Aug 13, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (8/13/2017)

The heat wave has finally broken in the Gorge!

Pretty decent view
Cooler weather has settled in this weekend, with a bit of rain in the western Gorge, and undoubtedly the humans and fish are enjoying the respite.

For those of you who don't know, I am leaving the Gorge Fly Shop as a full time employee to pursue a teaching career.  I will still be a part of the team and hope to continue to contribute to the blog.  Thank you all for reading my work and for being our customers! 

The summer steelhead run, as predicted, is pretty dismal so far (see graphs below), and the fishing has been reflective of that.  Sam of Steelhead Outfitters has gotten his clients on some fish on Deschutes, but otherwise it has been slow.  There have been a few reports of fish caught on the Klick, and I had a chrome donkey absolutely whoop me in 3 seconds flat, but the fishing has not been easy.  There have been more large 3 salt fish caught this year though.  We are all hoping that the run will be late, as the spring chinook run was this year.  One thing I can say, is that the pressure has been lower than normal, and with the Columbia closed the fish are getting harassed a bit less.  There are certainly worse ways to spend your day than swinging flies in a beautiful piece of water, even without a grab.  Hopefully this cooldown will ease the stress on the fish and we will see better returns and fishing.


Lucky for us, there are a ton of other fishing opportunities in the Gorge!

Lake fishing for trout has remained excellent, particularly in the higher elevation lakes. Sinking lines are the name of the game, and sometimes you can't have one that sinks too fast.  My dad and I did well fishing leeches in the deepest part of the lake on type 5 and type 7 lines.  I have also continued to catch nice fish on damsel and dragonfly nymphs fished on intermediate lines and even a few on damsel adults.
Damselfly nymph muncher!

Trout fishing on the Deschutes has been pretty good as well, especially in the evenings and mornings.  The caddis hatches are pretty epic this time of year, and the trout gorge themselves in larvae/pupae during the day and eat the adults in the evening/night.  A dead caddis pattern can also be deadly early in the morning.

High mountain streams have also been a great way to escape the heat.  Wet wading with a 2wt and some dry flies is pure joy.  The fish might not be huge, but they are willing and happy to eat most any attractor dry fly.
Beauty of a high mountain cutt!
Gabe and I had a killer topwater evening!
Smallmouth fishing on the Columbia is in full summer mode.  I have had a few stellar days fishing shad/smolt patterns deep and big topwaters fast and furious in the mornings and evenings.  I recommend a fast sinking line, like the SA Sonar Titan, as it makes repetitive casting much easier and gets down to the fish quick.  I also love the Wavelength Titan for my topwater flies.

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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Ryan Van Duzor
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

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