Posts Tagged ‘East Lake Oregon


Stillwater Fly Fishing: Working the Drop

East Lake (Oregon) One of my all time favorite lakes. Carrying a lot of surface ice in this picture, but the memories and anticipation to work this lake again linger through the Winter.

Fly fishing has so many possibilities. One of my favorite is figuring out a lake, pond, reservoir. Your observation skills are required on a lake as much as they are standing knee deep in a stream. Presentation on a lake is as important as on a stream. 

I frequently see lake fly fishers in their pontoon, float tube, raft etc. moving along, line extended behind and rhythmically kicking, drifting or rowing with only the slightest consideration given to a retrieve or to their position. We all do this at times while searching/discovering a new body of water. But, I would suggest that if you are out over 50′ of water with no discernible hatch/feeding activity you would be better served to move in toward the shoreline and attempt to study the contours of the lake. This may show you the structure and feeding zones where fish congregate for safety and food.

The drop is that area that transitions from somewhat shallow waters of say 10′ downward to deeper water. This drop off is prime in searching for trout that move up on the shoal to feed and move back off the shoal for safety and food as well. At a minimum work parallel to this drop and present your fly up on the shoal if hatch/feeding activity is apparent or work the fly down into the drop off area and slightly deeper. 

Anchoring and fishing toward the drop (toward the shoreline) or up on the shoal can be productive. If you are not anchored, the wind or the torque of your casting can push you back out of the productive waters. This results in a lot of kicking or rowing to hold position and disturbances that may put the fish off the bite.

Sometimes the insect that is emerging, say Damsels or Gray Drakes, are actually moving toward shore to stage for their ‘hatch’. You would want to position yourself on the shore or in close to shore and cast out away from shore then slowly work your Damsel or swimming Mayfly pattern back toward shore to mimic the Damsels moving just below the surface toward the shoreline reeds, weeds and structure.

Here is a piece by Herman deGalat at HookFlyFishing that highlights several of these points on fishing the drop and the presentation.

East Lake after a successful day. SwittersB


The Griffith’s Gnat (The Cluster of Hatching Chironomids~Midges)

Griffith Gnat@gass81 at photobucket

Griffith Gnat@gass81 at photobucket

The Griffith Gnat is frequently suggested as a midge pattern for the emergence of midges (chironomids, buzzers, gnats) and I would imagine, as a beginner, few of you take it seriously. It seems to be the obligatory pattern to mention, but you seldom hear of anyone actually using it or showing the big one caught on the size 18 Griffith Gnat. It is a pain (for me) to tie in a size 18 without premium hackle. I tie it on a size 16, but tie it smallish. I also, tie 18’s but struggle to not overdress and to use those small premium hackles.

My opinion of his fly is that is it not used enough by the beginner. I have had numerous fish take the fly, but have had two memorable fish to the GG. One at Hosmer Lake (Oregon) at the boat ramp, kicking at last light (a gorgeous Atlantic Salmon) and another, at East Lake (Oregon) at the time of night when the light is fading and the midges are coming off (a slab of a rainbow). Both of these fish took the size 18 GG and I fought both quite awhile and I horsed both after repeated dives into pads and weeds. I lost both and both fish left me stunned at their size. I became a believer and have since decided to experiment with a slightly bigger hook, while striving to tie a compact body.   

The pattern is simple enough: a size 16-18 fine wire hook; peacock herl, grizzly hackle suitable for a size 18 dry fly and 8/0 or 14/0 thread. The peacock and hackle stem are tied in at the rear and the peacock body is wrapped forward forming a full body and tied off. Then the hackle is palmered forward in wraps similar to a Woolly Bugger’s body formation. The hackle is clipped and the thread head is formed. Use a floating line and keep the faith as you fish it in the film and amid the hatch. Don’t horse the fish.      


Brown Trout’s Near Fatal Attraction


Near Fatal Attraction

Near Fatal Attraction

This pattern was originally tied for saltwater species. I have not altered the pattern’s makeup but you can readily see the possibilites with green or reddish tones in the feathers. I have only used this at Oregon’s East Lake searching deep for Browns. I had a modicum of success but with smaller 14-18″ browns. I am eager to strip this through the shallows in September, October and June. I have used Mallard, Teal or Gadwall with the hackles. Keep the flashabou or krystal flash the same general color as the tail feathers. It would be interesting to replance the squirrel wing with Pheasant feathers laid in full length and perhaps experiment with different colored eyes. As always, flytying lends itself to experimentation. As this pattern sets, it is a lively, attractive pattern. It casts well with 4-6 wt. rods. It is durable, but the tinsel does suffer a bit from teeth. Darn!     

East Lake, Oregon (Brown’s & Streamers in the cool Fall)

East Lake, Oregon

East Lake, Oregon

As the Summer flyfishing season wanes, as the Callibaetis hatch (size 18’s by now) deminishes, you should prepare for a replay of ice off presentations to Browns. Once mid September and early October rolls around, the temps are going to be sub freezing in the morning and maybe pleasant in the afternoons. Be prepared, just like in early June for temps that make you uncomfortable and shorten your time on or in the water. So, the Browns are going to move in again. They will return to that area within 50′ of shore and be predatious for other smaller and not so small fish.

Matuka Spruce

Matuka Spruce

This a perfect time to use sink lines and streamers, balancing the sink rate with remaining vegetation and depth of water. An intermediate will be fine in waters 15′ or less. This is not as productive fishing if you kick about trolling a Bugger. Yes, you will probably catch fish, but once you are keyed into location, you will have to elevate your retrieve’s speed to a more pronounced suggest a minnow, chub or small trout. This is taxing fishing, requiring more casts, attention to the retrieve and bigger flies. I cannot sustain hours of this like I use to on Hosmer L. in the Fall. Just blitz along working it good and then rest every so often while fishing a more conventional presentation…then gear back up.

Minnow Bugger

Minnow Bugger

This is a good time for any style of Minnow pattern you want to experiment with: Wierd & regular Woolly Buggers, Bunny Leeches, Clouser Minnows, Steelhead patterns…sling them and strip them to ellicit the predatory hit from Browns and some nice, big Rainbows too.

Practice catch and release. East Lake Resort seems to promote trophy shots of vertical, dead 5-10# Browns. The resort and ODFW need to post more info re Mercury levels in large browns. They are not suitable to eat so should be carefully photoed, if desired, and released.     

‘The ODFW has an advisory of high mercury levels in East Lake. Anglers should avoid eating brown trout of 16 inches or longer from the lake, according to the 2008 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.’


Halloween Voodoo

Halloween Voodoo



Remember, the morning temps can be into the teens, so be prepared for very cold temps and even ice in the guides into October. The resort stays open until about mid-October if you want to spring for a cabin (my recommendation) but check site for availability and call the resort in case of any unknowns and for good up to date advice on fishing conditions.             

Spruce Fly~Tony Muncy

Spruce Fly~Tony Muncy


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