Jun 25, 2018

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report 6/25/18

Photo courtesy of Central Oregon Fire Information

Deschutes River/Maupin Area Fire Update- There is an unfortunate fire brewing over near the town of Maupin caused by lightening this last week, which has currently engulfed over 87,000 acres. Our thoughts and prayers for those in the area and hopefully it subdues soon before much more damage is done. It's likely to be another strong fire season here and while fires occur naturally, I sure hope we can eliminate some complacency and human-caused fires. Parts of the river remain open, however camping is not recommended and certain areas are on a Level 1 evacuation. For more up to date info, head over to Central Oregon Fire Info / Blogspot 

Now for the Fishing Report...

Chelsey spotting a nice steelhead holding in a tailout. It wouldn't play though.

Steelhead- Local waters have a couple moving through and pressure has remained fairly light. Personally, I'd rather fish for less fish with less pressure than lots of fish and lots of pressure. They just seem to respond better to the swung fly. People certainly like stats and graphs and such so if we check out the dam counts, there's almost 200 fish per day crossing over Bonneville. Which soon means the lower Deschutes will be fishing. Early on in the season, I can't recommend a Jet Boat up from the mouth enough... You simply get to chase the canyon shadows for much longer, which is partly what makes the dryline fishing on that river so renowned. A lot of strays enter the lower 15 miles of the river, and that means that despite the difficult access on foot down low there are just more fish available. Fish generally seem to transition pretty fast through the lower few miles until they get over a couple good rapids, upon which they tend to hold and are more aggressive to the fly. The mouth is already approaching 70 degrees at Moody Rapids, and I hope anglers will also be able to self-regulate themselves as the water warms up to lethal steelhead temperatures in the coming weeks.

 Still early, but remember last year was one of those low-return years that provided great fishing...

The Klickitat has been churning out some color lately with these hotter days and full snowpack on Mt. Adams, so turbidity is a bit high come mid-day. However, floating lines are still moving fish and the Klick fortunately hasn't seen much bobber pressure yet either. A buddy of mine recently nabbed a 10# hatchery fish on a single-hander and a swung size 10 soft hackle in about 2ft of visibility- proving its not always about skagit heads, tungsten tips, and lead eye intruders... Sometimes its the archer, not the arrow that makes a difference.

Trout- Over on the Deschutes action is still plentiful, but I would try to avoid some of the fire action so crews can continue to contain the flames. Below Sherars Falls is probably a better bet, and one I go to more often as Maupin seems to be more of a magnet for anglers and pressured trout. Yellow sallies are dwindling, but the mayfly hatches of PMD/PED's are still strong. Caddis hatches are also doing very well this year. Nymphing is a productive way to spend some time on the water when the hatches aren't cooperating. As the river warms up, trout will seek the refuge of colder and deeper water where many of the nymphs reside.  

 Trout happy water void of anglers if you're willing to look for it...

Other trout opportunities exist among the countless streams and lakes surrounding Mt. Hood and Adams. If you grab a map, virtually any blue line or dot represents a fishable area. While many of the streams don't boast large trout, a small 1-3wt trout rod is a blast on those smaller creeks. In the lakes you'll find some larger fish around, but as our days get hotter they'll be seeking the sanctuary of the cooler water deeper down. Make sure you've got a lake line when the heat is out as they don't seem to rise too readily mid-day through the heat of summer. 

Hazy light on a nice mountain lake.

Warmwater- The top water bass bite on the Columbia has turned on! Get out there with some big poppers and watch the violent attacks from some big ol' smallmouth. If there isn't any wind to kick up silt which tends to push them deeper, I would also go check out the carp fishing along the Columbia and in the side lakes. 

 Jacob with a dandy. Do you even two-hand carp fish?!

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. 

Cody Booth
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist


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