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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!