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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Thanks to everyone for sharing your reports! Pictures are first with the reports below.
From Chris Brehm: Pyramid Lake NV has been on my bucket list for a while. A break in the weather mid January was my opportunity. Although most people fish from shore and ladders, I took my boat down for 3 days of fishing.
Our catch included about 25 fish up to 7 lbs, but the huge Lahontans this lake is famous for eluded us. They call fish under 10lbs “Rats”. The biggest was taken on a Chartreuse and White Clouser. Hope to go back in March or April.
From Phil Renner: I got over to the Deschutes a couple of times in January for some good winter trout action. The weather was good and it fished really well.
From Darryl Huff: I’ve made a few trips to the Deschutes with my new trout spey rod and found a hand full of fish willing to chase a swung fly.
From George Krumm: Gear fished the Sandy and got a few nice steelhead using jigs and also bobberdoggin’.
From Rhona Dallison: On an unexpectedly windy day Laura McGuill, Gretchen Sminkey, Kelly Dezura and Rhona Dallison met up at the Deschutes Angler before heading to the river at Harpham Flat. Despite the crazy line-tangling winds, Kelly got into a couple Redbands with a weighted stonefly near the top of a riffle, plus Gretchen got a rainbow further downstream. While fishing we ran into Paul Brewer.
Thanks again to everyone that contributed reports this month. Good fishing!