August 2007 Report

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August 28, 2007 - Deschutes River, Oregon - Steelhead

What a river! Big water at its finest - the Lehigh on steroids! It was running 4,000cfs in the area we fished and actually the flows stay relatively stable throughout the year. Time on the water was extremely limited due to the quick nature of outing with just an eve and morning to hit it. The plan was to bike in from the mouth where it meets the Columbia River at Heritage Landing and find some decent water with a vacant campsite near-by. Despite the crowds we lucked out with really nice piece of traditional steelhead water. The campsite was just a small piece of bare ground. Perfect for the 5am wake up call.

Weather both days was bright and hot. No shade, bare ground and rocks everywhere meant intense heat. This would only add the difficulty of this river. No doubt the Deschutes ain't for the faint of heart. It is huge and is not a river for the wading-timid. Staff and studs are a necessity. Being able to get around will absolutely get you more hook-ups. Even at that the hook-ups do not come fast and furious - for the most part. Three of us fished hard for about three hours in the eve and five hours in the morning. All said and done we put one fish on the bank, a hatchery fish; had one hook-up that shook loose after a handful of minutes; and one player that smacked a streamer a few times throughout the swing. Actually all three of us got into the action. With the high sun this was supposedly not too bad of an outing for late August. Expectations for Deschutes steelhead from what I gather are usually not set too high. It is the killer days (combo of a handful of pulls and fish landed), just like the salt that keep you coming back.

In the eve we had nothing - no grabs, despite perfect fishing conditions and some really nice water. Water temp though was 68-69F - 6 miles above the Columbia...this very might have been the reason for the lack of activity. The Deschutes is known to nip 70F from time to time. At night it cools back down though...64F in the am. Now the am sesh is where we had the action...maybe the cooler water turned them on. The landed fish came from a piece of water still shaded from the sun by a high cliff, while the hook-up was under bright skies. All fish ate streamers - essentially traditional steelhead ties. Much like saltwater fishing, you make lots of cast...but you don't strip the fly in.

Realistically you do not go to the Deschutes for numbers. It is all about the experience and the task of figuring these fish out. Oh yeah, lets not forget that you are surrounded by some amazing country and have the chance to catch a fish that has literally run the gauntlet.

The ribbon of blue.

Chucker country.

An understatement!

August 22, 2007 - PA Rains

What a difference a few weeks makes. It was not all that long ago that we were in a hot/dry pattern. Now it is downright cool and wet. All but the Endless Mountain region of PA has received a very beneficial soaker over the last few days. Even there though the streams are flowing well due to last week's rainfall. Just take a look at the USGS map to the right - all the blue and black dots indicate streams flowing in their top 10% of all-time regisitered flows for the date. No doubt, the angler who is able to get out in the next few days should be rewarded with some fantastic summertime fishing. Hit it now if you can.

August 14, 2007 - Upper D - West Branch

Tough fishing was the name of the game. But then again, what can you expect during mid-August. Daytime action was limited to blind-fishing the riffs with an iso dry along with a dropper, or you could go for the full-on nympher rig with lead and multiple flies. If you put in your time, and pounded every square inch of fishy looking water, you did bring fish to hand. Right now the key is to focus on the best water - don't waste your time in water that does not give up a fish in short order. They just might not be there. However, what is around in big numbers, are the suckers. They are all over, and readily eating nymphs. They strike like a trout, but quickly the tell-tale wet sock routine gives up their ID. It was like the early season sucker run on a Lake Erie trib. Overall the bugs were sparse.

Flies that produced... Iso/Nitro combo. The iso photo'ed to the right really did the trick. Numerous times while riding the seams and current edges it got smacked. The nitro as a dropper also fooled a handful. 18-20s.

Grant with a fish pose. Rubber lips.

Our revamped Iso. Pheasant tail body, with gold rib. Brown and dun hackle, with white poly wing.
Floats like a cork and is visable from a mile away.

August 6, 2007

One year ago we were in the heat and this year looks no different. Hopefully the trend does not last too long, since the low-water we currently have in place, will only just exacerbate the situation.

Take for instance Ridley Creek down here in SE PA. Last week a drive-by on Tuesday produced a water temp 76F in the fly stretch. Other than a few bluegills and one really big snapping turtle the water looked dead. Not one trout was observed. Sure some trout may be hunkered down near-to the seeps and at the mouth of the tribs and trickles, but is it wise management to have a special reg such as C&R on a stream like this?