September was a difficult month with all the fires. In spite of everything, we have some good fishing reports to share. Thanks to everyone for sending them in! Pictures are first with the reports below.
Greg O’Brien was chasing Striped Bass in San Francisco Bay with his brother and got this Leopard Shark.
Greg O’Brien hit Willamette River for Smallmouth bass, landing some nice bass using an intermediate line and clouser minnow. Later in the month he landed a nice hatchery steelhead behind some spawning chinook then caught a Jack Chinook on the Deschutes while chasing steelhead.
Sadie Hibbard caught this huge bluegill in an eastern Oregon pond.
Ed Rabinowe claims he caught this beautiful Chinook trolling an October Caddis on his 3wt fly rod 😉
Darryl Huff fished the Deschutes at Warm Springs for some really good trout fishing and also hit the mouth for Steelhead.
Dave Kilhefner and George Coutts tried to fish the Deschutes at Warm Springs in late September but the smoke was thick, so they headed to Maupin and managed to land a few small trout.
George Krumm had a productive month on the Columbia, landing limits of Salmon and Crab.
Rhona Dallison got this great video of Chinook Salmon spawning in the Sandy River on Mt Hood.
Mark Bachmann of The Fly Fishing Shop sent in these “Steelhead Armageddon” photos from a very smoky Deschutes River. Kudo’s for sticking it out and making it happen!
Nick Amato provided these photos of the fire jumping the Clackamas River less than 1/2 mile from his home. It was a little too close for comfort!
My Friend Eduardo Barrueto Guarda from Chile put together a new video about his fly fishing lodge. It reminds me that someday life will get back to normal and that there are many beautiful places in the world to go and see.
The month of August always flies by and it seems like it only lasted about a week. Still, we have a lot of variety and good fishing reports this month.
Thanks to everyone for your reports! As always, pictures first with the report below.
From Richard Harvey: the sea run cutthroats are starting to show up on the Oregon coast, plus I had some fun with rainbows in the Clackamas River as well.
From Lane Hoffman: Traveled to the Togiak River in Alaska. Great trip with great weather & almost ran out of sunscreen. There was just enough wind to keep the bugs away!
From Dave Kilhefner: George Coutts and I hit the Willamette River by Salem for Smallmouth Bass. We also caught a few good sized Pikeminnows. We tried Poppers and had a few short strikes but the best tactic was a clouser minnow fished on a full sinking line.
From Rhona Dallison: Laura McGuill and I tried to get one of the first come/first serve campsites at Laurance Lake on a Thursday but they were all already full. We found a great riverside group campsite on the East Fork of the Hood River at Toll Bridge Park near Parkdale. Four other ladies joined us over the next couple days. The East Fork was a bit milky but I fished it that evening with a 3 weight and had success floating a nymph down the riffles and in the pockets, hooking into 3 feisty small rainbows. The next day we did a hike up to Tamanawas Falls, which was breathtaking. Laura and another fishing friend, Sue Liwanag, scouted some local creeks and a reservoir for fishable water while the rest of our group headed up to Laurance Lake. The Lake was fiercely windy so float tubing and kayaking were out of the question. We encountered one Tenkara fisherman at the head of the lake where the Clear Branch flows in. That evening Kelly and I explored some pull offs on the East Fork and eventually found a nice pool where she caught her first fish on a fly rod—a small rainbow with parr marks, by roll casting into a pool below some overhanging alders. She’s hooked! Kelly and I hoped to spend some time fishing at Trillium Lake on the way home but it was an absolute zoo when we got there Sunday morning. Later in the month Laura, Sue and I went to the Wilson River (Donaldson’s Landing) and the Trask River (The Peninsula area) and caught some small cutthroats and rainbows. Laura and I saw a steelhead (?) in the Wilson but couldn’t entice it to take our offerings. It was a beautiful day on the water—I saw river otters in a pool I was fishing on the Wilson, and a herd of elk crossed below where Laura!
From Dave Kilhefner: went backpacking on Mt Hood with my daughter and her boyfriend. No fishing but the views were spectacular.
From Ed Rabinowe: Bouy 10 was good!
From Jim Behrend: Went to North Santiam with my wife. We caught a bunch of trout using caddis nymphs. No other nymph got even a nibble.
From Chris Foster: A buddy and I fly fished Crane Prairie one day at Quinn River and Cultus Channel. The lake was very crowded. Fortunately we got into a Callibaetis Hatch #12 in the late afternoon and hooked and released about 30 Trout running 14-20 inches plus a couple of big Kokanee (17 inches!) using Callibaetis nymphs with an Intermediate sink line and also floating lines. We slow trolled flies behind my drift boat and also cast to rising fish.
The next day we fly fished Paulina Lake and released about 20 rainbows and 10 browns. The fish ran 12-19 inches with the largest a 19 inch brown (buck). We used Callibaetis nymphs, streamers and chironomids. The water was a beautiful blue color plus there was not much wind.
Paulina was not very crowded. I would fish Paulina again and wait until late September or October for Crane Prairie.
From the Oregon Fishing Club: this is the time of year that our lakes and ponds look and fish their worst. The hot summer days and the warm nights combine to keep water temperatures up so we are in the middle of the slowest fishing time of the year for the Club still-waters. The one exception for trout fishing is in the early morning hours at Rainier lakes. Members are even hitting trout on dry flies, but only up until about 9:00am. If you never remove the trout from the water and quickly release the fish, we are experiencing no known mortality issues.
All other locations that have warm water fish populations are still producing a few strikes. In these locations it is best to target the warm water fish and leave the trout alone.
The Club does not plant additional trout into the still-waters until water temperatures drop. Generally this happens as early as late September, but sometimes as late as early November. It all depends on what Mother Nature decides to do over the next couple of months.
From Tim Morton: Last month I was able to go on a bucket list trip to Patagonia. The Brown Trout is from the World End Lodge, and the Sea Run Trout is from Las Buitreras Lodge. The sea run trout was 13.5 lbs. Didn’t get the weight on the Brown,
Fish a long Report: You can see from the river level screenshot that we had some higher than normal water for our Fish a long. While this didn’t impact our spey casting, it did put a damper on our Euro Nymphing as it was hard to find any decent nymphing water. On the good side, for January we had a surprisingly warm and dry day. This made it easy to set up for morning coffee plus Chef Cheryl’s delicious lunch of homemade soup, Texas toast and salad. Thank you for everyone that came out!
From Ed Rabinowe: Duck season ended and my got a new knee. I think I have a fishing rod somewhere!
From Dave Kilhefner: Got lucky on my first steelhead trip of the year with this 12lb hen; she was a jumper! The following week I fished the Oregon Fishing Club ponds and caught a nice trout dragging a Booby Fly along the bottom. Saw another angler doing OK fishing a woolly bugger under an indicator.
Brad Jonasson and David Hopkins had a good outing to the Deschutes River by Maupin.
From Greg O’Brien: My brother visits once or twice a year to go steelhead fishing and we hire a guide to get to water we normally can’t get to on foot. We fished 2 days on the Sandy, floating from Dodge to Dabney with Travis Johnson of All Waters Angling. Monday was tough with just one solid pull & no hookup. Tuesday was a slow morning but landed a big wild hen around noon, followed by another nice wild fish in the afternoon.
From Darryl Huff: A nice wild steelhead caught just before New Years.
From Greg O’Brien: Hugo and I hit the Deschutes for a trout spey session and I got this nice one. It ate the caddis emerger dropper of a swung 2 fly rig.
From Henry Muehleck: fished the north coast with Gil Muhleman. We were gear fishing and had a great day. I hooked 8 and landed 3. Two of these were 14 to 15 pound natives. Gil is a great guide and definitely goes the extra mile to get you fish!
From George Krumm: Fished the lower Sandy with gear. Landed a couple, a smaller hen and this nice buck. The buck went to the broodstock program.
This month’s Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday, January 25th on the Clackamas River. We’ll meet at the
lower boat ramp at McIver park at 8am.
Please RSVP to Dave Kilhefner (Dave@kbi-ins.com) so we can get a head count for food.
What- Winter Steelhead
Spey Casting plus Winter Whitefish Euro Nymphing
Where- Clackamas River
When- 8am until lunchtime, Saturday, January 25th
Steelhead Spey Equipment-
Spey or Switch Rod
Skagit Line & sink tips
15lb tippet material
flies: bright patterns and dark patterns
waders & wading staff
warm, layered clothing
Euro Nymphing Equipment-
Euro Nymphing Rod or standard
9’ 3 to 5 weight outfit
I will have plenty of
leader material to share
Directions- go to McIver Park. Take the 1st left and drive down the hill. There will be a
few turn outs—just keep to the left until you reach the lower boat ramp area.
We will have coffee, donuts and lunch. This fish a long will focus on (1) spey casting and swung fly presentations and (2) Euro Nymphing. Questions; email Dave Kilhefner (Dave@kbi-ins.com). Hope to see you there!
Garth Wyatt is a fish biologist for PGE and is going to discuss fish population response to improved fish passage infrastructure in the Clackamas basin. It will be a very informative presentation you won’t want to miss!
Elke Littleleaf, who will be presenting for CFF in the near future, generously gave his time to help introduce youth and families to fly fishing at the NW Steelheaders Family Fish Camp this month.
March speaker John Devoe got out on the water with CFF sponsor Mark Bachmann to enjoy some winter steelhead fishing on our namesake river.
John Warren traveled to Christmas Island in early March, doing well on both Bonefish and Giant Trevally.
Josh Linn of Royal Treatment got in some good Euro Nymphing action on the Metolius River. John will be giving a presentation on Euro Nymphing at our April meeting.
The day after the fish-a-long Paul Brewer and Dave Kilhefner fished the Deschutes River around Maupin. The water was high, off-color and cold. Trout fishing was tough but a few were brought to hand using Euro nymphing tactics. The hot fly was a San Juan Worm, a high water favorite.
Seven CCF members went on to the Owyhee after the Crooked River Fish-A-Long. Flows were very low and it was a bit crowded. Rain from the previous days caused a creek to blow out and muddy up parts of the river, then the wind picked up; all these things combined to create poor fishing conditions. However, the bugs were out and several members landed Brown trout up to 18″ long. Fish or no fish, everyone did have a good time; new friends were made, lies were told plus lots of education & exploration!
Another great month of Fly Fishing is in the books. Thanks to everyone for sharing their reports!
John DeVoe, executive director of WaterWatch of Oregon, will be CFF’s guest speaker Tuesday, March 19th.
John will explain some of the very important water allocation issues we are facing both now and in the future. Lisa Brown from WaterWatch will accompany him to explain her ongoing work on our own Clackamas River. It will be a very informative presentation.
Here’s some links to recent news articles where WaterWatch has defended some of CFF’s favorite waters:
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.
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!