Jul 26, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (July 26th)

photo credit: Greg Darling (Bass Pro Greg)
Fishing Report

There is still some cold water out there to fish, but the warmwater fishing has been fabulous and this summer really provides anglers with a great opportunity to expand their horizons. Exploring new fisheries and catching different fish will really help one to become a better angler. 
A great article appeared in the Seattle Times this weekend about the warm water in the Columbia and the fate of the Sockeye Salmon in the river.  Worth the read to keep informed about what is happening here.

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River and Columbia River along with many of the impoundments along the freeway on both the WA and OR side of the Gorge.  The bass have been fairly deep in the Columbia, but they have been eating top-water poppers early in the morning.  If you are looking for a guilt-free day of fishing where you are nearly guaranteed to catch a couple dozen fish, head out to the John Day with a 4wt or 5wt rod and a grasshopper pattern and go to town on those fish.  Cottonwood Canyon State Park is the best, easiest access (there are many miles of private property on the JD). 

Tiger Muskie fishing is a great option right now.  They are found in several lakes in Washington and were planted to keep nuisance species in check.  Mayfield Reservoir is always full, or close to it, and it is full of fish.  This sterile cross between a Northern Pike and a Muskellenge grows large and is a real challenge to catch.  Merwin Lake is an hour closer to us and also has them, along with Lake Tapps near Sumner, WA, Green Lake in Seattle, and Evergreen Reservoir near Ephrata, WA.  Mayfield is the lake with the best structure and generally best conditions to catch them, but any of these lakes will kick out a fish to a lucky angler.  A 10wt or 11wt rod with a Rio Outbound Short, a steel leader and small baitfish patterns will give you a shot at this crazy fish. 

Carp fishing has been a bit spotty, but any angler that puts in the time will find them.  Sometimes they are stacked in the shallow areas of the Columbia River and the impoundments next to the highways, but sometimes they are nowhere to be found.  Putting a few miles on the car to find them should be rewarded eventually with a pod of tailing fish. 

For Summer Steelhead, the Klickitat River still has a bit of flow to it, along with decently cold water temps.  While there is no USGS or NOAA temperature gauge on the river, several dedicated anglers keep us up-to-date with water temps.  It has been between 52 and 54 in the mornings lately, but again; expect that to change as we see 100+ degree temps within the next week.  The clarity of the river was good as of Saturday morning, but it should start muddying up with this heat wave, but the next few days should be good.    

The Deschutes River has been fishing well in the lower part of the river.  Temps have stayed below 70 for the most part and there are definitely fish being caught on the swing.  Keep an eye on the temps during the next week or two and get off the river if it is approaching 70.  The river does close at 2:00 pm every day downstream of Mack’s Canyon.  Everyone should pick up a thermometer if they plan on fishing the D in the next few weeks; and we do sell them…

While water is low and warm, there are still some good places to go trout fishing.  The Deschutes River near Warm Springs/Madras has been good right before dark as trout really get active on caddis.  While nice trout can be caught during the day on small nymphs like #20 pheasant tails, hare’s ears and copper johns, the best action is the last half hour before dark.  The Metolious River is always cold and a great place to spend a day stalking trout in a spooky spring creek.  The Crooked River near Prineville can be very productive if the fish are in the right mood.  It takes stable outflow from the dam for the fish to get really active, but a good day there is unrivalled in the area.  I would work small nymphs under a hopper pattern on the Crooked River. Eagle Creek near Bonneville Dam has been kicking out some beautiful trout.  Although it is under “hoot-owl” regulations (closes at 2:00 daily), the water is cold and the trout are generally eager to eat a dry fly. 

Lost Lake is still fishing very well, although the trout are deeper than most guys want to fish.  A type V sinking line with a weighted Thin Mint trolled very slowly will produce fish consistently all day long. 

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. 

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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