Good Sunday morning to everyone. Right now in Sisters it is the calm before the storm, as it looks like by tonight we are in for a good storm, especially hitting the mountains with a much needed late season dump of snow.
Today is going to be a great day, but Monday is going to be blustery, and likely wet. For many of us, just another good day to go fishing. Right?
With the calendar turning the page to April, there are so many things in the hopper, and so much good fishing to talk about already.
As usual, we start on the home waters, down the street on the Metolius.
The Metolius is fishing beautifully, with hatches increasing and excellent nymph fishing opportunities throughout the day.
Hatches are cinygmula (Size 14-16 yellow bodied mayflies with 2 tails and closely related to March Browns), Blue Wing Olive (#18 mostly, but maybe 20’s mixed in and we all know how picky Metolius trout can get), Caddis (Orange #8-10, Amber #12-14, Grey #14, Tan #16, Green #16) and some mixed Stoneflies and Midges to pay attention to, especially as nymphs.
Bull Trout are taking nymphs a little more consistently than they are streamers, but I know some friends this week picked up a few fish on sculpins, so it is certainly worth the effort with the streamer rod.
Lot’s of consistent nymph action on caddis pupa, jigs, perdigons, zebra midges, scuds, stonefly nymphs, micro mayflies, 2 bit’s, balanced leeches and lightning bugs or rainbow warriors for a flashy nymph during the afternoon emergences of mayflies and caddis.
Keep sticking with the rules and pay attention to the closed water from the headwaters to the Allingham Bridge. This cooperation keeps those spawning areas healthy which is an investment into the future of the river. (That upper river area opens on May 22).
The Fall River is also fishing pretty good at the moment and with (soon to happen) future trout restocking coming from ODFW we can be assured it will continue to be good throughout the spring and summer.
If you’re in the right place at the right time, you might see #14 March Browns on the afternoon hatch menu, as well as BWO’s #18-20, Midges #20-24, Small Black Stones #16-18, Ants and Beetles #14-18 and Caddis #14-16 Tan, #16 Green and possibly some #12 Amber lurking around.
Nymphing with small, heavy patterns has been very productive on light tippet Euro Leader set-up’s. 3mm to nearly 4mm tungsten heads are getting the J-O-B done, and we love that. Walts Worm and Green Perdigon with an Orange Hot Spot are 2 fave’s, but there a lot of great flies to work over this water that will prove successful.
Never forget Zebra Midges and Eggs on the Fall!
Streamer fishing continues to produce well on the Fall River right now. That includes leeches and sculpin patterns.
The Crooked is fair, and I do think it will get a shot of better fishing soon when they run water from the reservoir down to the farms closer to Prineville. I doubt we will see water flowing at normal summer rates (which is about 250 cfs historically) and they might only have enough water to last until mid summer this year. It’s a tedious future on the Crooked and that is scary.
I don’t really know what happens above the reservoir, but I do pay attention to in-flows into Prineville Reservoir and have seen atrocious flows incoming for the past few summers. Sometimes ZERO cfs. So, it seems to me, the irrigation districts and landowners need to be working hard on conservation all over that basin or they, and us (those of who love trout and fishing the river below Bowman Dam) are all going to lose.
Right now, the river is running about 52 cfs. Whitefish action is good on nymphs. Some smaller trout are looking up to decent BWO hatches in the afternoon.
I truly believe that many of the larger and more mature trout have learned to migrate way down river during these low water years and don’t make a return to the areas below the dam until the water pops back up. I have no way to collaborate that other than knowing about several stories of people finding bigger fish closer to the city of Prineville and all of us who fish the river knowing that within weeks of higher water we are all happy to see the bigger fish on the ends of our line near the dam.
I’d sure love your story if you want to write me and tell me what you are finding.
I’ve been fishing the Crooked since the mid-80’s and my grandfather used to fish the river when he came over to Prineville as the rep for Blue Cross in the 60’s. We have a history on the river and at no point have I ever been more worried for it’s trout.
The Lower Deschutes is open in the Maupin area so that’s where the FFP team has been focused on. We’ve been having some great drifts from Nena to Wapinitia and enjoying good March Brown hatches, mixed with Caddis and BWO’s.
There seems to be an early abundance of big black stoneflies on the move towards the shoreline. We believe the Salmonfly hatch is going to be early this year. Maybe a cool April could slow that down, but I would expect to see salmonflies 7 to 14 days early this season.
That means right now, you should be fishing big black stonefly nymphs for sure. And green rock worms, various caddis pupa, Perdigons , PT’s, Hares Ear type flies including Walts Worms and small Brown or Olive mayfly nymphs #16-18.
Warm Springs, Mecca, Trout Creek, South Jct all OPEN on April 22 so keep that in mind and avoid fishing closed waters.
The Middle Deschutes is seeing a lot of March Browns and BWO hatches in the afternoon and is trending in a very good direction. Irrigation canals ought to start flowing this week making access to wade fishing a lot easier, but even in the higher water this past week the fishing was good.
Haystack Reservoir is a good option now, either by wade fishing access near the dam or launching a boat and drifting the drop off zones near the shorelines. Leeches (Black, Olive and Maroon) have all produced well recently. Chironomids under an indicator will be a great bet on most days too. Black, Red and Olive #14-18 and try a Chrome one if you see an active hatch occurring.
Lake Billy Chinook is producing good catches of Bull Trout up in the Metolius Arm. You need a real boat with a good motor to safely navigate that huge reservoir if you launch at the (main) Crooked River Launch. It is possible to watch the weather and go in from Perry South with a smaller boat, but watch the wind forecast for the day and plan accordingly to stay safe.
The Deschutes Arm is fun too. Easy launch and fishing access there. And plenty of Bulls there, mixed with Browns, Rainbows and Smallmouth. Lot’s of streamer options for any of these fish.
We are very excited about how close the April 22nd Opening Day is. Crane Prairie here we come!
South and North Twin Lakes are officially open year round, but so far I haven’t been able to get up there to see if access is open or if the ice is off. I’ll try to update that next weekend when I have a better idea of what is going on.
Until then, be well and enjoy a super mixed spring week in oregon where we will rain, snow, wind and warm sunny days all in the same week.