Sep 12, 2018

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report 9/12/18

Conditions begged for a sink tip, but the heart begged to skate one up...
(Burkheimer 7117-4, Hardy Perfect 3 7/8", S/A Scandi Lite Integrated 420gr.)

Steelhead: Oh steelheading... Love it or hate it it has never been easy. Some of us have experienced some great days, and even great years. This summer season I've had some great days, and I don't always base whether or not I'll go fishing by looking at the counts. But the counts do is give us an overall picture, and hopefully a little insight to what's going on. We're looking a little worse than last year's low-return down lower on the Columbia, but upstream it looks as though some fish are migrating. Last year we had some great fishing on the Deschutes with the lower numbers while upstream I heard it was a little more challenging (for some). This season its slightly opposite- starting off good along the lower Deschutes, but as fish finally got some cooler water in the Columbia many seemed to boogie further on up the system. This is hopefully good news for Idaho where folks are worried about losing their famous large B-run native fish altogether largely due to dams, hatcheries, and gillnet fisheries.
We're pretty far off of the 10-year average where we had some great ocean conditions and returns. 

Below is the Year To Date counts for a handful of dams along the Columbia and Snake. 

Locally, fishing has been okay but hasn't been super stellar. Jet boat trips and camps are starting to pick up along the lower Deschutes, and honestly is probably the best way to really target that river and get put on prime water. While it's mostly one-salt A-run fish being caught, there have been some occasional B-run fish picked up in the mix. The Klickitat has also churned out a few fish, though its getting busier over there as salmon are nosing into the Klick and that river tends to be a little more on the conventional gear/bobber side of things anyways. However, that doesn't mean they still wont hit a swung fly. The Klickitat is pretty low right now and its made it a little more challenging for drift boats, but you can access more spots in these levels too. It looks like we've got a little bit of rain in the forecast so we'll have to see how much it affects out local waters.

Trout: Once again, Chelsey and I went back to a little trout stream over on the Washington side and chased some lil' guys (and gals) around. We keep exploring different sections and keep finding interesting pieces of water. Thanks to Google Earth I've found lots of places or access to water I've always been curious about. A double edge sword though as others utilize the same platforms, and my best suggestion would be to sometimes keep things to yourself. I'm happy to point you in the right direction, but I implore you to explore. I've had campgrounds/water that were seemingly unknown until one day we stumble upon piles of trash left behind, and then often the places are never the same. Pack in, pack out. Other than that you just might find a sweet new little spot that quickly becomes a favorite hangout.

Chelsey casting to some feeding trout. 

The Deschutes is seeing some of the first October Caddis hatches, along with some Mahogany Duns and caddis in the size 16-18 range. A long time shop customer came in just recently to re-stock on some sculpin patterns and quickly reminded me that I don't need to just fish streamers in winter when the steelhead bite is slow. If you wanna target some of the bigger resident trout that the Deschutes has to offer, I would highly suggest a 3 or 4wt trout spey and an assortment of sculpin snacks. Fish em a little differently than a swung fly for steelhead in that you want to add speed and strip rather than slow it down. This brings out the aggressive fish and they will smash those streamer patterns! Nevertheless, there is always nymphing to produce when the dry fly or streamer fishing gets slow.

Warmwater: I gotta admit I don't do a whole lot of warm water fishing. I thrive in cold weather, and enjoy romping around higher elevations. It's just in my blood. That said, I do enjoy fishing the John Day for bass during low summer flows so I can find the good holding water come steelhead season (I know, a one-track mind sometimes). The Columbia is at my doorstep (almost), and I should get out there more often. Especially after seeing pictures and hearing stories from friends who do fish it often. I've got some buddies who target fishing near the sand bars as they hang out with family and end up doing pretty good- even finding some big ones. While those who target rock structure generally find a larger percentage of bigger fish. This doesn't mean overlook the beaches and flats as you'll find plenty of carp and smallmouth there too. We just got a re-stock of some key bass and carp flies so come on in if you need any!

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.

Local Fishing Information

Bookmark our new link to Weather, Stream Conditions and Fishing Licenses

Cody Booth
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

No comments :

Post a Comment

  © 'and' Mike Prine 2009-2014

Back to TOP