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Old 05-24-2011, 12:55 AM
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Default Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

...and it is my first time chasing the broad shouldered trout there during this annual phenomenon.

All my years of gear fishing prior to picking up a fly rod i had never once heard about the famous Salmonfly hatch on this river. Now that i fly fish it seems every Oregonian fisherman likes to talk about it or has a great story while fishing it.

Well, i thought i would document my experiences for you on my rookie year. So....



As most rookies, i started with grand ideas only to have them snuffed out quickly. I skipped a day of work on Friday the 20th and drove out to Maupin, OR. Only about a two hour drive and i was on the water. I had most the day to fish but had to head for home around five. Missing the prime time to be on the river.

Click the image to open in full size.

The river was high. Up into the bank side grass. However, the grass and boushed were blanketed with this fellow and millions of his relations...

Click the image to open in full size.

Also hatching were the Golden Stoneflies. Significantly smaller when compared side to side. I soon had them in my waders and clinging to me in odd spots. They were not too active though. The odd ones here and there flying about but mostly they just laid low in the shrubbery.

Needless to say it was a slow day. I didnt see any fish rise and only saw two jump at surface flies. I tried rigging a stonefly nymph dropper. Same luck as before. I was working about 1/3 of a mile of the river bank.

Click the image to open in full size.

At least it was a very nice day. Nicest one in Oregon so far this year. About 4:30 i packed it in and head back to my truck.

Salmon flies: 1
Vans: 0
Click the image to open in full size.

On my way out of town, i stopped at one of the two fly shops in town. I hadnt been into this place yet and wanted to have a look. The name of the place is The Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop. It is a great little shop with lots of great gear. I got to talking to the owner who was very helpful. He reassured me my technique was correct but i was just using the wrong bugs. According to him, the fish havent keyed in on the big bugs just yet since the hatch is just getting going and there is such an abundance of food in the river for them. So, they are still feeding on the mayflies and such. Also with the water out of shape the fish have moved some as well.

Round one to the river.

I have a few more attempted coming up. This coming weekend the family is heading up to Mt Hood for a long weekend in the rv with other family. I will have a day to sneak away then and catch the evening time fishing. First part of June i have a shot at them again in the Warm Springs/Mecca Flats area of the river.

Further updates coming....
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:16 AM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

What part of the river were you fishing? I am going to head up to Maupin on Saturday for a full day and see what happens. I am hoping that they are starting to key in on the big flies, as the few reports I've read said that they are slowly starting to take them at the surface. Next weekend should be golden.

Keep in mind too that the river is way up. It's been pretty swollen for several weeks at this point. I fished it hard a few weekends back and get a few rises to an adams, one smolt on the same adams and one absolute pig on a copper john that spit the hook after about 10 seconds. I bet the river will be more fishable by mid-June if we don't have much rain, but some are predicting July before it's ideal. I've read that you can fish the golden stone hatch lower on the river a few weeks after peak of the salmonfly hatch, which should coincide with lower water. You can reach the lower river via I-84 and it's only an hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Portland. Though, you have to hike a good distance to reach the best water (2-5 miles).

Also, it's always a good idea to tie a size 16-18 pheasant tail as a dropper off your bigger bug (either dry or nymph). I've been told that a green rockworm is an effective dropper during the salmonfly hatch as well. Unless I see a lot of rises, I plan to fish a kauffmans stone with a pheasant tail/rockworm dropper until about noon, and then switch over to a dry-dropper. Steelhead have been known to take the rockworm on occasion too

---------- Post added at 08:16 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:14 AM ----------

Oh, and PS, Mecca Flats is going to be an absolute zoo in early June, especially if the river is in shape. Expect to hike to avoid bumping elbows with other fisherman.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

I've never fished your spot Vans, but I deal with high water often. It's always a let down when you realize that everything you thought you knew and all that you had planned in your mind prior to reaching the destination can evaporate so quickly.

The only advice I will offer is to have a sink tip or lead head that you can go to when you run into conditions like I see in your photos. Tie a big feather wing streamer or whatever your selection will offer in a size 2 X long shank and start swinging as deep as you can get it to run. If the deep approach leads nowhere a marabou muddler or a Sofa Pillow, skidding on the surface is the last hope.
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
The only advice I will offer is to have a sink tip or lead head that you can go to when you run into conditions like I see in your photos. Tie a big feather wing streamer or whatever your selection will offer in a size 2 X long shank and start swinging as deep as you can get it to run. If the deep approach leads nowhere a marabou muddler or a Sofa Pillow, skidding on the surface is the last hope.
Yeah, I've read of a few people taking fish closer in to the bank using heavily weighted flies. Apparently the redsides on the deschutes will actually move into slacker water in these conditions. I can kind of verify this, as the only fish I've hooked/caught on the Deschutes the few times I've been out this year (and it has been high most of this year too) have been within 5-10ft of the bank.

I also don't think a whole lot of people swing for trout on the D, but you might hook a nice steelhead!
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

On large rivers I find a majority of the char and salmon I catch to be close to the bank especially if the water right off of the bank is deep and slower than the current 30 feet out. For rainbow trout I can't offer anything I would cite as a rule. They seem to prefer to be in a good hold right in the flow of things. I expect this changes as waters become more turbid and a meal is easier to find close to shore.

Other than when a fish is just plain hanging / holding, somewhere in a rivers' channel the best way to find one is to think hard on where the groceries will be easiest to find. When they rest or hide, they rest & hide, but when they need to feed they are going to do what instincts tell them to do. Everything that does not want to be swept down stream by increased water velocity will migrate to areas where they can find some level of relief from the current. Of course nymphs, especially big tasty ones like you guys have down there right now are on the rocks on the bottom however they too will try to avoid being swept away either by clinging into crevasses or in the case of the stone & what we call the salmon fly they too will head toward shore so they can crawl out to hatch. If runoff keeps things high I would be developing strategies for working the near shore environs thoroughly.

I don't see much or do much dry fly fishing since moving here to Alaska but prior to the move I had plenty of years to take note of what happens during both flood & drought on many rivers and streams.

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Old 05-24-2011, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonism View Post
What part of the river were you fishing? .....



.....Oh, and PS, Mecca Flats is going to be an absolute zoo in early June, especially if the river is in shape. Expect to hike to avoid bumping elbows with other fisherman.
I was down river from the city park. Around Moss Hole. I assume that was the name since i saw that painted on the road with an arrow pointing to the river near where i was parked. lol

As for my Mecca Flats trip....Yeah, i have already heard of the crowds. For at least one day I am actually going to go out with a friend/guide who worked at Kaufmann's. He guides from the Reservation. If i am on the public side of the river one day, my cousin and i are already planning on taking our bikes and hitting the trail to get away from the crowd.







Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
I've never fished your spot Vans, but I deal with high water often. It's always a let down when you realize that everything you thought you knew and all that you had planned in your mind prior to reaching the destination can evaporate so quickly.

The only advice I will offer is to have a sink tip or lead head that you can go to when you run into conditions like I see in your photos. Tie a big feather wing streamer or whatever your selection will offer in a size 2 X long shank and start swinging as deep as you can get it to run. If the deep approach leads nowhere a marabou muddler or a Sofa Pillow, skidding on the surface is the last hope.

Yeah, it was kinda disappointing. It was still nice to be on the water working out the kinks left over from a down winter season. I was just glad to be on the water tossing bugs.

Thanks for the advice Ard. I shall certainly keep it in mind.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

Installment #2

Memorial Weekend

On Sunday the 29th i managed to sneak away from a family get together in Welches, OR. We were all in a fancy pants park with our rvs. My cousins really like this place because it has a lot of stuff for their kids to do. Welches is on the west slope of Mt Hood and a quick 70 min drive from Maupin.

My wife has a coworker who owns a second house in Maupin and invited me to come over to go fishing.

Click the image to open in full size.

We hit the water about 1pm. Had a drift boat so were were able to hit a few spots and fish the other side of the river. Wind was howling but no rain at least. I left that in Welches. It was rought going for me at first dealing with the wind and all the bushes. I kept at it and after an hour of watching the other two guys catch some i eventually hooked one and got it to net. Nothing too big, only about 9 inches.

Finally! I got the monkey off my back. Pressure was off and i had baptised my net properly with its first fish and a Deshutes redside at that.

That called for a beer so we realxed in the boat along the bank and had a beer and a bite. Things got better later, but the wind still roared. Caught another about an hour later.

Click the image to open in full size.

It was now about 5 and we had the river mostly to ourselves. Seems most everyone else gave up fighting the wind. The next few spots we tried must have been worked pretty good previously because fishing was slow.

Last spot we tired before head over to the take out turned out to be the best. It was now about 6:30-7 ish. On my second cast i hooked a big one. He decided that he didnt want to stick around and promptly heading out into the big water and down river. I managed to slow him a bit but he seemed to snap my fly off with relative ease.

I then proceed to land 5 more fish in the 10-12" range in the next 30 mins. Then i was also hooked up again on what turned out to be my last cast of the day. This was another decent fish. Once i brought it to net it measured 14". About this time my two companions came a long and one came down to take a pic.

Click the image to open in full size.


A good ending to the day and my first successful day of fishing the Salmonfly hatch. Everything turned out well. I lost a couple flies but managed to get my know tying down pretty good under less than great conditions. All the fish i caught were on a Chubby Chernobyl

Next weekend i go out for what will be my last shot at fishing the hatch. It will wind down and travel plans will take me and my family elsewhere. However, i am going with the guide who taught me to cast and we will be fishing from the Warm Springs Reservation. Hopefully this will be my chance to get at some really good sized fish...
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

Final installment....

Took the family to Kah nee ta resort on the Warm Springs Reservation. The wife loved it and it was great for the kids and i was very close to the Deschutes for what will likely be my final shot at fishing the Salmonfly hatch this year. Thankfully it turned out to be a very rewarding, imo, trip

Since we were with an Indian guide we were able to fish the reservation side of the river. Hardly any pressure from other anglers on this side. I took a cousin with me who is a new fly fisherman and we hit the water about 2pm and within 10 mins i landed my first fish.

After some early significant struggles my cousin recieved some on the water lessons from the guide and after about 40 mins he had his first fish.

Click the image to open in full size.

I landed five fish in the first hour. The largest being 16"...
Click the image to open in full size.

Things slowed down after that as we worked our way along the river. We had about 1.5 miles to cover to get to the car.

I experienced a lot of frustration with what seemed to be big fish breaking off my fly or my blood knot letting go with ease. Over the course of the day i lost 5 decent sized fish to these problems.

Things picked up again around dusk and i landed a few more fish. Right at the end of the day i landed my two biggest fish. I landed a 17" Redside and thought i had a new largest for my outing. Four casts later i hooked a strong one.

This guy wasnt going to stick around. He promptly headed out into the river and down stream. He took me down to my backing. It took me 15 mins to land him. I wasnt intentionally over playing him either. Once i got him to the net he measured 18.5" in length and was 4" from back fins to his big fat bug filled belly....

Click the image to open in full size.

That was a fantastic fish. I gave him a kiss in thanks and then released him back to the river fully revived. What a great ending to a great day.

I ended the day with 12 fish to net. Unfortunately my cousin only got the one. The wind and bushes gave him extra troubles to deal with in addition to his learning to cast.

We were able to to spend a few hours on the river bank the next day late afternoon. It was very slow. I caught only one and we didnt see any other anglers catch any during our time there. It was a beautiful fish though....

Click the image to open in full size.

Our long weekend then concluded and we returned home on Tuesday.

Click the image to open in full size.

Thanks for reading....
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

Thanks for the story. I was fortunate enough to spend 2 days on the Deschutes last October, 1 with a guide looking for steelhead, the other by myself. What a wonderful, beautiful river. To have that quality of river a few hours away - well, you're a lucky man!
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes...

Thanks and i do feel very lucky to have so many quality fisheries so close to home. As a fly fisherman i cant think of many places better to call home than the Pacific NW.
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