We are now forced to focus on warmwater species until we get some serious relief from this heat. The
Columbia River is above 70 degrees in the main current in
the Gorge and near 80 in the backwaters.
The has been continually
ABOVE 68 DEGREES SINCE JUNE 26. The
temps were topping out near 76 degrees this last week. The Deschutes
River was 78 degrees this week, the Willamette was at 79.
This is incredibly bad news and no one seems to be doing anything about it. The impacts are going to be severe and long
lasting. Huge amounts of juvenile fish
are in jeopardy across the region, from last years epic Coho and Chinook runs
to last winter’s great steelhead run.
So here we are in a severe drought with a historic heat wave causing major problems. Rivers are too low and warm. Going fishing in many of our traditional summer steelhead rivers raises serious ethical questions; so here we are, fishing for bass, carp and various other warmwater species now. Ryan and I went to Mayfield Reservoir to chase Tiger Muskie last week. We got a few follows, and that is pretty successful for Muskie. I now have a good grasp on what I need to do next time…
Water temp at the Dalles Dam:
Water temp at Bonneville Dam:
Water temp at
Water Temp on the
Carp fishing is a seriously good option right now for area anglers. The best action is when the sun is up because that is when visibility is good and you can sneak up on them. While they are active early and late, it is harder to find them due to the low light conditions when the sun is off the water. They aren’t that picky to the fly, but the presentation must be spot-on.
Smallmouth Bass have been hitting topwater poppers on the Columbia River and
There are lots of fish to be caught, but moving around is key. Earlier in the summer, the fish are
congregated in spawning areas, but now they are spread around quite a bit. A fish here, a fish there, but pay attention
to the type of structure that you find them on as they will all prefer the same
structure types. Bass don’t really like
sand or weeds, but everything else is fair game. John Day River
Rainbow Trout fishing on the
has been good, but fishing below Sherars’ Falls is not a good idea. Please stay up near the dam where the water
is cool enough for fish to survive a release.
Water above 70 degrees is dangerous for the fish, and fish are dying in
the lower river right now without the aid of a fisherman’s release. Deschutes River
Chinook Salmon are still running in good numbers, but we have not heard too many reports lately. Last I heard, fishing has been decent but not fabulous below Bonneville Dam. It is currently closed here in the Gorge.
The Sockeye Salmon run is approaching record numbers, but the odds are stacked against you as sockeye are definitely not into taking flies. Sockeye are headed for the uppermost reaches of the Columbia/Salmon/Snake River Basin.
Summer steelhead are typically starting to fish well now, but this year there are not a lot of rivers that have fish, low water temps and enough flow to fish. The
typically our most productive July and August steelhead fishery and is probably
the best option in either state here right now.
The is still very low and clarity
has dropped out to less than a foot.
Water temps on the Klick have been in the mid 60’s, so there is a little
hope for the fishery to remain intact for the next couple of months… Look for
the water to clear up slightly as the heat wave is predicted to wane a little over
the weekend. Klickitat River
seems to clear up a little bit every evening, but is poor early in the
day. I haven’t seen anyone else fly
fishing the Hood in about a month, but there is enough clarity in the evening
to get an hour of fishing in. Water
temps at 8:00 pm on July 4 was 66 degrees.
The East Fork Hood River is
open for trout fishing, as well as the main branch of the river. The West
Fork Hood River is always closed to fishing, except for the 100 yards or so
between the confluence of the East Fork and Hood River . The East Fork is where the majority of the
color comes from in the river, so it can be even more colored up than the main
river. Punchbowl Falls
Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brown and Brook Trout fishing should be great this week in the evenings as the Hexagenia Mayfly hatch is going strong at
. The hatch has stopped or waned in many of the
other lakes like Timothy and Goose, but there are a few bugs around. They hatch at night, so really early and late
in the day are the best times to find Hex-eaters. Merrill Lake
Fishing is still great at many of the local lakes (whether there is a hex hatch or not) if you can get a fly down to the cold water. The thermocline (where warm and cold water meet) can be between 12’ and 20’ in the lakes, so a full sinking type III or type V line can be a key to success. Lost Lake is very deep and cold, and has been fishing well. Get a damselfly nymph or leech pattern down deep and slow, slow, slow. Lost
a great place to spend a day, even if there are a lot of people. The fishing can be fabulous and you can
easily spend the day in relative solitude on the far side of the lake from most
people. We have not heard much from Laurence Lake lately, but it’s also a
cold lake that does get some sun protection for much of the day.
Eagle Creek near Bonneville Dam is a great place to spend the day fishing for cutthroat trout. Much like the
the fish are small and hungry, but the scenery is beautiful, and the water is
cold. It is a little bit easier to wade
than the Hood, but you are in a canyon and there are not many spots to get on
or off the trail down to the river. Once
you are on the creek, it is fairly easy to get around. Hood River
As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time. Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.
"Fly Fish the World with Us"