Posts Tagged ‘Metolius River


Metolius River (Oregon)

metolius r. oregon swittersb


Photography: Early Risers & The Cottage

The roosters have apparently gained the wrath of slumbering neighbors in a portion of SE Portland. They start their call to duty around 0300 hrs. Well before first light or the early bird Robins first chirps, these boys have marching orders next week for a more rural environment.

photography-early risers-chickens-roosters-SwittersBI met the Roosters and their Hens in a side yard of a quaint ‘cottage’ like dwelling. It was, again, one of those “I need to stop and photograph that…” prompts. I did stop and shoot some images. A lovely, vine enshrouded house with a secret corners, an open vegetable garden and the owner emerging and enquiring as to my purpose. I explained my interest in the garden, landscaping etc. He, Ben, noticed my ‘SwittersB & Fly Fishing’ decal on the back of my rig. Before long we had discussed fly fishing (he liked larger fly patterns over smaller fly patterns: “I like fly fishing not flea fishing”), the Metolius River in Central Oregon, and fly tying. Before long, Ben had finessed an order for larger fly patterns from me, “big Stone fly nymphs and big Caddis”. I happily agreed and intend to soon drop them by and take Ben up on the “I will give you a tour” offer. A nice moment from stopping by and enjoying the view.

Photography-Holgate Cottage-SwittersB-Garden-Design






Deschutes River Passage: Restoring Runs & What All Goes Into It.

“A 12-pound male salmon, one of thousands of Chinook that biologists and volunteers released into the Upper Deschutes tributaries above the Pelton-Round Butte Hydro Project in 2008, has made history. It’s the first fish to return. A fish with its right maxillary bone clipped — a marker indicating it was released in the Upper Deschutes tributaries, swam into the Pelton fish trap on May 25. The fish had migrated down the Deschutes River in 2009, spent two years in the Pacific Ocean and swam up the Columbia River and 100 miles up the Deschutes.”                                                                                                                   

The first Chinook to return to a release area of the upper Deschutes River.

The Deschutes Passage has been an interesting project to study on many levels. The passage way construction, introduction of steelhead and salmon fry into upper tributaries of the Crooked, Metolius and Deschutes Rivers, habitat reconstruction, club participations, stream flow efforts….all the associated issues with getting Steelhead and Salmon to return above Pelton Dam. It is worth going back and reviewing the news releases and ‘science’ behind this 15 year long project if you have any interest in stream restorations or ocean going species. This returning fish is not new info. The piece is over a year old, but the project as a whole is worth digging into including recent news of some concern about the sockeye run.

 Deschutes River Passage   The archives of the Bend Bulletin might be useful also

Every Day in May Challenge: Leader Construction

Oh my, these topics really bring out my weaknesses don’t they? The leader, the skinny little ‘tapered’ link to the fly and hopefully the fish. I do care about that nail knot securing the mono butt section to the end of the line. I do try for a taper toward the fly. Sometimes I invest in a pack of 3 tapered leaders, either 7′ or 9′ to a 4# end. I rebuild from there with the tippet piece. I try, I really do, for a 50, 25 25 (%) or 60, 20, 20 (%) ratio of materials.

But it isn’t until the fish trail off, that I notice I’m fishing with a 7′ leader with 10# married to 3.5# by a gnarly surgeons knot. Do you notice I never use the 5x or 6x designations. I flunked math for a reason: part memory, part befuddlement. I stay in the #’s like my old gear days. I do try to pay attention to length, but as you read, I am sometimes behind on that standard.

All of it (precise leader construction) doesn’t make much of a difference for me/to me. Of course, maybe it would if I always fished gin clear spring creeks, but short of the Metolius River or Fall River…I don’t.

The best addition of leader material for me has been fluorocarbon leader. No, I don’t have trouble with knots or joining mono to fluoro. I’ve use it far and wide and it has improved the takes…just my impression. See how non-techno I am? Such randomness would never fly in certain circles, but I’m not building a rocket or a bridge. I am simply fishing. 

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Challenge Topic: Fly


Every Day in May Challenge: Home Waters

Every Day in May Challenge: Home Waters

This is my view from my deck. The sign suggests a lot to me. My true home water below the sign is a three foot wide spring gurgling down the hillside into a wet land area behind my house. Habitat studies several years ago revealed some very small fish that had migrated up the spring from the nearby Columbia Slough.

No fabled home water out my back door or even an average stream with suitable trout. I can walk or drive five minutes away and brownline at the Columbia Slough for Carp. I have done that a time or two. Twenty minutes away is the Sandy River. A once above average Steelhead/Salmon river, it still manages some nice fish but at far less the runs of when I started exploring the waters. The Salmon River, which flows into the Sandy River, use to also be a nice Summer fishery for Steelhead and Rainbow trout. The Clackamas River is an hour away at most and it too has reasonable runs of Steelhead and Salmon, but a lousy put ‘n take trout fishery. Decent rivers, but they don’t light a fire on my passion meter.

Every Day in May Challenge graphics by Chadd VanZanten

 No, if I want to have space, better fishing and beauty, I have to drive a little farther: The Deschutes River/Maupin in 90 minutes; The Crook River 3 hours; The Hood River 90 minutes; The Wilson River 90 minutes; The Metolius River 3 hours; The McKenzie River/Middle Fork Willamette 2.5 hours are but a few home waters that I strive to fish each year.

The Deschutes River from above Maupin, Oregon

If I had to pick one “home waters” fishery that was out my back door, by that sign, it would be the Deschutes River. All of the others I listed have merit, plus others I didn’t mention in the vicinity. But, for year around fly fishing, remoteness and space plus desert beauty the Deschutes River would be it. Steelhead, Salmon & Trout occupy its length. All the insects are there. From the bank or from a water craft you will find solitude and the chance to hook beautiful fish. But, if I have to drive the 90 minutes to Maupin and fan out from there, that’s not too bad a deal either.


Late Winter turns to daydreams……….

I don’t know about you, but this time of year makes me antsy for warmer weather and getting out on the water. In the past I have been fortunate to get out on the water with Winter steelheading, but this past few years have been absorbed by the more important, pressing commitments of life (and passings) so those Winter outings have been few and the Summer outings very special. And, because of those commitments, I am seeking those inner places where one reconnects to those special memories and images. Such is the case for Misslisted, who raises those feelings of warmer days and special rivers. I hope she writes more often about such places, feelings and insights.


Fly Fishing: Pesky Whitefish (‘Rubber Lips’)

There was a time one could walk a stream’s edge in Oregon and find Whitefish laying atop rocks, dead and wasting. They were and are still viewed by many as a member of the sucker family and that is enough to sentence them to a high and dry status.

The incidental catch of Mountain Whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) has never bothered me. I love catching all fish, be they Trout, Whitefish, Carp or the lowly Chum Salmon, to name but a few. The Whitefish is often described as a fish of 8-12″ on average, but they can get considerably bigger in Western Waters (I have caught them in excess of 24″ on the Metolius River). The Whitefish has a range from the NW Territories down into the Western U.S. The fish readily take a small nymph and on occasion a small dry fly can bring them up out of the riffles and quieter water adjacent to riffles. Some say they hold in different water than a Trout.

Western U.S. Mountain Whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) Range

The one place I do see this is in fairly fast riffles of say a foot deep with no structure to provide relief from the current. The Whitefish will be in that water and you don’t see a Trout attempting to hold in that sort of water very often (unless Summer time low water and depleted oxygen levels force them into that water for brief stints of oxygenation).

The Hook & Hackle Company

If along the way, you have to pass the time catching some Whitefish on an otherwise Trout barren day, they are worth the time of feeling the tug. Small flies, nymphs, are in order and never allow any one to toss them up on to the rocks. I believe most fly fishers are intelligent enough today to know that Mountain Whitefish are not a threat to their cousins, the Trout and are a sign of a healthy watershed in many instances.

Small Nymphs for Whitefish (SwittersB)


Fly Fishing Insect Smörgåsbord & Bull Trout

Still amazing. Green Drakes and Flav’s, PMD, blue wing olives, mahogany duns, 4 types of caddis, little olive stones, yellow sally and golden stones are all hatching. sometimes at the same time which is a puzzle to figure out which fly the fish are eating on any given afternoon. Tons of bull trout in the system now, with kokanee just migrating up this week. We can expect to see them by the tens of thousands in the next 2 weeks spread out between the lake and the headwaters. That means aggressive Bull Trout and plenty of eggs in the drift for the trout.” A late September ’09 report from the Fly Fisher’s Place, Sisters, Oregon on FishEyeSoup. Bulls and Kok’s should give it away. To Oregonians at least.

1994 migratory study by ODFW on wired up Bulls….interesting small scale study that provides info for you, the fly angler on location, location. Oh, don’t get your panties pinched. Not talking redds or spawning trib’s. Fair target otherwise. A chuck & duck streamer pattern.

Peanut Envy (Kelly Galloup Pattern)

Peanut Envy Streamer Recipe

Peanut Envy (Kelly Galloup Pattern)

Oh, John Judy offers up even more incentives


Fly Tying: Stovepipe Caddis Pupa

I was recently pleased to rediscover a pattern that I first discovered 30 years ago at the Camp Sherman Store on the Metolius River (Oregon). The Stovepipe seemed odd back then and it still does, yet it worked mucho back then and I am anxious to see if it will work again. The above fly is on a size 10 hook with a golden pheasant tail, an olive chenille body, an orange hackle beard and a wing of natural mallard. Does it look like a Caddis?….Probably not, but really what does a Stayner Ducktail suggest?

Looking forward to fishing this pattern on a river or even a lake. Nice to see that after so many years this pattern is still in a fly cubicle at the Camp Sherman Store. Oh, the original did not have a bead head.


Fly Fishing: Nymphing Setups (Keep It Simple At First)

Darlene Klein-Dolby on the Metolius River (M. P-A)

The beginning fly fisher is quickly advised to not only fish the dry fly. Statistics are thrown out that 80-90% of a fish’s diet is comprised of subsurface fair (nymphs/emergers). All this is meant to increase your odds of a hookup. An additional area that effects success is the setup or rigging of the nymph(s). A little time to study the rigging possibilities and match them to the conditions before you are on the stream is time well spent.

A couple things to consider: Adjust your setup as needed. Assuming you won’t stand all day in one area while fishing, you will encounter different water depths, speeds, hatches…that will require you, or should require you, to adjust your rigging/setup. Changing distances between indicator and flies (fly); adding weight; changing fly patterns, shortening the casting distance, raising or high sticking, whatever is required to adjust to the changing conditions as you move about is often ignored as the angler stays with the same rig.

As a beginner, keep it simple. As you encounter other anglers you will see techniques different than what you are using or were told to use. Different setups, different flies, different presentations. That is good…more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. (Did anyone actually skin a cat?)

So, remember these observed new ways and try them. They may or may not be appropriate to the waters at hand, but tuck them away into the arsenal and remember how to rig them. An easy example is a two fly nymphing rig (sometimes 3 flies). I rarely use it for streams. Almost always on lakes. (Check the laws…I was comfortable fishing two fly rigs in B.C. until someone admonished me an educated me re B.C. laws on one fly only). Two flies theoretically ups the odds. But, for a beginner you want to learn to cast with a more open, lob cast  to allow for the turnover of fly, weight, indicator. Two flies can get tangled until you perfect a more open loop. Once that is done go to two flies and keep your cast shorter. Actually, go short more often. Don’t be tempted to be nymphing with 30′ of line out. Go shorter most often. And, as they say strike on any hesitation of line or if you use one, the indicator. Purist abhor nymphing let alone indicators…whatever…use an indicator/sighter of some sort. Experiment without an indicator too.

Nymphing is a lot more work than dry fly fishing…yet, it is a technique you must employ if you want to up your odds of an encounter. When the dry fly~emerger action commences know how to de-rig that nymph set up in a timely manner to get into the hatch.


Joan McCreery on the Metolius River

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