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.
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.
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.
Best fly patterns for Summer conditions include.
Parachute Purple Purple Rooster
Silvey’s Yellow Sally
CDC Green McKenzie Caddis
Q’s Film Critic Green Drake