Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports
From avid Angler Tim Moran
There were a few lucky fishermen that got out early on Christmas day as I popped open my news feed started to see pictures of some nice rainbows and a big Bull Trout from the Metolius, A stringer full of big rainbows from up on Lake Roosevelt and even a nice Steelhead from the Deschutes! SO if you get a chance to get out there are opportunities!
Lower Deschutes River – Steelhead fishing is waning in the cooler air and water temps but fish are available to the hardy angler. The stretch between Warn Springs and Maupin will be your best bet. Most if not all fish will be in their fall colors and will resemble a big native trout. In fact, these fish have transformed and will take nymphs and streamers more often than swinging a fly at this point. Trout fishing is fair to good depending on the air temp. Fishing nymphs in the late morning and BWO’s in the afternoon when the hatch occurs will be best. The best fishing will be from 10 am to 4 pm.
John Day River – Steelhead fishing is fair in the river from Cottonwood to Clarno. Swinging flies and fishing the tailouts and pool heads with #3 and 4 Blue Fox spinners and jigs under a float will take fish. Cover lots of water because fish are spread and the run is not robust this year. Temps will be chilly so dress accordingly.
Metolius River – fishing in the late morning and early afternoon are good fishing small bead head nymphs with a BWO hatch in the afternoons. There may be small mayfly hatches and midge hatches as well this time of year too so be ready to switch your flies and fish with 6 and 7X tippets. There are lots of big Bull Trout in the river so swinging and stripping big steamer patterns will draw strikes from these brutes.
Crooked River – Flows are low and stable and fishing is good. Fish small midge imitations and micro midge nymphs on light tippets. This is a great time of year to fish a bit then build a nice fire and enjoy the canyon.
Grand Ronde River – Steelhead fishing is slow to fair. Swinging flies and fishing nymphs or small jigs under a bobber will take fish. Fishing has been better than last year so if you have a trip planned you should have a reasonable chance for success.
NE and SE Oregon lakes are mostly iced over now so they won’t be fish-able until spring. Nymph and streamer fishing has been good in the Blitzen River.
Ana Reservoir and river – The reservoir has been kicking out rainbows to 20 inches on small wobblers and bait. The river is a top winter fly fishery and is driftable in small personal craft. BWO hatches can be prolific and a size 16 to 18 Adams is usually the ticket.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and got loaded up on their favorite outdoor gear! See you in 2020!
The snow gates west of Mt. Bachelor between Dutchman Flat and Deschutes Bridge are closed for the winter.
Trout anglers can target the Crooked, lower Deschutes and Metolius rivers, where fishing for native redbands is open throughout the year.
With the recent winter storms, roads may be treacherous and waterbodies may be freezing over, especially at higher elevations. Be sure to check on conditions before heading out.
The McNary Ponds have a surprising number of walleye. Look for the deepest areas and fish worms near the bottom.
Best bet continues to be the Klamath River below Keno Dam and JC Boyle dam to the Frain Ranch.
The Ana Reservoir and River are good bets for winter fishing. Both are spring fed waterbodies and remain a constant temperature throughout the year.
The Klamath and Blitzen rivers are open to native redband trout throughout the winter.