Jan 15, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (01/15/17)

A video posted by Ryan Van Duzor (@the.bearded.pescador) on

If you can't get out fishing, it's a great time to tie flies!
Well, Old Man Winter has yet to release his icy grip on us in the Gorge.  We haven't seen temps above freezing in quite a while and there is close to 3 feet of snow in my yard in Stevenson.  As my caption above states, I don't think I'll be bass fishing anytime soon, gotta give those fish a break anyway! But, there is still water flowing, and there are winter steelhead and hungry trout to be had!

An absolute winter beauty from the Yak.  Photo by Jeremy Leder
Winter trout fishing can be phenomenal and, in fact, some of the best of the entire season.  Trout have to eat all year to keep their metabolism going and the fishing pressure is low which can equal epic fishing for those brave enough to get out in the cold.  There can be really steady midge hatches as well as BWO activity.  The blue wings particularly like the nastiest weather to get going.  Tiny nymphs (18-20) dropped behind a juicy restless stone can be a deadly combo.  Streamer fishing is my go-to technique in the winter, especially when the insect activity is low.  Swing and stripping streamers can produce some real brutes.

Winter steelhead are certainly around and if you can get to your river you will likely find the pressure on the fish is lower than usual.  A lot of our moisture is locked up in the snow at the moment, but even a small warm up can get fish moving as the flows increase.  Smaller flies fished deeper can be more effective in the cold clear water.  I have heard of some good fish being caught on the Oregon coast and the Olympic Peninsula, so if you have the time and the weather cooperates I recommend getting out to those rivers and escaping the tundra for the few days.

A beauty from the Sandy!  Photo by Sam Sickles

You can be comfortable winter fishing with the right gear and clothing.  Check out Greg's article on winter weather gear for some helpful pointers.  Breathable layers and good outwear/waders will make a huge difference in your comfort level.  You also want to pay close attention to your feet and your hands.  Two or more sock layers (I prefer wool) and a good set up gloves will keep you in the game.

Remember COTTON KILLS!!  Leave your Ducks sweatshirt at home and stick with synthetic materials and wool which will keep you warm even when you are wet.

Flows:  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:



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 anytime.  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

Ryan Van Duzor
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

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