Summer river levels and some decent weather has the lower McKenzie fishing pretty well for early February. Today we floated from Belinger Ramp to Hayden Bridge Ramp.
We’ve had quite a few inquiries about the hazards below Belinger and as the sign states you want to stay river right at the first split below the ramp. It’s hard to tell what the water will do when it comes up again, but as the river is today going right is the way to go.
Although we did see a few Blue Winged Olives the only fish that surfaced was one trying to eat the thingamabobber indicator. We concentrated on nymphing and two rigs didn’t change all day. Around 5 feet of leader or tippet below the thingamabobber indicator a single split shot, a Mega Prince #10, 15 inches of 4x tippet then a Pheasant Tail nymph #16 tied off the bend of the Mega Prince. The other rig had a Possie Bugger and a Pheasant Tail of the same sizes. The bigger flies produced a little better but is was virtually even over the course of the day. The fish were in nice shape a fought hard despite the cold water.
Most of the fish were in medium flows, not pushed up into the fast water at the tops of riffles. The river was in great shape and appearred to contain less sediment than recent years. Hopefully our high water at the end of 2008 scoured out some the rivers sediment and algae but left enough bugs and fish to make 2009 a great year.
The trip was the first for me with my new Simms Headwater Vibram Sole boots from Simms. The Vibram is a new traction sole in the Simms line up of boots. Simms calls it the Cleanstream Product line. “The boots designs feature materials that are more resistant to “hitchhiking” organisms and have less exposed stitching, fewer ridges and pockets that could potentially hide stowaways.” The Vibram sole did very well in terms of traction and did not carry the amount of water and dirt into the boat as my old felt boots. Studs can be inserted in the boots if needed. I felt the Vibram was very comparable to a new pair of felt boots with respect to traction.–CD