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Friday, May 29, 2015

Deschutes River - After the Hatch - Top Tips

Fishing pressure on the Deschutes during the world famous salmon fly hatch is as busy as it gets on this amazing river.  Trout feel the pressure and respond accordingly.  Here are a few tricks to increase your success "after the hatch".

1.  Fish smaller flies.  The big bugs crashing on the surface are gone- consider smaller Pheasant tail nymphs in sz 16 & 18.  Midge larvae are also productive in sizes 18-20.  

2.  Get your fly down.  Some of the biggest fish of the season are fooled on the big dries of salmon fly time- fool my once...These big guys are often reluctant to head to the surface after the hatch.

3. Dial in your emergers.  This can be a challenge as these are the most elusive bug to capture.  Try adjusting size and colors to find the best imitation of pmd and caddis emergers for success. 

4.  Fish deep in back-eddies.  As hatches wane, more food piles up in eddies.  Fish deep here for the big fish of the river.  Try a sunk mayfly spinner pattern. 

Good luck out there on the water!  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Deschutes River Salmon Fly Report May 2015

We've been guiding most every day on the world famous Deschutes River salmon fly hatch.  Fishing has been good as river levels are at very low flows for this time of year.  The hatch that creates such a buzz is the salmon fly hatch- "big mac" meals for feisty rainbows on the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River.  These big bugs are up to 3" long and provide a super size meal for post spawn-wild redband rainbows of this legendary tailwater river.

The primary focal points for trout fishing the Deschutes are from Warm Springs area to Maupin.  This includes good access points like Mecca Flats, Trout Creek and South Junction.  Easily accessed areas above and below the centrally located town of Maupin also provide room to roam on one of Oregon's biggest trout rivers.  For our guided adventures we focus on the most inaccessible section of this most loved river in Oregon.  We float 32 mile stretch from Trout Creek to just above Maupin.  This float brings the angler on a three day adventure through the wild and scenic canyon and away from the easy accessible and often crowded roadside locals.  Be ready for whitewater however because this solitude does not come easy; you must pass muster with the class 3+ Whitehorse rapid which stretches it's wild ride over 2 miles.  Already this year 2 boats have been bested by this rapid and sunk beneath the dangerous waves.  There are many points of entry to the Deschutes salmon fly action- as the hatch begins to wane, as it is now, focus on the upper segments like Trout Creek, Mecca Flats and Warm Springs.

                        Mark Angel works to retreive a boat that sunk in Whitehorse Rapids last week.

This year with record low snow pack and very mild spring temperatures the waters of the lower Deschutes have warmed quickly and the hatch is as early as I have ever seen it on the lower D.  Some reports of salmon flies showing as early as May 1 were reported this year.  When water temps hit 52.5 degrees is often when the big bug migration occurs.  These big meals in armored shells crawl up shoreline vegetation and hatch.  After hatching they linger on shoreline vegetation for up to 10 days while they mate and lay eggs on the water.  Usually the egg laying or ovipositing is done during the warmest part of the day.  A good hot sunny day really gets the action going.

    Both Salmon flies and golden stones provide an important key in the food chain along the Deschutes R.

Our recent weather has kept the action from getting really hot but it has also spread out the duration of the hatch with soggy bugs in shoreside vegetation waiting for the heat of the day.  The hatch is spread from Maupin to Warm Springs and is waning lower in this section.  Already there are fewer bugs than last week and expect the amount of black stones to dissapate soon with remaining bugs usually being the golden stones. I'd expect about one more week of dry fly action as the hatch sputters out.

      Favorite patterns on the Deschutes salmon fly hatch are Chubby Chernobyls, Chubby Norman, Norm           Woods Special and Stimulator patterns.

For other hatches going on now are a varied mix of morsels.   Caddis, green drakes, pmd's and some days blue winged olives along with yellow sallies are showing.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Oregon Lake Tour - Fly Fishing Oregon's Finest Waters

I just recently finished an exploratory mission on some amazing parts of the scenic and beautiful state of Oregon chasing trout with the fly rod.  On this mission we covered a lot of miles.  We saw amazing scenery and epic fishing.  Spring time weather like the fishing was a grab bag from cold to hot and everything in between.

From Oregon City we drove to Diamond Lake.  Where we saw massive  quanities of chronomids hatching.
Bugs were everywhere and it was a good thing they were not of the biting variety.  Our luck was poor as the temperature our first night dipped to a cool 27 degrees and the wind picked up putting a strong chop on the surface.  Our efforts mocked by a nearby bald eagle and a mallard that ate more chronomids off the surface than any trout I have ever seen we headed out to calmer waters and lower elevation.

Diamond Lake 

Our next stop was Klamath Lake near K-Falls and almost to the southern state border. Here we chatted with Rocky Point Resort's manager who had reported some good fishing on streamer patterns for large trout. Here the rainbows average in the pounds and inches are far to paltry a measure for these beheamoths.  Most action was to be found in the Rocky Point areas and around Crystal Creek entrance on streamer patterns of white and silver with some gold bits mixed in.  Intermediate lines were the call to action here and timing was important.  The wind picked up in the afternoons but the water temps also rose peaking the bite in the warmer hours of the day.  Here one or two grabs in a day are the norm with the real possibility of a 10lb or larger rainbow grabbing your fly.

Klamath Lake at Rocky Point Resort

With 20-30 mile an hour winds in the forecast we changed our plan and headed off to the Crooked River for the next leg of our journey.  Arriving mid-week we had the pick of campsites in the well appointed campgrounds along the Wild and Scenic Crooked River cooridor below Bowman dam.

 Time at the campfire was a highlight of the trip

Our timing at the Crooked coincided with some recent rains/thunderstorms and some added releases from the dam.  Flow as at 270 cfs as we embarked and included the lovely addition of green algae floating in globs down the river.  This became such a nusciance that the continual cleaning of our flies turned our hands green.  (The good news is that this seemed to be greatly reduced by mid-day.)  Our first attempts at the magic combination were a bit timidly received-a few fish here and there.  We finally dialed in on a red San Juan worm and a midge larve pattern like a Zebra Midge.  These worked well on fat 6-14" rainbows and a few whitefish.  The bite seemed to really pick up around 10:30 with the main event of the day being a great Blue Winged olive hatch that was going full bore by 12pm.  This was soon interupted by the introduction of a small tan caddis that was a bit spunky on the surface and elicited some great splashy rises from rainbows up to about 14".  This was the funnest fishing of the day and after rising our share and then some we headed out on our next journey. 

The Crooked River BWO hatch was good to us mid-day.

This segment of the trip took a couple hours to bring us to Rock Cr. Res.  Here we set up camp and were prepared to relax by the fire but were interupted by rising fish everywhere on the lake near our camp.  This kicked the energy level back to high gear and soon the float tube was inflated and the 5 weight was swinging! After a slow start we found the fly they wanted a slim damsel pattern that was getting hit on nearly every cast.  Most of these fish were stocker trout about 8".  Reports of trophy trout 6-8lbs were rumored as we checked in with the camp host but during our short time here we did not find any of these.

Rock Creek Res. in early May on a low water year. 

The next morning and final day of our journey we drove the short 20 minute drive to Rocky Ridge Ranch for the final rod bending test of our Oregon Lake Tour.  Here we were rewarded with a dandy rainbow on the first cast for Darrin and then an onslaught of rod bending battles until we finally gave up took some advil and left and a mere 1pm.

One of the dandies we landed at Rocky Ridge Ranch

All in all we had a blast, celebrated some wild and amazing places in Oregon and I can't wait to go back!

Time for a new map!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Big Bugs Taste Great! Deschutes River Salmon Flies

It's that time of year again or actually it's super early but things are getting started wether you are ready or not- the annual migration of the biggest bug of the Deschutes River is starting.  Big black stoneflies and goldens are crawling out and hatching while I write this on Oregon's most famous river.  This is a monumental hatch and bugs up to three inches are the fare.  This pulls some of the biggest cagey trout from the depths to dine on the surface while bug wiggling by like cheeseburgers on a conveyor belt are served.  Needless to say it's prime time!

This year's hatch is arriving early, with snow pack at miniscule levels and a warm spring is contributing.  Water temps have warmed up enough to trigger the feast and trout are starting to look upward.  This hatch often gets going with a lot of bugs a-flutter before the wild Deschutes Redband trout will key on them.  We are still some time away from that but don't wait until your traditional time to get out there.  Things may be done by then.  Warm weather can help accelerate the hatch just like cool rainy weather seems to slow it down.

Just late last week (May 1) there were salmon flies flying around Maupin and some reported up to Whitehorse.  None at Warmsprings yet but we can expect that with-in a week or so.

For now all eyes are on the Deschutes and the big bug smorgasborg about to happen!

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