What a start to the year, both good and bad. Some of you know I began my year with Covid, so my own fishing around the home waters was non existent. I never like that, but that’s the breaks. The virus whipped me for about 3 weeks.
During that time I was able to fill my own guide calendar and I am so ready for the lakes in 2023.
Don’t take that as all the guides at the Fly Fisher’s Place are booked up, as bookings are certainly getting started but we have lots of open days for the FFP guide team.
Speaking of the guide team, FYI, an amazing opportunity came up for a prime salmonfly 3 day float on May 23-24-25 for 4 people if anyone wants a camp trip during that time.
I was in Argentina for just over 2 weeks from Mid January until a few days ago. The fishing was good, and it was wonderful to be back in Summer weather down in Patagonia. Not a lot of big fish, but plenty of solid rainbows (14″ to 19″) each day and a few nice browns over 20″.
I am going to write a newsletter soon and I’ll detail that trip more, and talk about why I think it is such a good value for people to do this trip compared to some of the others we offer, especially when budget is important.
Since I have been home from Patagonia, I have been doing some research into the fishing close to home. Especially the Metolius. People I rely on to supplement my own info that I report were also in Argentina (or California). So they were not able to provide help & info for this weeks report.
Thankfully Carson and Mattias at the shop were great with the details I needed, And Dr Joe with his good Bull Trout reports when I saw him Friday.
The Metolius, is fishing well.
There are good afternoon Blue Wing Olive hatches (mostly 18’s, keep in mind some of the BWO’s that hatch in winter have really tall wings and can look like a #16, but close examination of the body will confirm a #18 is still the best match)
Fish will need to be given choices using cripples, emergers and duns, depending on the weather and the day. I always like Knock Down Duns, KD Duns, Film Critics, Smokejumpers, K Fly’s, Sparkle Duns, Purple Comparaduns and CDC Parachutes in my boxes.
October Caddis in size #8 and Silver Stripe Sedge #12-14 are prevalent now and will be well into spring. We always recommend Orange Pupa, but large Orange Adult Caddis are great searching flies that often get crushed later in the afternoon.
This is the time of year when other small to mid-size morsels can work their way into the feeding patterns of trout on the Metolius. Little Black Stones, usually fished as an adult, Midges (often as tiny as a #22 or smaller) fished as a larva, pupa or adult. My last trip to the Metolius (sadly way back in December before Christmas) I used a CDC Midge Emerger for 2 nice rainbows on top. You’ll see smatterings of Grey Caddis about a #14-16, maybe some larger random stoneflies and the fish ought to always be happy to eat the pupa of the caddis and nymphs of the stones in about a size #10.
Bull Trout fishing remains very good, with good results on nymphs and streamers for my friends who’ve been putting in the time for these predators lately.
The Fall River is also good, with some afternoon Blue Wing Olives and Midges. The BWO’s will again be matched well with #18-20 flies and at the Fall it may be even more important to show the fish cripples and emergers than the dun’s and do so on 6.5X or 7X tippet.
Midges are matched with small black Century Drive Midges, Winkler’s, Griffiths Gnats and Zebra’s.
I don’t yet have a confirmation of Little Black Stones on the Fall, but February is the time they get going there. A little Black CDC Caddis or X Caddis with the Z Lon tail cut short (or off!) is a good match, and skittering it is often what is the difference maker if they will rise for it or not.
Euro Streamers have been kicking some butt out at the Fall, and Eggs and Perdigons are always good choices out there.
The Crooked remains disappointing. I’m curious to hear if any of you have had any decent fishing there in December, January or these frost days of February?
Let’s be hopeful that some increased flows in Spring, coupled with good spring BWO and Midge hatches will make the fish return their normal spots and fishing will improve.
The Middle Deschutes is still too high and cold for good fishing. If we get some warm February days along with the Irrigation Stock Runs that usually occur between Valentines Day and Presidents Day, the water drops for several days and it can be a good time to see if the fish will eat the Little Black Stones from Tetherow Crossing down to Steelhead Falls.
The Lower Deschutes in Maupin is a solid choice for trout fishing, with Euro Nymphs (Blue Perdigon is a favorite (thanks Amy!), but many other good choices and colors and bead sizes need to be considered).
Girdle Bugs and other stonefly nymphs, Micro Mayfly and 2 Bit Hookers to imitate Baetis nymphs, and definitely keep an eye open for Blue Wing Olive hatches with fish feeding at the surface this month on small duns and emergers.
Trout Spey swinging and nymphing is a super choice for this bigger water too.
We are going to be working with a new private lake near Grass Valley, OR in March and April and look forward to that this season. I plan on doing a little early season guiding out there with some of my good guide trip guests. But we can get you booked anytime once the ice is gone in march. More details to follow.
I have a couple of people interested in a fly tying class I would like to begin soon. Let me know if you are interested in a series of classes and at what level you would be tying. Class would be once a week for 5 weeks and be from 3 to 5 PM and likely be held on either Tuesday or Wednesday and in person (finally) at the shop in Sisters. My classes are always more than just learning to tie something, but understanding the fly and it’s relationship with the hatch or food source it is matching, and how and when you would want to fish that fly too.
Speaking of Fly Tying, The NW Fly Tyers Expo organized by our friend Sherry Steele and other great folks is coming up again in Albany on March 10-11, 2023. I will be doing a tying class on Lake Flies there. I’m not sure if it is full yet, but there are so many good tyers there to watch and learn from and many booths to see and purchase new materials. It is worth the time to get to Albany for that show.
There is also a fly casting component to the event, and you can even take a test to get an FFI pin showing your level of casting. That is a lot of fun. I got Gold Level in 2019 (the last time the show was held) but struggled with one cast called the Curve Cast before passing that. So I hope to see you there from behind the vise or with a fly rod in hand and say hello.
I need to get going on my own tying to fill boxes for the season. On my immediate list are Red Pheasant Tails jigged #16 and #18 with gun metal beads for the lakes. Dark Assassin with a Red Ribbing and Gun Metal Bead on Jig hooks for the lakes. Callibaetis Halo Emerger #16-17. Callibaetis Poly Wing Comparaduns #14, 16 and 17. Black and Brown Beetles #14-16. Purple Comparaduns #14, 16, 18 and 20. Thin Black-n-Red and Black-n-Blue Jig leeches #10-12. Eggstacy Eggs in Oregon Cheese with Anodized Pink Beads #14-16. That’ll keep me busy for a while and make a pile of stuff on top of my tying desk.
Please keep an eye out for the newsletter, I’ll be writing it this week and hope Shannon can mail it next week after the Super Bowl. If you would like to get it on the mailing list, let me know.
I’m around all the rest of winter and spring so I’ll see you on the water or in the shop. We don’t have a spring saltwater trip planned this year for the 1st time in many years. Tina and I might go to Yellowstone in early to mid-May before it gets really busy at the shop and for my guide season, but otherwise I really look forward to being close to home and connected to the local waters.
All the best,