November Fly Fishing Opportunities in Oregon
The Fly Fishing Shop is now on winter schedule: OPEN 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. - 7 days a week.
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac: the Pacific Northwest will be warmer and rainier than normal, and that we’ll see below-average snowfall. Late December and January will be the coldest periods, and the snowiest periods will be from late December through January (well of course). Just because the weather is turning cooler doesn't mean that life slows down in our local rivers. Actually in many cases the reverse is true. There is a lot of activity in some bodies of water that you will want to know about. Salmon are spawning, and egg drift creates a large amount of biomass for trout and whitefish to feed on, Some aquatic insects are very active during winter, and so are the fish that feed on them. Midges and small mayflies hatch by the billions during the winter. November can be great dry fly fishing on the mainstem Deschutes, Metolius, and Crooked Rivers.
Deschutes River and Tributaries During Winter
The lower 100-miles of the Deschutes River is excellent for trout and whitefish during late fall and winter. As this is being written, water levels are relatively stable and water temperatures are running in the low-50's. Don't forget, the Warm Springs reservation is now closed to fishing, but the east side of the river across from the reservation is open for both trout and steelhead fishing until the first of the year. From the northern boundary of the reservation to the Columbia, the Deschutes is open for fishing year around. Several thousand large fall Chinooks were spawning downstream of Sherars Falls as we left the lowest section of the Deschutes last week. The steelhead fishing was pretty slow but the trout fishing was okay. My friend Dave alternately fished with a strike indicator and then refished the same water with a Euro Nymph rig. The Euro Nymph outfit outperformed the strike indicator rig every time (no surprise there). World Class Euro Nymph Combo Outfit
The Crooked River, most of the Metolius River, and Fall River are open year around (consult ODFW regulation book). Fishing with midge larva/pupa, mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, and caddis larva are productive all year. Dry fly fishing is usually an option in softer edge-water areas during most mid-day periods. There are a lot less anglers to compete with during winter. Sometimes fishing is better than during the summer. Add an extra layer of insulation under your waders. A Buff can add warmth to your head and neck areas. Fingerless gloves, while not mandatory, are a good option. Don't forget your rain jacket.
As this is being written, air temperatures are in the 50's. ODFW has recently stocked Harriet Lake, Timothy Lake, Trillium Lake, and Pinehollow Reservoir with large trophy trout. Some of these beautiful fat rainbows exceed eight pounds. They will definitely put a bend in your rod. A boat or float tube will help you get to the fish, although fishing while wading is also an option in some cases. Leeches & Wooly Buggers, and Midges & Chironomids will be the main flies that you need. A slow sinking fly line usually does a better job than a floater. Check out our Lake Lines selection.
Coho, Chum & Chinook Salmon
All rivers with access to the Pacific Ocean have salmon runs currently. The Sandy and Clackamas have both Chinooks and Coho. Many fish are spawning and should be avoided. These fish are easily seen as they will have whitish yellow spots and will often be in shallow riffle water. Be careful not to wade into spawning areas, These local rivers will also have bright new fish in deeper, faster runs. Parts of the Oregon coast are also getting new fish with the higher water levels caused by recent rains. Chinooks and Chums are available now. Intruder flies in pink or chartreuse are popular. Our new Perfect Prom Dress Series is being very productive. Silver, Blue and Silver & Blue are all well liked by all anadromous fish.
Although most winter steelhead won't show until around the first of December, there are often a few new fish in the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers with the first rains of November. The best thing is that there is very littl fishing pressure on them. Last year, I landed my first local winter steelhead November 15. The fly was a Mark's Tube Spey Intruder in Sandy Candy Color. According to our ODFW district biologist the Sandy River has the best steelhead returns of any lower Columbia River tributary.That's because it has the best stewardship of any urban river in the world.
Check your shooting line, backing and reel prior to the coming winter season. Or better yet, bring your reel(s) to The Fly Fishing Shop. At your request, we will inspect your line, and clean and lube your reel at no charge (until 1/1/19)! We have a full stock of Skagit heads, and sinking tips and in Spey Line Department.
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