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Fishing Reports

Crittering Around (ask Josh)

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Josh Linn
Apparently, I was the only one out of the crew that went fishing this week so I drew the Fishing Report straw. 

Normally on Tuesday everyone comes in and tells us all about their trips over the weekend, Trout fishing on the Deschutes or the Metolius, Steelhead out on the coast or in our local waters. Not this week. It seems like the lack of rain, nice weather, and the low clear water has turned people's attention elsewhere. I know a lot of people needed to catch up on yard work in this unusually early “spring”. I sure hope this weather does't last and we get some rain soon. I mean seriously, sooner or later that has to happen right?

So, I actually did get a couple of Fishing Reports from around Northwest, but none of them are very close to here.

Guys on the OP have been getting fish, but the water is starting to get low. 

The Clack and Sandy are both really low and clear. With that being said, I did hear about a couple of fish caught on the Sandy, but unless we get some rain the rivers are going to continue to drop and clear. I jet boated around the Clackamas on Sunday and got to fish some of my favorite pieces of water. Similar to a lot of peoples stories we were also blanked. 

The coast is also getting low, but Rob and the Water Time Outfitters gang are still getting fish out there.

I have heard that the fishing on the Mackenzie river has been good and it seems possible that the March Hatch could come off early.

Earlier this week, I did a presentation at a Fly club and I was commenting on how it used to be back in the old days before marmot dam came out. In the old days it seemed like 1800-2600 cfs were great flows for the Sandy. The river was very fishable, and it would still have a little color. Now when it’s at that level we are pretty much complaining about how low and clear it is. One of the things we really need to do when it’s like this is change up our tactics a little. When the river’s low there are a lot more spots to fish. We need to critter around more and fish all the little nooks and crannies. Find the deeper buckets. Fish heavier sink tips down in them and see what you can dredge up. The fish aren’t necessarily going to be in the shallower runs.

It probably sounds like I’m saying the fishing is hard and I am, but I’m also telling you you can’t catch one from the couch. So have some faith and play the odds. The more days you spend on the water the more likely it is you’re going to catch one.




A River Between Them

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 08, 2018


This week, Nick and Josh are tag teaming the fishing report and taking on this new responsibility with gusto. It's understandable that after working all week together they might need to take a break from each other over the weekend. With Nick living in Washington and Josh in Oregon, one would assume that they would find plenty of personal space on the water to recharge their batteries. Well, they both ended up on the Sandy this past weekend. Go figure. We'll kick it off with Nick...


From lots of rain to lots of sun this winter weather can’t decide what it wants to do. If you're not fishing, we hope you’re enjoying these warmer temperatures. 

Trout fishing on the east side has been heating up, literally. Pleasant temperatures have been leading to a better Trout bite. Nymph fishing has been working the best. So try using smaller patterns like Silvey’s Super Sinker or a Prince Nymph. We should start seeing better BWO hatches so don’t forget to make sure you also have a few of those in your box. This spring-like weather isn’t going to be around forever, so take advantage of it while you can.


Steelheading has still been a little lackluster in the local area. There are fish around, but not in any big numbers. The best way it seems to find fish this year is to play the numbers game; fish as much as possible and you're bound to find one at some point. Last week, the Sandy River was fishing better, this week it was the Clackamas. Josh and I both had decided to fish the Sandy because of the reports, but apparently even us shop guys can get it wrong. A few fish were hooked, but nothing was brought to hand. We decided to make the best of it and enjoyed the sunshine and good company.

With fishing looking better this week on the Clackamas who knows what will be in the cards for this coming weekend, but that’s steelhead fishing. As Josh likes to say, “the best report" is the one you go out and make yourself. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and make yours!

Mr. Linn adds...

Every week when we open up on Tuesday a lot of people come in to share fishing reports with us. While Nick is being Nick and regaling everyone about his outings, I’m busy listening. People come in to share their weekend exploits, some are looking for sympathy while others are looking for reassurance and a few new flies. Whatever the case may be, I take note so I can relay back via a fishing report what has been happening on the water. Here are a few things I took note of.... 

I fished the Sandy this week and I don’t know if you saw it, but a few weeks ago the gauge was on the fritz. When I went out this week the gauge read 5790 cfs and noticing how few runs were fishable and how deep I waded I would guess the river was really around 7000 cfs.

While I was out I got to talking to some other guides on the Sandy and they said that 80-85% of the fish they’ve caught this season have had fresh seal marks on them. Combine that with the fact that people have regularly been seeing sea lions up in Oxbow Park and this is something that is very scary to me. It seems to me that those guys are detrimental to the survival of all Steelhead.

On a brighter note, the Clack has been fishing really well. I was talking to one of the guys that comes in from PGE and he said they passed 40 winter fish into the upper Clackamas on Monday. Nice to see some wild fish returning.

Down on the coast, Rob Crandall and the guys are tearing it up on the swung fly. Yes, there is still some bobber lob'n being done, but with Rob's Devil's Candy arriving in the shop there has been a whole lot of swinging going on. A bit of rain wouldn't hurt, but there are fish to be found all along the North Coast. 



Swinging in the Rain

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 01, 2018

With all the high water last week fishing opportunities have been a bit uninspiring. Steelhead fishing has gotten a little interesting with sea lions being spotted in the lower Clackamas and Sandy rivers, their presence can push fish around and make your finned friends a little stressed out. Fear not, as our water levels drop those beasts will probably move back out to the Columbia and Willamette. Reports of Steelhead being caught are scattered across the area depending on the day.

The smaller coastal rivers stayed in good shape during this last weather system and Water Time Outfitters say that there has been a push of fresh fish. The Clackamas has been spotty, but has stayed fairly fishable even in this high water. The Sandy River was the place to be with a few more fish being reported there, when it is not blown out. Our friend, Brian Silvey does have some February openings.

So my tip to you this week for you Steelhead chasers is watch your water levels, fish whenever possible, and don't give up. Your next pull on the Steelhead slot machine could be the one. You'll never know unless your out there.

Other angling possibilities include the east side of the Cascades for some winter Trout action. If you haven't noticed it kind of feels like spring around here, which doesn't seem right because its only the 1st of February and the Ground Hog is making his appearance tomorrow. Well, if the world gives you lemons... go trout fishing. Weather reports look almost look pleasant over in Maupin, so if you have the itch to chase Trout this winter, the east side rivers may not be a bad choice. I would start out nymphing with Stone Fly nymphs and your favorite dropper or stripping streamers. If a hatch starts to bring fish to the surface it mostly likely will be a Blue Wing Olives ringing the dinner bell. The weather man says it could be in the low 60's in Maupin this weekend and that sounds like t-shirt weather to me.


Lunch Meat Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 25, 2018
By Nick Wheeler

As we get into the meat of our winter Steelhead sandwich we should see more fish starting to show up in better numbers. The end of January, February, and beginning of March is where you can have confidence that you're showing your fly to fish. With rain patterns the way they are rivers have been acting a little more like roller coasters, so timing is everything. Look for falling river flows and green tinted streams and you should find some chrome swimming around.

The Sandy River has picked up as reports of lucky anglers share their stories. The river gauge on the Sandy is now back in working order. So, for all of you that panicked thinking it was at flood stage, sorry it was fishable all along. The Clackamas and the coastal rivers have also been producing a few fish. With all this rain the last few days most of these systems will probably be blown out today (Thursday). Look for dropping rivers which makes for happy fish, rising rivers can be a little tougher. Another storm system might be heading our way this weekend, but fear not the weather man is wrong most of the time. Unless those gauges are rocketing up, go fishing. You can’t catch them from your couch.

In other news, trout fishing on the east side has been in it's normal winter routine with spotty BWO’s hatching mid day and subsurface tactics being your most productive method of getting a hook up.

If your looking for that humdinger of a fish or want to break away from Steelheading for a day like I wanted too, some of the lower elevation lakes could give you your fix. I headed out to some of those Washington lakes which are known to produce hatchery brood stock rainbows. Now these fish may not be the prettiest or the hardest fighting, but sometimes you just want a gimme and boy can they supply that. If you do find your way out chasing these monster pellet feed trout I would recommend a larger leech pattern, red worked well for me, a intermediate sinking line and at least a 6wt rod. These fish averaged around 5 pounds, and we found some that were close to 10. In the short 4 hours we fish we landed over a dozen in that size range. So, if you're looking for something different this week or are tired of steelhead fishing beating you up there’s always another fishery to try.

The Law of Averages

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 18, 2018

I’m sure you’ve heard steelhead referred to as a fish of 1000 casts. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes it’s less. Steelhead fishing is about playing the odds. You might go four, five, or six days, maybe even a few weeks without catching a fish, but then you might get into a little streak and that brings you’re average back up. It all about the Law of Averages.

I know steelhead fishing has been tough the last couple of weeks, I keep blaming it on the weather. These high pressure systems that push the rains north and south and cause the strong east winds really wreak havoc on our winter fishing. Another thing that might get be causing the slower fishing is there might not be all that many wild fish around. I know when I look back on my steelhead catches over the years that I end up catching about 75% wild fish and 25% hatchery fish.

Quite often when I land a fish I will do a quick inspection of said fish to see what condition it’s in. I have a mental checklist - is it male or female, how bright is it, check out the anus to see how far or close to spawning the fish might be (more important in the spring when there is a mix of fresh summer and winter fish around), quick inspection of the inside of the mouth to see if there are any other hook scars. Sometimes you catch a fish and it will still have a hook buried in its mouth and another scar in the gum line and then the fly that you hooked it with still dangling out of the corner of its mouth. Those fish are biters! You don’t see a lot of hatchery fish like that and it might just be because most hatchery fish get whacked for the table or that they just don’t bite as well. It’s hard to say.

I guess the point of this long tale is that fishing is tough right now, but that will change soon hopefully. I fished with this guy in Russia and his saying was one cast can change your life, meaning that the next cast might be the one that you get a fish on and then you're looking up. Your outlook has changed and instead of talking about all the days you went without a fish you're talking about all the jumps and runs the fish made. Your outlook just made a 180 degree turn.

This week, the weather was like a roller coaster ride and I would expect the same for the upcoming week. It’s supposed to rain pretty hard the next couple of days. If the snow level stays low the rivers will bump up a little bit, but will be very fishable. If the snow level rises we won’t be fishing for a couple of days. Whatever happens we are going to have some great conditions the next couple of days. Fishing should be good on the front end of the river bump and then once it peaks. As long as there is a little visibility the rivers will be fishable.

I talked to guys on both the Sandy and Clack and fish are still being caught. As a matter of fact Corey did a guide trip on Wednesday and his client hooked two.

Rob Crandall of Water Time Outfitters has been fishing the coast and they are starting to pick up fish out there as well.

I also heard a couple of reports from guys fishing trout on the east side. The Deschutes was pretty slow with no real hatches to speak of, but very few anglers to compete against. The Metolius on the other hand was pretty good with a good BWO hatch midday.

I haven’t landed a fish yet this winter but I know it’s about to happen. Keep going, keep playing the odds and sooner or later It will happen, it has to happen.


Checking in with Friends on the River

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 11, 2018
Report by Josh Linn and Friends...


I’m still making good on my New Years resolution to fish more. I know it’s early in the year, but it all adds up in the end.

I probably sound like a broken record, but the fishing is only getting better and every time it rains more fish enter the system. This rain will be no different.

After last week's outing Eric and I were pretty confident about there being a reasonable amount of fish in the river. Eric went at it with a renewed vigor and was fishing with supreme confidence this week as we again drifted the Clackamas. Every run he stepped in he knew he was going to get a fish, and he was ready for it.

The water was much lower than the week before. The runs where we had been standing in the willows fishing from we were now wading 30-50’ out. We fished the same 12’ t-11 tips, but had to adjust our angle to cast a little more downstream. Almost immediately Eric was in to his first fish. It was a good hard take, but sadly turned out to be a sucker. We continued fishing throughout the day and fished many prime pieces of water. We got to one of our last spots of the day. Eric stepped out of the boat and flipped his fly out there to start fishing short and work his line out. Immediately a fish grabbed the fly and started pulling line off the reel. Hooking one in close like that reminds me that every time you step in and make a cast, even the close ones, you have to be ready for that take. We had our only fish grab on the first little flop cast right in front of the boat, remember every cast counts. Fish it like you mean it.

I gathered a few Fishing Reports from out in the field. I don’t really have a trout one this week. Sadly, it seems like everyone has turned their attention to winter steelhead which is good if you are a trout angler, because there won’t be much pressure.

Here's the news from our friends on the water...

Brian Silvey-
The Sandy has been fishing good when water levels are up, slower when water levels drop. So far it’s been a mix of wild and hatchery fish landed.
Should only get better in the next few months.

The Deschutes has also been good for trout. The water around Maupin is in perfect shape. Not many hatches right now, so nymphing is the best technique.

Dave Hendrie on the Sandy...
Sh$&# show today...15 plus boats at Oxbow. Guides floating over water, guy motored up to last chance... Still good times. Couple great guys found fish... Next rain will be good.

Todd Rettman on the coast...
Fished the S Fork today and water was prime. I actually got to swing a fly in a sweet run! Fished behind the client of course, but no big tugs from any of those wild chromers. This next rain should move a fresh batch of winter steelhead into the streams. Tight lines!!

Rob Perkin on the coast...
Erin and I pushed off at 9:30 thinking our best bet would be to fish behind the early risers and not try to beat people down the river. The conditions were perfect, with a dropping river and good color. Half way through the first run I had a solid grab that didn't stick, but with a start like that my expectations were high all day.

Later in the day gear guys making their second run, began passing us and they weren't shy in sharing how good the day had been for them. Most of them had found at least a fish or two. We're in a good weather pattern and the fish are in!


Southwest Washington and Olympic peninsula...
Jackson Golik of Jackson Golik Guide Service
Fishing has been pretty good the last few weeks with more native fish coming in by the day. They’re are still good numbers of hatchery fish in the Kalama, and so far the pressure hasn’t been too bad from other anglers. We are supposed to get a fair amount of rain over the next few days so fishing might be patchy. Once the rain stops and the rivers start to drop then it’ll be time to catch some fish!

My trip to the Olympic Peninsula was incredible. On the first day we floated the lower river. We fished hard all day for two grabs, but no hookups. We were the only ones on the float all day and the water looked incredible, but feeling the need to change it up we decided to float the upper river for day two. While fishing in the national forest is beautiful, there were even less fish in the upper river and quite a bit more pressure. With our tails between our legs we decided for our last morning we would go back to the extreme lower Hoh about a mile above the salt and try our luck to find some new fish. And by pure dumb luck we walked right into them. I hooked 5 in one hole and my mom hooked her first fish on the swing. A perfect ending to a fun trip.

Happy New Year Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 04, 2018

It turns out that the Fly Czar, Josh Linn, had something to do with last weeks fishing report as he "coached" Mr. Skittles though that literary endeavor. This week, Josh takes center stage as he regales us with his New Year's exploits and kicks off the year with friends.

I hope everyone is off to a great start to the New Year. Turning that corner into a new year is exciting with new seasons and fishing adventures on the horizon. Adventures can be both good and bad, you never know what’s going to come your way. I personally have made a New Years resolution to fish more and I started on day one.

So this week, while Joel was busy remodeling the kitchen in his 4Runner (or finishing up the year-end inventory) and Nick was busy taking down his Christmas lights it was left up to me to write the Fishing Report.

I tried really hard to get Nick to forgo his family obligations, but while that didn’t work out I did find a couple of volunteers for the New Year’s Day Fishing trip. This cast of characters have appeared in other featured Fishing Reports over the past few years and are no strangers around the shop. Rob and Erin Perkins and Eric Gunter have been seen in box office hits such as John Day Bass Report, John Day Steelhead Report and my favorite, the Deschutes Salmon Fly Hatch Report. We have all fished together many times and make a great team.

We didn’t meet up too early for our trip as we were looking for a casual New Year’s Day float, plus you never know how busy it’s going to be out there. I used to float the Sandy for my annual New Year’s Day float, but the Oregon Whitewater Association or some similar group does a rafting trip that puts about 100 boats on the river that day. So, a few years ago I gave up on that.

We headed over to the Clackamas River which is definitely a favorite winter steelhead haunt of mine. It has plenty of classic swing runs and quite a few short little tucked-in hidden spots to explore.

I’ve been fishing the Sage Mod quite a bit lately and I like that rod immensely. It has a deep loading action that is perfect for tossing sink tips and bigger winter flies. My typical winter setup is a 13' 7wt rod, like the Sage Mod 7130, matched with a Skagit head. I strongly favor the Rio Skagit Max and generally I’m tipping it with 12’ of T-11. My fly choice is simple, either black and blue or pink and orange. I carry a lot of both. Which one I tie on is usually decided by whoever I am fishing with. Whatever they choose I pick the other. This day was no exception as my buddy, Eric, put on a red and orange fly so I went with black and blue. My winter flies are usually between 2.5”-3.5” with some medium sized barbell eyes for weight.

The river was up since we had that rain in the middle of the week so that meant we were going to have a little less fishable water. Not so many little tuck in spots on this day. The bright side is that when the river is up it’s typically a little more colored up and warmer. The fish will be sitting more in the soft edges closer to the bank and easier to get a fly in front of.

We pushed away from the boat launch and we were the only boat on the water. That was a surprise considering how late we were putting on. We stopped in the first spot and the clouds started to break up as mist was rising off of the river. It felt very fishy. We moved down the river a bit farther and pulled into one of my favorite spots. We parked at the top of the run and I spread Eric and Rob out in the bucket as I headed down towards the tail out.

A couple of rocks showed themselves at the bottom of the run and I was pretty confident about fishing over them. Sure enough when my fly was swinging into them I felt that little tug. The sudden stop and little twitch could only be one thing. A second later my reel was screaming as line melted away. What a great way to start the New Year!

A few minutes into the battle the fish positioned itself straight down below me not allowing me to get an angle on him. In my opinion, that is like the kiss of death and sure enough the he came unbuttoned. Oh well, I don’t need to touch the fish to be satisfied.

We fished plenty of awesome spots throughout the day, but didn’t encounter anymore takers. I did see a couple of fish landed and that just helps to build confidence for the next time out.



If you guys are thinking about going out and wondering if it’s time, well I have been saying this for the last month. It's time. Folks have been getting fish in both the Sandy and Clackamas rivers for the past several weeks. The coast has dropped back into shape and fish are being caught there as well.

Down south, the Umpqua is low with fish being caught in the lower river. The same holds true on the Rogue. Conditions will change for the better if we get rain.

Over on the east side the John Day is not frozen over yet so there are still opportunities over there if you're a hardy soul. Personally, I'd save the gas and stick closer to home. I wouldn't want you to freeze to death.

On the Trout front, guys are doing well on the Deschutes, Crooked, and the Metolius depending on the day, but I'm a Steelhead guy this time of year and that's my Jam.

As I look at the weather forecast for the week ahead all signs point to favorable Steelhead conditions west of the cascades. I’m already planning my next trip, but my biggest problem is deciding where to go. Stay local or head to the coast? Whatever I choose to do I’m pretty confident there will be fish.


Just A Little Cheesy

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 28, 2017

At Woodsprite Lodge, the Christmas Eve dinner was ham, scalloped potatoes, mac and cheese, cheese fondu and a cheese plate with cheddar, swiss, coastal and brie. Oh, and a salad. While this may seem over the top, it falls far short on the cheesy scale when compared to this fresh fishing report from our favorite cub reporter, Mr. Skittles...

Hey Guys, against my better judgement Josh is having me write the fishing report this week. So, if you have any problems or concerns please file them with josh@royaltreatmentflyfishing.com.

Apparently, I’m not on the naughty list this year because Santa gave me a big bar of Silver in my stocking. I had been hearing good reports about our local Washington Rivers, and Josh has been on my case about how I don’t fish them. So, I had to prove Josh wrong and boy did I. Of course, when I do go out and catch a bright winter steelhead in my new local watershed I could already hear him saying, "I told you so." As I am writing this Josh is behind me taking full responsibility for me catching the darn thing. He’s my bother from another mother.

So, this is what really happened...
Twas the day before Christmas not a creature stirring in our little house. A rod was strung with a fly that was right, in hopes of chrome for my Christmas delight. I headed to Starbucks on my way to the river so I could have my coffee jitters. I pulled into the parking lot to find I was not alone, there was some other brave sole out mining chrome. I walked down the trail with visions of Steelhead dancing in my head. I got to the spot, and I knew it was right. I cast my fly and to my delight a fish crushed it and what a fight.

Around the local neighborhood Steelhead are being caught in the Sandy and Clackamas as well as on the coast. It looks like we should see some precipitation in the next couple of days here and hopefully the water levels will increase to more normal winter flows. Remember high and dropping rivers makes for happy steelhead, low and cold make for sad ones.

We’ve also been hearing lots of reports of guys venturing out east targeting Bull Trout in the Metolius. This river has been fishing well and if you want to experience the colder version of winter there’s no better place.

The New Year is almost upon us and it that time of year where we come up with goals to strive for. This year my New Years resolution is to feel the power and fish more. I hope one of your resolutions is to get out and fish more too.

The End

The Dog Ate His Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Fly Czar had Christmas shopping to do this weekend and I was tasked with getting a couple hundred tulip bulbs in the ground so we turned the duties of writing the fishing report this week over to our very own Mr. Skittles, Nick Wheeler. Nick and his buddy Kevin hit the Clackamas River on Sunday for a little winter Steelhead action and Nick filed this report...

Well, I guess the dog ate his fishing report... he sent this.

Not much to go on I know, but I'll try to fill in the blanks...

Last year at this time we were dealing with snow and plenty of water in our local rivers. This year, we could use a bit of the wet stuff to freshen up the action. The Sandy River is running low, cold and clear and would benefit from a good winter storm. Over on the Clackamas we have near summer water levels, but it remains the best local option for Steelhead chasers. Rob will fill us in on the action there during his Winter Steelhead Seminar as he has been on the water a few times this past week. Nick reported only a possible tug during this weekend float and that was optimistic. 

While the Deschutes area was cloaked in freezing fog occasionally this week as the temps dropped, it should be a fair bet for Trouters wishing to escape the holiday rush. Overcast skies and warmer temps forecast for the weekend could bring hatches of BWOs to your favorite backeddy. This might be the best option for stretching a fly line this weekend unless you feel like hitting the Metolius.

There you'll find the same warming pattern, with Sunday and Monday looking like the best chance for surface activity. Temps should reach into the high 40s during the day, with lows near freezing. No need to be there at the crack of dawn, so take your time and drive carefully over the passes. Bull Trout are always an option.

The north coast needs some rain as well and we may or may not get it. Any bump in river levels will help bring fish in as we have 8 foot tides over the next few days to encourage them to come home. We just need a little help from the sky. Go wash your car.


   

Cold and Clear

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 07, 2017

Bright skies and clear waters are the rule across the state as an unusually dry weather pattern sits over us for at least another week. The east wind has made its winter return putting a premium on warm layers for those who do venture out to take in the sunshine. Our local Steelhead streams are plummeting to summer levels with no measurable precipitation in the forecast to stop the drop.

There are still opportunities to cast a fly if your Christmas shopping is done and you just need to get on the water. Bundle up and take a drive.

The Clackamas is probably your best local Steelhead option as it is running at the perfect level for fly swingers. The Crandall collection of winter patterns is a good place to start when choosing what fly to offer up. If you need a refresher in winter tactics, Rob will be in the shop on the 16th to enlighten you.

I grabbed a couple Micro Speys and my camera gear and headed to the Deschutes on Monday. The Steelhead game is over, but Trout still need to eat. The river was cold and crystal clear. A 180 degree change from the Black Friday conditions.

Armed with a box of streamers I pretty much had the river to myself with only a couple hardy souls braving the warmish sunny conditions. BWOs made a fleeting appearance in the sunshine, so I wouldn't count on a bunch of winter dry fly action until we get a few clouds. Nymphs and Streamers should pay out depending on your effort. I was drawn away to photograph eagles so my success was measured accordingly.

Just make sure you are prepared for winter conditions when heading out. An extra set of warm dry clothes is not a bad idea anytime, but is required during this chilly time of year. Be careful!

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