Aug 24, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (August 24th)

photo credit: Greg Darling

Fishing Report
Let’s get out and fish!  The Deschutes finally came into great shape this week.  While the visibility is poor right at the confluence of the White and the D, it is very fishable on the lower river.  It was 2-3’ and a nice olive color on Friday.  We fished Airflo T-10 FLO tips and Skagit lines and had a great couple of days Thursday and Friday.  It was quite windy, but that didn’t stop the fish from grabbing an articulated bunny leech.  The color at the confluence with the Columbia is also worse than a few miles upstream as the Columbia backs up the flow and gets sediment mixing more than upstream.

I talked with several anglers that saw the visibility, called it blown out and went home.  The thing is that fishing was killer and there was no one up there.  You just have to change your tactics a little.  If that same angler was on the Klickitat, he would have claimed visibility to be great and fished with sink tips with no problem.  That is because anglers are used to a certain level of expectation with the Deschutes.  Fish bite there in a few feet of visibility just like they do everywhere else.  The clarity of the river reminded me of the Kenai the other day.  Kenai fish eat tiny little beads all summer long in poor clarity, so the steelhead in the Deschutes have no problem seeing your fly.  Visibility on the Deschutes is unlikely to get much better soon, so get your sink tips out and get to the river. 

Summer Steelhead are most definitely around right now in the local rivers big time.  The Deschutes River is great.  Get out there and fish!  Use light sink tips and bigger flies as long as visibility is on the lower end.  We left the river Friday evening to nearly three feet of visibility, but of course on Saturday morning, people are coming in claiming that it is blown out again.  I do not know what, if anything caused a blowout, but I would assume that the river is in the same condition as when I left it Friday, as no rain has come through since last night…  Until further notice, assume that the conditions are good on the lower.

The Klickitat River has been a bit worse than the Deschutes, but it is still completely fishable.  Hovering about 2-3 feet lately with a little grey color to it. It is improving and we have heard good reports over the past few days.   Both the Klick and the Deschutes should be money this week; just be prepared to fish a sink tip…

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River and fair in the local haunts here.  Bass on the Columbia River have been hiding out in plain sight.  Suspending off of ledges and dropoffs and scattered all around, they are there, but harder to find in good numbers than in the spring and fall.  A good day fishing will just require lots of moving around and changing tactics to find the numbers.  The John Day remains a solid choice for an easy day of good fishing with big numbers of fish.  A small popper or grasshopper pattern will produce fish from first light to last. 

Carp fishing has been decent, but not stellar.  I have heard fish are eating bigger flies right now with less picky fish, but there are not tons of fish being aggressive.  The aggressive fish are really aggressive, so that is the bonus. 

Trout fishing has been good.  The Crooked is still pushing out some weeds and bio-debris, but fishing was good.  A hopper/dropper is the ticket right now.  The Metolius has been good, as fish seem to be more willing to take a good, sneaky presentation than usual.  The upper part of the Deschutes (above Lake Billy Chinook) has been really good with terrestrials.  The upper part of the Lower Deschutes (below Pelton Dam) has been better this last week with a hopper/dropper producing good fish.  The McKenzie River has also been good with a hopper/dropper setup.  Any small, #18 mayfly nymph works well as the dropper.  A #18 Flashback Pheasant Tail (beadhead) is a personal favorite, but copper johns, hare’s ears, lightning bugs and prince nymphs work just fine too. 

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.  541.386.6977

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