Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Deschutes!
Top o' the mornin' to you, lads and lasses! We have some beautiful sunny weather moving in for the weekend, which should make both the fish and the fisher people happy. The hatches are still fairly small, but there are a few more of them each week as we slide into Spring. Let's go over which bugs you might see at this time of year....
BWOs - Blue Winged Olives - these small mayflies have been around all winter, treating the hardiest frozen-fingered fly flingers to dry fly opportunities between noon and two PM daily. Cloudy days are better for big hatches, though there will be a small showing of BWOs on days as sunny as today.
March Browns - NOPE no dry flies yet, but we are getting closer by the day. These mayflies should have been named April Browns because they mainly show up in April. Since I will not be around in April to write about March Browns, let me say that they are unique in terms of the way that they emerge and this sets them apart from other mayflies west of the Rockies. MOST of our mayflies rise from the bottom of the river with an air bubble on their backs - HOWEVER - the March Brown unfurls its wing before rising to the surface of the river and thus the profile of the emerger is less like a pheasant tail nymph and more like a soft hackle. We have a few great March Brown patterns that are good to fish in late March-April prior to the hatch when the nymphs are getting more and more active.
Speaking of active nymphs, now is the time to fish black and brown stonefly nymphs. We are only about 4-5 weeks away from the first giant salmonflies crawling out of the river onto the banks. They have lived for three years in the rocks on the bottom of the river and they are now starting to drift migrate to different sections of the river prior to emerging. Stonefly nymphs are big meaty snacks that the trout have a difficult time resisting. Before the craze of the Euro nymphs got ahold of people on the Deschutes, the Jimmy Legs was one of our most popular nymphs on the Deschutes. We have them on special here in the fly shop for walk-in customers for $1.50 each or $15 per dozen. They are not heavily weighted, but they fish really well in conjunction with other heavy flies. Stop by and pick up a few of these wiggly, leggy bugs before they are all snapped up. Once they are gone they are gone for good.
Caddis are out and about and are quite large this time of year. Go for a size 14 brown-bodied caddis - elk hair or any other good caddis pattern. They will be active in the evenings and even more active as things continue to warm up.
Nymphing will continue to be the most productive method of fly fishing for the majority of the day. Keep your fly box stocked with a healthy number of tungsten bead head Euro nymphs - with a variety of bead colors and sizes. Lately pink beads have been good, silver beads are always strong players, and copper beads are strong as well. I like to keep a good stock of 4 mm beads, 3.5 mm beads, and a lesser number of the 3 mm and 2.5 mm beads. Heavy beads on the Deschutes are able to get down quickly in our strong currents.
My buddy, Jason, returned from the river today with a few great photos of BWOs. So, here is what you will see every day between noon and about 3 PM - way more so on cloudy or rainy days - but we even had a decent hatch today in the bright sunlight.
We hope you all don't go too wild tonight celebrating the big green holiday!! Get out here and enjoy our beautiful weather - it feels like summer is right around the corner! Tight lines!
Amy and John and Derek
Its hard to believe one week ago it snowed on me on the river. The day never got above freezing. Today it was like summer! minus the rafters. Lots of fisherman, campers, cyclists, actual live tourists it looked like! Great to see the little town start to come alive but sure reminds you of the two season to come! Fishing was great. Went out a few hours after lunch and got a nice 18”. The sun on my white Oregon face felt soooooo good :) Double nymph drop. Fished two of the black tungsten big boys. They seem to love that fly. (sorry still learning all the fly names!) Great weekend! Love Maupin climate!