Now....it is on!
We have been waiting for the perfect intersection of hot weather and bugs in the bushes and it is happening now! Barring any unforeseen weather event, like a cold front swooping down from the arctic, the stoneflies will be active and flying. We did our first camp trip during a blustery cold snap on the 7 & 8 of May and the trout were smashing dries then. The warmer weather since that weekend has really spurred the stoneflies to crawl around at a frenetic pace looking for love. When their advances are spurned, they often fall from the tree branches and into the water where they are gobbled up by waiting trout.
I wrote that paragraph yesterday, before I got a full report from my guides on the water. The stoneflies are actively flying around now in the afternoon and evening now that the air temperatures have warmed. The trout were very excited to eat the big bushy dries in some areas and not so much in other areas. It was lights out for some and just so so for others. Today and tomorrow are forecast to be nice and warm and that should get more and more stoneflies active and clumsily flying.
When bugs are everywhere and you see them flying all around you, it doesn't always mean that fishing will be a slam dunk. The dam operators have been shifting the water flows all over the place this week and that made for some challenging fishing yesterday river-wide. With steady flows, the trout will be a lot happier and more eager to eat dries.
We get a lot of phone calls in January and February asking us to predict the very best days to be on the water for the salmonfly hatch. We have a giant crystal ball in the back room that we stare into for exact dates on when the salmonfly hatch will peak and when people should book their trip. I just took a peek at the crystal ball and it said that this late week and weekend were going to be utterly amazing due to temperatures in the 80s from tomorrow through Sunday. The bugs will be on the wing more and more each day and the trout will be 100% keyed in on big bugs in the Maupin area by this afternoon.
On Monday the temperatures are forecast to drop into the low 70s. This will shut the bugs off for a while, but the trout will still be on the lookout for them after gorging on them this week. From here on out the dry fly fishing should be excellent in the Maupin area. Although we rarely guide up there because it is so overcrowded in May, I would guess that some stoneflies are starting to get active in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek area. It happens a little later up there because water temps are slightly cooler.
I have no doubt that you have, by now, experienced some supply chain issues in your own business or in some corner of your life. Supply chain issues are making things difficult in the fly shop world as well. Even though we ordered our flies a year in advance, some of the fly companies are unable to fulfill our fly orders. In one instance we were backordered on 80% of our order. If this is happening to us, it is happening to every fly shop out there.
This could be the first stonefly/salmonfly hatch where we are in danger of running low on certain special fly patterns. Fortunately, since we have been selling stones for this hatch for the past 18 years, we have good backstock on tons of great patterns that have proven their worth over the years. Come on in and check out the best fly selection in Oregon.
Our entire staff has now had at least one of the COVID vaccination shots, and most of us are completely vaccinated. We want you to know that we are doing everything that we can do to keep our staff safe, our customers safe, and our guided clients safe. We are fortunate that the vaccine was available to all adults in Central Oregon by early April, so any adult who wanted to get a vaccination has probably gotten one.
I have to say something in this report about our shop hours. We open every morning at 8:00 AM seven days a week. Sometimes you will see activity at the fly shop between 7:30 and 8:00 AM - this is the time that our guides are getting their coolers packed with food for the day's trips, loading up on ice, getting gear together, etc. We cannot open the doors early during this time, so please don't ring the bell or push your way in.
On the back side of the day, please understand that we have been open for NINE hours, often without a break. We have been busting our butts to get you out on the water with the right flies, the right tippet, the best gear, etc. Personally, I am in the store on most mornings by 6:00 AM just to get office work done before the madness of the retail floor gets started. People start banging on the door if they see me in here working, so I have to be careful to stay away from windows while fulfilling web orders.
After a long and bustling day - when 5:00 comes around, we want to close the fly shop and enjoy the last few hours of the day to fish for ourselves. We have, at best, maybe 3 hours to wet a line. Please respect these hours. Lately, people are coming in right at 5:00 PM and shopping until 5:30 during which time more and more groups keep coming. I send the employees home so they can fish and I end up here until 7:00 or 8:00 because people keep on walking in before I can get the door locked and the lights off. Any other time of year we don't mind staying open a few minutes late for you when you call us while driving toward Maupin. However, the salmonfly hatch only lasts a few short weeks and we want to fish it as much as you do. We don't have a single day off until mid-June, so the only time we have to fish is in the evening. Fly fishing after work is our only bit of sanity. Do you really want to be responsible for driving us insane?
If you can get out this week, I highly recommend it!! Tight lines!