Paul Brewer and Dave Kilhefner fished some of the Justesen Ranch Lakes (there are a lot of them!) this past weekend (Oct 6 and 7). After fishing Saturday we stayed at the Shaniko Lake cabins. Besides being a nice place to stay, we were right next to several good trout lakes that we fished on Sunday. It’s a nice setup and we are planning a Fish-A-Long there in the spring.
Fishing was good for rainbow trout in the 14 to 20 inch range and we each landed 20+ trout both days. The two best tactics were casting & stripping/twitching Green Devils and fishing Chironomids under an indicator about 6’ deep.
We did a stomach pump and found dragon & damsel nymphs along with chironomid larva & pupa.
You need a float tube to fish these lakes as much of the shoreline is surrounded by cattails. It was chilly with a cool breeze blowing both days so layers of warm clothing were a must. The water temps at the lakes ran from 50 to 55 degrees and the water was very clear.
Besides good fishing, we had good wildlife viewing and saw lots of deer and turkeys.
September was a good month to go fly fishing! Here’s some reports from our members and supporting members:
Randy Clark of the Bridgeport Orvis store caught this nice bull trout on the Metolius River along with a few browns, a brookie, some whitefish and a pile of redsides for “the Metolius super slam.” Great job Randy!
In mid September Dave Kilhefner fished the Deschutes River mouth and saw two steelhead taken by fly anglers plus a spin angler landed a 20+ pound salmon. The next day he had his first trip Kayak Fishing for Smallmouth bass near Mitchell Island on the Columbia River. The weather and wind cooperated and it was a great morning on the water with about a dozen smallmouth brought to hand. The bass averaged about 2lbs and a couple were 3lbs.
David Mullins caught a half dozen 10″ to 12″ trout up the Clackamas near the Memaloose Bridge. They were taking dry flies; #14 Caddis with green or white bodies, and also a Red Humpy.
Phil Hager had a great trip to Central Oregon. On 9/19-9/21 he fished Fall River. A Midge nymph and a Tied Down Caddis, presented subsurface on a floating or an intermediate sinking line did the trick for Rainbows 8″ on up to 18″ and also Brookies 6″ to 9″ in size.
On 9/22 Phil fished Odell Creek (flows into Davis Lake): Same flies but only on a floating line and caught Rainbows up to 20″, but mostly 12″ or less.
Hosmer Lake was on the menu for 9/24. A Midge nymph and Pheasant Tail fished on and intermediate line accounted for some nice Rainbows (1 @ 3 lbs and 1 @ 4.5 lbs) plus others in varying sizes, Brookies from about 12″ to 16″, Cutthroat and CutBows in the same size range. The water temp is changing and fish were moving down the channel to lower section.
Lava Lake was good on 9/25. Despite reports from everyone with fish finders saying all the fish were near the bottom, Phil lost count on Rainbows and Kokanee in about 2 hours of fast fish. An intermediate line with either a Brick Leech or TMC Nymph was the ticket (Leech size 10 3xl & TMC size 16).
John Warren stayed a couple extra days after the Deschutes River Fish-A-Long, fishing around Maupin. He continued to do well Euro Nymphing, with small dark Euro Nymphs working best. He even hooked a big fish that broke him off!
Carey Allison fished the Clackamas several times this month and had good success. He took 2 steelhead on surface presentations; both in the same hole but on different days. Also, he saw lots of steelhead holding in tailouts as well. Later in the month he floated with a buddy from Barton to Riverside; they didn’t find any steelhead but we ran into a massive drake hatch, which brought some of the rare Clackamas Sea Run Cutthroat out to play. He took two over 16″ in size was swinging a size 6 moose hair caddis pattern just sub surface. Those SRC are crazy strong for their size, both fish tearing line and making his farlex scream. They also jump like crazy! Loads of fun.
One word of warning…while stepping out of the bottom of one of his favorite holes at dusk, on the lower Clack below Carver, Carey saw a cougar hanging out on the trail used to walk back to his truck! Never thought we’d be seeing cougars anywhere below Carver!!
Mark Bachmann of The Fly Fishing Shop fished several clients downstream from Mack’s Canyon from September 10-20. Fishing wasn’t red hot, but they did get a few steelhead most every day.
Smallish darker flies worked best and water conditions were and are perfect for floating line fishing. Now that the nets are out of the Columbia, fishing should be even better!
In early August, Frank Day of The Fly Fishing Shop got into a few steelhead on the lower Deschutes.
The folks at Northwest Fly Fishing outfitters have been doing well at Henry Hagg Lake for bass and crappie. Mark Middleton (pictured) wrote an informative article for their newsletter.
John Warren hit East Lake from 8/5-8/10. Overall the fishing was a little slow but the fish he got were all nice ones. The best fishing was just south of the resort using a red snow cone chironomid under an indicator with a 12 foot 6x Fluoro leader. Most fish were browns in the 14-17 inch range but a few larger trout were hooked that ran into the weeds and got away.
Dave Pelgorsch chased trout after work on the upper Clackamas and had “a million small trout and a few big hits.” It was a great way to beat the heat.
In late July Greg O’Brien floated the Deschutes from Beavertail to the Mouth with a buddy. They started the Monday after it opened after the Substation fire. Fishing was decent, with a few grabs and a real nice native. They also got a couple of bass at Bedsprings. Unfortunately the fire damage was significant, but found they some shade to camp both nights.
In August Greg O’Brien had a bucket list trip with his brother to Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Dean River. Water was low and the sun was bright but everyone managed a few hookups and at least 1 steelhead to hand. Dean River steelhead have a reputation as the strongest steelhead on the planet! This one pictured took got into the backing within 3 seconds of being hooked; absolutely insane. Another one straighten a size 1 Owner hook. Besides steelhead, everyone caught lots of Pink salmon as well. It was an awesome trip at a stunningly beautiful place.
Our last report is from Phil Hager. He went to Miller Lake by Chemult for 4 days. He caught a few small 6-10″ rainbows & browns. Everybody with fish finders said the bigger ones were down 50′ to 70′. Most of the fish were caught at about 60′. From there he went up to Crane; water temp was 74 degrees (near the surface, at the ramp). From there he went to upper Hosmer which was much cooler and lost count on Rainbows, Brookies, Cutthroat and Cutbows, many on a little midge emerger pattern in black that some hit when it hit the surface!
The “June Fly Fishing Reports” blog was a hit so here’s another edition for July.
Zach Epstein of Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitter fished at Rocky Ridge and put together a great video of trout attacking mouse patterns. He said he hooked about a dozen trout fishing this way–something to try next time!
Brad Jonasson provided these photo’s from the CFF’s annual Owyhee River Trip from last month.
While unsuccessfully chasing shad in the Willamette Dave Kilhefner picked a nice smallmouth bass.
Erik from Bridgeport Orvis store hit the Clackamas River. He says “the Clackamas provides a unique opportunity to catch decent trout close to Portland. However, these fish shouldn’t be in the river as they are clipped, residualized hatchery steelhead & clipped trout that made it through River Mill dam. You are encouraged to keep these fish as they compete with native species to the river.
There are Spring Chinook in the upper Sandy River. Dave Kilhefner was spey casting for them when this nice angler arrived then got one on a spinner. He graciously asked permission to make a few casts and his good Karma was quickly rewarded. It was a native and quickly released.
Hugo Jim traveled to New Orleans for a family get together and took time out to chase Redfish and got this beauty!
Jim Behrend went to the North Santiam and caught 2 smolt , a sucker plus he and his wife caught a bunch of small rainbows.
Greg O’Brien traveled to Puget Sound to fish for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout and Coho with the guys from a Royal Treatment. Fishing was slow, but they managed to get a couple really nice sea runs. They saw a few silvers from the beach but did not hook up with any.
Randy Clark, our speaker from Orvis Bridgeport got into some good Tiger Musky action up in Washington. Between himself and fishin’ buddy Ryan and they totaled up nearly 30 follows, 5 hookups, one broken line, and one fish landed that went 44″. He had one that was significantly larger follow the fly right to his feet, follow three large ovals at the boat then sit there staring at the fly right on it’s nose before turning away. Fast stripping small baitfish patterns in size 6 seemed best, using an intermediate line.
Adrian Choate is on a big road trip to Alaska! He’s at the Susitna (muddy) / Montana Creek (clear) confluence. He reports the Chum and Silvers are coming in plus Kings have been in the rivers for a while. Next are large , bead eating rainbows. If that isn’t enough, Grayling are taking dries aggressively. Gotta love Alaska!
Trux Dole reports the rod builders met and successfully prepped & attached both handles and rod seats, marked spines and line guides and learned how to wrap their guides. Big thanks to Ken B and Tom F for helping teach and tutor folks and to George C for sharing his tools and tips. Linda successfully repaired her childhood bamboo rod with a new wrapping on line guides and got her first coat of epoxy applied.
Thanks in absentia to Ron B for his materials and for ordering the supplies and all his years of teaching. He was missed but we charged on. Next step will be epoxying the guide wraps and adhering the tips.
My friend Jay got into some nice smallmouth in the lower Clackamas by the water intake.
Thanks to everyone for coming to Harriet Lake today. It was another fun CFF Fish-a-long!
The day was beautiful and clear with a slight morning chill. This is a popular lake in the summer and the lot filled up fast. Parking was a small challenge but we all got settled then enjoyed hot coffee, cinnamon rolls and some conversation before hitting the water.
The lake had been freshly stocked with legal 7″ to 8″ rainbow trout. It was easy to get them to bite but hard to hook them. We all had lots of short strikes between landing fish.
Harriet also holds brown trout and Greg got a healthy one about 15″ long plus we saw a few others taken.
Overall, the best fly was a green/orange seal bugger but similar leech type flies worked. Because the water is incredibly clear (and cold, 45 degrees!) and hunting Osprey’s live here, finding deeper pockets then getting the fly down worked best. An intermediate line worked well for this.
The club members fished out of float tubes but we saw other fly anglers catching fish off the large fishing dock.
Around lunchtime the wind came up and this ended most everyone’s fishing on the lake. We had a great lunch of build-your-own deli sandwiches and homemade macaroni salad. Afterwards a few folks said they were going to try fishing the nearby streams and creeks before heading home.
Since we were not able to do a fish-a-long this month I asked our members to provide some June Fly Fishing Reports. The Clackamas Fly Fishers had a good month!
Lane Hoffman with a really nice early June Cape Code Striped Bass taken on a Sand Eel fly. He was fishing with Tom Phipps.
Carson Taylor with a Willamette Shad. This is from the CFF auction trip with Rob Crandall. The other winners Gary O’Brien and Carey Allison also got into plenty of shad that day!
Ed Rabinowe and Lane Hoffman hit Wild Billy Lake down by Klamath Falls for some good rainbow action. The largest trout took a #18 blood midge, but all the standard Stillwater patterns were working.
Nick Rowell hosted a trip to Christmas Island at the end of June. John Warren was supposed to join him but had to cancel due to breaking his hand–John can tell you how he did it for a free beer at the next meeting; it’s a pretty good story!
Bob Beswick had a great evening at the end of the Salmon Fly Hatch on the Deschutes with many trout landed, the largest over 18 inches.
Phil Bartsch had a good day up at Harriet Lake with his new float tube, netting 11 trout before the wind started picking up. A Teeny Nymph with a quick retrieve was the answer.
Trux Dole had a good afternoon on the upper Clackamas above N. Fork Reservoir with pocket water trout during a caddis hatch. A thunder & lightning storm added to the experience.
Jim Behrend and his wife fished the South Santiam River. Jim said the fishing was slow and several hours of fishing produced a few smolts and a couple small bass.
Thank you everyone for your June Fly Fishing Reports!
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.
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.
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.
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.