Despite warmer weather and smokey conditions, trout fishing remains good. Recent wildfires to our East have left the valley filled to the brim with smoke and haze. The haze and smoke mimics cloud cover, and has contributed to good dry fly fishing despite the poor air quality. With warmer weather, carrying a thermometer is wise this time of year. Once the water reaches 65F you should be mindful on it’s effect on fish behavior and their wellbeing. If the temp is 68F or over, you should stop fishing and move upstream to find cooler water. Warm-water species like carp and bass are fun summer fisheries that can give our trout a break if the water is too warm. Smallmouth fishing on the Umpqua has been hot. There have been a lot of reports in the shop of customers losing track of how many bass they caught in a day down there.
Terrestrials should be a staple in your box this time of year. Beetles, ants, hoppers, crickets, and other terrestrial insects are out in full force. We are in between the major seasonal hatches of our summer and fall aquatic bugs. You may see some lingering Pale Morning Duns (PMDs), and you will definitely see some caddis. Aquatic insect activity and hatches will be concentrated to the coolest parts of the day (morning and especially evening). Fish are looking up this time of year so general attractors make great dry fly choices.
There are several wildfires east of us in the Cascades. There are two larger fires, Lookout Fire is burning on the Upper Mckenzie near Mckenzie Bridge, and the Bedrock fire is burning near Fall Creek Northeast of Lowell. There are some smaller fires, as a result of a lightning storm that passed through last week, that they are getting a handle on. Containment on most of them is increasing every day as they create fire breaks and corral the fires. Checking on the fire status before heading East to fish is a smart idea. Here is a link to information on the fires.
Fishing a dry-dropper rig works great this time of year. A Moorish Hopper #8-12 or Double Stack Chubby Chernobyl #8-10 with a small nymph below can be productive. Some small nymphs include: Jigged PCP#14 or a Jigged Frenchie #12-14. This allows you to fish on the surface and subsurface simultaneously. For this reason, this makes dry-dropper rigs great searching rigs. They also can help with the warm mid-day lull, or are a great place to start if there is not an active hatch coming off. If fish happen to be more interested in your dry fly, consider clipping your nymph off and tagging on a small dry on the end of the piece of tippet. Running a large and small dry allows you to keep track of your small dry, and allows you to offer two different sized flies simultaneously.
Being between hatches of summer aquatic insects and fall ones means that terrestrials play a large role in teasing trout to the surface. In grassier sections of the river, throwing a terrestrial can produce an explosive eat this time of year. This is especially true for areas on the Mckenzie burned in the holiday farm fire with lots of grass and brush growing along the banks. Some of the best terrestrial patterns we have in the shop are: Blade Runner Hopper #10-12, Dry Humper/ Hippie Stomper #10-12, CFO Ant #12-14, Grillo’s Hamburgler #12, or a Moorish Hopper #8-12. Although we are reaching the tail end of the PMD hatch, there may be some lingering on the river. They will be active in the cooler parts of the day especially the evening. Here are some of our favorite PMD patterns: Sparkle Flag PMD #16-18, Tilt Wing PMD #14-16, or a PMD Film Critic #16. Caddis are the big players this time of year in terms of active aquatic insects. They can be seen sporadically throughout the day, but most activity will be concentrated to the late afternoon, evenving, and overnight. This is when the majority of hatching and egg laying will happen. Here are some hot caddis patterns that have been producing lately: Splitsville Caddis #14-16, Tan/Brown Elk Hair Caddis #12-16, Parachute Caddis #12-16, or a Clueless Caddis #14. With a few months of eating dries under their belts, trout are generally looking up for insects on the surface this time of year, which means general attractors will really start working. Here are some we like if matching the hatch is difficult or impossible: Stimulator #8-14, Purple Haze #12-16, Renegade #12-14, Chubby Chernobyl # 8-10, Dry Humper/Hippie Stomper #10-12, or Parachute Adams #12-16. These patterns don’t exactly imitate one insect, but are suggestive of many.
Nymphing is another great way to get through the mid-day lull. This time of year, slim bodied euro style jigged nymphs are some of our favorites. Running two of these under an indicator can produce when fish are finicky and not eating dries. I like to pair one natural looking fly like: Jigged Pheasant Tail #14-16, Possum Anchor #12, or a Sen’s Improved 2o Incher #12 with a more flashy attractor pattern such as: Jigged Rainbow Warrior #14-16, Perdigon #12-14, Jigged Sassi’s Solution #12. Swinging soft hackles can be especially productive too. Here are some we like: Partridge & Pheasant #12-16, Light Cahill #12-14, or a Sparkle Pupa #14.
Smallmouth can be a blast on the South Umpqua, especially when it means giving the trout a break when it gets warm. Some great nymphs to run under an indicator for smallmouth bass include: Mega Prince #6-10, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10, or a CDC Possie Bugger #6-10. Streamers can be fished on a sinking line or you can add a polyleader to your floating line to get deep. Trout Polyleaders sink rates 3-5 ips (inches per second) in conjunction with a weighted fly will be enough to get you down deep. Some great streamers for smallmouth are: Clouser Minnow #2-6, Bass Turd #1/0, or a Jiggy Fat Minnow #10. Lastly poppers can be fished on a floating line. Here are some recommendations: Double Barrel Popper #6, Deep South Popper, or a Bass Popper #6-8.