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Fishing Reports

Puget Sound Sea-Run Cutthroat Adventure

Joel La Follette - Thursday, July 27, 2017
You'll want to clear off space in your 2018 calendar for the "Second Annual Puget Sound Sea-Run Adventure" because we had a blast! The sun, moon and stars all line up providing those adventurous folks that joined us with a very memorable weekend on the shores of Puget Sound.

Fish were caught, stories told and an abundance of memories made as the Royal Treatment crew and friends gathered at Manchester State Park in Washington. We couldn't have planned it any better if we tried or knew what we were doing. With absolutely wonderful weather, a beautiful campground and plenty of willing fish, this adventure was just about perfect. If there was a downside, it was that we had too much food!

Jake Zirkle, our G. Loomis rep, providing an awesome fajita lunch on Sunday that pretty much negated the need for dinner that evening. Nevertheless, our "Stone Soup Potluck" offered plenty of options for those who still had appetites after the sun went down.

Then there was the entertainment. Our own Nick Wheeler took up the challenge of dining on the most interesting combinations of roasted hotdog and toasted marshmallow creations imaginable. Who knew whipped cream was a hotdog condiment? I even toasted up a S'more or two.

We've set the dates, sign up for next year!

Springers, Shad and an Island in the Sun

Joel La Follette - Thursday, June 15, 2017

While the consensus is that the Salmonfly hatch did not live up to it’s billing, not all was doom and gloom over on the Deschutes. Anglers plying the river in the later stages of this major emergence were rewarded with some memorable fish. The dandy Redside pictured above was captured by our youth ambassador Ian Wildermuth on a drift with Capt. Skittles. This image missed last week’s edition due to the overflow of Shadness.

The past weekend’s weather was fairly challenging with cooler temps and a bit of a breeze. Forecasts look better for the coming week after we get through this damp lead up to the weekend. Today the weather in Maupin is supposed to be cloudy and hovering around 71F. That sounds like a Mayfly kind of day to me.

I chatted with Brian Silvey Tuesday evening and he reported PMDs and Caddis were keeping things very interesting on the town run and the Pine Tree to Mack’s drift. Competition has been light since the Big Bugs bugged out, and he has been able to fish just about anywhere he’s wanted to. He even exercised a few fish on the lee side of Joel’s Island the other day with a couple friends of mine. Brian noted that the snack bar and t-shirt shop have not yet been rebuilt on the island since the winter high water, and he filed a formal complaint regarding the mooring facilities. Mr. Silvey has a few days available over the coming weeks and will include a personal tour of the island if requested. I’m graciously waiving all landing fees for the next three weeks, so give Brian a call.

Over on the Metolius, the whispered report is that Green Drakes are showing when conditions are right. This mystical hatch favors cloudy days, but in some cases will make an appearance when the sun drops behind the trees. Don’t pack up and head home too early. PMDs and the misc. small Mayfly hatch are adding to the menu.

Meanwhile, the Shad Madness continues with plenty of scales flying in the shadow of Willamette Falls. Grabs by Springers have been adding to the excitement of crashing waters and barking Sea lions. Shad fishing can be a full on sensory overload even on slow days. Add 30 to 50 hook-ups a day and soon you have a boatload of happy anglers.

Speaking of Springers, Steelhead swingers have been intercepting a few brutes as they cast, step, cast, down the Clackamas River. Cooler cloudy days are prefect for this past-time. Keep an eye pealed for a ponytailed bamboo caster teasing fish with skaters. He's fairly harmless, but his affliction is contagious. Stay back.

Springers and the Easter Bunny

Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Springers have pulled much of the boat traffic off the local Steelhead streams and plopped them down in the Willamette River for the tourists to see. This is allowing for a little more room to swing a fly uninterrupted on the Clack and Sandy. The Clackamas kicked out some dandy fresh fish over the last few days, a mix of winter and summer returners. The river is currently in the best shape it’s been in all winter/spring. The Sandy is a touch on the low side, but could hold the fish of a lifetime if you bring your A game.

Winter fish will be doing the dance on spawning beds throughout the state so please do not disturb them. If you see fish hanging out over gravel, keep moving. Don’t be that guy.

The mighty D has dropped significantly and is currently rolling to the sea at about 8,680cfs on the Moody gauge. This might be the perfect weekend to dust off your Trout gear since much of the population will be chasing the Easter Bunny.

Don’t forget to register for the Oregon Trout Trail!

Spring Trout Rendezvous Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 06, 2017

The first annual Royal Treatment Spring Trout Rendezvous is in the books and it was a rousing success. Close to 40 anglers joined us for a little river side fellowship this past Sunday on the banks of the raging Deschutes. While high water kept fishing opportunities limited, there was plenty of casting action and we even broke out the “Wader Up Challenge” adding to the entertainment factor. Representatives from Loomis, Sage, Winston and Echo rods were on hand with their latest offerings allowing all who wished to test drive a new rod the opportunity. While the Scott rep was tyed up, he did send us a few sticks to fish as well.

Then there was the food. Our “Stone Soup” potluck and Taco Bar made sure no one went home hungry. Planned or not, we had a south of the border theme with plenty of beef tacos, pork carnitas, chips, salsa and tubs of guacamole. Our buddy Brent went off menu with a pot of Cajun shrimp that tucked into a tortilla nicely and were delicious! 

When it came to dessert what happened on the Deschutes, stays on the Deschutes. I’ll just say there was plenty of tasty after Taco treats to cleanse the palate and add to the waistline. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as vegan cupcakes…

High water didn’t slow down the dedicated anglers who showed up to fish. After the Taco Bar closed, big nymphs and San Juan Worms wreaked havoc on the resident rainbows in the waters above White River. While the fish wouldn’t break any size records, they definitely helped chase away the cobwebs of winter. Kimi thought she was tied into a monster Trout when she scored this impressive bottom feeder. Our own Nick Wheeler did the netting and releasing honors. While it is the policy of this editorial staff to #keepemwet and not show fish out of water, this image needed to be shared. Please, #keepemwet. 

A special thanks goes out to factory reps Tom Larimer, Erik Johnson and Eric Neufeld for joining in on this inaugural event and sharing their expertise. I also need to send out a very big thank-you to my lovely wife, Kellie, and the best mother-in-law in the business, Sally Walker, for their hard work in pre-cooking, baking and organizing this picnic. Thanks to all who contributed and attended! We’re doing it again next year on April 1st. Mark your calendar!

The water is up, so what?

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Another downturn in river levels across the area jump started the spring Steelhead outlook this week instilling optimism in the dedicated practitioners of the sport. Coastal rivers were productive for the most part, but we did receive one report of a serious mudslide that caused some issues on the North Fork of the Nehalem. No additional information was received by this morning’s deadline.

The Sandy River has returned to perfect shape and shared the fine specimen shown above with our good friend, Joe. Brian Silvey provided the photo and guidance for this adventure. There is still time left to participate in this fishery, just call Brian or Marty.

Trout chasers are feeling the sting of a good old fashion spring run-off with high water dominating open Trout waters. Even the Metolius is not immune to this natural phenomena. Our favorite spring creek is running at twice its normal volume at present. Lake Creek is adding significant flows to the upper river as the snows of Suttle Lake melt away.

The Crooked River is at the mercy of dam operations as officials release water in anticipation of a full reservoir. At last check this normally docile stream was hustling downriver at 2760cfs. Perhaps just a bit much for successful angling.

The Deschutes is filling its banks as well, but not at the whim of dam operators. Natural runoff has it sprinting towards the Columbia at just a tick under 13,000 cfs on the Moody gauge. While high and off-color, there are still opportunities for the very optimistic. Fish in close and stay out of the water. Big Stones and San Juan Worms are an old-timers trick for high and muddy water, so is taking photos of wildlife and going for a hike. Be smart, be careful.

It's Damn Damp

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 16, 2017

It’s not raining this second, so what are you doing inside? This has been a winter of challenging conditions and this week is no different. Drenching rain has filled most of the area’s waterways and it is looking bleak if you want to get out today. Now, tomorrow is another matter as the big drop begins with the sun peaking out from behind the clouds. Even the weekend looks promising! Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but we might even see fishable water into next week!

The only dark cloud in this sunny forecast is the Clackamas River which seems to be determined to stay above the 15 foot mark until after the workweek begins on Monday. I was talking with our man on the water, Corey Koff, and we agreed, 14 ft. is the new 12 ft. on the Clack. If the water is green, fish it. Just don’t fish the whole river, focus on the edges.

The Sandy had color on Monday, a radical change from it’s “spring creek” appearance most of this winter. Constant rain and warmer temps knocked it out on Tuesday and it seems to have peaked at 11,400 cfs this morning and is dropping. It will probably fish tomorrow, but check the gauge.

I wasn't sure what condition the Deschutes was in until my phone beeped a second ago and Marty check in. The river bumped up as rain and snow melt affects the flows on the east side and Mr. Sheppard reports it is off color as well. You could probably catch a fish or two, but it's not optimal. It's a good day to tye some flies or stop in the shop for a cup of coffee. Winter isn't over yet.

An Optimistic Bunch

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 09, 2017

If you are that person who is constantly checking the river levels and weather report as you plan your weekend, you probably have been flirting with a case of serious angling depression this week. Looking ahead to the weekend you have surmised by now that conditions will be near perfect starting at around 10:00PM this evening and ending around 8:00AM Friday. That gives you a full hour of daylight tomorrow morning and you already called in sick last week. Yup, that is depressing.

Now, before you lose all hope of getting your boots wet this weekend you need to look on the bright side. Trout fishing is still an option and smaller watersheds may drop into shape by Sunday afternoon. You at least need to go check it out.

As anglers we are an optimistic bunch and our current weather pattern seems to be putting that optimism to the test. The ups and downs of our favorite rivers have been a never-ending elevator ride of emotions. It’s like we’re in high school again getting mixed signals from that object of our affection. One minute we’re in love dancing through a day on the water, the next we’re crushed and standing out in the freezing rain promising to never do this again. Ah yes, winter Steelheading, I use to do that until I learned how to make baskets out of old Skagit lines…

Yet, we persevere and seek out these proud fish in conditions that turn most imported anglers into gameshow junkies. A perfect example of this dedication is the tale of Bryan and Brian.

It seems that our friend Bryan Petersen (owner of Cascade Payroll Service, our Royal Treatment payroll specialist. 503.608.4227 for all your payroll needs. End of unsolicited shameless plug.) was fishing with our friend Brian Silvey, AKA Number One. Now before confusion sets in I will just share Mr. Petersen’s email, or at least part of it. After all, this is a family friendly newsletter…

“Around noon we stopped to set up for lunch. A couple of guys were casting bobbers on the other side of the river and Brian told me to fish the seam on this side. I’m fishing it, looking at the guys across form me and thinking, well they’re not catching anything, what are my chances? Step, cast, mend, step, cast, mend, down the run I went.

Brian finally called out, “two more casts.” I thought to myself, lunch is ready, good, I need a break! As I’m thinking about warming up on Brian’s soup and toasted bagel sandwich, the line snaps taunt, the loop is gone and the rod takes leave of my hand. I’m looking down into the water as my rod it now 4-6 feet down river from me and moving away rapidly.

Fortunately, Brian was oblivious to my current predicament or I’d now be a feature on American’s Funniest Home Videos or at the least Brian’s Instagram feed! I started chasing after my rod, which involved “running” in thigh deep water in waders. I almost caught it, but it darted off again. I considered diving into the freezing water after it, but thought better and continued my splashy pursuit.

Thankfully, I finally caught up with my wayward outfit, but was sure the fish had departed. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the fish was indeed still attached to my Silvey's Extractor!

Most of the battle was fought without my participation and after a brief struggle it was carefully brought to the net. Pictures were taken, backs were slapped and soon it was off again to terrorize another angler.

One of Brian’s warm riverside lunches was the reward for my success, as I briefly mentioned the episode to my guide. Please don’t tell anyone about this, Brian missed the show and I may not have shared the whole story. I don’t want him to cut me from the A list.”

Huh, don’t worry Bryan. Mr. Silvey only reads this newsletter when he’s prominently featured, or not fishing because the river is rising.

Perfect Conditions Abound

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 02, 2017

Optimism is running rampant on local waterways as fishing conditions flirt with near perfection. While it can be argued that the Sandy River could use a little color it has been on its own program for most of the winter months and refuses to conform to predictions. Across the state our wintery mix of weather has kept the dedicated bundled up and soggy for the most part, with only the occasional respite from the dampness.

The reports of doom and gloom on the fisheries front set forth by ODFW managers recently have been offset with epic days afield by those few anglers born under a lucky star. The less fortunate among us take solace and inspiration in their successes. We remain optimistic, but it does seem that the warm waters of 2015 did indeed take a toll on our anadromous friends. Our cast count may have to be adjusted upwards slightly. Coastal streams have seen pockets of success over the past few days.

It should be noted that stream etiquette has taken a hit recently as less fortunate anglers try to find the unfair advantage over their angling brethren. Please refrain from low-holing others, and at least get out of your car first.

Windows of Opportunity

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 23, 2017

It’s all about windows of opportunity this winter and that window was opened a crack this past week in spite of the torrential rains that doused the area. Dropping freezing levels meant dropping rivers and anglers braving the cold, wet weather were rewarded for their efforts.

The North Coast was the hot spot with plenty of action on the swung fly. Muddy waters in some locations didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the fresh fish entering the system. Willing fly grabbers were found in a variety of conditions and those condition continue to improve. Things on the coast are looking good for the weekend.

The Sandy River was the local bright spot as it remained in pretty good shape throughout the week, and the east wind has relinquished it’s grasp. When things get rocking on the Sandy I only hear from Number One and Number Two through their social media feeds. They seem to be making hay while the sun shines and hopefully will be able to file a personal report soon. Both Rockstars have brought some nice fish to hand during this window of opportunity.

As witnessed by the photos in this issue, I made a dash to the Metolius with friends Tracy and Jena. Stream side snow is packed and a little easier to hike on, but watch for soft spots that can trip you up. Rubber soled boots do make for better walking in the snow, but make sure to take care when actually wading with them. Studs do help and can be added to most boots.

The misc. small Mayfly hatch was augmented by the occasional showing of the large winter Caddis that pops out this time of year. While BWOs were the most common insect to make an appearance, there are several other hatches making up the Metolius menu. Surface action gets rolling around 11:00 and fades around 2:00. Soft hackles are a good option before, during, and after, if surface presentations don’t bring results. Cased Caddis trailing a small Mayfly nymph, like Silvey’s Super Sinker, are an effective way to prospect when nothing is showing.

Bull Trout chasers may want to check out Stolis' Ice Pick that our Fly Czar, Josh Linn, added to the Trout fly Streamer Collection this week. It's becoming a full-time gig just testing out the new patterns he had been pulling in each week. Steelhead nuts will love the new pattern from Jerry French that he's added to our collection of fish catchers.

Weather wise we’re not out of the woods yet. So, watch the forecast and plan accordingly. We hit whiteout conditions on the way home last evening on the Santiam Pass, making it a slow trek. Be prepared and make sure you carry emergency snacks, water and warm clothes when traversing our mountain passes. Spring is coming, but not just yet.

Streamer Eaters

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Steelhead waters are re-carving landscapes across the state as a hard cold rain drives in from the Pacific. The chances of finding fishable water by the weekend will require creativity and lengthy travel. The best bet is to forego the Steelhead gear, grab some Trout stuff and head east. Even then you may be dealing with water conditions that are less than ideal.

Last week I chatted with Brian Silvey who was going a bit stir-crazy from cabin fever as he remains snowbound in Maupin. The bombardment of winter weather has limited his water time on the Sandy River and added to his time at the tying bench. The upside is with his Steelhead boxes full he has turned to tying big Trout streamers and that is a very timely topic. Now, his creations aren’t yet ready for primetime yet as Brian likes to thoroughly field test new patterns before springing them on the world, but this does allow me a wonderful segue into this topic.

Streamers are the feast that hungry Trout are looking for during the lean times of winter. It’s important for feeding fish to acquire more calories in a meal than they expend in acquiring said meal. Sipping BWOs may keep the hunger pains away, but chomping down on a fat Sculpin puts meat on the bones much faster.

While streamer fishing has remained popular in some circles, it seemed to fall out of favor with the general populace who turned to nymphing to fulfill their subsurface angling requirements. Yet, tossing streamers is experiencing a resurgence here in the Northwest partly due to traveling anglers bringing their flies and techniques back home from streamer friendly locations and anglers looking for another arrow to add to their quiver.

No one is more into this Streamer resurgence than the staff here at Royal Treatment, especially our Fly Czar, Josh Linn. Check out some of the Streamer weapons he’s added to the fly bins just this week. Then grab a Trout stick and hit the water. There’s a big fish out there with your name on it, you two should meet.

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