May 14, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (5/14/2017)

Spring fishing season is in full swing in the Gorge!

Some springers finally decided to show up, the stoneflies have started hatching, and the smallmouth and carp are getting frisky!

Lake fishing for trout has been stellar as of late.  Expect chironomid action early in the day, with a multi larvae/buzzer rig under an indicator or slow retrieved being a great technique, especially in the mornings.  As the midges emerge, often in the afternoon, having a selection of cripple/emerger midges can produce some crazy fun dry fly action.  Streamer and leech fishing is also excellent this time of year. With relatively low weed growth in the spring, fish are cruising the shallows looking for a meaty meal.  Don't hesitate to try a bigger minnow style streamer fished aggressively on a sinking line!

Winston Air 590 and Lamson Micra doing work with a crippled Chironomid emerger dry

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia has been all over the spectrum, from excellent to very difficult.  The river temps, flows and visibility have varied widely over the past couple weeks.  I have seen water temps vary as much as 8 degrees just moving across the river.  My advice is to find slightly clearer shallow water and fish a crayfish fly or Clouser minnow, this time of year I prefer an intermediate or sinking line. The fish are in a prespawn mode and if the conditions are right, they have been very aggressive.

Carp fishing has been on a similar path as the bass fishing as of late, with fish coming into the shallows and feeding heavily when the sun is out and warming the skinny water.  I have even heard a few reports of carp spawning in the backwaters.  If we get a couple sunny warm days again, expect carp to be cruising the flats.  We have a nice selection of carp flies in the shop to help you get hooked up with ole' rubber lips!

The reports from the Deschutes trout fishing have been improving over the last week or so.  The stones are hatching and fish are starting to look up!  Clarity has improved, and the fish are happy.  If the dry fly action is slow, don't hesitate to break out nymph rig with a big bug and dropper.  Rainbows can certainly be moody, and sometimes they just want to be force fed.  Come on into the shop and stock up on the local favorites for this killer hatch!

Ryan Van Duzor
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

Read More from the "Bearded Pescador"

Cody's Report:


Steelhead fishing- While winter steel are pretty much done on all our rivers, there is a welcomed shift towards summer steelhead. However, most of these early fish are of hatchery origin and are being caught on the rivers below Bonneville Dam- the Sandy, Clackamas, Kalama, etc. are great options for those looking for hot hatchery fish. Wild summer steelhead seem to still be on their way, nevertheless this Wednesday I got out to the Kalama River in Washington looking to see what we could find. Expectations were low but it was fun to get out the old single hand and swing the smallest flies I’ve tossed all year.

Trout fishing- It’s no secret that people are out looking for hungry trout. Most all of our area lakes are open and fishing has been great, with the exception of a few lakes still closed due to snow access restriction. Lost Lake Resort is operational for the season and their boat rentals make it easy for those looking to find fishy water. We’ve also got a great selection of Outcast boats to fit your water needs. Keep in mind that some watersheds have different regulations and some trout streams still aren’t open until May 22nd.


Golden Stoneflies doing their “thang".

Yesterday (Thursday), I got out to the Deschutes for a few hours with my girlfriend because she’d been jonesing for some trout after a long winter of steelhead casting (rather than catching). It’d been a little while since I’ve been out to the mighty Deschutes and it was cool to see the hillsides covered in a blanket of green, wild flowers, and the smell of desert sage in the air. This was the first Oregon river to steal my heart when I was still a Colorado resident and spent summers guiding the river and coaching snowboard camps up on Mt. Hood. More specifically, it was the legendary salmonfly/stonefly hatch on the Deschutes that really grabbed my attention. I feel I’m probably not the only one who loves rising fish and dry flies either… Indeed, this river is not always forgiving. Upon arrival we noticed that the winds would probably be the victor for the day. However, we were able to punch some flies out and find some trout willing to rise.

Curiosity led us to the White River to see its condition and it turned out to be less of a factor, but I did notice less bugs at the time down lower. We’d found more stoneflies than salmon flies down low, while after up river some nearer to Maupin it seemed about 50/50 among the big bugs in the grass. March Browns are done and the Drakes are still a little ways out. I did see a few Caddisflies and Blue Winged Olives flying around too. This river is quite the trout factory with its prolific hatches and strong shouldered redside trout.  


Giant Salmonflies were digging the Winston Microspey as much as I was. It’s super fun to skate flies and spey cast for trout! These new S/A integrated Skagit and Scandi Lite lines are awesome too!

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


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