Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Heat Wave Fishing Report

Possie Bugger nymph pinned this coastal cutthroat trout
Luckily it was sort of a short lived heat wave, but the weather was baking nonetheless..... Weather breached 100 out, and several other days a drop below the century mark. We survived, and luckily the fish have too for the most part. Rumors had it that the water temperatures down by the mouth of the Deschutes River was so high that fish were having trouble surviving releases. Luckily, where I fish regularly has water temperatures that are generally not an issue. Breaching the 55 degree mark in the McKenzie is very rare and the low 50's are the norm. The Upper Willamette River's temperatures generally hover in the upper 50's and lower 60's; so you do not have to contend with what the trout in Montana or the steelhead in lower Deschutes have to face.
A nice cutthroat decided to take the nymph on the "dry & dropper rig"
We are gifted with cold water, and relatively empty fishing for the latter portion of the summer and into the fall. There is a smattering of people who frequent the steelhead spots or fish for trout in the late summer and fall, but the general heavy burst of anglers that come out for the late spring and early summer are "over it". I am no longer seeing the masses out on the water, and it is the time where you can really enjoy and dissect the waters that I enjoy to fish so much. I do not have to peer around my shoulder as much; looking for the next boat to come down and trash the next spot we were looking forward to fishing. The fishing also has been picking up with the lower angling pressure, and the water levels are maintaining at a reasonable season low this year.
This fine coastal cutthroat trout took the subsurface nymph
Hatches are about the slowest this time of the summer as they will ever be for the warm months, but they will soon be increasing; since fall is nearing. You can see smaller pale morning duns, smaller caddis, a golden stone here and there, some hoppers, midges (which are not much of a food item here), and a pale evening dun here and there. Most of the "hatch-a-tivity" is going to be in the last two hours of the day, but on the overcast mornings there will be some bugs until the sun burns through. Fishing a large buoyant dry fly with a dropper nymph this time of the year is going to be the most productive during the non-hatch times, and then match the hatch when you see the fish rising.
Another pretty spotted specimen of coastal cutthroat trout
Steelhead fishing lately is best from first light to about noon since the heat wave has struck us, but that will change soon as things are cooling back off. Some days are slower with success being one fish out there; while other days are filled with action and you can get into several fish. Swinging flies has been the best method for producing fish, and the better the caster the more likely one is going to have better success. With low clear water the fish are spooky, and approaching them from more distance is better for success currently. Anyone who cannot cast proficiently over 40 feet should practice their casting skills, because you cannot have much success swinging up fish in crystal clear low summer water unless you consistently can cover from 40 feet on out. When the fall rains will come, and churn up the water so visibility is not so great, then things will get easier, but for now casting far will yield more chances for steelhead in the southern Willamette valley area streams.
The orange gill marks represent the cutty.....
Let's hope the weather pattern stays perfect like it has been for the last few days. When you are dealing with highs in the upper 70's with overcast mornings; you can't ask for much more for fly fishing. All you have to hope from there is that the fish are willing to play and that the "bite" is consistent. From here on out the steelhead fishing and trout fishing should get better and better; since what you can call the "summer doldrums" should be on their way out......
This chubby little rainbow took the swung softhackled wet fly

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