Thanks to everyone who made it over to Cottonwood Canyon, it was a long drive! The John Day River Canyon is inconveniently located but the scenery, the good weather and the large numbers of willing smallmouth made the trip worthwhile.
We met at 8:30am in the parking lot. A couple folks decided to camp at the park, which given the 3 hour drive makes a lot of sense. We had perfect fall weather with clear skies and a light breeze. It was a little crisp in the morning but by 10:30 it was time to stow the vest in the daypack and keep fishing.
The water was very clear and warm enough for wet wading, which was good because it was too warm to wear waders. The recent big rainstorm increased the water flow from the fall average of 125 cfs to 275 cfs. Even so, it was still easy to wade across the river and the shallow spots were only knee deep.
Paul and I worked our way upstream a couple of miles—you can go downstream too. There is a dirt road that follows the river. It seemed like a good place for mountain bikes, but they are not allowed; foot traffic only. At the end of the day I had logged 7 miles on my pedometer.
Everyone caught fish today. Most of the fish were small in the 5-7” range but a few larger bass in the 12” range were taken.
I did not get a chance to talk to everyone but Paul and I did well on White Devils and dark Woolly Buggers. We tried some Chubby Chernobyl’s on top and had a few half- hearted strikes so we stuck with subsurface patterns most of the day. Paul was doing well in working downstream in front of me so to be different I tried indicator nymph tactics with a size 6 Red Fox Squirrel Nymph and did well.
This was another fun Fish-A-Long. Given the length of the drive we’d like to get some feedback to see if we should have another Fish-A-Long this far away or not. Please get hold of Paul email@example.com or Dave firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments.
Here is a link to more pictures of this trip and a few others: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24785213
NOW is the time to calendar your fly fishing days away.
EXPLORE Oregon’s rivers, lakes and creeks this season.
DON’T miss out on the CFF Fly Fishing Challenge. Sign up!
TURN in your completed Catch Card at a regular CFF meeting.
RETURN the next month for your awards.
PROUDLY iron-on your patch and display your certificate.
PROMOTE the goals and aspirations of YOUR club!
This months Fish-A-Long was a huge success with warm weather, good food and fun company. We had a strong turnout and everyone got into fish.
Special thanks to Lane Hoffman for cooking dinner Friday night, Phil for Saturday breakfast and Paul for grilling burgers for Saturday lunch.
Some of us arrived Friday evening. The wind was calm and there was a good chironomid hatch going on. Fish were rising all over, some only feet from the shore in less 2 feet of water. It was hard to sit and watch but technically our fishing did not start until Saturday. We enjoyed a few libations on the deck, told lies and enjoyed a tasty chicken & dumpling dinner prepared by Lane.
The sun is up early this time of year so to get on the water at first light the early risers were up at 4:30 and on the water by 5am to target some of the big cruisers on the main lake. Lane had good action early on Seal Buggers and the rest of us caught a few.
The upper lake had been freshly stocked with trout; some real big ones! They were hanging around the boat ramp. It didn’t take long to figure this out and since space at the ramp is limited we took turns catching fish.
The lower lake was uncrowded. Dave and Phil ventured down there and had steady action for most of the day. Dave caught a 25” rainbow on a Green Devil streamer.
The water temperature was around 60 degrees with about 4 feet of visibility. At this water temperature you expect to see the damsel migration going. While there where good numbers of adult damsels out, only a few fish were caught on damsel nymphs; not what you’d expect if the fish were looking for them. Later in the afternoon Lane and Nancy tried some blue damsel dry patterns; this didn’t produce fast action but the strikes were vicious and worth waiting for.
The Rocky Ridge lakes have lots of quality fish in them and fishing is good right now!
The Rocky Ridge Lakes have some very big trout and the best time to get one of these pigs is when they are active for a short time before dawn. I arrived at the main lake at 6:30 to find Jim Adams fighting his second of two big trout; both were hooked on Chironomids.
That got the blood pumping so I quickly got into my float tube, kicked out of the shallows and started fishing with Chironomids as well. I got a couple average size trout, then the sun came up and the bite slowed.
Today the weather was clear with some high clouds. This place is famous for wind and there is really cool breeze blowing, but fortunately it’s not blowing too hard. The sun is up early this time of year and after our long winter this catches me by surprise. The water temperature was 56° with about 4 feet of clarity.
I tried several different Chironomid patterns and they just don’t seem to be working the way they should. After an hour or so of experimenting with different Chrironomid patterns and presentation styles with little to show for it I go in a completely different direction and tie on a Green Devil, which is basically a 1/32nd oz micro jig; green in color with an orange head. A fish grabbed it on the first cast! The fish are on this fly and by lunch it is mangled beyond repair.
It’s now closing in on lunchtime and needing more Green Devils, I kick in, set up my vice and tie 5 more. Then Lane cooks up some good burgers and we dine overlooking the lake. Full and tired, it was time for a siesta. Got back out on the lake at 2:30 and caught 4 trout on my first 5 casts! This fast action held up through the rest of the afternoon. Back on shore at the end of the day we were all smiles and agreed the fishing today had been epic. The hot flies were green toned leeches and woolly buggers. Carson got a steelhead sized fish on a Chironomid down by the earth dam.
Paul and Henry went down to the lower lake and had excellent action as well. The Rocky Ridge lakes have all been recently stocked and fishing is very good.
Lane Hoffman is down at the coast today doing a little “pre-fishing” for our annual Chum Salmon Fish-A-Long tomorrow.
He reports the rivers are in good shape with lots of fish. Some rain is expected but it will take a lot to put the river out of shape. Fishing should be good tomorrow!
First a BIG THANKS to Paul Brewer for opening his Maupin home and hosting this months Fish-A-Long.
Around 8am we all met at Paul’s place for coffee and donuts then headed down river to Beavertail Campground, which is about 10 miles below Sherars Falls.
The gravel section of the road was in bad shape—deep wash boarding made for slow going. According to the locals, boat trailer traffic and especially the heavier jet sleds make the washboards worse.
We arrived at the Campground around 9:45 and couldn’t resist trying to spot some mountain sheep on the huge canyon wall across the river. We thought we saw a couple but they disappeared into the shadows before we could get a good view with binoculars.
After wadering up we all headed upstream to a big flat that attracts spawning chinook salmon. The fishing plan was to target the trout and whitefish that gather below the salmon to feed on loose eggs, using small glo bugs under strike indicators.
Salmon were present but not in large numbers. Everyone had some trout action fairly quickly but then the bite died down. We fished until around 1pm then headed back to Maupin to grab a tasty lunch at the Riverside.
After lunch some folks had to head home while others stayed to fish thru the afternoon. We went upstream towards the locked gate area. The road was much better but there were a lot more anglers too.
It was a beautiful fall day; crisp but not cold with blue skies and only an occasional breeze.
Last weekend I was able to fish the Justensen Ranch Lakes with my good friend Dick Law.
Mostly these are small 2 to 3 acre lakes but a couple are larger. They were created about 50 years ago to control flash flooding on Buck Hollow and Shaniko Creeks, which are the major steelhead spawning tributaries of the Deschutes and John Day Rivers.
The trout are fat and healthy and can get pretty big, typically running 14 to 20 inches long but there are some real trophy’s swimming around so it’s always good to use a heavier tippet. I like 8lb fluorocarbon.
The shoreline cattails require you use a float tube. The lakes are fairly shallow so a floating line is all that’s needed to get your fly in the strike zone. This trip the hot fly patterns were Carey Specials, Marabou Damsels and Chironomid Pupa patterns like the Frostbite with red, black & purple working the best.
Last weekend the Clackamas Fly Fishers had a fish-a-long at the Rocky ridge Ranch Lakes. The fishing and comradery were great but due to blustery cold weather Saturday and perhaps the effect of a full moon the catching was just fair.
Lane did well on the Middle Lake at o-dark-thirty casting a big seal bugger, the highlight landing a trout approaching 10lbs. Unfortunately the cameraman was still enjoying morning coffee so there are no photos.
Once it got fully light out the bite dropped off sharply. However, Trout looked to be actively sipping Chironomids and we were able to do a stomach sampling from one trout and tie some flies to “match the hatch.” This usually produces excellent results but this time it failed miserably. That’s fishing! We did land more trout casting and stripping Woolly Buggers but the wind intensified as evening approached and so cocktail hour came early.
Tim returned from the fishing the Lower Lake with an excellent report, so we planned to fish the Lower Lake the next day (Sunday).
Sunday dawned clear and it seemed like a good idea to chase “the big ones” of the Middle Lake at first light. The action was consistent until the sun hit the water, then the bite stopped. One big trout was hooked that managed to break off a 10lb tippet and a couple other nice trout were brought to hand and released.
After a leisurely breakfast we took our float tubes to the lower lake and enjoyed several hours of fast action on 13” to 16” trout with a few larger ones hooked as well.
Below are some pictures from the weekend: enjoying cabin time, trout rising at sunset, Ken fighting a big trout, stomach sampling of Chironomids, early morning moon over the Middle Lake, a fat rainbow just before release and a before and after shot of Tim’s hot fly pattern.
On Friday May 6th Lane Hoffman and Dave Kilhefner took off for the afternoon to fish Little Tree and Big Tree Lakes at the Oregon Fishing Club. The afternoon could not have been better with clear skies and a nice breeze.
Lane wanted to chase Bass with Streamers and Poppers. He was on the board first with a nice Largemouth about 3 lbs, which took his second cast close to a weed edge. He saw more bass but could not entice them to strike.
Dave started fishing Chironomids with a floating line & long leader, letting them sink for a full minute & slowly raising them back to the surface with a long slow pull & repeating. The trout found this hard to resist and he caught a lot of them doing this. Seeing the action, Lane joined in the fun and caught the biggest trout of the day which was a fat 20 incher. Most of the trout were in the 15 to 18 inch range.
The bite slowed down around 4:30. Our afternoon fishing excursion saw about 30 trout and one bass brought to hand and released.
Lane’s big trout and the hot fly patterns, epoxy buzzers tied on size 14 hooks, are pictured.