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Fishing Reports

March comes Roaring

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 01, 2018
Marty Sheppard Photo

March is rolling in like a slightly soggy lion without too much bite in its roar. Our last brush with winter added to the snowpack nicely. We still would welcome any added moisture. What did fall this past week has improved angling opportunities across the region, especially on the Sandy River.

While El Numero Uno breaks in a new bright red boat, the second best guide on the Sandy has been quietly building his reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Although there has been plenty of misdirection on social media, we’ve been able to cut through the static and can confirm a few fish have been encountered and conditions have improved. Black and Blue flies are getting it done. There is a question about red boats and red flies that needs to be addressed, but we’ll hopefully have more intel next week.

The WTO guys are still mining chrome on the coast as the big wild fish return. Black and Blue patterns are getting it done there as well. Is this a trend or a conspiracy? Inquiries as to the success of other patterns have been ignored which leads me to believe there is a blackout on information so that Rob can drop a bombshell at his Steelhead presentation on the 17th. We breathlessly await the unveiling of a potential game changer from the vise of Mr. Crandall.

Trout madness is about to begin as spring hatches pop on our local waters. Vises have been cranking out March Brown patterns for months and well, it’s March. The upper Willamette and McKenzie are great places to test those collections. The Deschutes might even see a few early hatches with the warming weather and lower than last year water levels. Reports from the D have been spotty with the snow blowing in last week, but we should see a few adventurous anglers heading that way this weekend to test the waters.

Don’t forget our Spring Trout Rendezvous on April 29th! Plan on joining us for camping, fishing and the world famous Royal Treatment Taco Bar.

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.


   

Spring Break Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 24, 2016
There is still plenty of Steelhead chasing to do, but spring break anglers seem to have Trout on their minds as they prepare to head out on vacation across the state. Armed with a few extra days destinations like the Owyhee, Ana, Blitzen and Chewaucan rivers are mentioned as they tank up on new fly patterns here in the shop. Hopefully, the weather will be cooperative over the next week. Reports are typical for early season Trout fishing with varying water conditions. On the Owyhee water releases below the dam have been around 15 cfs. for the last week, but are forecast to rise a little next week. Fishing has been fair to slow depending on the day and water clarity. Skwala Stoneflies should be showing up there and on other area waters. Success on these other rivers will be dependent on flows and water condition. It is early spring after all.

Those of us staying closer to home have fair conditions to play with as we are getting a short break in the precipitation. The Sandy has remained the shining star for locals as cold temperatures dropped the freezing level during this last rain event. Chrome fish are still finding their way home and that trend should continue through April.

On the Clackamas, 14 feet on the Estacada gage is the new 12 as that river seems unable to dip any lower this winter. It's more a case that we got use to less water last season and now we're getting a normal winter flow. Willows and other stream side vegetation filled in on the edges last year, and they are now providing great line grabbers where the river is retaking the bank. Wade carefully and be safe. We'll see good winter Steelhead opportunities on the Clack into May, then our summer fish will start to make a showing.

Most coastal streams look good for the weekend and should have fresh fish in them. Big wild fish have been grabbing swung flies as levels drop.

The weekend looks great for Trout anglers on the Deschutes and Metolius with near perfect conditions for spring hatches. BWOs and March Browns should pop with the warmer temps and partly cloudy skies. You might even see a few Skwala Stones. If the weather turns damp on Sunday as forecast, that should liven up the Bulls on the Metolius.

Plan B

Joel La Follette - Thursday, February 11, 2016
Looking at river level projections for the next few days leads me to believe that the prognosticators are expecting a little warm rain to send some of our precious snow bubbling down the mountain. Spikes are forecast for the Clackamas and Sandy rivers, while the coastal streams show only moderate bumps. Here's the thing, don't worry about it. Make your plan, but have a plan B. We've talked about this before, Campers. You can't NOT go just because some computer model says you should be building an ark. Keep an eye on what is really happening and get out there!

Fresh Steelhead have been reported throughout the Sandy from Dodge to the mouth. The dropping river made a big difference in the attitude of the fish last Friday for sure. Over on the Clackamas fish have been cooperative when the jet boat population is lower. Barton Park to the mouth has seen the freshest fish.

The Film Tour guys have been poking around the coast this week and rumor has it they even found some fish. I'm sure we'll see pictures at the After Party on Saturday.

When Everything Lines Up

Joel La Follette - Thursday, January 07, 2016
When the Sun, the Moon and the stars combined with our local weather to provide perfect conditions on your favorite river that moment lasts about a hour and a half. So most of the time we're just not fishing in perfect conditions. We have to make the best of it and currently it's paying off on the coast for those anglers willing to put in the time.

Rob Crandall and his talented sidekick, Gil Muhlemen, have been getting clients into plenty of barbecue fodder on the north coast as hatchery fish lead the charge home. That's making for happy guides and customers. While numbers are not as high, other coastal watersheds are giving up some pretty nice wild fish for those seeking quality over quantity. Overall, it's not a bad time to be on the coast.

The action is not as hot and heavy here on our local rivers, but it is nothing that a little rain wouldn't help out. We transitioned from high flows to relatively low water in a very short time. The chilly temps crashed the NOAA graphs and now we could benefit from a little more rain. Maybe the storms that are pelting SoCal will send a little something our way besides more Californians. I did my part and washed the 4runner late last night so it should rain any second.

In the meantime, just change tactics to low water stuff and get out there. If you need a few tips on tactics stop by the shop this weekend for Mr. Crandall's Winter Steelhead Seminar. He's got all the answers.

On the drop/on the rise.

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 17, 2015
Last week we saw most of our rivers go up past flood stage as storm after storm swept inland off the Pacific. Communities on the coast suffered terrible flooding as ocean swells backed up floodwaters turning roadways into waterways. Here in the valley, rivers and streams that are prone to flooding exceeded their reputation. Canoes and small craft were put into service rescuing many residents in waterside communities. This mess may take a while to clean up.

The good news in all of this is that we now have considerably more snowpack in the Cascades then we did at this time last year with more on the way. That also means there is more rain in the forecast for the low lands this week and rivers will bump up again.


The Clackamas River dropped just below 14 feet yesterday, but if this rain on the roof I hear right now does what it's expected to the river may hit 18 feet by Friday. The long range look is not very optimistic, and it maybe Boxing Day before the Clackamas fishes again. Of course, long range forecasts can be wrong.


For anglers itching to get out for a little pre-Christmas Steelhead fishing it looks like the Sandy River could be your best bet. While it was not immune to our last deluge, it did come back into shape fairly quickly and should do the same this time if it does go out. Fresh fish have been reported throughout the system and a good number of hatchery fish have already been recycled downriver. Keep an eye on the river level and unlike your stock portfolio look forward to a downward trend.

The same holds true on the coast where smaller watersheds will drop and clear sooner after the rain moves through. Conditions can change rapidly so always have a Plan B. Clam chowder and a view of the ocean is a great option. And pie, pie is good too.

Trout fishers can find peace and tranquility plus a little snow on the Metolius if that is more to your liking. Little Black Stones, BWOs, Midges and miscellaneous small Mayflies should help you crack the code. Bull Trout provide a distraction for those carrying big sticks and big flies.

The Deschutes can also be a great winter Trout destination if the weather cooperates. While not has protected from the elements as the Metolius, the Deschutes Redsides can be less selective even in winter. Sporadic Blue Winged Olive and midge hatches will occur throughout the cooler months drawing fish to the surface. Crowds will be light.

High water, high hopes

Joel La Follette - Thursday, December 10, 2015
For the next few weeks I will be leaving the details of the fishing report up to the newest member of our Royal Treatment team, Josh Linn. While voice recognition software handles the problem of my one handed typing for most of the newsletter, it can't replace that "on the water" knowledge from weekly fishing trips. Since I'm benched until the first week in February, I am counting on Josh, Nick and Corey to get out there and harass the winter Steelhead. They should be able to keep you posted on what's going on.

As I mentioned earlier, I did make it over to the Deschutes this weekend for my last shot at summer fish. There were a few grabbers on Sunday, but the changing conditions on Monday ended the day early. The D below White River was on its way out with the increase in glacial flow overwhelming the Deschutes. The river above the White remained in good shape and could provide some entertainment next week if conditions don't degrade much more. You could always go fish for trout on the Metolius.

Take it away Josh…

Working on a fishing report today is hard because I'm still riding a high from the fish I caught on Sunday. The day was short and it was rainy. Nick and I got down to Oxbow and there was an accident on the road that closed the park for the morning. So we headed to another walk in spot, wadered up and rigged the rods. Nick asked me what color fly I was going to use and I told him whichever he didn't. My fly color choices were either going to be black and blue, or pink and orange, because I have complete confidence in both. I have three basic criteria for flies and I'm happy; color, size, and weight. Flies matter as long as you have faith in them and they fish the way you want them to.

I started high in the run just to do my due diligence. I made about three casts. As the fly came over the ledge I felt that unmistakeable stop and then a light pull. I knew it was a fish. Another light pull and I set the hook. Woo ha! Fish on! After about ten minutes and a few jumps and runs the fish finally tipped over. What a way to start the winter.

Now, things have changed dramatically.The rivers are up. Rain is falling and fishing is over for the week. This report is easy. Clackamas flooded. Wilson flooded. Sandy flooded. Trask flooded. Oh yeah don't forget about the east side. The Deschutes is blown out. The John Day fished Monday, but is gone today. If you are thinking about fishing this week it may be best to reconsider tying some flies instead.....

Flooding aside, pretty much everyday for the last two weeks people have been asking if there are fish in the rivers and whether they should go chase winter steelhead, almost asking for permission. Well, I give you permission! I would go when the river levels drop. If you call me and ask if you should go I'm going to tell with a lot of excitement in my voice to go and do it. Get out there and get after it as soon as it is safe again. Go make your own fishing report because if you are reading how good the fishing is you probably missed it. I know it's early, but what's the harm. When the water drops there will be chrome plated unicorns in the river. See if you can find one and then come back and give me a fishing report!

Thanksgiving Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 19, 2015


It may seem that the last few days of precipitation have rinsed away any hopes of getting out this weekend for some pre-holiday angling opportunities. Not true, my friends! While Salmon swim across roads and through trailer parks on the coast, and our local rivers got a bit silly, the east side rivers are showing only slight increases in flows. Both the John Day and Deschutes spiked just a tad this week as the mother of all rain storms pounded the region. The trend is now for dropping levels throughout the coming week as temperatures drop into fleece zone. The long range prognostication has Maupin chilling down to a nippy 32/17 combo by Thanksgiving. Layer up and get those boots wet.


These cooler conditions may produce ice in the guides for the first part of the day, but once the sun clears the canyon it should be downright balmy. Checking in with Rob Crandall last evening produced an optimistic view for the Deschutes report. Rob and the Water Time Outfitters crew found good numbers of fish on their last outing from Trout Creek down to Maupin, with plenty of fish in the Maupin area. A few of this critters even looked to be fresh new arrivals. While floating lines may find success, a sink-tip will be handy if water temps drop with this big chill down. Trout fishing is a possibility if weather conditions allow. I did not see much activity on my adventure there this past week. Two BWOs and an October Caddis that overslept does not make a hatch.

Reports from the John Day have been mixed with most anglers checking in with little success. The cast count per fish has risen above the traditional 1000, but that should improve. Early season water levels have slowed the migration, but hopefully more fish be on the move after this wet system rinses the trail dust out of their noses. As mentioned, despite the slight bump forecasted for the weekend, the John Day looks to be stable through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Trout chasers can bundle up and head over to the Crooked River for some holiday peace and quiet. Midges and the occasional BWO hatch should provide some fun. Small leach patterns fished on a slow strip can break up the boredom of bobber watching if the hatch fails to appear. No need to be there at the crack of dawn, 9:30 is plenty early. Take your time and have a nice breakfast.  It’s the most important meal of the day you know.

Don't forget the Black Friday Fish Fest coming up on November 27th. Get signed up today!


Photos by Water Time Outfitters
 


Marching in the Rain

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 26, 2015

While March is displaying a slight lion like departure, the adverse effects on angling opportunities have been minimal so far. We’ve seen bumps in river levels as weather systems move through, but those have been quickly followed by steady drops producing great conditions and a few fish. Steelhead anglers will just have to watch their weather rocks over the next few weeks and make plans accordingly.

Coastal catches are winding down, but here in the valley things are picking up. Spring on the Sandy and Clackamas offers some of the best Steelheading of the season as anglers spread out to other fisheries. It’s still Steelheading, and you may get wet, but at least that bit about frozen guides and frosty eyebrows has passed.

Those who have started their early spring Trouting have reported decent hatches of March Browns on the Deschutes and McKenzie when conditions are conducive to that emergence. Cloudy skies and warmer temps maximize these occurrences so excuses for missing work should be kept near at hand. A lunch meeting that goes from 11:00 till 2:00 would provide enough time to close the deal and still make it back for that 3:30 conference call. They’ll never know you are still in your waders.

We are still weeks away from any Big Bug activity on the Deschutes, but that craziness will be here soon enough. Toss out that old leader and tippet material and take stock of those bulletheads in your box. Their day is coming.

Howling winds, pounding rain and sunshine

Joel La Follette - Thursday, March 19, 2015

That last stormed lived up to it’s billing and brought not only the rain as promised, but tossed in some pretty impressive winds to spice things up. By Sunday most area rivers were rising fast and changing to un-fishable colors. Howling winds and pounding rain drove most anglers to shelter were power outages rekindled the art of conversation. By Monday the sun was out and the drop had started and by Tuesday  life was good again, if your power was on.

This much needed surge in river levels brought fresh fish in and cheered up those already here. While it’s still winter Steelheading and not a sure thing, fish have been encountered fairly often on both the Sandy and Clackamas rivers. Brian Silvey called last evening and his anglers tangled with three fish just yesterday. Tangled doesn’t mean landed, but fresh fish are a handful and these proved that theory. Marty Sheppard has been finding a fish for his clients on most days as well.

Rob’s Crandall was taking a few guide days off and was working on a film project. He stopped by the Lodge on Monday to borrowed a rod from me and reported last night that it’s working quite well. I’ve decided to charge him by the fish, so I should be able to raise enough cash for my Bahamas guide tips in May. From this you should guess that things on the Clackamas are looking pretty good at the moment.

Most of Monday’s coastal trips were canceled due to high off-colored water on Sunday, but the coast went back on-line quickly as proven by our “2014 Clipped Champion” George Marshall. He got a hall pass from Mom for a little fly R&D this week and scored this lovely wild buck. Mom is out of the doghouse she got tossed into after scoring a Sandy fish as George lay dying from the plague in Silvey’s boat earlier this winter. Of course, that fish did give George a little pep in his step and got him back in the water. Mom’s are good at motivating their offspring.

The warm weather has flipped the switch on many anglers and they’re now clicking into full on Trout mode. The Deschutes and valley rivers have seen a few March Brown hatches when the weather allows. Skwalas and Caddis are also flitting about in limited numbers. With very little snowpack, we should have minimal runoff to cloud streams when we transition into serious Trout chasing. Look for hatches to be even earlier this year if this warming trend continues.


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