The Chums are In!

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!

Deschutes River Fish-A-Long Report

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.

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Justensen Ranch Lakes Fishing Report

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.

Rocky Ridge Ranch Lakes Fishing Report

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.

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Spring Chironomid Fishing Report

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.

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Diamond Lake Fishing Report

Last weekend I had the chance to fish Diamond Lake in southern Oregon for the first time. Being late April, it was a little too early in the season to experience the trout fishing that Diamond Lake is justifiably famous for as the water temperature was a chilly 44 degrees. Also, the high desert spring weather was bi-polar with sleet & snow the first day shifting to bright and sunny the next.

In spite of this, we all caught some nice trout. My friend John caught a 21” fat rainbow off the bank and I got one that was 19”. Some friends of ours brought their boats, anchored up not far from the lodge and brought some nice trout to hand as well.  Fat 10” to 12” specimens made up the bulk of the action.

Much of the lake is not very deep and so floating or intermediate fly lines worked fine. The hot flies were streamers and nymphs and a combination of a streamer in front with a nymph trailer covered all the bases. I tried chironomids under an indicator but the fish were not active enough to hunt them down before my patience with this technique faded.

Naturally, a float tube or small motor boat is best BUT fishing off the bank worked surprisingly well too. If you have a good roll cast all you had to do was reach the drop off 20 to 30 feet offshore and you were in business. The lake has a paved bike path close to the shore and walking along this while looking for likely looking structure in the form of drop offs, foam lines and fallen trees worked well.

The lodge had good burgers & such and after a chilly spring day nothing beats some good hot food in a rustic atmosphere.

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Rainier Lakes Fish-A-Long Report

A big thank you to everyone who came today. The company was great but the fishing was a little tough! One the good side, all the fish caught were good sized. One club member even got a 5lb rainbow!

The weather was overcast with light rain off and on throughout the day. Water temp was 57 degrees, water clarity about 3 feet. It looked like the lake may be going thru a spring turnover.

Mostly we fished seal buggers and chironomids. We saw trout aggressively taking some big black “bomber” chironomids in the surface film and #12 and #14 chironomid pupa patterns in dark shades fished close to the bottom accounted for most of the trout taken today.

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