Jeff’s fishing report July 14th, 2023

Sorry I missed last week. Not a lot of change from when I wrote the 4th of July report, but I just didn’t have the time or the band width last week with a sick dog and some boat motor stuff to deal with. I am back with a new report and have a lot of good fishing to share with you.

The Metolius is usually where I like to start, after all this is our home waters and the river of our dreams. Upper River golden stone hatch is progressing nicely, plus you can mix in pale morning duns, caddis, yellow sally’s and rusty spinners to that dry fly mix. Euro nymphing from Gorge up to The Blue Hole is money. This is truly where you’re going to have the most success.
The Middle River form the Canyon Creek area to the Bridge 99 area is a great spot for technical dry fly fishing in summer, and now is no exception. Oh sure, you can nymph, you can streamer fish for trout or for Bull’s but you hit the pools and eddies through here and look for the multitude of hatches that occur on most days and it is really a hatch matchers play ground. What to look for you ask? PMD #16, BWO #20, Caddis Tan #16, Olive #16, Black #18, Rusty Spinners #16-18, Olive Spinners #20, yellow sally’s #16 and keep an eye open for isolated hatches of golden stones. Evening fishing is a worthwhile effort in the summer, especially in July. But you should see hatches and hopefully rising trout from around lunch time to dark on and off with the cycles of the different hatches. Sometimes during a heat wave, there will be very good early morning dry fly action too. It’s worth a look especially if you’re camping on the river now.
Lower River, at least from Bridge 99 to Candle Creek is also good and all the same things from the middle river are hatching there too.
Bull Trout fishing is good and as we move in to the 2nd half of July and early August more lake run fish will enter the stage too.

Our guide team and a few good friends have been having great days on the Lower Deschutes, especially on Caddis (pupa and adults and some egg layers) with #18 Black and #14-16 tan caddis being the 2 most common caddis at this time. Pale Evening Dun hatches towards dusk is a real deal summer hatch not to be overlooked. They are big and tannish-yellow and usually a size #14 but sometimes a size #12 too.
We’ve been having great success on the euro rigs and also tight lining or swinging streamers.
Soft Hackles are a great way to expand your fishing day too.
I know our guide Steve just had a fabulous day with a client and they mixed up the nymph game with indicator techniques as well as euro nymphing. Tonn and Troy just got home from a 3 day trip from Trout Creek to Harpham and had a ball, with all the ladies group having great fishing and camping and food and all are ready to add a euro rod to the quiver.

The Crooked River is fishing quite nicely with some afternoon PMD hatches and better evening dry fly bite going with caddis and rusty spinners and swinging a soft hackle. Afternoons also might bring fish up to a hopper, or at least use a hopper/dropper now. Nymphing is exceptional with little 2 bits, micro may’s, perdigons and frenchies.

The Fall River is also fishing well, and you will find fish coming to tightline streamers and jigs more than any other techniques. But, don’t leave that dry fly box home because fish are looking up to PMD’s, Midges, Caddis, Beetles, Ants and even some Hoppers. If you can swing the timing, go at dawn and fish to about 10 am, or go at 6 pm and fish to dark. Mid day fills up wtih a mix of guides (guilty) tourists and local anglers and that is just how it goes.

The McKenzie has been really good, but we got a notice about some restoration work coming up next week that might add some turbidity to the river around Finn Rock and down from there. We will watch it and I know our ffp guides will choose the best float trip options based on water quality and conditions next week until that clears up. During our mid day floats we have been getting fish on a the Chubby/Nymph system, and tight lining leeches and jigs.

I went to Sparks Lake today. Lots of boater activity but we were the ONLY anglers on the lake. This afternoon when we were about done for the day at about 4, there was a good hatch of Gray Drakes. These mayflies emerge more like big stoneflies and swim to the shore line rocks to emerge. One of the fish we caught today I did a throat pump on, and she had a couple of Gray Drake nymphs in her, and these nymphs had dark wing pads and were obviously ready to hatch. Our day started slow, and finally I made a guess on a #18 Tan 2 Bit Hooker which was THE Fly for the late morning to lunch session. The same fish I pumped has a bunch of Caenis Mayfly Nymphs in the sample and that tan 2 bit was what the fish wanted. It is an interesting lake. It’s not even close to being one of the best in the region, but it is indeed a nice change of pace from going to the other places we all know so well and just mixing it up once in a while.

Paulina Lake was good yesterday, especially on Beetles. Callibaetis are starting here and usually that means a hatch in the morning and nymphs kind of anytime you want. Callibaetis will roll from now all the way through August is my best guess. I am seeing hoppers on the drive down a little lower elevation, so I think next week we might start throwing hoppers at them. Fishing balanced and jig leeches under an indicator is pretty good to very good. This almost never lets me down at Paulina. Red Chironomids have been good for me too. Damsels are hatching well so be ready with the nymph and blue adults until Labor Day.

East Lake is good, but I have one complaint about the lake this year and that is there are too many 10″ kokanee. Nymphing is basically a Kokanee show and you have to weed through 20 koke’s to get one trout. Not always of course, and being in the right place is key, but how can we know were they are going to be? We can’t. So I have been doing a lot of dry callibaetis and beetles and catching some nice trout on the top. Damsels are also important at East, and walking the shore with a damsel nymph is a good bet and a lot of fun right now too. East lake is the best walk and wade lake in the region, so you don’t always need a boat.

Hosmer is good in the Lower Lake, the Channel and the Upper Lake. Not many callibaetis but there are some. Damsels are very good in the nymphs and adult stages. Stay to dark and you’ll likely see the tiny cream Caenis mayflies and you can fish these tiny #22 morsels to risers in the lower lake from 8:45 to dark. Look for big traveling sedges too, could be in the afternoon but more likely in the evening. Ants are a good thing to try on the reed lines. Ice Cream Cones, Scuds, Waterboatman and Leeches are pretty killer on many days.

FYI on Three Creek Lake. We were hopeful it would open July 22 but now the Forest Svc is saying July 28th. The new road is taking longer than they expected.

Thanks for reading the new report. I hope it is helpful as you plan your weekend adventure or your vacation next week.
I look forward to hearing from you and seeing some of you on the water.


I have heard a few good things from Crane Prairie this week. The water looks clear and my friend Max was getting them on #14 Black Ice Cream Cones this week. Lots of Damsels around so be ready with nymphs and adults for damsels. Balanced, Jig and traditional leeches are always on the list at Crane. One of the go to flies for me is an all black leech with a black bead, but some days the olive, maroon, brown, bruised and black/red will be the colors I’ll cycle through. A Red 2 Bit and a #18 Tan Ice Cream Cone are good summer flies. Fish are in the channels now seeking cooler water for sure.

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