Aug 3, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (August 3rd and 4th UPDATE)

Columbia River - Sunset

UPDATE: Fishing Report (August 4th)
As of today, August 4th, fishing hours return to normal on the Deschutes River.  This means that anglers can fish after 2:00 p.m. on the entire length of the river.  All other restrictions in the Central Zone remain intact, so fishing on Eagle Creek near Bonneville Dam will end at 2:00, but feel free to swing one up on the Deschutes in the evenings. 

Several other restrictions were changed, but most remain in place.  You can check the status of your favorite piece of water here:

Thank you to the many anglers that have called us to let us know of the update and fish on!

Fishing Report (August 3rd)

We should see some relief from the heat by the end of week and fishing should be fabulous as soon as the water and air cool down.  The Deschutes has only been topping out around 70-71 the past few days.  Compared to repeated highs at 76 degrees last month, things are looking much better. 

Travis Wallace of Western Waters Guides and I did some exploration this week and swung into some smallmouth bass.  While we saw a few steelhead cruising by, the action all came from eager smallmouth bass crushing marabou steelhead flies.  Not a lot has changed in the past week. Expect a revision of the Hoot Owl restrictions in the next two weeks.  I don’t know if they will lift them, extend them or change them at all, but both Oregon and Washington fish and game departments will be meeting to discuss the restrictions and changes to them at some point this month.  We will post updates as we hear them.

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 or small bass popper/slider 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 should start to clear up by the end of the week.  The river muddied up as glacial melt carried fresh sediment down the mountain into the river.  Fishing had been pretty darn good before it muddied up.  Well, I should say, good for July.  The bulk of the fish are still weeks to months from entering the river, but there are enough fish around to keep a guy busy once it clears up a little. 

The Deschutes River had been fishing really well in the lower part of the river before the heat wave struck.  Temps have been creeping up past seventy this weekend.  Keep an eye on the temps 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; and we do sell them…

Somewhat strange reports this past week that fishing has been good for steelhead farther upstream than we normally see this time of year.  Fish have been caught up to and past Maupin already.  I would guess that the fish are trying to push up quick and get out of the warm water that is in the lower river.  We normally don’t see much action around Maupin until October, but this has been a strange year so far so nothing surprises me at all any longer. 

Other anglers have been claiming that they are planning to “swing flies for bass” up the Deschutes after 2:00 p.m.  Please don’t.  We all know what is going on with that…

Trout fishing has actually been pretty darn good in the few places that are cold enough and flowing enough.  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.  There have also been a few fish caught on Mayfly dries later in the day.  The Pale Evening Dun hatch has been decent.  It happens a little earlier than the caddis hatch, so have a few Tilt Wing Duns ready in a #14 or #16 and fish those before the caddis really start coming on. 

The Metolious River is always cold and a great place to spend a day stalking trout in a spooky spring creek.  The fishing is tough, but rewarding as the trout often spook and see you coming long before you can get a cast on them.  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. 

One more addition to trout fishing:  The McKenzie River has been really good lately for trout.  It is cold and loaded with planter rainbow trout.  It would be worth the drive for anyone looking to do some quality fishing and to put their feet in some icy cold water during this heat wave. 

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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