Trout season in Oregon opened in some locations last weekend. Here’s some inspiration for high-desert streams.
There are plenty of environmental reasons to switch from lead shot when weighting your trout rig for nymph fishing. We like tungsten putty for a few reasons:
- It’s non toxic. Biting lead shot to crimp them on the line isn’t a great idea. Tungsten putty just presses on the line.
- It’s non abrasive. Splitshot abrade your leader, tungsten putty doesn’t. Who likes losing fish to ratty line?
- It’s easy to remove and reuse. Mash shot with pliers and it’s pretty much over. Just pull off tungsten putty and mash it back into the container. Repeat.
- You’re never stuck with the weight you don’t need, or without the weight you do. Just add a little or remove a little until you find your sweet spot.
Thank you for all the rain dances, I think they have worked! Expect more of the stuff to come down through the next couple of days. This next front will bring in slightly cooler temperatures but should not be bringing more low elevation snow. We will see a drying trend later in the week and rivers may just come in to shape by the weekend. Another front is expected to show up around Sunday, bringing more moisture our way.
Coast– All the coastal anglers that we know have been praying and hoping for rain to come. Now that it is here, we are all waiting to see if it brought fish along with it. We have no recent reports but we will be out there when the rivers clear up a bit. Fish were caught during snowpocalypse and the North Fork Alsea Hatchery has finally seen larger numbers of fish making it to the trap.
Valley– We are back to a more normal winter weather pattern, which has raised levels far above fishable. For now it is best to sit back with your favorite beverage and tie up some bugs for the coming season.
Desert– Low snowpack and water levels means that dam operators are holding back every drop that they can. This means that Central Oregon tailwaters have remained at fishable levels and are fishing well. The BWO and midge hatches don’t seem to have been affected one bit by the weather. With the high flows and warmer temperatures on other systems this is a great time to throw a streamer and see what monster may be living in out there.
Winter’s not just for tying at the vise (although you should be getting your spring patterns together) or hunting for elusive winter steelhead, it’s prime time to hit the water without a lot of competition and explore your favorite watershed from a new angle. Here are three ideas for making the most of the chilly months.
Think lazy fish – what were you doing during snowpocalypse?
Cold-blooded fish have to take extra care to conserve energy in chilly water. Whereas you’d focus on fast riffles and drop-offs in the summer, look for pools and runs three to eight feet deep with flows moving at a walking pace to find fish hunkered down.
Sink some eggs – a big baked potato and giant bowl of chile are where my thoughts are when its cold.
I know what you’re thinking, but egg patterns can be very successful in the winter months. Whitefish spawn in winter and trout key in on their eggs for an easy shot of protein. Use a small weighted pattern to get down where the fish are.
Offer a meal – make it worth their time.
It seems counter-intuitive to throw big flies to cold fish, but streamers present trout with the opportunity to eat a big meal. And, for big fish, the deal is too good to pass up. Tie streamers on a long leader and keep them moving. Here are some great patterns to try:
Late winter brings out Skwala stones that present some of the earliest season dry fly fishing. When Skwala flies skate, they get crushed.
Work your way downstream, drifting the dry fly as normal. At the end of the drift, let the line come tight and let the fly skate across. When your fly is directly downstream, you’re not done yet. Strip the fly back, letting it wake as it goes. We get some big hits on these flies from hungry trout on the retrieve.
Ok, the holidays are over and the winter doldrums are setting in. You know you have holes to fill in your trout box from last season, so you head to the vise and stare at your gear thinking, “Well, where do I start?”
We’ve got you covered.
Mega Prince, size 6 & 8
Possie Bugger, size 6-10
Golden Stone, size 8 & 10
Green Rock Worm, size 12 & 14
Skwalla Stone, size 10 & 12
March Brown, size 12-16
Mother’s Day Caddis, size 16 – 17
Yellow Sally, size 14-18
BWO, size 16 -20
Need some more inspiration? Check out our 7 tips to make fly tying fast and easy.