Apr 27, 2017

Free Youth Fishing Clinic Hosted by ODFW

ODFW is hosting their annual Free Youth Fishing Clinic on May 6 2017 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. It's located at Mayer State Park at Bikini Pond located 10 miles west of the Dalles at Exit 76. They generously stocked it with loads of hungry hatchery rainbow trout for constant fun that your kids will love. Kids who are age 13 or younger are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. Bringing your own fishing gear is recommended if you have it, but they do have loaner gear for those who don't have gear available. Free hot dogs and soda is provided as well. If you're looking for a fun outdoor activity for the family or trying to get your kids out fishing this is a great opportunity to get them out there.

- Gabe

Note: We noticed the ODFW date for this event listed on the ODFW website does not match the window flyer ODFW gave us. We attempted to confirm the date and have not been successful. This is a picture of the actual flyer we were given. Contact information for the event coordinator is indicated on this flyer.

Apr 24, 2017

Deschutes River Fishing Playbook

Salmonfly Hatch - Bucket list worthy

The Deschutes River Fishing Playbook: part one

The crown jewel of Oregon is arguably the Deschutes River. Earning Federal Wild and Scenic designation in 1988 the Deschutes is managed for recreation and continues to gain in popularity. The tailwater fishery is 100 miles long and runs north through an arid desert canyon until it meets the mighty Columbia River east of the Dalles Oregon. Along with beautiful scenery and all sorts of wildlife viewing opportunities are the fish. Wild populations of “redsides” or rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, bull trout, summer steelhead, spring Chinook and fall Chinook make the Deschutes a top fishing destination in the spring and fall.

The Deschutes is unique in a lot of ways, for one there is no fishing from a boat.  I get asked a lot where this came from and I have lots of answers but one thing's for sure, the Deschutes is a varsity level field for bank anglers.  Without a boat anglers will test their skill daily against a very sly opponent.  River level, clarity and temperature are very complimentary to a strong trout fishery.  Very few things will put the Deschutes out of shape and unfishable so it’s a fairly safe place to plan your next fishing get away.  The insect activity is heavy but the big hatches are very reliable (more on this later).  The Deschutes is truly an awesome river to fly fish with runs riffles and eddies all around.  River access is impressive as well and there is something for every type of angler and adventurer.

The first non-native visitors to the Deschutes occurred in 1805 when Lewis and Clark crossed at the mouth.  The name Deschutes means river of the falls for Celilo Falls located just downstream from the mouth.  Celilo Falls was a major hub for native peoples until 1952 when the Dalles Dam submerged it.  There are three dams on the Deschutes itself built from 1958 to 1964 and they are not without controversy today.  From it’s confluence with the Columbia River, a railroad runs most of the way up the Deschutes, on the west bank until it crosses the river at North Junction just short of river mile 75.  On the east bank there is an old railroad grade running parallel much of this distance.  Today it is a road, a dilapitated trail, then a road again.  There is a great book on the Deschutes Railroad Wars covering this period of time and is a great bring along book if you are floating the river.

Humans have had interaction with the Deschutes for a long time.  Even though it’s a “wild and scenic river”, there is good public access.  Prime time trout fishing starts in May and runs into the summer with the best month being May and the Stonefly hatch.  After the Stonefly hatch there are caddis and mayfly hatches well into summer.  The stonefly hatch is often referred to as the “salmonfly” hatch, but really they’re not alone as both golden stone and the smaller yellow stones are going off at the same time.  During this hatch it’s not uncommon to see blue winged olives, pale morning duns pale evening duns, caddis flies and once in a while the green drake hatch.   If you’ve got these bugs in your quiver then you are ready to come over and fish the Deschutes this spring.

Sam Sickles - Steelhead Outfitters - Deschutes River Guide
Bug hunter!
Salmonfly Hatch
The Salmonfly hatch is easily the most explosive dry fly fishing of the year.  These giant bugs live several years on the bottom of the river and then they make their way to the rocky shore, clumsily climbing out and molt from their nymph stage to adult.  The adults will congregate in the grass, bushes and trees until which time they breed then take flight.  The big slow flying bugs drop their eggs into the river then the cycle begins again.  In the middle of all this we have two or three weeks of great fishing, this is a bucket list trip.

Steelhead Outfitters - Deschutes River Guide
Know before you go.

If you point at a hundred miles of river and all the access point on the BLM guide (buy one), you might not start in the right place.  The “salmonfly hatch” moves up river with the water temperatures.  Ground zero is Maupin Oregon at river mile 52, one of three places the road crosses the river.  From Maupin the road goes south for a few miles until it reaches Locked Gate and north where it crosses the river and eventually leads to the Lower Deschutes access road.  Going north or south on this road gets the average guy plenty of spots to fish.  Maupin is well appointed with fly shops, a store, some restaurants and a hotel.

The first time the road crosses the river is at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation boundary, river mile 95.  There is river access on the east bank only.  The west side is tribal lands and a tribal guide is needed to access it.  There is a small exception from Dry Creek to Trout Creek and a tribal pass is required to access and fish this small section on the West bank.  Back to the east bank, the first public boat ramp is located on highway 26 on the east side just prior to the reservation boundary, it’s well marked and heavily used.  The next access point is Mecca Flats, a popular improved campground with a lightly used boat ramp.  A good trail runs north along the river to Trout Creek which also has an improved campground with a boat ramp.  The float from Warm Springs to Trout Creek is referred to as the day stretch although camping is allowed in designated sights only.  Camping from a boat on the lower Deschutes is regulated and requires a boater’s pass from The Bureau of Land Management.  The BLM is the primary manager of the river along with Oregon State Parks and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Once you get to Trout Creek, RM 85, the next public access is Maupin, RM52 give or take.  Don’t miss this takeout when floating from Warm Springs to Trout Creek as the next boat ramp is just upriver from Maupin.  The section from Trout Creek to Maupin is the multi-day section, this trip can be done as an overnight but is best done in two night.  Multi-day float trips down the Deschutes are what the Deschutes is all about.  The reservation side of the river remains off limits until the boundary is reached, usually on day two below North Junction around RM65, there’s a great big sign you can’t miss it.  Look for wild horses near the reservation boundary.  I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out a few hazards on this section, Trout creek Rapids, Four Chutes and Buckskin Mary are all legitimate rapids where experienced boatmen should be on the oars.  Whitehorse rapids should be attempted by only very experienced boatmen.  Whitehorse canyon is the most beautiful stretch on the Deschutes River but it claims several boats every year and people have lost their lives there.  Most people camp two nights, maybe an extra night on the same spot and take out near Maupin at Harpham Flats.

Sam Sickles - Steelhead Outfitters
Guide tested, client approved!

The Deschutes has a lot to offer every level of angler but if you are coming from afar or want to maximize your effort, hiring a local guide or outfitter is well worth the money.  Trips range from $500 for single day to $400-$500 per day per angler on multi day trips.  That said if you are just getting started and have the time for trial and error or you are a total do it "yourselfer", the Deschutes has your name written all over it.

Equipment needs:

Rods: 5 or 6 weight rods with weight forward tapers, the more aggressive the better.

Reels: Deschutes fish are big and strong and they can take all your line if you let them. I like a nice disc drag and a large arbor.

Leaders: Tapered 2x, 3x, 4x, and 5x. Same thing for the tippet. I fish as heavy as possible on the big bugs; I also like a 7.5 foot leader but carry 9 footers as well. Some times accuracy in the wind and into the bushes is aided by a short leader.

Gortex waders with felt and studded boots.

If you are over 16 years of age, bring a wading staff the Deschutes is tough wading. 

Come prepared for sunshine and for rain.

BLM guide to lower Deschutes, you can get this from the Gorge Fly Shop

Bring lots of Salmonfly and Stonefly patterns, some Green Drakes, BWO’s, PMD’s, and PED’s. It’s not a bad idea to bring some nymphs of the same bugs just in case.

Shuttle Services:
Fishes (541) 475-3129

Fly Shops:
Gorge Fly Shop (541) 386-6976

Steelhead Outfitters (541) 400-0855
Silvey’s Fly-fishing (971) 219-2615
Bischoff's Fly-fishing (541) 977-2796

Apr 23, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (4/23/2017)

Seasons of Change in the Gorge
A beauty of an early summer fish, photo by Sam Sickles

The Winter steelhead season is on it's last legs.  The fish I have seen caught have all been pretty colored up as of late and many are likely kelts.  Sam from Steelhead Outfitters has gotten into some early season hatchery summer steel on the Sandy, and if you are hard up for some swung fly action I would head out with him or hit the Clackamas.
Gabe is a San Juan Worm believer now!

The trout season has really gotten rolling as of late.  Gabe and his lady crushed them on the Deschutes with big stonefly/rubberlegs and San Juan or Gummy worm dropper.  Not much dry fly action yet, but it is coming!  Get stocked up on our excellent assortment of salmonfly and golden stone dries and nymphs before you head out!  Sam still has some open dates for the upcoming hatch on the Deschutes, don't hesitate before they are gone!

The general trout opener for Oregon and Washington was yesterday (4/22).  I have already had good reports on the lakes that are now open and accessible, including Laurance and Kingsley lakes locally.  Pulling a woolly bugger/leech or dropping Chironomid larvae under a bobber are killer spring techniques.  I am leaving for my annual lake fishing excursion this week, and will give you all the breakdown when I get back!  

Outcast boats are on sale right now, but the sale ends today!  So, if you have always wanted a float tube, now is your time!  There are not many things as enjoyable as floating around a serene lake catching trout on the fly...
The big girls have been few and far between, but persistence pays off!

The smallmouth bass fishing is finally picking up.  Water temps vary greatly on the river, and are overall still pretty chilly, but the backwaters have warmed up quite a bit and the fish are responding.  I have found the best action on Clouser minnows and big crayfish imitations fished on a sinking line.  The fish in the shallow warmer water seem to want it moving fast, but the fish in the cooler water liked it slower.  I have been fishing my new Sage X 790-4 with Lamson Waterworks Force SL Series II #3 loaded with a Rio Coastal Quickshooter and SA Sonar Titan int/s3/s5.  This setup is absolutely incredible and easy to cast.  The X and Force are feather light and don't wear you out casting all day.  Look for my more in depth review of the Sage X in the coming months...

The smalljaw slayer Combo!

Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.

Hood River:



Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River
Bonneville Dam Water Temps
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)

As always, we are happy to talk fishing anytime.  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.  541.386.6977

Ryan Van Duzor
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

Read More from the "Bearded Pescador"


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 21, 2017

Sage Spring 2017 Promo - 15% Off Select Gear

For a limited time save 15% Off Sage Bolt Fly Rods, Sage Accel Fly Rods and Sage 3200 Series Fly Reels. Sale Starts April 21 and Runs Through May 1st 2017. 

 Sage Bolt

Bolt is a mid-line rod designed to give an angler an ultra fast action rod capable of tight loops and high line speeds necessary for demanding conditions in an affordable price range. A complement to the popular line of Accel Rods.

 Sage Accel

The already responsive Generation 5 technology was made more so with improvements to the carbon fiber alignment and resin application that help give the ACCEL its impressive loading and recovery qualities.

 Sage 3200 Fly Reels

Lightweight, extremely durable and packed with features you’d expect on higher priced reels

Sage One Sale

 Sage One Sale

We have a great selection of sage One rods to choose from. Own a legend...SAGE ONE

Apr 18, 2017

South America Adventures - Morrison Files

Limay River

Hi Lyndsey,

Hope all is well.

I wanted to get these to you earlier but just didn’t have a chance. This was one of those trips that after twenty one days we did not want to come home. It’s the longest I’ve been away from home since I was in the service (50 years ago). The trip started on the Alumine River in the northern Patagonia region with eight of us, seven guys and Jeanette. We have fished with all but three, we met two on the trip to Christmas Island and another one on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. After the first 9 days two of them went home and we were down to six. We got in a van and went southwest to the Limay River and what a river it was. It’s about the size of the Snake, quite a bit shallower and crystal clear, a deep spot might be 20 feet or so. A couple of the pictures show how clear the water is, at 10 feet deep you could still see all the colors of the rocks. In April the big browns are in this system and get up to 30+ pounds.

 Every fish Jeanette caught was on a dry and she caught a bunch. We camped on the Limay for three nights and fished it a total of four days. Then back in the van, we went on a sightseeing road trip back north, we went the equivalent of Eugene to Vancouver Canada. The scenery was unbelievable, it was an area they call the Seven Lakes Region. If you google seven lakes region, Argentina click on images and you’ll get an idea of what we saw. Anyway next year we want to find a way to spend at least three weeks there, that’s how good it was.

Good Friends...Good Times

The good news is I did not break a fly rod, that’s just about a first. In some areas we used the 8wts especially if we were fishing deep and with streamers. On the big browns you strip set the hook or they’ll get off. In one picture there are four of us, the other couple are friends from Emmet, Idaho and were working as guides for Diego the outfitter. That was another thing that made the trip, having good friends along. They also guide for Jeff Helfrich on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, and the Rogue. April 7th to the 14th we’re going to Petersburg, Alaska with Dino, Seda, Jeff and another friend from Vida (upper McKenzie) steelhead fishing. That should be a good time too. That’s when we get to try our luck with the switch rods.

So there you have it, take care,


Apr 14, 2017

G.Loomis GLX Sale - 2017

 G.Loomis Sale

G.Loomis is moving forward and with that it's time to say goodbye to some old favorites. It's hard not to be a little sentimental at this moment in time. Look at the great rods that have made so much history and brought forth so much innovation to the sport of fly fishing. Whisper Creek and Streamdance's will be synonymous names for many years to come. Dredger, Stinger and Roaring River will become cherished icons reminding us of better days now past.

The future awaits us with new innovations. A New G.Loomis is in sight on the near horizon.

 G.Loomis Sale

Apr 11, 2017

"Four is Enough"

A new battle cry for a grassroots movement to improve steelhead management without new regulations.

By Bill Herzog
Last fall on Oregon’s upper Deschutes, some of the most influential minds on wild steelhead gathered in Maupin for a “Steelhead Summit.” Maupin, center-punched into the heart of Oregon, is a tiny desert town famous for two things: trout and steelhead fishing and being a destination for folks in the government’s witness protection program.
Well, one of those statements is true, anyway.
At this gathering I was privileged to share cocktail hour circles with fellows who know more about the state of our wild steelhead runs here in the Northwest than possibly anyone. John McMillan, Nick Chambers, JD Richey, Dwayne Meadows. And sitting at the head of the table was the patriarch of our silver-scaled family, Brian O’Keefe. Anyone who has spent time in the Northwest is familiar with Brian’s photography, writing skills and global angling adventures.
Most of our conversations involved throwing darts at the idea board for the future of wild steelhead management and fishing opportunities. It pays to be a good listener at these types of gatherings, as often the best ideas are not your own.
Brian had the look in his eye of a man who just discovered fire. He took a long pull off his brew, set it on the table, raised his hand, and said three words:
“Four Is Enough.”
This laid a blanket of quiet over the round table. Say again?
He stood up, repeating with more emphasis, “Four Is Enough! That’s our movement for wild steelhead! Four Is Enough!”
What do you mean, four is enough?
“Let’s face it. Passing new angling regulations is several levels past difficult — and not a quick process. It’s almost impossible to make everyone happy. Customs run deep in the steelheader’s realm.”
Brian was on roll. “What if we could change a major aspect, habits if you will, about steelheading without changing techniques, open times and areas, or gear restrictions, and all get behind something that would be unquestionably beneficial everywhere wild steelhead are found? Something that all anglers — fly, drift gear, bobber/bait, plugs, spoons, jigs — everyone could get behind?”
“What if we start a movement to only hook and land, say, four wild steelhead per day? This can be for an individual, or it can be the total for those in rafts, drift boats and jet sleds. I mean, for decades Atlantic salmon anglers in most waters on the East Coast and Europe may only hook and land one salmon per day, and then you are done. You must be satisfied with your sport. Does it work? Hell yes!”
“Really, how many steelhead does an angler need to catch in a day? Usually one scratches the itch for most of us, but so often now I see anglers, gear and fly — especially the indicator crowd — using catch-and-release as an abusive tool on those rare days when there are good numbers and willing steelhead. Anglers are now using the most effective techniques in history. This means we have good fishing for a day or two when the rivers drop in, and usually only for the first several boats or bank anglers. As rivers continue to drop and clear, success diminishes with most fish already having been hooked and released.”
This is getting good.
“Imagine now, if we all agree to limit ourselves to four steelhead per day — that is way better than one or two, but not a ridiculous number in double digits. Four steelhead played and landed per person or per boat would still mean a great day, yet there would be biting fish left for other anglers who also deserve a shot. Obviously there would be many days that four fish would not be a reality anyway, but this would be a start of something really cool!”
Brian O’Keefe, ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps we can self-police ourselves, make fishing better and improve the health of our wild steelhead runs at the same time.
I could personally provide dozens of anecdotes about hooking too many steelhead when the opportunity arises, but I’ll go no further back than this February at the Portland Sportsmen’s Show. I was having a spirited gab with a well known Forks guide, a great guy and skilled angler. We were naturally talking about how slow and scary it was that the early wild fish were just not making a “normal” showing in the Quillayute system. He said that finally a decent shot of fresh fish came up the Sol Duc after the last rain event. Fishing was awesome the first day, he said, and his boat landed 19 steelhead. The next day, half that amount. By day three, with rivers dropping and fewer moving fish, his boat hooked three fish in the following five days. The bite, he said, “Didn’t hold up.”
I asked him if there were dozens of boats on that stretch, all using the most effective techniques, covering every square foot of river and hooking nearly every aggressive steelhead, would the “Four is enough” idea slow the action down? He agreed that it would make a huge difference. I then asked him if he could tell me about steelhead number 6 or fish number 12. How did they fight? No answer. Now ask any angler, gear or fly, about the one steelhead they caught after two days of persistence. Chances are very good you get a wide-eyed tale with details from hookset to beach.
Four encounters with a steelhead is double what most would call a fantastic day. Practicing Four Is Enough would also leave more players, green fish, for anglers the next day. It’s a start.
Four Is Enough.
Is this really a novel concept, a brand new way of practicing conservation? During that trip to Maupin, I read this passage from a dog-eared, yellowed, cover-less fishing book in my room:
…the concentration of new fishermen is immensely greater while the amount and nature of fishable water has neither increased or substantially improved. Increasing emphasis must be placed on taking and hooking fewer fish so each angler has his chance. With these restrictions, the fisherman must gather himself the greatest sport from fewer fish…
Sound familiar? This book was written in 1950 by an East Coast trout fisherman who watched his once lonely and productive rivers become significantly more crowded every spring. You could just cut and paste this sentimentality into present-day steelhead angling. If we do not “up our game” and give some sort of sanctuary to our wild steelhead, we can all plan on golfing a lot more in the spring.
The Four Is Enough revolution will be difficult at first. We have to take the leap of faith and hope that others will be inspired and begin a change of habit. And there will be some who say this is nothing more than a ploy by the fly fishermen to make rivers their own. But if gear and fly fishers don’t lock arms on the issue of saving our wild steelhead, it will be folly. We stand or fall together.
Four Is Enough.
Let’s not leave our future in the hands of glacial-speed rulemakers. Let’s take this idea for a test drive this March and April. We can do this, as none of us knows more than all of us. I think Spock said it best, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. There will be opposition, naysayers, those who will still try for the big numbers when opportunity manifests. But peer pressure is powerful — if we all commit ourselves to practicing “Four Is Enough,” change for the better is inevitable.
In Forks. In Tillamook. In Brookings. In Smithers. In Clarkston. On the Hoh. The Sandy. The Sol Duc. The Wynoochee. The Grande Ronde. The Smith and Clackamas. We could make this international, carry the Four Is Enough flag to the great Skeena in the fall. And in 2018, on the Fourth Corner’s crown jewel, the Skagit.
We have never been so in touch, so easily, with so many other anglers. We can do this. For the future. Rivers are our sanctuary from stress, but even with their unique beauty, without steelhead, well…
Four is enough.

Article shared from- www.wildsteelheaders.org Follow link for more information about Trout Unlimited’s Wild Steelhead Initiative and Wild Steelheaders United.

-Cody Booth

Apr 8, 2017

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (4/8/2017)

Beautiful day to get skunked!

“Look to the seasons when choosing your cures” –Hippocrates 

Indeed, seasons are changing and excitement is in the air!

On the winter steelhead front, Wednesday I was able to get my boat out to the Clackamas for a nice “springy” day. We spotted a few fish but no tugs to report. We did come across a sea lion that pulled out a nice fish out of our run, which was only slightly disenchanting. As we creep into spring it’s important to remain mindful of spawning fish and to stay clear of redds. If your favorite river is about done for the season, venturing out as a simple spectator can provide great entertainment- polarized binoculars can also work wonders!
If you’re still keen on fishing for winter-run fish there have been a couple reports of a late push of wilds on the coast, however I would probably target rivers more inland and/or northern. A report also just came in of the first summer-run steelhead caught on the Clackamas. This run begins to trickle in this month on the Clackamas and Sandy, but May is generally when the push comes. Spring Chinook should also provide a little action soon too, but with low numbers projected, and their typical  unwillingness to bite a fly, they’ll definitely make you work for it.

Chelsey enjoying a nice day swinging flies on the Clackamas.
Trout reports have been few and far between, but some insects have been waking up! The Deschutes has come down some to 9,100cfs, although it has been a little warm/wet up on Mt. Hood so fishing above White River may provide some better clarity.  Nymphing will be your best bet and I would be sure to pack some stonefly nymphs, pheasant tails, and maybe some San Juan worms as well.  We have had some excellent reports from the lake fishing locals.  If you can get to the a lake that has trout in it and the season is open, you will likely be treated to some stellar fishing!

The Columbia is still high but finally dropping and clearing up quite a bit.  For the fly angler, April and May on the Columbia are definitely the best times to access smallmouth.  Clouser’s and other baitfish flies, as well as heavy crayfish flies work well early in the spring.  Fish them on a full sinking, intermediate or floating line based on where the fish seem to be staged.  As mentioned last week, carp fishing can be great in high water when they are less skittish. If you’ve never caught one on the fly, they are quite fun!

**Friendly reminder** WA fishing licenses expired on 3/31, so make sure you get a new one if you are headed out!
Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.
Hood River:
Deschutes near Madras:
Deschutes at the mouth:
Columbia River
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)
As always, we are happy to talk fishing anytime.  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. 541.386.6977 

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


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