Labor Day fishing forecast and fishing reports

A Thursday night update. What in the heck? These things usually hit on the weekends but this weekend I will be nowhere near a computer or a wifi signal.
Instead, I am headed camping on the Metolius with Tina, Drake and some good friends tomorrow, and know the day will be packed from the minute I get up to the time we hit the road, with the R Pod in tow to the campsite. I know we are all really looking forward to some relaxation, some reading (I’m working on the Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman….Bird Nerd alert) and some fishing!!!
Fishing has been very good on the Metolius this past week. So, we will start there.

Metolius in the fall is magical. Technically today is the 1st day of meteorological fall, with the autumnal equinox coming up in a few weeks. I love either day, but what I really love is fishing on this river in September, October and at least the first week of November.
While we have not yet seen any fall green drakes or the smaller Flav’s, they ought to pop really soon. As I packed for the 4 days tonight, I made sure my drake box and my fav’s were in the bag.
Caddis are dominating the afternoon and evening bite. Size 18-20 yellow caddis and #14-16 tan and olive caddis are the big players and ought to be for quite a while. The yellow micro caddis just got going last week and they usually last about 2 weeks or a bit longer.
I saw my 1st october caddis on the river a few days ago.
My friend Doug had good success with a #12 Elk Hair Caddis with a short (8-12″) dropper tag off the bend of the caddis to a small PT Nymph the other day. I would also try that with a Caddis Pupa trailed off the dry, but keep it close so it rides near the surface.
While there are not any big mayflies quite yet, there are a ton of smaller ones. BWO #20-22 and PMD #16-18 with olive spinners and rusty spinners (match sizes from above duns) in the evening and close to dusk. As usual, on all your mayfly hatches on the Metolius, you’ll want duns and spinners of course, but cripples and spinners are where it’s at in my book. These fish are fussy feeders and they dig it when the fly they are going to eat looks like it is not going away anytime soon, or better yet looks like it is in trouble.
There are some cascade stones #4-6, some salmonflies #4-8, a LOT of golden stones #8-10 and a quickly increasing amount of little olive stones #16-18. At any moment over the next 4 weeks, any of these mentioned stoneflies could be/should be/will be important. 2 flies you can’t be without are the little olive stone #16-18 and a Clarks Stone #8-10.
Bull Trout streamer action is quite good, and Euro nymphing is also quite productive now if you’re on the water during non hatch times.

The McKenzie is great. We just had 2 boats open up for next friday due to a cancellation. Euro Nymphing and big dries, or dry/dropper. Definitely worth it.

The Lower Deschutes is pretty good from Warm Springs to Trout Creek for trout mostly euro nymphing, with better dry fly fishing on Purple Haze and Caddis in the dusky light each evening.
I see some folks are catching steelhead near the mouth and up to Macks Canyon. Fish responsibly for these fish.

The Crooked today is still sticking in the 180 cfs range. If it stays there for a bit, fishing is going to be great on BWO #18, PMD #16-18 and Mahogany Duns #16. of course little mayfly nymphs and perdigons rock it on the Crooked and never forget Zebra Midges and Scuds. We just don’t know when and if the river will be dropped to 10 cfs. It is certainly going to go much lower, but when?

The Fall River is a good choice, although I’d likely skip it this holiday weekend due to the crowds. Or hit it 1st thing in the morning at dawn with streamers or a well drifted egg fly.
BWO and PMD are the main hatches to look for over the next month. Some caddis now with improving numbers of caddis including a gorgeous little amber colored caddis that hatches later this month and into October.

The Upper Deschutes from the headwaters at Little Lava Lake to Crane would be high on my list this month. Walk the banks with a euro nymph rod and hit all the pockets, strip or swing streamers OR walk in to the Blue Hole with your float tube and target big whitefish and brookies on copper johns and eggs.

Do any of you have a new report on the Upper D below Wickiup or down to the Big River Campground or Sunriver/Besson Camp area? I don’t have a current report from anyone but I’d like to….

The Middle Deschutes is good from Bend through the Tumalo area, Cline Falls and Lower Bridge/Borden Beck Park and Steelhead Falls area. Morning and evening dry fly fishing with Purple Haze, Yellow Sparkle Dun and X Caddis, and perdigons and jigs and soft hackles pretty much anytime.

East Lake was good to us this week. SO many callibaetis, especially from about noon to 2 with the strongest emergence going about that time. The Captive Dun and Almost Dun and a Parachute were my best flies this week.
Wind drifting a Callibaetis nymph on a hover or intermediate line is going to get you a lot of kokanee, with some trout in the mix. You can also fish the nymphs under an indicator static or with a slow retrieve.
We also got fish this week on dry damsels, many fish on a beetle and also on both Olive Haze #18 and Purple Haze #16. I was up Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and each day fished a bit different due to winds, but all were good and produced good fish to net ratios.

Hosmer is fishing well enough to recommend it. Scuds, leeches, Zebra Midges, callibaetis soft hackle, balanced leeches and MAYBE you’ll see some fish feeding on top to Callibaetis (it’s been sparse) or Damsel Adults (they are abundant but the fish don’t key on them all the time).

Paulina is good. I think with some cooler days on the horizon we will quickly see some really positive changes here. Still a lot of rising fish in the morning to Midges and Callibaetis spinners and a little to the emerger too.
Beetles, Ants and Hoppers during the day and wind drifting leeches and flashback PT’s on an intermediate line is good.

Crane Prairie is okay. Leeches, Red Worms, Chironomids, Scuds, Damsel Nymphs and Waterboatman.

For my 3 Creeks Lake Report I am going to copy and paste my friend Dougs email he kindly shared with me today:

Wanting to spend an afternoon with my aging guide-pup, Rio. I headed to the lake: Two old dogs celebrating many days on the water together. It was windy when I put in @ 3:00: no bugs flying around as I had hoped. No matter: we (I) rowed up wind to the boat dock and set anchors bow and stern. Again no Callibaetis fly (driven off the water by the wind) and – therefore – no rises. What the hell, I cast my #16 mayfly spinner (15Ft to 5X for a natural float) to where the fish would be if there were any bugs if there were no wind: OK, I’m a dreamer. But apparently there was a dreamer Rainbow out there who came up and graced my fly with a gulp. And then two; and then three; and then four. No Kidding! Fish are dreamers, too! Fun!

After an hour, Rio got bored, so decided to row across the lake where cove provided protection from the wind and try there. Besides the two old dogs needed to get out and visit  a tree. To help Rio on and off my pontoon boat, I brought along his doggie ramp. It worked! We each “nourished” a tree. I love that ol’ sidekick!

Back on the water, I switched to my indicator rod and tied on a balanced leech (lead) and an #18 ice cream cone as a dropper. Nothing. So I went back to the spinner. First cast, a BIG fish (I think a Brookie) smashed out of the water, but no hook-up. Rio says I simply missed the set – No mercy!!

@ 7:00 I still hadn’t tried trolling-retrieving a leech on my trout spey, so I set off back across the lake toward the stream mouth delta, where there’s a large shallow fan out into the lake. I tied on a #12 red-n-black semiseal leech with a pink head and cast to the drop-off.  TUG! A 16-17” (I really don’t measure any more) Rainbow went for it and after a gallant fight was quickly netted, posed for photo (see # 004) and gently released for another day. 

Both Rio and I were pleased with our afternoon on the lake and decided to call it a day.

Lucky we live so close to such a magical resource!  We’ll be back soon in hopes less wind and of going a round or two with for Rainbows and Brookies with a #16 spinner.

That is a beautiful story (well, not peeing on the tree, but still), and a good indication of what you’ll find going on up there now. Thanks to Doug for sharing that with me and “us”.

Finally, please come look over our sale table and rack this holiday weekend. We have some outstanding 40% off deals on some rods and reels and other stuff too.

Be well and we hope to see you on the water or in the shop.


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