Jul 14, 2012

Fishing Report - Columbia River Gorge and Beyond

Report for July 15th, 2012

They're Back - Deschutes River Hen

Things are heating up on the Deschutes in more ways than one. Steelhead are around near the mouth but water temps are again pushing 70 in late afternoon into the evening so it’s best to get an early start out there. If it feels like bathwater, then folks should probably give them fish a break, because you will kill them. If you have a thermometer, 68 is a good time to quit. They might swim away after battle, but their chances of making it are not good. Besides, they’re not as grabby in these temperatures, so concentrate on the early mornings with a dry line and then maybe some tip work through noon or early afternoon. Swing by the shop for some great, traditional hair wing patterns or sift through our giant selection of “dirty” sink tip flies.

On the trout end this time of year, my favorite go-to fly is the X-Caddis. This is an awesome searching pattern when covering rocky seams and shade lines. It’s kind of a crossover pattern as well; using an adolescent hind-end to mimic smaller mayflies that may be popping out there. If you want to tandem with this fly, try one of Silvey’s Edible Emergers on the back end. Both these patterns are light, castible and fun to fish. Have some Floatant on you and some Dry Shake to keep your flies floating well, because these fish may not be “smart” but their instincts are pretty tuned up! Early AM – be thinking about spent Caddis. You can often tell by the way the trout is feeding whether it they are keyed in on dead flies. Their rise-forms are very subdued. Big fish will rise very lazily and you might only see the slightest bit of nose and dorsal as they sip these off the surface.

Once the day get’s going and the sun get’s proud, look to start nymphing those faster, rocky slots. High-sticking is a great way to cover these areas, because you can get close, add a lot of weight, and drop your patterns quickly through the structure with great line-control.

Elsewhere in the area, steelhead are streaming into the Klickitat, and lucky for them, they got some great cover with dirty melt water. Now, the Klick is interesting, because there are times of the day, when she might come back around. If visibility is tough, but there is a hint of green to the water, well then fish on. I’ve made the drive over there many times only to be turned around by muddy waters. But sometimes you hit it right and there is just enough clarity to hook em up good. I like fishing either a 10 foot Tip of T-11 or T-14 (Rio MOW Tips Medium and Heavy) over there in these conditions. Of course, you can really play with depth by choosing a weighted or unweighted fly. Try a large-profiled, dark fly (love them purples or black and blues). Think big silhouettes in this type of water – and don’t be afraid of the sun, because light can really pronounce the fly. And make sure you’re not hanging up on the inside. You want that fly alive in the soft, inside part of the run. And let it marinate for a few seconds before stripping in for the next cast. Give that fish a little more time to make up its mind.

The Hood River is low and dirty, with very few fish around.

Back in the Swing - Deschutes River
Bassin’ is now heavy out on the John Day. Fish here are real grabby to the fly and often, small poppers will lead the way. Popping flies is wicked fun with lot’s of smaller fish on the attack. However, for the big ones, it often helps to get down near the bottom with some weighted streamers.

You might not find these ludicrous numbers on the Columbia, but you just might land that 5-6 pounder. The best time for top-water patterns will be early in the morning but as the day lengthens, expect to find them deeper – in those transition zones on slanting shelves. Rio Deep 4 and Rio Deep 6 full sinking lines will get you there.

All the area lakes are now open and fishing really well. This is a great time to get your Pontoon Boats and Float Tubes out there and cast a line or simply kick back and take it all in. Reports from Lawrence Lake, Goose Lake and Lost Lake are to be as expected, with fish taking buggers and the occasional Caddis and Calibaetis. Also, it’s best to have some flying ants in your box, as we are entering into that time of year when these become prolific trout fare.

Have a good time,
Duffy & The GFS Team

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