we need to demand Channel Marker Buoys, Docks, Bathrooms, and let “them” know they work for us. We pay the taxes and fees to have those open, and to have safe places to boat and fish. My winter project is to work on solutions so this may not happen in the future. Starting the closing process for our public places in September and October weeks before many of us are done using these places is not cool.
Now that I am fired up, let me tell you something that turned my stomach yesterday at Paulina. An angler in a nice, expensive jet boat was fishing around the edges as I like to do. He was fishing lures (that is fine by me), but what is not fine was he was killing all that he caught.
But that’s not the whole story. He wouldn’t put the trout out of its misery and respect the life of the fish, and honor the gift of the meal it would provide. Instead he put the live fish on a stringer and drug them along side the boat, flopping for their lives against the thin metal of the clip that held them there to eventually die.
What a total ass hat.
I’ve taken many trout home for dinner over the last 50 years, but if you kill something to eat, you kill it, not continue to torture it. Bonk the damn thing in the head with a club/fish bonker and get it over with.
That is all.
Don’t be mean, tip your guide and have a nice day.