What are you going to do today on this last really warm day of the forecast period (and likely last day of 80 degrees for 2023 in Oregon)?
I hope you are going fishing!
Even if you miss today, there is so much to talk about, a lot to look forward to, and some things that have changed the game (or will soon) with access or water conditions, and some big weather changes starting tomorrow for a few days.
So here we go….
Remember USFS is in process of removing docks at many of our favorite lake access points. Yes, it seems way earlier to me too. Frustrating. But some types of boats don’t need a dock to launch or trailer and fishing will remain open, and likely quite good for another 3 weeks. The dock removal at Paulina Lake is going to be either October 13 and 14 and that is one to pay attention to. Rock Creek at Crane Prairie will be 10/14 or 15. I did not see an announcement for the Crane Prairie Boating Site dock, and I do hope that one stays wet a bit longer.
Water levels are changing now at the end of irrigation season with one of the biggest water level drops this week on the Crooked which is now flowing at 70cfs.
The Upper Deschutes (which is closed to fishing) coming from Wickiup is down to under 700 cfs and soon ought to be in the 100 to 200 cfs range for the forseeable future over the winter. As the Upper River is coming down, the Middle Deschutes is coming up. Why? Because irrigation canals are be turned off. What a complicated system we have, and in the middle of all of this, the Lava Island Falls Side Channel Fish Rescue is coming up soon. Our friends at the Deschutes River Conservancy are again at the forefront of the fish rescue October 16-17-18. Sign up at https://www.deschutesriver.org and choose a volunteer slot for one or more sessions over the 3 day event. Wouldn’t it be nice to fix the water issues on the Deschutes so fish are safe year round and don’t need a god-damn rescue event every fall?
Remember that when the Dams were built (wickiup was 1949) the USFS recommended to the BOR that they maintain at least 300 cfs minimum flow during non-irrigation time. BOR has run it as low as TWO cfs, and often ran it months at a time over winter at 20 cfs. There are some new agreements now where it runs at a minimum of 100 cfs, and that is helping fish for sure. Also, a bit of bright news is that Wickiup is ending irrigation at 13% full. Way better than the last few years. (PS, pray for a wet winter)
The Metolius is good, and ought to be that way well into November now. Green Drakes are waning a bit, but still a big part of the afternoon hatch cycles so don’t go to the Met this week without a #10 Green Drake Emerger and Adult. Other important mayflies will be PMD’s #16, Mahogany Duns #16 (Quill Gordon and Brown Parachutes are great and so is a Parachute Adams, Purple Haze and Gray Comparadun), BWO’s #18. October Caddis are important in the Pupa Stage but don’t hesitate to put an orange rubber legged stimulator on the surface for some exciting takes. Tan #16 caddis in pupa and adult phases are important.
SO many Kokanee spawning now. It’s Egg time.
It is going to be windy the next few days so dry fly fishing the back eddies will have some frustrations with all the needles and leaves agitating through the spin cycle of any eddy, big or small. But the pools and runs will be better or both Dries and Nymphs.
With the cloudier, wetter and cooler days coming I’d placing my bets on Bull Trout fishing getting even better than it has been (which has been good).
The Lower Deschutes is good and Troy was sharing some great steelhead photos with me from the last few days on the day stretch, and Steve, Tonn and Shad just finished a 3 day trip and found some beautiful wild steelhead on that float too.
Trout fishing is good, not entirely on nymphs but mostly. October Caddis Pupa, Tan #14-16 caddis pupa, BWO and PMD nymphs, Stonefly Nymphs (especially Girdle Bugs) and Eggs are good.
Still some PMD’s and summer caddis around, but waning and moving to Mahogany Duns and BWO’s now.
October through Christmas is going to be a winner for steelheading the D!
The Middle Deschutes is running a bit higher than it was last report. Still worth going, but watch your wading.
Streamers and Euro Nymphs will be best, but try some Stimulators and Purple Haze and X Caddis for sure.
The Crooked River is a lot lower than the last report, now at 70 cfs and hopefully that is the lowest it goes. Prineville Reservoir is over 60% full so I would anticipate a safe winter flow this year, and a good summer flow next season providing even a modest snowpack.
Good afternoon dry fly bite on Purple Comparaduns, BDE Duns, Cut Wing Extended Body PMD, Sparkle Duns and Knock Down Duns. Keep an eye peeled for fish keyed on Midges too and switch to a Winkler or Griffiths Gnat.
Scuds, Zebra Midges, Thread Midges, Perdigons, 2 Bit BWO’s and Skinny Nelsons are hot nymphs for the next several weeks.
The Fall River is fishing well from the Headwaters to the Falls. DOn’t forget the Falls to the Deschutes is now closed for the winter until May 22nd.
BWO, Tan/Amber Caddis, Midges and a few October Caddis and Mahogany Duns in the mix will be your dry fly and nymph focus this week and probably all of of October.
Eggs, Perdigons and small streamers are working well.
The Mckenzie is fishing incredibly well now. Some dry fly action on Chubbies and Caddis and Parachutes but nymphing a leech or jig is responsible for most of our catches now.
We will be running guided trips there for sure until Halloween and maybe a bit longer if we get good weather in early November.
Three Creeks Lake is starting to see some slower days. I would say it is still worth the trip, but hatches have slowed way down and it’s more about leeches and scuds now than anything else. A pontoon or tube can be beneficial but walking the shore line might be more productive as the water temps cool more. The Brookies will congregate close to the shorelines and be in in spawning colors for fall.
We have some hot headed leeches (olive) with both an orange bead and a chartreuse bead that has been a fall favorite of mine for 3 Creeks.
BTW, I’d still give an Ant or Beetle a whirl for another couple of weeks.
Paulina Lake was fun this week for us, all dry fly fishing! Chubbies and Beetles were best with some Ants filling in a couple of gaps.
Leeches and Chub Patterns and Scuds will be important for the rest of the year.
There are some Big Browns in shallow waters being found now. Go get ’em.
East Lake is good, with shoreline access excellent and maybe equally as good or better than boating access. Scuds, Leeches, Beetles, Ants, Chubbies and Chub Streamers.
This isn’t to say I wouldn’t tube it, or bring my drift boat, but I’m 100% sure there are a lot of fish close to the shore line and focus on that zone. One of our customers had a great experience with a Red Chironomid under the indicator in 6 feet of water the other day.
Hosmer is best in the lower lake now. There are some big fish in the Upper Lake left, but now not too many in the channel either. Water Boatman, Scuds, leeches, damsel nymphs and Red Ice Cream Cones.
Ants, Beetles and Black Midges on the surface.
Crane Prairie is good in the Deschutes, Cultus and Quinn areas. Leeches and Chironomids as expected, but don’t forget the water boatman and scuds and damsel nymphs. Some places you’ll want to fish these under the indicator and others you’ll want to strip them on an Emerger Tip, Hover or Clear Camo lines.
I fished Lava Lake this week. It was good. Not great, but fun to be up there and catching nice rainbows. Beetles and Black Balanced Leeches were our good flies. I was so happy to see that water levels were as good as they were. The lake remains a bit murky.
Our private lakes in Grass Valley, the Justesen Ranch Lakes are open again for fall and the fish are hot and healthy. We can book you there until at least mid November so make a plan to get out there and fish this fall. $150 for access fee’s. Leeches, Boatman and Chironomids. Overnight accommodations are available there if you want to do that, but it is just a 2 hour drive from Sisters/Bend area and can be done as a day trip no problem.
Get out and fish. Winter is coming. I appreciate all of you who read the reports and take the time to say they mean something to you.