Feb 22, 2012

Oregon Fishing Report 02-22-12 - Columbia River Gorge and Beyond

Our rivers are raging, but this is a good thing – not particularly for today, but for the ones that follow.

We want to catch the rivers on the drop, after a good push of water. As waters rise, fish will start to move and their emotions start to flare. Nothing raises the hormone level like a rising river. It is possibly a signal to them - that there is some sort of purpose to their journey other than merely hunkering down into a hole and playing it safe.

Often, they’ll push right by you while they are taken by this inherent need to travel. Days when the river is rising and the fish are on the move can prove difficult, as they simply don’t care- they don’t want to be interrupted by some wishful fly pattern. But sometimes, even on a rising flow, you can find them. Check the tailouts… check the soft, inside at the head of the pool. You may find one catching a breather with enough energy to spare.

Keep a close eye on the water levels. Although you may have that sweet spot level in mind, part of the fun is exploring new water that different levels can offer. A spot that resembles a highway at one flow, may often look more like a steelie motel in a higher flow. There is no greater sensation in fishing than when that “light bulb goes off” - when intuition and a flexible mind pay off. When the graph starts to fall, get out there – no matter the level. If the water is still chocolate, maybe go tie some flies. But, if there is any tint of green to the water at all, give it a shot. When the river is high, you will find most of your fish on the inside. Even a one foot deep tailout can hold fish if there is enough color in the water. Keep your sink tips light enough to keep that fly swimming in the soft flow!

We got a big, wet system on our hands, and our rivers are swallowing it up but keep a watchful eye on the graphs. By the weekend, we might start to get a little visibility back. Although most of your typical haunts may likely be out, take a walk. Follow your intuition – they are still in there, somewhere.

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