Sunday, June 3, 2012

Deschutes Stonefly/Salmonfly Hatch - Fishing Report 5/29 - 6/1

Picture Perfect Deschutes River Rainbow Trout - Stonefly/Salmonfly Hatch Time

Let's be simple and say it was totally awesome! Fishing was nothing short of good for the four days that I was out there. Dry fly action was really good, and the fish were totally keyed into adult golden stone fly patterns. I did catch two fish on a salmonfly pattern (Morrish's Still Stone), but the Clark's Stone was the ticket by far. I did catch fish on Chubby Chernobyl Norms, but they did not receive the action that they saw last year. The water last year was 7000CFS approximately, compared to the approximate 5000CFS reading this year when I was out there for the big bug hatch. High water seemed to make those big foam bugs work a little better last year and the year before, but this year seemed to favor more traditional patterns like the Clark's Stone and the Norm Woods Special. The Clark's Stone literally was getting destroyed; while the bigger foam patterns got lots of refusals and quick looks. I would imagine if I used those big foam bugs in the choppy buckets, they would have gotten pounded. Instead I just kept the Clark's Stone on, and got fish after fish to attack it.
Deschutes River Rainbow Trout Stonefly Hatch - Clark's Stone Fly
 Nymph fishing was really good when you were wanting a change of pace; which is funny to think you would want to catch them subsurface after witnessing such radical hits on your dry. Somehow your angling brain wonders what is under the surface though, and so you decide to probe the depths to see who lives there. Between fishing the Jimmy Legs in Coffee & Brown and a fly called a Hot Bead Head G-Spot (which was a pattern I used to sell when I had my fly shop in Walterville, OR); we hooked lots of fish in spots where they were too weary to come up for a stonefly surface offering. At first the stonefly nymph was getting more action, but as we drifted farther downriver the smaller PMD nymph (Hot Bead Head G-Spot) was taking over in the attention it was getting from the rainbows. The takes were savage and the strike indicator was plunging with consistency when we decided to nymph. I managed to get a nice bull trout as my second caught nymph fish of the trip and it made several line ripping long runs. We even caught some whitefish that were scrappy, and I was surprised at the tussle some of them gave; since I have not offered any valid respect for them in the past. Maybe I should from here on out, or at least ones on the Deschutes during the 2012 stonefly hatch (you can tell I don't want to respect them). They are a native fish though, and they do eat more or less the same stuff that trout eat. Often catching them can mean you are not fishing the right water; since they like water that often has no boulders to give relief from the currents that rainbows like. Their bodies are designed to be pressed downward from the river's currents; while rainbows and other trout have to find relief from the currents behind rocks or in current edges. If you catch whitey after whitey then move on; unless you want to catch them. We never even changed our nymphing rigs the entire trip; since there was no need to. If your flies are catching them with consistency, then why mess with success.....
Jimmy Legs Stonefly Nymph took this Deschutes River Rainbow
This Deschutes River Bull Trout Feasted on this Golden Stone Rubber Legs Nymph
There were definitely times when the fishing was slower and tougher, but that is the reality of fishing for trout and the reality of any famous fly hatch. The slower times seemed to be either due to fishing spots that were the wrong ones for the stonefly hatch (caddis and mayfly spots), and speculating they would be good. A lot of these are spots that fish well at times, but not when we fished them on this trip. Also, there is definitely the variable of getting into a spot that someone just fished 15 minutes before and you have no idea of that; since the other anglers may be just around the next bend of the river. I witnessed a spot where we caught several fish right away, and then bailed only to see the next boat pull into it. They did not realize we just hammered nice bows from it; while they may have had the impression the fishing was slow at that moment. Cover the water and if nothing happens rather quickly, then move on. You are not going to beat them into biting.
This Deschutes Rainbow Trout fell for the "Hot Bead Head G-Spot" Nymph pattern
 The hatch is in "full throttle" mode currently, and there are heavy amounts of bugs all the way from Maupin to the top of the lower river. Fishing is hot throughout the wild and scenic section, and you should get out there to experience the big bug hatch if you have not yet. Nothing is better than seeing your huge dry fly get pounded by a hungry rainbow trout. This is the time when the fish are really keyed into the surface patterns, and the trick is to fish the right water. Focus close to the banks near over hanging trees and where the tall grass has good depth and current speeds. Stay away from the traditional spots you fish caddis and mayflies at, and focus on the banks. If you see the currents falling toward the bank you are fishing, and the water is over 2 feet deep with overhanging trees; you can assume there is a rainbow trout waiting to ambush the next vulnerable golden stone landing on the water. If you fish a spot and do not get a take in a few casts, then you are probably fishing somewhere that has been fished already or it is not holding fish that are ready to pounce your offering. Many of the standard caddis/mayfly spots will produce fish, but you also should adjust your tactics to where the fish are going to be looking for stoneflies. 
Deschutes River Salmonfly
Salmonfly Dry Fly Took this rainbow - Morrish's Still Stone
I would say that this year seems to be a very good stonefly year on the Deschutes, and it should be really good for a couple more weeks easily (although right now it is really GOOD!). Get out there and experience the big bugs! Don't worry about the people and what everyone wants to speculate about the hatch fading out or the fishing being slow or too crowded. The hatch is not over by any means, and fishing has been red hot! It is time for you to get out and fish the stonefly hatch! If you are lacking hot patterns; stop by the Portland Orvis shop where we have some of the hottest pattens to fish with on the Deschutes. Portland Orvis does not carry the Clark's Stone, but I tie my own; so that is how I get them. Otherwise you can get all of the patterns you will need for the hatch over there. I caught a lot of fish on the Norm Woods Special and they stock that fly, along with the Chubbies and many of the popular greats.
The view from our second night's camp on the Deschutes River
Rainbow catching some serious air - Deschutes River

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Brian,this year was definately excellent dry fly fishing,we hammered them as well on our trip.