Mar 21, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (3.21.16)

Weekly Fishing Reports for the Columbia Gorge and surrounding area.

Fishing Report

Winter Steelhead fishing is still the big draw around here and the fishing has been good all across the region.  Many of the Washington rivers closed on March 15, so check the regulations.  A few will open up in April again, while others open in May or June.  The typical Oregon rivers that have winter steelhead are all open, although a few close on March 31 such as the Necanicum.  Remember that seasons are changing and be aware of closures. 

Washington Fishing Licenses expire on March 31.  Remember to pick one up sooner than later if you are doing any salmon fishing or spring trout fishing on the north side of the Columbia

Rainbow Trout fishing should be improving after a period of unsteady flows on the Deschutes River.  Flows out of Pelton Dam started to increase from under 5000 cfs to over 6500 cfs starting on March 5, but they have recently steadied out to 6250 cfs.  Fish like a nice, even flow and the rising river should have moved them around and on the bite.  Fish a small, dark stonefly nymph with a March Brown nymph trailer.  San Juan worms will be productive as well.  Have a Blue Wing Olive pattern or two ready in case you run into a hatch.  Using a small BWO nymph behind a Stonefly or March Brown would also be a good idea, but be prepared for some surface action with the cloudy weather conditions.  

Just a word on lakes: Laurence Lake is closed until April 22.  We tend to get a few phone calls this time of year asking if the road is open or if the fishing is good, but regardless of the status of the road, the lake is closed.  If it warms up enough, there can be quite a few anglers on the water in April despite the closure.  Other lakes in the Gorge that are closed until April 22 include Spearfish and Rowland.  I did see a few guys fly fishing in Rowland Lake the other day as I drove home from a hike.  Always check the regulations before heading out to somewhere you haven’t been in a while. 

Smallmouth Bass should really start snapping any day now.  Last year we were crushing them by St. Patty’s Day, but it was also 70+ degrees out.  I have seen a few bass boats out on the Columbia River, but no reports have trickled in here and Ryan hasn’t been out as it was really windy on his last day off. 

Flows:  We look at two sites.  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.

Hood River:

Sandy The NOAA prediction site is way upriver from where most of us fish.  It tells us when the river will rise and drop, but does not reflect the flows that we see down below the Bull Run River.  For real-time conditions, we use the USGS site. 



Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

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

Andrew Perrault
Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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