Oregon Coastal Lakes Trouting

Time to do some serious thinking about trouting in any of the multitude of Oregon coastal lakes. Sure, steelhead are still nosing into our rivers, but for many people with a love of stillwaters fly fishing, these can be really interesting times. Wild cutthroat are present in many of these lakes, and there is a pretty solid hatchery stocking program ramping up in many of these lakes as well. The stocking schedules are found at the ODFW link shown below.


Trout can range from 8 inches up to several pounds in size. These fish can be easy to catch one day and frustratingly difficult to entice the next day, or even from hour to hour.

Flies to consider (hint: we have a great selection at the shop and a quick call will allow us to develop an effective assortment if this is a new venture for you) include:

1. Bead head Hare’s Ear in natural, black and olive – sizes 12-16.

2. Chironomids, mostly in 12-14 in black, red, brown. Some of these should be very lightly weighted or not weighted at all.

3. The Carey Nymph in size 8 – 10.

4. Any bugger style of fly in olive or black sizes 8 – 14.

5. Damsel nymphs.

6. Pheasant Tail Nymphs, sizes 12-18.

7. Any streamer style fly like the spruce, royal coachman, and the like.

8. Dry flies will come into play on warm still afternoons too, and these can be little or big flies in sizes 8 – 16.

On Technique: streamers should be fished with a little action, either a twitch or a steady slow retrieve.  Nymphs may be trolled behind float tube or boat, cast and stripped back in, or suspended below a very small strike indicator.

I have had some very enjoyable and challenging fishing for trout in coastal lakes from this week through the middle of April, when my attention drifts off to Spring Chinook.

Many of the coastal lakes offer relative solitude and an opportunity to hone casting and fishing skills for beginner and expert alike.  If you go, may you have a blast of a good time.

If you do not have a boat or  belly boat yourself and would like to participate in this entertaining fishery, Jack and John Harrell offer guided trout trips near Pacific City and would be able to provide a very enjoyable family day on one of the nearby lakes for a half day, easy going fly fishing.

Jack can be reached at 541 921 1276, if he isn’t out on the water.

JN March 2014

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1 Response to Oregon Coastal Lakes Trouting

  1. Jack Harrell says:

    Oregon Coastal Lakes Trouting – was another pep talk to all the fly casters living along the Oregon Coast. Get out and fish! The Oregon Department of Fish & Game is due to start stocking this next week, and most of the nearby lakes will be loaded with fly chomping rainbows.

    Use the flies Jay recommends, especially an bead head hare’s ear nymph fished 4 to 8 feet below a small strike indicator. Fish where you see trout breaking water, use light tippets, and use barbless hooks.

    Take a kid fishing whenever you have a chance to. I fish with Jay quite a bit and have been with him while he’s playing a nice landlocked steelhead (far from played out) see him spot a young person fishing off the bank that’s having no luck, and ask to be rowed over so he can hand off the fish to him. What a thrill for these beginning anglers, and what a treat for me to be fishing with someone of Jay’s caliber. Thanks Jay – you are one of the best fly fishermen ever.

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