Nymphs Slayin’ Bow’s Near Maupin, Crooked River Heating Up Too
Central Oregon Fishing Report – Let’s start with the weather. The system over us today will give way to a high-pressure system and warmer weekend temperatures – some of the warmest temperatures year to date prior to dropping temperatures for the first couple of days of next week.
Lower Deschutes River: The Lower Deschutes around and downstream of Maupin continues to be active. The warm weekend temperatures should kick up both the bug and the fish activity, and with highs around 70 on Saturday, rattlesnakes will also be out and around.
I talked with John Hazel at the Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin. In short, nymph fishing has been outstanding. Baetis/Blue Wing Olives are consistent, but this all happens during a short window of 1:00 to 1:30 PM The Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin reports most Baetis are size 18-20, but there are times when bigger Baetis are present. The guys at the Confluence Fly Shop in Bend second this. March Browns are starting to hatch, and the warmer weekend will kick this up a notch. Expect the March Browns to hatch over a 12 noon to 3 PM window.
Now is the time to make sure there are some stonefly nymphs in the box. Whether nymphing with an indicator, hopper/dropper, or Euro techniques, start trying those dark stonefly nymphs.
Euro nymphing, when hatches are not occurring (and even when a hatch is going) is super effective. This style of fishing is almost like taking a vacuum cleaner to some runs, with Redsides and whitefish caught while using this technique.
Suggested Lower Deschutes Dries: Tilt Wing Dun BWO #16-20, BWO Sparkle Dun #16-20, Brown X Caddis #12-14, Brown Caddis Film Critics #12-14, Rogue Skwala #8-12, Bullethead Skwala #8-12, Griffiths gnat (with a bright post for visibility) #18-22.
Suggested Lower Deschutes Nymphs: Poxy Golden #10-12, Trout Retriever Gold #8-10, Jigged Copper John #14-18, Perdigon (try all colors) #16-18, Frenchies #16-18, Two Bit Hooker #16-22, Juju Baetis #16-22, K’s Black Stone #6-8.
Middle Deschutes River: The Middle Deschutes continues to run high, but watch this river to go lower in a couple of weeks as irrigation season starts. Once the levels settle down, think March Browns and Skwala stones. By then the March Browns should be ready to pop. If you fish the Middle Deschutes now, you will find some Skwalas and mixed BWO, caddis and midge hatches – but this river is primarily a nymph game right now in those pockets that are fishable.
Some over at Sportsman’s Warehouse advise that spinners and spoons are working well. Probably a better way to fish this river with the higher water.
Haystack Reservoir is fishing well along the edges. If fly fishing, start with Balanced Leeches and Chironomid Pupa under an indicator. Walk and wade along the shoreline for success. Gear guys are doing well. The reservoir shows as 82% full on March 24th, and the west side boat ramp is open.
Lake Billy Chinook is ramping up. The Metolius Arm is open (tribal pass required). Leech patterns for fly fishers are the ticket. Some boats with downriggers are having a lot of success. Jigging is also effective. Sportsman’s Warehous staff say kokonee fishing has been especially good.
Crooked River: Reports from the Crooked river have all been good…..every shop and angler I check with have good things to say. The reservoir is slowly filling, and at 45 percent full as of today; flows have been steady and likely to remain that way for some time, but do note that this is low. There is a regular BWO hatch during the afternoons through this past week. When the hatch happens, emerger style patterns have been producing. Go-to emerger patterns for this river include Klinkhammer and Film Critics. When BWOs are in full flurry and rises are happening, hit them with Sparkle Duns. Midday continues to be the best time to get into fish that are looking up. Spend time at the sunny spots in the canyon where the water will heat up quicker than other areas.
I’ve got reports this week of good fishing with a hopper dropper combination – specifics are to use a general searching type dry fly (think Parachute Purple Haze) with a zebra midge in either red or black. Search likely looking holding water through the day and anglers will be into fish with this combo.
Midges are always consistent on the Crooked, particularly in the later afternoon…..think Griffiths Gnats or your favorite midge pattern.
Suggested Crooked River Dries: Parachute Purple Haze #14-20 (larger sizes are helpful for hopper/dropper setups), Para Wulff Purple #16-18, Tilt Wing Dun BWO #18-20, BWO Sparkle Dun #18-20, Griffiths Gnat (with a bright post for visibility) #18-22, Klinkhammers #18-20, BWO Film Critic #18-20, Knock Down Dun #16-20.
Suggested Crooked River Nymphs: Poxy Golden #10-12, Trout Retriever Gold #8-10, Jigged Copper John #14-18, Perdigon black or purple #16-18, Twisted May #14-16, Zika Jig #18-20, Two Bit Hooker #18-22, Juju Baetis #18-22, Zebra midge #18-22.
Fall River: There’s been some light snowfall early this past week. Fall River continues to be good this week throughout the river from the headwaters on down including Camp Ground, Hatchery, Tubes and Falls. Caddis dry flies, specifically a large Peacock Caddis dry has been good. The usual BWO cripple, sparkle duns, and emerger patterns are good bets on the Fall during this time of year.
Some of my own bigger fish on the Fall came from swinging a streamer. Feeling the grab on a tight line swing is one of the exciting moments on the fall. Swing your favorite streamer, but actively change out streamers to a different colors, types and sizes if fish have seen this streamer after several successive swings. I now swing trout size intruder style flies. The Fly Fishers Place suggest a Muddy Buddy Jig Streamer – thinking that this fly really looks alive.
Suggested Fall River Dries: Tilt Wing BWO #18-20, Parachute Purple Haze #18-20, Thorax BWO #18-20, Griffiths Gnat #18-22, Stillborn Midge #18-20, Hatching Midge #18-20, Winkers Midge #20-22.
Suggested Fall River Nymphs: Rainbow Warrior #18-20, Juju Baetis #18-22, Tailwater Tiny # 18-22, Disco Midge #18-22, Glo Bug #12-16, San Juan Worm, Perdigons #16-20.
Metolius River: Overall, the Met has been fishing well, and plenty of other anglers during the day. If anything, my own observations and experience is that the fishing is improving with warmer temperatures and longer days.
I watched a pair of anglers catch not one, but a total of two bull trout within 30 minutes, and caught another although that fish appeared to be one of the bulls caught earlier. All of this action was on the upper stretches of the river that are open, below Allingham. I watched another fish consistently rising through the early evening. Caddis are on the water.
Euro nymphing continues to be effective. Stones and perdigons are the go-to flies.
All of the migratory Lake Billy Chinook bull trout are back in the reservoir, but resident bulls are still present. Bull Trout fishing has been good on Streamers. Once the juvenile chinook salmon get placed in the Met for the downstream migration through LBC on their way to the Pacific, the bulls predatory drive will kick in and they will be active. Jeff Perin at The Flyfishers Place in Sisters reports color is less important than depth and presentation. I second this. My bull trout patterns are very different than those in fished by many other anglers on the river, but they are effective whenever I go out swinging flies for the day. All this being said, I saw some bulls taken on nymphs within the last two days, March 23rd and 24th.
If you are fortunate enough to catch a bull trout, please keep-em-wet, releasing these precious predators unharmed and as quickly as possible. Thanks much.
Suggested Metolius Dries: Thorax BWO #18-20, Tilt Wing BWO #18-20, Hackle Stacker #18-20, Purple Haze #18-22, BWO Sparkle Dun #18-22, Black Stimulator #12-14, CDC Caddis #14-18, Caddis Film Critics #14-18.
Suggested Metolius Nymphs: Lex’s Improved Stone #10-14, Jimmy Legs #12-8, Electric Rock Worm #18-20, Zika Jig #16-18, Duracell Jig #14-18, French Nymph #14-16, Perdigons #14-20, Jigged Hares Ear Nymph #14-16, Two Bit Hooker #16-20, Terminator Golden Stone #10-14, San Juan Worms #12-16.
South Twin Lake: South Twin Lake was not accessible earlier this week. This is likely to change again this weekend as temperatures warm enough to melt off snow from early this past week. More reports forthcoming as anglers access the lake.
Suttle Lake: Almost all of the ice is off, and there has been a boat on the lake on two different occasions, so early season fishing may be starting. I have not found anyone who have been on the lake yet this year, so the boat sitings are the only indicators that fishing is starting up. I would start with jigs, suspended lures, and balance leeches together with chironomids.
I checked out Suttle Lake on Tuesday March 23rd, and did not find anyone on the lake. The lake is certainly fishable and the warmer weekend weather and another warm up forecasted starting middle of next week should heat up fishing potential. Start with jigs, suspended lures, and slowly stripped leeches or suspended balance leeches.
Crescent Lake: Crescent lake is added this week as I have some angling contacts planning to fish Crescent Lake in the coming days. They will be checking out the lake accessibility and, targeting the Mackinaws and browns. We are on the cusp of prime time to catch Mackinaws. Trolling with down riggers and jigging are two early season methods to get at the fish. Bend Area Ponds, Shevlin and Pine Nursery Ponds: ODFW just stocked these ponds with rainbow trout in time for Spring Break. Great opportunities to bring the younger anglers out. The usual bait, Powerbait, spinners and spoons all catch fish. Fly fishing with wooly buggers and PTs is possible, but flycasting can be more of a challenge during the popular daytimes.