Greetings again from sunny Sisters, Oregon. It is mid-July and things are holding up well in terms of water conditions and temperatures. Poking around all the different places to fish in the area, overall, most of it is good stuff right now. Hopefully, you’ve been doing your own poking around, or have plans to do so very soon. Let me remind you, summer is short and now is a great time to be fishing.
The Metolius River is down the road from us of course is one the finest fly fishing only spring creeks in the Pacific NW. I actually would call it the finest myself. Summer hatches are going well, and the trend is overall quite nice for finding fish on nymphs, dries and streamers.
I didn’t personally get to the river this past week (but I am going tonight!) However, I can rely on trusted reports from several of the awesome guys that work at the shop to know it was a successful week on the river for rainbows and fat bull trout. Gavin and Mattias put in some good time for bull’s and scored nicely on some big streamers!
Eric reported good afternoon action on PMD’s (#16) with an awesome dry fly session earlier in the week.
BWO’s are hatching later afternoon and early evening in the shadows. After the BWO’s (#22), a good caddis hatch (Tan #14-16, Olive #16-18) should occur on every warm evening. Caddis may be around mid afternoon in places, so keep an eye out for that. And at dusk, expect to see mayfly spinners back on the water to lay eggs. You’ll want Rusty Spinners in a #16-18 and Olive in a #20.
Have you tried a Purple Comparadun on the Met? I carry them from #12-20 and its a go to for many mayfly hatches there, including PMD’s which of course are yellow, so why a sophisticated trout in a spring creek would chomp a purple dry fly when we are darn sure they are keyed to PMD’s is one of the great mysteries of matching the hatch. And that friends is why fly fishing is cool.
There are 2 important stonefly hatches to look at now, Yellow Sally’s #14-18 and Golden Stones #8-10
I can tell you in years past, some summer evenings I’ve seen fish so keyed on Yellow Sally’s they didn’t want to eat anything else. So make sure you’ve got a couple of these in your box.
And of course, nymphing is more often than not going to be your #1 method of getting some good fish to the net and if you are a Euro Nympher, you have the advantage. It makes a difference.
The McKenzie is lovely at the moment, as it is recovering from the fire, it is green all over the banks and water levels are prime after a good snowpack this past winter and spring.
FFP guides are reporting fish on big dries including Parachutes Adams, H&L Variants, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators, Chubby’s and Corn Fed Caddis.
Many of the guides are getting fish on a Dry/Dropper Combo or by nymphing from the boat with good catch rates.
The Fall River is fishing pretty well, but it is crowded mid day with plenty of other anglers if you’re in the easy to get to spots. There are places to escape that by some longer walks, and by going at dawn and fishing to about 10 or 11 am, or after dinner and fishing to dark.
Euro Nymphs and Jigs, Micro May’s, Tungsten Zebra Midges, Pine Squirrel Minnows and Micro Streamers are all hot flies for below the surface.
On top, look for PMD and BWO mayflies, Olive Caddis, Yellow Sally’s and Ant, Beetles and Grasshoppers. A purple Hippie Stomper is a good attractor too.
ODFW has 1000 trophy fish to plant now (might have just happened actually) so there will be a fresh bunch of big fish to stalk now. I sure wish ODFW would make Fall River catch & release. I know its a mostly stocked fishery, but there are too many people fishing it these days for people keeping a limit and not leaving fish to catch for an angler tomorrow or next week.
The Crooked River is at 187 cfs and fishing just like normal. There are afternoon and evening PMD and Mahogany Dun hatches and Caddis. It is hopper time over there so a hopper along the banks and in the riffles is a good idea. It also makes a great indicator running a nymph off the bend of the hook.
Nymphing is awesome right now, and a perdigon with a 2.8 or 3 mm bead is probably about right for most areas with the flow where it is. Split Case and 2 Bit Hookers to match PMD nymphs are great patterns now too.
I know so many of us are worried about the Crooked River, and we’ve heard the BOR is going to drop to the river to 10 cfs in August. That is a possible outcome, but it is also possible there is some language in the conservation plan that says 50 cfs is as low as it can go….
Let’s hope. I am learning more and more and will share more when I can.
In the near term, check out http://www.yourwatershed.net and maybe go to Prineville on Thursday July 21st at the Crooked River Elementary School for a meeting at 5:30 PM to discuss water in the Crooked River basin and what is being done to address shortages that are now staring all of us in the face as that area of the state experience exceptional drought.
The Upper Deschutes below Wickiup is a winner! It appears that so many of the fish that drained out of Wickiup have taken up residence on the Upper D. Some of the cool kids from the shop are hitting it and showing me phots of big browns. I need to go.
Streamers are their game. In years past, especially early on when I 1st got my Deschutes National Forest permit I was fishing Hoppers and Ants, PMD’s, Baetis, Mahogany Duns and Trico’s on the surface from Mid July until irrigation season ended and the water was too low too float. That may be mid August this year, but if you have a drift boat and can organize a shuttle with a friend, it would be worth the effort from Wickiup down to the Sunriver area.
The Headwaters stretch is all walk and wade, and has some nice trout hanging around, but is a cool spot to target whitefish this time of year in the pools and riffles on nymphs. I heard there were still some Green Drakes up there last week from a reliable source. Golden Stones, PMD, Caddis and Terrestrials are good dries.
Three Creeks Lake is really good still. Callibaetis are in full swing and might even be getting better soon. Evening can see Callibaetis, Black Caddis and small Chironomids hatching. During the day, Leeches, Damsel Nymphs, Callibaetis from Nymphs, to Emergers and Duns and Terrestrials will do the trick.
It is 16 miles from the fly shop and is a worthwhile spot to fish for several weeks to come.
Hosmer is getting a supplemental stocking of trout this week and that is a good thing. They will grow fast and be important for the fall and for next season. Callibaetis and Damsels are the 2 major hatches. Keep an eye open for Traveling Sedges (Caddis) and this is where you can hit them with a Tom Thumb or my Cascade Caddis and skitter both on the top to get smashing takes. Usually in July and most of August this hatch happens in the evening so make plans to get there to see that hatch on a warm summer evening. I like to show up about 2 or 3, usually hitting some afternoon adult action, and then fish the 2nd callibaetis emergence and stay through the big caddis. If you’re lucky and stay late, you should also get to fish Caenis mayfly hatches and test your skills on this obscure cousin of the more famous Trico hatch so many of us have actually heard of.
I don’t have much of a report from Crane Prairie. I’m sorry. Maybe check with Fly & Field in Bend or the Hook in Sunriver. Should be Callibaetis, Damsels, Chironomids and Bloodworms, Daphnia/Blobs, Balanced Leeches, but I haven’t been and none of my guides have either. I had a customer write after the last report and he said there was a good algae bloom going. I’ve actually found good fishing under that bloom on Crane many times, so as long as the water temp is okay, or you’re in the channel and certainly have found cold water refuge, I don’t worry too much about that bloom.
East Lake was pretty good this week. Considering it was a full moon week and a couple of days the damn east wind took over, fishing on the edges with beetles and ants was good, finding fish in the shoals with callibaetis nymphs was good and working the banks with damsel nymphs was good.
I had some friends in the boat earlier in the week that stayed at the resort there and there said in the evening the fish were rising like crazy. I miss going up and staying to dark, that is always fun in the summer on East, but knowing I have an hour and 15 minute drive back to Sisters and have to be up by 6am to start the next guide day, staying to dark is not in this old mans cards any more.
Paulina Lake was good this week, again despite the Full Moon, it was a week of interesting fishing, hard fought wins and cool discoveries.
For one, I sparingly use a throat pump on occasional fish to get an idea on what the menu is. One of the fish was quite full on a combo on black chironomids #18, but also had several robust olive scuds in his sample. Going through my scuds, I found a scud that my good friend Chester and I used to tie for the Crooked River in the 80’s when I was working at the Fly Box and going to COCC. I may have actually tied that one in the 80’s based on Chesters example! It was on a TMC 3761 #12 hook, had a Hareline Olive Tan dubbing for the body, picked out to simulate legs, and Olive Antron Shell back ribbed with Fine Silver Wire. The fish loved it and it brought back great memories at the same time.
Again, the Olive Bugger with the Orange Bead was good, Red, Black and Olive Chironomids were productive, a Tan 2 Bit Hooker and a Cates Turkey were all good under indicators or stripped on a Camo Line. On top beetles were good, ants were a close 2nd and 2 of the 3 days on the lake there were a lot of hoppers finding there way in to the water and the fish crushed them. We caught out 1st fish of the season on a hopper which delights me more than you’d imagine!
ODFW is stocking South Twin this week. Float Tubers ought to go enjoy that.
ODFW is also stocking Lava Lake this week. I think this fall, Lava Lake is going to be on my hit list again.
I want to take the final paragraph to say thank you and pay tribute to the best shop manager FFP ever had. Brad Beckwith, who many of you have met has gone back to the non-profit world and we wish him all the best. I am going to miss working with him. What an outstanding human and outstanding employee we got to be with for 3 seasons.
If you see Brad in Bend, or out fishing somewhere, say hello and let him know he made a difference.
See you on the water.