May 2021 Fishing Reports

May is a great fly fishing month and so we have lots of good reports to share. As always, pictures first with the report below.

From Brad Jonasson: In early May we Euro Nymphed the Deschutes Beautiful weather, good euronymphing, including a 16″ Redside. Stoneflies gradually finding their way ashore.

From Rhona Dallison: We had a great day at Lost Lake in the Coastal Range (near the Nehalem River). I had fished there with Sue and another friend in April and it was fairly slow, though our friend Kendrick did hook into and land one of the excess hatchery steelhead they stock in the lake. Today, May 2nd, Sue, Laura, Cheryl, Rhona, Kelly and Lane met up at Lost Lake around 9 and had a very productive day—all of us getting into double digit fish counts on 10-16” rainbows. Olive wooly buggers were hot on intermediate sinking and floating lines. Lane helped all the ladies gear up and hit the lake in assortment of pontoon boats, float tubes, inflatable kayaks and rafts. Fishing was productive all over the lake— it was a gorgeous spring day and there were a few other parties fishing from boats or the shore but plenty of room for everyone.

From Laura McGuill: A few of us made it spur of the moment to Lost Lake on coastal range this past weekend. The trout were very active and fun! I lost count after about 16 netted. One was a very nice size!

From Chris Foster: Three of us fished Crane Prairie using a combination of Sinking lines, Intermediate and Full Sink, slow trolling, casting nymphs (floating lines) and bobbers fishing with Chironomids. There was a massive hatch of Chironomids all day, they were small and only about 1/4 inch long. The lake was at full pool plus, the water was 50 degrees, a little on the cool side plus the fish were spread out and likely gorged with the massive Chironomid hatch and the full moon the night before. Had about 25 takes, landed 12 fish from 14″ to 19″. Used a firm wire hook releaser so we didn’t handle the fish. On the down side, a there have been a lot of thefts of fly rods, reels etc. at the Crane Prairie parking lots. Fortunately we were OK but one guy had several rods and reels stolen when his rig was broken into.

From Mike Siiki: Fishing report from the Molalla: My son and I hit it for the first time ever Saturday afternoon above the Glen Avon bridge, and had so much fun, we spent all day Sunday there again.   We did well when we found “dropoffs” with fast water into deeper pools. Lots of nice size whitefish along couple trout in each pool. Most of the trout were right below the whitewater riffles, I’m assuming waiting for their snacks. Landed a few 12-14″ cutties, and some wild rainbows too. Did well euro nymphing, most on a size 14 frenchie nymph on the point, and a smaller perdigon above.   Also note the Forest Service road is closed/gated not far upstream from Cedar Grove Campground due to the fire damage.  I didn’t see any burned forestland, but was a little sad that’s as far as we could go.

From Dave Kilhefner: I’ve had this wooden landing net for just over 20 years. I recently replaced the original fabric mesh net with a fish-friendly rubber net. It was easy to do and the kit was reasonably priced at $14. If anyone wants to try this and has questions feel free to give me a call/email. Also, spey fished the Clackamas a couple times for summer steelhead, ended up hooking and losing a spring chinook. Dang!

From Chris Brehm: Hit the Deschutes a few times for Salmon Fly hatch. Picture of my biggest Deschutes fish ever caught on Chernobyl pattern. He took me all over the river before he was close enough for a quick photo. Didn’t get a measurement but you can see my size 14 boot in the lower left. My niece with a Palomino hybrid caught on a pond in Wyoming.

From Ed Rabinowe: a 165lb tarpon from Boco Grand Pass. Too much fish!

From Greg O’Brien: Hugo and I fished the Deschutes a couple of times, once early in the month focused on trout Spey to swing up trout on sculpin patterns and once later in the month we went with Colby who works with Spin The Handle on the Warm Springs side.  All sorts of stonefly patterns worked well.  Hugo will hopefully send info too, as he caught some really nice ones.  The Willamette was productive using dark olive/black/gold clousers on a sinking line. 

From George Coutts: Made a one day and a three day trip to the Deschutes.  Didn’t hit the Salmon Fly hatch like I hoped but managed one rainbow on a dry fly.  Spent most of my time Euro Nymphing.  Caught several Rainbows in the 12″ range, at Harpam Flat on my one day trip.  Had two mediocre two fish days and one 10 fish day on my three day trip to North Junction.  Largest fish brought to hand was 14″.  I did hook up two large rainbows but never saw them after the first violent tug – one that turned my fly line into a birds nest.  I want those fish!  Highlight was hooking up a rainbow in front of a guide with his two customers as they passed by in front of me and pulled in below me.  I hooked up and landed two more in quick succession and they left.  They should have stayed as the bite was just getting going.

From Adrian Choate: Just spent two weeks camping on the Deschutes at Oak Springs and the D didn’t disappoint! Fishing was mostly good and really improved when the weather cooled off. The fish were larger than I usually encounter and I lost a number of big fish several of which really took me to the cleaners. Fished mostly large stone fly patterns. When those cooled off switching to small yellow sallies and green drakes picked up the slack. Weekends were busy, but it still remained busy during the week also.

From Richard Harvey: On the Deschutes the stone flies are hatching pretty consistently along with hordes of caddis and some of those nice fat red sides are keyed in on dry flies.

From Darryl Huff: We fished the Deschutes 5 or 6 times during May. Best success with stone dry flies was in early morning and late evening.

From Carson Taylor: Pat Miller and I enjoyed three days of guided fishing on the Bighorn River in Montana. The first day, Mother’s Day, was epic with 25–30 trout landed, with most in the 18–20-inch range; the three miles from the Yellowtail Dam were uncrowded that day. The next two days were not as great, but several 22-inch rainbows and browns were caught. The fishing was shot and indicator nymphing with most fish caught on size 18 black Baetis nymphs.

From David Doble: Only fly fished 2 days this month, the Clear Lake Fish A Long then another day with my daughter and future son in law. We fished Clear Lake in the morning, then Frog a bit later. A number of fish hooked, many lost, at Clear. Olive, Yellow,  and Olive with blue flash buggers. Nothing to speak of at Frog.

Thanks to everyone that contributed a report!

June 2021 Presidents Message

June is always a good fishing month with plenty of angling opportunities to choose from. Pictured is a shad from Willamette Falls taken while fishing with Rob Crandall a couple years ago. I’m looking forward to doing this again soon. For the sake of comparison, I went back and re-read last year’s June 2020 Presidents message and things are definitely much better this year!

Hopefully you have been able to get out and enjoy some time on the water as we had plenty of good weather and water conditions last month. The CFF May fishing reports will be posted soon and we’ve got some good stuff to share.

We don’t have a speaker lined up for June, mostly because several of us, me included, are going to be out of town when the June meeting is scheduled. Given this, we will have an informal Zoom meeting at 7pm on June 8th to share flies, lies and the talk fishing. We did this last month and it was fun and informative. I’ll get an email reminder out a day or two before the meeting.

At the Zoom meeting last month it was suggested we have a contest to guess the background location of our favorite fishing spots. If you have a photo you’d like to submit for this contest please email it to me. Once we have 10 or 12 photos we’ll get the contest set up.

The June Fish A Long will be for Shad below Bonneville Dam at the Hamilton Island Parking Area. This is on the Washington side so we’ll go on June 12th, which is a free fishing weekend in Washington. Trux Dole fished there last year and had a great day; here’s his shad fishing report from last year and I’ll email the details for the upcoming fish a long soon.

The Wilder Lake has been rescheduled for November. Same deal; everyone who paid to go in March can fish for free.

I’m sending out email updates once or twice a month and most of you are already on our email list. If you’d like updates in real time put your email in the SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL option and you’ll get an email notice every time a new blog is published, which averages 3 to 5 times per month. If you’re on a PC this option is just to the right of this post, but if you’re on a smartphone you’ll need to scroll way down a ways to find it.

If there is anything you want to see on our blog, let me know. Thanks to Jim Adams for resuming his fly tying column!

For local fishing, Summer Steelhead and Spring Chinook are in the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers. While the numbers are down, they are being caught and are the very best fish of the year. They will be in ultra prime condition from now until the water drops and warms. PGE reports they are getting a very good return of native Spring Chinook on the Clackamas and last month I hooked one but lost it. Dang! This time of year Clackamas River fishing is best early in the morning before the rafters take over the river. The Oregon Fishing Club lakes are fishing very well, especially the ones down by Salem. This will continue until the water gets too warm. The Mount Hood Lakes have all be stocked and should be good options for float tubing. Last but not least, the Deschutes is fishing well but the Stonefly hatch is winding down. 

PGE advises Timothy Lake and Lake Harriet are open again. Access is from Hwy 26 only.

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

Please remember our sponsors, 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 

Clear Lake Fish A Long Report

The Fish A Long at Clear Lake was a big success. We had 19 people turn out in spite of the very cool weather. It was overcast and breezy in the morning but then cleared off around lunchtime but the breeze never really let up.

Greg O’Brien was one of the first anglers to arrive and started catching fish right away. He ended up landing over 20 trout and lost a big brood stock trout that jumped several times before throwing the hook.

For most of us the fishing started out a bit slower but eventually we all figured out what the fish wanted and everyone ended up catching fish. For me the hot ticket was a size 10 olive ap emerger retrieved slowly just under the surface. I’d like to say I figured this out with astute observation but really, I was kicking in to get some coffee, letting the fly drag behind the tube and magically started hooking trout. By 10am I think we are all fishing the same way, with a slow just under the surface presentation using some sort of medium sized nymph pattern. Paul Brewer did best trolling with and against the wind while I had to troll across the wind to catch fish. That’s fishing!

With the cooler weather the water temperature dropped from 58° last weekend to 51° this weekend. This slowed down the morning Chironomid Hatch. Later in the day a few Callibaetis Mayflies came off but it was hard to tell with the wind.

Most of the trout were in the 9 to 11 inch range along with a few up to 14 inches.

It was great to see everyone. Thanks for coming out!

Fly Tying; May 2021

Josh Linn’s “MFFR” by Jim Adams

Well, it has been quite some time since the last Fly of the Month article has been posted on the club’s blog. Due to the COVID pandemic our regular club activities have definitely been disrupted. We have not had any of our monthly Fly Tying Nights but they will resume… someday. It has been suggested that we continue posting things of interest regarding Flies and Fly Tying, even though we cannot have our fly tying get-togethers yet. In case you haven’t noticed there is a major “happening” taking place on The Deschutes River as this is being written. The annual salmonfly hatch is in full swing and Josh Linn at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop recently hosted a Zoom presentation that he calls The Salmonfly Survival Guide. If you missed it you can click on this link to have a look. Josh includes a lot of information about presentations, gear, and flies patterns to help you be as successful as possible during the salmonfly hatch.

And that brings us to the MFFR. If you have ever fished the salmonfly hatch you undoubtedly have experimented with a number of different patterns. Everyone seems to have a go-to favorite. Josh has tweaked the popular Norm Woods Special into a fly in which he has a lot of confidence. A foam rubber body on the MFFR is the one alteration that Josh has added that results in improved flotation.

Here is one version of a manufactured Norm Woods Special with a dubbed body:

Below is Josh Linn’s MFFR, his foam body variation of a Norm Woods Special:

Here’s the MFFR recipe—
Hook: TMC 200R size 4
Thread: 10/0 Orange
Body: 2mm Orange Foam
Hackle: Metz #2 Ginger Saddle Hackle
Wing: Tan Calf Tail
Head: Orange Thread
Hackle: Metz #2 Brown Hackle
Check out this link for Josh’s youtube tutorial showing all of the details for tying the MFFR. It is especially interesting to see how Josh colors the foam material, trims it, and then winds it onto the hook shank. Josh then trims the hackle to allow the fly to sit low in the water, much like the naturals. The Royal Treatment will have all of the materials you would need plus they have packaged up some MFFR kits that have enough materials to tie up about 25 MFFRs.

Josh says that the big bugs should be out on the Deschutes through the first week of June so there is still time to get out on the water to take advantage of the salmonfly hatch.

Stay well, folks!

May 2021 Presidents Message

Photo caption: Dave and Elke with a stonefly caught redside on the Deschutes from several years ago.

April started off right with a fishing trip to the Crooked River in Central Oregon put together by Lane Hoffman., who spurred several of us into action with his announcement that he was going fishing on the Crooked and then on to the Malheur during the first weekend in April and anyone that wanted to was welcome to join him. I sent out an email to the club members for Lane and we ended up having an improptu fish a long. It was a great time and everyone caught fish, even some pretty big ones!

I hosted my first Zoom meeting and it went pretty well. Zoom is easy to use but there is still a learning curve. To all that attended, thanks!

We don’t have a speaker lined up for May 18th. If anyone has an idea please email me. If we don’t end up with a speaker we’ll have a get together on Zoom where we can share flies, lies and fishing plans for the upcoming months.

We have a new page on the website for the Fly Fishing Challenge. Check it out and then get signed up. It’s a fun contest plus it motivates you to get out and chase new kinds of fish with a fly.

We are going back to Wilder Lake this Month for the May 22nd Fish A Long, and here’s some great news: everyone who paid to go in March can fish on May 22nd for free. If you are not on that list, the cost is $80 for the day. I’ll get an email out with the details soon.

I’m sending out email updates once or twice a month and most of you are already on our email list. If you’d like updates in real time put your email in the SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL option and you’ll get an email notice every time a new blog is published, which averages 3 to 5 times per month. If you’re on a PC this option is just to the right of this post, but if you’re on a smartphone you’ll need to scroll way down a ways to find it.

If there is anything you want to see on our blog, let me know. Personally, I’d like to see more fly tying stuff but haven’t been able to get that going by myself. Volunteers?

Last month I won a couple of awards for my fishing articles in the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association Excellence in Craft Contest. When I was in school I struggled in English class so it’s really gratifying to win an award for writing.

For local fishing, Summer Steelhead are starting to show in the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers. While the numbers are down, they are being caught and are the very best fish of the year. They will be in ultra prime condition from now until around mid June. Spring Chinook are coming too, but that’s a whole new level of fly fishing insanity but they can be caught in the same water as summer steelhead, especially in the evening. The Oregon Fishing Club lakes will be fishing well and of course, the Deschutes Stonefly hatch is just starting as I’m writing this and will continue to get better. 

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

Please remember our sponsors, 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. Last month I took this advice to heart and after having a good trip Euro Nymphing on the Crooked I swung by Royal Treatment to buy some fly tying supplies and talk to local expert Josh Linn about this technique. The Cliff Notes version of this conversation is Josh has a handout prepared with a list of his favorite nymphs and leader formula. After this, the next important tip was to finish the forward cast with a high rod tip, which is called a tuck cast, to get the nymphs to sink more efficiently and then keep your tippet as vertical as possible to reduce drag. All this probably falls under the heading of easy to say but hard to do, but I used the technique at the April Fish A Long and it worked great. Thanks Josh!

Good fishing! 

Dave Kilhefner 

April 2021 Fishing Reports

We had a lot of good fishing happen in April so this will be a picture heavy report. As always, pictures are first with the reports below.

From John Silkey: I finally get my first legitimate fishing report! Made the drive out to the Owyhee in early April and camped below the dam on a Friday. Beautiful weather; crystal clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures. Got into plenty of 8-12 inch browns Friday evening and all day Saturday. On Sunday was rewarded with a gorgeous brown in the 22 inch range. After an undefeated steelhead season (as in the steelhead are undefeated vs me) it was great to remember I do know how to catch fish… Already have plans to go back this summer. Word has it that even at 400cfs that stretch fishes really well.

From Wayne Hughes: Floated the Molalla river looking for some early Springers or some late Steelhead. Ended up running into some nice smallmouth bass. No steelhead came to my fly but lots of bass on spinners. 

From Lane Hoffman: Several us of hit the Crooked River in early April. The water was quite low, flowing at 55 cfs and running a chilly 42 degrees below Bowman Dam. The hatches were midges in the morning and mayflies in the afternoon, plus some fish were caught on woolly buggers, which could look like the plentiful cranefly larva. The weather was good and everyone caught fish plus several larger trout were landed.

From Lane Hoffman: after the April 3rd trip on the Crooked Gary Stein & I headed down to the Malheur River. We had the river to ourselves and fishing was very good!

From Richard Harvey: The large rainbows at the Oregon Fishing Club properties are in full swing now. 

From George Krumm: 1 springer trip, 1 springer. Maybe I will quit now and go out a hero (not likely).

From Chris Brehm: Sorry to miss the fish-along on the Crooked. I was at Crane Prairie for the opener. No Pix, nothing large, but decent action in the wind. Started the month with a return to Pyramid Lake with my brother. Overall slow fishing until the weather changed on the last day. Good action on Chironomids but still came up just short of my goal of a 10 lbr. Mid month hit Davis Lake for Bass. Very low water level meant dragging boats through the mud but fishing was fabulous on large streamers. Picture of my brother with just a few of the 25 or so Bass we got between us. Also pic of some fillets prepped for dinner. Hit Diamond Lake  this last week with great weather and good fishing on Chironomids at the south end of the lake. Pic of one of the nicer trout we caught. Can’t wait for the road to East Lake to open !

From George Coutts: 3 small whitefish on the Crooked and 2 nice rainbows at Warm Springs on the Deschutes.

From Brad Jonasson: Tom Flannery and I arrived late for the April Fish A Long on the Crooked River and headed below the CG. I caught 4 rainbows, including one 16′ Rainbow euro nymphing.

April 2021 Fish A Long Report

Our Crooked River fish a long went pretty well. We had 6 members meet up at Big Bend Campground below Bowman Dam; Dave K, Paul B, George C, Darryl H, Red S and Jim B. Jim came over the night before and had lots of new, cool camping gear plus a new dog, Bob. It looks like he is ready for a fun summer!

The weather was a little cloudy & cool in the morning, a brief rainstorm rolled thru around lunch then it got pretty nice in the afternoon. The water wasn’t crowded and we were able to get the prime spot above the camp. We all fished hard from 9am to noon then broke for lunch, which was welcome as the water was a chilly 42 degrees. The water flow was good at around 370 cfs with good clarity, and this water level looks about normal. If you made the early April trip to the Crooked the flows were very low at 55 cfs.

There were a few active redds and we made sure not to wade close to them. If you found one and waited a little while you’d see some pretty nice sized trout hiding nearby.

In the morning the only hatches visible were midges and the most effective fly was a small size 16 red midge larva pattern nymphed just off the bottom. Later in the day some small mayflies started hatching and small brownish mayfly nymphs produced well.

Everyone got into fish and there were more trout than whitefish taken this day. The average size was around 8” with some larger 12” trout thrown in. Our biggest trout was a respectable 15” rainbow. We heard a few reports of larger trout in the 18” to 21” range but didn’t see any of those in person. One of these days!

April 2021 Meeting & Fish A Long

We’ll have a Zoom meeting April 20th at 7pm. Our presenter will be local book author Dennis Dauble who will be talking about Fly fishing in the Blue Mountains. Dennis is a retired fishery scientist, outdoor writer, presenter and educator who lives in Richland, Washington. He has written or edited five books and writes about fish and fishing for regional newspapers and magazines.

Our next Fish A Long is Saturday, April 24th on the Crooked River. This will be a “bring your own food & beverages” fish a long. The plan is to meet at Big Bend Campground between 8:30 and 9am Saturday morning. This time of year a consistent river level is the key to good fishing, so we’ll be monitoring the level closely as we are entering into irrigation season. If the river level jumps we will move the fish a long to the Deschutes River at Mecca Flats, as April 24th is opening weekend. Either way, we’ll have good fishing and fun times.

Here is the link to the Crooked River Guage

The 2021 Fly Fishing Challenge is underway but only 3 people have signed up. We have a new new Fly Fishing Challenge website page so please check it out and then get signed up!

CFF March 2021 Fishing Reports

Thanks to everyone for sharing your reports! Pictures are first with the reports below.

From Mike Miller: This beauty climbed on board while swinging an black & blue intruder jumped 6 times and fought like a champ this March on the Clack. Member In gratitude Mike Miller. (if CFF had a contest for the happiest fish picture, this would be the winner!)

From Dave Kilhefner: I was able to go steelhead fishing a few times in March and did OK, landing 4 steelhead. The best one was about 13lbs and took 2/3 of my line on the first run. After landing 3 on gear I switched over to the spey rod and after a few attempts got one swinging my tried & true Black & Blue Metal Detector.

From George Krumm: Fly fished for Bull Trout on Lake Billy Chinook. Went 3 times and caught fish every time, wish is wasn’t so far away! George was accompanied by CFF speaker Joe Warren, who did a great write up on his blog Fly Fish Pursuit and below the Lake Billy Chinook report is a good write up on Pyramid Lake you’ll enjoy reading. Check it out.

From Greg O’Brien: Steelhead fishing has sure been tough this winter!  I managed to get this nice hen on a guided day in Washington. Swung fly, solid eat, lots of jumping and multiple runs. It was awesome!

From Ryan Callahan: enjoyed my first fish a long at Wilder Lake and caught my two biggest rainbow trout!

From Jim Behrend: Rotator cuff surgery has me out of commission till mid-summer. (We’re sorry to hear that Jim and hope you have a speedy recovery!)

From Richard Harvey: the larger trout have begun to get active at the Oregon Fishing Club lakes.

From Vickie Loftus: Here’s my current fishing report on my Stillwater Adventure Blog.

Thanks again to everyone that contributed reports this month. Good fishing!

April 2021 Presidents Message

After everything that happened in February one thought that keeps bubbling to the surface is “wasn’t March nice?” I think it was! 

The fish a long at Wilder Lake was a big success so we’re going to go there again for the May 22nd Fish A Long. I’ll email the details this month. 

Over spring break I was finally able to bring a winter steelhead to hand. Getting a steelhead on the fly has been a long haul this winter, so it was pretty dang satisfying when it finally came together. The steelhead took a Black & Blue Metal Detector and if you’ve ever steelhead fished with me you know I fish with that fly about 90% of the time. It’s good to have a favorite fly.

Our first Zoom meeting went very well. If you missed it, Garrett Lesko gave us the basics & beyond of Euro Nymphing with plenty good info thrown on tying flies & good sources of tungsten beads, which as you you know are not cheap. It got me excited to give this method another try and so I took some of my own advice and bought a new Euro Nymphing rod from our sponsor The Fly Fishing Shop then gave it a pretty good workout over on the Crooked River.

We’ll have another Zoom presentation April 20th on Fly Fishing in the Blue Mountains by Dennis Dauble. 

Last month Kevin Brooks, CFF’s previous webmaster, contacted me about CFF’s old newsletters. He had them stored on an old hard drive and was cleaning house, so we have our old newsletters back: 126 of them dated from April 2001 until August 2013. They are fun and interesting to read. Anyone who wants to see them let me know and I’ll email you a link. 

In April trout fishing starts to heat up. Locally, the OFC ponds are fishing well. Further away the Deschutes and Crooked rivers are good too. Remember that good fishing on these rivers will depend on consistent water flows and irrigation season is just getting ready to start, so check the water flows before you head out. 

John Bartlett is posting Columbia River Carp Fishing Pictures, so that’s starting to happen. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. 

Winter Steelhead are still available thru April and Summer Steelhead start to show. Spring Chinook are coming too, but that’s a whole new level of fly fishing insanity.  

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

Please remember our sponsors, 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