Jul 26, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (July 26th)

photo credit: Greg Darling (Bass Pro Greg)
Fishing Report

There is still some cold water out there to fish, but the warmwater fishing has been fabulous and this summer really provides anglers with a great opportunity to expand their horizons. Exploring new fisheries and catching different fish will really help one to become a better angler. 
A great article appeared in the Seattle Times this weekend about the warm water in the Columbia and the fate of the Sockeye Salmon in the river.  Worth the read to keep informed about what is happening here.

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River and Columbia River along with many of the impoundments along the freeway on both the WA and OR side of the Gorge.  The bass have been fairly deep in the Columbia, but they have been eating top-water poppers early in the morning.  If you are looking for a guilt-free day of fishing where you are nearly guaranteed to catch a couple dozen fish, head out to the John Day with a 4wt or 5wt rod and a grasshopper pattern and go to town on those fish.  Cottonwood Canyon State Park is the best, easiest access (there are many miles of private property on the JD). 

Tiger Muskie fishing is a great option right now.  They are found in several lakes in Washington and were planted to keep nuisance species in check.  Mayfield Reservoir is always full, or close to it, and it is full of fish.  This sterile cross between a Northern Pike and a Muskellenge grows large and is a real challenge to catch.  Merwin Lake is an hour closer to us and also has them, along with Lake Tapps near Sumner, WA, Green Lake in Seattle, and Evergreen Reservoir near Ephrata, WA.  Mayfield is the lake with the best structure and generally best conditions to catch them, but any of these lakes will kick out a fish to a lucky angler.  A 10wt or 11wt rod with a Rio Outbound Short, a steel leader and small baitfish patterns will give you a shot at this crazy fish. 

Carp fishing has been a bit spotty, but any angler that puts in the time will find them.  Sometimes they are stacked in the shallow areas of the Columbia River and the impoundments next to the highways, but sometimes they are nowhere to be found.  Putting a few miles on the car to find them should be rewarded eventually with a pod of tailing fish. 

For Summer Steelhead, the Klickitat River still has a bit of flow to it, along with decently cold water temps.  While there is no USGS or NOAA temperature gauge on the river, several dedicated anglers keep us up-to-date with water temps.  It has been between 52 and 54 in the mornings lately, but again; expect that to change as we see 100+ degree temps within the next week.  The clarity of the river was good as of Saturday morning, but it should start muddying up with this heat wave, but the next few days should be good.    

The Deschutes River has been fishing well in the lower part of the river.  Temps have stayed below 70 for the most part and there are definitely fish being caught on the swing.  Keep an eye on the temps during the next week or two and get off the river if it is approaching 70.  The river does close at 2:00 pm every day downstream of Mack’s Canyon.  Everyone should pick up a thermometer if they plan on fishing the D in the next few weeks; and we do sell them…

While water is low and warm, there are still some good places to go trout fishing.  The Deschutes River near Warm Springs/Madras has been good right before dark as trout really get active on caddis.  While nice trout can be caught during the day on small nymphs like #20 pheasant tails, hare’s ears and copper johns, the best action is the last half hour before dark.  The Metolious River is always cold and a great place to spend a day stalking trout in a spooky spring creek.  The Crooked River near Prineville can be very productive if the fish are in the right mood.  It takes stable outflow from the dam for the fish to get really active, but a good day there is unrivalled in the area.  I would work small nymphs under a hopper pattern on the Crooked River. Eagle Creek near Bonneville Dam has been kicking out some beautiful trout.  Although it is under “hoot-owl” regulations (closes at 2:00 daily), the water is cold and the trout are generally eager to eat a dry fly. 

Lost Lake is still fishing very well, although the trout are deeper than most guys want to fish.  A type V sinking line with a weighted Thin Mint trolled very slowly will produce fish consistently all day long. 

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office. 

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Jul 22, 2015

Tarpon Anticipation

So you hear that anticipation is half the fun of going on a trip. Well I have to agree. 

 Two months ago I was invited on a very exclusive hard to book tarpon trip in florida. Where? Can't tell you, if I do I don't get to go back, EVER! Have you ever seen the movie Location X? Well if you haven't, find it watch it and tell me about it, it is all sold out and I have been looking for it. That is where I am going!

I have heard a ton about this amazing tarpon fishery and now I have a chance to go! So now I am at Buffalo Wild Wings in Portland Oregon having a cold beer thinking about the trip. I have an early flight out in the morning to Orlando Florida where I will meet up with my buddy Tom Larimer who is attending ICAST, the world fishing and fly fishing trade show. From there we will head out to our destination.

I have been trying to picture this trip in my mind. For a while now, I keep playing out how the day will go; We spot tarpon, keep calm, hit your target, set the hook, the fight begins! I want that picture of me chest deep in the water holding a 100 plus pound tarpon!

Knowing my shoulders are both shot can I really battle the silver king? Well we will see.

The point is half the fun of the trip is the anticipation, the processing. Remember that all last longer than the trip. Adventure that is what it is all about, if everything was the same it would be boring.

Update coming soon.

Travis Duddles
Owner and CEO | Gorge Fly Shop

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Jul 21, 2015

OPST - Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics - In Stock!

Most of the Fly Fishing industry moves along day to day, year after year following a standardize path of success. Somewhat boring and true! There comes a time when every product starts to look the same and your vision gets blurred. Just when you're about to schedule an eye exam something new comes into focus and you reach a conclusion that a different way of thinking is all you needed to correct your vision. 

To find a Different Way of Thinking all you have to do is look to the anglers who live their lives everyday doing what drives their passion. This is where you will find the latest franken flies, basement lines and a collaboration of out of the box thinking that happens with a drink in hand after long days on the river with like minded anglers forever reaching for the pursuit of perfection!

Ed Ward and Jerry French are exactly the kind of anglers to who are not afraid of a Different Way of Thinking and with that collaboration came OPST (Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics)

Two new OPST products got my attention real quick. Pure Skagit Commando Heads and Pure Skagit Lazer Line.

OPST Commando Heads - 

OPST's Commando Heads represent the culmination of decades of innovation in Skagit casting by Ed Ward and Jerry French. Ed and Jerry were at the forefront of the "Skagit Revolution", and they have been refining skagit fishing techniques ever since. These are remarkably efficient, easily casts and enjoyable for the simple reason that they are specifically designed for SAS (Sustained Anchor Systemology). The philosophy behind SAS is simple: The Skagit cast is a water base cast with the rod load coming from the tension between the water surface and the line. As Such a sustained anchor cast where the fly remains stationary until the final power stroke is the most efficient form of casting. Our lines are shorter than traditional skagit lines and perform exceedingly well with a continuous "out and around" casting stroke. There is no pause before the final stroke and the cast is one continuous motion. Pure Skagit lines take beginning casters and make them effective. They take experienced casters to a whole new universe of casting pleasure. Our Commando heads excel on conventional two hand "Spey" rods but are optimized for shorter switch rods from 10 -12 foot.

But where these lines really get interesting is in single hand casting. We have taken two handed casting theory, traditionally associated with steelhead and salmon and applied it to the micro end of the spectrum. Now you can skagit cast and swing flies for everything from sea run cutthroat trout to smallmouth bass to panfish with rods as light as a 3 weight, and as short as 6 foot. The same principals of sustained anchor and water load apply. You can haul or not, back cast or not, roll cast, skagit cast, just about whatever you want to do, these lines will do it and they will fly off your rod tip.

Commando Head Specs -
SKU Head Weight Length Color Sink Rate
PS-150 150gr 12ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-175 175gr 12ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-200 200gr 13.5ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-225 225gr 13.5ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-250 250gr 13.5ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-275 275gr 13.5ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-300 300gr 15ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-325 325gr 15ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-350 350gr 15ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-375 375gr 15ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-400 400gr 16.5ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-425 425gr 16.5ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-450 450gr 18ft Sauk Blue Float
PS-475 475gr 18ft Sauk Blue Float

Lazer Line - 

Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics Pure Skagit Lazer Line is the slickest running line out there. This is a line for those of us who love to launch a cast, sit back, maybe eat a sandwich while the line rushes out of the guides and pulls line off the reel as is comes tight. Lazer Line is hydrophobic, extremely durable, consistent over a broad range of temperatures and virtually impervious to memory. It features a slight, calculated stretch that allows for extremely sleek and strong knots. This stuff will rock with your Scandi head as well. We searched far and wide for the perfect running line and knew we could do better than what was on the current market. Pure Skagit Lazer Line is quickly becoming the favorite running line of fisherman all over the world...Find out why!

Features -
  • 50 meters
  • Hydrophobic
  • Exceptional durability
  • Consistent performance in varying temperate conditions
  • No permanent Memory
  • High Visibility
  • Beautiful Knots
  • Calculated stretch
Specs -
SKU Diameter Line Size Color Total Length
RL-01 0.405mm 25lb HiVis 50 meters
RL-02 0.435mm 30lb HiVis 50 meters
RL-03 0.470mm 35lb HiVis 50 meters
RL-04 0.520mm 40lb HiVis 50 meters
RL-05 0.570mm 50lb HiVis 50 meters

Check out this video for a great explanation of SAS

In conclusion if your skagit cast is getting a bit vision blurred before you call your optometrist set your sites on a Different Way of Thinking! It might just be what the doctored ordered...


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Jul 20, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (July 20th)

This week’s fishing report will be only an update on fishing restrictions right now. Please read carefully and know the regulations for whatever area you plan on being in.

For our region; Klickitat and Hood Rivers are open all day (for now), while the Deschutes closes at 2:00 daily below Mack’s Canyon. The Deschutes remains open all day from Mack’s Canyon upstream.

ODFW takes action to help native fish

Thursday, July 16, 2015
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has curtailed fishing hours on most of Oregon’s rivers to avoid additional stress on native fish already suffering from high water temperatures and low stream flows from this year’s drought.
Effective Saturday, July 18, and until further notice, all waterbodies defined as streams in the 2015 Oregon Sportfishing Regulations are closed above tidewater (where applicable) to fishing for trout, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon from 2 p.m. to one hour before sunrise.
Angling for these species will be prohibited at all times in the Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls, including the Clackamas River up to the Interstate 205 Bridge, the Multnomah Channel and the Gilbert River. The following sections of the John Day River will also have complete closures:  The mainstem of the John Day River above Indian Creek near Prairie City; the Middle Fork of the John Day River above Mosquito Creek near the town of Galena; the North Fork of the John Day River above Desolation Creek and Desolation Creek.
Some streams will remain open for angling under normal hours because they are less prone to high water temperature risks due to springs, tides, cold water releases from some dams and high elevations.
Streams that will remain open for angling under normal hours are:
Northeast Zone:
  • The Wallowa River above Sunrise Road; Lostine River above Pole Bridge Campground; Prairie Creek; Hurricane Creek; Spring Creek; and all streams within the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.
Southeast Zone:
  • The Malheur River and its tributaries; the Owyhee River below the Owyhee Reservoir; and the Blitzen River and its tributaries above Page Springs Weir and Bridge Creek.
  • The Klamath River and its tributaries.
Central Zone:
  • The Deschutes River above Macks Canyon; the Metolius River; the Fall River; the Crooked River (from mouth to Bowman Dam); and Tumalo Creek.
  • The Hood River and its tributaries and the White River and its tributaries.
Willamette Zone:
  • The McKenzie River and its tributaries; the Middle Fork of the Willamette River below Dexter Dam; the Middle Fork of the Willamette River and its tributaries above Lookout Point Reservoir; and Alton Baker Canoe Canal.
  • The mainstem of the South Santiam River below Foster Dam; Quartzville Creek; the North Santiam River above Detroit Lake; and the Breitenbush River.
Southwest Zone:
  • The mainstem Rogue River from Fishers Ferry upstream to William Jess Dam and all tributaries upstream of the William Jess Dam and Lost Creek Reservoir.
Angling in the mainstem Columbia River and mainstem Snake River is not affected by today’s action, and angling hours in these areas will remain under normal regulations at this time.  However, a Columbia River Compact/Joint State hearing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 via teleconference to discuss curtailment of recreational catch-and-release sturgeon fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.
“Earlier this month, we indicated that if these drought conditions continued, we may have to close or restrict some fisheries,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW’s recreation fisheries manager. “These are difficult, but necessary actions to protect native fish already suffering from extreme drought conditions.”
“This doesn’t mean that all fishing has to stop.” According to Gauvin, most streams will still be open in the early hours when water temperatures are cool, and there are many great fishing opportunities in lakes, reservoirs for hatchery stocked rainbow trout, warmwater fish like, smallmouth bass or crappie, as well as all of the ocean fisheries.
“As extreme weather events become more frequent due to climate change, we need to be prepared for the stress these conditions will have on fish, wildlife and their habitats,” Ed Bowles, Fish Division Administrator said. “Planning for the effects of these changing climatic conditions presents a unique challenge for us, yet we are committed to doing our best to enhance resiliency to climate change and avoid significant impacts on our natural resources.”
ODFW already implemented emergency regulations on several other rivers. In addition, trout stocking schedules and locations have been adjusted and some hatchery fish have been released early as a result of high water temperatures. Elevated water temperatures have led to salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon deaths in several rivers.
Gauvin encourages the public to report sightings of stranded fish, or other wildlife distressed by drought, to the department and to take precautions when fishing during these drought conditions.
On days when temperatures soar, anglers can do their part to reduce the stress on fish by adopting the following measures:
  • Fish early in day when water temperatures are cooler.
  • Use a thermometer to check water temperatures frequently. Stop fishing when temperatures exceed 70 degrees.
  • Consider changing locations to high elevation lakes or shaded streams near headwaters. These places are often cooler.
  • Use barbless hooks so you can release fish easily without harming them.
  • Use the appropriate gear and land fish quickly. The longer the fight, the less likely the fish will survive.
  • Keep the fish in the water when you unhook it and cradle the fish upright until it revives enough to swim away.
  • Use your judgement. If conditions where you want to fish seem especially severe (low, hot water), consider fishing somewhere else where water conditions are better.
  • Check the regulation update pages on the ODFW website before you head out to make sure temporary emergency regulations have not been put in place for the waters you want to fish.
Gauvin recommends anglers check the weekly Recreation Report on the ODFW website for updates on stocking, water conditions and boating access.
In addition to fish and fishing related actions, the dry, warm weather could increase the danger of wildfires. Wildland fires can destroy hundreds, sometimes thousands, of acres of habitat. Late season fires may also affect hunting season dates, hunting opportunities and the condition of winter range for deer, elk and other species. Fewer water holes means wildlife will have to travel farther for water. Leave wildlife access to water by not camping at water sources.
Less water will also increase competition for placement of hunting blinds amongst hunters. Setting up a blind at a water hole is a common and lawful practice but hunters are asked to be extra considerate of other hunters and wildlife this year. Also, follow land manager’s regulations and don’t set up blinds too early or leave them indefinitely. BLM allows hunting blinds to be up for 10 days. U.S. Forest Service requires a permit and also has a time limitation.
The Bureau of Land Management does not allow camping within 300 feet of water sources; U.S. Forest Service rules vary by forest and area.
See the Oregon Department of Forestry’s webpage for latest fire restrictions and check their Corporate Closure page for information about access to private timberland, or call the landowner.
In the effort to raise awareness of the dire conditions that Oregon faces this summer, Governor Brown's office has created a website for more information,www.drought.oregon.gov, and launched the “#ORdrought” campaign.

States close sturgeon fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam

Thursday, July 16, 2015
CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Columbia River will close to sturgeon fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam until further notice under temporary rules adopted by the states of Oregon and Washington.
The closure takes effect on Saturday, July 18 and applies from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border upstream of McNary Dam, including adjacent tributaries. All sturgeon angling, including catch-and-release, and retention is prohibited until further notice in this portion of the river.
Fishery managers approved the closure after reviewing survey reports that showed increased sturgeon mortality as a result of the drought conditions in some of the mid-Columbia River reservoirs.
“What we’re seeing right now is higher levels of summer mortality and indications that sturgeon are under a lot of stress this summer. This is something we can do immediately to give them some relief,” said Chris Kern, deputy administrator of ODFW’s fish division.
The sturgeon fishing closure above Bonneville is the latest emergency action aimed at reducing stress on the region’s fish populations, which are experiencing unprecedented challenges due to high water temperatures and related factors.
Earlier today, ODFW announced a series of statewide restrictions curtailing fishing hours after 2 p.m. on most of Oregon’s rivers to avoid additional stress on native fish already suffering from high water temperatures and low stream flows from this year’s drought. Included in this action was a total closure to all angling for trout, salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in the lower Willamette River and lower Clackamas River from upstream to the I-205 Bridge. These closures also take effect Saturday, July 18. However, normal fishing hours remain in effect for the mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers.
Fish biologists are appealing to anglers to adopt additional voluntary measures that will help reduce stress on the region’s fish. Suggestions include fishing early in the day, moving to higher elevation lakes and ponds, shifting their focus from trout to warmwater species, using barbless hooks, and notifying authorities if they see mortalities or fish trapped in pools.


600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

July 16, 2015
Contact: Region 1, Chris Donley, (509) 892-1001, ext. 307
Region 2, Jeff Korth, (509) 754-4624, ext. 224
Region 3, John Easterbrooks, (509) 457-9330
Region 4, Annette Hoffman, (425) 775-1311, ext. 120
Region 5, Cindy Le Fleur, (360) 696-6211, ext. 6708

Drought conditions prompt fishing
closures, restrictions on numerous rivers
OLYMPIA – State fishery managers are closing or restricting fishing on more than 30 rivers throughout Washington to help protect fish in areas where drought conditions have reduced flows and increased water temperatures.  
The closures and restrictions take effect Saturday (July 18) at 12:01 a.m. The changes will remain in effect until further notice.
Fishing will be closed in some waters, and limited in others each day to the hours between midnight and 2 p.m. These “hoot-owl” restrictions will go into effect on rivers where fishery managers want to reduce stress on fish during the hottest time of day.
High water temperatures can be deadly for fish, such as trout, while diminished stream flows can strand migrating salmon and steelhead, said Craig Burley, fish program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“With such extreme drought conditions in several areas of the state, we needed to take these steps to help protect vulnerable fish in waters where we have concerns,” Burley said. “We’ll continue monitoring stream conditions throughout Washington this summer and take additional actions if necessary.”
For details on the closures and restrictions, check the emergency regulations, which will be posted tomorrow on WDFW’s webpage athttps://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
Fishing closures and restrictions are listed by region below. Today’s action does not include any rivers in Region 6 (South Sound/Olympic Peninsula). However, earlier this summer, the department closed fishing on a section of the Sol Duc River to protect returning chinook during drought conditions.
Region 1 – Eastern Washington
Closed to fishing:
  • North Fork Touchet River above Spangler Creek.
  • South Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Griffen Fork and above Griffen Fork.
  • Wolf Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Coates Creek and Robinson Fork.
  • Asotin Creek and tributaries (Asotin Co.) from the mouth to headwaters.
  • Kettle River and all tributaries (Ferry Co.) from the Barstow Bridge to the headwaters, all portions contained within Washington.
Hoot-owl restrictions:
  • Walla Walla River (Walla Walla Co.) from McDonald Road Bridge to the Oregon State Boundary.
  • Touchet River (Columbia/Walla Walla Co.) from the mouth to the confluence of the North and South forks.
  • North Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Spangler Creek.
  • Tucannon River (Columbia/Garfield Co.) From the Highway 12 Bridge to Cow Camp Bridge.
  • Spokane River (Spokane/Lincoln Co.) from upstream boundary at Plese Flats Day Use Area to the Idaho State Boundary.
  • Spokane River tributaries, including Little Spokane River and tributaries (Spokane/Pend Oreille/Stevens Counties) from the State Route 25 Bridge upstream to Monroe Street Dam.
  • Colville River and all tributaries (Stevens Co.) from the mouth to the headwaters.
  • Sullivan Creek and all tributaries (Pend Oreille Co.) from the mouth to the headwaters.
Region 2 – North Central Washington
Closed to fishing:
  • Wenatchee River (Chelan Co.) from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge.
  • Icicle River (Chelan Co.) from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
  • Lake Wenatchee (Chelan Co.)
  • Okanogan River from the Hwy 97 bridge upstream to Zosel Dam, except open to game fish fishing.
  • Similkameen River from the mouth upstream to Enloe Dam.
Region 3 – South Central Washington
Closed to fishing:
  • Ahtanum Creek, including the north and middle forks
  • Little Naches River
  • Teanaway River, including west, middle and north forks
Hoot-owl restrictions:
  • Naches River from Tieton River to Bumping River/Little Naches River
  • Rattlesnake Creek
Region 4 – North Puget Sound
Closed to fishing:
  • Raging River (King Co.) from the mouth upstream.
  • Skykomish River (Snohomish Co.) from the mouth upstream closed to all fishing, except the section around Reiter Ponds remains open from the Gold Bar/Big Eddy Access (Hwy. 2 Bridge) upstream to the confluence of the North and South forks.
  • Wallace River (Snohomish Co.). From the mouth upstream including all tributaries.
  • Stillaguamish River (Skagit/Snohomish Co.) From Marine Drive upstream including the North and South forks and all tributaries.
  • South Fork Nooksack (Whatcom Co.) From the mouth to Skookum Creek, and from Wanlick Creek to headwaters including Wanlick and all tributaries.
  • Suiattle River (Skagit Co.) Tributaries Buck, Downey and Sulpher Creeks.
Hoot-owl restrictions:
  • North Fork Skykomish River (Snohomish Co.) From the mouth upstream including all tributaries.
  • South Fork Skykomish River (Snohomish/King Co.) From Sunset Falls upstream and all tributaries, including the Beckler, Foss, Miller and Rapid rivers and their tributaries.
  • Sauk River (Skagit/Snohomish Co.) Above the Suiattle River including the North Fork to the falls and the South Fork to headwaters.
  • Samish River (Skagit Co.) From I-5 to headwaters, and Friday Creek upstream.
Region 5 – Southwest Washington
Closed to fishing:
  • East Fork Lewis River from Lewisville Park downstream.
  • Washougal River from Mt. Norway Bridge downstream.
Hoot-owl restrictions:
  • East Fork Lewis River from Lewisville Park upstream.
  • Washougal River from Mt. Norway Bridge upstream.
WDFW has also closed fishing for spring chinook on the Grande Ronde River in eastern Washington due to low river flows.

For more information about drought’s impact on fish and wildlife, visit WDFW’s drought webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/drought/.

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