I was in the shop this morning working with Brad, as we met the Simms rep for our 2023 Spring Simms order. Outside, horses, llamas fire trucks and rodeo queens rode by for the first time in 2 years for the annual Sisters Rodeo Parade. It was good to see the crowds come out and support it. Inside, we reviewed new products, established trends and put our heads together for making the shop full of cool gear to make all of our days on the water the best they can be.
Speaking of the best days on the water, I suppose that is most days we can be out there, despite how many fish come to the net. Although that is the end goal for most of us, it is good to remember the fish don’t owe us anything.
I’ve got a fair bit to share again, some good, some not so good near term and some bad news on docks for the season at one of our favorite places.
As usual, I will start the report close to home on the Metolius. Right at this moment, Canyon Creek is dumping very muddy water into the Metolius and the Canyon and Hatchery areas have discolored and come up fairly high today. To make a bright side of this, sometimes this makes the bull trout go crazy on the rising the river and the bite is better than ever. If you’re going down to the hatchery bring some squirmy worms tomorrow and monday.
Rain will abate soon enough and waters will return to normal I’d guess by Monday or Tuesday, and the trend is overall quite good. Especially with the Euro Nymph rod and some heavy little jigs and perdigons and PMD’s and Caddis on the Dry Fly Rod.
The Green Drake hatch still seems off to a weird start, with many days of not seeing much in terms of the hatch. Also, I had a day where I probably heard from 5 or 6 friends about a day with a super hatch and no fish rising. It is bizarre to wonder how and why that happens.
I got out this week one day with Tina and we both landed fish on Drakes. And PMD’s. Being in the right place at the right hour is a stroke of luck perhaps, and that’s what fishing is many days.
Drakes can go to the end of June and even linger on into early July some years. Not to worry, we will see better days and all any of can do is keep being prepared for it.
PMD’s do seem to be better and better and better as we move through June.
BWO’s are still important but sometimes overlooked with bigger mayflies around.
Many caddis species are hatching. It’s really good for caddis pupa and on warmer days and evenings caddis emerging dries and adults.
Rusty Spinners may hit on the mid afternoon clock instead of dusk with cooler and wetter days, so watch that activity.
Golden Stone nymphs are working well in the upper River from Gorge to Tract C area. The adults ought to start showing in a few weeks near the 4th of July.
The Lower Deschutes Salmonfly and Golden Stone action os winding down fast. Still some around another warm day could prove surprising for a little more action on a big dry.
What’s becoming more important is PMD and Pale Evening Dun mayflies and Caddis hatches starting mid morning according to Steve Erickson one of our terrific guides. He also reported excellent Euro Nymph action, and indicator fishing especially with Caddis Pupa and PMD emergers.
The water levels are a bit high at 4500+ cfs.
The Middle Deschutes today is brown and high. Hard to know how long into the week that’ll last, but I’d say at least a few days. My guess is this will last a few days and by mid week the Middle D will shape back up and we will be back to PMD’s, PED’s and Caddis and really good nymph action with small brown PMD nymphs and caddis pupa.
The Upper Deschutes above Crane I had a really good report from a friend from Seattle. Drakes, PMD’s and nymphs and fish laying a good accessible water instead of deep in the downed timber. That sounded great to me. Speaking of down timber, that habitat holds a bunch of fish in the Upper Deschutes and a careful presentation with a streamer is on many days the knock out punch to find some darn good trout. Be prepared to lose a few flies though.
Joey had a super good guide day for us on the Fall River yesterday, mostly nymphs (perdigons) but also on PMD’s for the afternoon hatch. It looks like the hatchery delivered some more fish the river and that is a good thing right now. The guys saw a couple of Green Drakes hatch too, and often in June we will see a good drake hatch lasting for several days.
Little streamers and ants are also recommended for the Fall River now.
The Crooked is fishing ok to pretty well depending on the day. Water management is keeping the river running about 140 cfs. Lot’s of smaller trout on dries and finding bigger ones nymphing. Scuds, Micro May, Brown Perdigon, Spanish Bullet and Zebra Midges. There is a BWO hatch and some caddis around that will make the fish look up to feed. I like small Renegades and Purple Haze here too.
The McKenzie is very high. Likely unfishable for a few days or more. It will need to drop in half for a good flow to float there again. This new storm is dumping some impressive rain all over the area, especially the west side of the cascades.
Hosmer Lake is an interesting one, Steve guided there earlier this week and I guided there the last 2 days. It seems to me there has been a winter kill, or heavy predation of the fish. I’d estimate the fish population to be at least half missing. For example, where we’d see 100’s of fish in the channel scooting away from the boat, I saw less than 10 per trip. There was evidence of higher weed growth, especially arrow leaf with the stems that grow to the surface and have the reddish leaves on the surface most of the summer and fall, and the dense carpet of underwater weed growth consisting of what I am guessing is 2 or 3 species of aquatic vegetation. If that was growing heavily before it finally iced over, we might have lost oxygen in some areas of the lake under the ice. This happened at Lava Lake 2 winters ago and we saw a tremendous fish die off. What happened at Hosmer is not at that scale as there are certainly nice, well conditioned and healthy fish still around, but not as many as I am used to seeing and Steve agreed in that assessment totally.
The last couple of days we did see some callibaetis hatches with a lot of black spinners about. My BBR Callibeatis did the trick both days. Also, my Jig Style Cates Turkey under an indicator worked both days. Leeches have game for sure. We saw fish rising to Midges yesterday morning but they got spooked by the boat and a cormorant chasing through the area where they were rising.
There seems to be a number of cormorants on the lake now. I’m told they can eat trout up to 4 pounds. Yikes. I’ve not really seen cormorants on Hosmer before. Have you?
Otters too. Who’ve always been there, but I know are doing a number to the trout population now.
I see ODFW has 750 trout slated for a Hosmer re-stocking about July 11th. But if what I am seeing holds true and all of those trout are not hidden away in a dark corner of the lake, that means it may be a lean year at Hosmer compared to years past.
East Lake was excellent fishing this week. I didn’t really change much from my original pick of an olive chironomid #16 with a black-n-red balanced leech. We likely netted about 40 fish in 6 hours. It was one of the best openers I’ve had there. Fish were healthy looking and most seemed to be rainbows about 12-14″, fat, shiny silver and I’d guess they were last years stockers. We got fish up to about 19″ too.
The bad news is it seems the USFS has drawn their line in the sand and is not listening to us in the request to have one dock installed at Cinder Hill. I still think this a mistake on their part and not fair to the public.
I hovered my big boat over the ramp there and I am 100% convinced if they moved that one rock next to the steel pillar, and installed the dock we’d be able to use it and have a safer boat launch and re-trailering experience until mid to late august assuming a hot summer will eventually arrive, and longer if the forecasting the European Model suggest (which shows us in the cool and wet pattern overall for ANOTHER 30 days).
Personally, I think the USFS is making a mistake and is not serving the public and I know so many people, including those who read this weekly report and who follow FFP on social media took the time to call the Bend Office and ask for that dock to be installed. Maybe we can still work with them to put it in, but it seems to me I am going to be using my drift boat at East Lake because I simply cant get my bigger lake boat in at any ramp on the lake, and without a dock the problem is actually not getting the boat in the lake, but really getting it back on the trailer safely, and getting clients on the ground safely, and not damaging equipment in the wind. For many of us, docks are essential.
BTW, I went to check out the ramp and dock at East Lake resort and determined it was unusable for my needs. I know people use it, but for my truck and boat/trailer length I would have way too much truck in the lake for my comfort level.
Paulina is fishing well, and will continue to get better and better as the water warms into the mid to high 50’s and even mid 60’s eventually. Much of the bite has been on Mayfly nymphs and Chironomid Pupa under an indicator. Stripping nymphs on an intermediate line has been good, and leeches and minnow/chub imitations have been good too.
We’ve found a few fish willing to rise to a beetle or ant so far. I think the water needs to bump up a bit warmer for that to be more viable.
Crane Prairie showed way more signs of life this week! Hooray. My friends Dennis and Brian and Tay said Balanced Leeches were the ticket and that the best bite was in the mornings.
Chironomids and Damsels ought to be good now too. Callibaetis hatches should be coming on soon as well, so a nymph for those mayflies is a great choice now and when the hatches really do take a foot hold and start up in better numbers.
Good luck out there. Hope to see you on the water or in the shop soon.
Next week we welcome Ollie Basset from New Zealand who is a competition angler there and travels the world competing. We met Ollie about 5 years ago in Sisters and we all wanted to have him back. He and our Guide Joey Pattee will be teaching some euro nymphing techniques from the eyes of 2 really good competitors before they both head off to Europe for comp’s later this summer. I’ll be getting more info out soon, but if you want to put your name in the hat for lessons let me or Brad know.
All the best,