Oct 19, 2012

Fishing Report - Columbia River Gorge and Beyond

Report for October 19th 2012

GFS Cigar Enthusiast Dan Gordon with his son, Ryan

Heavy rains earlier this week turned Columbia Gorge Area Rivers into raging torrents. The Deschutes, The Klickitat and the Hood River were all blown as of Thursday morning, but nice weather over the past two days has worked to bring the rivers back around. Yesterday, there were reports of two feet of visibility near the mouth of the Deschutes with a returning hint of green. The Hood and Klickitat are following suit and we should expect fishing to pick up over the weekend.

Little Fly

This brings me to the high water conversation. Although no one wants to be standing in the river when she blows, catching the river on the drop can mean great steelheading opportunities. First, added color can bring fish in tighter to shore and boost their sense of security during hours of high sun. Flies – especially larger profiled flies – can really stand out against a sunny backdrop. Furthermore, anytime river levels surge, you will likely get some movement and a resettling of fish. Certain rivers like The Hood, which runs extremely low during the summer, may draw in some fish after a large bump in levels. In most cases, level surges will wake fish up, get them moving and stir their emotions as they settle into new lies.

Skating the Dry

It’s been a tough year steelheading wise, but it should be considering that we have experienced banner runs the previous 3 years. Steelhead should teach lessons in humility, or else they risk losing their identity! On the Deschutes, depending on who you talk to, hookups are averaging somewhere between zero and two per day (per angler), but the size of the fish have on average, been larger. Talking with my pal Jeff Hickman, who operates Fish the Swing, the majority of fish hooked in recent weeks have been between 12 – 15 pounds with some stories of fish that could not be controlled and who burglarized entire spools of fly line, and backing. Working all day for a fish like that brings the steelhead aura back home.

October Hen

As we get deeper into October and November, embrace that sink tip of yours and weighted flies where necessary. Start eying slower portions of the river and keep your eyes peeled for spawning King flats. Steelies can often be found below areas of staged Kings awaiting little round balls of protein.


For those looking to hook a few trout on the Deschutes, this is a fine time to try. Anglers fishing around Maupin will want to focus their energies above the confluence with the White River this weekend if she continues to dump mud. Bugs to be thinking about are October Caddis, Blue Wing Olives, and Midges. A great surface setup to try is an adult October Caddis (size 8) trailed by a BWO emerger or midge pupae. Fish it as a dead drift and finish it into a swing. Trout will often rise to a skittering caddis or immature bugs rising to the surface. Nymphing with October Caddis Pupae trailed by size 18-20 pheasant tails, hares ears and disco midges can work very well when nothing’s doing on top. If the fish are keying in on Blue Wing Olives, fish a size 18-20 adult followed by a cripple or an emerger.

Battle Scars

Have a good time,

1 comment :

Stay up to date: Free Newsletter Sign Up

  © 'and' Steelhead.com Mike Prine 2009-2014

Back to TOP