Jul 31, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report - 07/31/2016

Our first heat wave since early June made fishing tough in our area, but relief from the heat is here and it will provide us with good fishing opportunities.

Please join us for a river cleanup on August 20 on the Hood River.  Info can be found here

The Hood and the Klickitat Rivers are both dirty as of Sunday morning.  The Hood has a little tint of green to it which is an improvement from the cement color that it has been most of the week.  If we continue to have cool evenings and highs under 90 degrees, clarity should improve and fishing may be a possibility on our two favorite glacial rivers.  The good news is that there are plenty of summer steelhead in the area.

The Deschutes River has its own problems caused by the heat wave.  Water temps topped 74 degrees in the lower river last week (see pictures), but conditions are looking better now as both the water and air temps are lower.  

Happy Birthday Hendrix
I fished the Cowlitz for two days last week for summer steelhead.  Water flows increased right when I arrived which made it hard to entice steelhead to eat my fly.  Flows of 2500 cfs are ideal for swinging flies on the Cowlitz, but the flows were at 5000 cfs.  It was still a great time.  I floated Barrier Dam to Blue Creek Hatchery on the first day.  That section of river was completely barren; not a single other boat until I got a half mile above Blue Creek... which I heard is due to the flows being higher than what anglers' prefer for that section, but I could care less.  I was hanging out with my dog; we swam, and I went off a rope swing, saw eagles, osprey, beavers and deer.  That is a great day on the river anywhere.

There was plenty of good swinging water in the upper section, even if it was a bit too high to fish effectively.  The next day I floated Blue Creek to Mission Bar.  There were a pile of gear boats within a mile of the hatchery, but once I floated through the "gauntlet" of bait huckers, the river was wide open.  I got to fish every run that looked good without anyone else around.  Occasionally a big power boat would buzz by, but they didn't ever get in my way.  I saw two other guys with fly rods that I never had to compete for spots with.  
The Cowlitz is an amazing river with a reputation for not being fly-friendly.  There are miles of good swing runs.
My idea was to get out of the heat and float a cold river full of steelhead.  It was my dog's tenth birthday, so I wanted to float with him and not have it be too difficult on his failing hips.  I accomplished that, and it was certainly a good spot to be during a couple of the hottest days of the year.  Another bonus is that I was pulling into my campsite at Barrier Dam Campground two hours and ten minutes after leaving Hood River.  Not bad at all.  

The John Day River is still kicking out tons of Smallmouth Bass.  It is still the best place to take new anglers or anglers that really need a confidence booster, plus it is a gorgeous spot to spend a day or two.

This little trout was hungry for the first dry fly it saw
Ryan fished a local small stream for trout with his family over the weekend.  It was loaded with hungry trout that were more than willing to eat a dry fly.  Small streams are fishing really well right now and small trout are eating a nice variety of general attractor dry flies.  X-Caddis, Stimulators, Royal Trudes, Grasshoppers and Parachute Adams are all must-have flies for this time of year in small streams.  

Carp fishing has been really good when the wind is not blowing.  Unfortunately, that has not been very often lately.  A nice warm afternoon with no wind is ideal for carpin' along the Columbia River.

Trout fishing in the lakes has remained phenomenal.  We thought that there was potential for the lakes to warm up too much, but they are in fantastic shape for the most part.  Lost Lake has been very good this summer and will continue to produce trout all summer.  Laurance Lake is another great choice.  

Trout fishing on the Deschutes has been great, especially up above Maupin.  I say above Maupin because the water temps around the mouth of the river have been too hot for good trout fishing, but the temps have been much more reasonable once you get 50 miles upstream or so.  Caddisflies are hatching and fish are on them.  The best fishing has been very early and very late in the day, but you can catch a nice trout any time of the day if you work a little for it.  

Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.  You can also check water temps here too...

Hood River:


Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River
Bonneville Dam Water Temps
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)

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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