Water Less Fished: North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette and Big Game Hunting on the Middle Fork

After putting in over 18 hours of work on Saturday, my desire to fish was minimal but with Matt out of town getting hitched I needed to step up and get out there.  Keith and I fished the North Fork Willamette for a change of pace. Part of the Wild and Scenic rivers system, the North Fork has exceptionally clear water and wary trout. I have caught fish to 16″ in there but not this weekend.  Fishing in the heat of the day probably didn’t help matters and the one decent fish  I did hook, jumped, shook its head and threw my barbless hook in no time.

Though we didn’t pick up anything woth photographing we caught numerous shakers and larger fish, both cutthroat and rainbow are present.   Counter-intuitively, the biggest fish are a little higher in the watershed.  The area around the gorge is a good place to start. I like to work upstream hitting the best habitat before moving on.   This stream get alot of swimmers and inner-tubers so your best bets for solitude are early in the morning and once the temperature starts to cool n the evening.  After Keith lost and then retrieved a box full of flies by taking a cold swim we decided we had worn out our welcome on the North Fork and headed to the Middle Fork near Oakridge in search of some big native fish.

The biggest fish alluded us and most were in the 10-13 inch range:

MIddle Fork Willamette Rainbow

The hatch was strong, caddis and PED’s were coming off and we picked rainbow up on Parachute Adams, PED patterns, Light Cahill wets and Peacock caddis.–KM

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