The count is looking good!
We have been watching the numbers of unclipped steelhead passing over Bonneville Dam this month and we are feeling very hopeful about our steelhead season opening on August 15 or possibly sooner if ODFW decides.
Here is the deal: in the month of July we need to have a count of 9900 wild (unclipped) steelhead over Bonneville Dam in order for the steelhead season to open on the 15th of August. We are currently more than halfway there at 5829 unclipped steelhead through July 14. We feel very confident that we will reach that goal and that we will have a steelhead season. We also feel that this return of steelhead is shaping up to be one of the better returns that we have had in several years.
At this point, if we hit the number, steelhead on the Deschutes will be open from August 15-September 15. There is a second number that we must hit in the month of August. This number is a cumulative number of wild fish over Bonneville for July AND August. We need 23,100 wild steelhead to keep the Deschutes open from September 15 through the rest of the year. If we hit our July number (we should be higher than 10,000 fish for July given the trajectory we are on - following the 10 year average fairly closely) we should be able to hit the 23,100 number by the end of August unless something goes haywire.
If you are thinking about a guided trip, NOW is the time to get on our calendar. We will not take any deposits on trips until the numbers have been reached that will allow us to guide on those dates. It's time to get swinging again!
Until the magical steelhead opening, the trout fishing continues. It has been a nymphing game mostly, at least until the witching hour when the caddis come out in droves. If you can stick around until the wee hours of the evening, you will find that once the sun comes off the water - off the entire river - the action on the surface really gets going. During the day, you will find surface feeders in the shadows under the trees - if the bug activity is decent. Otherwise, your best bet in the daytime is to get your nymphing game on.
Euro nymphing continues to be a strong game, on the really bright hot days those trout love to hunker down deep. Pink beaded Euro-nymphs (gotta have Fulling Mill pink beads which glow) have been a fan favorite. We just got a large shipment of flies with pink beads as well as the magical pink beads themselves for you fly tyers out there.
Trout Spey has been decent lately - sculpin patterns are the go to for guys swinging and stripping with their small two-handers. This is a really fun game to get into - especially for those of you who already love Spey casting. The rhythm of casting and swinging and stepping and casting.....it can be quite hypnotic on the river.
John and I are hosting a trout Spey trip to Patagonia, Argentina next February where we will be swinging flies for big brown trout on the Limay River. This is going to be an amazing week of soaking in Argentine culture, hooking big beautiful trout, and seeing the beauty of Argentina. If you are interested in joining us on this great adventure to the southern hemisphere, give us a call at the fly shop and we can get you all of the details.
The next hosted trip coming right up is our long-awaited return to Christmas Island. I just found out this morning that Fiji Air is resuming the Honolulu to CXI flight (one flight per week) at the beginning of October. We have two full weeks booked at the Villages lodge on Christmas Island October 11-18 (ladies only) and October 18-25 (mixed men and women on this week). There are a few spots available on the second week - and these spots will go quickly. We are going to be one of the coveted few groups who get to fish this atoll that has been untouched since February 18, 2020. I was on the very last plane out of Christmas Island on that date in 2020. It is exciting to think that our groups will get to see those flats after so many months of rest. We have been waiting a long time for this day to come, and we finally have word that the island is going to open. We are super excited to return to one of our favorite fisheries on the planet.
We hope to see you on the river! Tight lines.
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop