The original plan for this months Fish A Long was to go Steelhead Spey Fishing somewhere, but the second wave of steelhead in our local rivers has been late, so when Lane suggested the Crooked I put out an email survey and we had overwhelming response in favor of going to there. This Fish A Long was very well attended and a lot of fun, and while fishing was a little on the tough side we got fish.
Clear roads and sunny weather made for a nice drive over to Prineville on Friday. I got to the river about 3pm, a little later than I wanted so I geared up fast and walked to the deadline below the dam. There were 3 otters working the big pool; both a good and bad sign if you’re a fisherman but you can’t deny they are impressive creatures plus a lot of fun to watch.
The water was very low with the flow out of Prineville Reservoir a trickle at 49cfs and quite turbid…as well as very cold at only 37 degrees. With these water conditions the fish were hunkered down and fishing was slow. I really thought I was going to get skunked but managed to pull a couple small rainbows out of the camp pool late in the day euro nymphing.
Friday Evening we had a nice dinner at Mazatlan Restaurant. Some stayed at a Motel in town, others at the Big Bend Campground. I don’t know why camping out in February sounded so good, but it did and not just to me either. We had a good showing at Big Bend Campground of both Tent and Trailer campers. The weather was clear & cold plus the stars are much better here than what the Portland sky can offer.
Saturday morning we got to watch the Otters in the campground pool. When it’s this cold there’s no point in starting early so most stayed in camp enjoying coffee and conversation past 9am. Overall the morning fishing was very slow but Lane got a nice one on a black Mayer’s Mini Leech Jig. It’s a great pattern.
Saturday afternoon Tim, Kevin and I tried something different and did some casting off the bank up in Prineville Reservoir. It was amazing how low the water was. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch or see any fish. The water temperature was 39 degrees.
Rich Harvey had a great afternoon at the lower end of Big Bend, landing 18 fish in a couple hours including an 18” rainbow, all on a peachy colored euro nymph he tied. With the water as cold as it was, the good bite period was only a couple hours during the warmest part of the day. Being in a good spot when the fish turned on was one, and maybe the only, key to success.
Just like the day before, I thought I was going to get skunked but managed to pull a couple rainbows out of the camp pool euro nymphing late in the day.
With snow forecast in the mountain passes most everyone packed up and left Saturday evening. Tim and I stuck it out and made a big fire, big enough to both keep us warm and cook dinner over.
Sunday morning we woke to a light snowfall and Otters back in the Campground Pool; we watched them get about 4 trout before making the call to head to the Deschutes River at Maupin. Michael Longacre stuck it out on the Crooked and had the river to himself, catching a couple rainbows on his new bamboo rod (his pictures are at the top of this report). That rod is lucky!
The Deschutes was running clear with the water temperature at 44 degrees. Plus, it was windy so we put away our Euro rods and fished indicators, which is a more “wind friendly” technique. Still, the fishing was tough. We all managed to get a few fish and I took a lesson from the day before, found some good water with slower current to hit hard from 1 to 3pm. A decent hatch of Blue Wing Olive Mayflies started coming off and a few fish were feeding. Pounding the water paid of with 5 fish hooked, all of them decent sized good fighters. I only managed to land 2 of them.
The drive home over Mt Hood was a little dicy with lots of snow coming down but I made it OK. Some members opted to drive to the Dalles & then down I-84 to Portland and when it was a white-out between Trillium Lake and Government Camp this seemed like the smarter route for sure!
At this time the plan for the March Fish A Long is to go back to the Crooked. The water will be warmer and hopefully the flows will be better too. However, we like choices so the Deschutes at Maupin is an option too; it has good camping and restaurants nearby. I’ll get an email survey out early next month to see what everyone prefers.
Thanks to everyone that attended and made this Fish A Long a fun and successful event!