May 1, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (05/01/2016)

Spring is here and the fish are biting.  Whatever you like to fish for, it is likely swimming around our area looking to get caught. 

Salmonflies are hatching!!!!
Rainbow Trout fishing in the Deschutes River are getting all the attention right now.  Adult Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies can be seen crawling in the brush and flying up through Maupin according to the recent reports.  Most trout have been focused on the nymphs, but the dry fly action should be getting better and better over the next few weeks.  Be prepared for fish to be on either the dries or the nymphs.  Trout can also be found eating caddis in the evenings and occasionally mayfly nymphs during the day.  The Green Drake hatch will be coming up soon, so it is a good idea to have a few patterns ready if you are going to be out on the Deschutes in May.  It can be very sporadic, anywhere between epic and nonexistent, but it sure sucks to be there when its happening with no matching flies.
Ryan is an addict, bass are his drug

Smallmouth Bass fishing has also been incredible lately.  Ryan and I snuck out last week and checked out a small impoundment on the side of the Columbia.  It was loaded with smallmouth bass, a few nice ones too.  The fish are not quite thick in the spawning shallows yet, they are moving through the infamous "transition zones". We caught plenty of bass on clousers and big woolly buggers and even a couple on poppers.  The big fish were still near the bottom in 5-6' of water and wanted the fly deep.

This spring salmon went
right onto the BBQ!
Steelhead fishing is poor to fair right now.  Anglers are reporting mostly "kelts" or post-spawn steelhead on their way back out towards the ocean on the Hood River.  There are a few fresh fish around, including a summer steelhead or two.  May can be pretty good for summer steelhead on the lower Columbia tributaries like the Cowlitz, Sandy, Clackamas and Kalama. Summer Steelhead don't move into the Gorge Tributaries like the Klickitat and Deschutes with any consistency until August.  Early season fish are more likely found lower in the system.  You can catch a fresh steelhead around here any day of the year, but there are definitely better times than others.

Spring Chinook are starting to move up the Columbia in decent numbers.  The mouth of the Wind River and Drano Lake (Little White Salmon) have had the best action so far.  This is mostly because the fish are staging in the colder water at the mouths of those rivers as they move up the Columbia.  The fish being caught are not moving upstream in those tributaries, just using the mouths as a staging area.

Our rivers in the Gorge typically don't see a big push of Chinook until mid-May, but there are definitely a few around.  Several of our regulars have reported hooking fresh springers in the Hood.  The Deschutes is now open from the mouth to Sherar's Falls as of today (May 1).  The Klickitat is only open to Lyle Falls (mile 1.4) and only three days a week.  (Monday, Wednesdays and Saturdays)  Springers are still not easy to catch on a fly rod, but I never underestimate a motivated angler with a big fly rod.

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.

Local Water Flow Reports
Hood River:
Deschutes near Madras:
Deschutes at the mouth:
Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

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

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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