The McKenzie River between Leaburg Dam and the town of Leaburg’ as well as the Willamette between Dexter Dam and Valley River Center have seen much improved Steelhead fly fishing over the past week. Swinging tactics, using Moal Leeches, RT Stone Fly Black and Green Butt, and Starlight Leeches have been catching fish. Concentrate on the tail-outs just above breaks and rock gardens. Try to fish early and late but don’t give up mid-day, a few clouds can really improve mid day steelhead fishing.
Nymphing tactics have also been successful on our local steelhead. When fish get “pinned” to the bottom or sighted but not really reacting to a swung fly. Dead drift a more drab “trouty” nymph by them and see what happens. Try Tungsten Black Beaded Possie Buggers or Tungsten Black Beaded Prince Nymphs in sizes 10 and 12. Other medium sized caddis or stone nymphs will work as well. Dead drift them under a Thingamabobber in likely slots, riffles and boulder gardens.
Other Steelhead related news: The Williams Creek Fire continues to reek havoc on the North Umpqua fly water section, and all the folks around Steamboat Inn. Road closures are limiting options in this area. Expect to fish lower in the river for the time being. We’ve heard a few decent reports from the North Umpqua of late and August and September are the very best months to get these great fish to the surface on a skated dry fly.–CD