Thursday, July 3, 2014

Oregon Spring Creek Fishing

The past 12-months I've done a good deal of spring creek fly fishing, most recently in Central Oregon.  You just can't beat it, the crystal clear turquoise water, lava rock substructure, deep cut banks, weed beds and a cornucopia of aquatic insects create optimal living conditions for trout.  Note: this is not the Williamson River which I posted on earlier, this is my little secret.!

Crane Prairie Rainbows and brook trout are planted regularly in this small Deschutes River spring tributary.  Redband Trout from the Deschutes River along with large brown trout migrate into the river system to spawn in the spring and fall respectively.  Some spawners stick around afterwards given the ideal habitat for trout coupled with an abundance of smaller trout to forage on.  Given it was June, I surmised that the fish above was one that stuck around.  The rainbow (below) is much more typical of what's in the river, though there are a few sections with rainbows in the 20-26" range, but these fish are incredibly difficult to approach let alone cast to or fool.

Oregon has many rivers and lakes designated Fly Fishing Only, not just barbless catch and release, but literally only open to fly fishing.  Moreover, they won't allow weight (i.e. split-shot) other than weight built into your fly, so you have to use silly "tool" flies as if they were AB shot to get your nymphs down.  Its one of the most asinine rules I've ever came across, I mean, if you're concerned with lead in the river, at least allow tin-shot. 
 Water is clear enough that if there were fish, you'd see them.  That said, don't underestimate the abundance of cover these lava beds afford the fish, they're riddled with ledges, caves and cut banks that go back several feet.  Each pool like the one above probably has a few large resident fish, the fact that you can't see them just means they're under cover.  Either wait until dusk when they come out to feed or during the day run a streamer or nymph under the cut banks and deep ledges, you may be surprised at what you find.
 The falls (pictured below) are about 8-10 feet high.  Believe it or not, fish can somehow make it up and over to reach spawning habitat in the upper river.  I'd suspect only the larger fish can clear these falls as a fish's ability to jump is in large part a function of their length, this is why they say that the  largest steelhead live in the roughest and swiftest rivers, its a form of natural selection.
 Below is a typical slick with a classic white sand bottom.  This particular run had 4 large fish up to 24".  Two hours of casting and changing out every fly and tippet I had resulted in one brief hookup but nothing to the net, but that's why I come, its the ultimate challenge!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that video-what a fight!

What type of camera mount did you use for your GoPro?

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