May 12, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports

Fly Fishing Reports
Photo Credit Andrew Perrault

Gorge Fly Shop Fishing Report Archive 

May 11, 2015

Fishing continues to be consistent around the area for a variety of species and situations. May is a great time to be out on the water.

Rainbow Trout on the Deschutes River are the primary focus for our area fly anglers right now. This is very typical during the second half of May. The Salmonfly hatch has moved upstream of Maupin now and fish have turned on to the dry flies throughout a large portion of the river. Drowning a rubber-leg nymph under an indicator will produce nice fish early in the morning, but the dry fly action should be good this week through most of the river during the day, with both Golden Stone and Salmonfly patterns. A small caddis pattern should also catch some nice fish in the evenings if they turn off of the stoneflies.

Remember that there is NO FISHING FROM A BOAT ON THE DESCHUTES and also, fishing on the Warm Springs Reservation is highly regulated, so check the regulations before you start fishing on the wrong side… Some sections require a permit and others are prohibited all together.

Spring Chinook are still showing in decent numbers. It is getting to be the mid-point in the run and we are looking at a great year so far. A few guys have picked them up on fly rods, but the best action has been on bait or plugs at Drano Lake and the Wind River, where boat anglers are producing good catch rates and nice bright fish. There are few fish still in the Lower Klickitat and Hood River, (the trap at Lyle Falls on the Klickitat only had one fish per day for several days last week), but both of those rivers historically fish better starting after Mother’s Day. Targeting Chinook on a fly rod is still a frustrating game, but I never underestimate a stubborn man with a good fly rod.

Just a reminder… the Klickitat River is only open below Lyle Falls (mile 1.4) and is only open there on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.... The river above LYLE FALLS is currently closed, and opens for summer steelhead on JUNE 1. Drano Lake is also closed on Wednesdays…

Winter Steelhead fishing has been done for a few weeks now, but historically, there are usually a few early Summer Steelhead in the area this time of year. The Clackamas, Sandy and the Kalama all tend to get an early summer steelhead run, usually starting in May. There is generally very little pressure this time of year for summer steelhead on those rivers. Traditionally, our summer fish don’t start showing up in the Gorge until quite a bit later in the season. There are usually a few (very few) caught early in June on the Klickitat after it opens, but then it is typically pretty tough until mid to late August when temps start to fall and the water clarity cleans up. (The Klickitat and Hood both run very muddy during the summer).

Smallmouth Bass are a really good option right now in the Columbia River, with bigger fish working the shallows aggressively. The level of the Columbia has gone up and down over three feet this past week, which dramatically reduced the productivity of bass fishing last week; but it was just temporarily. Things should level out a bit as the two local dams should be wrapping up their annual high-water push to get the salmon smolt downstream and fishing should return to its near epic levels. The fluctuations of river level move the fish around a lot and make it harder to keep their whereabouts in check. The bass would prefer a steady flow, and we should see more of that coming up soon.

The “smallies” are chowing down on a variety of flies, such as clousers, crayfish and big woolly buggers. A floating or intermediate sinking line will work just fine with an 8-10# leader and a six or seven weight fly rod. A boat is nice, and a float tube works great in a lot of places if the wind is down, but there are plenty of places that one can fish from shore.

The John Day River has also been fishing really well for smallmouth bass. It is a lot easier to access and the fish are very easy to catch. They love topwater poppers, ants, grasshoppers and dragonflies. There are plenty of fish, but the big 3#+ fish are less common than in the Columbia this time of year. It is a great place to take someone new to fishing, or if you have had a rough winter of steelheading and need to get that rod bent with little effort.

Many of our local lakes are fishing well right now for Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout. Pick a lake and it is likely fishing well. Timothy and Trillium Lakes near Government Camp, OR are both producing some very nice trout as well as Rock Creek Reservoir near Wamic, OR. Lost Lake is always a good spot to catch some fish, but not much in the way of solitude. The same goes for Kingsley Reservoir near Hood River. It’s a good fishery, but it is crowded with all walks of life from four wheelers and motorbikers to drunken twenty-somethings on vinyl alligator pool floats.

Goose Lake near Trout Lake, WA has been excellent for numbers of smaller trout. Rowland, Spearfish and Horsethief Lakes are fishing very well for stocked rainbows, as well as Maryhill Pond on the Washington side of Biggs Junction.

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.

Andrew Perrault
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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