Deschutes Fly-Fishing Report June 23, 2019
I thought it was over, trout season that is. We had a bout of warm weather mid- June that brought water temps near 70 degrees, that’s the doom and gloom number. Along comes the wind, the clouds, and some freakishly cool weather, kabam! The river temps are 59 degrees in the morning and low 60’s in the afternoon, this is the trout happy place on the lower lower. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the wind has gone nuclear! Starting almost two weeks ago the normally windy Columbia River Gorge (the CGR) went too windy, too windy for the people who live here, too windy for the people who are visiting.
Low and behold, the trout know something’s amis. If I’ve ever seen better trout fishing on the lower Deschutes, I don’t know when. It’s almost too easy. It’s like they know the end of heavy feeding is near, and it is.
That’s pretty dramatic, I know but here’s the real deal. It’s been windy, real windy. The weather has been cooler so with the wind maybe a little cold. Obviously with the high wind dry fly fishing is next to impossible. The nymph fishing for giant Deschutes resides has been on and is off the charts. Oddly enough the trout are looking for really big flies to eat, we’ve had our best luck on stone fly nymphs and variations. Despite the only live insects around, caddis flies, the fish are turning their nose up at it and everything else small.
The fishing will remain strong until the water temps come back up, my guess, this weekend, maybe early next week. Take a chance and get out there for the last week of really good trout fishing. My friends at Gorge Fly Shop can get you what I been getting them on. I’m going to the John Day for some camping/fishing.
I’ll be back after the 4th……..STEELHEAD SEASON BEGINS!
6/4/19 It aint over yet! There are still good number of salmon flies and golden stones from Warm Springs to Maupin with the highest concentrations near Warm Springs. You will also find the most people Warm Springs to Trout Creek. I did my last day yesterday and we had to work pretty hard but had many fish eat our Norm Woos Special. Overall this is probably the best salmon fly fishing I’ve seen in 9 years. The fish seem larger on average and are overall pretty healthy.
The forecast is to keep tossing slamonfly patterns under the trees until the fish stop eating them. There are some nice caddis starting to show up, some pale evening duns, and little sallies around as well. As the summer goes you’l have two choices; keep hunting trees or start nymphing. There is a third option and it’s swinging flies, that’s what I like to do.
July cometh very soon…steelhead! Until then, tight lines!
Cinco de mayo,
5/5/19 Macks to the mouth . This was my first time on the lower river since it went to 25,000 cfs. Current flows are 6400 cfs, prime flows 4500-5500. The river corridor is green, really green. Most of the woody debris has been washed away, some areas have piles of wood and uprooted trees. The blackberry invasion is currently at bay and much of the native fauna is back adding colors of bright green absent for years.
Fishing is really good right now, we had non-stop action until mid afternoon when fishing seemed to shut down. We fished “dry dropper”, euro nymphed and trout spey. All methods brought positive results and we basically crushed them.
There are no adult salmon fly or stone flies on the river …yet! We looked real hard but couldn’t find any. The hatch starts at the mouth and works it’s way upriver with the water temps, temps are still too cool. The fish are fat and happy and the bigger ones are willing to pull all the fly line off the reel!
Look for dry fly fishing to improve over the next several weeks when the big bugs starts to pop. The fish are keyed for now on the big bugs in the riffles. That will change when it warms up a little.
See you in a couple weeks. Tight lines,
April 27, 2019
Warm Springs to Trout Creek. 5500 CFS. Pre Salmon Fly hatch, fishing is extremely productive subsurface with stonefly patterns. We caught fish everywhere we stopped yesterday, most fish ate Jimmy legs, the color and size didn’t seem to matter. Fish also came on small bead head flies and san juan worms. There was a noticeable lack of adult insects of any kind, typically there are opportunities for march brown adults mid-day, but it was a sunny windy day.
The fish themselves are in supreme condition for the time of year. We saw multiple fish 15-18 inches but most of the fish we released were 12-15 inches in size, well fed and surprisingly bright. The dark fish above was the exception not the rule.
Going forward; fish a heavy dose of stonefly patterns just off the bottom, play with bead head pheasant tails or similar size 18-14, be ready for march browns (soft hackles and adults). March brown hatches typically come on quick and end after ten or fifteen minutes. If you see adults down’t be afraid to fish dries in the absence of feeding fish.
The river is still moving pretty fast with spring run-off, look for fish out of the main current and riffles.