First off, I am sorry I missed a week. I was in Mexico catching baby tarpon and when I got home I honestly felt like I didn’t have enough information to provide a good and accurate report.
Now, having been home for a week, getting some time on the water, and time in the fly shop talking to our guide team and trusted customers I feel like my finger is back on the pulse.
So here it goes…
I was lucky enough to be on the Metolius the last 2 days (yesterday was my 53rd birthday and I have spent A LOT of birthdays on my favorite river. I would guess nearly half of May 14th have been trout fishing on the Metolius. My 52nd I caught a Permit in Belize which was pretty damn good too). I can report that fish are looking for Green Drakes even though the hatch is off to a very light start. I got 3 on drakes friday and 2 yesterday (+ 1 on a PMD film critic). Yesterday I saw drakes flying at about 3:30 with some light PMD hatch a little earlier. Both days saw a lot of caddis, including a bunch of October Caddis (still) that the fish were eating. I am surprised seeing this hatch go so late into May, but I will say a #10 Orange Elk Hair Caddis is a good fly to carry on the Metolius now.
There is no doubt we are very early in the Drake hatch, and that by Memorial Day the hatch will be in full swing and go for 3 or 4 weeks more. It is my favorite hatch and what I dream of when I am away from the river.
PMD hatches are also gaining a foothold. #16 emergers, cripples and duns are all important, and a rusty spinner when you see the female egg layers come back. Usually that is evening, or right at dusk, but keep an eye open for mornings or afternoons too. I can remember a couple of years ago struggling to find the solution to what the fish were rising to on a cool June afternoon. It was Rusty Spinners.
Caddis emergences besides October Caddis is fairly good too and will improve as the days get warmer and drier. It looks like it is mostly Brachycentrus Caddis which are 14-16 grey or grey/olive tones. Pupa, emergers and Adult caddis.
Keep an eye open for Blue Wing Olives too. Not a ton out where I was the last 2 days (Bridge 99 area) but there is no doubt they can be very important every single day on the Metolius.
Nymph fishing is incredibly good right now. Especially euro nymphing. I ran into my good friend and part time FFP guide Eric yesterday and walked up on him in a favorite run landing a good fish on a perdigon. He reported excellent fishing all day on nymphs but had to leave before the hatch to get home for his daughters prom photos. Good dad stuff.
We are exactly a week away from May 22nd, and the opening of the Upper River. Hooray. I love that water and I also love that it opens up 3 miles more of river to spread out on.
The anglers that are really committed to Bull Trout are finding some BIG BOYS on streamers. Some of the photos I’ve seen are just silly. Get some.
Down on the Lower Deschutes the Salmonfly hatch is “kind of” in full swing. They appear to be all the way from Maupin up to Warm Springs. But, the cool and wet days have the bugs more hunkered in the stream side grasses than flying around. Fish under the trees and tight to the banks because clumsy adults are finding their way into the water and are getting slammed by big fish. Also try mid river riffles/bars and launch a big bug out there. It doesn’t hold the percentages of the banks and trees but a lot of those fish are less pressured. It can be fun to do that type of cast with a trout spey!
PMD and Pale Evening Duns are out and fish are tipping up on them at the surface. But what is really hot is a Brown #14-16 mayfly nymph now imitating both of these mayflies before emergence.
BWO’s are important mayflies on the lower river now as well. My friend Chester said he skipped lunch a few days ago because of a great baetis hatch.
Caddis are somewhat important, more as a larva or pupa. This is a great time of year to fish a Green Rock Worm before they go to the Pupa phase.
This is the time of year you’re going to need to tuck a few Green Drakes into your Deschutes box. Be prepared over the next 3 weeks to see them out mid afternoon, especially for those of you on the 3 day trip from Trout Creek to Maupin.
Nymph action is really productive and needs to be on your agenda until we get some warmer and drier days coming and the big salmon flies and golden stones start really flying well. We are crossing our fingers right along with you for that to happen.
The Middle Deschutes Salmonfly is on, and is mixed in with a bunch of spring time hatches including the end of the March Browns, the beginning of Pale Evening Duns and Pale Morning Duns, Baetis and Caddis. It is fishing well from Bend all the way to Lake Billy Chinook and the water is at a very nice level.
The Crooked River is pretty good, running much lower this season (so far) than usual. That makes wading easier. Today the flow is 124 cfs. I don’t think the reservoir will even hit 50% so the low water is here to stay this year.
Trout are looking up for Blue Wing Olive hatches mid afternoon and we are seeing the start of the Mother’s Day Caddis now. When exactly the massive, blizzard like caddis flights will occur is anyone’s guess but my guess is it’ll be soon. Time for Peacock Soft Hackles, Tan and Green Caddis Pupa, X Caddis and Henryville’s.
Euro nymphing has been red hot for us out on the Crooked.
The Fall River is good, with plenty of fish all over the river and good hatches for dry fly fishing as well as very good nymph and streamer opportunities. PMD hatches are ramping up and certainly bring your green drakes to the Fall River for a good chance at an afternoon hatch. I love seeing those big flies on small water, and love watching fish rise for them in such clear water.
Caddis are important hatchers now too, with Tan and Olive low floting patterns in a size #16 your best overall match. Don’t forget the pupa’s before and during the hatch too.
Ants and Beetles are getting on the water more now as they become more active this spring. These make good searching dries. The Hippie Stomper is one of our absolute favorites.
Getting deep with a Jig, Perdigon or Tungsten Egg will be great, plus Micro Mayflies, 2 Bits and Skinny Nelson’s.
The McKenzie is in runoff mode and quite high. No other report at this time. That basin is flush with snowpack so this may be awhile?
So far the only lake I have a report from is Crane Prairie and it’s not a very good report. I have spoken to anglers now since the opener on 4/22 and fishing is slow. Leeches and Chironomids should always be on every Crane Prairie outing. Damsel Nymphs, Callibaetis Nymphs and Scuds are important, and should all be worthwhile as the fishing improves soon on Crane.
I was told the docks were being placed in either 5/13 or 5/14, and we all appreciate that a ton. These docks are put in either by road crews or volunteers from the USFS, or a combination of both. It takes road machines/tractors to move some of those big heavy wood docks and this is truly no easy task on any lake.
South Twin is fishing probably the best of all the local lakes at this time. Damsel Nymphs and Leeches along the shorelines and in deeper water on full sink lines. Balanced Leeches and Chironomid pupa under an indicator in 6 to 12 feet. If you have sonar/fish finders on your tube or boat (NO motors here) look for suspended fish in deeper water too and dangle a Chromie deep at 20+ feet. Often in the spring that can be fantastic too.
Paulina Lake is open and I am told the docks are in. There is a lot of snow around, so parking is still an issue at this time. I have no report on how the fishing is. Fish shallow zones from 2 to 10 feet deep. Leeches and scuds are good early season picks. Fish under an indicator with a red chironomid in 8 to 15 feet. Last spring at about this time there were a lot of #18-20 dark olive pupas in throat pump samples and it lasted for about 3 weeks.
I think we are still 2 weeks away for East Lake for boating. It was still half iced over 3 days ago. Shoreline wading and launching a tube is possible now and might be quite good.
Tomorrow 5/16/22 the Cascade Lakes Highway opens up. I am driving up to see how Hosmer looks since I have 3 guide trips there this week. I’ll update, and I’ll swing into Lava Lake to see how that looks too.
Three Creeks Lake is still at least a month away due to heavy snow pack.
Thank you for all of your support and kind messages.
be well and fish as much as you can,