Plenty of Water in the Willamette Valley

Remember this March and April when the March Browns and Blue Winged Olives were hatching and the lower McKenzie was low and clear. The Middle Fork of the Willamette flowing out of Hills Creek Dam was running at around 400 cubic feet per second and you could wade everywhere! At that time there was great concern about summer water flows, reservoir elevations and snow pack.

What a difference a steady stream of storms can make. The jet stream put Oregon in it sights and we have been getting hammered with rain every since. A major shift took place in May and the boys up in Southeast Alaska saw about 3 days of rain over the last 6 weeks. The weather came south and our rivers and reservoirs are brimming full as a result.

Yesterday afternoon the McKenzie and Willamette both jumped sky high. Check out the Willamette Graph, and the McKenzie. With a storm on the way (really it’s here now) Cougar Reservoir on the McKenzie, and Hills Creek on the Willamette full, and no room to take significant inflow the Corps of Engineers had to let the water spill. Wading opportunities will be limited for a couple of days on the Lower McKenzie and Middle Fork of the Willamette. Both rivers are forecasted to drop considerably by the weekend.

We fished the lower McKenzie yesterday and it continues to be very productive. Pale Morning Duns and Green Drakes in pretty good numbers had the fish active all day. We swung wets, Possie Buggers, Cahills, UV Chewee Skin Green Caddis, and Coachmans, fished some dries, Green Caddis and Half Down Golden Stones. Yesterday there were more stones out than I had seen this year, mid sized Golden Stones and some smaller Little Yellow Stones.

guiding the lower river with George

18" McKenzie Rainbow lower river

If you have the time head over to the east side the next couple of days and fish the Salmon Fly hatch on the Deschutes. Late this coming weekend or early next week our local waters will be back in shape, rejuvenated with fresh flows, good hatches and hungry fish.–CD

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1 Response to Plenty of Water in the Willamette Valley

  1. David Jensen says:

    Fished Frissel to McKenzie Bridge yesterday. Water level not bad. Water cool @ 46 degrees. Still, fish took caddis dries in AM, Grey Drakes in afternoon. Decent number of fish, but fewer of the big boys than I hoped.

    Water level below Blue River to Leaburg dam is basically unfishable as the dams on the South Fork and Blue Riverare dumping water.

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