Dry Times During Wet Weather: Middle Fork of the Willamette Report

November Middle Fork

Sam Parker bring this late season report to the blog. We are very fortunate to have such a long season in the Willamette Valley. Thanks for the report Sam.

It had been awhile since Rick and I fished together on a local stream. This last Saturday we decided to hit the Middle Fork of the Willamette. For those of you in the know, a section of the Middle Fork can fish quite well at 850 CFS. On arrival to the river, the weather was cold and very damp with air temps hovering just above 40 degrees. The surrounding hills were covered in snow. I love those days when you can actually be warmed by standing in the river. Armed with rod preloaded with the usual Mega Prince followed by Possie Bugger, I proceeded to chuck and duck. Rick started off with his homemade “Gusbugger” consisting of a red bead head and his late dog, Gus’ white fur. No luck whatsoever straight off the bat. Rick, however, did receive a fleeting flash at the Gusbugger while I continued to have no luck with my rigs. After about 30 minutes I hear Rick scream, not all that uncommon for him while on the river. Only later did I learn that Rick’s Thingamabobber was slashed at by a fish. Having never worked after a bobber slashing, Rick decided to switch to dry thinking that just maybe, just maybe the fish would go dry. Sure enough, troutie became victim to an October caddis only a couple casts after switching to dry.

Middle Fork of the willamette trout fly fishing

In the meantime, I’m tearing my two fly rig out of a tree when I learn of Rick’s success on the dry. I head up stream while tying on a size 16 Quigley Hackle Stacker. I’m starting to notice little trout on the rise. In an effort to not get skunked, I float the Quigley right over these rising fish and promptly miss the take. I send the fly out a few more feet and, BAM, a 15 incher rocketed out of the water, fly and all.

Middle Fork of the Willamette Trout

Both Rick and I stuck to dry for the remainder of the day with Quigley Hackle Stacker being the fly of choice. However, October caddis, Renegade, and Little Yellow Sally all produced for a total of 20 fish on the day. Not bad for a cold, wet, November day. Full disclosure: Rick did tail snag a 14 incher on a zebra midge. I guess we can include one wet fly as being kind of successful.

middle fork

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