May 1, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (5/1/2017)

Despite our long drawn out spring, things are starting to warm up, including the fishing!

4 days of desert sun and wind helped dry me out and cleanse after a hard winter and wet spring

Trout fishing, both in the locals rivers and lakes, is in full effect now.  I have had continued good reports from the Deschutes, with most of the action being on nymphs and San Juan worms.  The rubber legs and red copper John have been particularly hot.  Look for the stonefly hatches to begin in the next few weeks given the water temp trend over the past few years.  Typically the salmonfly hatch starts low on the river and works its way up as the season progresses.  Stop on in or shop in our webstore for the full selection of flies for "The" hatch on the Deschutes.

A lot of hard fighting, healthy lake dwelling trout are out there if you are willing to look!

I spent 4 glorious days exploring more of the high desert lakes in Central Washington this past weekend.  The trout fishing was pretty stellar despite some very windy conditions.  Our first and last days had sustained winds in the 20-30mph range, which can be very difficult, but manageable in a float tube.  I would use the bass fishing term "junk fishing" to describe the pattern, as in there wasn't one!  We caught fish on everything from Chironomid larvae/pupae/dries, buggers/leeches, damsel and Callibaetis nymphs, and big streamers.  Everything didn't work all the time, and you had to read the ever changing weather and hatches, but the fish were hungry if you gave them what the wanted!  I carried 5 rigged rods on the tube to be ready for anything.  At a minimum, you should have one floating line rig, one intermediate line rig, and one type 3/type 5 sinking line rig, or at least spools/extra reels to swap when needed.  Typically during the high sun times of the day, the deeper sinking line definitely helped us catch more fish.  Keep an eye on our blog for my big stillwater gear review for more details!

My first decent largemouth of the year

We also stumbled on a warm water emphasis lake and had a blast catching largemouth and crappie on the fly.  Streamers were definitely the ticket, and a sinking line was helpful to get the flies down to the fish.

A Columbia River Bronzeback

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia has continued to improve.  The best patterns have been smolt/shad colored streamers and crayfish flies fished on full sinking lines, like the SA Sonar Titan.

Steelhead fishing has been very quiet as of late, but I am sure there are a few players still around if you are looking to put in some swing time.

Tight lines!


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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