Lower river reports: McKenzie and Willamette Rivers

The lower McKenzie and Willamette rivers have dropped into fine shape and are fishing well. The March Brown emergence continues to develop and best dry fly fishing has been between 2 and 4pm. When the temperature rises enough to get the caddis flying both cutthroat and rainbows will take them near shore. If we can get the weather to creep up just a bit the dry fly fishing will really improve. Anglers have been reporting fish getting a bit wiser during the hatch and emerger patterns have been the most successful of late. Try Klinkhammer March Browns, Harop’s Captive Dun Brown Drake and Harop’s CDC Biot Emerger March Brown. These patterns sit down in the film nicely and do a great job of imitating the struggling to emerge March Brown adult.


This week I floated from Armitage to Cross Roads Tuesday and Belinger to Armitage Wednesday.

 Cross Roads ramp is off of Coburg Road near mile post 13 north of the town of Coburg. The shuttle from this side is much easier and the landing feels much safer than the Hayes Lane “Marshall Island” side off of River Road. There is a slough to row up but once you squeeze by a few stumps it’s no problem. You will know you are at the slough when you see a large Osprey nest on your left and power lines over head. Shuttle services are available from Al’s shuttle 541 343 5744 or 541 729 7664 for $25. The drift from Armitage down is perfect at this flow. We caught numerous cutthroats and very few rainbows. Fishing was best in 4-6 foot riffles with soft inside edges. Our best patterns were the Royal Coachman Wet and March Brown Bead Head Emerger both swung down and across with a 9ft 4x tapered leader.

Belinger to Armitage was busy on Wednesday and all the boats I spoke to had reasonably good success. Caddis dries, March Brown dries and swung wets all worked for folks. Water temperatures are slowly rising and post spawn rainbows are beginning to show themselves. Nymphing remains productive with Mega Prince and Golden Stones doing the bulk of the damage. With things warming up a touch anglers may want to look slightly higher in the river Deerhorn to Hendricks, Hendricks to Hayden are both good drifts. Shuttle service is available from Ed Ebsen 541 912 0044. Have a great weekend–CD

vile 726 3/4 mile below belinger ramp 14.5 inches

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4 Responses to Lower river reports: McKenzie and Willamette Rivers

  1. Joe says:

    Thanks for the report and continuing great blog! Cross Roads slough must be a little clearer than when I last used it in Feb. I BARELY was able to sqeeze in over the sediment and wood at the mouth of the slough. Think it’ll stay accessible at lower levels? I was worried that it’d be unusable from here on out…thanks for the good news.

  2. chris says:

    No problem on the depth, at low water the trees could choke it up a bit but I would say it will be usable.

  3. David Jensen says:

    Any blockages between Hendrick’s and Bellinger?

  4. chris says:

    no blockages

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