Last weekends Fish-a-long to Rocky Ridge was another good time with good friends, good food and good fishing.
For the crew that arrived on Friday night Lane served up some Elk Enchiladas. If that wasn’t enough, Tim served up some great smoked ribs for Saturday nights dinner. Good eats, thanks guys!
Saturday dawned with overcast skies but we had no rain or wind. Fish were rising here and there. Several of us started on the middle lake (Wild Rose). Naturally I tried a Green Devil but it wasn’t working so I switched to chironomids but strikes were slow in coming. A fine fishing riddle is brewing!
The water temperature was 64 degrees and the lake had good clarity. The conditions were ripe for a damselfly migration but chucking and olive/brown marabou damsel nymph didn’t produce.
After a while I finally brought a fish to hand on a small olive chironomid pupa. A stomach pump revealed a very a small damsel nymph, a few light olive chironomids and small scuds.
At lunch we compared notes. The upper lake (Mules Ear) was fishing better but the fishing was not hot. Lane did OK on his favorite seal bugger/intermediate line combo and Nancy did OK fishing with dries. Paul went down to the lower lake and did well on bass. Lastly, Lane observed a few callibaetis mayflies coming off and suggested we try fishing callibaetis nymphs after lunch.
Tim, John and I stuck with the middle lake. John and Tim went down by the dam and some callibeatis were coming off. John did well on calibaetis dry and emerger patterns on a floating line and Tim did well with a beadhead calibaetis nymph on an Intermediate line. The calibaetis were coming off sporadically, sort of in spurts, and when that happened the fish would stop keying on chironomids and would go after the larger mayflies.
I stuck to the flats near the boat launch. Strangely, the callibeatis mayflies were not hatching here (I tried them!) so I stuck with chironomids and did OK, but mostly I got short strikes, which tells me my fly was close but still not really the right one. About a half hour before I had to leave I saw some larger chironomids emerging—the pupa were chestnut brown and about a size 12. I had some similar patterns in my fly box, put one on and got several hard takes and landed a couple nice fish in short order. Finally! It was a great way to end the day.
Last week Gil fished the Deschutes around Maupin, reporting he saw plenty of big bugs in the bushes but not many flying over the water. He managed to catch a couple on dries but it was necessary to cover a lot of water to find a player. The stonefly fishing should be at it’s best in a week or so.
Yesterday I was able to fish the Warm Springs Indian Reservation water with Elke & Alysia of Littleleaf Guide Services. Because you always have miles of untouched water to yourself I can’t say enough good things about this angling experience.
We met at 11am at Kah-Nee-Ta; no need to get up early this time of year! The weather was warm, the skies overcast and a light breeze was blowing upstream, making for perfect fishing conditions.
Arriving at the river it seemed the flows were a little faster than normal. Discharge from Pelton dam was 4100 cubic feet per second, water temperature was perfect at 55 degrees with about 4’ to 6’ of water clarity.
I had a refusal at the first stop and then landed a 16” fatty at the next stop. This time of year, when a fish commits to your fly you can see, hear and sometimes feel the strike!
Today all the fish took one of Elke’s Predator Stonefly’s. Alysia showed me a recent picture of a 26” redside she landed, so I stuck with heavy 2x and 3x tippet (8lb & 10lb). Every stop produced some sort of action, mostly refusals but often enough a player would hammer your fly. As Gil said in his report, covering water is the best way to find the fish that wanted to eat.
I managed a dozen or so, but numbers do not really represent all the fun I had watching fish slash at my flies all day. The average size of the fish was around 16 inches and my biggest brought to hand was in the 19 to 20 inch range. However, standing on a steep bank with a good view of the bottom structure I had a much larger redside come up twice only to refuse my fly at the last instant.
Last Saturday the Clackamas Fly Fishers board members went on their annual board retreat to Rocky Ridge Ranch. The weather was nice but breezy, the company was good and everyone had a great time!
We all caught fish plus we were able to catch them by our favorite methods! For me, that is casting and erratically stripping a little devil streamer on a floating line. Lane Hoffman did well throwing small seal buggers on an intermediate line. Jim Adams found a willing pod of fish and caught a ton of them on dark-colored snow cone chironomids fished a scant 2 feet under an indicator. At the end of the day the wind died down and Henry was catching fish on top with ant patterns.
The upper lake (Mules Ear) had the highest concentration of fish and that’s where most of us spent our time after lunch. We all started at the middle lake (Wild Rose) after breakfast and while we caught fish it was a little challenging. The lower lake (Mullein) had a lot of small bass but the few trout that were hooked were big!
Some data: the water temperature was in the upper 50’s with good visibility. By the time we have the May 19th fish-a-long it will be in the low 60’s and that should bring out the damselfly nymphs that trout love. The best patterns this trip were #6 green devils, #6 or #8 olive seal buggers and #12 or #14 dark colored chironomids with a white bead head (snow cones). 3x and 4x tippets (6lb to 8lb) were needed to hold the larger trout and we got a few that exceeded the 20” mark.
We had a record turnout for last weekend’s fish-a-long: 15 people! Thank to everyone who made the trip. While it was a bit of a long drive, it is a very scenic drive up the Columbia River Gorge and then up the Klickitat River Canyon. The weather was clear with a cool breeze blowing with Mt. Adams dominating the horizon. I’m not sure of the actual fish count but I believe everyone either caught a fish or had one on. And, all the fish were quality fish in the 15” to 18” size range and packing some heavy girth!
I arrived a bit early as I had Coffee for everyone and it wouldn’t due to be late! I found Phil Senatra already fishing and he was playing a fish when I drove up to the lake and by the time I got into my waders and float tube he had two more. The fishing was not hot but we had consistent action. Unfortunately the bite slowed down quite a bit by the time the rest of our group arrived. Yes, that is what really happened!
The water was 54 degrees with about 3 feet of visibility. It was hoped there would be a strong Chironomid hatch but it was just a little too early. It was one of those fishing days were you had to grind out strikes. I did a stomach pump of one of the fish and found its stomach full of Daphnia—water fleas. At around 1 mm long there is no way to imitate the Daphnia “hatch” if that is the right word but at least the fish were eating something so it was possible to get them to hit our flies if we just kept casting.
As mentioned earlier, all the trout were quality specimens in the 15” to 17” range. I believe Phil took big fish honors with a 25” beast and several fish over 20” were taken. Woolly buggers (and Devils) were the best flies and a few fish were taken on Chironomids.
This month’s Fish-A-Long will be at the Oregon Fishing Club’s Hartland Lake. Hartland Lake is a 15 acre pond located about 10 miles from Lyle, Washington. The drive from Portland takes about 90 minutes.
At its deepest point, the lake is 16 feet deep and holds trophy sized Rainbow Trout plus some Bass & Panfish. This lake is best fished with float tubes or pontoon boats, but there is limited bank access available.
When: 8am Saturday April 21. Meet at Fishermans Marine parking lot in Oregon City and carpool to the lakes.
Where: Hartland Lake, Oregon Fishing Club.
Equipment: 4 to 6wt rods with matching reel – floating & intermediate sinking fly lines – float tube or pontoon boat – waders – rain gear, layered clothing, its spring time in Oregon.
Flies: Midge patterns in Red for Larva and dark colors for Pupa. Streamers: Woolly Buggers or Green Devils. Dry flies: Griffiths Gnats if there is a Midge Hatch or Ants.
The plan: we’ll meet Saturday morning at the car pool location. Maps will be provided for those who would like one. The menu is Coffee & donuts for breakfast plus a hot lunch.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or catch me at the April 17th meeting.
Rick Hafele will be CFF’s guest speaker Tuesday, April 17th.
Rick’s presentation will be on the Four Seasons of Fly Fishing. Additionally, he will bring us up to speed on the recent developments on the lower Deschutes River. It will be a great presentation you won’t want to miss!
Thanks to everyone who braved the snowy driving conditions to make it over to the Crooked River last Saturday. Several of us drove over on Friday and it was cold, snowy and had us questioning our sanity. Fortunately the weather cleared! We all had a great Fish-A-Long with everyone getting fish.
Saturday dawned clear with blue skies. The hills had a light dusting of snow and the morning temps hovered around 27 degrees. Paul warmed us up with hot coffee, donuts and a campfire. With the cold weather there didn’t seem to be a big rush to wader up and hit the river but we got there eventually.
The water was very low and clear. The flow out of Bowman Dam was only 53 cubic feet per second and the water temperature 42 degrees. We tried the usual pocket water spots first but seeing no fish activity, we quickly went in search of bigger pools with deeper water, finding some rising, active fish. We targeted these using a dry fly/dropper setups. The dry fly didn’t seem to matter much but the best dropper pattern was a Zebra Midge, a money pattern for Crooked River, especially in the winter.
While most of the trout were in the 6” to 8” range we did get a few bigger ones up to 12” to 14” long. The big fish of the day was a real surprise; Dave K’s 22” rainbow that took a Zebra Midge fished deep under an indicator in a big pool. Besides rainbow trout, we caught Whitefish from 4” to 14” long as well.
This months Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday March 24th on the Crooked River by Prineville.
The plan: meet at Big Bend Campground about 1 mile below Bowman Dam between 8am and 9am. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided.
Gear: 3 to 6wt rods with matching reel & floating lines. Dry fly fishing can be good with Midges and Baetis dominating the hatches this time of year. Another standby technique is Indicator Nymphing with small glo- bugs (they look like scuds) and/or standard nymphs like Pheasant Tails and Hair’s ears. This is also a good place to swing soft hackles or small woolly buggers.
Waders with felt or cleated boots for slippery, moss covered rocks and layered clothing as it will likely be cold in the morning.
Lunch: Lunch will be provided.
This is a great time to fish the Crooked River for trout and whitefish. Fishing can be excellent!
Todd Alsbury of the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife will be CFF’s guest speaker Tuesday, March 20th.
Todd’s presentation will briefly cover Bull trout reintroduction, high lake trout stocking, sea lion predation, and Christmas tree placement. Then he’ll discuss the population status of fish runs in the Sandy, Clackamas, and Molalla rivers. He will also give out some secrets on how to catch more winter steelhead in local rivers.