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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Deschutes River Salmon Fly Action

Tradition has it in Oregon that when the Dogwood trees start to bloom the spring Chinook are running; another tradition that holds true in Oregon is when the Redwing Blackbirds show up on the Deschutes River the Salmon Flies are hatching!  That call of nature is heard by more than just birds and fish.  Fishermen flock from all parts of the globe to see this "freak of nature-four winged-food bananza" happen on the banks of our favorite river.

Salmon flies and the golden stones are insects that live underwater in the stones of the river some for up to three years in what looks to be an armored outfit.  Only clean oxygenated rivers with all the right components have hatches like the lower Deschutes River.  When the water temps hit 52.5 degrees, these armoured meat packages crawl out of the water into nearby vegetation and shed their skin as it were like the proverbial worm to the butterfly.  These critters not anywhere near the graceful beauty of a butterfly are clumsy fliers and often crash with a smack into the water making a veritable food buffet for hungry trout.

The intensity of this unique hatch which is found in only some of the most legendary rivers of the west can be amazing.  Afternoon flights of thousands of these four winged fliers can pepper the sky.  Driving near the river during one of these afternoons can be disasterous; leaving bloody smears of the three inch blobs coating a vehicle.  The good news is these clumsy critters do not bite.

The fish however do, they seem to love them and viciously attack a floating food morsel of both salmon flies or golden stones.  The goldens seem to be the prefered meal - perhaps they are sweeter?
All this combines to provide anglers on the Deschutes- who have the good fortune of timing their trip right - some unbeleivable dry fly fishing!

Favorite fly patterns for the hatch:
Chubby Chernobyl - Golden
Chubby Chernobyl - Salmon Fly
Chubby Chernobyl - Norm Woods
Sofa Pillow
Clark Stone
Norm Woods Special

Favorite Leaders for this hatch:
7-1/2' 3X tapered leader

Other hatches that show at the same time:
Blue Winged Olives
PMD- pale morning dun
Green Drakes (inconsistently)

Fishing the Deschutes can be challenging as regulations do not allow one to fish out of a boat.  Good bank fishing access can be found around the town of Maupin or Warm Springs/Mecca Flats.

To really experience the best of the hatch, in the most remote parts of the canyon join the crew of the guides from Water Time Outfitters.  The WTO team has many decades of experience fishing the banks of the D.  Groups of 2- 10 anglers can easily be accomodated.  See more at:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Clackamas Steelhead- April/May

The Clackamas river flows 84 miles through incredible scenic views in Oregon's Clackamas County.  A mecca for steelhead and trout fishing close to the large city of Portland, OR the Clack supports winter, spring and summer steelhead.  Coho, spring and fall chinook also swing the waters of the Clack.  Here we love to chase steelhead in the choppy riffles and runs perfect for the spey rod approach.

April and May mark transitions and ends for the Clackamas steelhead run timing.  Here we often see the over lap of the late winter/spring hatchery and wild fish as well as the early return of summer steelhead.  Fin clippings of the hatchery steelhead are the tell tale sign of what strain of fish they are.  Broodstock or the winter/spring hatchery fish have an adipose fin clipped only.  The summer steelhead will have an adipose and a maxillary fin missing.

This time of year the arriving steelhead are often chrome bright and fresh from the ocean.  Water temperatures are rising this time of year and these fish can be very active- responding well to the swung fly.  It is common for these fish to be into the backing line in a heartbeat- many of them leaping high into the air.  Truly this is a great time of year to find steelhead!  Some of these fish we have dubbed "Rockets with fins" and some are simply "unlandable"!

Spring is a great time of year on Oregon's Clackamas river.  What the river may lack for run sizes it sure makes up for with amazing battles when one does hook up!

Visit to connect with a great Clackamas River guide.

Salmon Flies Starting to Stir- Deschutes, Oregon

Tanner Crandall with a dandy he hooked on a Chubby Norman- May 2, 2016

The expression on his face was priceless; the bend of the rod told the story.  This was no average Deschutes redside, this was a dandy.  The explosion on the surface surely surprised him- this being one of the first times my 9 year old son Tanner experienced salmon fly action on the Deschutes.  Sure, he's caught fish even some while he was too young to remember but this one I'm sure he will remember.  Camping, exploring Indian paintings and fishing on the Deschutes are sure to blaze strong memories of a lifetime no matter what the age. 

Well, it's that time of year when the big bugs of spring start to migrate from their stoney homes to the reeds and trees on the banks of the Deschutes River.  These big bugs are a highlight of the year as they represent the bounty of spring and kick off to the warm sunny season in this high desert canyon of central Oregon.  Virtual "Big Mac's" for trout these clumsy bugs fall into the river and are met with aggressive smashing strikes from hungry trout making for some of the best dry fly action of the season.

Favorite flies are big dry flies like sz 4,6 and 8 Stimulators, Chubby Chernobyl's, Sofa Pillows and such.  Using a short tapered leader tapered to 3X or 4X will help present these big flies close to the bank and under structure.  Water temperatures and flows are looking good and the hatch should be spread through the entire river and just getting better in the next 2 weeks.

Join us for trout fishing fun on the banks of Oregon's wild and scenic Deschutes River.  Water Time Outfitters guides have been working the Deschutes for over 20 years and love to share our favorite waters.  See more about our services at:

Below is a photo journey of a recent father-son trip on the lower Deschutes.

Getting coaching from dad.

Exploring historic Native American pictographs

Golden Stone!

Fish to hand

Getting down the basics

Dry fly trout to hand

Big fish!  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Oregon Coast Steelhead- March

Rain is slamming the coast today… looks like we are going to be blown out tomorrow.  Perhaps later in the week will be good.  Lots of big chrome wild fish coming in.  We are getting them on our favorite N. Coast rivers when water levels cooperate.  High winds lately have put three new trees on one of our favorite floats in the last few days making navigation tricky.  Always interesting this time of year!  Good luck on the water and be safe!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

February 2016 Fishing Report

It's mid February and winter steelhead season is full on!  Our nw rivers are getting a lot of rain this year and that has translated into good fishing conditions on many nw waters.  Right now we have a mix of both hatchery and wild steelhead on many top Oregon rivers like the Wilson, Nestucca, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers.  Smaller waters with decent runs of wild steelhead are showing fish on the Kilches, Trask, Salmonberry, Nehalem among others.

Top producing strategies are sinking tips with spey rods and big flies.  Getting your fly down is key this time of year.  Look for big patterns that have profile and movement for best results.  10' T-11 sink tip is an important tool for the winter fly rodder.  Combine this with a skagit fly line and you are in business.

Water levels have been high but that doesn't mean un-fishable.  Look for softer edges out of the fast water flow.  Sometimes lighter tips and unweighted flies swung into the willows are the recipe for success.

The Clackamas River has produced good results with Barton to Carver being a top section.  On the Sandy the bite was hot lower in the last month but recent surges of high water have fish spread throughout the system.  Coastal waters have seen fish spread through the system for most rivers.  Look for best results lower in the river with low water and anglers tend to do better higher up with high flows.

Expect continued quality fish to arrive in the next 6 weeks.  Prime time is on- don't miss it!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Want to See your Backing? Visit our Spey Water Steelhead Camp

August and September is prime time for the most pissed off aggressive steelhead of the season and if you want a chance to see your backing, this is the time.  Our jet boat trips offer you the best flexibility and access on the river.  This allows us to stay in shaded water longer and fish specific runs and light angles at the right time of day with very little downtime between the amazing riffles, pools, and runs of the Deschutes.  We pick you up at the boat ramp in the afternoon before your first full day so you can get to camp settle in and get a good dose of evening fishing, departing around 1pm the last day- your time on the water is optimized you simply fish and relax. 

Located in north central Oregon the lower Deschutes River is an immense fish magnet which flows into the Columbia river near the Dalles, OR.  In August and September near lethal water temperatures are common on the Columbia river and the spring fed Deschutes river commonly flows 10 degrees cooler than the Columbia.  This creates a magnetic effect that draws thousands of fish into the lower Deschutes.  On top of a bumper Deschutes river steelhead run these out of basin fish linger in the Deschutes for weeks waiting for cooler temps to continue their journey on up the Columbia river.  This is a bonus for anglers at times in Aug/Sept as staggering numbers of fish are available.  This is prime time for dry lines- the hallmark of Deschutes River fly fishing.
The thrill of the take from an aggressive steelhead can be only a cast away.  Wake up in the morning with a cup of coffee and step into a prime steelhead run only feet away from camp.  With the power boat we have the ability to cover lots of water and stay in the fish as they migrate up river.  Comfortable camps on the world famous Deschutes River get you into the action.  Our camps are designed to be home away from home with large 14' x 14' canvas tents that you can stand and walk around in.  Comfortable cots and plush sleeping pads make your adventure a breeze.  Our camp staff prepares your lodging in advance.  Steelhead Camp is 3 - 7 anglers with one or two comfortable and stable jet boats.

What we provide:
Our signature overnight guided jet boat trips are with an experienced guide who has spent countless hours on the waters you are fishing.  Expect patient personalize attention and intent focus on optimizing your time on the water with a willingness to teach you our favorite tricks to catching steelhead and trout.  River history, tall tales are river lore often come up too.  This trip also includes camp staff to cook and assist in camp as needed.  Camp is fully supplied with tents, cots, and comfortable sleeping pads.  We provide jet boat, life jackets and boaters passes.  We carry thousands of flies however we recommend you have a selection of favorites.  We supply all your meals starting with dinner day one through lunch the last day with soft drinks, snacks and water.  Meals are hearty and you won't leave hungry- most special dietary needs can be accommodated. 

These trips focus on the most remote part of the canyon to optimize our fishing success and will be downstream from the Mack's Canyon Boat ramp.  We use jet boats for transportation only as regulations do not allow fishing from a boat -all fishing is done while wading. 
Standard Jet Boat Camp Package:     Three person minimum - seven person maximum
2 nights, 1 full day fishing, 2 8 hr*-days fishing        $1250
3 nights, 2 full days fishing, 2 -8 hr* days fishing      $1650
Additional nights can be added at $425 per night / per person

Come join the fun on this world class fishery!  To save your spot call today:  503-704-6449 or email guide Rob Crandall at:  *approximate

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wet and Wild - Strategies for Oregon's Winter Chrome

Fishing in Oregon during the winter months is not for the faint of heart.  Wind, rain and elements conspire to make it tough and wading some nw rivers is just not for the timid- the payoff however is big chrome wild steelhead that make your heart pound and leave you breathless.

Amazing settings are the hallmark of steelhead lairs and the rivers of Oregon hold nothing back in raw rainforest beauty and awe inspiring vistas.  The veiw from the banks of the nw waters are filled with alders and fir trees, moss covered branches and dripping ferns.  Elk, blacktail deer and various ducks, hawks and bald eagles grace these waters.  Add in the most amazing of sportfish and Oregon's treasures beckon to be added to even the longest bucket list.

Here strategy is key and nothing is more addicting than the inspiring yank on the line with the swung fly approach.  Sure there are many ways to fool these fish but the most difficult and most alluring is the swung fly strategy.  Here the angler plies the water with a fly often 3" long that moves, wiggles and draws the attention of the ghostly chrome predators imitating shrimp, prawns, squid or just something that pisses them off.

The water is cold so sinking the fly during the cold winter months is of utmost importance.  Effective anglers use sinking tip lines made with tungsten to sink the fly.  Lengths of sinking lines loop onto floating fly lines making them easy to cast.  Common length tips are 10-12' long and are rated by sinking speed.  These sink tips are referred to as T-8, T-11, T-14 etc indicating they are tungsten and 8,11, or 14 grains (weight) per foot.

We use a variety of tricks to get these flies deep in the ever changing flows of winter with the cast, swing -step down approach the trademark of the approach.  Changing things up to get the fly deeper as the conditions warrent is the key to success and the intuition of a good guide and coach who can help you massage the fly to depths likely to elicite a strike.  As the water is cold - often 36-40 degrees getting the fly half the depth of the water is essential.

Rob Crandall owner of Water Time Outfitters, Inc. has teamed up with FlyfishTv and is producing a new DVD which will help anglers reach new levels of success during this tricky time of year.  The upcoming DVD - Deep Swing Secrets will be available sometime this fall.

Oregon has a multitude of amazing waters to seach with the swung fly for the elusive and amazing steelhead.  Top producing rivers are:  North Umpqua, Nehalem, Trask, Wilson, Sandy and Clackamas Rivers.  There are many many more rivers that could be added to this list.

To learn the tricks of success and have personalized coaching on your fishing strategy try the WINTER STEELHEAD TUNEUP coming up March 5.

See more about steelhead fly fishing opportunities visit: