Well, like with so many things, this winter is a blessing and a curse. I was so excited about our summer with water being more abundant after weeks and weeks of storms back in December and at the New Year.
Then, January was one of the driest and warmest on record, and we went from 130% of normal snow pack to 95% today.
All I can say is, pray for snow.
But, as it is right now, it is really nice weather for fishing, so that’s what we might as well be doing.
For several years now we’ve run a spring special on guided trips for $100 off Fall River and Crooked River trips. We usually start in March and go until April 21st, but Brad and I decided there is no reason not to start the specials now with this gorgeous weather. So, if you want to get an early trip on the water with one of the FFP guides and save some money in the process, now is a good time.
The Metolius is just fishing very well. Most afternoons there is a decent to good Blue Wing Olive hatch about 1 PM. You’ll also run into October Caddis, Snow Sedge and Silver Stripe Sedge (the latter are smaller cousins to the Oct Caddis), some smaller grey caddis and most likely a mix of stoneflies with the Little Winter Black Stones being the predominate Stonefly at this time.
Nymphing has been producing the most fish on any given day. Most success is coming on Olive Perdigons, Golden Stone Nymphs, Small Hares Ears, Caddis Pupa, Eggs, BWO nymphs (like a Micro Mayfly or 2 Bit in Dark Olive).
We always lean towards Euro Nymphing, but certainly in some places a Strike Indicator is a great idea.
Streamer fishing has remained the best for Bull’s. Not that they won’t eat a well drifted nymph, because they sure will! Black streamers have been fishing the best I’d say.
The Fall River is also fishing pretty well, especially with small streamers. Nymph action has been good for sure, and with Euro techniques you’ll really be able to pinpoint individual fish you spot. That element to me is so exciting. How about you?
The 2 best hatches at this time are very small black midges and small black stones. February can be good for BWO’s on the Fall but you need to be in the right place at the right time so far. Maybe in the coming days the BWO’s will turn on more? We would imagine they will…. That said, a well drifted Olive Knock Down Dun on 7x will get the trout to look even if there are not a lot of baetis apparent in the drift or flying around.
Keep an eye on some orange caddis #12 (probably the same Snow Sedge species we see on the Met), and some grey caddis #14-16 on the warmest days.
Speaking of warm days, next week (Feb 6th to 11th) is supposed to see really warm days in the 50’s and 60’s.
The Crooked River so far is not really turning on. Fishing is a bit slow from what we have seen. Not to say it isn’t worth a try, but don’t go and expect a 20 fish day at this time. I’d guess by March that will be a way different story.
Midges in the late afternoon will be the #1 hatch at this time. Be ready with pupa (Zebra Midges down deep & Winklers near or at the surface), emergers (Century Drive Midge and Palomino) and adults (Griffiths Gnat and Black Midge). Oh, and bring your 7x.
Water is low and cold.
The Maupin area of the Lower Deschutes is worth the drive, especially heading up from town towards the Locked Gate. Euro Nymphing the runs and riffles is good.
Perdigons, Jigs, Caddis Pupa ands Caddis Larva (think Green Rock Worm) and Stonefly Nymphs are all good.
I’ve said this before, but years ago I had zero interest in Football, so I skipped the Super Bowl and headed to Maupin on that Sunday. It was warm and cloudy and there was an awesome hatch of BWO’s with fish sipping in the eddies. These days, I do follow Football and will likely will be home next Sunday watching the game and rooting for the Rams. But I’ll be wondering if those fish are looking up….
I have heard good things coming from Lake Billy Chinook. Stripping Leeches, and fishing nymphs under an indicator in the Deschutes Arm Boat Ramp area, and possibly the Crooked Launch area as well. It sounded very intriguing. Is your boat ready? Mine is winterized so I am not sure what to do.
Other friends caught some gorgeous rainbows on leeches at Prineville Reservoir this week.
Haystack is definitely worth a shot along the edges.
Prineville and Haystack will not require a boat so access by wading makes it easy at this time. Be careful at Prineville for steep drops though.
Ochocco Reservoir is another good option. It is sure low, but ought to be fishing just fine near the dam.
We had to postpone our trip to Argentina last week because of Covid. Sadly, several of the people going with us were infected at the time, and we had to make a call to save the trip for a future date.
So, I’ve been fishing the Metolius some and skiing a bit and tying flies and reading. It has been alright but I do miss Patagonia.
If you want to be on our mailing list and see the newsletter we send out a few times a year, email me and I’ll get you on the list. We have a newsletter coming next week with a bunch of info for Spring and Summer.
I really look forward to seeing you soon, and keeping in touch.
I hope you’re well.