As many of you who read my fishing report weekly, or at least often, you know I focus a lot of my time on the lakes both for work and for play, and on the Metolius for my play time.
This week I want to start by offering my own observations about the lakes. It has been a little weird with hatches, a little off on the bite, many things like fly patterns I’ve relied on for the last 12 seasons of me guiding lakes are way different. Trends don’t always stay the same year after year, and 2022 has proven that more than ever. I’d be curious to hear other peoples observations regarding this.
Since the heat wave a couple of weeks ago, water temperatures on the lakes have seemed to be in the safe zone at East, Paulina, Hosmer and 3 Creeks for sure. I am pretty darn sure the channels at Crane Prairie are also really fishable now, but watch the hot afternoons for temps above 68 on any of the lakes later this week as we are supposed to really warm up Wednesday and Thursday again.
This week at Paulina the fishing was slow. One day we got stormed off the water 3 times waiting for lightning to pass. Tuesday was the day of multiple cells of electrical storms passing over us, and Wednesday was sunny but a strong south wind causing whitecaps and swell over the majority of the big lake. Callibaetis were non existent this week at Paulina. Chironomids caught a few fish under the bobber, and throat pump samples showed a few naturals in the mix, with an Olive #16 being most prevalent. Oddly, I haven’t caught a fish at Paulina on a balanced leech, jig leech or a leech stripped on a sinking line for several trips. Usually in summer, the Watermelon Balanced Leech is an absolute staple. Last summer my friend Gary introduced me to the Hot Pink Bead Black-n-Red Dub Jig Leech with tremendous success. It’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve had a bobber down fishing either of those. I am mixing it up with other colors, sizes beads….Same result. The one constant has been I can rely on Ants and Beetles and usually find some fish looking up for them. Hoppers were abundant earlier in the summer, and the week before last we did catch some fish on a hopper (Pink ones BTW), but this week no fish ever even looked at our hopper offerings.
Hosmer Lake this week showed a better number of fish than I saw before. They were tough to move to a fly as most fish were seemingly resting static near the bottom. Full Moon week problems? Maybe. Essentially there was zero hatch when we were there from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. Typically in August I have had Callibaetis spinners blanketing the water in the calm of the morning, and a dun hatch on most afternoons or by evening. Also, most august afternoons have seen big feeding frenzies on Damsel adults.
This week at Hosmer we collected small (#18) Yellowish Water Boatman from Throat Pump Samples and that was it. So where are the callibaetis? Where are the chironomids and scuds and damsel nymphs and leeches that usually show up mixed in samples? I realize that one day of sampling doesn’t say much at all of course, but it seemingly fits the trends I am finding for the most part. The fish we did catch at Hosmer were darn nice, but it ended up just being a few of them over the course of the day. With Water temps seeming good, and the number of nice fish we saw, will Hosmer be a go-to/top spot for us soon?
East Lake was perhaps the best highlight of my week. Again, while we were there from about 8 am to 3:30 PM, we saw nearly zero callibaetis hatching, but swarms of spinners hovering over the surface. None of these spinners ever “fell”, meaning we never saw any on the water. The spinners were just hovering. It looks like a dance. Over the years I have noticed a very strange phenomenon of callibaetis spinners dancing over the lake waiting for duns to hatch and then swarming the duns for whatever reason. WHY? I have posed the question to professional entomologists and can’t get an answer. It would be a guess that these are male spinners “meeting” female duns and almost fighting for them as they ascend to the sky and trees. Again, why? All duns need to molt another time before they are sexually mature to mate. That last molt is to the stage we refer to as spinners. So what biological purpose is occurring here? And to sum up my point on the spinners hovering a couple of days ago, were they waiting for and anticipating the hatch happening? Did the hatch not happen because it was too windy? It’s hard to know, but I do know that callibaetis nymphs under an indicator, or drifted on an Intermediate Line was an effective method for us the other day. We also found some nice fish on Red Hippie Stompers and Beetles. Finally, we also took a throat pump sample of a fish at East lake and that fish had small (#18) yellowish water boatman in the sample. I thought that was an odd and interesting find to see in both places so far apart and at such different elevations.
Several of you said you did take the suggestion to go late and stay until sunset and that you loved the dry fly action you found. I’m jealous of that, but guide trip schedules don’t always fit with changing the times we go and come back for one reason or another. Finally, I talked to a friend yesterday about his experiences on East Lake lately and he has been doing well on a Callibaetis Soft Hackles fished under a strike indicator. Whether this is relevant or not, his callibaetis was ribbed with red wire and in his opinion the red wire was key. This is why fishing is so cool, because it is constantly interesting. I am going to start spending more time on East from now into the Fall with the right clients and the right days. I was impressed with what I saw except how hard it is to launch a boat.
Crane Prairie I heard was good in the Quinn Channel and Cultus Channel. Balanced Leeches, Damsel Nymphs, Maroon Jig Leech, Blood Worms, Chironomids (don’t hesitate to try some big #10-14 red ones), Black and also Tan Zebra Midges #18-20 and I’d try a Blob. The Deschutes Channel ought to be just as good, I just didn’t have a report this week from that part of the lake.
On the higher, smaller lakes I had wonderful reports from friends at 3 Creeks Lake and Todd Lake.
Callibaetis, Damsels, Black Caddis, Leeches, Chironomids, Hippie Stompers, Beetles, Ants.
When cooler Fall weather comes, I do believe Lava Lake might be a really good spot this September and October based on water conditions and the recent restocking ODFW did earlier this season. Keep it on your radar.
The Mckenzie is still our #1 guide trip spot. Caddis, Stones, Bigger mayflies and parachute adams, jigs and perdigons, possie buggers and mega princes have been good. Such a nice float trip, good fishing and nice for our customers who enjoy or prefer to fish from the boat instead of wading.
The Lower Deschutes from Warm Springs to Trout Creek is good. Is it easy? No. But euro nymphing will certainly increase your catch rate during a lot of the day, and staying late will increase your odds for a good dry fly session. It is definitely worth fishing and enjoying the river right now. Plenty of caddis, some PMD’s & PED’s. Purple Haze, Rusty Spinners, X Caddis, Iris caddis, Fin Fetcher Caddis, Sparkle Duns, Comparaduns and Parachutes are great dries to have now. Blue Perdigon is a great one, but my goodness there are so many good nymphs to use including perditions with natural body tones and mixing up bead size to achieve the right depth and drift is a skill you need to have on any river.
Have you tried a Jig Crayfish?
Swinging soft hackles is effective at times.
Caddis Pupa are a staple now. Look for smaller pupa and adults to be more important for the next few weeks as we are in the time of the year when glossosoma caddis emerge along with many of the summer staples like spotted sedges.
Lower Deschutes Steelhead opens tomorrow 8/15/22. Are you going? How will you approach it? I love that we have the opportunity to fish for steelhead again this year, but again, like I said in last weeks report please limit your catch, use a net to minimize handling (seriously use a big net with a rubber/silicone bag), fish barbless, up your tippet size to 12# maxima, use a 7 or 8 weight and fight fish quickly. In other words, honor the fish and care for the wild ones like they were your best friend. Photos with a wild fish above and out of the water should result in a karmic retribution that will make your waders leak something fierce in the crotch on a cold day for years to come. I wrote this on Instagram this morning on the Wild Steelhead Page:
I wrote about that in my blog/fishing report last week. I asked my readers to consider would one fish a day be enough? How many for the season is enough? Would you step up your rod size and fish a stronger tippet to play fish faster? Would you use a net to minimize or eliminate handling steelhead at the release?
I hope we are not fishing for the last steelhead anytime soon. I also hope that the mentality from anglers will change relating to the fact these are really special fish, and connecting with them is important, but to limit the “let’s hammer them” feelings and create a ritual for honoring the entire day surrounding the experience.
We’ve been enjoying some good days on the North Santiam while we begin to rest the Crooked River. Great Euro Nymph action and some caddis and mayfly hatches to get fish up to the top on warm evenings. Orange Perdigons and October caddis are good, but smaller perdigons that are olive or brown have been pretty consistent.
The Crooked is at 177 cfs. Still OK. No word on whether it will really hit 10 cfs or they will save the river and find a way to keep the Habitat Conservation Plan in action at hold it at 50 cfs.
Fall River is fishing well. PMD and BWO hatches are good, Yellow Sally is always a possibility to see in the summer on our spring creeks, midges, olive caddis, beetles, ants and hippie stompers. Tons of good action on euro nymphs and streamers too.
Well, the Fly Fisher’s Place report would never be complete without the great Metolius River being included.
The Metolius continues to be good. It is truly a good summer there, with typical hatches, days of mystery as to where the hell they are, and suddenly there they are again. PMD’s, late afternoon BWO’s, evening Rusty Spinners and soon to be clouds of caddis. It seems like this last week the caddis were very underwhelming. The yellow micro caddis ought to pop this week. Ought to based on when they usually do year after year. I haven’t been around the hatchery in the late afternoon this week, but wondered if any of you say bigger #12-14 olive Ameletus mayflies? The last 2 weeks of August are when they appear so we should be about there.
Golden Stones are mist abundant in the Upper River from the Headwater to Gorge CG. Keep an eye open for them in the canyon now and also below Bridge 99.
Euro nymphing is very good.
Bull Trout fishing is also very good with big streamers.
I always love to hear back from you after these reports go live. Or anytime. Thank you for sharing your info with me. The recent tip on the evenings at East Lake, the red ribbing on the nymphs, hatches you’ve seen, fish you’ve caught, water conditions you shared. This page in many ways has built a community for me and the staff at the Fly Fisher’s Place and I love that a couple of hours of writing it each weekend can contribute to connections we share about this wonderful place and the sport we love.