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!
August was another hot month but CFF members were able to get out and enjoy some good fishing. Thanks to everyone for contributing your fishing reports!
Here are our August reports; pictures first with the report following. Enjoy!
From Greg O’Brien: I started the month with a guided tiger Muskie trip with Mike Sturza that culminated in about a million casts with an 11 wt, 1 missed shot, numerous follows and a sore body My buddy got one though. I then floated the Deschutes with my brother and a couple other friends and got some nice trout on swung flies. Finally I switched to warm water mode and got a few bass and a 20” pikeminnow in the Willamette close to home.
From Ron Maben: Fished the Metolius River, which is new water for me. The upper skinny water fished quite well for 8in – 11in fish, on a #14 light colored elk hair caddis; it was pleasant small water dry fly fishing. Then I fished down river from the hatchery & saw fish feeding on the surface but couldn’t tell what they were taking but they seemed to be ignoring the caddis on the water. Put on a #16 quigleys cripple and instantly tied into a measured 16 + inch fish that made three strong runs taking lots of line before I could finally get it to net. When I netted the fish, people across the river applauded!
From Tim McSweeney: Spent a week on the Metolius chasing bull trout and red sides. The fishing was spectacular with bulls up to 30” from morning till afternoon and then dry fly fishing for redsides till I couldn’t see. It was a really great week fishing in many different ways.
From Dennis Murphy: August was a busy month and it was hard to find time to get out to the water. I had a couple trips, some successful and some not.
Put two weekends into fishing for surf perch along the coast near Cape Lookout. Both times I got skunked. The conditions seemed right, but even the gear guys were getting nothing. I was using my 7wt two hander to overhand cast a 30′ T-14 to 5′ of flouro with shrimp, minnow and sandcrab patterns. It was a heck of a shoulder workout and I was definitely sore after the first time. The second time out things felt much easier as I got the hang of the two handed overhand cast while wearing a PFD and stripping basket. The best part of the coast those weekends was dodging the high heat in Portland! The time of year isn’t great for surf perch so I’m holding off until they move closer to shore again.
Took one other trip up the Old Clackamas Highway on an exploratory trip with a friend. We took what seemed like an obvious trail down to the water but was more of a rock climbing adventure. After spending some time getting nibbles from small fish and eating our fill of blackberries we got ready to pack it up and head home. I decided to make one last cast into a good looking pool on the way out and got a good hit. A solid 12″ trout! Repeating the mantra “just one more cast then we’ll go” I landed a 10″ on my second cast. On the third, my fly was slammed and I was caught off guard by a 15″ trout. I made one last cast hooking up with another 10″ before respecting my mantra and heading out.
From Dave Kilhefner: Jim Bennett and his trusty dog Bob did well on smallmouth bass last month above Willamette Falls and agreed to show me & George Coutts the ropes. We put our boats in at Hebb Park and worked our way downstream, hitting several of Jim’s favorite spots along the way. Fishing was not hot but it was steady and we all ended up getting several smallmouths. Favorite flies were Clouser Minnows and Woolly Buggers fished on full sinking T-200 lines.
July was a hot one but CFF members were able to get out, keep cool and have some good fishing. Thanks to everyone for contributing your fishing reports!
Here are our July reports; pictures first with the report following. Enjoy!
From Lane Hoffman: Had great rainbow fishing on the Green River in Wyoming.
From John Silkey: Just did an epic 2 day overnight float on the S. Fork of the Snake! Amazing trip – almost entirely yellowstone cuts in our boat (others also caught rainbows, a few browns, and whitefish.) All of mine were caught either on a giant, foam golden stonefly or a golden stone emerger on a 5 inch dropper.
From Wayne Hughes: Spent a week in Montana. Fished the Clark Fork river near Thompson Falls. Caught lots of Smallmouth bass, Pike, and some nice browns. It was smoky and hot!
From George Coutts: Fished the Deschutes for three days in mid-July. Caught one Rainbow indicator fishing on day one, then six Rainbows Euro Nymphing on day two. Day three was best with two 16” Rainbows Euro Nymphing. Fished Clear Lake at the Fish A Long & managed one trout.
From Gil Henderson: Fished the Deschutes a couple times casting & stripping Sculpin patterns. Caught some nice trout and lost a few too.
From Dennis Murphy: Rhona and I met up late Saturday morning and put in a few hours on the Upper Nestucca. We managed lots of 6-8″ native cutthroats on a variety of patterns, but the winner for me was a rainbow midge. After a bit of that, I started fishing the deepest, strongest riffles I could find and managed to pull up a 12-13″ cutthroat on a size 8 egg sucking leech.We eventually ran into hoot owl hours. Water was in the low 60’s the entire day but we’re all law abiding citizens so we called it a day.
From Greg O’Brien: My wife and daughter joined me on a dory trip with Pacific City Flyfishing. I’ve been on a trip with them every summer for a while now and it’s always a great time. Limits of black rockfish and Dungeness crab plus one coho landed out of 4 hooked.
From David Doble: I can’t believe it but I have no report for July. That’s not good! (note: I personally struggle getting out much in July as well! DK)
From Chris Gardener: Fished up river from Maupin on the Lower D a week ago and put a few in the net with Hopper Dropper & tight line nymphing tactics. Only fished in the AM since it hit 103 in the canyon shortly after lunch but fishing was pretty good overall. Also snagged a Caddis Larva in his mobile home. Pretty cool looking.
From Dave Kilhefner: Vickie Loftus and I hit Schmedeke Pond, mostly for casting practice but I managed a really nice size Crappie. Vickie landed a couple trout while kicking in at the end of the day. Surface water temp was 86 degrees so we released the trout as fast as possible and they quickly dove back into the depths.
From George Krumm: Spent time searching for Chinook in July in the Willamette. Fishing wasn’t great but there were fish to be found, primarily by trolling Pro-Troll ProChip 11 flashers with size 3.5 spinners with a coon shrimp. Averaged about three bites a day fishing from daylight to 10 a.m.
To be honest the catch rate for our July Fish A Long was a little slow. But it’s important to keep the Fish A Long momentum going plus survey’s say you have a better chance at catching fish if you go fishing so that’s what some of use did! Most of us ended up catching a fish or two and having a good time doing it.
Dave K and Kevin R started early on the Salmon River at the Miller Road access. We tried Euro Nymphing in the riffles for about an hour but didn’t find any trout. We did see some salmon rolling in the big pool and this brought back some good fishing memories from my youth. Some history: this area used to be called the Gravel Pit for obvious reasons and it used to be a premier fishing area for Steelhead in Oregon. Back then the Salmon River was heavily stocked and the returns were very good. It wasn’t unusual to see over 100 steelhead in the hole back then. It was such a good spot that former President George H.W. Bush fished there when he came to Oregon (not trying to be political, it’s just something that really happened a long time ago).
If you’ve never been to this place, it’s a well marked pullout about 1/2 mile before the Mt Hood RV Resort. The road is gated and it’s about a 1/2 mile walk in. You need to cover water to score but the wading in the river is a little challenging due to sharp loose rocks and also a fair number of logs & log jams you have scramble around. It’s a beautiful area but also a popular target shooting area so it’s best to hit it early and then move on.
After finishing up on the Salmon River we drove to Clear Lake as we’ve had some good fishing there this year. At the lake we met up with George C, Kadir S and Ken M. There were lots of Callibaetis duns and spinners on the water and fish were rising regularly. Still, the fishing was tough as the lake had gotten very low, the level being about 3,488. You can see from the chart that’s within 3 feet of the maximum drawdown level of 3,485 and later in the day when people started swimming we saw a guy walk all the way across the lake and the water only reached his chest.
One bright spot was that Ken, who has a background in graphic arts, made us a nice sign and had it on display at Clear Lake. We got several inquiries and hopefully they will sign up for our website updates and join us someday.
The usual mid day wind never materialized and it started getting pretty warm, so we got off the water around 1pm and headed to the Frog Lake Sno Park to see if anyone was there to meet for lunch. No one was so several of us finished our day with burgers and refreshments at the Brightwood Tavern, which was a great way to end the day!
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.