Do you want the good news, or the bad news 1st? It’s always the question, and we’ve heard this since we were kids.
Since 90% of us say give me the bad news first, and then soften the blow with the good news, that’s how this report will roll.
The worst news is the Crooked River is going to 10 cubic feet per second on 9/15/22
The press release I read talks nothing about the Habitat Conservation Plan that is in place to assure at least 50 cfs for the river and everything that relies on it’s survival. I hope planners and conservation groups are working on getting back to 50 soon.
Our stance at the Fly Fisher’s Place will be to rest the river and the fish and not put any additional stress on their existence until the water levels pop up to at least 50 cfs. We encourage others to do the same.
The other bad news is the Cedar Creek Fire has closed the Cascade Lakes Highway, meaning access to Hosmer, Elk Lake, Lava Lake, Little Lava, the Upper Deschutes Headwaters to Crane Prairie, Cultus and Little Cultus Lakes, Crane Prairie and Wickiup Reservoirs, Davis Lake and I believe both North and South Twin Lakes remain inaccessible to the public due to Fire Fighting efforts and public safety.
One small silver lining is that the fire has not reached ANY of these places. Yep, it is close to some of these iconic waters, and winds coming up strong from the “wrong direction” could change this in a day. Cross your fingers because that fire turned into a monster in the last few days.
Enough bad news there, so let’s move on to the good news.
It looks like the ODFW is going to keep the Deschutes Steelhead season OPEN all year.
I will remind you that wild fish are scarce, and mega important. I think every steelhead angler had a responsibility to land them and release them with the utmost care. This includes using a rod strong enough to fight them quickly. Using a tippet that allows them to be turned and pulled in to the net. Yes, use a net. A big one with rubber netting to protect the fish and keep them in the water. NEVER pull the fish on the shore and NEVER bring the fish into the shallow rocks. Important studies have shown that fish thrashing in the rocks usually don’t survive the release and die later. A net is the way to combat that. Barbless hooks of course. We are getting the privilege to fish for these magnificent fish again this season. Treat it as such. Keep ’em wet.
The Newberry Caldera Lakes are fishing well and there is no fire threat at either East Lake or Paulina Lake. I was on both lakes this week and on Wednesday we found some end of season Callibaetis action on emergers, adults and nymphs. I heard that on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the callibaetis hatch was pretty non-existent. Tonn and Steve were up guiding and freinds Seth and Amber wading the edges yesterday all commented on a slower few days. Of course we are getting to the end of callibaetis hatch season on all the lakes. But I also wonder if the full moon played some part in this? And the weird weather of the last few days….
Paulina was really quite good Thursday, with fish coming to a Century Drive Midge emerger (red #16) and an Upright Rusty Spinner #16 good in the morning before the breeze came up. After that we switched to Beetles and found a lot of fish looking up all day for them. We got a few take downs on Chironomids and some willing participants to a Rust Leech on Camo Lines.
This week I plan to be on Paulina Monday, Friday and Saturday because I like the trend I saw.
For the Metolius report I am simply going to copy what I wrote just a few days ago, as it is as relevant today as it was on Tuesday when I wrote it.
It is with great pleasure we can say the fall green drakes (#10 primarily) and flav’s (#12-14)have begun. You’ll find these 2 large mayflies hatching sometime between 2 pm and 5 pm most days for the next 4 weeks or longer. Emergers and Duns will serve you well.
While these are important hatches and my personal favorites, let me explain the other hatches and where you might find them throughout the different sections of the river:
PMD or Pale Morning Dun #16 & #18. Should be found Upper Middle and Lower River and mostly later in the afternoons, although on hot days you could see the hatch delayed to evening hours. Make sure to add Cripples and Emergers to your box, and of course a great Dun is important and critical at times. These turn into Rusty Spinners after the last molt and females hit the water in the evening, usually at Dusk.
BWO or Blue Wing Olive #18-22. With cooler weather bound to happen in the coming weeks these could change to a mid afternoon hatch and happen all segments of the river. Right now, most of the BWO’s we’ve been seeing are around the hatchery and happen as the shade hits the water in the late afternoon. Just like the PMD’s above, you’ll need all the stages to fool Metolius fish. I’ve been loving little CDC flies these last 2 seasons and the Shuttlecock type flies have become staples in my boxes.
Pale Evening Dun or PED #14. This is not a super common occurrence I have witnessed on the Met, but Sunday afternoon I saw a bunch of them hatching. Not a bad idea to have a Yellow Soft Hackle and a Yellow Comparadun when these are hatching.
Mahogany Dun #16 will become more prevalent as September moves on, but there are a few around already. Our Upright Rusty, Quill Gordon, Purple Haze and Grey Comparadun are all great flies to match this hatch. You’ll see them all over the river from Lake Creek down to Bridge 99 and below.
Caddis hatches have been massive. It seems the clouds of little yellow caddis have slowed already, but there are a ton of bigger yellowish-tan caddis in a #16, plus tan #16, grey #12-16, olive #16-18 and the 1st october caddis #10 were seen over the weekend on our camp trip to the river. Caddis won’t slow down much until later in October, and some of these will go well into winter. Caddis love all stretches of the Metolius, in fact the type of water the Metolius is just kind of makes the whole river a caddis factory.
I worked the fly shop today and realized the boys had sold the living daylights out of caddis lately and our election was low, so I did an emergency re-order of some of our favorites and they will be back in stock by the end of the week. Some of these caddis are also used to match the little olive stones I talk about next….
Stoneflies become more and more important in September, with little olive stones #16-18arguably the most important later in the day and early evening. Our Double Wing (CDC) Stone, Hemingway and other cool little CDC concoctions seem to work best when matching this hatch.
(Ben M this is your answer) One of our customers wrote and asked about my last report, and wondered when I was talking about all those big stones if I meant the nymphs, or if I was talking adults. This time of year, we have AT LEAST 4 different stoneflies hatching. So adults are what I am mostly talking about. Cascade Stones (we formerly called them Willowflies) are just starting and could be found anywhere, but most likely from Candle Creek up to about the Gorge Campground. These are big, #4 and #6. Do the fish go nuts for them? Not usually, but would I have a #4 or 6 Dark Chubby in my box in September if I saw some crashing rises. Yep.
Same goes for Salmonflies in a #6-8. I’d have a Chubby or big Norm Woods in Rusty Orange at the ready just in case. Again mostly from Bridge 99 to Gorge. I’ve seen fish crush these at the Dolly Hole at dusk in September.
One big stonefly that is more consistent in September (and likely October) is the Golden Stone. These #8-10 stones are very important and can pop up in isolated places like the gorge, the canyon, the Dolly Hole and way down below Bridge 99. But where you should see most of them this month is above Gorge up to Tract C. We like Clarks Stones and Norm Woods Specials to match this hatch.
Midges may be important. Griffiths Gnats in a #20-22 might be good to carry this month. I hate to tell this story, but last year we were out fishing a favorite spot, with a really nice trout rising consistently to god knows what. I put about 15 flies over that fish, and had some looks but never a commitment. My friend Dean was with me and put a few casts and a few of his flies over that fish with the same results. The next day, Dean went back and put a Griffiths Gnat over that fish and caught it right away. So, there you go.
Terrestrials Ants, Beetles and lots of Hoppers out this time of year. None of these are my 1st choices on the Metolius almost anytime, but all of them have been productive at times.
There are no Kokanee running up the river yet, so eggs are not yet on the menu.
There are a lot of Bull Trout in the river and fishing has been really good on Streamers mostly, but nymphs will take there fair share of Bulls, and a Balanced Leech or MOP under an indicator is pretty good at times.
Here is a great report from one of my most trusted and talented fishing friends, Chester Allen as he discussed his day on the Lower Deschutes for trout yesterday:
I got to the Deschutes today at 2:45 pm, and it looked like it was 6:30 pm. I stood in the Mecca parking area and didn’t cast a shadow.
As you might expect, the bugs were happy about all this. Glossosoma everywhere until dark. The tiny caddis were falling off the reed carnary grass, and the redsides were waiting. I fished the same fly — size 19 CDC X-Caddis — until it was too dark to see.
I hate to see smoky skies, but the trout love it — except for the fish near the burning forests. Sorry for the fuzzy night shot of the rainbow. The fish around Mecca, much like the fish on the Metolius, are in fantastic shape!
Our FFP guide team has also found similar days on the Warm Springs to Trout Creek run, and a whole lot of Euro Nymphing, and some Trout Spey with streamers and crayfish.
The Fall River is fishing well and is not in the closed area of the Cascade Lakes area. Our guide Gavin said yesterday it was his best day of guiding there all season.
They did best on Euro Nymphs and Streamers. Look for BWO and PMD hatches, Midges, Caddis and Ants to be important dry flies to have on hand over the next few weeks until cool fall weather returns in October sometime.
Adam Ross is one of our top FFP guides and I heard from him that there was almost no dry fly action on the Mckenzie at the moment but that Euro Jigs and streamers have been very productive.
With Fall Weather on the near horizon it makes me wonder if the Caddis (especially October Caddis) will be hatching soon and get fish looking at the top again? Lot’s of fish coming to the net, but this week nearly 100% of them on nymphs and streamers.
The Upper North Santiam is good from the Marion Forks area down to Pamelia and Whitewater Creeks. After Pamelia Creek it gets rough and tumble, but offers great pocket water for attractors and nymphs.
Three Creeks Lake is still good, and ought to be for at least another month, maybe longer. I know there was still a pretty strong callibaetis hatch last week but I doubt this will last much longer at 6500 feet. If you go this week be ready with all stages of callibaetis. Leeches and Chironomids, Beetles, Ants, scuds and Waterboatman will be taking the stage away from the mayflies as we progress into fall. The Store is closed and boat rentals for the year are done. The lake is really quiet now and on a cooler weekday you might be one of very few people there.
I am looking forward to my time on the water this week, starting in a few hours with Tina and the Metolius, and with the world famous Uncle Fuzzy and his wife in the boat tomorrow. Late in the week I have some awesome characters in the boat, and mid week I am lucky to be going to Seattle for the Tuesday and Wednesday Mariners vs Padres games with my very good friend Joe. Go Padres.
See you next week on the water, in the shop or at the game! Be well and pray for rain.