Good morning from beautiful Sisters, Oregon.
We woke up at home, which was unplanned as we had intended to camp on the Metolius for a few nights. But camping in the rain is not a ton of fun, especially in a small trailer with dogs. So hopefully next weekend we will get to the river for some camping.
I know we are still planing to go fishing this weekend whatever the weather. How about you?
The hatches on the Metolius are not yet stellar, so keep that in mind when you go. In other words, make sure to bring your nymphing stick too.
On paper, when my friends Mike and Gavin and I went this week it was the “perfect” hatch day. Warm, high clouds, a big muggy. I drove to the river with a lot of anticipation of an explosive Green Drake Hatch! Well. No. Not that day.
No PMD’s either. Plenty of caddis. And I know Mike and Gavin both caught fish searching and prospecting good water with Green Drake patterns. So far in 2022, May has been a bit disappointing for PMD’s, and it is still early for Drakes so that’s not a big deal yet, but the caddis have been making up for it at this time. Hatch cycles can be delayed due to all kinds of things, so keep the faith as we are and know those mayflies will really start to pop soon enough.
What has really been good is euro nymphing and using perdigons (especially green, brown and purple), Rainbow Warriors, Caddis Pupa and Walt’s Worms. Golden Stone Nymphs are always a very good choice on the river, so make sure to tuck some in your box.
The entire river is open from the Headwaters to Lake Billy Chinook so there is a lot of room to spread out and enjoy the different aspects of the river and the types of water it offers from start to middle to finish. All I know is, that place is incredible and is truly one of the finest pieces of water in the world.
Our guide team down on the Lower Deschutes have shared a lot of good intel with me this week, with one very surprising thing from most of them: the fish are loving small black caddis as much as anything hatching this past week. Salmonflies are in full swing, possibly just past their peak, with Goldenstones still peaking and increasing hatch activity on PMD’s and Pale Evening Duns and make sure if you are anywhere in the next 2 weeks from Warm Springs to Maupin to have a couple of Green Drake Sparkle Duns in your fly box, as that can create a frenzy of feeding when they show up.
Swinging soft hackles or sculpins on a trout spey has been good.
Nymphing either euro style or drop shot, or with an indicator (or doing a hybrid of those) has been excellent. Mayfly nymphs like a 2 Bit Hooker and a Brown Micro Mayfly have been tops. Caddis Pupa also quite quite good. Green Rock Worms, Red Copper John, Rainbow Warrior, Psycho Prince and Soft Hackle PT’s along with all the new Euro Style Perdigons and Jig flies are great.
I think it is going to be a really good summer on the Lower Deschutes this year, and I look forward to June and July and the opportunities that lie ahead there.
The Crooked River is fishing well with some good caddis hatches and some mayfly and midges mixed in on most days. I think the Mother’s Day Caddis have peaked but there are still good numbers of them hatching. Be prepared with Black Elk Hair Caddis #16-18, Olive EHC #16-18, Henryville #16, X Caddis #16-18 and especially Pupa and Soft Hackle patterns.
We’ve been fishing Purple Haze and Purple Comparaduns when the mayfly hatches are showing with good success. It would be smart to have a yellow dun or emerger ready for fish that might get wise to the purple offerings.
Nymph action is great. Zebra Midges, Skinny Nelson, Scuds, Micro May, 2 Bit (Dark Olive has been best) and perdigons.
The Middle Deschutes is fishing well on dry flies from Bend all the way down through Crooked River Ranch and the Lake Billy Chinook confluence. It’s the end of Salmonflies, but probably important for another 5 to 7 days in much of this stretch. Goldenstones are there too along with Yellow Sally stones, Caddis, PMD and PED’s.
A lot of this water is great for Stimulator’s, Renegades and Purple Haze type attractors too. That my friends is just fun!
The Fall River is fishing pretty well, especially from the Hatchery up toward the Camp Ground and Headwaters. There seems to be fewer fish in the Tubes area and that is because ODFW stopped stocking there because dumb people can’t follow rules and stay off the places that are under restoration.
Restoration of riparian areas is critical to the health of the river (any river). If we have no habitat, then we eventually lose the fishing too. If the sign says don’t walk here, it’s under restoration, why do people still walk there?
Where the fishing is good, look for the fish to be on nymphs (eggs, perdigons, jigs, micro may’s, zebra midges, 2 bits) and emerging mayflies and caddis including some crippled patterns to match Blue Wing Olive and PMD mayflies. Drakes are a good possible hatch now for the next 2 or 3 weeks mid afternoons. Yellow Sallies can be great hatchers this time of year on the fall. Besides a small #14-16 adult Sally, a yellow soft hackle fished dead drift with some Dry Shake on it to keep it at the surface, or swung as a wet fly is a great match for the Sally’s too.
Ant’s are active. I would guess this coming week we will see really good hatches of flying carpenter ants and that can create some frenzied takes from the trout.
We are still hot on mini streamers and usually fishing them on a sink tip.
The McKenzie River at Vida was running in the low 4000’s this morning and that is good. Our guide Tonn has been guiding the McKenzie quite a bit, and finding a lot of nice wild fish willing to take dries.
I know the water levels could go way up in a hurry with a hot week or a heavy rain since there is a lot of snow in that basin yet to melt. What we hope for is a prolonged and slow melt and few days of crazy high water.
Tonn reported good action on Big Chubbies and Stimulators. Caddis are very important with larger green and orange elk hair caddis getting hit hard. Also larger parachute adams have been productive.
I’d guess the flying ants will hit the McKenzie this week pretty good which can offer some darn good dry fly action if the timing is right.
I have not heard much yet from the Upper Deschutes from Little Lava to Crane, or between Crane and Wickiup. It’s all open and should be fishing fine. Let me know if you have a report to share.
East Lake ramps that are good include Hot Spring and the Resort (pay site). The EL Camp Ground site still had a good amount of snow, although folks had used it a few days ago. I do believe it is going to snow several inches there tonight FYI. There is not yet any access to Cinder Hill sites.
Chironomids under an indicator in 6 to 10′ are best. Stripping leeches, flashback PT’s and scuds is a great bet. This time of year I like a brown leech on an intermediate line at East Lake over the weed beds near the hot springs.
Boat, tube or bank fishing is all good.
Paulina Lake was good this week, especially on Chironomids (olive with a red butt #16 was best, but red/silver rib/white bead was too). Fish are in shallow looking for warmer water, so I think it’s best to focus on under 10 feet for the moment.
We caught a lot of fish (trout and kokanee) stripping leeches, PT’s, damsel nymphs, and a very surprising fly….
Over the winter I watched a UK based YouTube on an indicator they call a Bung. It is a tapered cork with a hook. I was very inspired by the video and ordered a couple of dozen various colored Bungs, and in the shipment with my order they included a bunch of free flies. Kind of what they refer to as Lures in the UK fly fishing scene. So amongst these flies were a version of a Montana Nymph with a black Krystal Chenille body and a hot orange Krystal Chenille thorax. I decided, just to see what would happen, to tie it on and we ended up with several fish on that fly. So far, way more fish are being caught on an intermediate line than type 3 or 5 sinks. I’d certainly guess that again because the fish are in shallow water looking for warmer water. Water temps are running 39 to 50 depending on where you are in the lake.
And, BTW, I haven’t tried the English Bungs on our Oregon waters quite yet.
Crane Prairie is showing a little more signs of life, but I still say it is quite slow overall. Look for fish in the timber about 6 to 8′ and hang 2 chironomids or a balanced leech/chironomid combo under an indicator.
A good day would be 6 to 10 fish so far from the reports I have got from some really talented CP anglers.
Seems like Cultus is the best place to be, but that is a very general observation and statement, as I am sure there a tons of fish to be found in the trees off the Deschutes and Quinn channels too.
Leeches and Damsel Nymphs should be good too.
Last June I saw some of the finest Callibaetis hatches I’d seen since I used to fish Crane every thursday with my #1 fishing buddy Chester in the 80’s and early 90’s before the bass/stickleback vs. trout collapse occurred. Oh my goodness, I am so hopeful that in the next couple of weeks that callibaetis hatch will repeat itself in 2022 like 2021! I’ll be there.
As of a couple of days ago, Hosmer was still snowed in. If you get in, please let me know!
Three Creeks Lake is still snowed in.
North and South Twin should have both received a fresh batch of rainbow trout this week. They ought to be fishing really well. Damsel nymphs, Leeches, Chironomids, Wooly Buggers, Prince are what we’d carry for both lakes now.
Have yourself a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and we hope to see you in the shop or out on the water this week.
All the best,