Summer Tactics for Local Waters August 2021

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I wish we were discussing high water tactics in August of 2021…. Fish like water as we all know. It’s going to be a very interesting summer with extreme drought conditions wreaking havoc on numerous watersheds across the state of Oregon. There is a silver lining for anglers who don’t have boats, unprecedented wading access.

Tactics:

Fish early and late: Water temps are going to be cooler in the early a.m and late evening. Insect hatches are going to be concentrated early and late. Bigger fish are going to be more available in lower light conditions.

Fish fast water: As the summer progresses and water levels bottom out you are going to find the best fishing in highly oxygenated parts of the river or stream you are fishing. Fast runs, riffles and banks offer refuge to larger fish in low water conditions.

Fish light tippets and longer leaders: Move to 11-14 feet on your tapered leaders. You will find better presentations both in stealth and sink when you go longing and lighter. Dry flies land lighter, soft hackles swing “truer” and nymphs sink quicker with lighter longer tippets.

Fish more small dries: While hatches are minimal this time of year fishing smaller dries like Elk Hair Caddis, Purple Haze, Hippie Stompers, still work really well. Fish simply don’t have to look up as far in low water. Early in the day before the sun has moved over the top of them fish are keen to move to the surface despite a lack of hatches. Lately I have been challenging myself and guests with more dry fly fishing. Put a dry through the run first, think about it like steelheading, run the skater through first and then move subsurface.

Fish Deep Water: Look for deeper runs, pools and “drop-offs” when you are nymphing. Euro Nymphing remains deadly and you don’t need a monster nymph to get down. Our most successful rigs have included a mid sized ( #12 ) euro nymph and a smaller nymph (#16-18) above it.

The Mckenzie and Willamette rivers are very low and unseasonably warm. Do take care when fighting fish. Try and get fish landed quickly and don’t take them out of the water. Fish barbless hooks so you don’t struggle to get fish unhooked. The upper parts of both the McKenzie and Willamette rivers are the areas to concentrate. The lower reaches are where the water is warmest and you are going to stress fish the most. The upper reaches still have cold water, shade and more oxygenated water. Look at tributaries closer to the Cascades, the Middle Fork above Hills Creek Reservoir, the North fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette, the upper South Fork of the McKenzie, Horse Creek and the main McKenzie off the Mckenzie River Trial all have colder flows with excellent wild fish.

Posted in Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Action Alert -Wild Steelheaders United team at Trout Unlimited

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From Wild Steelheaders United

After more than two years of plan development and stakeholder meetings, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is accepting public comments on its Rogue-South Coast Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan (RSP). The plan proposes to continue harvest of wild steelhead without adequate monitoring data available. Additionally, the RSP has the following shortcomings:

-Does not propose to collect population level data for run size and escapement in all populations

-Lacks the ability to determine population specific harvest rates or fishery impacts to the most sensitive fish stocks, such as summer steelhead

-Relies on averaging harvest rates over several years rather than ensuring that harvest rates do not exceed maximums in any given year

-Does not estimate catch and release mortality and include it in harvest numbers

-Uses juvenile abundance and/or presence for forecasting run sizes

These issues will not allow managers to adequately assess the population dynamics of wild steelhead and continued wild harvest under these circumstances may have lasting, negative impacts on south coast salmonid populations. For this reason, we cannot support a framework that allows wild harvest in the absence of adequate data.

To help, click here to comment in support of Catch and Release of wild steelhead for the next 5 years while the agency conducts additional monitoring.

This alternative will help ensure we don’t trade short term opportunity for the long-term health of wild steelhead.

The plan also proposes several changes to hatchery management in the South Coast region as well. ODFW has specifically asked for feedback on the following actions which did not reach consensus in the stakeholder process.

-Increase the distribution of hatchery steelhead in the Rogue by adding an additional off-station release site in a wild steelhead spawning tributary

-A 25% increase in the number of hatchery coho smolts released in the Rogue

-Creation of two Mixed Emphasis areas in Euchre Creek and the Winchuck River which would leave the door open for new hatchery programs

-A proposed 10% goal for PHOS in all populations

These programs would have a variety of effects or risks on wild steelhead and coho, you can read more here.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU:
Please click here to tell ODFW to select Alternative A (Catch and Release) under the Winter Steelhead Angling Framework and reduce risk to wild steelhead. Comments are due by 11:59 PM on August 1, 2021.

Thank you for taking action on behalf of wild steelhead!

Sincerely,
Dean Finnerty, Sophia Kaelke, and the Wild Steelheaders United team at Trout Unlimited

Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Good News from Bristol Bay – Sockeye Salmon Numbers off the Charts

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From Meghan and Trout Unlimited’s Save Bristol Bay team

Dear Bristol Bay supporters,

We have exciting news to share with you! Yesterday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported that the Bristol Bay’s 2021 sockeye run reached the largest on record with 63.2 million fish returning to the bay. The 2021 run broke the 2018 standing record at 62.9 million fish returning to the region.

Thousands of years of Indigenous stewardship and 100+ years of sustainable commercial fishery management made this year’s record-breaking sockeye run in Bristol Bay possible. Science has shown that clean water and healthy fish habitat will continue to support this world-class fishery that produces roughly 50% of all sockeye salmon on the planet.

Even though the fishery’s biggest threat- the proposed Pebble mine- was denied the key federal permit last year, Bristol Bay isn’t safe yet. The region still needs durable and permanent protections to ensure that Pebble, or another mining company, won’t come back in the future. Join us in asking decision-makers to advance permanent protections for Bristol Bay today.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Congress have the opportunity to establish safeguards that, together, would protect the fish, people, and fish-based industries in Bristol Bay. They need to hear from people in Bristol Bay and beyond that this is a national treasure that requires permanent protection. Take action here.

The 2021 run record is just one reason why Bristol Bay needs greater protection for the years to come. It’s another reason we say “No Pebble Mine- Not Here, Not Ever.” And it’s why our work doesn’t stop until we can fully assure that we will never have to fight this irresponsible mine plan again. Help us continue our work in Bristol Bay by making a donation today.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Restoration Underway at Finn Rock Reach – McKenzie River

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From McKenzie River Trust

With the help of local partners, engineers, contractors, and the support of our members, McKenzie River Trust broke ground on our riparian restoration project at Finn Rock Reach in late June. This project, designed over the past three years in partnership with the US Forest Service and McKenzie Watershed Council, will dramatically increase Spring Chinook salmon spawning and rearing habitat, reconnect dozens of acres of floodplain forest to seasonal flows and increase wetland abundance in the project area. You can learn more about this project online or by following us on social media.

Learn more about this project by clicking here.

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

Clark’s Tying Yarn Twisted Body Salmonfly Fly Tying Instructional Video

In this video, Caddis Fly Shop Outfitters guide Justin Helm ties a very fishy salmonfly dry fly by twisting up a two-toned body made of Clark’s Yarn material. With many different colors now carried at the Caddis Fly Shop, now is a great time to experiment with some new colors of this classic fly pattern — Let us know what you tie up, and get out and fish these! They are tried and true classics.

Materials:
Hook: TMC 5212 Sz8
Thread: UTC 70D Bnt Orange
Underbody: Gold Mylar Tinsel
Body: Clark’s Yarn Rust and Orange
Wing: Bull Elk Mane
Hackle: Ginger or Burnt Orange
Dubbing: Rusty Brown Superfine Dubbing
Materials are available at https://www.caddisflyshop.com/​

Check us out on Instagram at

https://www.instagram.com/caddisflysh…

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/caddis.shop/​

Posted in Classes and Instruction, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Proven Spring Fly Patterns, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Brewing for Recovery: Claim 52’s Groundswell

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Raise a glass to recovery and resilience tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21st from 4:30pm-7:30pm at Claim 52’s Kitchen in downtown Eugene

Groundswell is a Northwest Pale Ale brewed to celebrate the McKenzie River – it’s clear, refreshing, river-forward and balanced with just enough salmon-safe hops for a crisp bite. Claim 52 Brewing created the base recipe and the artwork to share with other breweries to build a coalition of support for McKenzie River restoration. All proceeds from each brewery’s version of Groundswell will be donated to organizations working to protect their community’s watershed. Claim 52 will donate 100% of the beers proceeded to McKenzie River Trust.

Claim 52 is located at 1203 Willamette St #140, Eugene, OR 97401

More info: Posted on July 1, Eugene Weekly

The McKenzie River is Eugene’s only water source. Without it, the area’s breweries would be missing a vital ingredient to their beverages.

Claim 52 is creating a special beer that supports McKenzie River Trust’s efforts to restore the McKenzie River after the Holiday Farm Fire. The brewery is sharing the recipe with other breweries in town and hoping the fundraiser spreads to other breweries around Oregon — and beyond — who’d use the money for restoring their respective watersheds.

“The threat to water quality is a call to action,” says Claim 52 co-owner Jeannine Parisi, who also works at Eugene Water and Electric Board. “When you lose 170,000 acres of prime watershed to fire, it calls into question what we are going to do to make sure our habitat and watershed is healthy.”

The Holiday Farm Fire damaged 25 percent of the McKenzie’s watershed, says Brandi Ferguson, McKenzie River Trust’s associate director of philanthropy and McKenzie community liaison.

Claim 52’s limited release beer is called Groundswell, which is a Northwest pale ale, Parisi says, meaning the malt is grown locally. The recipe is meant to be as crisp as the McKenzie River, she adds. The beer’s clean profile is a way to showcase the good water from the river. “It’s a good reminder to save our water,” she says.

Parisi says the idea for the campaign has been in the works for the past few months. The brewery felt the campaign was imperative because, like everyone else, it’s dependent on the McKenzie River since it’s Eugene’s only water source. And the beer’s can will honor the symbol of the river: the Belknap Covered Bridge. The brewery will donate all of the proceeds from Groundswell to McKenzie River Trust.

“What we like about the trust is they’ve got a great reputation and credibility with community and name recognition,” Parisi says. She refers to the group’s large-scale restoration efforts on the McKenzie River, which gives it a “green infrastructure.” That helps the water get cleaned in a natural way before flowing down to Eugene residents’ faucets and beer.

Although the Claim 52 fundraiser will go toward the greatest need for McKenzie River-related efforts, Ferguson says one way the money will help the nonprofit is through volunteer coordination, such as helping the Friends of Finn Rock Reach group. She says many of the volunteers in that group come from Blue River and are involved with planting trees, weeding and, more recently, cleaning up an old logging site.

“Whether we live upriver, midriver or downriver, this river connects us all,” Ferguson says. “It’s always taken care of us, and it’s our turn as a community to really step up and help to care for it.”

In 2020, Claim 52 participated in the Black Is Beautiful campaign, a fundraiser started by a Texas brewery during the Black Lives Matter-related protests. Claim 52 raised a total of $8,100, according to Parisi, and they donated $5,000 to the Eugene/Springfield NAACP and $3,100 to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.

Claim 52 plans to have the beer available for sale in July. And Parisi says that so far Oakshire has expressed interest in participating in the fundraiser, and she hopes the campaign becomes popular with other breweries.

“When you go up there, you can feel helpless,” she says of the McKenzie River area. “Every person can do just a little bit. It’s an accessible way to contribute. If we all buy a couple of beers, sending those funds up to the trust or other like minded groups can make a difference.”

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

Euro Nymphing Videos from Umpqua Feather Merchants and Devin Olsen

From Umpqua Feather Merchants

Three great videos by Euro Nymph Guru Devin Olsen.

Euro Nymph Fly Box

On the water Euro Nymph Strategies

Posted in Classes and Instruction, Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Bob Popovic’s Hollow Fly Variation – Alex Swartz 2021

In this video, Alex shares a deadly bait-fish pattern for striper, tuna, salmon and other large critters, Bob Popovic’s Hollow Fly.

Using only a handful of materials, these flies can be tied in different sizes and colors all while maintaining a big profile with little weight.

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Bob Popovic’s Hollow Fly
Hook: Ahrex TP615 1-4/0
Thread: Veevus GSP 100d White
Body/Tail: Flashabou 1/100 Micro
Bucktail UV White
Skeena River Snowrunner Nayat Fur Long White/Black
Larva Lace Angel Hair Pearl Blue
Eyes: Pro Sportfisher Tab Eyes 10mm
Adhesive: Liquid Fusion

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

Release Wild Steelhead in Southern Oregon

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From Native Fish Society

After a year of planning and stakeholder engagement, fisheries managers with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in southwest Oregon are proposing to continue the harvest of wild winter steelhead in their newly released conservation management plan for the Rogue and south coast watersheds of southern Oregon. The conservation plan includes the following issues – Wild harvest is being proposed without population abundance estimates, management triggers are not clearly indicated to help provide a framework or transparency to how the species will be managed, and hatchery program expansions are being proposed on the Rogue and south coast affecting the long-term health of our wild populations of salmon and steelhead.

Please click HERE to take action and tell ODFW to make the changes necessary to conserve and protect our wild fish populations in southern Oregon.
For Wild Fish,

Kirk Blaine
Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator

Posted in Oregon Conservation News, Southern Oregon | 1 Comment

Obstructions Removed on the McKenzie River

Obstructions at Martins Rapids and near Paradise Campground have been removed improving navigation of all craft in low summer flows.

Oregon State Marine Board took care of the Martins hazard. You can view other obstructions and potential boating hazards here: https://oregon-boating-obstructions-geo.hub.arcgis.com

You can report hazards here: https://oregon-boating-obstructions-geo.hub.arcgis.com/apps/whitewater-edition-b-o-r-t-/explore

The water is low out there, be aware and have fun.

Posted in McKenzie River | Leave a comment

Restoring Floodplain Function at Finn Rock Reach on the McKenzie River

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Driving east up Hwy 126 past Vida puts one through the Holiday Farm fire zone all the way to approximately mile post 45. There is a lot of heavy equipment up there clearing road-side trees, fixing lines, and much more. Above Finn Rock and before Blue River township you will now see some heavy equipment right down in the riverbed where Elk Creek enters the McKenzie River. The explanation is below.

In 2021, McKenzie River Trust and partners from the US Forest Service and McKenzie Watershed Council will begin an in-stream restoration project on the Elk Creek Channel which flows through the north-eastern part of the property. This work will be messy, but the outcomes will:

-Increase wetland areas and aquatic habitat around the Elk Creek side-channel

-Slow and spread water across the floodplain to improve habitat for juvenile Spring Chinook Salmon

-Increase nesting habitat for Western Pond Turtles

-Address stream erosion issues and reconnect the Elk Creek channel to its historic floodplain, and,

-Create space for water to move, mitigating against flood related issues

Read More about the project here: https://mckenzieriver.org/restoring-finn-rock-reach/

The Elk Creek project will be very similar to the South Fork of the McKenzie project, results on that project have been amazing!

Check out the South Fork project here: USFS Link, McKenzie Watershed Council Link

Posted in McKenzie River, Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Salmon fly fishing | 1 Comment

Colombia Afloat Trip February 2022

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Our friend Jon Covich from Fly Water Travel will be hosting a trip to the remote and pristine jungles of Colombia to target large peacock bass and other jungle species. We did this trip last year and it was a blast. He has a couple of spots left for 2022. Check out the report from last year here: Colombia Afloat Trip Report

Dates:
February 18 – February 27, 2022
Rate: $4595 per person based on double occupancy.

Itinerary:

February 18: Arrive Medellin
February 19: Transfer to Colombia Afloat
February 20 – February 25: Six days of guided fishing
February 26: Transfer to Medellin
February 27: Depart Colombia

Included: Two night hotel in Medellin, transportation between Medellin and Colombia Afloat, accommodations, meals and beverages including soft drinks and beer
Not Included: International flights, meals and miscellaneous expenses while in Medellin, staff and guide gratuities.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing Travel | Leave a comment

Black Egg Sucking Bling Rabbit Leach Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jay Nicholas ties a simple leech fly using new Bling Rabbit Strips and Just Add H2O’s Sculpting Flash Brush.

Used for anything that swims this fly could be tied in a variation of colors, sizes, weights, etc. Drift them, swing them, cast them!

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Black Egg Sucking Bling Rabbit Leach
Hook: Ahrex NS115 Size #2
Thread: Danville 210D black
Tail: Bling Rabbit Black
Body: Streamer Brush Midnight Blitz
Bead: Pro Sportfisher Pro Flexi Bead Flo Orange

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

Low Water Arrives Early July 2021

We knew it was coming and here we are. Low water will likely remain for the rest of the summer. While it’s a little scary for water temps and habitat it does give anglers unprecedented access to water. More on tactics in another post. Enjoy the weekend!

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

More Info from ODFW on Statewide Regulations Due to Low Water

Emergency fishing regulations in response to drought begin July 1:
Check the Recreation Report in your zone for info

June 30, 2021

SALEM, Ore.—ODFW is implementing emergency regulations that will begin July 1 in several angling zones as Oregon faces a severe drought this summer, putting the state’s salmon, steelhead, trout and sturgeon at risk.

As always, the latest regulations are listed at the top of the Recreation Report – Fishing Report for each zone. Always check your angling zone before you go fishing.

These emergency regulations are in effect until Sept. 30, 2021 but may be lifted early or extended depending on conditions.

A summary of emergency regulations follows.

Fishing will close for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and trout from 2 p.m. until one hour before sunrise in some rivers and streams in the NW, SW, Willamette, Central, NE zones. (“Hoot owl” regulations to end fishing before water temperatures are at their warmest, which stresses fish.)

Nehalem River (NW Zone) will close to all angling. All other open streams in the NW Zone will be under “hoot owl” regulations.

The Deschutes River from the mouth to Sherars Falls will be under “hoot owl” regulations to protect fish.

Angling closure within 200 feet of mouths of tributaries in portions of the Umpqua and North Umpqua Rivers, to allow fish to gather in these cooler areas without angling pressure.

Other targeted angling closures in portions of the Rogue and Illinois Rivers to allow for salmon and steelhead facing tough conditions to migrate without angling pressure.

Hyatt and Howard Prairie Reservoirs in SW Zone are lifting all bag limits on all species due to extremely low water conditions that are becoming unsuitable for fish.

For full details, see the emergency regulations for your angling zone at https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/

“There is a tough summer and early fall ahead for fish, and we want to take steps to help them survive,” said Shaun Clements, ODFW deputy administrator for inland fisheries. “We appreciate anglers following the regulations and being flexible with their plans to help fish this year.”

This doesn’t mean that all fishing has to stop,” continued Clements. “Except for the Nehalem River, fishing will remain open the morning and early afternoon hours when water temperatures are cooler for fish and people. There are many great fishing opportunities in high lakes, for warmwater fish like, bass, walleye, or crappie, and in lakes and reservoirs stocked with hatchery rainbow trout—though stocking plans may change due to the drought so remember to check the Recreation Report not the online schedule for the latest information.”

Anglers are reminded to use best practices when fishing in areas that may require release of the fish:

Use appropriate gear and land fish quickly. The longer the fight, the less likely the fish will survive.

Avoid removing the fish from the water.

If taking a photo, cradle the fish at water level and quickly take the picture.

Remove hooks quickly and gently while keeping the fish under water.

Use long-nosed pliers or hemostats to back out a hook.

If a fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook.

Revive fish (point them into slow current or move them back and forth until gills are working).

When possible, let the fish swim out of your hands.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Weekend Fishing Forecast | Leave a comment