July 22 Rivers Report and Updates

Many of you read and responded to my Lake update and I appreciate all of the remarks about protecting fish we intend to release and only fishing in responsible water temperatures.
The good news is none of the main rivers we fish are showing any need for hoot owl protections (voluntarily or state imposed). Metolius, Fall, Upper D, Lower D (Warm Springs to Trout Creek), McKenzie and the Crooked River are all running in the safe zone for fish. Boom, we love where we live and fish.

The Metolius is however showing some typical signs of the July dry fly doldrums. Not terrible, not bad, just on and off a bit and very normal for this time of year. It is remarkable to see the differences in different sections of the river, and even from day to day in the same sections of the river. I often approach the Metolius as a dry fly stream, and that often works really well, but when the July doldrums start it is time to carry the nymph rod, the streamer rod, and also put some miles on the wading boots and look for better places. You’ll find them. Put in the time, and as hatches progress look for noses poking up to the surface and eating PMD’s #16, Rusty Spinners (most likely in the evening only #16-20), BWO #20-22, Yellow Sally #16 and Tan Caddis #16.
As we move towards August (it is rolling in fast now) I love that the dry fly action always improves a lot in our 8th month and even more in September and October. The best times are right around the corner.
Nymphing is great though, with really good catches all over the river on Euro Jigs and Perdigons. Everyone has their favorites, but I tend to lean towards the Copper Bead Soft Hackle PT Jig, Black Perdigon with a Red Butt (Spanish style) and Brown or Olive Perdigons that mimic size and colors of the predominate 2 mayflies (PMD and BWO) that are hatching.
The Upper River from Gorge to the Headwaters area is seeing some good golden stone hatches and also afternoon hatches of tan caddis and pale morning duns. I would also probe that water with a beetle, ant and grasshopper.
Some of the 1st Lake Run Bull Trout are coming up the river now and we have some really good days ahead for big Bulls on streamers and nymphs. There are always BT’s in the Met, but the Lake Run fish are something special and the next 4 months are the best of the year.
Remember to learn and fish the complete hatch cycles. Understand the sub aquatic stages of each hatch, how they emerge, look for emergers and cripples, don’t forget spent egg layers and catch some sweet fish!

The Mckenzie River is our #1 River trip experience now. I said in the last report that dry fly action was non existent or minimal and my friend Katherine and a couple of my guides wrote me and said not so fast Jeff! Fish have indeed been coming up to the dry fly, including Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams and Purple Haze, Light Cahills and Chubby’s. SO there, fish a dang dry and enjoy the hatch.
But the best fishing has been on black leeches and jigs and some streamers like the Baby Fat and Sculpins and Soccer Mom.

The Crooked River action is quite good, and there have been decent to good PMD hatches most days. With PMD’s always look for Rusty Spinners in the evening. Also, evenings are good for Caddis hatches and Midges. On the Caddis it will be mostly a #16 tan, but some #18 black caddis are good in adult and pupal stages. Purple Haze #16 is a magnificent fly on the Crooked.
Hoppers are worth the time there, and also make a good hopper/dropper combo as the indicator. Purple Chubby is another good one for that.
Nymphing is very good on the euro rod or traditional indicator rod but go with a NZ Wool Indicator or the small Oros Indicator for delicacy and detecting soft takes. Frenchie, Rainbow Warrior, Micro May, Skinny Nelson, Purple Soft Hackle, and a whole lotta a really effective color and bead combos of Perdigons.

The Fall River has been good on dries again lately, and I am always super excited to fish dries on clear spring creeks. PMD hatches have been predominantly the #1 hatch, but BWO’s, Caddis, Yellow Sally’s, Ants, Beetles, Hoppers, Hippie Stompers and Rusty Spinners.
Small Streamers and Euro Jigs, Tungsten Micro May’s, Eggs and heavy bead perdigons are working well of course.
Get there early and fish the dawn session without the crowds. Otherwise, you won’t be alone, but we can find places to spread out when it does get crowded.

The Lower Deschutes is good stuff too, and worth the walk and wade near Mecca or Dry Creek, or a float from Warm Springs to Trout Creek.
A lot of caddis hatching and do not overlook the importance of size 18 Black Caddis called Saddle Case Makers. And typical summer caddis including Olive and Tan Pupa, Adult and Egg Laying caddis #14-16.
Pale Evening Duns #12-14, Purple Haze #14, PMD’s #16-18 and try some hoppers too.
We are doing a lot of nymphing with Caddis Pupa, PT’s, Rainbow Warrior, Copper John, Perdigons, Euro Jigs and also SWINGING trout spey stuff like leeches, sculpins and soft hackles.

The Middle Deschutes is the one place to watch day temps for warm water depending on where you are. Some areas are rejuvenated with springs and other areas swelter on the hot days to a point where by lunch you might want to stop until evening shade comes back over the waters.
PED’s, Caddis, PMD, BWO and attractor dries have been good. Nymph action especially fine. From Benham Falls to Lake Billy Chinook there is a lot of good water to explore and it is worth it.

The Upper Deschutes Headwaters section from Crane up to Little Lava is well worth the effort. A lot of nymph action and streamers are the flies to work with, but keep an eye out on a few hatches of midges, PMD’s and caddis.
A dry dropper with a Black Hippie Stomper and a Rainbow Warrior is a good combo to start with but nymphing a Walts Worm is my favorite. I like whitefish by the way!

Just a quick reminder about Three Creeks Lake road still closed until 7/28/24> We are close! And we can’t wait.

For the rest of the info on lakes be sure to read the update I posted 2 days ago and watch water temps after lunch into the mid afternoon. Looks like a cooler week coming and some nighttime lows being colder. That is great news!

See you on the water!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.