Both the McKenzie and Willamette rivers are fishing well. Cooler weather has prevailed for the past week or so and the fishing has bumped up as a result.
Town Run: Although the Willamette River is now really low compared to much of the year Steelhead remain active. The river is very “wading friendly” now and it’s a great time to get out and learn the subtle slots and drops that hold fish regardless of water levels. Moal Leeches remain solid choices, muddlers and Hoh Bo speys are also doing the trick. Floating lines and type 6 sink tips are both nice to have this time of year. Vary your leader depending upon your sink tip, 10ft for the floater and 6ft for the sink tip.
Middle Fork of the Willamette: Higher flows out of Hills Creek dam have made wading daunting much of the month of August. Flows of 2300-2400 CFS make the middle fork near Oakridge look out of shape. But as we know fish like water and the Middle Fork fishes well when it’s high in the spring and fall.
MId-Summer, August flows are often low and fishing is best in the evening. This August (due to reservoir draw downs for future repairs) has the MFW rolling and the fish are digging it all day. Try nymphing with the standards, Prince’s, Possie Buggers, Pheasant Tails, try larger Caddis, Orange and brown, Royal Wulff’s, and X-Caddis will get the job done as well. Hatches are not impressive but they are developing. Small Caddis, a couple of October Caddis have even been spotted. Flows have dropped to around 1500 CFS out of Hills Creek and the fall fishing will be fantastic as long as we have decent water.
Upper McKenzie: Again cooler weather has been nice on the Upper River and this weekend fishing was excellent. Typically August means small caddis, attractors and fishing fast water, this year is no exception. The Upper McKenzie is low and experiencing a serious “rubber (raft) hatch”. All that being said fall shadows are coming on strong and the shorter days have fish looking up in the afternoon. “Hopper Dropper” rigs have been productive as well.
Our local waters have had reasonable flows all Summer and fall fishing is looking great. 24,000 summer steelhead over Willamette Falls is a fine number, and trout fishing has been consistent. The the wild trout on both the McKenzie and Willamette will benefit greatly from the “better than last year” spring Chinook spawning cycle taking place over the next couple of weeks. Overall fall fishing should be great.–CD