Summer Dry Dropper Fly Fishing in Oregon

In this video, Simon works his way through a beautiful stream on a hot day. He primarily uses a Dry-Dropper setup to search and work his way through some beautiful water. This video marks the beginning of more “on the water” content coming from our Youtube channel @caddisflyshop. This will highlight local waters and fisheries beyond. They will focus on skills and helpful tips for beginners and experienced anglers alike. Stay tuned for more on the water fishing videos from us! Feel free to give us feedback on the video and let us know what you’d like us to cover next! All of the gear and more can be found on our website,

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon fly fishing links, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Local Fishing Report July 13

Right now is a great time to get out on a float or get out on a guided float trip.

Fishing locally has been great despite our recent heat wave. We’ve made it through this heat wave without any wildfires here in the valley and without our local trout water getting too terribly hot. Water temperature is still a factor to be aware of as summer progresses. Prolonged elevated temperatures, especially warmer nights can have negative impacts on trout health. As conscious anglers, we should be aware of this and do everything in our power to mitigate harm to the fish.

Trout behavior can change drastically with temperature swings, but it is very predictable. During these hot days, fish will be pushed up higher in the rivers and creeks. In each run, fish will be pushed towards the head of the pool where there is a higher concentration of dissolved oxygen. There also is more surface turbulence towards the head of a pool which provides cover from predators because they cant see in the water. Once water temperatures reach 65 you should start being extra careful when trout fishing. Use heavier tippet and bring fish in quickly, keep them in the water, and release them as quick as possible. As a rule I like to move upstream and find colder water when the water is 65 and up. This is also a great time of year to hit the high lakes, or smaller streams with lots of shade, as they stay cooler. This time of year you should be carrying a thermometer to gauge water temps. I especially like the
Fishpond Riverkeeper Digital Thermometer
; I clip it to my net and check the temperature by pushing my net deep underwater. The Hareline Stream Thermometer also makes a good option. Warmwater fishing for bass and panfish also makes a great option as they are more heat tolerant. The coast is also an option; Surfperch fishing is great this time of year off the beach, or rockfish and lingcod off the jetty.

Fish will hold in the heads of pools where there is more oxygen.

Lately we have been seeing hatches of Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, and assorted Caddis in the afternoons. There is a relatively reliable hatch of Pale Morning and evening Duns every morning and evening. As things warm up even more lately terrestrials play a big role in trout’s diets. Crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, ants, and other land based insects become increasingly important to our local trout. This is even more important on smaller streams with brushy banks.

Fishing spring creeks is a great way to beat the heat and get in on some great terrestrial fishing.

The most effective, versatile, and straightforward way to fish right now is with a dry-dropper setup. For those of you that do not know, this is a setup which uses a buoyant dry fly too suspend a nymph subsurface. It makes for a great way to search water because you cover the surface and subsurface simultaneously. Often the dry fly has to be bigger and tied with buoyant materials to be able to suspend a nymph below. The larger insects present that you would be mimicking with your large dry would be a Golden Stonefly or a larger grasshopper. Other “attractor” style dries that just look “buggy” are great options too. Try these for your dry fly portion of your rig in sizes 6-12: Fools Gold Golden Stoneflies, Willy’s Ant, or a Double Stack Chubby Chernobyl Fly. The nymphs that we like to run below our dries are slim bodied jig nymphs in sizes #12-16 this time of year. Choose the fly size/weight that best matches the depth of the water you are fishing, and proportionately matches how buoyant your fly is. Here are some shop favorites for your dropper nymph: Jigged Duracell, Jigged Frenchie, or a Tungsten Jig PMD.

Fish are looking up, especially in the upper river where there’s more shade.

For fishing a single dry fly, the most reliable hatch that you will come across is the PMD/PED hatch. This is the summer hatch where you can consistently cast at rising fish. If the hatch is happening in the morning or evening try some of these: Tactical Light Cahill Parachute, Quigley’s Film Critic PMD, or a Rusty Spinner. If you are seeing lots of larger fluttering golden colored insects, they are likely gold stones and we would recommend fishing one of the following: Burkus Bearback Rider Golden Stone, Morrish Fluttering Stone, or a yellow/gold colored Chubby Chernobyl. During the mid day lull searching with a small yellow sally can be effective; here are some shop favorites: Silvey’s Yellow Sally or Front End Loader. Searching in the afternoon with a small caddis can be effective, especially into dusk. Feel free to tag one of these behind a larger golden stonefly or fish it solo: X2 Caddis, Peacock Caddis, or an Olsen’s Foam Front End Loader. Lastly, general attractors sized #10-16 will bring fish to surface in the morning and late afternoon, here are some great attractors that are must haves in your box: Carlson’s Purple Haze, Elk Hair Caddis Tan, or an Adams Heavy Hackle Parachute.

Shade is your friend, hug that far bank that’s where fish will hold.

Terrestrial insects are what you want to be throwing if you’re on smaller rivers and creeks or fishing near a brushy bank. These would be grasshoppers, ants, crickets, beetles, etc. We recently wrote an article on terrestrials and listed our top 5 here. Feel free to run a small nymph below any of the more buoyant ones as well.

Areas with more foliage will help reduce water temps and provide habitat for terrestrials this time of year.

Midday when its sunny and hot dry fly fishing can turn off. The heat can be exhausting for fish to exert energy to surface and the bright sun makes them vulnerable to predators. You certainly can fish your dry dropper rig throughout the day, but indicator and euro nymphing can be especially effective when fish wont surface to eat. Pairing a larger stonefly nymph with something smaller is generally effective. Here are some great options for your larger fly: Sili Leg Stone Fly, Mega Prince, or a Tunghead 20 Incher. Here are some choices for smaller flies: Jig Fullback Napoleon, Jigged Perdigon, or Improved Jigged 20 Incher.

Cool mornings are a great way to get in on some great dry fly fishing with hatches of PMDs

As things get real warm here turning towards warmwater fishing may help ease stress on our local trout fisheries. Fern Ridge, the Coast Fork Willamette, South Umpqua, John Day, and other ponds are great local options. Fish poppers and mice on the surface in the morning and evening for explosive surface action, here are some great sellers that we have in the shop: Surface Seducer Patriot Popper, Surface Seducer Double Barrel Foam Popper, or a Morrish’s Mouse For streamers, we like the following: Clouser Deep Minnow, Sculpzilla, or a Meat Sweats.

Cold, clear, and deep water is what trout like when it is hot out.

The word is out that it is a great steelhead year locally. People are consistently picking up fish on the Mckenzie, the Willamette, and the Santiam drainage. MF Willamette remains high with more consistent success coming out of the Willamette in town, McKenzie and Santiam drainage. A few positive reports have come out of the North Umpqua, but preliminary counts are not encouraging across Winchester as of this update. Now is when the lower Deschutes should have a few around. Swinging is effective for summers throughout the day. All techniques are effective mornings and evenings. Flashier, larger flies with heavier tips is the program as the sun hits the water. Here are some must haves for swinging: Coo Coo for Cocoa Puff’s, Hoh Bo Spey, or a Moal Leech. People are also picking them up on larger flashier nymphs like: Steelhead Lightning Bug, Rogue Steel Stone, or a Double Bead Epoxyback Peacock.

There are loads of steelhead in the river right now, get out while its good and swing some up!

If you need anything swing by the shop and chat with us, we are happy to help. We can also help you over the phone give us a call. Have fun out there, now is a great time to work higher up and explore new water that is colder!


Posted in Fishing Porn, Fishing Reports, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon fly fishing links, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips, Summer Steelhead, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 5 Summer Terrestrial Fly Patterns

Summer is in full swing and that means trout have terrestrials on the mind. This term refers to land based insects such as: ants, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, cicadas, bees, etc. On small streams with lots of streamside brush and vegetation, this is even more important. Often terrestrials will pick up as the day warms up, terrestrial insects will need to “warm up and wake up” before coming active enough to end up in the water. Windy days are your friend, especially on spring creeks with grassy banks. The wind will blow insects into the water and fish will be holding along the banks sipping bugs as they fall in. On high lakes during the summer fish key in on small terrestrials near logs and the bank as well. Many of these are “Attractor” style patterns meaning they might not imitate one insect, but rather are suggestive of many.

Our top 5 terrestrial patterns have battled it out against other patterns on the water and came out on top. These were chosen with versatility and buoyancy in mind. All of these flies work great locally, but also are proven winners on trout streams across the country. All of these options make great dries to run a small dropper below. As much as we love Chubby Chernobyls in the shop, they did not make the list as they’re often bigger, and a smaller fly will imitate a terrestrial more effectively. Smaller Chubbies size 12-14 work great along with plenty of other flies in the store or on our site that didn’t make the absolute top 5.

Dry Humper

The Dry humper is an awesome delicate terrestrial pattern. They come in several sizes and colors but we like sizes 12 and 14. The bottom hackle is clipped to help it ride low for a more realistic presentation. A large wing keeps it visible from a distance.

Charlie Craven’s Fat Angie & Craven’s Big Fat Angie

Craven’s Fat Angie is a shop favorite and is a true attractor terrestrial pattern. It could be an ant, cricket, beetle, or a small hopper. They come in two sizes, standard and big. The big is especially buoyant for larger droppers. The smaller size sacrifices some buoyancy for a more realistic look. The abdomen is dropped subsurface on a curved hook driving the point home that this is a struggling insect. This makes it great for high lakes and spring creeks where fish have longer to look at your fly. I’ve fished this on spring creeks in a few states and it is big brown approved.

Morrish’s Hopper

The Moorish Hopper is a legendary hopper pattern that is one of the most popular ones out there. Lots of legs mean lots of movement which drive fish nuts. A hot spot on the back makes it easy to see. On spring creeks try small strips to mimic a hopper “kicking” its way to the bank.

Henneberry Hopper

The Henneberry hopper was new in the shop last year and did really well. It is the most realistic fly of the list and makes a great option on water with picky fish. The legs are reinforced with tubing to keep them sticking out while the fly is on the water. It rides low and has a super realistic pattern on it for enticing the pickiest of fish especially on spring fed creeks.

Rio’s Blade Runner Hopper

Rio’s Blade Runner Hopper is a favorite of mine. I first encountered this fly in the Driftless area in the Midwest and fished it on the spring creeks there. It effectively mimics smaller hoppers making it a great early season hopper. This is the one I’d be fishing right now on a small creek. The hopper’s rear legs are foam. This helps the fly remain more buoyant and offers a realistic touch.

Have fun out there, feel free to swing by the shop or give us a call with any questions.


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

Simon’s Secret Sally: Yellow Sally Dry Fly Tutorial

A slim profile is essential when mimicking a Yellow Sally effectively

Yellow Sallies are often an overlooked summer staple in Western Trout’s Diets. What they lack in size they make up for in abundance. Often Yellow Sallies make a more subtle option in pressured waters when people gravitate to throwing Gold Stones, Green Drakes, or other more popular insects/attractor flies. Yellow Sallies are a small stonefly and are the middle child in terms of size with their relatives; they are smaller than Gold Stones and larger than Winter Stones. They are active mid afternoon when things can be slow, so they make a great searching pattern. In this video, Simon ties a high-floating Yellow Sally variant. This fly is tied to float high in the turbulent water if our local rivers in the Willamette valley. Heavily hackled, this fly is sure to get some looks. It excels being tossed in at the head of a pool where fish stack up in the summer in search of food and water with a higher oxygen content. Because this fly is tied slightly larger, it is made for quicker water where fish have less time to critique your tying skills. If you happen to be fishing more tailouts, slower water, or even a spring creek, consider sizing this fly down to a 14 or even 16. Colors can be adjusted to brighter or more drab yellow or even lime for the elusive Lime Sally hatch. If you tie some up tor have fish photos from tying this one up tag us on instagram. If you’ve had an amazing day fishing Sallies, share your story in the comments below.

Simon’s Secret Sally

Hook- Ahrex 501: Size 10 Traditional Dry

Dubbing- Hareline Microfine Dry Dubbing: Sulphur Yellow & UV2 Fine & Dry: Red

Wing- Hareline Mallard Flank: Yellow

Hackle- Whiting Saddle: Light Ginger

Post- EP Trigger Point Fibers: White

Legs- Montana Fly Company Yellow Barred Sexy Floss: Small

Resin- Solarez Bone Dry

Additional Tools- Hareline Overton’s Wonder Wax & Hareline Anodized Hook, Hackle, & Bead Gauge

Bobbin- Rite Bobbin

Vise- Renzettti Traveler 2304 & Renzetti Streamer Base

Posted in Eastern Oregon, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon Coastal Fly Fishing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cliffhanger Green Drake Emerger: Fly Tying Tutorial

Great shot from customer Mike Potter

In this video, Simon ties a Green Drake emerger for the pickiest of trout. Whether you’re fishing the Green Drake hatch locally up on the Mckenzie, on the mighty Metolius, or out east on a limestone spring creek in Pennsylvania, this fly is one that you want. It is specifically tied to mimic an emerging Green Drake. The rear of the fly is tied with ostrich, a material chosen with water absorption in mind. This will drop the rear of the fly into the water mimicking a nymphal shuck. This is exactly what fish are looking for subsurface when they are being choosy. The front of the fly is heavily hackled, has 3mm Hi Float Foam, as well as Widow’s Web for maximum buoyancy. This fly will ride high and stay visible when fish are feeding on Drakes in the riffles of the Mckenzie and Metolius. It also will fish well in a tailout or spring creek, riding low looking very realistic for situations where fish have longer to examine your fly. This pattern can be adopted for just about any mayfly and sizes and colors can be substituted. In fact, it was originally developed for the Black Drake hatch on the Williamson river. It was a proven winner there, so it only made sense to tie up a Green Drake variant. Whip some up and get out there!

Cliffhanger Green Drake Emerger

Hook- Ahrex FW531 Sedge Dry Barbless: Size 12 

 Thread- Semperfli Olive Nanosilk: 50D 

 Shuck- Montana Fly Company Ostrich: Grey & Uni Olive Soft Wire: Extra Small 

 Wing- Montana Fly Company Widow’s Web: Smoke

Foam- Hareline 3mm Hi-Float Foam White 

 Abdomen- Hareline Micro Fine Dry Dub: Sulphur Yellow, BWO Olive, & PMD Olive Dun  

Hackle- Whiting Grizzly Barred Olive Saddle  

Bobbin- Stonfo Steeltech Bobbin

Additional Tools- Hareline Anodized Hook, Hackle, & Bead Gauge 

 Vise- Renzettti Traveler 2304 & Renzetti Streamer Base

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing | 2 Comments

2024 Double Brood Cicada Dry Fly Tying Tutorial

In this video, Simon ties a robust cicada patterns just in time for the legendary Brood XIX and XIII cicada hatch of 2024. These are two overlapping hatches of 13 & 17 year periodical cicadas that won’t happen again in our lifetimes. So many insects hatch during these events that fish, birds, and other creatures gorge themselves on cicadas. If you’re lucky enough to live in a region where this is happening, you need to get in on it. Cicadas are large insects that are clumsy fliers. If you’ve ever been hit by one flying you know they are big bugs that have to make a big splash when they hit the water. This fly is tied with 6mm foam to push water as it hits the surface and bring up the largest fish. Tied on a robust Ahrex hook, this fly is safe for the biggest fish crushing cicadas. Tie some up and share your photos with us!

Note: We misspoke in the video about which batch of cicadas are hatching this summer. The 2024 hatch contains Brood XIX and Brood XIII not Brood X (2021).

2024 Double Brood Cicada

Hook- Ahrex FW570: Size 6

Thread- Veevus FL. OrangePower Thread: 140D

Abdomen- Hareline 6mm Fly Foam: Black & Thread

Thorax/Head- Hareline 2mm Hi-Float Foam: Black, Hareline Micro Fine Dry Dub: Trico

Wing- Hareline Elk Hair Natural

Legs- Hareline Grizzly Orange Barred Rubber Legs: Medium

Eyes- Hareline Chicone’s Fettuccine Foam: Orange

Glue/ Resin- Loctite Brush On & Solarez Bone Dry

Bobbin- Rite Bobbin

Vise- Renzetti Traveler 2304

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Finn Rock Boat Landing Now Open

From McKenzie River Trust June 15th 2024

We’re celebrating the re-opening of the Finn Rock Landing on the McKenzie River. One of the more popular launches for local whitewater opportunities, the Finn Rock Landing serves thousands of visitors annually.

The improved landing designs were created based on community feedback gathered in 2017 in partnership with Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architects. This spring, Delta Sand and Gravel Company completed upgrades including adding defined parking spaces, pedestrian safety routes, places to gather out of traffic, and installing bird-friendly lighting. “The most exciting part of this project is the incorporation of Universal Design principles,” observed Zane Wheeler with the City of Eugene. “Every summer, through our Adaptive Recreation Program, we bring dozens of people who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs to the river to take advantage of our special rafting equipment. Having accessible infrastructure, including ADA parking and ramps, is an important step forward in creating a more equitable outdoor experience.” 

The landing project, which cost around $850,000, was funded with a combination of grants from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Recreational Trails Program, Lane County Parks bond measure, and private donations. Access continues to be free of charge, and McKenzie River Trust looks to community members to help in its stewardship. We know that people and land need each other. At Finn Rock Reach, we’re relying on visitors not to leave garbage and to help pick it up when they see it. The landing is open year-round from dawn to dusk for people to launch non-motorized watercraft and access the McKenzie River for fun and fishing.

Posted in McKenzie River | Leave a comment

PSA: The Road to Gold Lake Is Open 2024

The gate on Gold Lake road which leads to Gold Lake is now open. For all of you anglers who are looking for a closer stillwater option than going all of the way up the Cascade Lakes highway, Gold Lake is a wonderful stillwater option. At about an hour and fifteen minutes from Eugene, it is a closer option than going to East, Paulina, Diamond, Crane, Lava, Elk, Hosmer, or even further to the lakes way out East.

It is a smaller lake making it a great float tube friendly lake. You can drive right up so there is no need to hike in with your tube. It also has a ramp for launching a boat. Gold lake has some spectacular brook trout fishing, and there are some sizeable rainbow trout as well.

Make sure to bring some Chironomids, Balanched Leeches, Pine Squirrel Leeches, Buggers, Ants, and other small dries. Fishing floating line for dries, or an indicator setup work great. An intermediate line works great for fishing small nymphs, damsels, scuds, and streamers in the shallows. A sink 3-5 line works for dredging deeper with streamers.

Below are some fly recommendations

Chironomid Bomber



Montana Fly Company Rowley’s Balanced Leech

Mason’s Stable Maiden

Blonde Leech Balanced

Dorsey’s UV Scud Fly

Scud Expecting

Thin Mint

Pine Squirrel Leech Fly

Cascade Bugger


Turck’s Power Ant

Fat Angie

Carlson’s Purple Haze

Adams Heavy Hackle Parachute

Have fun out there,


Posted in Central Oregon Fishing Report, Fishing Reports, Oregon High Lakes, Stillwater Fishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2024

Father’s day is right around the corner and we are happy to help you find a great gift for your dad this Father’s day. We know shopping for Fathers Day can be difficult, especially if your father is a flyfisherman and you are not. We made it easy with this complete list of all our favorite gear. All of the things we put below are gifts we mentioned in the videos, and more importantly gifts we’d love to receive ourselves. Below are several gift idea videos and we will link the products below. Swing by the shop for a hand picking the perfect gift. If you’re out of state, give the shop a call and we are happy to assist you.

Gift Certificates (Online and In Person)

Caddis Fly Shop In-Store Gift Certificate

Caddis Fly Shop Online Gift Certificate

Fishpond Field Collection

Fishpond Bighorn Kit Bag

Fishpond Blizzard Cooler

Fishpond Jagged Basin Duffel

Fishpond River Bank Backpack

Fishpond Cabin Creek Toiletry Kit

Fishpond Bighorn Kit Bag

Fishpond Half Moon Weekender Bag

Our Favorite Books

All The Time In The World

Fly Fishing Evolution

Fishing in Oregon Twelfth Edition

Fifty Places To Fly Fish Before You Die

Bugwater – Arlen Thomason

All Fishermen Are Liars

Outerwear That We Love

Korkers Shoes & Flip-Flops

Howler Bro’s Clothing

Korkers All Axis Wading Shoe

Patagonia Clothing

Sage Hats

Caddis Fly Shop Gear

Caddis Fly Shop Hats

Caddis Fly Shop Bigfoot T-Shirt

Caddis Fly Shop T-Shirts

Caddis Fly Shop Fly Boxes


Winston Fly Rods

Sage Fly Rods

Echo Fly Rods

Scott Fly Rods

Gloomis Fly Rods


Shilton Reels

Tibor Reels

Galvin Reels

Nautilus Reels

Lamson Reels

Ross Reels

Abel Reels

Bauer Reels


Fulling Mill Fly Boxes

Fishpond Tacky Fly Boxes

Fishpond Vests, Sling Packs, and Hip Packs

Patagoina Vests, Sling Packs, and Hip Packs

Fishpond Nets

Patagonia Waders

Korkers Boots


Sage Drinkware

Arianna Nicolai Fish Bracelets

MFC 10oz Chalice

Duke Cannon Big Ass Bricks of Soap

Turtlebox Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Fly Tying

Dyna King Vises

Renzetti Vises

Smaen Guard

Smhaen Thread Splitter

Hareline Tying Kit

Fishpond Tailwater Tying Kit

Stonfo Steeltech Bobbin

Hareline Zirconia Dubbing Rake

Smhaen Tension Bobbin

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6/10 Fishing Report

Our rivers are at a great level for floating and wading currently! We are seeing a lot of bugs so summer dry fly fishing is on. Searching with a dry dropper setup is a great method to locate fish. Hatches of PMDs, Caddis, Gold Stones, Yellow Sallies, and Green Drakes will be going on in the afternoon. Our smaller creeks are dropping into shape and can provide some amazing small stream fishing with plenty of willing fish. Trout can be teased to the surface on dries most times of day.

Using a dry dropper to search is a very effective way to fish this time of year. We are seeing lots of gold stones as of late and they make a great searching pattern or a buoyant dry for your dry dropper rig. Small tungsten jigs size #12-16 make great droppers 3-6 feet below a buoyant foam dry fly.

PMDs will be coming off every afternoon and you may see some small caddis. You will start seeing PMD’s early afternoon and the hatch will persist into the evening. Green Drakes are happening on the Metolius and the upper McKenzie as well. The Metolius hatch is a well known prolific hatch that happens locally. It will happen mid day, especially on cloudy days. The Mckenzie hatch will especially do well on overcast cloudy days. Yellow Sallies are prevalent and make a great searching pattern mid day into the evening.

You’ll see Yellow Sallies Fluttering around mid day into the evening.

Callibaetis on the high lakes are just getting started, we have a great selection of dries, emergers, nymphs, and spent spinners. Fishing a callibaetis nymph under an indicator or stripped on an intermediate line works great. When you start seeing them eating on top cast dries to cruising fish.

We are seeing tons of Callibaetis coming off in the cascade lakes

This is a great year for summer steelhead locally, we are seeing some of the best returns we’ve seen in years. This is a great year to get out and swing for summer steelhead locally, it makes a great local fishing oppertunity if you don’t have time to drive far. Swing by and grab some swing bugs or traditionals for the summer.

Have fun out there!


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

Belly Bumper Golden Stone: Nymph Tying Tutorial

In this video, Simon ties a killer inverted golden stone nymph. This features a new hook from Tiemco that just came out: the 201R. The hook is reminiscent of a 200R, but has a slightly shorter shank, and a wider gape. His inspiration for this fly came from the large amount of gold stone nymphs he has been seining up in our local rivers lately. For this fly he uses an insta jig bead to invert the fly like a jigged nymph. Tossing a handful of these in your palm, or onto any surface you will see they always land hook point up. This aids in reducing the amount of times you snag the bottom. This fly has a fair amount of weight, making it a great fly for high water, or point fly for euro nymphing. This can be tied in a variety of colors and sizes to effectively mimic the food in your local system.

Belly Bumper Golden Stone

Hook- Tiemco TMC201R: Size 10

Thread- Semperfli Nanosilk 50D: Yellow

Bead- Hareline Insta Jig Tungsten Bead 5/32

Tail & Antennae- Hareline Turkey Biot Quill: Brown

Eyes- Hareline Mono X-Small Nymph Eyes: Black

Abdomen- Hareline Superfline Dry Fly Dub: Tan, Hareline Cinnamon Tip Turkey, Hareline .15 Lead Wire, Uni Medium Softwire: Black, Solarez Bone Dry

Thorax- Hareline Superfline Dry Fly Dub: Tan, Hareline Cinnamon Tip Turkey, Hareline Micro Flashabou Pearl, Solarez Bone Dry

Legs- Montana Fly Company Small Barred Sexi Floss: Tan

UV Resin- Solarez Bone Dry

Bobbin- Rite Bobbin

Vise- Renzettti Traveler 2304

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

Wenaha Warnings

(Photos by author. Lou Wentz’s latest book is Tributaries: Fly-fishing Sojourns to the Less Traveled Streams)

A month or two before we decided to move to Oregon, I came across a destination article in one of the national fly-fishing magazines featuring the Wenaha River in the northeast quadrant of the state near the Washington-Oregon border. At the time all my fishing expeditions had been confined to middle and northeast parts of Pennsylvania and the Catskills, so it was intriguing to come across a new watershed in the far western reaches of the country. The write-up checked a lot of boxes for me, but 18-inch rainbows and wilderness trek stood out as attractive features that stayed in the memory storage with a side note attached. If I’m anywhere near here I must check this place out. It would, no doubt, be the most demanding wilderness I was to enter if I ever got my chance.

The Wenaha is only twenty-two miles in length in some of the most harsh and haunting beautiful terrain in this part of the West. The Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) roamed these lands for centuries before European colonization, living off a great bounty of elk, deer, salmon, and native trout along with camas, bitterroot, wild carrot, huckleberries, raspberries, choke cherries, wild cherries, nuts, and seeds. The river is named for a band that inhabited the area, the Wenak, the name being modified over time by immigrants to the Oregon Territory. The elevations in this region range from 5700 feet at the source of the North Fork, 2800 feet where the South Fork joins to make up the main branch, and finally at 1600 feet where it enters the Grande Ronde at Troy. Over geologic time the river carved shear-walled basalt canyons from a high-elevation plateau. The National Forest Service Management Plan (2015) describes the landscape as “Ponderosa pine dominates the lower drainages, then transitions into a forest of lodgepole pine above about 4,500 feet, with some larch, fir, and spruce. Subalpine fir reigns supreme at the highest elevations, with native grasses and forbs covering the ground. Rocky Mountain elk thrive in this area, which seasonally attracts more hunters than hikers. Rattlesnakes are sometimes seen and mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, and snowshoe hares are present. Also present, though rarely seen, are bighorn sheep that inhabit the area.” 

Of course, the magazine piece came with some warnings not usually noted on eastern rivers- beware of cougars, wolves, rattlesnakes, and bears. Since we are talking black bears here, I wasn’t too concerned unless it was a mother with cubs, but rattlesnakes, wolves, and cougars were out of my wheelhouse, and I contemplated an expanding concern. But what is life without a few risky adventures, so not too long ago an early September journey led me to crease a map to get to some delectable Idaho fishing in the Selway Wilderness before dropping down to the town of Troy, where the Wenaha action culminates. I rented a tiny rustic cabin whose charm was surpassed by the number of cobwebs a solitary spider could weave in a space containing only a bed, kitchen, and rudimentary bath. It served as a base camp for three days while I explored an outdoor paradise in the off-season after Labor Day and before the Steelheaders invaded. Seems that summer steelhead runs begin in late September and various hunting seasons in October are the main draw for outdoor types in that region. Spring brings runoff and high water for whitewater enthusiasts. Summer can be quite warm, reducing fishing opportunities on the Grande Ronde to smallmouth bass, while the trout in the river head up the cooling Wenaha.

According to those who have studied such things, the fishing opportunities on the Wenaha include bull trout (C&R), redband rainbows, and whitefish as the primary coldwater gamefish. As I mentioned, some of the rainbows can get quite large, but as it turns out, they are quite migratory and are hit-and-miss action most seasons. I don’t know anybody who treks to the wilderness for whitefish, but if that’s your game, well then, by all means, have at it.

I decided that the easiest entry into the Wenaha watershed was the trailhead just outside of Troy. Early September is still quite warm in the region, but the Wenaha Valley is shaded and combined with the stream flow, is cooler than the surrounding rangeland along the high ridges. I decided to throw my waders over my shoulder and walk in with hiking boots, as I was not sure how far up the trail I needed to traverse before I could access the stream. Blue elderberry was mingled among the conifers on the trail as I headed upstream, looking for a place to drop down to the river. The hike was a combination of keeping my eyes close to the ground on the lookout for rattlesnakes while turning around every so often to make sure I wasn’t being stalked by a cougar. I’m told that they pounce on the backs of prey and try to snap their neck all in one motion. Instant death if you will. It’s something I was not particularly relishing as part of a fishing trip bargain. I have a sturdy branch made from a Douglas Fir that I carved into a useful wading staff and clutched it firmly during the hike in. The instrument was to serve two purposes on the trail, to nudge any rattlers that got too close, and to beat off any attacking cougar, should I be so unfortunate.

I can’t exactly say that this was my first wandering into potentially dangerous habitat. In my early twenties, I hiked my share of terrain in the badlands of North Philadelphia and the drug-infested Hunting Park neighborhood in the City of Brotherly Love. Your approach mirrors the same level of caution, looking ahead for safe passage and always glancing behind to make sure you’re not being followed by less-than-desirable natives on the lookout for an easy mark. These were the days before my forays to trout streams and rolling hills, where self-preservation took on heightened importance in places where I wouldn’t recommend a casual stroll today, with or without a sturdy hiking staff. So yeah, the cougars, bears, and rattlesnakes offered a nostalgic glimpse of a life once lived, blending in a bit better in more appealing surroundings, with a survival rate for this angler about the same. High, but still chancy.

The path started along the ridgeline in a westward direction and made a gradual descent toward the stream. The strong western sun soon became filtered by the conifers about one hundred yards down the trail. About a mile in, I could hear the river, and even smell it, in the dry, still air before I could catch a glimpse. As I proceeded, an opening appeared that allowed my descent on the crusty dry soil that held a composite of grasses, dead tree limbs, and the occasional shrub. There it was before me. The Wenaha. The descriptor ‘mighty’ would be both insulting to the river and any honest writer. Back in Pennsylvania, a stream this size might better be described as a ‘crick.’ It was about twenty to twenty-five feet wide with a modest flow around stove-sized boulders and small sweepers, often punctuated with grassy islands and long gravel bars. At low flow season, before any anadromous species were to enter the system, the cool waters likely held trout and whitefish. Instead of dropping down right away, I pressed forward on the path, hoping to get deeper into the forest where it would be less likely that a stray angler might drop a line. Another two hundred yards along the path, I made a panoramic gaze, checking one last time for any danger that might wreck my highly anticipated descent to the stream. The path eventually led to an opening within fifteen feet of the stream, where I could shuffle side-step to the water’s edge. 

Sitting on the trunk of a fallen tree, I put on my waders, slapped the reel onto my rod, and crept into the ankle-deep flow. This was it. Wilderness nirvana. From the magazine pages to a cross-country journey that led eventually to an infrequently visited backcountry stream, I began lusting for those eighteen inchers that are often promised, but only sometimes delivered. Bumping along the cobble until I was mid-stream, I poked around in my fly box for my go-to’s in hatchless situations, I selected a brace of weighted wets that would imitate caddis emergers tumbling amongst the stream bottom before lifting in the current. As I pulled them out to tie on, a wasp landed on my wrist. I quickly brushed it off when another one landed on my arm. Shaking it loose, I continued tying when a third wasp landed on my face. Becoming a little annoyed, I glanced at the water in front of me, only to see a half dozen more wasps dipping into the surface of the riffle, drinking, and then flying off. I immediately recalled a chapter in Charles Fox’s book This Wonderful World of Trout where he describes discovering a ‘wasp hatch’ in a summer outing on a Cumberland Valley stream, only to have to invent a wasp fly to match the hatch before his return to land a big brown feeding on them. Though I did not have a wasp fly in my fly box (how many anglers do?), my situation was different. No trout were taking these wasps. In this arid landscape, the Wenaha presented the only opportunity for this insect to quench its thirst, and I had been nothing more than a convenient launching station before they dove to the water’s surface for a long drink. While they were annoying, and I was a bit apprehensive by their presence, a quick flick of the hand or shake of the wrist sent them on their way. I only became a bit concerned when they landed on my face, though they were mission-focused and maybe never saw another human in their brief wilderness lives. On the danger scale, their presence never rose to the level of angry black bear, hungry mountain lion, or a marauding gang at 18th and Diamond but if a swarm suddenly started attacking it could certainly approach the seriousness of a rattlesnake bite, especially if you are one of those people who suffer life-threatening anaphylaxis from insect bites. And just a note, you’re quite a few miles from the nearest urgent care center.

Setting up a two-fly system, I began to explore the deeper pockets in front of me. First cast resulted in a quick take and release. More casts offered the same pattern of grabs and runs, Thinking I was pulling the fly too quickly, I let the fish swim with the fly a bit before yanking back the rod tip. The technique worked. A six-inch rainbow fluttered across the stream’s surface as I pulled it towards me. Waving off wasps as I moved downstream towards deeper holes and hidden undercuts, I tagged fish after fish, sometimes two on one cast. The trouble was, the Wenaha was fishing like a sardine factory. Four to six-inch rainbows wildly attacked my flies at every likely piece of water. I kept moving downstream, hoping that lower in the watershed would yield better results, but the wasps and the small trout were my only gifts that afternoon. Eventually, the wasp hatch petered out but my scouting never produced a hefty fish.

            My biggest trout was probably nine inches, and the best news I can offer you is that you won’t need a professional beekeeper’s suit to keep yourself free of unwanted piercings. There may be eighteen-inch rainbows somewhere in that river, but they eluded me. I will disclose to you that the Grande Ronde, a much bigger river than the Wenaha, does hold some sizeable rainbows downstream of the mouth of the smaller river, so if big fish are your game, it’s still worth the trip to that remote part of Oregon. If you are ever thinking of wandering up the Wenaha at that time of year, add water-thirsty wasps to the list of dangers you could encounter in that rugged wilderness journey.

Helpful links:,_Oregon

Posted in Eastern Oregon, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing Travel, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Diamond Lake Fly Fishing Report May 2024

 I took a break from the local reservoirs and fished Diamond lake 5/23 and 5/24 with my dad, and the fishing was good! The lake is shaping up well will water temp in the mid 50’s, and we had a strong chironomid hatch along with callibaetis making an appearance. We started the morning anchored in 6-8ft of water.  Fishing indicator rigs with leeches, chironomids, and bloodworms caught fish. With the wind calm in the morning, using a two-chironomid set up under the indicator was effective. When the wind comes up a bit towards noon, using a balanced leech on the point and a chironomid dropper will help anchor the rig in the waves a little better. The most effective sinking lines used were an intermediate, and a type 3. Minnow patterns, wooly buggers and leeches were the ticket for us on these lines. About that wind…. Generally, the conditions are the nicest the first half of the day, but the wind usually arrives around noon. It can make indicator tactics unpractical.  The balanced leech will mitigate the generated current to an extent, but I’ve learned to go with it. Loche style fishing is a great option in the wind. Pulling anchor, drifting with the wind and casting ahead of the boat and retrieving your flies back to the boat is extremely effective and a somewhat underutilized stillwater tactic in the U.S. It is often used with a drogue(think of it as an underwater parachute to slow the boat). While you can fish without a drogue I recommend getting one. It helps slow and steady the boat allowing you to fish a more controlled drift. Throwing ahead of the boat as opposed to trolling is the key to this technique. While trolling has caught many many fish, this technique allows you to cover the water, and for the fish to see the fly BEFORE the boat. A huge advantage, especially when fishing shallow water. While we fished Loche style the same intermediate and type 3 lines were sufficient. Flies used: chironomids and bloodworms in assorted colors, sizes 18-12. Balanced leeches size 10-8. Wooly buggers, minnow patterns, leeches and attractor patterns in sizes 10-6. Stop by the shop and gear up for your next Stillwater adventure! 

Adison Rook

Check out Adison’s Stillwater trip offerings here: Stillwater

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon High Lakes | Leave a comment

Long Tom Watershed Council Carp Festival

The Long Tom Watershed Council will be hosting their first annual Carp Festival at West Kirk Park near Fern Ridge Dam on Saturday, June 1, from 8:30am-3:30pm.

It is free fishing weekend so no angling licenses are needed, and ODFW will be there with loaner rods and gear for targeting common carp as well as the other species. There are a variety of options for fishing in close proximity to the park: Kirk Pond, the Long Tom River, and Fern Ridge Lake. Other species available include the native cutthroat trout, largemouth bass, crappie, and bullhead catfish.

We just found a local father and son duo that targets carp on the fly in these water bodies and they will be on-hand throughout the day to discuss the flies and gear they use to catch carp. There will be food and drinks available for purchase (proceeds support LTWC!) and Bruce Koike, of Little Pond Nature Prints, will be there throughout the day to help people make Gyotaku fish prints. There will also be talks about the ecology of the Long Tom Watershed and other conservation issues. Come help us celebrate the unheralded waters and fish of the Long Tom Watershed!

For more info contact: Jed Kaul  Fish Biologist & Aquatic Program Manager | Long Tom Watershed Council 11 East 27th Avenue | Eugene, OR 97405-3613 Office: 541-654-8965, ext. 102

Posted in Oregon fly fishing links, Oregon Weekend Fishing Forecast | Leave a comment

Late May 2024 Local Fishing Report

Our local waters are shaping up for great summer dry fly fishing. The water is a little bit high, but is dropping into its summer flows which will persist until fall. There are loads of bugs out including PMDs, Green Drakes, Green Caddis, Gold Stones, and Yellow Sallys. Fishing a Dry Dropper is a great way to cover both bases and search on the surface and subsurface simultaneously

Rainy days are especially great for a Green Drake hatch

Green Drakes are hatching in abundance, especially on overcast days: here are some shop Favorites: Film Critic Green Drake #10, Stalcup’s Green Drake #10-12, or a DJL Green Drake #10-12. For Gold Stones we like: Advanced Stimmy Yellow #8-12, Bareback Gold Stone #6, Yellow Stimulator #10, or the flies listed below for dry droppers. PMD’s we like a variety of: Tactical Cahill #16, Sparkle Flag PMD #16, Almost Dun PMD #16, or a Rusty Spinner #16-18. Lastly Green Mckenzie Caddis are out in full force, try these: Green Caddis #12 or a CDC Green Caddis #12.

Searching with a Dry Dropper is a fantastic way to locate fish, and is a rig that you can use all day. Good dries for your rig include: Chubby Chernobyl: Gold #8-12, Gold Stone Water Walker #8, or a Gold Stone Fluttering Stone #8. Choice Droppers include: Weiss’s Possum Anchor #12-14, Dally’s Tailwater Jig #14, TJ Hooker #10-12, Frenchie #12.

Gold Stone shucks can be found all over the banks.

Nymphing is still productive if dries aren’t producing. Fish a larger stone in tandem with something smaller. For larger options try these: Tungsten Trout Retriever #8, Jigged Girdle Bug #10-12, or a Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10. For smaller options try these Olsen’s Blowtorch #16, Sens’ Improved 20 Incher #12, or a Double Down Pheasant Tail #14.

This Green Drake was taking a rest in my garden

Swinging wets this time of year is extremely productive for the Green Caddis hatch and PMDs. For Green Caddis try: Sens’ McKenzie Wet #12, Mckenzie Wet #12, or Biot Swimmer Green Caddis #14. For PMDs try these: Light Cahill Wet #14, Soft Emerger PMD #14, or a Soft Hackle Thorax Bead Orange #16.

Swing by the shop if you need anything, we are happy to help. Have fun out there!

Check out our Instagram for other updates as well!


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