The holidays are a busy time of year so December fishing reports were a little slow but people got out on the water and got into fish!
In mid December Kevin Luettgerodt did some Euro Nymphing on the Deschutes River below Harpham Flats. It was a chilly 36 degrees with clear skies.
George Krumm, the editor of Fish Alaska Magazine, managed a steelhead and then traveled to Pyramid Lake in Nevada to chase Lahontan Cutthroats. He caught some nice fish in the 10 to 12 pound range.
CFF speaker Joe Warren had a bucket list trip, going on a long range bluewater flyfishing trip out of San Diego. Some storm fronts came through, making for rough seas and scattered the fish but when they found them, they got them! Joe managed to catch over 20 tuna, a mixed bag of yellowfin, skipjack, black skipjack, and bonito. He also caught two striped marlin, one on conventional and one on the fly. Congratulations Joe!
Dick Law traveled to the Grand Ronde River with several friends. They fished out of Troy for several days. He reported the fishing was very slow with only 1 steelhead taken for their group.
We had to cancel our Nov 10th Kilchis River fish-a-long this month due to super low water conditions and also very low numbers so fish. However, some good fishing reports rolled in just before the season closed on Nov 15; something to keep in mind for next year!
Ed Rabinowe, Jim Romero and Lane Hoffman journeyed to Louisiana for Redfish. The weather was unseasonably cold but they had good action, all landing Redfish over 25lbs. Jim’s 1st red was 28lbs and Ed claimed big fish honors with a 34lb pig! A brushy purple streamer was the best fly.
Greg O’Brien and a buddy made a couple trips to the Oregon Coast for surf perch. On his first trip the ocean was calm with a low surf swell and they had good action casting & stripping flies within 50’ of the beach in 1-3’ of water. The biggest were about 12” long and are excellent eating. They also had a surprise catch, a nice Dungeness crab! The second trip had a larger 4-6’ swell and more tidal current, making for difficult fishing conditions and only 1 perch was taken. The best fishing outfit was a single hand rod rigged with a sinking line and a stripping basket for line management as the tide rips around your legs. They also tried a double hand rod but the thicker spey line got pulled all over by the currents and didn’t work as well. Lastly, remember to be safe and wear some sort of PFD and never turn your back on the ocean!
Carson Taylor made the wisest fishing choice, opting for Grand Bahama Island. Fishing the east end of the island near Freeport, he landed both Bonefish and Mutton Snapper.
Great job everyone, another fun and interesting fly fishing month!
Last week I had the chance to fish with Mark Bachmann of The Fly Fishing Shop for 3 days (Mon-Tues-Weds). It was an auction trip thru Water Watch and the winner of the auction was unable to make the trip and they need a volunteer to fill the open seat. Twist my arm!
Mark met us at the Macks Canyon boat launch in his jet boat, then we motored a couple miles downstream to camp where Patty had lunch waiting for us. Besides myself there was only one other angler on this trip, Rick Dulude from Salem; a member of the Santiam Flycasters, he won this trip thru the Deschutes River Alliance auction. We had a great time fishing together.
Our camp was very comfortable and Patty took good care of us with hot meals and hot coffee available 24/7. The days were crisp, the nights were clear, the moon was mostly dark and the stars were very bright.
I hadn’t seen the lower river canyon after the Substation Fire. It was a little shocking to see the scorched hillsides but on the other hand, there was lots of new green growth beginning to show. Still, it will take a while for all the trees to grow back. What was truly shocking were all the deer bones we found along the riverbanks. We speculated the deer were overcome and died from smoke inhalation before the flames of the fire overtook them. On the good side, there were lots of live deer around.
The water was a little off color from the White River, which was gushing muddy water due to heavy rains on Mt Hood. The water temperature was 51 degrees, a good temperature to chase trout and steelhead. The salmon spawning activity was over for the year. As far as insect activity, there was a big midge hatch in the afternoons and some small mayflies mid morning. The ever present small caddis were around along with a few big October caddis. Mark broke out his insect seine and we netted some bugs: the nymphs were a combination of small dark mayflies (size 16 or 18) and decent sized tan or green caddis larva (size 12 or 14).
Rick stuck to steelhead fishing and had a good morning on our 2nd day, hooking two and landing one native steelhead on a December Day fly pattern. He also had several more pulls that didn’t stick.
For a while, I tried skating a Lemire’s Grease Liner given to me by Adrian Cortes at the Fly Fishing Symposium a couple weeks ago. At first I was determined to stick with the skater “as long as it took” but that didn’t last long as the riffle next to me was full of flashing trout and whitefish that I couldn’t resist. I put on a nymphing rig and started catching fish. I tried both indicator and Euro nymphing tactics. Euro nymphing was far more effective; it’s a technique I’ve only just started trying out but I’ll be doing it a lot more, it’s a winner! I tried lots of different flies, but the best patterns were zebra midges and hares ear nymphs, both in size 14.
Hi everyone, here are some reports from our members for the month of October. It was another good fly fishing month!
John Warren landed a small Chinook and also a nice Half Pounder Steelhead on the Rogue using a small green leech with a 6 weight. Good times!
Carson Taylor journeyed to Yakutat the last week of September along with Pat Miller and Don Nelson of River City Fly Shop. They fished the Arhnkiln River. The colored fish was the biggest and strongest and the other the brightest. Everyone caught 20+ silvers over four days plus some Dolly Vardens. Guide-provided Dolly Llama flies were the most popular pattern.
Dave Kilhefner tried his hand at Euro Nymphing on the Clackamas River at Feldheimers. There is a nice riffle above the boat launch. He took several decent rainbow trout and whitefish using a zebra midge and also a small hairs ear nymph.
Frank Day of the Fly Fishing Shop got this nice Bull Trout on the Metolius River casting & stripping a streamer pattern.
Phil Hager got this brood stock brute at the Pine Hollow Fish-A-Long. He used his little grey mayfly emerger pattern, fished about 4 feet deep with an intermediate line and a very slow retrieve.
Thanks to everyone who came to the Pine Hollow Fish-A-Long this weekend. We had originally planned to go to Timothy Lake but with the campgrounds being shut down for the season we had to come up with a different plan. Extra thanks to Phil Hager for suggesting Pine Hollow and to Paul Brewer for organizing.
The weather was good, the fish were biting and a good time was had by everyone! Several people stayed overnight and fished both Saturday and Sunday. Greg O’Brien got that big trout pictured on the last day.
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.