Central Oregon Fall Fishing Outlook

Not that we don’t fish in the winter, but now is the time to go if you prefer warmer and more comfortable days.

Starting October 3rd, the weather forecast gets better and better and we are excited to go fish, and we are excited to get out and guide all of our special customers who want to finish out the season on a good note.

After the hot and smokey summer, if you feel you missed out on some fishing you ordinarily would have enjoyed, now is a wonderful time to be in Central Oregon to fish and travel and make up for that loss you may feel you had in August and September.

So, here is a rundown of our favorite Central Oregon Fall guide trips:

1/ The Lower Deschutes

Whether it’s for trout or steelhead (or both!) October is one of the best months of the year to enjoy a float on the Deschutes River.

2017 brought us one of the best caddis years on record, with many, many Redsides caught on Pupa and Adult patterns. That trend has slowed from Summer peak but is still going strong. Our guide Adam Ross experienced his best day of dry fly fishing all year just a few days ago, and it was all on the X-Caddis.

FFP guide Troy Leedy went in search of Steelhead last week and found fish down near Mack’s Canyon. With Steelhead counts below average for 2017, it is nice to see that in the last week more fish have come over Sherars Falls over the last 4 or 5 days than have come up all season.

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Ben with an early October steelhead on a Frenchie while nymphing the Warm Springs to Trout Creek drift

That puts us on the hunt for these fish up in our day trip section and makes for a great multi-species trip for you to look forward to. All of our guides are here to help you make the most of the Lower Deschutes.

When you go with us, expect your trip to include Dry Fly fishing for trout, Nymphing for trout or steelhead, swinging with Switch and Spey rods from 3 weight to 7 weight and a lot of instruction. Call or email us to talk about a trip. 

2/ The Crooked River

The Crooked River has been awesome all season since the runoff quit in early May, and is about a week away from going back to low flows as the irrigation seasons are ending across farms and ranches throughout Central Oregon. That means easier wading, and great fishing.

The Blue Wing Olive hatches are strong and in the last few weeks we’ve finally had some exceptional dry fly days. If you follow our online fishing reports, you know we had an incredible year of catching fish on nymphs, but not so much on dries. It is nice to see the trout reacting to the dries with a change of the seasons.

The nymph fishing on the Crooked River is incredible and our guide staff have adopted the Czech style techniques because they are catching a ton more fish, not to mention it’s just more fun to connect to a trout on a tight line. If you haven’t tried it and want to, now is a great time to do it.

Late October and November

Looking farther out, as we move into the late month and into November, the Whitefish will be spawning and the egg laying creates a feeding frenzy that can be some of the best catching opportunities of the year. Don’t miss it!

  • Fall River in October and early November is my favorite time of the year there. We see strong BWO hatches that will bring the fish to feed on the surface big time.
Mary Ann and her client on the Fall River October 3rd.

Mary Ann and her client with a nice redside on the Fall River October 3rd.

  • If you are looking for big fish on the lakes, I plan to guide East and Hosmer well into the end of the month. Right now I am still using my 18’ sled on most of the lakes, although I expect the USFS to be removing the docks very soon and that makes launching a big boat like that a lot harder. Knowing that, I bought a new and efficient 8hp long shaft Yamaha for my 16’ Clackacraft which I can launch anywhere and this will extend the season by 2 or 3 weeks for us.
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Jeff’s Clackacraft

  • Fall on East Lake is very special with a lot of the big fish coming close to the banks to feed before winter sets in. As of yesterday we were still catching a lot of fish on dry flies!
  • Fall on Hosmer is also great with the Brookies spawning and the Rainbows and Cutthroat getting stuffed for winter. Last week I was fishing Hosmer with small Olive Wooly Buggers in the Upper Lake on an Intermediate Sink Tip, and a Blood Worm in the Channel under a NZ Yarn Indicator casting to cruising trout. It was magical, and all the fish were healthy and huge.
  • Crane Prairie is another fall favorite as the fish start moving out of the channels and back into the main bodies of the lake. I love stripping small leeches this time of year. Crane is an excellent back up for me if the higher elevation lakes have poor weather, Crane is often much better.

Fly Fisher’s Place Swag

Pick up one of our 2017 logo shirts! $24.95 and FREE shipping.

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Metolius River

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Tina with a Metolius Redside

All the trips mentioned above are trips we can guide you on, but I also want to share the excellent October opportunities you can experience on the Metolius on your own. We always consider the Metolius to be our home waters. It is 20 minutes from the shop and quite frankly one of the coolest rivers on the planet.

The Drakes and Flavs are winding down, but until Mid-Month I’d say you’ll see hatches of both continuing to mix in with other mid-afternoon mayflies like BWO’s, PMD’s, Mahogany Duns and Cinygmula. In addition to the mayflies, there will be plenty of little tan caddis to match with either Pupa’s or Dry Flies in October too. If you haven’t seen our little Tan CDC Caddis called a Siddac in size #16 you are missing an excellent Metolius pattern.

October is an excellent dry fly month on the Metolius. One other dry fly to keep fishing in October is your Clarks Stone’s. Besides seeing the end of the Golden Stones for the year, in October there are a lot of October Caddis (imagine that!) and the Clarks Stone in a size 10 is a great imitation for both the Caddis and the Stone’s.

Right now the Kokanee are in the river and spawning heavily. This is a good thing for a lot of reasons. First of all, Eggs! Millions of eggs get dropped by thousands of spawning Kokanee in October. Many eggs end up in the drift and are a favorite of all the other fish living downstream of all those spawning salmon.

On top of the egg explosion, Kokanee make the Bull Trout go wild. The predatory Bull Trout will eat a whole Kokanee and be quite happy doing it. Fishing a big white streamer is certainly a great way to match that “hatch”.

Come to the Metolius this October and enjoy some great dry fly action on your 9’ 4 weight. Bring your 7 or 8 weight to cast the heavy streamers , and bring a 10’  4 or 5 weight for nymph fishing.

Mayflies of the Metolius — a Primer

Green Drake Dun

If you’ve ever wondered about all of the mayflies that hatch on the Metolius, this is a good rundown on the species and the flies we recommend to match the complexities of spring creek fishing.

  • BWO (January through December) #18-20 emergers, cripples, duns and spinners
  • PMD (May through October) #16-18 with emphasis on #16 emergers, cripples, duns and spinners
  • Cinygmula (March to early May and October through mid November) #14-16 emergers, cripples and duns (PMD patterns are perfect to match cinygmula)
  • Ameletus (August) #14 #12-14. Emergers, cripples and duns. Often mistaken for early flav hatches.
  • Green Drake (May and June and a second hatch in September and early October) #8-12 emergers, cripples and duns
  • Flav (September) #12-14 emergers, cripples and duns
  • Mahogany Dun (September and October) #16 emergers, cripples and duns

Emerger Patterns

For the emergers I’ve become huge fan of the Quigly Film Critic tied in the proper size and color you can match all of these mayflies with that pattern. I also like the Stalcup’s Winger Emerger, again sized and tied in hatch matching colors for the BWO and PMD’s, and a Sparkle Dun, especially for Drakes and Flav’s and PMD’s.

Cripple Patterns

For cripples, (on everything except the Green Drakes and the Flav’s) I like the KD Dun, Knock Down Dun and the Quigly Half Down Dun. I like Quigly Cripples for Drakes and Flav’s and it’s a good one tied for PMD too. The first three have spent wings and often that is the feeding trigger for the trout to take. Other times the trigger is how the fly is sitting in the film with a portion of the fly stuck under the meniscus.

Comparaduns and Quill Gordons

Day in and day out I trust a Comparadun when I’m matching adult duns for almost any mayfly. I also fish a lot of parachute patterns to match mayfly hatches. I fish fully hackled flies on the Metolius too, usually for Drakes. In fact for Green Drakes I will use a Wulff style fly, but even for Mahogany Duns I’ve had great fishing on the Metolius with a Quill Gordon. More often though, the Metolius trout seem to prefer a low floating pattern which is why I chose the comparadun or parachute patterns. One of our secret weapons on the Metolius is a Brown Parachute patterns called an Upright Rusty Spinner. It looks like a lot of things and the fish rise to it with confidence.


Spinner Patterns

The Rene Harrop CDC Parachute Rusty Spinner in #16-20 matches 80% of the spinner falls you’ll see here. A tannish yellow pattern in #16 has been good too. I’ve had trout puke out mouthfuls of yellowish mayfly spinners when I’ve released them. Some specific spinners to match Baetis spinner falls will be good to add to your box. I’ve seen a lot of translucent BWO spinners out there so I tie a white bodied #18-20 spinner with a rust thorax and white Antron wings. Tuck a couple of light olive CDC Quill Body Spinners in your box too and you should have a very complete spinner selection.

One last note, I’ve been fishing the Metolius for over 30 years and I’ve never seen a Green Drake Spinner. I’ve talked to people who have, I’ve had friends see fish actively eating GD Spinners, I’ve never been lucky enough to hit it. As I understand their life cycle, the Green Drake Spinners fall in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning when it’s still dark. For unknown reasons, (like many things in fishing there are lots of unknowns) occasionally Green Drake Spinners will fall during daylight hours. For that reason, I always tuck 2 patterns in my box just in case because one of these years I’m going to win the lottery and fish that spinner fall.

Every once in a while a March Brown hatch will come up in the spring too so carry a couple in March and April but don’t expect too much with those on the Metolius. Save your March Browns for the Deschutes and McKenzie.

Soft Hackles

When in doubt, a soft hackle pattern is a great bet too. I tie them in olive, yellow, tannish yellow, tan, rust, brown and purple. Powder it up and fish these in the film or leave untreated and fish them as an ascending emerger not yet at the surface.

Next month we will cover Caddisflies of the Metolius, so stay tuned for that.

—Jeff Perin and The Fly Fisher’s Place

A Literal Fire Sale — Keep our Guides Working, Save $$

Friends,

Due to the fires we’ve had some significant cancellations in the coming weeks on Guide Trips. It is important to us to keep our staff working and we are offering some amazing deals on select dates to get our guides working again.

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SEPTEMBER DATES ONLY:

Sunday 10th (1 available)
Thursday 14th (1 available)
Friday 15th (2 available)
Saturday 16th (2 available)
Sunday 17th (2 available)
Monday 25th (3 available)
Tuesday 26th (3 available)
Wednesday 27th (3 available)

 

COST:

Float trip: $550 $400
Wade trip: $425 $325
Only good on the listed dates.

 

20% Trips with kid-anglers under 16

In addition to this great deal, we are also running one other special:
20% off guide trips in September when parents bring a kid-angler under 16 with you.
This includes rental waders and boots, rods, and free flies for the trip!

HOW TO BOOK:

Call us: (541) 549-3474

Email us: flyfishers.place@gmail.com

Or fill out our contact form, we’ll get back to you ASAP!

My favorite Chironomid Rig (with leader diagram)

East Lake Brown Trout

I am lucky my job puts me in a boat out on a pretty Oregon lake several days a week. I get a chance to really study what happens in the ecosystems trout thrive in, and watch what tackle works best for my clients, my friends, my family, and myself. It is a great life. On top of that, when I am not guiding, I spend my days off with Tina on the lakes. We truly love it.

Deep Chironomid Rig

One of the ways to fish that I really enjoy is setting up with a Deep Chironomid Rig.
In the early season, this is often done in less than 10 feet of water, but as spring moves to summer the method almost always moves to deeper water. Right now I am finding fish in my main lake (East Lake) from 15 feet out to 20 feet which means I need a 19 to 20 foot leader.

Rods

Casting this set up is a challenge, some might even say a pain in the rear. But it is manageable and here is what I use to get the job done better than anything out there.
For guide rods (I keep eight rods set up in my boat for my clients) I use the Echo 3 Ten foot 5 weight, with a Echo 4/5 ION reel set up with a Rio Grand In-Touch WF6  fly line. That rod is long, and it is smooth casting which helps roll cast the long leader and 2 or 3 flies to the surface where you can then launch a quick shoot to 30 feet.

Line — Rio Grand In-Touch

The line is overweighted which slows the cast down and lobs out a 20 foot leader plus a break away indicator (call it a bobber, I do!) and three bead head nymphs.

Besides the line being overweighted for the rod, which I believe helps people achieve a good cast more often than not, this In-Touch line is a ultra low stretch core which means when the bobber goes under, your reaction and hook set is going to be faster at driving in the hook better than a standard line that has a lot of stretch.

Since moving to these lines this season I am positive my clients are hooking and landing more fish than ever. On a side note, I also moved to
In-Touch Type 3 Sinking Lines and have increased hook ups down deep too.

The Echo 3 5100-4pc rod is a bargain at $349.95, the ION reel is $79.95 and the Rio Grand In-Touch line is $89.95. If you buy it all from us we will set it up with the Ultimate Chironomid Leader, the same I use guiding day after day and give you a dozen of my favorite Chironomids and Balanced Leeches.

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Ultimate Chironomid Tackle Setup: What Jeff Fishes

When I am fishing on my own I use a similar set up but go with the Sage X 10′ 5 weight, an Abel Super 5 reel and an Airflo Bandit WF6 fly line. It is the best of the best and besides having this rod set up all summer in my boat for Oregon lake fishing, I use this rod to travel with in the Winter when I go to Patagonia and New Zealand.

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Chironomid Leader Setup Diagram

Here is a diagram of the leader set up I use for Chironomids all summer:
17792453_10212058348559081_1714130391_nEnjoy and go fish!

Stay Cool my friend, fishing is great this summer.

IMG_3959On these hot summer days it is nice to stay out of your waders and go “wet”.

Perhaps nothing is more refreshing than hoping in the river in your wading boots while wearing shorts. In fact, it is not only refreshing, it is maybe even safer to keep you from overheating in some places where you might have some hiking involved.

Neoprene Guard Socks

With many days in the forecast up in the 90’s across the west this is a great $40 investment in happiness. No matter where you are fishing, from Central Oregon to Yellowstone, having a pair of Neoprene Guard Socks is a summer necessity.
Why do you need them? For starters without waders, the room your wader feet take up in your boots would make your wading boots sloppy and uncomfortable. So these neoprene socks keep your boots fitting perfectly.
Additionally, both the Simms ($39.95) or the Patagonia ($45) version has a built in gravel guard to keep your boots from filling up with gravel and sand. Which is nice. The Patagonia is a better fit for people with smaller calves, and the Simms is a better fit with a larger lower leg.
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Sun Protection

It’s pretty important to keep your face and hands covered from direct mid day sun. I know when I am guiding all day and out in the sun at 6400 feet I like to wear a face mask, at least around my neck if not all the way up over my ears and chin.

We sell all the best masks from Buff, Patagonia, and Simms from $25 to $35 bucks.
We also like to keep you from too many visits to the Dermatologist and that’s why we have Patagonia gloves for $29 or Buff Gloves for $28.95.
We know everyone has Sunscreen and there a lot of options out there. I found 2 products I really like. The All Natural SPF 30 Fishpond Sunscreen protects my cheeks and nose on a daily basis and the Simms Lip Protection makes Tina still want to kiss me good night after being in the boat all day. Good stuff for $8.95 and $2.50 respectively.

The fishing is really good on the Lower Deschutes, Crooked. McKenzie, Santiam, Fall River, 3 Creeks Lake and East Lake. We love being out there and you will too if you use these products.

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Tenkara and Native Fish Society Roundup

Native Fish Society

Tenkara demo and book signing

Tonight July 20th at the Fly Fisher’s Place Daniel W. Galhardo of Tenkara USA will join us from 4–7PM to sign his new book which will be available and give a short presentation on tips and tricks for Tenkara angling. We invite you to join us for this FREE event.

Homewaters Roundup

Then join us on Saturday night July 22nd in Tumalo at the Miracle Barn for a fun night supporting people who support our fish. It’s the Native Fish Society’s Homewaters Roundup event for all of us in Central Oregon. We will see you there!

—Jeff Perin and the staff of The Fly Fisher’s Place

Top Six Guide Trips Summer 2017

fly fishing mountain whitefish

A person came in to the shop a few days ago looked all around and sincerely asked if “all of this is kind of a waste of money”, and my employee Ron said “it depends on how you look at it — all of this is an investment in happiness”.

I agree.

At the Fly Fisher’s Place we don’t just sell flies. We don’t just take people to catch fish. We are Fun Brokers. We believe the return on your investment in fishing should be a dividend of even more fishing, and having an especially good time doing it.

Everything we sell, every trip we do and every class we teach is meant to be fun. For you and for us.

So, this post is dedicated to fun, and dedicated to your own success as an angler.

Go get ‘em!

Guide Trip preview for summer 2017:

Summer is always our busiest time for running guide trips. With tourist coming to visit, and our many repeat customers (and friends) coming back to the Sisters area each year, the Fly Fisher’s Place has been here for 31 seasons with the best staff of guides and a vast array of waters to choose from for your most fun trip yet.

Here are the top six summer trips to look forward to on your next visit to Sisters:

The Lower Deschutes

Float Trip from Warm Springs to Trout Creek is always a favorite for anyone coming to Central Oregon. In fact it’s our most popular guide trip. After the salmonfly hatch ends in early June, the Caddis and Yellow Mayflies (both PMD and PED species) take over for the rest of the summer and I believe these 3 major hatches give us more consistent fishing opportunities and more fun for the buck throughout Summer.

—$550 for one or two anglers.
Be sure to ask about the Magic Hour opportunity when you call or contact us to book a trip.

The Crooked River

Our second most popular trip. With high fish populations the catching is always pretty good here. Lately we’ve been doing more “tightline” or Euro style nymph fishing than ever, and the results are really positive. Of course there are good dry fly opportunities here too, especially when the shade hits the water each afternoon.
—$425 for one or two anglers. $450 for three.

East Lake

Our most consistent lake each summer by a long shot. A typical day can bring dry fly action at the surface using small terrestrials and callibaetis mayflies. When the fish are not looking up we’ll find them on nymphs either stripping, wind drifting or anchored under an indicator.
—$500 for one or two anglers.

The McKenzie

Has been great this season and our guides have been catching bigger rainbows on both dries and nymphs. The McKenzie is our only float we can offer our clients the ability to fish from the boat, as the regulations on the Lower Deschutes float trips don’t allow fishing from the boat. This makes the McKenzie a great option for our guests also concerned about their own steadiness when wading bigger rivers. Fishing from the boat is really nice!
—$550 for one or two anglers.

The North Santiam

A short drive from the fly shop here in Sisters, and is really a great fly fishing stream. This river is cold, clean and full of trout (and feisty mountain whitefish) and it is one of our guides favorite places to go in July and August.
—$425 for one or two anglers. $450 for three.
—$375 for a half day option for one or two.

Cascade Lakes / 3 Creeks and Clear Lake

These lakes offer our guests a really good option for a quick and simple fishing trip. We realize a lot of vacations are jam-packed with more adventures and activities than just going fishing so a half day trip to the local lakes works for many families coming to visit.

With these trips we spend about four hours on the water. We can do an afternoon or evening session or go out in the morning for the early bite!
—$375 for one or two anglers for a half day.


Book a Trip

Let’s go fishing! Fill out the form and we’ll get right back to you.

Fly Floatant Part Two — Jeff’s Secret Weapons

Dry Fly Flotants

If you are a dry fly enthusiast you know how challenging it can be to get your fly floating, or especially to keep floating.

We have your floatant solution!

If you missed part one of this series — Ben Kittrel’s rundown on floatants earlier this summer; you should give that a read too!

Here is what I do from start to finish:

    1. Right out of the box your fly is dry but not yet treated to necessarily float super well. I occasionally use Fly-Agra but really prefer the far less smelly Shimazaki Dry Shake Liquid. It is by far the best liquid floatant you can apply to your flies.
    2. Once the fly has been on the water, or if you’ve caught a fish and the fly is “slimed” up and sinks faster than your bead head you need to squeeze the water and slime from the fly using an Amadou patch ($15.95). You can blow on the fly, false cast 26 times but nothing will get the fly dried out like the Amadou. Simply place the fly between the 2 pieces of leather like material that is actually made from a European mushroom and voila, it is dry enough to go to step three.
    3. We’ve been using Shimazaki Dry Shake Powder for years. We called it Trout Crack, Magic Dust, and the Dope. It is incredible. You can use it on your flies straight out of the box and eliminate step 1 but don’t do that. Trust me, the liquid is worth the extra investment for the initial processing.
  1. All you do after drying the fly back out is put it in the powder jar and gently close the lid, being careful not to snap it shut (which damages the tippet) and shake the fly up which gets all the left over moisture off the fly and retreats it to float better than ever.

    There are a fair number of anglers who visit us who like to apply Powdered Floatant with an applicator brush. New for 2017 is a Dry Shake Brush Applicator ($14.95) for those who want pin point accuracy on where the powder is applied to the fly. 

    When I am dry fly fishing on the Metolius (my favorite thing to do!) I have a ritual of this process that totally works for me and I believe it will work great for you too. Give us a call if we can help you out. 

    —Jeff Perin and the staff of Fly Fisher’s Place

  2. Shop Phone: (541) 549-3474

Above and Beyond

command team for excellence medal

Over my 26 years at the Fly Fisher’s Place the opportunity to help people has come up from time to time. I’ve learned you never know how a simple gesture might really make an impact on someone’s life.

The other day I came back to the shop to a medal called a Combat Challenge Coin. The more I look at this medal, and the more I think about it, the more touched I am over this because this was given to a soldier who went above and beyond in duty over there.

Several years ago I simply gave a FFP hat to a soldier on his way to Iraq. I can’t imagine the sacrifices he made, or what he went through while in combat? Unless you were there, I’m not sure anyone can.

16th Calvary Brigade Combat Medal

16th Calvary Brigade Combat Medal

I frequently donate to fishing/conservation non-profits, and to cancer research and kids programs. It’s a part of giving back to the community that I feel needs to be done when you operate a successful business. To give a hat to a guy deploying for a war was about as simple of a gesture I could make for someone I wasn’t sure I’d ever meet again but I know wanted to bring something from “home” with him.

I can’t be sure how many years have passed since this, but I am honored this man still thought of me, our fly shop hat, and getting home.

There is part of this story that is disappointing. I don’t know who left it. It came with a simple note of thanks. So, Scott, if you are reading this brother, Thank you! This is a continuation of going above and beyond in everything you do. I am honored to put this on my tying desk and I will think of you and all the soldiers who went above and beyond when I am tying flies.

—Jeff Perin

Rivers Feed our Souls

Our Central Oregon rivers are a welcome cool off spot on these hot days of summer.

If you’re from the West Coast you know late June and July have been pretty hot so far. Most of the state has been sizzling in the high 80’s to mid 90’s with some 100’s in the likely hot spots of our fine state.

The local rivers give us everything that will feed our soul, and feed our addictions to fly fishing throughout the year. At times like this, the rivers give us a gift of a temporary cool down and a place to feel good on so many levels.

We are lucky in Central Oregon with water. We have plenty of it and it’s what anglers would call great quality. Best of all even during hot weather periods our waters remain cold and clear and healthy for our beloved fish.

It’s a good time to be here. Come soak your legs in some cold water for a day or two with us.

The Crooked, Lower Deschutes at Warm Springs, the McKenzie, North SantiamSpring Creeks (Metolius and Fall River) are cold, clear, and clean and fishing is great.