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.

November 14th Fish A Long

The November 14th Fish-A-Long will be a repeat of last month’s Fish A Long at Beavertail Campground on the Deschutes. Good fishing reports continue to roll in, the road has been graded and since most of us are still geared up from last month we might as well do it again!  

The plan: meet at Beavertail Campground between 8am and 9am. Due to COVID you’ll need to bring your own food and beverages.

Beavertail campground has ample parking and lots of good fishing water. It’s located 21 miles north of Maupin on the Lower Deschutes Access Rd. From Maupin to Shears Falls is paved and the last 10 or so miles to Beavertail is gravel road.

Gear: 4 to 6wt rods with matching reel & floating lines. Euro nymphing has become very popular but indicator nymphing rigs with small glo- bugs and/or standard nymphs like Pheasant Tails and Hair’s ears work very well too. Consider beefing up your tippet to 8lb or 10lb as more steelhead are starting to show and they like to eat eggs too. Bring waders with felt or cleated boots and layered clothing (can be cool in the morning).

This is a very nice time to fish the Deschutes River for trout – they’re putting on weight for the winter and will be concentrated below schools of spawning salmon, making for excellent fishing. 

Please email Dave at Dave@kbi-ins.com if you plan to attend so we can get a rough head count.

October 24th Fish A Long

This months Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday October 24th on the Deschutes River at Beavertail Campground.

The plan: meet at Beavertail Campground between 8am and 9am. Due to COVID you’ll need to bring your own food and beverages.

Beavertail campground has ample parking and lots of good fishing water. It’s located 21 miles north of Maupin on the Lower Deschutes Access Rd. From Maupin to Shears Falls is paved and the last 10 or so miles to Beavertail is gravel road.

Gear: 4 to 6wt rods with matching reel & floating lines. Euro nymphing has become very popular but indicator nymphing rigs with small glo- bugs and/or standard nymphs like Pheasant Tails and Hair’s ears work very well too. Swinging for steelhead is a possibility too. Bring waders with felt or cleated boots and layered clothing (can be cool in the morning).

This is a very nice time to fish the Deschutes River for trout – they’re usually hungry and can be concentrated below schools of spawning salmon, making for excellent fishing.  This is also a great fish along to make an overnight trip and we will probably have a few overnight campers in our group.

Please email Dave at Dave@kbi-ins.com if you plan to attend so we can get a head count.

July 25th Fish A Long

Ok everyone, we are really going to have a fish a long this month, its NOT going to get cancelled but it will be a little different.

What is different is we are not going to meet at one specific body of water, but rather a general location: Mt Hood. This will allow us to travel alone or in small groups to maintain our social distancing plus fish where and how we want to during “the new normal.”

After fishing in the morning, we will plan on meeting at the Frog Lake Trailhead & Sno Park area to have lunch and trade flies and lies. If you aren’t familier with this area, its a large paved parking area where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Hwy 26. It has plenty of space and bathrooms. To maintain social distancing, plan on bringing your own chair and lunch.

Some of the fishing locations available within a half hours drive are the Salmon River, Still Creek, Trillium Lake, Clear Lake, Frog Lake, Timothy Lake and the upper White River.

What- Trout

Where- Mt Hood Lakes and Creeks

When- First light until 1pm lunchtime

Saturday, July 25th

Things to Bring:

  • Lake and small stream tackle for Trout
  • Float tubes for lakes
  • Layered clothing
  • Folding Chair + your lunch
  • A positive attitude

Directions- take Hwy 26 for 7 miles past Government Camp to the Frog Lake Trailhead and Sno Park & look for familiar faces. Its a large paved parking area with restrooms.

RSVP to Dave Kilhefner (Dave@kbi-ins.com) so I can put you on the group text list. Hope to see you there!

April 25th Fish-A-Long Cancelled

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus this weekends Fish-A-Long has been cancelled.

We were supposed to fish the Rainier Lakes at the Oregon Fishing Club. I called Bruce Harpole and he advises there has been a big increase in fishing pressure at the OFC due to all the public access closures in Oregon. Given this it would be very difficult to maintain social distancing guidelines and he asked us to postpone this event.

If anyone is getting cabin fever and is interested in getting out on the water shoot me an email and we can put something together. We can still fish the OFC properties in small groups plus there are a few public fishing access areas open on the Clackamas River.