This week we spent an afternoon fishing below Hills Creek Reservoir on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. The water levels were very fishable from the dam at Hills Creek down to the town run in Oakridge, Oregon. The water level rose as it flowed downstream from the mouth of the North Fork Middle Fork to Black Canyon.
We didn’t spot any fish upstream near the dam, but got into some rainbows near the town run. I hooked several fish on a two-fly rig; a size ten golden stonefly nymph, weighted like a sparkplug with a size 12 brown soft hackle trailing. Unfortunately, my four-weight was too delicate and I still have steelhead hands and lost all of the fish, but not before seeing at least one of them was really good sized.
Conventional widsom says nymphing with possie buggers, prince nymphs and Beldar’s golden stones with copper johns, and pheasant tails dropped of of them will fish all fall/winter long. Small egg patterns work as well as there are spawning rainbows and whitefish right now. Look for an elusive Blue winged olive hatch during the mid-day to bring a few fish to the surface.