Aug 21, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report - 08/21/2016

Hendrix guarding the station at the HR Cleanup!
The Hood River Cleanup went off smoothly, although the number of participants was low.  We had seven total people, eight including myself.  We collected lots of trash from the river and had a good time taking swim breaks when the heat got to be too intense.  Thanks to Columbia Riverkeeper, Dakine, Shortt Supply and Andrew's Pizza for making this event possible.  Next year we will do it earlier in the day and hope that it is not that hot!

Fishing in the area may have been tough this past week for most as a heat wave hampered effort and deteriorated conditions on a couple of our favorite streams.  Conditions should improve this week as the 100+ degree weather (hopefully) sits in our rearview mirror for the rest of the year.

Tom Larimer with a McKenzie River bow!
I had a great time fishing with Tom Larimer and Red Kulper from G. Loomis and Matt from the Caddis Fly Shop this week.  We floated the McKenzie River for two days.  This was a fantastic opportunity to fish the new G. Loomis Asquith fly rods and to be able to compare them to the NRX.  Tom had to pry the 9' 4wt Asquith from my hands at the end of the trip.  What a killer rod!  Powerful, but not too fast.  I hadn't fished a 9' 4wt rod in several years, and this rod did not disappoint!  A huge thank you goes out to the guys at Loomis as well as Chris from the Caddis Fly who let us stay at his cabin on the river.  Good shops can get along and work together to improve the fishing community in the region.  I look forward to seeing the full line-up of Asquith rods once they hit the shop.  Between the Asquith spey rods that I cast and a couple of the single handers, this is possibly the nicest rod series I have put my hands on.  Seriously.

Summer steelhead numbers are still poor coming through the Columbia River dams, but the fish that are coming in have been reported to be more big B runs, and are not moving past the Dalles Dam in any large numbers.  That means that the Hood and the Klickitat have been seeing good numbers this summer.  The fish may be using our local rivers as cold water refuges to wait until water temps drop upstream of the Dalles.  We are not sure what is going on, but the word on the street is the A-run steelhead are either really late or not coming to the party.  

The Deschutes River is still kicking out fish to anglers, but the catch rate is not what some have come to expect over the past ten years.  With numbers over the Dalles dam at 1/3 of our ten year average, the number of fish in the river is down, water conditions are poor (hot) and air temps have been unfavorable.  That being said, angler effort has been low.  The river is not very crowded, and the fish in the system are still grabby.  Anglers have been hooking a fish or two a day... that is good fishing if you ask me.  Please take a look at water temps before you go and avoid fishing if the river temps are to be 70 or above.  

The Klickitat River has not been in good shape this last week due to the hot weather.  We have definitely seen worse conditions though.  Clarity was bad, but not like the chocolate milkshake that we have often seen during heat waves.  It looked nearly fishable Saturday, and will hopefully return to good shape by mid week if our pattern of 80 degree weather holds.  The river usually starts to get ugly when temps are above 90 and takes two or three days to clean up once we get cooler temps.  Fishing has been good this summer as it looks like a bunch of the 60,000 steelhead that are between Bonneville and the Dalles dams have pulled into the Klick looking for cold water.  

The Hood has been dirty, but actually looked fishable on Saturday, the hottest day of the year.  Sunday morning however; clarity is very poor.  Look for it to clear up by mid-week to the lower end of fishable clarity.  I would personally focus on rivers that have more flow in them right now, but it can be a fun little river to fish for a few hours if you don't have the time or desire to drive elsewhere.  There should definitely be steelhead poking their noses into the Hood as it is one of the coldest rivers around.  

Smallmouth Bass fishing on the Columbia has been steady in the early morning hours, but slower during the day.  The fish have been eating topwater poppers before the sun is shining.  Bass fishing on the John Day should still be very good now that the heat is more tolerable on the river.  

Fall Chinook are starting to show up in the Columbia.  Not really easy to target on the fly, but they are often caught while steelhead fishing.  Targeting them is far easier and more productive with a glob of cured roe under a bobber.  We like to catch steelhead for fun, and Chinook for food.  I will surely have a couple of evening sessions at Drano Lake in my future as I look to fill the freezer before winter.  

Trout fishing has been good in the places that stay cold like Lost Lake, Eagle Creek and Laurance Lake.  Trout Lake Creek has been good too.  The East Fork of the Hood has not been good as it has been dirty from glacial melt lately.  The Deschutes has been very good for trout on caddis patterns during that last hour or so before dark, especially around the Maupin area. 

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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