A few steelhead are being caught, but overall fishing remains sporadic. All of us were anticipating it to greatly improve, but it just hasn't taken off. This has been one of the strangest steelhead seasons that can ever remember on the Deschutes.
However, if the weather and river conditions remain favorable, we could see some better steelhead fishing in November.
The numbers of Steelhead passing over Sherars Falls are consistent, even though they are below normal. Water conditions are wonderful, no problems with the White River, and the temperatures are just perfect. The weather is absolutely wonderful. Lows in the upper 40’s and high’s in the mid 60’s. A variety of fly patterns have been working, so if you have a favorite fly you have confidence in, use it.
During midday hours you might think about fish faster and deeper water. It’s more oxygenated and because of it’s broken white water chop, it creates a natural shade canopy making steelhead feel more comfortable. So if you have sink tips handy, put one on and give it a try.
Well, if your tired of beating yourself up trying for steelhead, give the resides a shot. And the trout fishing has been pretty good. We are observing our third generation of BWO’s, size 20, Net Spinning Caddis (16’s), and Igloo Cased Caddis (20’s).
The October Caddis are out in force now. Best to fish the Pupa pattern for those big boys, but, there have been favorable reports of nice sized trout taking a few of the spent October Caddis off the surface !
The middle of the day can be a little tough, mornings typically better, but its usually the best from 4PM until dark. The reason; toward the end of each day, caddis pupa emerge quickly to the surface to become adults and rapidly escape from the the river to find refuge on stream side vegetation. At the same time, the caddis that became adults a day or two ago, are returning to the river to lay their eggs. Oh yeah, the October caddis are size 8’s, so it’s fun to fish those larger flies when you get tired of tying on size 20’s all day.
Use small Midge patterns (size 20 to 22), are very active from 7AM to around 10AM. They also hatch in the evenings. A couple of other really good flies to try in the morning are the spent wing caddis and the rusty spinner. All these flies fish work well in back eddies.
we’ve done better presenting nymphs and larvae deep to get a grab.
Best water types to fish. Back eddies, steep bank runs, riffles, fast water pockets, and down stream of riffles where the water slows and deepens.
Look for foam lines and obvious seams where adults and emerging insects struggle. Spent may flies and caddis also become trapped in this kind of water, and of course trout instinctively find it easy to capture their daily nourishment as insects endure a rough time breaking free from those swirly seams.
If fishing is slow during the day, try fishing the steep banks, fast water with pockets, and tree lines that over hang the river. Trout go to these areas to hide from bright conditions. You will need to get your fly deep.
The river is very clear. The river level from the reregulating dam is 4,080 CFS (Cubic Feet Per Second), and the average water temperature is 63 degrees.
If you have Q’s, Please don’t hesitate to call, we will be glad to help
Wallowa River - October 24th, 2014
supplied by: Joseph Fly Shoppe, LLC RECORDED:60 °FISHING: Good
10/24 - Rains have bumped up flows - which will continue to suck steelhead up the Ronde. If you want to fish the Wallowa you will have the river to yourself - your pick of runs. Why not (?) - some big bows, an occasional bull, and a few early steelies.
10/18 Same story as 10/3. Nobody fishing and big feisty fish. Where else do the fish make repeated three foot leaps - and not another fisherman in site? And you are trying to figure out if the fish you just landed is a trout or steelhead?
10/3 Some very large trout are being caught on the Wallowa. Pressure is light. Use stimulators for the October Caddis, but try a big/small bh nymph combo for the biggest trout and perhaps an early steelhead.
9/11 - Good fall fishing - beautiful Indian Summer days. Water flows are average, but avoid the long shallow sections. Fish are kegged-up in the deeper holes and "structured" water with boulders. Pretty hard to beat a size 8 or 10 prince nymph with a size 18 flashback hare's ear dropper - fished under a strike indicator. Or put on a bigger stone fly nymph with some split shot and fish the bottom of the deeper troughs for the big trout on the bottom. Hoppers and stimulators will also bring trout to the surface - best when the water is shaded.
8/22 - The Wallowa is fishing good - producing some bigger than average trout lately. Water flows are also good and water temps have dropped to a nice hard to 60 degrees. Fish are finally starting to come up for larger hoppers/stimulators/madam x's - in addition to evening caddis hatches. Trout have started to move into the riffles, but the big boys are still being caught above and below big boulders or in the deeper slots with stonefly nymphs. We get lots of reports of how thick and active the rainbows are. Then there are the two fishermen who have caught steelhead in the Wallowa this past week!!! Yes, it is early, but "evolution" protects the run by sending a few fish ripping upstream every year. We always catch some steelhead in the Wallowa in September. By the way, one of the steelhead caught was a bright 30" hen - landed on 5X tippet after an acrobatic show that lasted 45 minutes.
GENERAL INFO - WALLOWA RIVER (our area’s best trout stream): Two forks of the Wallowa River tumble down the steep Wallowa Mountains and fill Wallowa Lake at the south end. A small irrigation dam at the north end releases water throughout the summer and fall. Upon leaving the lake, the Wallowa River enters mostly private property for approximately 25 miles before entering a canyon 3 miles west of the town of Wallowa. In this beautiful “Canyon Section,” between the towns of Wallowa and Minam, the Wallowa River is closely paralleled by Highway 82 for 8 miles and is accessible to the public. Most trout range from 8” to 12”, but fish in the 14” to 20” range are also caught. Despite the highway, this section of river receives only light to moderate fishing pressure.
Native rainbows need to be released in the Canyon Section, but fin-clipped steelhead smolt (those that were not inspired to move downstream to the ocean) take the place of stocked trout and may be kept. The Wallowa often runs too high to wade until mid July, but depending on the snowpack this can vary by as much as a month. A few steelhead enter the river in September (there are two steelhead and one salmon hatchery that serve the river) but most steelheading in the Canyon is done between February and mid April. Trout season runs from Memorial Day weekend until October 31, but one can fish for white fish until April 15. Steelhead Season runs from September 1 until April 15. A “Special Salmon Season” is sometimes opened in early summer if salmon runs are sufficient .
Imnaha River - October 24th, 2014
supplied by: Joseph Fly Shoppe, LLC RECORDED:60 °FISHING: Good
10/24 Lots of rain this week - just what the DR. ordered. Steelhead fishing has been good to very good. Flows are up to 125 cfs and today the water has a little color. It is still raining today - so we will watch the color, but it would take a lot more rain to "blow-out" the Imnaha. Check with the Joseph Flyshoppe for the hottest patterns.
10/18 Man - you should have been here last Wednesday and Thursday. Not too many people, but every hacker was catching steelhead. We got about an 8% bump in water levels last week from rains, not much, but enough to move more fish out of the Snake into the Imnaha system. We have the best run of steelhead in the last four years, and they moved right up the Columbia and Snake rivers. Now we need more rain to move fish upstream on the Imnaha.
The Imnaha has been running 100 cfs. If we could get a week of storms, maybe even a wet snow, we could bump the river to 250-300 cfs. This would accomplish two things: it would move more fish upstream AND provide more holding water for the fish and the FISHERS - spread um out boys.
When should you come? The longer you wait the more fish there will be BUT the more fishers there will be - until the weather gets too cold. Actually, for many years I would fish the Imnaha between mid October and Christmas - unless the river iced-up. At some point the gear guys move in pretty heavy. Steelhead fishing can also be good in Jan. - mid Apr., but the fish tend to be more spawnny. I liked fly fishing best in the fall/early winter.
What gear to use? Its a small river, so you can single hand or spey. Swing or nymph? Up to you. In fact on a small river like the Imnaha there is no clear break between the two. If it is a nice wide run, swing it. If it is a boulder run or slot, nymph it. Or do what we did before the days of steelhead strike indicator fishing. We put on a heavy sink tip line and black beadhead woolly bugger and either swung it or high-sticked nynphed it when the run called for it.
Finally, on the Imnaha, early in the run, you can catch some small steelhead in the 18" - 20" range - mixed in with the big boys. See you at the shop for the best selection of steelhead flies in Eastern Oregon/Washington.
10/1 The Imnaha steelhed run will be the best since the big run of 2010-12. They are steadily moving up the Columbia and into the Snake. So far 32% of the Imnaha that crossed Bonneville have crossed Lower Granite dam (the last dam before the Imnaha). However, we could sure use more rain to get them moving out of the Snake into the Imnaha. Imnaha CFS is holding around 100cfs. All the same, 4 hatchery steelhead have crossed the pit tag counter at Cow Creek, which translates to a total of 50 -60 above Cow Creek. I spoke with a fisher today that caught one of those fish yesterday. If you know what you are doing, you too should find steelhed in the limited holding water.
8/26 - Trout fishing has been good on the private and public access above and below town. Bull trout have followed the big salmon run upstream, and some are being caught in the upper reaches. I assume bass fishing is good on the lower river near the snake.
STEELHEAD ALERT: OK Kids – it's going to be a good steelhead run this year. Based on counts over Bonniville 17,000 plus fish are headed to the Wallowa (passing thru the Grande Ronde) and Imnaha Rivers. These numbers should equal or exceed the good run of 2011/12. Better yet, over 50% fo the Wallowa/Ronde fish are the big (25”-28”) two salt fish. The Imnaha will have roughly 37% two salt fish. Many of the steelhead are still hanging in the Snake, so we will report as soon as fishing picks up on the Ronde and Imnaha.
GENERAL INFO – IMNAHA RIVER: The Imnaha is a spectacularly beautiful little river. It flows for fifty miles from the base of the Eagle Cap Wilderness to Hells Canyon. The upper river is nestled in huge ponderosa pines. The lower river has steep rocky walls, cactus, and a few rattlers. Fish run up and down the river like a freeway – salmon, steelhead, bull trout, rainbows, whitefish and even bass in the lower river.
The lower river is a wonderful little steelhead fishery. The mid river can be a fair to good trout fishery. The upper river near the FS campgrounds off Hwy 39 is a poor trout fishery because: native trout are not protected; the river is not stocked with trout; the river is glacial fed and does not have many nutriants; and campers tend to “fish-out“ this section of river.
Thanks to the Nature Conservancy and Forest Service, the lower river (the bottom 12 miles from Horse Creek to the Snake) has good public access. There is also a good easement upstream (south) from town for the first three miles. However, the mid river above and below town is mostly private and should not be trespassed. Oregon laws are tough. It is ILLEGAL to hunt or fish on private property without permission – it does not have to be fenced or posted. However, recent information from the Oregon Attorney's Office suggests that if you can float a river in a boat, you can wade and fish it below the high water mark - if you don't trespass when accessing the river.
Grande Ronde River - October 24th, 2014
supplied by: Joseph Fly Shoppe, LLC RECORDED:60 °FISHING: Good
10/24 Tell your boss you will be sick next week. Rains this week were just what the Dr. ordered. This past week the fishing was tough, but the higher flows will move the steelhead upstream. We will try and report if water color becomes a problem.
10/18- Man you should have been hear last Wed-Thur. Little rain - cloudy AND the steelhead were on the bite. The rain bumped the river last week from 650 to 700 - enough to move the fish and put them on the bite. One of my friends picked up five on the swing - everyone picked up at least one around Troy. Now you just have to watch out for the crowds that will descend on this small steelhead Mecca. We have the best steelhead run headed our way in the last four years. And, they moved right up the Columbia and Snake this year. If we could only get a week of nice storms - maybe a wet snow in the Wallowas or Blues - watch out. Over 50% of this year's run up the GR (Wallowa hatchery fish) are the big two salt boys. Come into the Joseph Fly Shoppe for the best selection of steelhead flies and advice in Eastern OR/WA.
10-1 The "good" rating is an average of a "fair" numbers of steelhead, "great" Indian Summer weather, and "good" access to the best holding water (ie: not too many fishers). Grande Ronde CFs is 650, a bit low, but high enough to sneak a raft from Minam to Troy, or a drift boat from Bogans to Shomaker. I am getting regular reports of fish caught at Troy. This will be our best run since the large run of 2010-11. To date, 22% of the Wallowa hatchery run (the run that passes Troy on their way to the two hatcheries on the Wallowa) that have crossed Bonneville have crossed Lower Granite dam - the last dam they cross. Steelhead are being caught in fair numbers in the Snake at the mouth of the Ronde, so we just need some rain. Better schedule your trip soon before the Ronde is too crowded .
9-12 STEELHEAD ALERT: OK Kids – it's going to be a good steelhead run this year. Based on counts over Bonniville 17,000 plus fish are headed to the Wallowa (passing thru the Grande Ronde) and Imnaha Rivers. These numbers should equal or exceed the good run of 2011/12. Better yet, over 50% fo the Wallowa/Ronde fish are the big (25”-28”) two salt fish. The Imnaha will have roughly 37% two salt fish. Many of the steelhead are still hanging in the Snake, so we will report as soon as fishing picks up on the Ronde and Imnaha.
GEN INFO: The Ronde produces some nice size rainbows and bull trout, but because it gets too warm in the summer it is not as good a trout stream as the Wallowa. It is a great steelhead river in the fall/winter/spring (known nation wide for it's top water action). It is also gaining quite a reputation as a small mouth bass strean in it's lower reaches (Troy down)
Wallowa Lake - October 3rd, 2014
supplied by: Joseph Fly Shoppe, LLC RECORDED:70 °FISHING: Fair
The lake has not been stocked since early August and, as a result, fishing for trout has been poor. The lake also became over populated with Kokanee and the fish are very small and the fishing poor.
8/9 The lake was stocked with 6,000 fish this past week - one flyfisher reported catching over 50 on fly this morning.
7/30 Lake has been freshly stocked and is fishing good to very good for trout. Flyfishers are having the best luck swinging nymphs near the river inlet at the south end of the lake. Stike indicators are also working. Moss Green woolly buggers, carey specials or green matuka have done well. Trail these patterns 15" - 20" back with a small, sz 16 - 14 beadhead nymph to give the fish several looks. Small orange soft hackles as a trailer are picking up small Kokanee (no minimum size, so keep these for a nice breakfast)
Kokanee fishing thus far for mid size and large fish has been poor to terrible. As the summer wears on a few in the 6-8" range are being caught.
GENERAL INFO. ODFW is a reporting in a significant shift in the Kokanee fishery. Small kokanee under 10" have increased in recent years from 70,000 to 900,000. The daily catch limit was recently increased from 10/day to 20 (but only 5 over 12". There is less probability of catching the record size fish being caught a few years ago.
Fish small size 18 and 20's in Copper John's, tricos and midges with light tippet. Rubber Leg Stones and leach patterns are effective, also.
Flows are extremely low and water clarity is very good for this time of year as currently no flow of dark, tannin colored water is coming from the Klamath Marsh.
ODFW encourages catch and release in this fishery to promote trophy sized fish as the Williamson River is managed for trophy redband trout.
Fishing for redband trout is best from the confluence of the Sprague River to slack water above Modoc Point Bridge. Most effective fishing occurs from a drift boat as little public access occurs.
Mayflies and caddis, leech and wooly bugger patterns work well.
Give us a call at 541.884.3825 if you have additional questions, or would like to give us your fishing report. Thanks!
Everything is open in this section and no fires are currently burning!
The section from Keno Dam to J.C. Boyle Reservoir (Topsy Reservoir) will re-open for fishing October 1st, 2014. We will update you with a report once its open! We expect it to be good good good!
The Klamath River between JC Boyle Dam to JC Boyle Powerhouse Is an excellent place to dry fly fish when water levels are low (usually early mornings and late afternoons) check water flow estimates before heading out. Fishing can still be productive when water levels are up, but one will have to change fishing tactics. Dead drifting rubber leg stone flies with a small pheasant tail or copper johns can be productive. Also, swinging streamers (leach and seal bugger patterns) across the current can produce fish.
Fish a big caddis and let it swing at the end of the drift-if the fish are picky, use a smaller fly. Also, look for mayfly hatches and match the fly accordingly. Have a fun time!
Make sure to check the regulations as many of the rules changed September 1st.
Fish an ugly bug with a copper swan or prince combo is a good way to get into fish.
Summer steelhead fishing is good. Anglers may want to try nymph patterns, or a big stonefly pattern in combination with a smaller nymph, or standard steelhead patterns. Trout fishing has been very good as well.
Recommended Steelhead flies:
intruders, lady caroline, october caddis pupa, stone flies, green butt skunk, egg patterns (weighted & unweighted) and copper swans.
Wood River - September 29th, 2014
supplied by: Roe Outfitters Oregon Guide Klamath Falls Fly Shop RECORDED:70 °FISHING: Great
Look for the Mahogany Dun hatches (especially during overcast days, which are predicted during the week). Fish light tipped 5x or 6x with a long leader and small fly (size 18, or 20): Make sure not to get too close and spook fish. Some fish can still be picked up with hoppers really close to the bank, but fishing will shift towards the Mahogany’s soon.
With the overcast weather in the forecast look for some good dry fly activity!
Hoppers, Caddis, Caddis Pupa, Beadhead Stonefly,
Piles of leaves in the yard, kids back in school, cool mornings and warm afternoons.... what a great time of year! Fishing on the Lower Deschutes has been solid over the last few weeks. Thanks to lower water temperatures coming out of the dam and plenty of overcast weather days, the river has consistently produced the right conditions for finding steelhead on the swung fly!
Have you checked the fish counts at The Dalles Dam and Sherar's Falls? If so, you are well aware that good numbers of our favorite gamefish are steadily moving upstream through the system. Along with the steelhead, we are seeing a bunch of chinook salmon rolling and jumping in the bigger pools of the lower 30 miles of the Deschutes. These brutes are less likely to grab a fly, but are great to see nonetheless. As the Fall progresses, we can expect the entire 100-mile length of the Lower Deschutes River fill with grabby steelhead. Everything is lining up nicely for another fun season of drifting the canyon, camping and swinging flies for these sea-run redsides.
In the early morning hours before the sun creeps above the canyon walls and hits the water, we've been happy to find steelhead who are eager to take skated dry flies as well as traditional hairwings. Well known patterns like Bombers, Steelhead Caddis and Grease Liners have worked well on the surface, while the usual Green Butt Skunks and Fly Dujours do the job when presented just at- or under the surface. We like to fish smaller sizes when the river is busy with other fisherman, so pick your flies in sizes between #4 and #6 or even #8 if you can find them. Take smaller steps in between your casts when you know your fly is swimming through particularly 'greasy' water and make sure you are showing-off that fly!
Plenty of opportunity to find your fish in the middle of the day exists now that Fall is here to stay. Cooler daytime temps and longer shadows on the water make this possible. Get down and dirty with a medium sink tip in traditional runs or go dredging with heavy tips in the belly of the pools. Fish your bigger-bodied patterns like leaches and intruders in order to incite aggressive strikes. Stick with simple color combinations like blue/black, purple/pink, black/chartreuse and just plain all-black and swing your way through the day in confidence.
We like to keep one spey rod rigged with a floating line and long leader for fishing skaters and hairwings, another spey rod rigged with a sink tip and a leach. This ensures total flexibility as we proceed downstream in pursuit of that TUG.
Keep moving, cover water and HAVE FUN! You'll find your fish this time of year.
Keep Deschutes River Outfitters in mind when visiting the Lower Deschutes River. We specialize in designing single and multi-day trips around your needs. Let us provide you with the right gear for a fun, successful experience in this wild canyon we call our 'office.' We prepare hot streamside lunches on our day trips, while a tasty gourmet menu compliments our fully outfitted multi-day camps. Large tents, sleeping cots and covered dining areas provide our guests with the means to recharge after a long day on the water. With October (our favorite month for steelhead) fast approaching, be sure to call and inquire about available dates.
New to spey casting? No problem. We've got the rods, experience and the patience to get you into the swing of things.
Come on down and join us for a trip you won't forget! Our calendar is filling fast. Call today to reserve your dates!