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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!


Sugar Rush Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 03, 2016

Hey guys, Joel is out of town, so I’m writing the fishing report this week. Ill try to keep it short and sweet. Happy post halloween, I hope everyone is recovering from their big sugar spike! If you have extra Halloween candy bring some by for Nick and be prepared to be entertained.

So some things to keep in mind. Trout fishing on the west side is changing, most rivers over here close for trout fishing. So make sure to check the regs for the watershed you are planning to fish. Lots of people are still fishing the Metolius and the Deschutes, and it has been really good. Blue Winged Olive hatches have been prolific mid day and fish have been looking up.

I fished the Deschutes around Maupin for a couple of days this week and it rained the whole time I was out there. This is the time of year when our waders and rain coats really get put to the test. Those little leaks that were nice when it was hot are really annoying and detract from the fishing this time of year. This is the perfect time to repair or replace your waders and if you need some help with that we’ve got you covered.
The river was in great shape, and the fishing was spectacular. Tons of Big horn sheep and other critters around. Not much traffic on the road and as a bonus the road was being graded, so that made for a nicer drive. I fished pretty much every run that I wanted to. I started out fishing with a scandi Line and then switched to a sink tip. Like I said the fishing was pretty great, but unfortunately I didn’t stumble across any fish. This season has definitely been like searching for a needle in a haystack and you're surrounded by haystacks. That being said get outside and go fishing because you aren’t going to catch one sitting on the couch.

While I was down there I fished the new G. Loomis Asquith 12’9” 6wt. I am a Loomis fan and I have helped develop a number of their rods and I even used to work for them. When I departed from Loomis a couple of years ago this was a line of rods that we were beginning to develop. These rods are pretty unique in their construction, they are extremely light and very nice to cast. If you want to know more about it call the shop or drop by, I love to talk about rods.

I have talked with a lot of guys fishing both the Grande Ronde and the John Day the past couple of weeks. The fishing is slower as we all know but the fish that are around are big and scrappy. Don’t expect to catch a ton of fish and be ready to put in some time, but the fish are quality. This summer steelhead season has been tough and will definitely test your conviction to hunting for those Unicorns.

I am still fishing the east side for steelhead but will be switching gears over the next 30 days to focus on winter steelhead. I have heard from a pretty credible source that a couple of early winter steelhead were caught on an undisclosed Columbia river tributary earlier this week. If river levels stay up, and it continues to rain, hopefully, we will have a good early season.

The Return of The Shad Prince

Joel La Follette - Thursday, June 09, 2016
Rose Festival weather has returned and looks to be hanging out here for at least a week, maybe more. Cloudy skies and a splash of rain here and there shouldn’t stop us from getting out and taking advantage of the season. Just like last week there is plenty of fishing to be done if one was so inclined.

Escaping to the east side of the state has the advantage of pleasant temperatures and a better chance at staying dry. While the Salmonfly hatch may be over for this year, there has been plenty of Caddis and PMDs to keep the Redsides snacking. Green Drakes are also a real possibility if the conditions and location are right. Steelhead junkies are watching dam counts waiting not so patiently for summer fish to return. I will tell you that there is at least one fresh summer Steelhead in the Deschutes right now. Do you feel lucky?

The Metolius has the attention of the guys in the shop because of a big green Mayfly. Our Fly Czar, Josh Linn, has collected an impressive array of patterns for the Green Drake hatch and both he and Nick have been field testing them. While the Drakes may be the focus, there have been good showings of PMDs, Caddis and the famous misc. small Mayfly hatch. A lone Goldenstone was even spotted looking for a date this past weekend, but it’s a bit early to get excited about that one. This is a great time to discover the Metolius.

I’ve tried to avoid it, but it has gotten too big to ignore any longer. The Shad run is here, big-time. If you really want to get someone hooked on fly fishing, this is the fishery for you. While the America Shad is an invasive species, it has become a popular target for anglers this time of year. Millions of these overgrown Herring are swimming in the Willamette and Columbia at this very moment. Millions. Water Time Outfitters is running two boats daily with up to three time slots. Our own Nick Wheeler “The Shad Prince” snuck out for an hour with Rob yesterday and boated over 30 fish. He rolled back into the shop with a bigger grin that normal if you can believe that. There are places you can fish for this “poor man’s Tarpon” from shore, but only if you like company, lots of company. Save yourself the hassle and call Rob at Water Time Outfitters. The Shad run continues through June.


Attention Deficit

Joel La Follette - Thursday, June 02, 2016
This is a tough time of year for the attention deficit angler. There are far too many options out there and all of them are good. While the Salmonfly hatch crawls to a finish on the Deschutes, it's ramping up down on the Rogue. Green Drakes are teasing us on the Deschutes and Metolius with Caddis and misc. Mayflies filling in the void. Eastside lakes are coming into play with spring fully gripping us. Steelhead and Springers are slipping up the Clackamas relatively unmolested. Then there's the invasive invasion as Shad in the Willamette are making our Mr. Wheeler pace the floor at night and Carpers are getting serious on the Columbia. Yup, it's hard to pick what point of the compass to follow. My suggestion? Follow your heart.

Just because we bid good-bye to the big bugs on the D doesn’t mean our favorite river is done with us. On the contrary, summer is just getting going and we’ll have plenty of options when it comes to fly selection as we move through the next few months. PMDs are already a focus, as are the Caddis of summer. The once-a-year Salmonfly crowd will figure out soon enough that it’s pretty much over and head off to dig clams or something leaving us a little more room to roam.

The Metolius comes into it's own as lupines line the bank with Flavs and Green Drakes taking wing. PMDs and a variety of Caddis are also vying for the Trout's attention when conditions present themselves. Watch more and wade less is the secret to success on the Metolius. Then there's the sleep late, fish late thing. No need to be up at the crack of dawn.

As mentioned, Shad are starting to clog the Willamette and are drawing attention from the Dick-Nite crowd. While a boat makes targeting this scaled down tarpon a bit easier, there are shore locations where a fly angler can score. Fast sinking shooting heads and small flashy flies are the ticket to success. Consult our Shad Man for details.

Green Drakes make a showing/Salmonflies slowly depart

Joel La Follette - Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Deschutes is the focus again this week as the Salmonfly hatch garners most of you Trouters attention. The big bugs are slowly fading away below Mack’s Canyon, but fish are still grabbing plump offerings bumped off the grass and brush. Same holds true in the Maupin area, with spotty clumps of Golden Stones still hanging on. Those of you venturing to these areas may wish to arm yourself with a collection of other spring patterns just to have your bases covered.

On Tuesday, I was the guest of Marty Sheppard who chauffeur Shane Blitch and  myself downriver below Mack’s Canyon to do a little exploring. There were hanger-ons in the bushes and a few dropping eggs, but the 2016 Salmonfly hatch was pretty much over. Fish still rose to Goldens, but March Browns, PMDs, Caddis and Green Drakes were more prevalent. Flocks of Seagulls working like Swallows over riffle water are a sign that something big is hatching. After observing several mid-air grabs I was able to spot a few Green Drakes taking to wing even on a bright sunny day. I even convinced a few fish that those might be a good idea.


Above Maupin fishing has been very good as the big bugs continue to be the main course in dining rooms next to the bank. Josh and his buddy Eric did the Trout Creek to Maupin run with great success this past weekend. They reported that the set up to run with is a Hopper/ Hopper/Hopper rig, which for the less adventurous of us is a Salmonfly dry, with a Yellow Sally Dropper, with an Elk Hair Dropper. Not the easiest collection of fluff to toss into the brush, but it does offer fish dining options. Just take a lot of flies with you.

Continuing up the creek we find the hatch is spotty in places and off the hook in others. No doubt this is due to the changes we’re experiencing in the post Pelton Dam mixing tower era. Consistency is not a word that describes any of our insect hatches and that may be the new normal until the issues facing the Deschutes are  rectified. Look for Salmonflies and Goldenstones to continue to hang around for a few more weeks in places up and down the river before fading into memory. It's time to start thinking about that other fly box filled with the bugs of summer and prepare for a variety of hatches over the coming months.

Have fun and be careful! 

Still Rock'n the Big Bugs

Joel La Follette - Thursday, May 12, 2016
Totally Trout this week as the Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes continues to be the focus. Last Thursday a mega thunderstorm rolled though the area rinsing the big bugs from their grassy villas. While a feeding frenzy resulted in it’s aftermath, the storm rebooted the hatch and it took a few days to see any numbers of insects back in the bushes. Some anglers found fishing slow on Friday and Saturday, only to see it rebound the first part of this week.

The numbers of both GoldenStones and Salmonflies have increased above Maupin all the way upriver to Warm Springs. This weekend looks to be approaching the peak of this annual migration. If conditions remain favorable, fishing should be epic. All of the popular patterns seem to be producing, so just make sure to have your favorites. I started off my day on Monday with a hopper/dropper combo of a Purple Chubby and Silvey’s Pupa. Action at the 9:00 hour was the result. When things warmed up I went full on Salmonfly with Morrish’s Fluttering Stone and didn’t look back. Pick your favorite and toss in the brush where those big fish are waiting.

Observation of other insects should be noted as well and could provide anglers with options in areas where the big bugs are thinning. Green Drakes, PMDs, a few March Browns and plenty of Caddis were all observed taking to wing over the last few days. While it’s early for the Green Drake hatch, be prepared when these big mayflies take flight. Lucky Steve tells us the 16-17th are the dates for that hatch.

The Metolius and Crooked rivers are also good options if you wish to avoid the flotilla on the Deschutes. Spring hatches could include most of your favorites, but it may be a tad bit longer before we see the Green Drakes pop on the Metolius. This popular spring creek tends to come alive on warm cloudy days, or later in the evening. Make plans according.

Steelhead action can still be had on the Clackamas where Springers have also been grabbing swung files. Swing a little slower if you want to tangle with the King. Airflo’s new FIST head is the prefect weapon for that task. Stop in for fly suggestions, Josh has added a few colors just for Springers.

Zombie Bugs Invade the Deschutes

Joel La Follette - Thursday, May 05, 2016
It’s time to get your Trout face on and hit the river. Big bugs are popping on the Deschutes and near perfect conditions are on tap for the weekend. This past Monday, Team Royal Treatment split up to recon the river so we could file a boots in the water report. While Josh chauffeured Nick and the Stig on the Warm Springs stretch, I headed to Maupin to see how things were progressing, bug wise.

Bug action above White River was off the hook as Golden Stones and Salmonflies crawled out like zombies on a mission. The temperature climbed to the high 80s and that even got a few to take wing over the river. I managed 3 nice fish on big dries before I had pack it in and head home. My banjo playing buddy, Shane Blitch, spent the night and scored well the next day. Don’t wait too long or you may miss the action.

Rob Crandall was doing a father/son trip below Mack’s Canyon and his son Tanner showed pops how to get it done with big flies. Look for Tanner to be piloting his own sled in the future.

Upriver where the A team drifted, the big bugs were not as prolific yet. Nevertheless, the guys did very well drifting nymphs or swinging streamers, with streamers being the most productive. Look for the hatch to overtake the upper river and start the Salmonfly madness for 2016.

For a change of pace I met up with Jeff Helfrich on the McKenzie River yesterday, spending the day tossing dry flies at hungry wild Rainbows and Cutthroat with my dad. We landed plenty of fish with several tipping into the chunky category. The weather was warmish, but damp which brought out a springtime mix of insects. Brown and Green Caddis flitted about with Craneflies, March Browns, PMDs, BWOs and Yellow Sallies throughout the day so the fish had plenty to choose from. If you’ve not fished the McKenzie in a while, now would be a good time.


Steelhead? Yes, action continues to be fair on the Clackamas and that will continue until the river gets too warm. Sink-tips are still the best bet, but maybe dialing in an unweighted fly might save you a few bucks as the water drops. Those rocks have been hungry too. The river is at 12.2 this morning and 51 degrees. A dry line may not be a bad option for the optimistic.

Goldfish and Redsides

Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our resident Fly Czar, Josh Linn, was field testing a few of our new invasive species specials and reports that the warm weather kicked the Carp into their happy place. If you're looking for non-salmonid action close to town you may want to inquire as to his fly selection and techniques. He seems to have cracked the small water Carp code in his first outing pursuing these oversized Goldfish. We're sending him off to work on those monster Columbia fish next. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Trout chasers found the hungry Redsides on the Deschutes willing to take bigger offerings including streamers and chunky Stonefly nymphs. Mayfly hatches may kick in with the clouds and temperatures forecast for today. Call in sick. Things cool off by Saturday which could make for fussy fish with the change in weather. You won't know unless you go. Hopper/dropper combos give you the best of both worlds and have continued to be productive. Ask the Fly Czar for suggestions.

Same story on the Metolius where if it was June I'd be in a meeting all day without my phone and packing my Green Drakes with me. Since it's only the middle of April I'd focus on smaller bugs and one of Roger's deli sandwiches. Maybe a pickle too.

Summer Steelhead continued to slide up the Clackamas this week without being harassed by Mr. Crandall. Their break is over when Rob returns from BC later this week. The change in weather could really spice up the action over the next few days. Cooler temps will keep the inflatable pool toys off the water in any case.

Totally Epic Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Saturday, March 26, 2016
Winter/spring Steelheading remains good when the weather and water levels cooperate. Big wild fish made up a large portion of the swung fly grabs this past week. The forecasted Spring Break deluge hasn't really affected conditions very much both locally and on the coast. Upward bumps in water levels have been short lived and have been followed by happy fish on dropping rivers. Pay attention to what IS happening and not was is FORECASTED to happen. That has been two very different things for most of this winter.

"Totally epic" is how our own Nick Wheeler and his sidekick "The Stig" described the Metolius this past weekend. That is not something heard very often in conversations about this special spring creek. Hatches were slight, but Rainbows and Bulls were grabbing nymphs tumbled deep under an indicator. The Stig is investing heavily in one of the new patterns we added to the inventory that seems to be Metolius magic. Look for BWOs and the misc. small Mayfly hatch to pop on cloudy days. If you need additional intel, Nick is easily bribed with Jelly Beans or donuts.

The Deschutes is a great Trout option for plan B if your westside Steelhead adventures are sidelined by rising water. Trout have been more active as water temps rise and with those subfreezing days of winter hopefully behind us fishing should continue to get better. BWOs, March Browns and the occasional Skwala can be seen flitting around. Please note: Yes, the upper Deschutes River is open to fishing year-round now, but please refrain from targeting spawning Steelhead and Trout. Reports and photos on social media seem to have some anglers promoting this practice. Don't be that guy! Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

As long as I'm on subject, my friend Frank Moore down on the North Umpqua would appreciate the same consideration for the wild fish on his home waters. We are all stewards for the resource and need to set an example by avoiding spawning areas wherever wild fish swim.

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