2022 Columbia River Summer Steelhead Update

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by David Moskowitz, Executive Director and John McMillan, Director of Science

Overall, things are looking better than expected for wild summer steelhead in the Columbia River basin.

Of course, we’re now entering the dry, hot slog of August and September. The high streamflows of early summer have dissipated. Fish are now pulling into thermal refuge and the rate of migration will slow.

It’s the Dog Days in baseball terms, figuratively and literally.

Will the surprisingly hot hitter in June and July remain hot for the rest of the season? Read the rest of the Article HERE

Posted in Oregon Conservation News, Summer Steelhead | Leave a comment

Fly Organization August 2022

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Fly organization is a challenge. Storage solutions and organizational strategies must be considered, and then there is the time it takes. This past Sunday I went for it. Twenty five plus years of collecting saltwater flies, putting them in a “mish-mash” of 13 fly boxes and storing them in a cupboard in my office. I was able to condense them all into 2 fly boxes.

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Step one: I separated all the saltwater flies from all the trout flies, jungle flies and anadromous fish flies.
Step Two: I found a space where I could open all the fly boxes up and examine them all at once. This is critical as to see patterns, colors, sizes that will help organize the flies.
Step Three: I removed like patterns from fly boxes making piles of flies. Example: Bonefish Puff Patterns all in one pile, tan Crazy Charlie style patterns in another, Christmas Island style flies in another.
Step Four: Have one of your children start inserting flies in boxes. Or you may have to do this yourself. I chose the MFC Boat Box, the blue one is pretty cool for saltwater flies. And for larger Tarpon, Snook, Jacks etc flies I chose the Fishpond Tacky Pescador in XL. The beauty of both fly boxes is their capacity and depth. Larger patterns with weed guards, big eyes, massive hooks fit in these boxes with ease.
Step Five: Figure out what to do with all the old boxes you now have. I am thinking of using some of them as “satellite fly boxes” to load on site and put in a pack, vest, etc to carry with you. The others I plan to give away so I reduce the clutter in my office, that was the plan from the beginning… Trout flies next!

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Fly Fishing Glossary, Fly Fishing Travel | Leave a comment

Oregon Set to Open The Summer Steelhead Season on the Deschutes

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From Flylordsmag.com Will Poston

Oregon’s Deschutes River will have a fishing season for summer steelhead this year, announced the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW). The summer steelhead fishing season on the Deschutes will open on August 15th. Throughout the last few years, wild steelhead returns have been so low that fishery managers were forced to close many river systems in the Pacific Northwest. The Deschutes, one of the famed steelhead rivers in the PNW, closed its summer steelhead season last year, as runs were abysmally poor. Even as this year’s steelhead runs (and salmon, for that matter) are looking good–especially compared to last year’s historically low runs–managers and stakeholders mustn’t lose sight of what historic runs looked like. In the PNW, wild salmon and steelhead runs are fractions of what they looked like decades ago. Read the rest of the article HERE.

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Posted in Central Oregon Fishing Report, Fishing Reports, Summer Steelhead | Leave a comment

Frontier Steelhead Experience Raffle On Now!

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Is there anything better than fishing the epic waters of British Columbia’s Bulkley and Morice rivers during a stunning autumn week in October? How about winning a week-long trip for only $100? You heard us right…Native Fish Society is raffling off a spot – to one lucky winner – for a week of wild fish, primetime fishing joy to the Frontier Steelhead Experience lodges in beautiful British Columbia.

Trip dates are set for October 21-28, 2022 and you better believe that your hosts are ready to spoil you rotten.

PURCHASE YOUR TICKET HERE

The main lodge in Smithers is the starting point for this huge week of adventure. Although there are 12 guests a week, the group splits into two and you are never fishing with more than 6 people all week long. A group of 6 will head to the Morice Lodge and the other 6 will stay at the main lodge fishing the Bulkley Canyons. Mid-week guests will flip flop. This means you will only be sharing the lodge and the river (either Bulkley or Morice) with six people during the week. Needless to say, with some of the largest returns of wild steelhead in the world, an exceptional program, and top-notch guides and staff that are there just for you – how can you pass up this incredible opportunity?!

Raffle tickets are on sale NOW for $100 each, and will close on September 15th. Winner drawing will be held Friday, September 16th at 3pm at our Oregon City headquarters. With only 250 tickets available, and the pent-up excitement to get out of the country, this is the perfect opportunity to spend those stockpiled COVID vacation bucks and buy a raffle ticket or three. The odds of winning are high, and the adventure will be that of a lifetime!

Details: 1 angler / October 21-28, 2022 / Guided steelhead fishing + accommodations
*Does not include travel to Smithers, British Columbia, licensing, or gratuity.
**COVID restrictions may apply to enter Canada

Posted in Fly Fishing Contests | Leave a comment

Early August Willamette Valley Fishing Report

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Cooler water temperatures will be found in the upper reaches of both the McKenzie and Willamette. Best fishing is taking place early and late in the day. Hatches have been minimal with most activity during the coolest parts of the day. Small tan caddis #14-16, Parachute Adams #16-18, Pale Morning Duns #16 have been effective when fish are rising. Larger (#8-12) attractors like Chubby Chernobyls, Hippy Stompers, Stubby Chubby, Fat Angie will bring fish to the surface in fast water. We caught our best fish this Saturday in fast water with large structure near by, banks and shade were also vital.Both the McKenzie and Willamette “mainstems” have had recent “bumps” of water from tributaries and dam releases. These water releases have helped keep water levels and water temperatures at decent levels and we are very lucky to not be dealing with “hoot owl” fishing regulations.

Steelhead fishing has been better than last year on the Middle Willamette with most fish being caught closer to Dexter Dam, MOAL Leeches, How Bo Speys have been taking fish. Speaking of Steelhead all indications are that there will be a season on the Deschutes this year. The North Umpqua is getting plenty of love this year and fishing seems about as tough as ever. Anglers can expect to put in their time to have success on the North.

If you have time to sign up for our Citizen Science Project and enter some water temperature data we would love to add more info to the project here: https://citsci.org/projects/hot-homewaters-taskforce All waterways are welcome.

Good Luck out there!

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, North Umpqua River Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Citizen Science Project Needs Your Help – Hot Homewaters Taskforce

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CitiSci is a super cool application supported by Natural Resource Ecology Lab (NREL) at Colorado State University, CitSci now hosts 1146 projects that have contributed more than 1606605 data points to answer local, regional, and global scientific questions.

We would love have our local fishing community contribute to data collection in Oregon.

How to participate? Download the CitiSci App: Icon looks like this.
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Collect water temps wherever you fish!

Hot Homewaters Taskforce aims to monitor stream temperatures across Oregon

Goals:

1. Determine how hot streams get during summer.

2. Provide temperature data for streams that aren’t currently monitored for temperature.

3. Provide data to analyze land management.

Tasks:
Collecting temperature from streams, as close to the main flow possible while staying safe.

Get Started:
Grab a stream thermometer and visit your favorite stream! Taking regular temperature measurements in the same location at different times of the day throughout the year will provide the most useful data.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Mercer’s Missing Link: Fly Tying Instructional Video

Jim Sens is back in the shop to tie up a Mercer’s Missing Link. Jim says this is his favorite summertime fly to use on the McKenzie River and we pretty much agree with him.

This one is tied up on a size 12 TMC100 hook – we wouldn’t go too much bigger than that and anything smaller is, well, kind of a pain to tie. Pay attention to the flashabou body with UV glue and how Jim ties in the elk hair. These tips make a strong fly and make the tying process a bit easier.

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Material List:
Hook: TMC100, Size 12
Thread: Semperfli Nanosilk, Olive
Body: Flashabou
Thorax: Ice Dub, Purple
Underwing: Clark’s Tying Yarn, Lite Grey
Parachute: Whiting Dry Fly Hackle
Wing: Elk Hair
UV Glue

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | 1 Comment

Simms Fishing Products Sold

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From: KBZK News Bozeman

BOZEMAN — Simms Fishing Products was reportedly acquired by Vista Outdoor Inc. on Wednesday for $192.5 million.

In a press release, Vista Outdoor Inc. announced that the gross purchase price includes a net present value of roughly $20 million in future tax benefits.

Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO), is the parent company of 39 renowned brands that design, manufacture and market sporting and outdoor products to consumers around the globe. Simms is a premium fishing brand and leading designer, marketer and manufacturer of waders, outerwear, footwear and technical apparel. Read the rest of the article here.

Posted in Fly Fishing Profiles | 2 Comments

The Kreelex: Fly Tying Instructional Video

Jim Sens joins us in the shop to tie up The Kreelex. This is an awesome saltwater pattern but can also be tied in smaller sizes that will produce trout in your local trout waters.

Jim did the hard work already and tested this out on the Oregon Coast where he caught some coho salmon and a few other saltwater species.

Also, this fly has very few materials, making it both easy and cost-effective. Feel free to go crazy with different colorways but just make sure to use contrasting colors. That makes the fish angry, and we want angry fish to attack our flies.

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Material List:
Hook: Umpqua XS506H, Size 1
Thread: Veevus 100D, Black
Eye: Harline dumbbell eyes, large in green
Body: MFC Kreelex Fish Flash
Zap-a-gap
Loon UV

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | 1 Comment

Wild Salmon Center – New Short Film – Finding Flow

From: Wild Salmon Center

The water that feeds Oregon’s creeks, streams, and rivers is one of the state’s most precious assets. But for too long, people have viewed it as an endless resource. Population growth, a warming climate, and increasing water demands make this misconception more outdated by the day—and an increasing threat to wild salmon, wildlife, and the communities they sustain. In our new short film Finding Flow, WSC Oregon Water Policy Director Caylin Barter heads to southern Oregon to document the current state of rivers and streams in this rapidly changing region, and find solutions.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News, Oregon fly fishing links, Southern Oregon | Leave a comment

McKenzie River Frenchie Pattern: Fly Tying Video

Sure, another frenchie variation video. But we wouldn’t be sharing this one if we weren’t excited about it. With an ode to the Europeans that developed these nymphs, we tied this one in a disproportionate bead to hook size. It gets down fast and looks great.

With the pink thread and peacock black ice dub, the contrasting colors seem to attract the fish we’re looking for. We’ve been having a great time fishing this on the McKenzie here in Oregon!

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Material List:
Thread: Semperfli Nano Silk, Pink
Hook: Umpqua, XC400BL, 14
Bead: Hareline Slotted Tungsten, Gold, 3.8mm
Body: Pheasant Tail, Natural
Rib: Copper Wire, Small
Rib 1: MFC Fish Flash, Pearl
Collar: Ice Dub, Peacock Black
Tail: Coq de Leon – Barred, Speckled
Zap-a-Gap

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Willamette River System Fly Fishing Opportunities July 2022

The Willamette River flowing west through Greenwaters Park in Oakridge, Oregon

The Willamette River, from the upper reaches outside of Oakridge all the way to Harrisburg, is in perfect shape and offers anglers excellent opportunities to chase trout and summer steelhead.

The Middle Fork of the Willamette above Hills Creek Reservoir is a great spot to get away from the crowds and put your lighter line weights to work. Two and three weight rods are perfect, smaller dries like Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, Missing Link and grass hopper imitations are all good flies to have on hand.

The Middle Fork as it exits Hills Creek dam is currently flowing at only 413 cubic feet per second. This flow is tough on boaters but ideal for the wading angler. Access around the dam outflow, Salt Creek confluence, La Duke Road, Greenwaters Park, Salmon Creek confluence, the North Fork of the Middle Fork confluence, and Black Canyon Campground is good at 413cfs. A variety of tactics will take fish on this section. Midday utilize hopper dropper rigs with small to mid sized Chubby Chernobyls and jigged euro style nymphs. Evenings will be best for hatches, Pale Morning Duns, Brown Elk Hair Caddis and little yellow stones are excellent staples.

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The Middle Fork below Dexter Dam is the next section of moving water for the fly angler and the section where summer steelhead return to each season. Mornings and evenings are best and the section to focus on runs from Dexter all the way to Valley River Center mall in Eugene. Swinging black and blue marabou style patterns, MOAL Leaches, Loop Leaches and smaller Signature Intruders will move summer steelhead to the fly. At the current water levels wading opportunities at Dexter Dam, Clearwater Park, Day Island Park and D Street Ramp are excellent. The fish counts for 2022 are not amazing but they are more than three times what they were last year at this time. We are over 5000 summer steelhead over Willamette Falls to date.

Have fun out there!

Posted in Middle Fork Willamette River fishing | Leave a comment

New Obstruction on the Lower McKenzie – July 15th 2022

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07/15/2022 – Water Obstruction: McKenzie
River one mile downstream from Armitage Park
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office would like to
advise the public of a water obstruction on the
McKenzie River approximately one mile
downstream from the Armitage Park boat
launch. A large gravel bar has formed that
obstructs nearly the entire river width. There is
currently NO navigable channel for power
boats. Those in drifting watercraft will likely
have to exit their vessel and carry it over or
around the gravel bar in order to pass. Caution
is advised if you choose to navigate this portion
of the river.
For the most current information on water
obstructions and safety tips, please follow the
information provided by the Oregon State
Marine Board at www.oregon.gov/osmb
PREFS
+044.121831° / -123.096022°
+ 389ft

The above Oregon State Marine Board Link is a great resource to utilize. With fires, recent extremes ( super dry – super wet ) trees are an ongoing issue on our local waterways.

Posted in McKenzie River | 1 Comment

The Art of Letting Go – Updating Catch and Release

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Article by Steve Schmidt

As a seasoned angler whose adult life has revolved around fly fishing, I’ve witnessed our sport go through significant changes in materials, equipment and techniques. More than anything, the game has gotten easier over the years. Where we once had to learn to cast a fly rod, we now have products and techniques that limit the need for actual casting—the sport’s beautiful and defining skill. Now, it seems, we’re drifting away from what attracted us to fishing with flies in the first place: the challenge.

We’ve sacrificed the need to cast a fly rod and learn to fish with abbreviated ways to catch them. Granted, the object of fly fishing always has and will continue to be to catch fish. Yet these days, we are catching more than our fair share. Technology, techniques and an industry focused on attracting more participants have accepted shortcuts with little regard for the ramifications.

It’s a troubling conundrum. Our fishing skills diminish, yet we catch and show off more fish. At the same time, we’ve done little to recognize the impact of maximizing successes or to teach proper fish-release skills to protect fish—or even the value of those practices. Given the state of our fisheries and the growing number of new anglers, these should be priorities. I’ve had concerns about this for decades, and after another record year of heat, low water, river closures and declining runs, my concerns are even more so now.Read the rest of this article here.

Posted in Fly Fishing Glossary, Fly Fishing Profiles | 1 Comment

2022 Two Fly Tournament Lottery Registration is Open

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The McKenzie River Two Fly Tournaments Proceeds Go Directly to The McKenzie River Trust.

We are excited to announce the 14th annual Two Fly Tournament this fall from Friday, September 30th through Saturday, October 1st. We are so thankful for the support of many participants and guides over the years. This event has forged important relationships between people and rivers that are vital to the future health of this area an our fishing community.

McKenzie River Trust is doing big things for the McKenzie River. With landscape-scale projects at Green Island, Finn Rock Reach, and Elk Creek, they are improving and expanding vital salmonid habitat, making a critical impact for the future of local rivers. McKenzie River Trust continues to undertake bigger and more impactful projects year after year. In 2022, The Two Fly Tournament is stepping up it’s own impact to meet the efforts of the McKenzie River Trust and the incredible fishing guides who make this tournament possible.

Please go to the Landing Page for the Tournament Here.

Please join the Lottery at this Link.

Posted in Fly Fishing Contests, McKenzie River, Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment