Good sunday morning from a sunny and chilly Sisters, OR. It’s been a few weeks since the last update. Between our Mexico trip, then catching up a little at the shop finishing orders for 2022, but mostly to catch up on pine needle raking, cleaning gutters and burning needles, it has been a full time job with no time for fishing since we’ve been back. That my friends is a big bummer. It seems to be the same every fall. Guide season ends, and pine needle season begins.
I do have lots of great information to share however. Reports I have gleaned from friends, guides, fella’s from the shop and reliable sources. As reliable as a fly angler can be, you know.
I am going to start on the Metolius with this email I got from my really close friend Chester Allen, who is a published fishing writer and since recently moving back to Central Oregon (Chester was my main fishing buddy in the 80’s and very early 90’s) has adopted the Metolius as his home waters. Here is his report from Saturday 11/20/21:
Nerdiness aside, this afternoon from 11:55 pm to 2:14 pm was one of the best Metolius sessions of my life.
The river was very quiet, aside from the drunken cries and sloshing casts from a group of 12 — count ’em — elderly friends from Southern Oregon who turned the Dolly Hole into their own private frat party.
I hurried downstream, and sat by an eddy to rig up and watch the water.
Ten minutes later, at least four fish were rising in the bubbly seam.
Ten more minutes later, waves of BWO — mostly #20 — were bobbing around, and the trout were so happy. So was I. This was one of heaviest emergences I’ve ever seen on the Metolius. About an hour in, Cingymula — size 18 — made a surprise appearance, along with a size 22 BWO. The fish mostly stuck to the #20 BWO.
Was it just yesterday that I was saying the hatch window was closing? Not today. Fish were up for almost 2.5 hours, and scattered risers were still working on the remains in one of the little eddies just upstream — the one I call Evil Bastards.
I’ve been fishing my old Sage 389LL a lot this fall, It is the ultimate tippet-protecting rod, and it remains one of the most intuitive rods I’ve ever fished — not cast, fished. The other rod has been my Sage Trout 490LL.
Going back tomorrow, but I don’t expect a repeat. But I am hoping.
That is an inspiring bit of writing from my friend. He also reported that earlier in the week in the stretch below Allingham there were still a number of small #18 olive stones hatching and floating on the surface and that he had 2 days of good dry fly fishing with the little stones, fish preferring them to any mayflies of caddis that were also hatching.
Key Statement: Be prepared for anything, including October Caddis in a #8-12, Grey Caddis #12-14, Tan Caddis #16 and even PMD’s in a #16.
Bull Trout fishing has been better than average, Brad, Tonn and Eric from the shop have been putting the time in and catching some beauties, and our good friend Jake landed one of the broadest shouldered Bulls I’ve ever seen on a big streamer the other day.
Generally the hatch window is shorter in the later fall and winter, with an average dry fly session lasting 20 minutes to an hour. So, be prepared to set up a nymph rod too. Golden Stones, Oct Caddis Pupa, smaller Caddis Pupa, Micro May’s, Red Copper John, Eggs, 2 Bit’s, Perdigons, Jigs and Zebra Midges should all make your winter box complete. One other tid bit of info for winter nymphers, BLUE is a great color in the light spectrum as the sun is lower in the horizon. Try tying a Blue Jig, Blue Zebra Midge or buy some Blue Prince Nymphs and give Blue a try next time you’re on the Metolius (or other rivers).
One last reminder, the Upper river from Allingham Bridge upstream to the headwaters is closed now until May 22. I enjoyed hearing that the OSP Game Warden was out patrolling it the other day and caught up with a few illegal anglers. Be aware of closed waters and do the right thing for fish.
The Fall River is fishing great, with some afternoon BWO hatches bringing fish up to the surface.
This week the hatchery was closed for a few days due to some tree falling work, so not to worry it is not a long term closure like the early Pandemic days.
Nymphing and streamer action has been really good on the fall. Euro Jig Streamers and Pine Squirrel Leeches are hot flies over there. Jigs and Perdigons and Zebra Midges (especially the 2 bead ones) are fantastic on a tight line/euro rig or with an indicator.
With the really cold mornings most people are not getting there until 11’ish. That is an opportunity to get some fishing in early before the crowds. The hatches will come during the warmer part of the day, but the nymphs and streamers will work well early. Dress warm my adventurous friends.
The Crooked River is still running steady at 51 cfs. and that isn’t too bad. Of course we’d love to see it a little higher, but the fish are doing well at this flow.
Hatches of mayflies are dwindling for the most part, but a later afternoon midge hatch and a light mix of BWO is possible. Midges need to be imitated in all stages from drifting pupa, emerging pupa, adult and possibly even crippled emergers. 7X is a darn good idea for a better drift and fooling more fish.
Scuds, Zebra Midges, Micro May #18-20 Dark Olive and Black and Perdigons are all super. Eggs are mission critical now as the whitefish spawn is in full swing.
The Lower Deschutes from Warm Springs to Trout Creek is open on River Right, with no access on the WS Reservation now until 4/22/22. Anything on the East Bank or east of the main channel is open, including some of the islands on the 10 mile drift.
Stonefly Nymphs, October Caddis, Perdigons, Blue Prince and small streamers, including sculpin and crayfish imitations are all good.
Steelhead fishing is closed and please adhere to the closure to protect the run and allow the fish to safely reach their spawning grounds.
I had lunch with a couple of my good lake fishing friends friday in Sisters, Tim and Gary. Gary is recovering from shoulder surgery and is not able to fish quite yet, but Tim is still hitting the lakes and said he was at South Twin and is still catching some fish on leeches. Trolling with a kick boat or float tube is a good bet to cover water and put your fly in front of spread out fish.
South and North Twin should definitely be on your list for a while longer, just pick a warmer day and go enjoy the crowd free lakes for another week or 2. The 10 day forecast shows nothing that would shut off fishing or access yet.
Often in the late fall, a red balanced leech is a good fish catcher under an indicator. Timmy said he was fishing a version of an Olive Bugger tied with Goat. He’s an old goat so that makes sense.
2 other stillwater recommendations are Haystack, where my friend Skip went and had decent action on Olive Balanced Leeches and Suttle Lake near the Link Creek confluence. Big Browns there on Suttle that are hard to catch but will provide inspiration as they jump and swirl around your tube or boat.
Well, I am off to stack fire wood. We had a couple of cords delivered Friday and I need to get it in the shed before the next rain comes Monday night.
Hope to see you in the shop or on the water soon.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends out there!