Jan 9, 2018

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report - (1/8/2018)

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season, and maybe a new toy or two to get them excited about the angling year ahead!

Water this color always gives me confidence!
Winter Steelhead- As of late, most our rivers have come into shape with some anadromous fish lurking here and there. Though this is notoriously always subject to change at any moment's notice here in the Northwest. The hardest part about this time of year is dealing with fickle flows and clarity- if planning a fishing date far in advance, make sure you have have a backup plan too. I’ve got a nifty phone app called Fishhead, which gives me gauge data for my favorite rivers as well as some other useful info. It only costs a couple bucks, but it definitely saves me time when figuring out the whole if, when, and where, questions.

Chelsey, locked and loaded...
No doubt though, if you want your best chance at a big winter-run steelhead you should probably hire a seasoned guide for a float down some prime water. Sam Sickles just opened up his guide season on the Sandy River and already has been getting clients into some hot fish! Visit our guide page for more info.

Oregon’s North Coast has a couple rivers that come into shape fairly quickly after a blowout, while others take much longer. Nearer to us and in my experience, the Sandy River is generally good to go a couple days after an event, and the Clackamas shortly thereafter. If conditions are high and colored, I’ll often swing large unweighted and flashy flies right into the bank. If I’ve just got a brief window to fish, I might slip down to the local ditch for a run, but if I’ve got the whole day available, I pretty much always head West for winter-run steel. I love exploring new spots, and there’s usually somewhere with fish-able water. However, if all else fails then it’s probably a good excuse to tie up some new critters at the vise.

On that note- January 22nd starting at 6 p.m., we’ll be having a fly tying night at the shop. Bring your vise, feathers, and thread (or whatever you’ve got.) The night will be based around winter steelhead flies, where I plan on tying up at least one contemporary fly and one “classic” to add to the box. My goal is to have one or two of these a month as we progress seasons, species, and fly selections. If you can’t make this one, stay tuned...

A little spin on the classic G.P.

Trout- Winter trout fishing this time of year can actually be very good. Resident trout eat year round to keep their metabolism up, and the winter time is almost void of trout anglers. Blue Winged Olives hatch year round and usually on those gloomy days below the fast water. Nymphs however are the main program and little tiny ones get the job done as well as some larger golden stone nymphs too. I would try a double dropper section and possibly add some weight to get down deep. If you like throwing some meat, try some crawdad/sculpin streamers and you might just find the big boys!

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

Cody Booth
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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