Special Oregon to Iowa Fishing Report

By Scott Satterlee

After living in Portland/Lake Oswego for the last 8 years I finally joined the Clackamas Fly fishers about the time that Covid hit, and I don’t think I’ve had a chance to meet anyone from the club. We moved to Iowa about two months ago and I decided I would fish my way east. I fished the Madison, Gibbon, Tongue, and Henry’s Fork. I had the best luck on the Tongue in Wyoming. However the most picturesque was the Madison. Throughout the day I saw hundreds of fish come to the surface, yet, even with sound advice (and flies) from the fly shop in Island Park, Idaho I walked away empty handed. Nevertheless it was so beautiful I did not feel disappointed. The Gibbon was better, though not crazy, just some good consistent fishing or rather catching. The Tongue was the best fishing, partly because I saw several Moose (from a safe distance), and had really good Brown trout fishing, though nothing huge. I fished that river in the Bighorn National Forest.

For those of you who might wander to Iowa or Wisconsin there is some good trout fishing here. Much different from Oregon or Washington, yet the Driftless region, particularly, offers many opportunities for both wild and stocked fish. In Iowa there is a native Brook trout population, and in some rivers, a well-established and naturally reproducing Brown trout fishery. Most of the time there are few, if any, other Anglers, and strangely the season is open year-round. Rattlesnakes are rare and Cougar are virtually unknown in these parts. One last bit of information, The Brule river in Northern Wisconsin offers some wonderful Brown trout fishing, when last I fished it with a guide, we started at about 9 PM and fished until 3 AM. I caught several large Browns, including one that was worthy of mounting (they all went back into the river). Fishing at night brought some interesting challenges, not the least of which was fishing in a tight bend as the sun set completely and the bats came out to feed. Like a scene from a Batman movie, we were surrounded by bats. It was only for five minutes, but it was a LONG five minutes. That said, I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

Finally, my wife and I went to Northern Minnesota and fished for Walleye. We did not fly-fish as they range from a minimum depth of 6 feet, and can be found as deep as 40. We also fished for Smallmouth and the fly-fishing was excellent. Many of the lakes on the Minnesota-Canadian border have wonderful Smallmouth fishing. For Walleye and Northern Pike we took a guide for three days, we caught our limit, and had shore lunch of Northern and Walleye (that we had caught that morning) daily. I can think of few things that we have enjoyed as much. As an aside, Northern Pike are super tasty, some say better than Walleye, and Walleye are the prized fish here. 

I would be glad to share any information I have, for any that have occasion to visit Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin.

August 2020 Fishing Reports

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.

June 2020 Fishing Reports

The Corona virus situation is still very much with us and it looks like it will be for a long time. Since fishing access has been a little confusing the last couple months, Brad Jonasson contacted the ODFW and put together some great Covid Fishing Info. Thanks Brad!

Also, the Oregon Fishing Club sent a copy of their Covid policy.

With everything going on, June still remains a very good fishing month so club members got out and caught fish while of course maintaining responsible social distancing.

As always, pictures first with the report following below. Enjoy!

Several Club Members traveled Justesen Ranch early in the month, using Maupin as their base camp. Fishing was very good for rainbow trout. Chironomid fishing was the most consistent tactic but the trout were hungry and taking a little bit of everything from stripped streamers to dry flies.

From Greg O’Brien: Fished on the Feather River in CA with my brother at the beginning of the month.  Caught tons of Shad on swung fly/trout Spey setup plus a few stripers on stripped streamers; the stripers weren’t large but they were super aggressive.  

Also fished the Deschutes, mostly trout speying with streamers and soft hackles. It wasn’t lights out fishing, but got a decent number of tight line takes. Also got a big lazy bass, easily over 5 lbs and a 24”+ squawfish. 

Shad fished at a John Day dam from bank and got some, also Hamilton Island at Bonneville where I got a couple Swinging with my trout Spey rod.  

From Richard Harvey: The OFC properties produced some big rainbows this month. They were taking larger and larger flies as the month progressed  

From Darryl Huff: Been fishing the Deschutes on a weekly basis, doing well with perdigons sub surface and caddis on top. Also fished the Sandy river with spinners and drifted beads , finding an occasional summer steelhead. 

From George Coutts and Dave Kilhefner: We fished an Oregon Fishing Club lake late in the month that held bluegill, bass and trout. The surface temperature was 75 degrees, so to find the trout we concentrated on the deeper water creek bed channel where there was cooler water and found some nice trout. Red Chironomids were best, but trout were caught on a variety of flies.Around lunch time the fish stocking truck showed up. It was interesting to see how the lakes are stocked and naturally we tried fishing for some of the freshly stocked trout but didn’t have any luck with them.

From Ron Woodke: Fished at Timothy Lake for 2 days using both fly and spin fishing techniques. Caught 5 the first morning before it got to hot. Started earlier the second morning and caught three over 18 inches float tube fishing out of the Pine Point area.

From Lane Hoffman: Fished the lakes off Century Drive and also East Lake for a few days. The fishing was good but the area was WAY to crowded!

From Kevin Rogers: Decided to check out Frog Lake for the first time and did pretty good. Had on a small orange damsel nymph and tossed at the shore line and along one of the trees. Hooked into a 3-plus pound trout; the rest varied in size. Nice day out on the water. 

From Mike Longacre: I want to give a shout out to Korkers customer service! Some of my wading boots studs came loose. They forwarded new new studs at no cost and advised using blue lock tite on the threads would keep this from happening in the future. Thanks again to Mark at Korkers!