In preparation for fall rains the Army corps of engineers has been releasing plenty water from our local impoundments. Water released from Hills Creek Reservoir and Dexter Reservoir has both the Middle Fork and main-stem of the Willamette higher than historical averages. While higher water is excellent for the long term health of the river and it’s fish, it can make wading a bit tougher. The same story goes for the Mckenzie drainage where Cougar Reservoir and Blue River Reservoir have the Mckenzie running very high when compared to the past 10 years and beyond. What does this mean in regards to local fishing opportunities?
If you have a boat and can fish the lower reaches of the Mckenzie and Willamette you will do fine. Blue Winged Olives, Brown Caddis, Mahogany Duns and October Caddis hatches have been very good. Pressure from predators and other anglers is extremely low. Larger fish will move into slower, shallower edges to feed. Wading anglers will do fine in similar water it’s just going to be a bit tougher to out to your favorite spot.
If you are wading and like smaller water I would look to get above the aforementioned reservoirs. On the Willamette system fish the Middle Fork above Hills Creek Reservoir, Salmon Creek, The North Fork of the Middle Fork and Salt Creek. The tributaries will all be very low and mid day fishing will be good. On the Mckenzie system look above Cougar Reservoir on the South Fork of the Mckenzie. On the main Mckenzie fish above where the Blue River and the South Fork enter the river. The Mckenzie near Belknap is under 800 CFS, compared to the river at Vida at over 4000 cubic feet per second.
Weather and water conditions holding on nicely. We are very lucky to have such a long season on our local streams. Late October can be great, few anglers, good hatches and some very nice fish to be had.-CD