April 23rd Fish A Long Report

We had wonderful weather for our April 23rd Fish A Long at Schmadeke Pond and it was very well attended. However, the fishing was a little slow and this was forshadowed by a report from Vickie Loftus, who guided CFF member Peter Lymm to his first stillwater trout the day before. Vickie reported the recent rains and cold fronts have chilled the water to 51 degrees and put the fish down for a while. Bites were slow in coming and when they did happen, short takes were common. This was our experience too.

On the good side, most of the trout were pretty big, everyone had some action plus not everyone struggled to catch fish. So the silver lining on this slow bite day was we learned some valuable new stuff as Mike Shiiki & son Nathaniel tube-trolled a small black leech on intermediate line and consistently hooked fish all day long. Mike says this is a really good technique on Timothy Lake as well.

Their hot fly was Egan’s Half-Wit Leech. Click the link for tying instructions.

I tried to imitate Mike & Nathaniel’s tube-trolling approach after lunch but couldn’t quite pull it off as I got a cramp in my leg. But I did find something that worked OK, slow trolling a white leech 10 feet under an indicator (much of Schmadeke Pond is 12 feet deep). I have seen this technique in the past and decided to give it a try today & started getting bites with some consistency. FYI, it’s also supposed to be a good tactic for bass when they are not very active; it’s called the “float n fly” technique.

It was a little strange that leeches were the only fly that was working well as I stomach pumped a couple trout and the only thing in their stomaches were Chironomids. Mysteries are part of fly fishing!

Around 3:30 fish started rising pretty good in the shaded area along the far side of the lake and I was able to get a nice one on top with a Shipman Buzzer. While different looking, it’s easy to tie and very effective, imitating a hatching chironomid. Plus it floats very well, making it an excellent dry fly for suspending a pupa pattern on a dropper.

Thanks to everyone for coming and making this Fish A Long a success. Next months Fish A Long will be at Clear Lake on Mt Hood. Hope to see you there!

February 2022 Fish A Long Report

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!

October 23rd Fish A Long Report

Late October can throw a variety of surprises at you and this year was no exception. Trout fishing had been rated as “hot” but on Thursday someone turned on the spigot and the water level jumped from 3,600cfs to 4,500cfs; besides more water there were more leaves in the water and the bite was a little off. But just like in years past, trout and whitefish can’t resist the egg bonanza when the Chinook are spawning.

This fish a long is one of our clubs most popular and was well attended. The weather was pretty mild, the wind was light and everyone got into fish with some breaking into double digits. Rich got a big sucker that pulled hard and fought long; for a while we thought it was a small steelhead. The day before Darryl did get a chrome steelhead that was quickly released. Tim got a double on redsides fishing a two fly rig.

Interestingly we all had a much higher than average number of missed strikes & short bites today. The hot fly was some sort of small orange egg pattern but all flies with orange on them worked.

There were no Bighorn Sheep playing on the wall this day but we had some good sightings right along the road.

Thanks to everyone for coming! Next month we will try to hit the Kilchis River for Chum Salmon but if the water conditions are poor (like they have been the last 4 years) we will go to an Oregon Fishing Club lake.

September 2021 Fish Along Report

Thanks to everyone that attended our September 25th Fish A Long for Coastal Sea Run Cutthroat. This was an “exploratory” trip for our club, meaning most of us had only a vague idea of where to go or how to fish for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout. However, by the end of day we had a much better handle on what to do to be successful as you’ll see.

My day started early, waking up at 4am to finish packing and pick up George in Sherwood for the drive to the coast. We arrived in Tillamook just as it was getting light but had no idea where to start, so we drove around for about 45 minutes checking out various fishing access points along the lower Trask River. We eventually settled on the OFC #2/Burdick location a few miles above tidewater. There we were soon joined by Rich and his son. Since Rich actually knows how to catch Sea Runs, having him arrive at the same place as us was a confidence booster.

Rich and his son went downstream and George and I went upstream. We saw a few salmon rolling and a few guide boats pulling their way thru the super shallow riffles. The water was very low at only 74 cfs, gin clear and probably in the mid 60’s. After the warm summer the rocks were super slippery too so you had to move slow while wading. We saw a few cutthroat jumping in the deeper water close to the bank, but being new to the game couldn’t get into casting range without spooking them. We later learned from Rich it’s important to do your wading on the shallow side, then be stealthy as you cast to the far bank on the deep side then strip your fly back pretty fast; and keep moving! I walked upstream on what felt like a slip & slide and found a pool that allowed me to fish the correct way and connected with a small feisty Cutthroat. Downstream Rich got two nice Cutthroats in the 16-18 inch range. Around mid morning we decided to go to the Sollie Smith Bridge area on the lower Wilson and it was pretty much a repeat of our Trask experience: Rich got a couple nice ones and the rest of us got a small resident trout or two.

As I mentioned earlier, this was an “exploratory” Fish A Long. I received a few texts from people wondering where to go, but as I said earlier I didn’t really know where to go thus couldn’t really offer any advice better than “somewhere along the lower river would probably be best.” Sorry for my lack of knowledge, but our club made big strides on this fishery and next year will be better!

This fish a long was well attended and over a dozen of us met at the Wilson River Footbridge Trailhead.  Our club has a new sign that Ken generously helped design so people can find us when we are out in the boonies chasing fish. It was fun to trade fish stories from the day and nearly everyone got fish, but to be unusually honest for a fisherman not all were Sea Run Cutts! But, it was a very nice day and good times were had by all. Thanks again to everyone that helped make this fish a long a success. I’m sure we will do it again next year!

June 2021 Fish A Long Report

To be honest our June Fish A Long for Shad started off a little rocky, but for the Clackamas Fly Fishers  this was a first time exploratory shad mission so some difficulties were not totally unexpected. The Hamilton Island parking area was packed with cars and there was literally no place to fish, with bank anglers plunking for salmon every 10 feet as far as the eye could see, which was pretty discouraging. But, we persevered and found a good place to fly fish but it was a little over a mile hike downstream from the parking area (see updated map above). Fortunately we were able to walk on a flat, well kept trail.

Once we settled in to our spot we started catching shad right away. As shad migrate in waves, the action comes in waves. By lunchtime, everyone had caught fish and some of us did pretty well. Chris Brehm, who found “the spot” had particularly good luck and every time I looked upstream he had a fish on.

While rain was forecast, that didn’t happen and we were blessed with nearly perfect weather. The Columbia River was in good shape for fishing, with green tinted water that was 61 degrees, which made for comfortable wading. The water height was 18 feet at the Bonneville guage.

The current seam was just offshore so long casts were not needed, but you did need a sinking line or at minimum a sink tip line. The best presentation was to cast across the current, let the line sink for several seconds and then strip in the fly at it started to swing across the current. Most strikes came when the fly was about 45 degrees downstream swinging from the faster to slower water. When a wave of shad came thru it was not uncommon to hook fish on consecutive casts. A Red Bill Schaadt Shad Fly was the hot ticket. Fortunately we had plenty of them, as the bottom could be a little snaggy.

Special thanks to Chris Brehm for venturing downstream, finding a good place for us to fly fish and then coming back to get us. Also, thanks to Paul Brewer & his crew who went in search of easier to access water down by Beacon Rock. While they didn’t find good fishing, this was an exploratory day and they gave us good information. We’ll definitely do this trip again next year and will have a better idea what to expect.

Thanks to everyone that came out and made this fish a long a success!

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!

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!

Wilder Lake Fish A Long Report

Here’s the report from last weekends Fish A Long at Wilder Lake. First off, we got very lucky with the weather. It was raining hard in the early morning just before we arrived and then only rained once during the day, but this was during lunch and we were protected under the covered area.

We started the morning with hot coffee and donuts. Vickie Loftus of Stillwater Adventures provided a selection of fishing flies for everyone that attended and they were put to good use. Later we enjoyed a hot lunch provide by Cheryl Kilhefner.

The water temperature in the lake was 50 degrees, with a nice green color and 3-4 feet of visibility. I broke out my depth/fish finder and on the screen most of the trout were hovering at a depth of 6 to 8 feet down, even in the deeper water.

The fishing was slower than normal as the lake hadn’t really warmed up yet plus several weather fronts were moving thru, as a result the fish were not very active. We had quite a few short strikes. Even so, everyone got into fish and most of them were pretty good sized and fought well. Everyone had a very good time. Since the fishing was slower than normal the lake owner, Andy Wilder, very generously invited us to come back for a free day of fishing. I’ll get a survey email out soon so we can get this scheduled.

Thanks to everyone that could attend and for making our first fish a long of 2021 a great one!

November 2020 Fish A Long Report

To be honest, it was really difficult to decide between Kilchis River Chum Salmon or another trip to Beavertail on the Deschutes River. This time of year Beavertail is consistently productive and good reports continued to hit my inbox along with some Kilchis reports. Decisions, decisions! The deciding factor was the big rainstorm due at the coast that would likely blow out the Kilchis and make wading difficult, so it was off to the Deschutes for redsides and hopefully a steelhead.

But nothing in November is easy as the same storm that was dumping rain on the coast was dumping snow in the Cascades, making for an interesting and somewhat slow drive over the hill. Still, we made it work; some of us braved the snow and others smartly took an alternate route thru The Dalles.

We had 8 people in attendance today; Dave, Paul, Kevin, Darryl, Rhona, Laura, Sue and Phil. When we rolled into Beavertail Saturday morning we saw that Kevin was camping, so we went to his campsite to finish our coffee and get rigged up.  

There’s more to enjoying a day in the outdoors than casting between wind gusts while hoping to hook a big one. Kevin told us there was a bunch of deer in his campsite in the morning. On our trek upstream to the fishing grounds we found fresh buck and doe tracks and it was fun to both observe and explain the subtle differences in the different kinds of tracks.

Darryl was already fishing when most of us arrived and reports he caught several small trout on beads. Around 10am he decided to head upstream for clearer water as the White River was very off color, probably due to the fire that burned thru much of canyon this summer. He had good success for trout and also landed a nice steelhead.

The off colored water and limited visibility definitely slowed down the trout fishing but we still managed to grind some out. The highlight of the morning was a big fish hooked by Sue that ran into her backing three times before the hook pulled out. It didn’t jump and was probably a salmon but it could have been a steelhead too.

We walked back to camp around noon to break for lunch. Paul set up his spotting scope and we were able to watch a lone Ram walking high on the rock face.

After lunch we fished down by the boat ramp for a while and caught several more fish before calling it a day. There were a lot of dead salmon in the shallows which signals eggs are the main food source, thus the hot flies this day were either small egg patterns or beads drifted along the bottom, usually under a strike indicator.

Thanks to everyone for attending this month’s Fish A Long and also thanks to those that provided fishing  reports to help us decide the best place to go.