Sep 24, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report - (09/25/2016)

Fall is here and the opportunities for fishing are nearly limitless in our area.  Steelhead fishing is fair in most of the local rivers, salmon fishing has been good and trout fishing has been absolutely stellar.  

Ryan found his
doppelganger sticker
Most anglers in the area are obsessed with summer steelhead at the moment, and will continue to be obsessed until winter steelheading starts...   With steelhead numbers far below average, it is a great time to hit the Deschutes for some quality trout fishing.  We have had a couple local anglers that have been absolutely slaying nice redside rainbow trout lately.  Streamer fishing has been fantastic, and the October Caddis are hatching as well as the Mahogany Dun Mayflies.

The East Fork Hood is in good shape and the trout are hungry and fiesty.  While the fish are on the small side, they make up for it with their willingness to eat a dry fly and the fabulous colors that they display on their sides.

Lost, Laurance and Goose Lakes, as well as Timothy, Trillium and Clear Lakes are all fishing very, very well for trout.  Many of the local lakes get planted with "jumbo" trout at the end of September and you will likely have these lakes nearly to yourself.

For those that are all about the steelhead, the Klickitat and Deschutes have been pretty tough lately.  Have heard halfway decent reports from the Kalama and the Cowlitz recently, as well as one friend that was messing around on the Clackamas and hooked into a couple of steelhead one morning last week.

Fielded this call a couple of times this week:  "How many winter steelhead are in the Hood River right now?"  Answer:  "probably zero, maybe one, but probably zero".  Christmas is about as early as we ever see any.  Maybe early December on good years.  It is still September... we have two more good months of summer steelhead fishing before its time to start looking for winters.  Besides, the Hood River is really, really low right now.  There isn't much moving water for a steelhead to be hiding in.

However, in the Klickitat, there are plenty of steelhead in the system, but between the Fall Chinook all over the river, the immense number of anglers and the low/clear water, the steelhead bite has been a little rough.  Not to say that you won't catch one.  Plenty of our locals have been getting a shot or two per day, but its not "on fire" by any means.

The Deschutes has been about the same as far as catch rates.  Guys that are working hard are usually getting a couple of opportunities per day.  This is decent steelheading anywhere.  However, big returns over the last ten years have really skewed what anglers expect on the D.  One guy called this week and said that if he wasn't guaranteed to hook at least five (yes five) steelhead in a day, then it wasn't worth going out...

Back to trout fishing:  Just go.  It is really good right now.  Nymphing caddis and mahogany pupae under an indicator throughout the day should be productive.  Look for fish working BWOs in backeddies, especially if it is cold and cloudy (not looking like that this coming week).  Throw caddis and mahogany dries in the evening, or strip a sculpzilla through the riffles if that is your thing.  So many people have expressed interest in the trout speys that are available.  Now is the time to do it....

Smallies are still biting in the Columbia.  It is much easier to catch them on a drop shot rig than a fly, but they are eating poppers with gusto early and late in the day.  Not much word on the John Day bass scene, but I would imagine that it is still fabulous.

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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