Memorial Day Holiday Weekend: Top Ten Best Places To Fish

Ok, let’s get real: it is highly unlikely sunscreen will be required over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend? With the freezing level at 1500-3000 feet, we strongly suggest you pack the fleece and your heater. Both liquid and portable heaters may be needed in the evening and morning hours. There are numerous Oregon locations to accommodate anglers for all types of challenges.
We made a best effort to put together our “Top Ten Places” for the coming holiday weekend. The blog author gets the privilege of ranking the top ten. I made it easy, there is only one number one and the rest are of equal priority. The bottom line is this; “those who know, will go!”

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1. Deschutes! This is the only place to be rated #1. The stones are out and the fishing should be good for nymphs and fair for the big dry stones. If you can handle the crowds and the cooler temperatures, the usual dry stones should prove to be effective, Norm Woods, Half Down Golden, Clark’s Stonefly, and Chubby Chernobyl. For nymphs; red copper john, tungsten trout retriever, Kaufmann stone, pheasant tails and prince nymphs. Memorial Day weekend is usually the kickoff for the rafting/fishing season for the Deschutes. Let’s be safe, courteous, and have fun out there!

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2. Upper Mckenzie River; The Upper section has been fishing well. Yellow Stones, Pale Morning Duns, Caddis and Golden Stones and Green Drakes are making an appearance. The usual culprits of successful nymphing; Possie Bugger and Mega Prince have been producing. Dry fly production has been hit and misses with the weather being the determining factor. The usual abundance of hatchery fish awaits the frying pan for those who go from Finn Rock to Hendricks.

3. Willamette River; the river level has been holding steady and most of the system is in great shape.

The North Fork has been producing and should be in great shape over the holiday weekend. Flies producing are; Pale Morning Duns, Sparkle Dun Tan, and Yellow Sallies.

The infamous steelhead “town run” has yet to turn on, but fish are being taken from Dexter Dam to Belt Line. Steelhead patterns working have been the moal leech, pick yer pockets, and fish tacos. All though not strong in steelhead numbers, easy place to go fishing.

Armitage to Harrisburg should be very fish-able as the river level is holding. Look for cut throats and redsides to hit swinging soft hackles, dry flies: Sparkle duns, Adams, parachute adams, and half down golden should produce. Nymphs: possie buggers, mega princes, copper johns and prince nymphs should accompany anglers.

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4. Crane Prairie Reports from the resort state the following: “the fishing has been the best in years!” Ok I have yet to hear a report from an angler, but I do think the resort is stating the fishing has been good. Lake patterns proving effective in the past have been: Thin Mint, Leech Patterns, Chironomids, and Carrie Specials.

5. Diamond Lake Aside from the two inches of snow that fell mid week, the fishing has been fair to good. This will be a lake to make sure you have your fleece and heater. The south end of the lake has been consistent for fly anglers. The cooler weather makes stripping thin mints, or carey specials best bets.

6. Hosmer Lake :One of the states most beautiful destinations. If the fishing is tough who cares it gorgeous just sitting on the lake at Hosmer. Callibeatis Hatches have been good. Small wooly bugger patterns and Damsels are also a must have.

7. Oregon Coast/Coastal Streams. There is a series of minus low tides this weekend which should allow perch anglers some easy access to both incoming and outgoing tides. Small clousers
and orange shrimp patterns seem to be the best to trigger a response.
Also, this weekend most coastal streams are open (please check your regs!) for trout. The Borden Special or Spruce patterns are producers for coastal cutthroat. It is a bit early for sea runs, but hey, you never know. Tidewater areas would be best to check out for sea runs so early in the season…got it? Its early!

8. Lower Umpqua Shad and Bass: Typically the Shad run goes from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. The Umpqua and Siuslaw both get runs of Shad, but the fish are bigger and fewer on the Siuslaw. Short Leaders down to 2x, and a down and across presentation are standard for Shad. The absolute key to catching these fish is to keep it in their travel lane. Shad travel in schools swimming through the deep slots in river. If you sink that fly and get grabbed, keep fishing that spot.

9. John Day River for smallmouth bass. Water levels are lower than they have been in years. Fishing should do nothing but improve as the weather does. Poppers, buggers, damsel adults numerous of streamer patterns catch the plentiful bass on this beautiful river. If you can make the float down to Cottonwood Bridge it’s one of the very best camp and fish trips in Oregon.

10.Lower Mckenzie Hang close to home and fish the lower McKenzie. The middle section of the River from Deerhorn Bridge to Hayden Bridge is seeing good numbers of Green McKenzie Caddis. The CDC Green McKenzie Caddis pattern has been working really well. Pale Morning Duns and swung soft hackles have also been very good.

Have a great weekend.

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