Jeff’s Fishing Report 3/18/23

First off, the shop is now open 7 days a week, with Sunday 3/19/23 being our 1st sunday open since last fall. Winter is officially over. Now….moving on to the regularly scheduled report:
Good Evening from Sisters, Oregon. I just stepped in the house from the Metolius, although today we weren’t fishing, we were getting coordinates for the new Metolius map we are working on. If you have the old map, hang tight because the new one we are designing is going to be improved and better than ever.
Although I didn’t fish today, I did have a nice week of fishing, one excellent day on the Metolius and one wonderful day in the thriving metropolis of Grass Valley, Oregon touring the Justesen Ranch and all the nice trout lakes they have. More on that in a moment.

First off, the Metolius continues to be impressive with some good afternoon dry fly hatches and very good, consistent nymph action.
So far for March, most of the hatch activity has centered around BWO’s. We do expect to see more of the Yellow Mayflies (cinygmula sp.) as we move through this month and into April. I overheard a fella in the shop talking to Mattias yesterday that he ran into a good hatch of them somewhere on the river yesterday. So it is coming. #14-16 Yellow Sparkle Dun, Yellow Comparadun and Yellow Parachutes will serve you well if you run into that hatch. For the BWO’s #18 is the sweet spot and you’ll want emergers, cripples, duns and a nymph for pre-hatch.
Plenty of mixed caddis about. You know I am an advocate of orange dries from #8-14, whether that be a stimulator, Clark’s, foam elk hair caddis or amber colored Corn Fed Caddis. But more importantly an orange or amber pupa is the meat and potatoes of the these caddis this time of year.
We are now seeing what I would guess are brachycentrus caddis too. Usually the pupa on them is green and the adult is grey. There were some of these on our table tonight at Hola where we ate outside and enjoyed nachos and margarita about a 100 yards from the river.
When these caddis get going it can provide some better late afternoon and evening fishing, which is just getting started for the spring season now with longer daylight hours and warmer days. I have also experienced good hatches of cinygmula’s in the evening after work in late March and April. The river is past being a noon to 3 winter fishery and is springing to life for more hours of the day.
I have personally experienced a revival and love affair with sightline nymph fishing using my Sage ESN HD 10 1/2′ 3 weight euro nymphing rod, and it is all from fishing the Metolius these last few weeks. I am refocused on the nymph game and loving it, and catching quite a few fish. PS- you should be too.
I don’t know exactly when ODFW stocks the Chinook Smolt, but it can be chaotic for the Bull Trout when it happens. It should be soon. In the meantime, keep fishing the big streamers and hooking up with these apex predators of our river.
Also, having spent some fine days on the river over the last few weeks I am pleased to say that I have not seen anyone fishing up in the closed waters. Good to see.

The Crooked River is showing more and more signs of life and good days of fishing. Captain Drew from the shop was out there a couple of days ago and had really good action with a baetis perdigon.
The other good news was there was a good mix of whitefish in with the trout, showing a healthy recovery from the really low water last summer.
Midge hatches are still the dominate hatch, but we do expect to see a lot of baetis in the mix very soon.
I would put the Crooked on your Spring Break list of places to fish.

The Fall River continues to be good. Most of the dry fly action is on BWO and black Midges, but there are a fair number of the little black stones around that can get the fish pumped to rise for them.
Eggs, Perdigons, Zebra Midges, 2 Bit’s and Skinny Nelson’s are tops coming out of your nymph box. Small streamers and leeches are working well in a lot of areas of the river.
Remember that ODFW went back to closing the river below the Falls until May 22, so keep upstream of the falls for legal access.

The Lower Deschutes is open down in the Maupin area and is best from Locked Gate area down to Maupin and of course there is some good water from Maupin to Mack’s Canyon but I always worry the White River is flowing so cold that the better trout fishing is above the White.
Stonefly nymphs, perdigons, PT, 2 Bit, Hares Ear, Walts Worm, Green Rock Worm, Leeches and Sculpins. One of these days soon enough some mayflies will start to pop in the afternoon and March Browns will be premier hatch to hit. It should not be too long before this happens!

The Mckenzie flows are good and fishing towards Springfield maybe as high as Leaburg (so far) is good. March Browns are getting a good foot hold on the McKenzie and will get better over the next week to 10 days and then will be a strong hatch for about a month.
Golden Stone nymphs, Mega Prince, Leeches, Heavy Perdigons and Jigs are all worth fishing now too.

With Spring Break right at our door step there is a lot to be looking forward to on these waters.

My friend and longest tenured FFP guide Steve Erickson and I went to visit and tour the Justensen Ranch lakes earlier this week. I was blown away at the quality of the lakes, the beauty of the ranch, the warmth of the people there and the amazing opportunities that appear to be opening up for us there.
For $140 per person there are a number of lakes to choose from. Steve or I will be available to guide there within a week or so, and we plan on connecting with the owners and renting one if the houses they have and hosting 4 guys for a couple of days in April. Besides that, a lot of anglers can take their own float tube or pontoon boats and do it yourself! OR, the ranch has a guide on staff (also named Steve) that you can hire there if you choose.
I love it for a number of reasons, but for me I see it as a super opportunity to get some quality early season lake trips in well before the Cascade Lakes open up. So as we move forward I plan on getting a lot of my customers to these lakes in March and April and even early May as we move forward with the new relationship with the Justensen’s.
Let me know if you are interested and we will share more details and get you on the list to get out there soon.

Also, I am setting up a November trip to Belize (my favorite saltwater destination) and if you’d like to be on the list for more info on that trip, let me know. is my email for either Belize or Justensen trips.

We have a few sale items to note: Redington Strike Euro Nymph Rods are half price for the 2022 model main them $175 now. They are a nice rod and I even got my friend Damon euro nymphing this week and he said now he is looking for an excuse to cast nymphs. Another guy hooked!
I have one pair of XL Simms G4 Waders for $540 (normally $800) and XL Simms Fly Weight Waders for $360
We also have a few pairs of Simms G4 Boots on sale for $190 in sizes 8, 9 and 10.
Tomorrow 3/19/23 and Monday 3/20/23 anything in the shop that is a puffy jacket or stocking hat or winter gloves will be 50% off. There are some good deals to be had if you move quick. And watching the weather for the week, you are going to need all of this again soon. Don’t let today fool you! Puffy weather is far from over.

Until we see your smiling face on the river or in the shop…


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