Here we are, November 1st. The wet snow is falling outside the shop this morning, and while it is not sticking or hanging in here in town, it is the beginnings if what will hopefully be a robust snowpack this season in the mountains where it is needed.
Fishing is far from over, and there are so many good opportunities to get out there and enjoy days on the river (lakes are coming to an end, with some exceptions in the short term)
I wanted to remind our readers of the closures that sneak up on us each year and keep you out of fish jail.
#1) The Upper Metolius above Allingham Bridge to the Headwaters are closed now all winter and spring until May 22, 2023
#2) The West side of the Warm Springs to Trout Creek drift. No fishing is allowed on the reservation side, and keep in mind that you’ll want to focus on islands and gravel bars that are east of the main channel to remain in the open areas. *There is confusion with this and I hear people saying but I can get the Warm Springs Pass, but that pass is only good from April 22 to October 31 and then the tribal side closes.
#3) The Deschutes above Benham Falls. This has been closed for a while, but a good reminder again to not fish from the Headwaters to Crane, Crane to Wickiup, Wickiup down to Benham. All that opens May 22, 2023.
#4) While most lakes remain officially open all year, dictated of course by snow, ice and closed roads, a reminder that Crane Prairie and Wickiup operate April 22 to October 31 and are now closed.
The Metolius is very special in November. Anglers should expect to see good afternoon hatches of Blue Wing Olives from a #18-22, Cinygmula (yellow mayflies with 2 tails) #16-18, the remnants of Pale Morning Duns #16, an array of caddis including #14 to 16 grey and tan varieties and October Caddis #8-12 which will be important from now until May.
My advice on dry flies is always have an emerger, a cripple and an adult when going into any match the hatch situation and don’t be afraid to change them quickly if the fish don’t respond to a great drift.
Eggs have been a staple on the diet for a month, and while not many kokanee remain in the river alive & spawning, the trout and whitefish are used to eating eggs and the egg flies are good all winter and into spring.
We can’t count on every excursion to the river in winter to offer dry fly action, but we can count on good nymph fishing opportunities each and every day we go to the Metolius!
Of course you know from reading our reports that we are big on Euro Nymphing, but there are times, and with certain flies you might be better off with an Indicator Rig, for instance when fishing leeches, stonefly nymphs, October Caddis Pupa and Micro Streamers.
We have some incredible Euro Nymphs that are picked with color and bead sizes in mind for fishing the Metolius for us that are tight-line junkies.
Bull Trout have been coming to streamers quite well. I think other than the dead of winter when they sometimes show a preference to nymphs that streamers are the way to go, and the fact that some streamers are fished swung, some dead drifted and some stripped it opens up many ways to approach a fish or a type of water makes you more than just a 1 trick pony.
The Lower Deschutes is good for trout on Stonefly Nymphs, October Caddis Pupa, smaller Caddis Pupa, Euro Jigs, Cheeseburgers (double bead peacock stones), Zebra midges, Red Copper John and an old favorite, Prince Nymphs.
You may find some fish up to BWO’s throughout November. A Sparkle Dun and a #18 Purple Haze or Purple Comparadun are great dries for Deschutes risers now.
Guides and friends of mine are finding some Steelhead, both wild and hatchery fish on the Lower River, and with cold weather on the horizon it turns it to skagit lines and sink tips and bigger intruders and leeches that grab the fish’s attention. Floating line options should include swinging an Anderson’s Euphoria and Oct Caddis Pupa.
Nymphing a Double Bead Peacock and a Lightning Bug or Prince is a good way to find steelhead for sure.
The Crooked River opens up again TODAY 11/1/22. Water Levels are coming up to meet the Conservation Agreement, and today are running 23 cfs but planning to see 50 cfs very soon.
I want to emphasize that when I started fishing the Crooked in the 80’s and 90’s we saw many winters where the river ran as low as 7 cfs, and the river and the fish were truly okay. That was a long time ago when the pressure was darn near non-existent and I applaud ODFW for the emergency closure this year when the water was dropped to around 10 CFS.
Getting back to the river you’ll want Purple Haze #16-18, BWO’s nymphs, emergers, cripples and duns#18-20. (I love the Furminky’s BDE BWO Dun at the Crooked). Skinny Nelson, Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Rainbow Warriors, Winklers, Scuds and Orange Psycho Prince
The Fall River is fishing really good, and I had an opportunity a few days ago to guide there instead of the lakes due to there weather. It was awesome. While all of us would expect BWO’s to be the hatch (and it was) there were just enough caddis sneaking in the hatch cycle that the fish were very opportunistic to a #14 tan floating pupa (Silvey’s Edible Emerger, Iris and Tan X Caddis).
Zebra Midges, Leeches, Sculpins, Eggs, Perdigons and Euro Jigs, Micro Mayflies are all good under the surface.
The Lakes that remain accessible and an option for fishing the near term include, North Twin, South Twin and Suttle Lake. Clear Lake on the McKenzie Hwy 126 to Eugene is too. Watch Roads becoming impassible later in the month with the snow possibly coming later.
Suttle is hard. The fish are there but they are just a challenge to figure out what they are eating, and if all those big browns are rolling for spawning behavior or for food? One guy said Snails. Maybe. Leeches and october caddis would be high on my own list.
Balanced Leeches, PT’s, Damsel Nymphs and Red Chironomids on both Twins.
Clear Lake launch at the resort and go west down the channel to the main lake. Leeches and Chironomids and Blobs.
This will be my last report until about Thanksgiving. I am headed to Cuba and will be gone fishing for a week, then bird watching in the Zapata Swamp National Park, then a combination of Humanitarian and Cultural Touring in Havana and Vinales with my good friend Jon Covich of World Fly/Cuba Fly Fishing Outfitters.
The Shop is open Monday through Friday 9 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday 9 to 4. We are closed Sundays in November. Be sure to stop by and visit Mattias and Drew and get the latest updates from those great guys.
Until the next one, stay fishy.