April came and went (almost) with a lot of blessings and luck. We are now sitting at 103% in the Deschutes Basin and 142% for the McKenzie. Some delayed openings (pushed back to more of what we will call normal) on some high lakes, but we will take that with glee, joy, answered prayers and knowing their is a long season still ahead of us.
It’s just getting started and there is so much to share with you this week.
Metolius River is transitioning to good Pale Morning Dun hatches. These will dominate the hatch cycle most afternoons for the foreseeable future. PMD’s and May are a big deal. May also brings the 1st hatches of Green Drakes. I heard some scuttle in the fly shop this week some folks saw Drakes, which is entirely possible as nature allows for some early hatchers to get the process started in case of catastrophe during the main event. BUT….I am guessing at 1st glance people thought they saw Green Drakes but actually saw a large Epeorus mayfly that is more common in spring and hatches just a bit earlier than the Drakes. Usually by Mid-May the Drakes are becoming more consistent, and by Memorial Day it is ON!
Don’t forget about BWO’s throughout the month too. The smaller mayflies can sometimes be overlooked by us, but not by the trout.
Caddis hatches should improve a lot next week when we get those warmer days that are in the forecast. Fish caddis pupa anytime, but it does seem like the adults are most productive in a certain and more settled weather patterns.
Nymph fishing continues to be impressive most days.
May is sweet. See you out there.
The Lower Deschutes is good in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek area. We had some great guide trips and clinics this week. There are some March Browns hatching, as well as BWO’s, increasing PMD’s, plenty of caddis and the 1st Pale Evening Duns of the spring/summer cycle. All of those might result in a dry fly period for you, but will certainly have a lot of game fishing matching nymphs, pupa’s and emergers.
I’d guess we are about 8-12 days away from meaningful Salmonfly hatches. It will start down by Macks Canyon, and work up river. How fast? That’ll depend on the weather, but my dog told me he thinks the hatch is going to hit Mecca on May 13th. How’s that for a scientific statement of fact? I’m kidding of course, but the dog is probably close.
So, fishing big Stonefly nymphs now is the right thing to do.
Lot’s of good reports of trout spey action on leeches and sculpins.
The Middle Deschutes ought to see the 1st Salmonflies this coming 1st week of May by Steelhead Falls with day time highs in the 70’s coming. PED’s, PMD’s, Baetis and Caddis will round that out through there too.
We had some great days on the Crooked River over the last week+ that the water popped up to 200+/- cfs. We had some Euro Nymphing Clinics going, so it was hard to focus on the nymphs when there were such good BWO hatches and fish rising, but alas, we kept the faith on those days. On other days of just regular guiding, the dry fly fishing was a hoot. How nice to see that bounce back already.
I was sour on the Crooked for a bit, but I am reinvigorated to get back to basics out there on that fine little canyon river.
The Fall River is fishing well, plenty of fish but a lot of crowds. How to beat that? Go at sunrise and leave by 11. Or go at 3 and fish until sunset. Mid day, expect a lot of folks to most likely be sharing the water with you.
Fall River gets a Green Drake hatch in May, but it isn’t happening quite yet. PMD’s have begun to emerge, along with BWO’s and Midges and some straggler March Browns. Caddis action will improve with more stable and warm weather soon enough. With the warmer days, soils and trees and warming too, and that makes the ants and beetles more active. Certainly worth it to fish a black ant or juicy #14 beetle on the Fall in the Spring, Summer and Fall.
Nymphs and Streamers are certainly going to be your best bet for getting fish to the net on the Fall at this time.
The McKenzie is okay, We haven’t had a lot of trips there lately but from what I can tell the March Brown hatch is still going, and there are some bigger Mckenzie Caddis hatching now. Water is a little high. I know a bunch of the guides from the shop are going to the McKenzie this weekend to do some scouting and fishing. Stay tuned.
Crane Prairie had what can be called a so-so opener last weekend. I have a theory on that, and that is the ice was off the lake for a while, the fish were set up and feeding and living a quiet life, and suddenly on April 22nd at dawn, motorboat after motorboat putted or roared by them, through every channel, across every flat and my guess is that puts the fish down for a bit. Sure, the lake is high(ish) and they are spread out, and some of the fish are still in the Upper Deschutes yet to return to the reservoir, but in general I think it takes a bit of time to get the fish used to the sound of motors and seeing boats moving all around them.
I know people who were there last week that got zilch, and I know people that did really well. The really well crowd fishes Blood Worms and Chironomid Pupa’s.
Leeches are always a strong choice for Crane. Damsel Nymphs and Water Boatman are high on the list for this time of the season too.
I do not know if the dock was put in at the Deschutes Boating Site near the Resort. Should be soon if not already. Quinn is officially closed, but it is my understanding that many folks drove around the gate and pushed through snow and mud puddles to get there last weekend. I think driving around gates is not a good idea.
South Twin is fishing pretty decent. Fishing the shoreline and drop off’s is good with leeches and damsel nymphs. Getting out a little deeper with a Chironomid will produce some good results most days late morning to early afternoon.
No word on North Twin other than I know the USFS is closing the road May 4-13 for some major road work.
Speaking of the USFS, I saw they posted this week that there is 5-6 feet of snow at the 4500-5000 foot level (above sea level) thought the Cascades. Thats a good bit for this time of year. A friend skied up to Three Creeks and said Snow was up to the top of the sign posts up there. So Hosmer, East, Paulina, 3 Creeks and others are at least a couple of weeks to a month and half away from access.
Until next time my friends.
Jeff and the dog who predicts hatches. (ha!)