May 5, 2014

Fishing Report: May 5, 2014

"Get out and Fish ~ Make your own report"
Fishing in the Gorge has been good. There are a lot of options open for anglers around here. For the most part, fishing will continue to improve for Chinook, bass and trout, and decline for steelhead as the spring run comes to an end this month.

Spring Chinook: Numbers have been good going through Bonneville Dam. 109,000 total for the year so far (as of 5/5).

These are well above last year’s numbers (45,000) and the ten year average (69,000). Options are fairly limited for the fly angler, as most known holding runs are pretty busy, and there is not a ton of great access. The Wind River, Drano Lake and the Klickitat River have been kicking out some fish on the Washington side. Drano has been particularly good for the plug-pullers, however a guy with a small boat, sinking line and some bright flies can have a good chance at catching a “Springer” or two if they can stay out of the way of the big boats. The Wind and the “Klick” are only open in the lower few miles, and the Klick is only open a few days a week (Drano is also closed on Wednesdays), so be sure to check the regulations before you go as emergency closures are common. The Hood River is currently open for Spring Chinook, but effort has been light and reports have been limited. Mid-May is typically when catch rates increase in the tributaries.

Trout: There are rumors that Salmonflies have been spotted below Sherar’s Falls on the Deschutes River. This is just a little bit early than normal. We have heard that releases from Pelton Dam apparently have been keeping water temps up enough, along with the nearly 90 degree days we had last week, to get the bugs moving. Get ready, get geared up, they will be here soon. We have a good selection of Salmonfly dries and nymphs for you.

Lost Lake, Kingsley Reservoir and Laurence Lake have been fishing well. We heard of a few big trout and steelhead caught at Kingsley last week (I heard of a few 26” and a 31”). Stripping Woolly Buggers on a full sinking line off the edges of drop-offs has been productive. The Callibaetis hatch can be good if the weather cooperates. A Hare’s Ear Nymphs or a Parachute Adams should produce. Damsels should start popping if the weather is warm for a few days. Dragging a Carey Special around should start taking fish soon on the smaller, lower elevation lakes in the area (that warm up quickly), and later in the month for Lost Lake and other higher elevation lakes. Goose Lake is still inaccessible (snow) along with most of the lakes around Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.

Steelhead: The Hood River is still producing a few steelhead, both late winter and early summer fish. The run is traditionally late here and fishing should be fair to good through May, especially after some rain. Access is always the main problem with the Hood River, but fishing the mouth of the river for a few hours is always a good way to spend an afternoon. No reports from the Sandy or the Clackamas. The Klickitat is closed until June 1 and normally has a few early fish around for the opener. The Deschutes won’t see any steel until August or September.

Cowlitz: Just throwing this out there, because I went up there last weekend. Numbers of steelhead have been excellent through Barrier Dam and at the Blue Creek Hatchery, and the “Springers” are just starting to show up. Also quite a good number of decent sized cutthroat around (saw a nice fat 21” fish). Worth a go if you want to try something new. The floats from Barrier to Blue Creek, or from Blue Creek to Spencer/Massey both have great fly water. Look for flows under 10,000 cfs below Mayfield Dam.

Bass: Haven’t had too many (any) reports, but we saw a convoy of bass boats heading up the gorge last weekend, so assuming there was a tournament of some kind. It’s a good time of year for smallmouth. The impoundments on the sides of the Columbia can be good, as well as the main river if you have a bigger boat. Fish should be looking up and fairly aggressive with the warmer weather. Poppers, Woolly Buggers, Clousers, and Chernobyl Ants should work just fine if you can find the fish. Hopefully, a floating line would be all you need, as they should be in shallow this month. Icehouse Lake, Little Ashes Lake, Rowland Lake, and Horsethief Lakes are good bets on the Washington side of the river. Look for structure near the shore. No reports on the John Day, but I would think that has to do with people keeping their mouths shut instead of a lack of effort.

Shad: We are about a month away from a really fun, underrated fishery. The annual shad run in the Columbia can be really fun, and the action can be non-stop. Small bright flies fished deep and slow near the mouths of the tributaries can make for a really good day if you get the chance.

Give us a shout if you have any questions, need some fly recommendations or want more specific details about any of our local waters. 

Gorge Fly Shop Team

541 386-6977

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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