Rocky Ridge Fish-A-long Report May 19, 2018

Last weekends Fish-a-long to Rocky Ridge was another good time with good friends, good food and good fishing.

For the crew that arrived on Friday night Lane served up some Elk Enchiladas. If that wasn’t enough, Tim served up some great smoked ribs for Saturday nights dinner. Good eats, thanks guys!

Saturday dawned with overcast skies but we had no rain or wind. Fish were rising here and there. Several of us started on the middle lake (Wild Rose). Naturally I tried a Green Devil but it wasn’t working so I switched to chironomids but strikes were slow in coming. A fine fishing riddle is brewing!

The water temperature was 64 degrees and the lake had good clarity. The conditions were ripe for a damselfly migration but chucking and olive/brown marabou damsel nymph didn’t produce.

After a while I finally brought a fish to hand on a small olive chironomid pupa. A stomach pump revealed a very a small damsel nymph, a few light olive chironomids and small scuds.

At lunch we compared notes. The upper lake (Mules Ear) was fishing better but the fishing was not hot. Lane did OK on his favorite seal bugger/intermediate line combo and Nancy did OK fishing with dries. Paul went down to the lower lake and did well on bass. Lastly, Lane observed a few callibaetis mayflies coming off and suggested we try fishing callibaetis nymphs after lunch.

Tim, John and I stuck with the middle lake. John and Tim went down by the dam and some callibeatis were coming off. John did well on calibaetis dry and emerger patterns on a floating line and Tim did well with a beadhead calibaetis nymph on an Intermediate line. The calibaetis were coming off sporadically, sort of in spurts, and when that happened the fish would stop keying on chironomids and would go after the larger mayflies.

I stuck to the flats near the boat launch. Strangely, the callibeatis mayflies were not hatching here (I tried them!) so I stuck with chironomids and did OK, but mostly I got short strikes, which tells me my fly was close but still not really the right one. About a half hour before I had to leave I saw some larger chironomids emerging—the pupa were chestnut brown and about a size 12. I had some similar patterns in my fly box, put one on and got several hard takes and landed a couple nice fish in short order. Finally! It was a great way to end the day.

http://rockyridgeranchoregon.com/

Deschutes Fishing Reports –Big Bugs

Last week Gil fished the Deschutes around Maupin, reporting he saw plenty of big bugs in the bushes but not many flying over the water. He managed to catch a couple on dries but it was necessary to cover a lot of water to find a player. The stonefly fishing should be at it’s best in a week or so.

Yesterday I was able to fish the Warm Springs Indian Reservation water with Elke & Alysia of Littleleaf Guide Services. Because you always have miles of untouched water to yourself I can’t say enough good things about this angling experience. 

We met at 11am at Kah-Nee-Ta; no need to get up early this time of year! The weather was warm, the skies overcast and a light breeze was blowing upstream, making for perfect fishing conditions.  

Arriving at the river it seemed the flows were a little faster than normal. Discharge from Pelton dam was 4100 cubic feet per second, water temperature was perfect at 55 degrees with about 4’ to 6’ of water clarity. 

I had a refusal at the first stop and then landed a 16” fatty at the next stop. This time of year, when a fish commits to your fly you can see, hear and sometimes feel the strike!  

Today all the fish took one of Elke’s Predator Stonefly’s. Alysia showed me a recent picture of a 26” redside she landed, so I stuck with heavy 2x and 3x tippet (8lb & 10lb). Every stop produced some sort of action, mostly refusals but often enough a player would hammer your fly. As Gil said in his report, covering water is the best way to find the fish that wanted to eat. 

I managed a dozen or so, but numbers do not really represent all the fun I had watching fish slash at my flies all day. The average size of the fish was around 16 inches and my biggest brought to hand was in the 19 to 20 inch range. However, standing on a steep bank with a good view of the bottom structure I had a much larger redside come up twice only to refuse my fly at the last instant.  

It’s very exciting and addicting fishing!

 

Rocky Ridge Ranch Fishing Report

 

Last Saturday the Clackamas Fly Fishers board members went on their annual board retreat to Rocky Ridge Ranch. The weather was nice but breezy, the company was good and everyone had a great time!

We all caught fish plus we were able to catch them by our favorite methods! For me, that is casting and erratically stripping a little devil streamer on a floating line. Lane Hoffman did well throwing small seal buggers on an intermediate line. Jim Adams found a willing pod of fish and caught a ton of them on dark-colored snow cone chironomids fished a scant 2 feet under an indicator. At the end of the day the wind died down and Henry was catching fish on top with ant patterns.

The upper lake (Mules Ear) had the highest concentration of fish and that’s where most of us spent our time after lunch. We all started at the middle lake (Wild Rose) after breakfast and while we caught fish it was a little challenging. The lower lake (Mullein) had a lot of small bass but the few trout that were hooked were big!

Some data: the water temperature was in the upper 50’s with good visibility. By the time we have the May 19th fish-a-long it will be in the low 60’s and that should bring out the damselfly nymphs that trout love. The best patterns this trip were #6 green devils, #6 or #8 olive seal buggers and #12 or #14 dark colored chironomids with a white bead head (snow cones). 3x and 4x tippets (6lb to 8lb) were needed to hold the larger trout and we got a few that exceeded the 20” mark.

http://rockyridgeranchoregon.com/

Hartland Lake Fish A Long Report

We had a record turnout for last weekend’s fish-a-long: 15 people! Thank to everyone who made the trip. While it was a bit of a long drive, it is a very scenic drive up the Columbia River Gorge and then up the Klickitat River Canyon. The weather was clear with a cool breeze blowing with Mt. Adams dominating the horizon. I’m not sure of the actual fish count but I believe everyone either caught a fish or had one on. And, all the fish were quality fish in the 15” to 18” size range and packing some heavy girth!

I arrived a bit early as I had Coffee for everyone and it wouldn’t due to be late! I found Phil Senatra already fishing and he was playing a fish when I drove up to the lake and by the time I got into my waders and float tube he had two more. The fishing was not hot but we had consistent action. Unfortunately the bite slowed down quite a bit by the time the rest of our group arrived. Yes, that is what really happened!

The water was 54 degrees with about 3 feet of visibility. It was hoped there would be a strong Chironomid hatch but it was just a little too early. It was one of those fishing days were you had to grind out strikes. I did a stomach pump of one of the fish and found its stomach full of Daphnia—water fleas. At around 1 mm long there is no way to imitate the Daphnia “hatch” if that is the right word but at least the fish were eating something so it was possible to get them to hit our flies if we just kept casting.

As mentioned earlier, all the trout were quality specimens in the 15” to 17” range. I believe Phil took big fish honors with a 25” beast and several fish over 20” were taken. Woolly buggers (and Devils) were the best flies and a few fish were taken on Chironomids.

 

 

Crooked River Fish-A-Long Report

Thanks to everyone who braved the snowy driving conditions to make it over to the Crooked River last Saturday. Several of us drove over on Friday and it was cold, snowy and had us questioning our sanity. Fortunately the weather cleared! We all had a great Fish-A-Long with everyone getting fish.

Saturday dawned clear with blue skies. The hills had a light dusting of snow and the morning temps hovered around 27 degrees. Paul warmed us up with hot coffee, donuts and a campfire. With the cold weather there didn’t seem to be a big rush to wader up and hit the river but we got there eventually.

The water was very low and clear. The flow out of Bowman Dam was only 53 cubic feet per second and the water temperature 42 degrees. We tried the usual pocket water spots first but seeing no fish activity, we quickly went in search of bigger pools with deeper water, finding some rising, active fish. We targeted these using a dry fly/dropper setups. The dry fly didn’t seem to matter much but the best dropper pattern was a Zebra Midge, a money pattern for Crooked River, especially in the winter.

While most of the trout were in the 6” to 8” range we did get a few bigger ones up to 12” to 14” long. The big fish of the day was a real surprise; Dave K’s 22” rainbow that took a Zebra Midge fished deep under an indicator in a big pool. Besides rainbow trout, we caught Whitefish from 4” to 14” long as well.

   

Sandy River Fish A Long Report

Last weekends Sandy River Fish-A-Long was well attended. Thank you to everyone that attended plus an EXTRA BIG thank you to Cheryl Kilhefner for her excellent cooking & hospitality and to Ron Lauzon for his superior casting instruction. It was obvious that on the whole our clubs spey casting was much better this year than last year. Great job!

Given the possibility of very wet winter weather the covered area was the perfect spot. Luckily the weather was much better than forcast and while it was cloudy, cool and felt damp, it didn’t rain. The water conditions were also very good, the river running a nice green color with about about 4 feet of visibility. On the “Sandy River at Bull Run” guage the water height was 12 feet, flowing at 6,600 cfs. I forgot the water thermometer but would guess it was in the low 40’s which is conducive to swinging up a steelhead.

We met at 8am, had hot coffee and watched a few deer graze before getting down to business, fishing until around 11:30 then breaking for lunch. In the morning hours the river was pretty busy with both bank and boat fishing pressure. After lunch this totally changed and the river was deserted; everyone had pushed downstream. We didn’t see any steelhead caught but there were a couple unverified reports of fish hooked. Dave caught a San Diego Steelhead (a sucker) swinging his old favorite Blue/Black Metal Detector fly behind a 9 foot tip of T-14.

In addition to extra rods, Ron Lauzon brought along some extra lines to cast. A particular favorite was the Airflow FIST Skagit Head, which casts & fishes as advertised (link below). I want one!

http://flyfishusa.com/airflo-fist

Portable Fish Finder Review

Several months ago the fine folks at Deeper Sonar contacted me about doing a product review on their portable fish finder. I’ve tested the unit for several months and since Christmas is coming, this seems the ideal time share the results.

It’s full name is the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder. It’s a little smaller than a baseball and weighs only a few ounces. It works by broadcasting a WiFi signal to your smartphone and the PRO and PRO+ models have a range of 330 feet and will scan to a depth of 260 feet. Given this, it can be cast from shore or trolled behind a float tube or boat. It’s small size and remote positioning makes it very stealthy, which I’ve found is a big advantage.

Given its stealth capability the Deeper unit can find fish in shallow water. Most of us have had fish finders before and since they have to be attached to your boat, float tube, etc. the presence of your floating device scares the fish way.

This summer and fall, I tested it from my float tube in shallow water impoundments. It instantly proved itself valuable. I put it in the water next to the float tube and established the WiFi link with my phone and it showed the water depth to be 12’ and surface temperature of 50 degrees but no fish directly underneath me—no big surprise here. However, when I let it trail about 30’ to 40’ behind the float tube (attached to a length of line) it started picking up fish, and what I saw was very interesting! No matter how deep the water was, all the trout were stratified at a depth of 6 to 7 feet. Armed with this knowledge I was able to fine tune my angling strategy, catch more fish plus lose fewer flies on submerged logs by trying to fish too deep.

As I’ve gotten older I really appreciate things that are small, light and actually work. The Deeper Unit does all these things. When I’m not using it, which in my case is most of the time, it’s not in the way. When I need some insight into the waters I’m fishing, it quickly provides information I’m after.

If you go to the online product reviews you’ll notice some people had difficulty establishing the WiFi connection with their smartphone. I followed the directions and my own experience was trouble free. However, it should be noted you need to download the app to your phone before you go out into the middle of nowhere with no cell service. Once you have the app, you don’t need cell service to make the device work as it communicates directly with your phone.

My next field test with the Deeper Unit will be on my local salmon & steelhead waters. I can’t wait to get above some likely looking water and let the Deeper unit stealthily float back behind the boat and broadcast it’s finding to my smartphone. Stay tuned.

https://deepersonar.com/

P.S. If any Clackamas Fly Fishers would like to take mine for a test drive let me know

Cottonwood Canyon Fish-A-Long Report

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 ponzdog@icloud.com or Dave dave@kbi-ins.com 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

CFF Fly Fishing Challenge Underway

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!