Flies and Tactics for Summer Conditions on the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers

Wild McKenzie Rainbow Trout

Water levels have dropped considerably and the fish are acting like Summer is officially here. Low clear water means smaller flies, lighter tippets and longer leaders. It’s time to swap the 3x and 4x for 5x and 6x Tippet. If your fishing broader runs and riffles make that 9ft leader 12ft. This time of year fish are more active in the morning and evening. Lately the best surface activity for me has be before 10:30 a.m. Trout tend to favor water with more cover this time of year. The Sun is on top of the river much of the day, you’ll find fish moving out of water you had seen them in earlier in the season. During the high Sun part of the day look for shadows, log jams and cut-banks more than the classic runs and riffles that hold fish in Spring.

Summer fly fishing on the Mckenzie river

It’s a great time to do some wet wading on some of our smaller streams. Salt Creek, Salmon Creek, The North Fork of the Middle Fork, South Fork of the McKenzie and the Middle Fork of the Willamette above Hills Creek dam are good options. For these smaller waters I will shorten the leader to 7-8ft put on a caddis or Royal Wulff and fish upstream.

wild trout on the mckenzie river

The indicator set up is all but shelved for the time being. The largest nymphs of the year have emerged. With lower, stable water we just don’t see as many nymphs in the drift in Summer as we do in Spring. Fish are very willing to come to the surface with smaller imitators and attractors. At dark, and during cooler days in Summer look for Green Drakes, Golden Stones, and Green McKenzie Caddis to catch fish. If you want to drop a nymph off of your dry use a short piece 12-18 inches of 5x tippet and a small Possie Bugger or Prince Nymph. Many times a fish willing to come look at the dry but not eat it will come to the small nymph dead drift by his nose.

McKenzie River Rainbow Trout

Best fly patterns for Summer conditions include.
Parachute Adams
Parachute Purple Purple Rooster
Royal Wulff
Silvey’s Yellow Sally
CDC Green McKenzie Caddis
Q’s Film Critic Green Drake
Ice Prince
Possie Bugger
Pheasant Tail

This entry was posted in Fishing Reports, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Flies and Tactics for Summer Conditions on the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers

  1. Michael Beech says:

    This is the fishing I want to do. Book me in for 2014. Michael

  2. David Swart says:

    Conditions are the same here in Lake County,Or on the local creeks,& rivers long leaders,small flies (#12-18),early morning,or late afternoon,like the article,keep them comm’n,tight lines.

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