Today doesn’t feel like “almost summer”, but by Tuesday and throughout the week it will not only be summer, but Summer warmth is coming too. I am so ready for that as I am sure you are too. If you live in the Pacific NW, you know a little warmer weather, and less gray will be really nice for a while.
I have a lot to cover today, mostly fishing conditions, important updates on access, outreach on a future water crisis and a comment/question about boat ramps and how we can all get along, even if something needs to be said to another user.
Also, see below on some new Dates for Euro Nymphing Clinics we are offering while our friend Ollie from the NZ Fly Fishing Team is visiting us, and in conjunction with our amazing guide and shop employee Joey, who is on the US Youth Fly Fishing Team. I assure you, these two 20 year olds have a lot of knowledge to share and will provide a seriously great clinic. Joey is headed to Italy right after these classes to compete in the Youth World Championships and Ollie is headed to Spain to compete in the Men’s World Championships. Also, sending luck to the US Women’s Fly Fishing Team who are now arriving in Norway for their championships, and to my my friends Jules and Karen from Tasmania going to Norway and representing their Australian team there in Norway. All the best to these people who put so much heart into fishing and innovate so much for the rest of us who will never do such a thing, but can benefit from the ideas, flies and tackle that come out of these events.
So let’s get going and explore all of these things here.
The Metolius Green Drakes have definitely ramped up the hatch action since last weekend. Between about 3 and 5 PM most afternoons you can expect to see a solid drake hatch from Candle Creek up to Canyon Creek. Be prepared with emergers and duns and you’ll have more success. Also, some of these fish are rising in very heavy currents, so having a few high floating flies like a Wulff style drake is a darn good idea.
PMD’s are hatching before the drakes and that is cool because it extends your dry fly opportunities by at least an hour or two from sometime after noon to about 3 or 4, depending on the day, and to a certain extent where you are on the river. Rusty Spinner falls have been coming to the river in the evening, pretty close to dusk.
Caddis hatches are improving with the season, and will also improve with the weather.
Euro Nymphing is quite productive on natural colored perdigons, especially browns and olives with an orange hot spot. Micro May’s and 2 Bits to match PMD size and color are really good. Golden Stones, while not hatching yet are certainly important as nymphs.
The Lower Deschutes is pretty fully transitioned to summer hatches of PMD #16, Pale Evening Dun #12-14, Caddis Tan #14-16, Olive #16, Brown #16-18, Black #18-20.
Fishing has been quite good, even seeing dry fly action mid day during this time of cooler afternoons. I say that because so often when the hot summer weather comes it mostly delays the dry fly action to the mornings and evenings. (Mostly….not entirely if you look in the right places like eddies and shade lines).
Caddis Pupa and Brown Micro Mayflies have been wonderful for the FFP guides. They are also doing well on Perdigons and Soft Hackle PT’s.
Trout Spey is alive and well on the big river. Swinging sculpins and crayfish looking patterns is picking up some nice trout.
The Middle Deschutes is fishing well after the high water last weekend due to heavy rain. Many of the same hatches as the Lower D, especially PMD, PED and Caddis. So many places on the middle river offer good opportunity for attractors like a Stimulator, Renegade and Purple Haze.
The Upper Deschutes above Bend is a place I don’t have any real report for, but I have seen a few instagram photos that have peaked my interest….
I’d heard rumor of many fish escaping Wickiup Reservoir in the record low water conditions, and if that is true, the Upper D is well stocked, and perhaps with some really large browns. Stay tuned.
The Headwaters of the Deschutes above Crane Prairie up to Little Lava is fishing pretty good. Carson from the shop was up there and reported good hatches and good dry fly opportunities.
Nymphs are always a great way to fish the pools and runs up there, and running sculpins in the logs and undercuts can produce some good fish.
The Fall River was excellent for us this week, especially euro nymphing heavy beaded perdigons, MOPS, eggs, zebra midges and 2 bit hookers.
PMD’s and Caddis hatches are bringing fish to the top. A drake or two has been seen here and there, but I still haven’t heard any of my guides say they have fished a good drake hatch. Maybe this week?
The headwaters to the hatchery might be the best, but the Fall River fish move around and the fish could be anywhere.
The Crooked River is fishing fine now, but we are very concerned about some news we heard in the last few days. I’ll start with the good news in that the fishing is going quite well. Flows today are running 85 cfs, but it would not surprise me if we see those come up with warmer weather and more need for irrigation water next week.
Fish are looking up to BWO’s, PMD’s, Midges and Caddis now. Most of the dries at this time will be #16-18 and we recommend Knock Down Duns, Sparkle Duns, BDE Dun, Purple Haze, X Caddis, CDC Caddis, Adams, Griffiths Gnat, Palomino Midges, and Rusty Spinners.
Euro Nymphing and indicator fishing with a light NZ Wool Indicator is great. Nymphs to match all the above hatches and add scuds to the list too.
Now the scary part. The Bureau of Reclamation (Boise, Idaho office) runs the dam operation on the Crooked River (Bowman Dam/Prineville Reservoir). BOR says they will run out of water on the reservoir in early to mid-August. There is an agreement for “conservation flows” for a minimum of 50 cfs during non-irrigation season, however, non-irrigation season usually begins october 15th and runs until April when they start delivering water to the farms and ranches again in the spring.
The problem is we are in unprecedented territory if they run too low on water in the reservoir to provide irrigation water downstream in August. BOR says they plan to drop flows to TEN (10) cubic feet per second. We can’t allow this to happen and next week or so, I will have better organization to share on who to call, and if we can petition the state, the federal government or even river advocacy groups to at least keep the river flowing at 50 cfs.
I will assure you, 10 cfs is not enough to sustain 4000 trout per mile and we will lose much of that fine fishery if that happened. Scary drought conditions in the Ochocco’s, and what is so strange is how the John Day River just over the next drainage did so well yet the Crooked suffers losses like I never imagined.
For more details my friend Yancy does a conservation blog called https://coinformedangler.org and that is worth a look if you care about the Crooked River.
The McKenzie is down to about 5000 cfs today and that is great for floating the river and for fishing. Fishing is good, especially on larger dries like a chubby, drake, #10-12 parachute adams and running a nymph as a trailer.
Also, swinging sculpins or side drifting euro jigs and mega prince’s is working really well for us. It’s going to be a great year on the Mckenzie I have no doubt. Put a guide trip on your list this summer or fall.
As mentioned above, we have a very special opportunity for you to learn Euro Nymphing techniques from 2 guys who have competed all over the world, including the USA, Europe and NZ and Australia. These two guys have insights to leader set up, flies, bead sizes and colors, approach, reading the currents, casting and playing the fish.
The dates we will offer these classes are June 29th and July 5th.
$150 per person. 6 people maximum per class.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (541)549-3474 to sign up for one or both classes.
On to the Lakes. —>
Three Creeks Lake is open and accessible to the ramp. The road is a mess, so a pick up or SUV is recommended for access. Leeches along the shore line are already picking up some good fish.
No Callibaetis yet, but it’ll happen quickly up there so bring nymphs, emergers and dries if you’re headed up this week.
Black Caddis in the evening ought to pop this upcoming week on warm nights. They will totally roll through July and provide some of the best evening dry fly fishing you’ll find.
Crane Prairie in the Deschutes and Cultus areas are fishing better. Not hearing good stuff from Quinn or Rock Creek yet. Balanced Leeches and Chironomids are best under an indicator. Callibaetis and Damsel action is improving fast.
Hosmer is fishing okay. I am 100% sure there was a winter kill under the ice there over the winter, based on a way smaller view of what I have seen as a more normal fish population. The fish that are there are healthy and fat and fighting like the dickens. I’ve contacted ODFW about it and it sounds like they plan to go net sample the lake. Thats good, because they will be able to make better management choices with better data than some dumb fishing guide with a hunch.
There was already a stocking planned for about July 11th, but it was only 750 fish so they might be able to adjust that up if they find what I see.
Callibaetis hatches were good for me up there this past week. Brooks Sprout Emergers and Parachute’s were best. When the spinners were overlapping the hatch, we used with good success my Black Butte Callibaetis.
San Juan Worms, Red Ice Cream Cones, Callibaetis nymphs and Balanced Leeches all were producers under the indicator this week.
Lava Lake has been re-stocked after the winter kill event in 2020-21. It ought to be fishing well now. I’ve often enjoyed the June callibaetis hatches there. Besides the mayflies, chironomids along that sandy bottom western shore and balanced leeches are great.
East Lake is good fishing, I would also expect this week to see the 1st callibaetis hatches of the season, but plan to fish a lot of chironomids and pheasant tails.
Work the shoals and shorelines in water 2 or 3 feet deep up to about 10-12 feet at this time. I would not expect the fish to be needing to find anything in terms of food, shelter or better water temps in deeper zones at this time. This week make sure to tuck some #10-12 flying ants in your box. That is a likely hatch with 80 in the forecast Wednesday.
Paulina Lake is good too. Red 2 Bit Hookers and Olive Balanced Leeches under indicators is producing well. Chironomids (could be anything from #18-20 Olive to #14-16 Black or #12-18 Red), PT’s and Leeches. Just like East Lake, add some flying ants and also beetles to the box this week. Black or Red Hippie Stompers are a fun dry fly to fish at both lakes too.
There is a code we need to share and adhere to at boat ramps. Its an etiquette that seems lost on many boaters and that is you get your boat totally ready to launch in the parking lot, and when the boat is all loaded with gear, the rods are put together and stored in the boat, the cooler loaded and in the case of an inflatable, the pontoons or tube(s) all blown up to the correct and safe PSI. Then, and only then do you go to the ramp and launch the boat. You go park, lock the vehicle and walk to the boat and GO.
It’s not the time to put waders on. It’s not the time to “rig up” if your boat is on the ramp or taking up dock space.
Typically, many docks say 10 minute zone. Start looking at your watch so you know what 10 minutes feels like.
Oregon State Marine Board recommends the following:
Paddlers, prep your gear near your parking location. Assess the trailered motorboat launch/retrieving traffic. You are free to launch from the launch ramp, but please give priority to trailered boats. If possible, carry down your boat and launch it from the shoreline. (Jeff’s note- this would include Pontoon Boats and Float Tubes that don’t need an concrete ramp to actually launch their boat to the water)
I’m not picking on anyone, or calling out any type of boaters, we all share the water and the ramps, but know the rules or the etiquette and also don’t assume that if you pull in and no one else is there that you can not apply these rules of the ramp at that time. Because on most days, someone will be coming in shortly and if you’re in the middle of rigging rods, putting on waders, attaching straps and anchors and maybe even needing to blow up tubes, you’re causing unnecessary problems for everyone.
As you can imagine, you’re probably guessing this happened this week and it’s on my mind. Well, yes.
And the problem is with society these days is if someone knows the rules and tries to be factual with education on how it should work with people who don’t know, all that happens is we look bad. Like we’re talking down to them, or being a jerk.
I want nothing more than joy on the water and at the ramp. We all have to work together out there and I’d rather talk about the weather and the upcoming hatch or how the day was, and not ever have confrontation. But, can people accept someone who’s willing to teach them something important?
We look forward to seeing you out on the water and in the shop.
Enjoy your time on the water!