Fly fishing for wild rainbow trout on the Upper Willamette River has been excellent, despite the Kitson Fire southeast of Oakridge. As of yesterday, the fire stands at 1,000 acres and was 40% contained. It started Wednesday near Hills Creek Lake and is expected to be fully contained Friday. If you’re planning to make the trip it’s worth checking with the Middle Fork Ranger District to make sure the roads are accessible 541-782-2283.
The sky was pretty hazy and the water above the Hills Creek was cloudier than usual (maybe ashes?) but it didn’t slow down the fishing. There were a lot of hoppers around in the afternoon, October Caddis were all over the place in the evening. I fished a two fly rig with nymph droppers — prince nymphs size 12 worked for me.
A lot of the upper river is fast and shallow. Focus on deep drop-offs, eddies behind submerged boulders, etc.