It is on! But, it might be off.....
Friday morning fishing report....The stoneflies are hatching, and the hatch isn't super strong yet, but there are decent numbers of adult stoneflies crawling in the grass and on the trees through Maupin and in the lower river. They are just starting to crawl out of the river a little further south - I have had reports from above the locked gate nearly up to South Junction where the big bugs are just starting to migrate to the shore. The trout will start to key in on the bugs after they have been around for a few days, but it doesn't happen overnight. Be patient. The water temperatures are perfect for the stoneflies to start their march to the river's edge, but we now need the air temperatures to soar into the 80s and 90s. I wish this was better news for the weekend warriors, but the weather is not going to cooperate today, tomorrow, or Sunday. This just sucks. Sorry, but it does. Nature can be a cruel beast. Temperatures dropped from the 80s on Wednesday to to low 70s today, to low 60s tomorrow. This cold front is going to put the stoneflies that have hatched DEEP into the bushes.
There is good news on the horizon for next week because the temperatures are headed back up to the 80s on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Unfortunately, for you weekend warriors, another cold front rolls in the weekend after this weekend. So, the best bet for fishing the dry stoneflies and getting those amazing topwater eats is going to be mid-week next week.
This past week, the fishing was excellent on Wednesday and it only got better Wednesday night. This was the first really nice hot night since the first of the big bugs appeared, and the trout were eager to wrap their lips around a floating piece of protein. Most of yesterday, and especially last night, it got blustery and downright nasty as the cold front rolled in. The winds are forecast to be strong today with a 60% chance of rain with gusts over 40. The high won't even reach 60. Saturday and Sunday look to be a little less windy with mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid-60s.
What will the weather mean for the fishing? It will certainly mean that the salmonflies and golden stones will hunker down and hold tight until things warm. The water temps are still triggering more and more bugs to crawl towards the river's edge, so the stonefly nymph fishing should be strong. For those who like the hopper-dropper (or dry-dropper) set-up, a dry stonefly, like a chubby, with a tungsten bead head dropper nymph trailing 2-3 feet behind it should bring you some success on the water this weekend. Deep nymphing with a stonefly nymph and a Euro nymph has been productive all week long. Euro-nymphing with a gossamer-fine 20 foot-long leader gets pretty challenging in the heavy wind, but that will still be a super effective searching method for trout.
If we do get rain today, this will possibly trigger one of our mayfly hatches. Although the mayfly populations seem to have been pretty heavily impacted by the poor water management regime of the past 10 years, some populations have managed to hang in there. During May and June we could potentially see pale morning duns (Ephemerella excrucians), pale evening duns (Heptagenia elegantula), pink alberts (Epeorus albertae), mahogany duns (Paraleptophlebia sp.), blue winged olives (Baetis sp.), and green drakes (Drunella doddsii).
The key to knowing when a mayfly hatch is coming off is to look for the swallows swooping over the water picking off bugs. On any cloudy day in spring summer or fall, you will see the violet green swallows waiting on the wires along the railroad tracks. Around mid-day, the hatch will begin and they will start flying and swooping over the water to pick off the mayflies. Rainy warm days with little or no wind will bring on the heaviest mayfly hatches - so be prepared with bugs other than those salmonflies and golden stones. If mayflies are present, the trout will be very focused on eating as many as they can and stoneflies will take a backseat every time to any species of mayfly that happens to be hatching.
The flowers are blooming all along the river - so enjoy a nice slow drive on the access road and take time to enjoy the scenery. The yellow flowers in the sunflower family are called arrowleaf balsamroot and the purple flowers are lupine. Here is our shop dog, Lupine, posing for her annual Lupine in the lupine photo: