Fishing Report: Middle Fork Willamette fishing fairly well

Hatch Note and Conditions:  I observed a decent hatch of #14-#16 Blue Wing Olives coming off but didn’t see any fish moving to take them.  I also noted some midges but no March Browns.   Size 10 Golden Stone Nymphs and Size 12 Possie Buggers were both effective.  The river was at an excellent level for wading (3.03 feet) and the water clarity was good.

I headed up to the Middle Fork Willamette near Oakridge this past Saturday to give the new Sage Launch 690 a trial run.  After fishing for ten minutes as my #10 Golden Stonefly Nymph/ #12 March Brown Wet dropper tumbled through a prime feeding lane I saw my indicator plunge down out of the corner of my eye as I strategized about where I would fish next.  I set the hook too late and I was only briefly connected with a native redside of about 10 inches.  Left with little choice, I took it as a sign of good fishing to come.

I headed upstream to a place where the heavy current is broken a large boulder and cast into the pocket.  Almost immediately the indicator was pulled under and I was connected to a 13 inch redside.  The fish bolted from the pocket and into the Class III whitewater.  I was able to coax him into the water directly below me.  As the fish thrashed around it threw the hook but not before I was able to see that it had taken my #12 Possie Bugger. 

I crossed the river at a shallow rapid and decided to fish a side channel that often holds a nice fish in the summer.  The channel provides trout relief from the faster current in the main channel, the low overhanging banches offer protection from above and the choppy run serves up bugs as reliably as a buffet dishes out cherry pie.  A sidearm cast delivered my flies beneath the branches and as the flies swept through the run I saw a nice fish in pursuit that headed back to its holding water when they started dragging.  A second cast and I saw the fish chasing the flies again except this time it took my Golden Stone Nymph and I found myself fast into a 17 inch redside.  I managed to land the fish and took a couple photos:

Upper Willamette Rainbow

Upper Willamette Rainbow

This was definitely a respectable first catch on the new Sage.  Apparently fish love new fly rods.

I continued to fish in the main river and caught another trout, this one a 10 inch fish that was deemed unphotoworthy.  Needing to get back to Thurston I fished down quickly missing a couple bites along the way. 

After the first fish it didn’t seem to matter.  Not bad for a couple hours in February.

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