Aug 17, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (August 17th)

Fishing Report  

Well things didn’t quite go as planned last week.  I had hoped that the Klickitat and Deschutes would have stayed in shape, but hotter than expected weather along with a couple of isolated thunderstorms caused our local favorites to be much tougher than expected.  

Conditions should (hopefully) stabilize this week as no rain is expected.  Temps are looking to creep up towards triple digits mid-week, so that could keep that muddy brown in the Klickitat, but the D should be looking good soon.  

I did a little backpacking into a couple of lakes north of Mt. St Helens last week.  I brought an Echo Glass 369 and a handful of hopper patterns... I love lakes that are loaded with brook trout that rarely, if ever, see anglers.  They were jumping several feet out of the water to eat those hoppers. 

Reports from the Deschutes indicate that the Angler Access at Oak Springs Hatchery are no longer public and that there are “no trespassing” signs where the public access once was.  We will investigate further and post something when we get an update.   

Summer Steelhead are definitely around right now in the local rivers.  The Deschutes River was down to under a foot of visibility Thursday through Sunday.  The White River blew out from rains on Mt. Hood, but conditions are improving.  I’d imagine that Monday and Tuesday will be a bit rough, but get out there this week as the fish in the river now have seen little pressure and should be snappy by the end of the week, barring any oddities.  

The Klickitat River has been all over the place this last week.  Thursday was poor, Friday was mediocre with around two feet and very high winds.  As of Sunday, visibility is less than 6” throughout the entirety of the river.  Rains up high on the mountain may have caused some coloration, but the word on the street is that the Cougar Creek Fire on Mt. Adams is actually burning across the upper part of the river.  This may be sending debris, dirt, and ash into the river, giving it the very poor visibility.  It will be a “wait and see” approach for this week.   

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River.  Bass on the Columbia River have been harder to find lately as weeds are growing very high on the shorelines and the river has been up and down throughout the Gorge.  Bass do not like it when the river goes up three feet and then back down.  It tends to scatter them around and they tend to suspend off the rocky shorelines which makes them harder to find...  But the John Day has been great!  Head out to Cottonwood Canyon Park and get yourself into some smallies.   

Carp fishing has been good this past week as the rising flow in the Columbia has moved fish into some new flats that are relatively weed-free right now and holding quite a few fish.  The carp don’t mind as much when the water comes up and down, but their tolerance for spotty flows can wane and they will disappear without hesitation.  The side sloughs and impoundments have been more consistent if you can find one that is not overgrown with weeds.  

Trout fishing has been hit and miss this last week.  The Crooked filled with algae/weeds as the dam has been spilling more water from the top of the lake, which contains some pretty gross stuff.  There are still plenty of eager fish, but several anglers commented on having to deal with catching floating bio-debris.  The Metolius has been more consistent as this spring creek is more stable with flows and temperatures. Fishing on the Met is never easy, but it is always rewarding.  The upper part of the Deschutes (above Lake Billy Chinook) has been good, with plenty of eager fish that love to eat flies. The upper part of the Lower Deschutes (below Pelton Dam) has been tough, with similar reports as from the Crooked.  There is a lot of algae and weeds that are moving through the river, affecting clarity and an angler’s ability to get a clean drift (I ordered a trout, not a side salad).  Good fishing is still available, but one’s tolerance for dealing with weeds is the major factor.  The McKenzie River is still fishing well, and there are plenty of fish around that just love a #18 red copper john... 

Lost Lake is still fishing very well, and trout have been coming up to the surface early and late to eat Callibaetis, Grasshoppers and Carpenter Ants, as well as just about anything else including beetles, damselflies and maybe some early caddis.  Pull a woolly bugger deep and slow on a sinking line during the day for your best shot at good numbers of fish.  

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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