During the month of October my mantra for fishing the Deschutes is “find the salmon and you’ll find the trout!” The weather can be bad, the White River can be blown but trout and whitefish can’t resist the egg bonanza when the Chinook are spawning.
Seven of us braved the chilly weather conditions and colored up water but the payoff was sweet! Everyone got into plenty of fish and most of us broke into double digits.
As an added bonus, the Bighorn Sheep were playing on the wall and Richard Harvey got a nice video of two rams chasing a ewe.
Thanks to everyone for coming! Next month we’ll try to hit the Kilchis River for Chum Salmon but if the water conditions are poor (like they have been the last 3 years!) we will go to an Oregon Fishing Club lake.
This month’s Fish A Long will be held Saturday, February
22nd on the Sandy River. The location is Dave K’s place about halfway between
Sandy and Welches.
What- Winter Steelhead
Where- Sandy River
When- 8am until lunchtime, Saturday, February 22nd
Spey or Switch Rod
Skagit Line & sink tip(s)
15lb tippet material
flies, bright patterns and dark patterns
waders & wading staff
warm, layered clothing
Directions- take Hwy 26 like you are going to Mt Hood. 10
miles past Sandy, turn left onto Sleepy Hollow Drive (there’s a big sign) and
then take the 1st left. It’s a steep gravel driveway with a black
We will have coffee, donuts and a hot lunch. This fish a
long will focus on spey casting and swung fly presentations. Questions; email
or call Dave Kilhefner. Hope to see you there!
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.
Everyone, we’ve decided to cancel the Fish A Long this weekend.
Lane Hoffman drove down to the coast recently and reports the water is very low and there were very few fish. Also, the 10 day forecast shows dry weather conditions persisting thru the weekend.
For those that want to get in some good Chum action, last year there were
reports of very good Chum fishing the two days prior to the Nov 15th
closure. Unfortunately we can’t schedule a mid-week fish a long to take
advantage of this.
Some other local options: -Thursday Nov 7th is the Beer & Cheer event with Simon Gawesworth. It’s at the Tap & Table on Ankeny and starts at 6pm.
-Several of the Oregon Fishing Club Ponds have recently been stocked with
trout including the ones we fish the most; Rainier and Highland Lakes.
-The Deschutes River is still fishing well for trout.
Sometimes you get really lucky and hit everything just right.
This Fish a Long was one of those times! Water conditions were very good, the trout
were biting & stacked up thick below schools of spawning salmon. This
weekend, finding spawning salmon was the key and we did this with no trouble.
I arrived and Friday afternoon and found a note waiting for me on Darryl Huff’s windshield that said “Dave, fishing upriver. Bring egg patterns!” Darryl had been having an epic day and ended up landing over 100 trout. To rack up these impressive numbers he started at 8am then fished hard all day. By the time I set up camp there was only about an hour of daylight left but I managed to hook a trout on the very first cast then bring another dozen or so to hand using and egg fly provided by Mitch Moyer, who was featured in Jim Adam’s September Fly Tying article.
It rained pretty hard late Friday night but fortunately stopped before Saturday morning. The rest of the day we had periods of intermittent rain and wind gusts but for the most part the weather and water conditions were good. The trout bite held up but was not as red hot as the day before. Still, we all got fish and Darryl had another good day, bringing an 18.5” fish to hand. My fish story of the day happened using a two fly rig & hooking two fish at the same time. Thanks to luck and heavy tippet both fish made it into the net.
Besides good fishing with good friends, it wouldn’t be a proper CFF Fish A Long without a good lunch! Cheryl provided fresh cooked juicy burgers, homemade macaroni salad and chips. Across the river seven mountain sheep were putting on a show, chasing each other and doing their mating dance. Aided by Paul Brewers Leupold binoculars & spotting scope, it was quite a sight.
After lunch the bite slowed down but we still ground out a few. Cheryl and I stayed Saturday night and enjoyed a nice campfire under starry skies. I had hoped to fish a little more Sunday morning but the White River blew out and the river was out of shape. I’m sure it would have been possible to grind out a few more but after being spoiled the last couple days I was content to drink coffee & pack up camp.
Thanks to everyone for coming and making this a fishing trip to remember!
This months Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday October 19th on the Deschutes
River at Beavertail Campground.
The plan: meet at Beavertail Campground between 8am and 9am. We’ll provide coffee and doughnuts then we hit the river! After morning fishing a hot lunch will be served.
Beavertail campground has ample parking and lots of good fishing water. It’s
located 21 miles north of Maupin on the Lower Deschutes Access Rd. From Maupin
to Shears Falls is paved and the last 10 or so miles to Beavertail is gravel
Gear: 4 to 6wt rods with matching reel & floating lines. Euro nymphing has become very popular but indicator nymphing rigs with small glo- bugs and/or standard nymphs like Pheasant Tails and Hair’s ears work very well too. Swinging for steelhead is a possibility too but reports indicate steelhead fishing has been slow. Bring waders with felt or cleated boots and layered clothing (can be cool in the morning).
This is a very nice time to fish the Deschutes River for trout –
they’re usually hungry and can be concentrated below schools of spawning
salmon, making for excellent fishing. This is also a great fish along
to make an overnight trip and we will probably have a few overnight campers in
Please email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you plan to attend so we can get a head count for the food.
Coffenbury Lake was a brand new location for us. After doing
the basic internet research, Cheryl and I decided to turn this Fish A Long into
a little mini vacation and booked a nearby VRBO for the weekend. We arrived the
night before and checked out the lake and the picnic area. We liked what we saw
plus got to see an Elk feeding by the lake.
On Saturday we arrived
at Coffenbury Lake around 7am. First light was about 6:30 am and some local
anglers were already fishing. It was raining during the night but luckily it stopped
in the morning and for weather we had high clouds, little wind and mild
temperatures; perfect conditions. The water was 66 degrees with about 3 feet of
visibility. According to the locals the water level was way down and the usual
water depth on this day was 5 or 6 feet with a weedy bottom.
We learned the lake had been stocked on Wednesday and that
the early morning bite was best. Unfortunately for us fly fishers the “hot fly”
was garlic powerbait; the bait anglers did pretty well catching 17-19” stocked
We hooked a few trout on flies but for the most part, small
perch made up most of the fly caught fish. Sometimes a team effort helped. In
the morning I was changing flies when unknown to me a fish started rising
behind me; Cheryl called out and pointed emphatically to turn around so I did
and then threw my fly into the last rise ring and was rewarded with a strong
strike. It was a good fish and I fought it for a while before the hook pulled
out. That would be my only trout of the day.
Coffenbury also has a large population of small perch. Their
constant strikes kept things interesting, plus they helped a couple folks
finish their 2019 Fly Fishing Challenge.
The sun came out for lunch and we enjoyed fantastic food:
homemade spaghetti, ceasar salad and garlic bread.
After lunch we fished for another hour or two. A few more
trout were hooked and lots of small perch. When the sun came out, the ambiance
of the lake changed from quiet dawn anglers to young families & the cries
of children enjoying a nice day on the lake. While the trout catching could
have been a little better, all in all it was a good time. Thanks to everyone
Coffenbury Lake, located in Fort Stevens State Park by Warrenton, will be the location for the September 21st Fish-a-long. The lake contains rainbow & cutthroat trout along with warm water fish. Coffenbury was recommended by CFF speaker Jeff Morgan plus it’s due to be stocked with 500 trophy rainbow trout right before the fish-a-long.
This is a new location for us. Given the number of new float tubes at the Round Lake fish-a-long this summer, I wanted to schedule one more lake trip this year.
Those planning to attend, please RSVP to Dave@kbi-ins.com by Sept 17th so we know how much food to bring.
What: Cutthroat & Rainbow Trout and Warmwater Fish.
Were: North Boat Ramp at Coffenbury Lake in Fort Stevens State Park
When: Saturday, September
21. Meet at the boat ramp area between 8am and 9am. I will probably be there a
little earlier to catch the first light bite.
Equipment: There are two fishing docks but the lake is best fished from a float tube or small boat & 4-6wt rods . The lake is not deep so a floating line is all you’ll need but if you prefer an intermediate line that will work too. The weather should be OK but rain is always a possibility.
Flies: Standard lake patterns.
Food Provided: Coffee & donuts for
breakfast and CFF executive chef Cheryl will make us something good for lunch.
Directions: It’s an easy 2hr drive from Portland with paved roads the whole way. Drive to Ft Stevens Park then stay on Peter Iredale Rd to the boat ramp. There is a $5 day use fee.
This year’s Round Lake Fish a long was very well attended
and a lot of fun. A big Thank You for everyone who made the long drive to make
this event a success.
Several of us decided to drive over Friday afternoon and
camp and it was a lot of fun. John Warren’s wife Linda made a pot of beef stew
and everyone else pitched in for a tasty pot-luck dinner. The weather was clear
and Dave brought his spotting scope and we were able to check out Jupiter’s
Moons in the southern sky.
On Saturday everyone rolled in between 8 and 9am and we
enjoyed a light breakfast of hot coffee, donuts and lemon bars before hitting
Fishing at the lake was tougher than expected. One big surprise was a couple of otters had taken up residence. Otters are great fun to watch but if you’re a fisherman it’s both a good and bad sign; they know the fishing is good but they put a big dent in the fish population!
David Mullins was one of the first anglers on the lake and did well for a while on Simi-Seal Leeches that he tied at Jim Adam’s fly tying class in March. Green and brown were his best colors.
Another thing that made the fishing a little tough was the usually plentiful Callebaetis hatch wasn’t really happening. However, there were still enough of these bugs around to fake you out; they were like a small “decoy hatch” and lots of trout were jumping but it was hard to figure out what they were taking.
The most successful dry fly was discovered by Kevin Rodgers, who had good success along the far shaded shoreline by casting a Black Flying Ant close to sunken logs close to the bank and the overhanging fir trees. There were also lots of Blue Damsels flying and a few club members had some action fishing those, plus its fun to watch trout jumping a foot or more out of the water trying to snag one!
Round Lake is one of the few high lakes that have brown
trout along with the usually more plentiful brook trout. One this day, most of
the catch were brown trout about 12” long and we only caught a couple brook
trout. Usually, it’s the other way around.
Cheryl Kilhefner put together a tasty deli sandwich style
lunch and Paul Brewer helped her pack it up to the lake, where we all enjoyed
good food and good company on this very fine day.
Another great fish a long is in the books! Last weekend we
traveled to the Justesen Ranch Lakes located by Grass Valley. The weather was
very nice and the fishing was good and the company even better. Everyone had a
very good time.
We stayed in a nice farm house and had a hearty dinner of
Sloppy Joes and Ceasar Salad provided by Cheryl Kilhefner. We also had a great
apple cake for desert provided by John Warren’s wife Linda. A big thank you to
everyone that chipped in with food, snacks and spirits!
The fishing was a mix of hot action at times mixed with
periods of selective trout when a different kind of bug started hatching,
giving us all a riddle to figure out…or not!
On Sunday the fish went selective on us and while they were
jumping everywhere, we could not buy a strike! On this day Trux Dole earned top
honors for staying with it and finding the hot fly: a blue damsel dry pattern
that the fish absolutely hammered.
For subsurface patterns, most of the time the hot fly was a
Red Snow Cone Chironomid fished about six feet under and indictor. When that
stopped working casting and stripping green damsel nymphs drew strikes. Green
Devils and Callebaetis nymphs also worked well.
This weekend the water temperature was in the mid 60’s producing good damselfly and mayfly activity. And as always, Chironomids were a stillwater staple. Some of the lakes have very clear water and have better dry fly/hatch matching opportunities. Other lakes have a higher nutrient load and while the water isn’t as clear, they have better subsurface fishing as the fish are not as picky. One of the best things is Justesen Ranch offers many lakes to choose from so there is no shortage of water to explore.