July 2022 Fish A Long Report

It’s not every day, year or even decade that you get a 26” rainbow on a dry fly, but last weekend the stars aligned and that’s what happened on Hosmer Lake. It’s a catch to remember and making it happen was a team effort, which I’ll explain at the end of this report.

Most of us arrived Thursday evening for a dinner of BBQ Chicken cooked by Lane & Laura. It was a little too late to do any fishing so we took a walk along the Fall River, which was just up the road.

Friday we hit Hosmer Lake and the weather was perfect. The fishing was good too but you had to be on your toes, all day the fish kept shifting gears. They’d go on and off the bite, hatches changed plus there were lots of short strikes. We caught brookies, rainbows and a few cutthroat. Damsel nymphs were the best subsurface pattern. With good numbers of callibaetis mayflies hatching you’d think that would be the fly to use but this day the fish preferred ants or dry damsels. That took a while to figure out but it paid off with my biggest dry fly trout ever, a fat & hard fighting 26” rainbow.

After a long sunny day on Hosmer it was great to get back to Chris’ place and down a few cold ones before inhaling some top notch BBQ Burgers cooked by Chris. Mmmm!

Saturday we hit East Lake and Chris’ brother Steve joined us. Again, the fishing was pretty good but you had to work for your fish. We tried for the numerous cruisers in the morning and while it was fun to cast to them, mostly they ignored your flies. Getting a follow & rejection was a small victory. Most of the fish we caught on East were rainbows but there were some small brookies mixed in and even a Kokanee. Damsel nymphs on an intermediate line worked OK but most strikes didn’t stick and strangely, most of the fish taken this way were small. Steve had this great beetle pattern and he brought enough for everyone. Today, we mostly pounded the banks with beetles. It worked good, got the bigger fish plus its just a fun way to fish.

It was a hot day on East so after chugging a few cold ones we had a delicious dinner of Flank Steak provided by Laura, then washed it down with “the good stuff” provided by Lane. We finished the eveing with a game of scrabble while flicking beetles off the table. Theres a lot of beetles so it’s no wonder that fly works so well.

Sunday we enjoyed a delicious pancake breakfast cooked by Chris. After we were stuffed to the gills with good food we went to Crane Prairie Reservoir, putting in at Quinn River launch. It was another sunny, mostly windless day. The preferred strategy on Crane is to suspend balanced leeches under an indicator in the channel. Laura got a takedown about 5 seconds after we started fishing but it didn’t stick. We all had a few strikes that didn’t stick! Lane landed a nice fish on a damsel nymph fished on an intermediate line. Since we had to drive home we wrapped it up early and got on the road.

This fish a long was really a team effort, both in terms of catching nice fish, eating good food and having a great time. Naturally I’d like to say I got that big rainbow on a dry because I’m such a good angler and luck didn’t have anything to do with it, but the truth is I couldn’t have done it without my CFF team. Chris put together a top notch fish a long and got us down there. Then he put me in the right spot on Hosmer Lake. Finally, I never would have had any dry damsel patterns in my fly box if Trux Dole hadn’t figured out that trout get focused on flying damsels & sometimes ignore other good hatches when the damsels are out in force, which he did several years ago at the Justesen Ranch fish a long.

Special thanks Chris for putting this together and to everyone that came and made this a fish a long to remember!

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CFF June 2022 Fishing Reports

Just like May, the June water levels and weather were a little crazy but June was still a great fishing month. Lots of us got out on the water and had good times. As always, pictures first with the reports below.

From Ian Porteous: Landed a big Spring Chinook on lower Neverending on the Sandy River. I was pleasanty shocked! Also managed to hook and lose a nice summer steelhead a week later on the lower Sandy.

From John Silkey: Spent a weekend out at Crooked River Ranch and got a few days in on the middle Deshutes in the canyon. Few fish but a gorgeous setting with no one around. The pattern was the same each day – hook an 8 inch rainbow on a beaded prince at the end of deep runs on one of the first few drifts, then nothing else the rest of the time on that run.  Even found a whitefish. Still well worth the hike down to the water (and back up!) 

From Trux Dole: Attempted an afternoon of Shad near Pinnacle Rock but the water still very high.  We tried bank fishing to no avail while gearheads anchored 40 yards offshore were slaying them. Managed to land a couple once we piled back into the small boat, but we were the Shad clowns as two of the three of us broke our rod tips trying to land fish, we had a broken net, then my buddy hooked a sturgeon (unlandable) and then we forgot to pull in the stringer before heading back and lost all the fish!

From Garrett Lesko: Here’s a bunch of photos from my June fishing trips: Three Creeks Lake, the South Jetty in Newport, South Twin Lake and the Lower Deschutes. 

From Phil Bartsch: Took my granddaughter, Pippa, fishing today for her first time. She caught 2 trout on the Clackamas at McIver Park. I’d say she was hooked for life.

From Jim Adams: I took advantage of the heads up about how well Harriet Lake was fishing. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to attend the club’s fish-a-long I went up a few days early with my brother Steve and the fishing was off the charts. Fishing from pontoon boats using intermediate sink lines we each netted 30 to 40 fish . It was a good day to experiment testing different patterns and I can honestly say that I couldn’t find a leech pattern that didn’t work. A new pattern for me that was very productive was an olive Landon Mayer mini leech tied on a jig hook. My friend Wes and I went back up to Harriet later in the week and it was a another 30-40 fish day, again mostly on leech patterns. Wes tried a gaudy 3-inch articulated pattern that had barbell eyes and legs and it was hammered by fish until it finally came apart. The following week I took another friend that is new to fly fishing up to Harriet. The fishing was not quite as good as the previous week but Jack was very happy after netting about 15 fish up to 17 inches on his first time stillwater fly fishing.

From Darryl Huff: Landed a nice Spring Chinook bead fishing on the Sandy. Made it out to Harriet Lake with Mike Shiiki, who has been doing very well there. The fishing had slowed down compared to the prior weeks, but we still caught quite a few on balanced leeches and large dry flies. Late afternoon they were refusing the large dries but during the last hour of light the fish committed vigorously & we had some great dry fly fishing. The Yellow Sally was my top producer. 

From Chris Brehm: Fished three days in Central Oregon. One day with just a few on Crane , then a windy day on East Lake landing a mix of Browns, Rainbows, and a gorgeous little Brookie on Nymphs and buggers. Third day was on Hosmer where I got some great action on  Purple Haze dries. Fish were in great shape and fought hard. Finished the month at Pelican Bay on Upper Klamath Lake. Fished hard all day trying everything sub surface with no luck. In the evening saw a few swirling up near the springs so in desperation I put on an Elk Hair Caddis and got the only fish of the day, a very fat 22” Redband.  Sorry about the poor photo but I can blame my brother for that. 

From Wayne Hughes: Put in some time chasing Tiger Muskie. I was told by a Local that the Month of June is not normally a good time to find biters. He was not quite correct with three straight of casting oversized flys resulting in only one follow. I am guessing we saw about 8-9 total fish in both Merwin & Mayfield. Managed  to land some bass and trout but overall it was tough fishing. I have been told July and August are better months; hope its really true! In June the water temp was cold in both lakes so hopefully the warmer summer temps will make the Tigers more aggressive.

From Chris Gardiner: Not local but if anyone ever found themselves in the Spokane area about an hour or so East you can drive up along the North Fork of the Couer D’Alene river in Idaho. It’s a beautiful river and the road has a ton of easy public access spots to fish. I had a free pass on Father’s Day weekend and did pretty fair on West Slope Cutthroat. They were pretty good fighters and didn’t let up, even in the net!

From Jim Bennett: First “big” bass of the season and a large mouth at that. Weighted in at 1.9 lbs. Caught near Hebb Park. Not on a fly unfortunately. Still trying to figure that one out. 

From Greg O’Brien: I’ve been doing hardly any fishing lately due to studying for by board exam coming up next week and I got COVID too, finally. That wiped me out for a few days.  

A friend a I floated Warm Springs to Trout Creek with my cataraft for a day of mainly trout Spey style fishing.  He went deep with his 4 wt using sculpins and T tips while I stayed more toward the top with a 3 wt, Scandi head and soft hackles.  I got one nice trout with a hard mid-swing grab near Warm Springs, then fishing was real slow as we went down through the Mecca stretch.  We had a tribal permit too, so could fish both sides once below Dry Creek.  We saw lots of back anglers and many rafts and guide drift boats were on the river too.  

I switch up to a dry dropper and had a couple small trout or smolts slash at a Yellow Sally dry and hooked a couple on a little rainbow warrior dropper.  Overall a slow but beautiful day.  One of the guid/client boats we saw often took out in front of us and said they only hooked 3 trout during the day, so not just slow for us.  Anyway, can’t wait to go back!  

I forgot that early June before another water spike I fished for Shad on the WA side below Bonneville.  I went with Spey rod since I was standing right at the willows.  5 wt Spey with T11 worked well.  I got a half dozen or so fun Shad in an hour or two before it started pouring rain.

From Dave Kilhefner: In early June I hit Harriet a couple times and did really well. Tried to do some Shad fishing but the water was pretty high, getting up into the parking lot at Clackamette Park so mostly I hit the OFC ponds instead. The fish were picky but after seeing a bunch of damsels flying around I tied on a damsel nymph and managed to land a pretty nice trout. Wrapped up the month by getting COVID and was really sick for 5 days but thankfully now I’m fine.

Thanks to everyone for providing these reports!

Presidents Message July 2022

According to the NOAA Climate website we are having La Niña year. Why should this be on your radar? Well, La Niña weather patterns come from cooler than average Pacific Ocean surface temps that cause, among other things, last months wet and stormy “Juneuary” weather. As we roll into summer it should be a lot easier to find quality fishing opportunities than it was last year, just be prepared for the occasional sudden rainstorm and a few more mosquitos.

It’s a relief to go into summer with the rivers full and the forests wet after the drought conditions the last few years, but all that rain “power washed” most of my Willamette Shad & Clackamas Steelhead fishing plans away this year. Fortunately fishing at Lake Harriet hit an all time peak last month, fishing better than it ever has before or likely ever will again, which is saying something! Trillium and Timothy Lakes were pretty good too.

We’ll have a REGULAR meeting Tuesday July 19th at High Rocks with the social hour starting at 6pm and the presentation at 7pm. I’ll get an email reminder out a day or two before the meeting.

We have a treat for our July 21st Fish A Long. Chris Brehm has generously offered to let us stay at his place south of Sunriver for the weekend. Details will go out via email.

While the The Fly Fishing Shop is closed, their website is still active. Here’s some excellent information on the local fishing opportunities on the Mt Hood Lakes.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a fun way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. Type “July” or “August” and you’ll get all the past reports for that month. 

If there is anything you want to see on our blog, let me know.

Please remember our sponsors, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know you appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip. 

Good fishing! 

Dave Kilhefner