March 2023 Fish A Long Report

With all the cold weather this winter some of us had a good case of cabin fever and decided to have a multi-day camping trip rather than a one day fish a long.

Rich got the river on Thursday afternoon and enjoyed some good fishing, getting a couple nice sized redsides on streamers before the afternoon wind blew him off the river. I arrived about the time the wind was in full force so I found Rich and we had an early dinner at the Riverside. The big news was tonight we were able to see the Northern Lights. I’ve never heard of them being visible this far south before, but according to NASA the sun emitted the strongest solar flare in the past five years and the Northern Lights were visible as far south Phoenix, Arizona.

On Friday the fishing was dead; as in totally dead. The big winter storm front rolled thru and nobody touched a fish. Darryl got a take down that didn’t stick. That was it for the Friday crew. Fortunately Rich and I thought ahead and made dinner reservations at the Riverside and we all enjoyed a well earned hot delicious meal after battling that epically slow bite, chilly weather and a strong Deschutes canyon wind.

Saturday was much better. In addition to the six people camping out at Harpam Flats on Friday night four more showed up. The winter storm that shut down the bite on Friday also made driving conditions a little sketchy going over the mountain so most people drove up the gorge and dropped down from The Dalles. With the water temp at 45 degrees the morning bite was pretty slow but it picked up in the afternoon and the fish got interested in a decent Blue Wing Olive hatch. Darryl got one on a dry but everything else was a subsurface show. Afterwards we had dinner at The Rainbow.

Sunday dawned sunny and calm. A couple of us considered fishing the whole day but the wind came up early and personally, I was glad as it got me home at a reasonable hour. Looking back it was great to get out of town, catch a few fish and enjoy some good restaurant meals. It was another fun and successful Fish A Long, thanks to everyone for coming!

February 2023 Fishing Reports

With the cold weather February wasn’t the easiest month to find fly fishing success but several of us got out and made a few things happen. Good times were had and some nice fish were caught! Pictures are first with the reports below.

From Keaton Andreas: Caught my first Steelhead on the Necanicum River back on February 18th!

From Darryl Huff: from early February; fishing started improving in Oxbow.

From Joe Warren: fly fished Lake Billy Chinook and Fall River with a good friend in mid February & got some nice ones. See the full write up on my Blog.

From Chris Brehm: Spent a lot of hours chasing winter Steelhead in January and finally scored in February. First was an 11lb hatchery chromer, then a week later fishing with our son Sammy, we caught and released 2 bright natives along with this bruiser. All were caught on plugs in low clear water on the Sandy.

From Dave Kilhefner: borrowed a fishing step ladder from Chris Brehm and hit Pyramid Lake with Joe Warren. See the full write up on Joe’s Blog.

From Greg O’Brien: My brother and I finally made our multi-cancelled and delayed trip to a warm saltwater location.  We went to the Grand Slam Lodge in Mexico for 4 guided days of fishing.  It was only my second time tropical saltwater fishing, and was pleased to find that my time spent casting and double hauling the 8 and 9 wts lately helped me out. It was really windy 3 of the 4 days but we caught many Bonefish and Jacks plus a few other cool species. We had a few legit shots at Permit and Snook but they didn’t eat.  Fun times, and I can’t wait for my next tropical saltwater trip which will hopefully be Christmas Island in 2024.

From Mike Shiiki: February was a little slow in the OFC lakes, but was always able to fool a couple of large ones.  Only had a couple hits at Turner Lake, but they were both XL and hanging out near the grassy banks.  Blue Den lake, did alright casting towards/near trees on that day but that place seems like they’ve been in different spots every day.  Ranier Lakes was the most productive but a couple times the Middle Lake was iced over the past couple months.  Still having success in our tubes with intermediate sink line, midge tip lines, and leeches. 

From Terry Martin: Fished Blue Den lake with Craig. Wate temp was 45 degrees and we caught fish all day long with red & black balanced leeches and black chironomids.

Fish A Long Report: with the low water the February Fish A Long fishing was very slow. No steelhead were hooked, seen or even rumored to be present in the Sandy. However, I recently recieved several donations of some very nice fly tying materials and decided to get them out and so our members could choose what they wanted. Rich and Ian both made a good haul!

Thanks everyone for contributing your reports!

March 2023 Presidents Message

It’s no secret that Fly Fishing in 2023 has been a little challenging so far. We have low steelhead numbers plus the cold weather has made both the fishing and the drive over to the Deschutes challenging. Never-the-less I’m optimistic it will get better; it always does if you keep casting!

We’ll have a regular meeting March 21st at High Rocks. Our speaker is Michole Jensen, owner of He’s also the communications director for the Deschutes River Alliance.

This month marks three years as your club President. Over the past few years local fishing has been in a constant state of change, so it’s more important than ever to be flexible, roll with the punches and be ready when a window of opportunity opens.

Adapting to changing conditions is more important than ever and has become “the new normal.” For example, in years past the Crooked River was our go-to fish a long destination in March, but due to the low water fish kill last year we’ve had to shift gears so and go to the Deschutes around Maupin. There’s good camping & restaurants nearby plus it will be good to bend a rod after this year’s super slow winter steelhead season.

March signals the beginning of spring and many local fisheries begin to wake up and turn on. Trout in our local lakes will begin to get active as water temperatures rise from the low 40’s to the high 40’s. The Deschutes will have good fishing if water levels are stable & warming. Last but not least, March is the best month for trophy steelhead so keep flinging flies with your spey rod.

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 “March” or “April” and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

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

Dave Kilhefner