Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trout Fishing Report - McKenzie and Willamette Rivers

The trout action over the last several weeks was very consistent, with fish being taken regularly on a dry fly and dropper nymph along with swung softhackled wet flies. Fishing a double wet fly set up is always a good way to go about it, because you can give the fish two options, and often you can crack the code easier in what the fish are keying into that particular day. You even get two fish on one cast occasionally, and that makes for a great angling story. No one will believe you when you tell them that you caught two fish in one cast.
Swinging softhackled wet flies can be extremely productive on the McKenzie River
The same occasionally occurs when fishing the dry and dropper, where a fish attacks the dry fly, and then another feisty fish decides to clobber the nymph offering. Dry and dropper is a great tactic for summertime; since often there is not much of a hatch during the heat of the day, but fish still are seeking out food. A large buoyant dry fly imitating something large like a golden stonefly or a grass hopper (ambiguously covering both - attractor style) with a Possie Bugger nymph has been the ticket for me over the last several years. It catches fish on just about every day out on the water in the summertime, and often you learn how productive the subsurface offering is. Sometimes you can catch 10 fish, and 9 are on the nymph and 1 is on the dry fly. For those of you who only fish dries, think about how many fish are not climbing on it, but are eating the nymph. A dry and dropper is a summertime must set up for trout fishing.
This McKenzie Rainbow took a swung yellow softhackle
It always blows me away how strong McKenzie and upper Willamette wild trout are. I hear things from clients all of the time how impressed they are by the shear power and fight the fish offer on these rivers. I heard someone say on a trip that the fish were picked on as little kids, and now they have attitude for it. I think it is simple as the high flows the fish deal with in the winter months only lets the strongest fish survive. The fish are the ones that make it through the swollen flooded flows that persist in the winter, and when they are hooked the 12" makes them feel like they are 16". The little rainbow above ripped me so silly, and it was maybe 13" if that. It literally made my reel scream hard with two nice runs, and when I saw the size, it was almost humorous. What powerhouse fish we have that exist in the southern Willamette Valley. They hit another level of fight once they breach the 15" mark, and the ones that top the 18" mark really implant serious memories.
Fish on ! McKenzie River - Oregon

Willamette River Cutthroat Trout
Chubby Chernobyl dry fly took this cutthroat
Nice side channel on the Middle Fork Willamette River that is loaded with cutthroats.
This side channel was loaded with cutthroats when water levels were higher

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