Monday, May 28, 2012

Deschutes River Salmonfly Hatch! Here I come!

The next several day, I am fortunate enough to be able to get over to the Deschutes to fish the famous golden stone & salmonfly hatch. I am totally fired up to fish; since the reports over the last few days have been really good (several anglers reported the best they ever scored it in their lives). Everyone I have talked with who was recently over there said it was totally going off for epic fishing.
Norm Woods Special in the corner of the mouth - Deschutes River
I will be gone through Friday; so if you email me or call me up regarding anything with fishing, it will have to wait.

Tight Lines! Hopefully some awesome pics and video footage coming up....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

McKenzie Trout Eat Flies Even When the Water is High for Humans

This spring can go down with the last few seasons as "high water" springs, and this one seems to win the prize for having the most consistent high water conditions. Right when John and Lauren showed up at Oregon, the rains hammered the river levels back up to bloated from the few days of low water we briefly had. Water clarity was really good though; since the McKenzie can really take a lot of abuse before its color gets affected. Luckily at this time of the year, the fish are looking up, and the famous McKenzie Green Caddis have been coming off in good enough numbers to become the target of many "hit and runs" for the river's trout. They really love eating those big green awkward bugs that bounce and skitter on the water. The wet fly swing really gets some serious tight line grabs this time of the year, and the fish are well fed and fight with serious attitude lately. 
This turbo charged powerful McKenzie River Rainbow really hit a green caddis wet hard!
With the water rising up on Thursday night, it seemed to really damper the "human hatch" where we luckily only saw a few boats out there all day. The fishing was fare to good at times yesterday, and we got into some nice powerful feisty fish. Most of the fish were taking swung wets, and a few took the nymph on a dry fly and dropper rig. The weather was wonderful, and it started out cloudy and calm and slowly dissipated off into "sunny with a cloud here and there" type of a day. The winds stayed calm to light, and that seemed to be a key factor in our success out there. Any time the sun shined bright and the wind would blow slightly; causing the fishing to slow down, and when the sun was hidden behind clouds we got hits from all of the spot that they should have came from.

Two Species caught on one cast - Cutthroat and Rainbow trout on each wet fly

If you have not fished the McKenzie River when the green caddis are coming off; you need to get out there and experience it. Normally these large green bugs start to come off hard in early May, but this season they have literally just gotten going. They should come off for the next few weeks, and it is a time when you can really get into some of the nicest fish the McKenzie has to offer. The fish have just finished spawning, and now they are fattening back up on these big green bugs. Get yourself out there to experience it!

McKenzie Green Caddis started to hatch later this year (Late May 2012)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

While Visiting Oregon: Goal Accomplished of First Steelhead Caught

I had a client John come from Texas, and he was determined to get a steelhead, and I was determined to get him into one. Two days ago conditions were spot on for steelheading on several rivers, and numbers for the 2012 summer run going over Willamette Falls have been good. Today when we got out there it was a downpour, and we were already dealing with changes in the plan with rising water levels causing us to fish a different river from the original plan. It was supposed to possibly shower on this day, and it ended up being a deluge all day long. John had an awesome attitude about the weather, and the day, and I was really hoping that a chromer would decide to drill his offerings. He fished hard, and fished well, but for the first several spots, we did not have a tug or any sign of a steelhead. We had a funny false alarm when he literally landed the probable state record whitefish that was looking like it was 4-5 pounds. After we fished a bunch of spots, we came upon a dark slot in a patch of heavy water, and John felt chrome life on the end of his line when his fly ran through the spot. The fight was long and arduous, but eventually the chrome bright 10 pounder yeilded to the net. John was stoked! I was stoked! His first summer run of his life, and his first steelhead period (on his first time out trying for them). We accomplished his goal!
Springtime Summer Run Steelhead fresh from the salt....
By the time we took out the river was on the rise in a noticeable way. It was still pounding down with heavy soaking rain, but we were fired up from that beautiful fish John caught. Just proves that you have to be out there to catch them, and even when the conditions are totally against you; good things can happen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Regulations on Limiting Bait on McKenzie River - Check it Out!!

Thanks to the hard work of concerned anglers!! I remember when I lived in Eugene and I was part of the local TU chapter. During meetings, I mentioned how the wild trout, hatchery trout stocking, and bait fishing needed to be addressed. Luckily a lot of others also had the same thoughts, and people got together, and coordinated efforts to take on the issues with the McKenzie's wild trout populations. It has been since August of 2009 since I have lived in Eugene, and it is totally awesome to see how much has been done for the McKenzie's wild trout since then. Thank you to all of you devoted people for taking your time to help out a cause that should have been addressed a long time ago. Maybe some day the McKenzie can be managed like the Deschutes, but at least steps are being taken to make it the fishery it can potentially be. Hard to imagine a river managed for wild fish, but you can bait fish for stocked fish in it at the same time.....(you cannot prevent a big rainbow from munching down a ball of "power bait" to get really deeply hooked in the gullet). That is the way it has been for a long time on the McKenzie River.

Native Wild McKenzie River Rainbow Trout

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trout Fishing With a Little Steelhead Fishing in the Mix Report

I love this time of the year because fish start to become aggressive and they will eat fun presentations you dream about fishing during the cold months. You can fish all sorts of presentations too, and many days lots of them will work. The nice thing is that you can pick and choose your methods too, and lately I have been sick of staring at Thingamabobbers drifting down probable feeding lies; so I opted not to have my clients Dave and Rose throw any full throttle nymph rigs on their day out. The only way I was going to set up a nymphing rig was if it was absolutely going to be needed, and if we were not producing fish on any of the methods we chose to fish. Luckily, the nymphing rig was not needed whatsoever, and the fishing was quite good at times.
Royal Coachman Wet Fly Stuck in the Corner of this Coastal Cutthroat's Mouth
We had a Chubby Chernobyl Norm with a nymph dropped off, and the nymphs we used were Possie Buggers, Prince's, and Zug Bugs. They all worked, including the dry fly; although the nymphs got way more attention. The biggest "catching" contributors of the day were the Muddler Minnow fished on a super fast sink poly leader stripped back in on a down and across wet fly swing. Swinging soft hackled wet flies and also the Royal Coachman wet fly on a floating line were a hot producers as well. We had times when the "bite" was ultra consistent, and other times when it was a fish here and there. The slow times correlated with the sunshine being bright and the cloud cover lacking. When the fishing was hot and fast, it was overcast, and cooler out. The weather shifted back and forth a couple of times, and it was interesting to see the fishing productivity relate to the weather that was happening at the given time.
Muddler Minnow Stripped on a Fast Sink Poly leader took this nice Upper Willamette Trout
We dabbled in a little steelhead wet fly swinging, and Dave had two close ones. The first fish was a few casts into a small short tailout feature, and as the purple and pink Extractor was followed and Dave saw the chromer attack the offering. Unfortunately the fish was practically at the end of the swing; so it was short lived and not much more than a hard grab and line tightening up, to then loosen up again. The second grab was in a super sweet productive steelhead run, and the same fly pattern was intercepted again to see the line tighten up like a clothesline; only to then slacken again. Sometimes the grabs are so close to being the chrome glory, but that is what keeps us coming back for more....
A nice deep bodied upper Willamette Cutthroat Trout during battle
Trout Fishing should remain strong for the next several weeks as long as conditions stay consistent and we do not get any events that will blow the rivers out. Steelhead fishing will continue to get better and better as more fish fill into the Willamette Valley rivers as the summer run continues to show good numbers going over Willamette Falls.
On tight while stripping a Muddler Minnow
Late spring fly fishing is a wonderful time of the year to get out there to enjoy trout fishing. Lots of good fly fishing opportunities of are abound this time of the year; so get yourself out there to enjoy it! When it is raining hard and cold in the winter, we are dreaming of this time of the year; so get yourself out there....
Muddle Minnow stuck in this cutty's grill

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quick McKenzie Trout Report

I have been out guiding the past few days, and the fishing actually got better yesterday with the hot weather and sunshine. The key is the wind, and by that I mean that if it is windy, the fishing trends towards slower and tough. When the wind is light or non-existent, the fishing is steady to good. Yesterday, the fishing was very consistent at times, and fish were caught on swung wet flies, nymphing, and also with a dry fly and nymph dropper. The dry fly action has not really been good for the last few trips that I ran, but the hatches were also rather light. Yesterday, we saw a decent March Brown hatch, and it caused the fish to have interest in the surface for a short while. Water levels are looking really good lately, and hopefully they will stay at these nice levels for the remainder of the spring. Get yourself out there, and enjoy some trout fishing!
Tight Lines!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

McKenzie River Trout Report 5-9-2012

Releasing a nice McKenzie River "Redside"
Windy was the report!!! The day was filled with some serious winds! It seemed that the winds were sustained at about 20-25 knots all day long, and the biggest breaks we were getting were bends in the river that were blocked from the brute force winds. Every time we got into a spot, and the wind was calm we had take downs on the strike indicator, or lines tightening up on wet fly swings. When we fished in the spots where the wind was howling, we lacked action. It was an interesting direct correlation with wind and fish action; where the spots that we had good action lacked wind, and the spots where we lacked action were windier than you could imagine.
Bruce on tight with a large rainbow trout - Lower McKenzie River
Fish were caught nymphing on golden stones, mega princes, and possie buggers, and it seemed that the nicest fish were eating nymphs. Swinging wets shined at times, and we did get into the nicest McKenzie Redside of the day on a swung McKenzie green caddis wet fly that I tie for my clients to use on my trips. While swinging wets, we also caught fish on Red Butted Peacock Softhackled wet flies . The Chernobyl Chubby Norm did get some surface attention while fishing a dry fly and dropper nymph, but not enough to warrant using it more than a trial run in a spot or two. The McKenzie green caddis was not out hatching, but we did catch a few fish on the wet fly imitations; so it seemed like the fish have been seeing some of them out by the way that they took the pattens with authority.

Below is a short video from a few of the fish we got into on 5/9/2012:

Fishing will only improve as long as weather and water levels cooperate. The best fishing for trout on the lower McKenzie is from here through the next several weeks; so book yourself a trout guided trip to experience the McKenzie's famous "redsides".

McKenzie Rainbow Trout Catching Air

Tight Lines!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Oregon Coast Fly Fishing 5/3/2012

 Yesterday, I headed to the coast for some different fly fishing than the norm for your typical Oregonian. Although what is "normal" fly fishing anyway? I know I love my carp fly fishing, and now that is almost considered "normal", but not quite yet.....

I was going for bottom fishing for species like rockfish, cabezon, and lingcod, and hopefully the conditions would produce some fish. The first spot I hit was Netarts Bay, and I was trying off of the rocks for a good while before I decided that the tidal movement felt too intense to get a decent presentation to actually catch a fish. On the walk back to my car, I decided to wade out into a sandy flat to literally just bomb out a few casts. It was not really something that I actually was thinking would produce a fish, and I wanted to more or less cast out a few huge bombs just for fun and casting practice. It turned out that on the second cast, when I was stripping my huge two tailed conehead saltwater white bunny leech (for Rockfish, Cabezon, & Lingcod), I got a crushing take. The line had a fast hard radical pull, and I wondered what I had on. It was no bottom fish, nor was it a surf perch (which I knew swam in the exact area), and it was fast and pulling hard; swimming like a salmonid. The glimpses I had of the fish seemed to be anything from a steelhead, a huge sea run cutt, or a salmon. Finally the fish tired enough to reveal that it was a salmon in its saltwater oceanic part of its life cycle. It was so chrome bright, where it was practically transparent, and had a holographic shimmer to it fins. It was humbling; since it made me realize how random things in fishing happen even when you think you have a grasp on what is going on. Surprises happen, and that is another reason why we fish!
While casting into a large sandy saltwater flat, this salmon intercepted this Rockfish fly
After that, I drove to the Tillamook Bay in hopes of better bottom fishing, and the tide was drawing to a near slack "low" time. The currents would not be as fast near the slack tide; so I figured I would be able to get a better presentation to the fish I was targeting. It turns out that I made the right decision, as the fishing was consistent and action packed for about 2 hours. I was throwing a shooting head system with an intermediate sinking running line with a type II 28 foot sinking shooting head. The leader was a short hand tied three piece configuration of 18 inches of 30# butt section to 9 inches of 25# to 2 feet of 20# tippet. The flies I used were both 2/0 in hook size, and one was a synthetic clouser with chartruese and white; while the other was a conehead two tailed white bunny leech.  
This black rockfish took this large two tailed white conehead bunny leech
All in all it was a fun day of fishing between the incidental salmon and the rockfish I got into. I also briefly hook up with a larger fish that was either a cabezon or a lingcod, but it was a short lived hookup. I did see the fish eat my fly and had it on long enough to bend the rod over hard. Just then, it was off....

Fly fishing for bottom fish off of jetties in Oregon requires a shooting head line system
  Once the tide turned around and started to slowing become "incoming", the fishing seemed to shut off like a light switch. How strange; since the reputation is better for good fishing at incoming tide. Who knows.... that is why we call it fishing and not catching I guess....

Below is a short video of some of the action from the day. I was not filming too much; so I missed the best fish, and it seemed like when I was filming it was jinxing the action. Nonetheless, you can see what some of the fishing was like out in the inshore Oregon saltwater.....