McKenzie and Willamette River Fly Fishing Report

rainbow trout fly fishing on the Mckenzie river

There have been some gorgeous days on our local rivers of late. Tons of sun, great water conditions and few anglers out and about.

mckenzie river fly fishing

Now about that fishing report: Hot days in April and May can mean cold water running off the Western Cascades. The McKenzie and Willamette had some excellent early season hatches but of late adult insect activity has been curtailed considerably. Mid day hatches have dried up, smatterings of caddis and large stones in the afternoon, but that’s about it!

Lower river reports have been better with fishing from late afternoon to evening being best. Nymphing tactics remain the most productive. Tandem rigs of one heavy stonefly pattern and a smaller Copper John, Possie Bugger or Ice Prince nymphs fished under an indicator have been working well at times. Using a Chubby Chernobyl or Half Down Golden Stone as a Dry Stonefly Adult pattern have yielded some results, but not a frequently as you would think when drifting through perfect looking water drift after drift.

fly fishing the willamette

My friend Bill was back in the boat early this week. Bill is 92 and has been fishing most of his years. We experienced a first for both of us on the McKenzie. Mid way through a pretty slow morning Bill’s dry fly is attacked by what we think is a really nice McKenzie Rainbow. A few minutes later when bill gets the fish to the bank we find it to be beauty of a Bull Trout! It was the first for us on the dry.

bull trout on the mckenzie river

Bull trout on the chubby Chernobyl today!

The Middle Fork of the Willamette is in really great shape. The outflow at Hills Creek dam has been around 400 cubic feet per second. Wading anglers have excellent opportunities on the Middle Fork at present. Again fishing has been best in the afternoon with larger Possie Buggers, Prince Nymphs and Chubby Chernobyls.

Middle willamette sunny day

Summer in May?

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4 Responses to McKenzie and Willamette River Fly Fishing Report

  1. RR says:

    That first image is AMAZING!! Congrats to you and Bill on the dry fly Bull!

  2. Stevie says:

    Hearing more and more about bull trout in the lower McKenzie.

    Not many, but more.

  3. MrMachinist says:

    Many congrats to Mr. Bill, for making it to 92 and still fishing, landing a rare bull and last of all doing on a dry,….like hitting a home run triple!!!
    God bless

  4. mark stifel jr says:

    amazing fish great pictures , and thanks for the tip’s.

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