October 22nd, 2020
Guest report writer: Ron Romeis
The last 2 weeks has been unusually productive on our favorite waters. Everyone knows that the Metolius River is tough. According to one well known blogger, there’s no need to fish there, because there are no fish in the river. Right!. Well ,on one day recently, there was a good reason to fish there. A former guide and friend, who happens to also be a single digit handicap golfer, suggested we try the Metolius River. This time of year can produce prolific hatches and often really good dry fly fishing. We decided to try the afternoon hatch and hit the river a little before noon. As we approached a well known spot on the river, there were some trout rising in the middle of the river. As that spot has been described as a frustrating venue, we gave them a few casts, but soon decided to move on to another spot, hoping it would be available this late in the day. Luckily, our spot was open so we each took a position on opposite sides of a big eddy in the river.
It didn’t take long to realize this day was certainly going to be different. My friend only made a couple casts before connecting with a very healthy 16 inch redside. Encouraged, I searched my side of the big eddy and soon connected with a very nice fish on a Deveaux style dry. It was only the beginning. Before our afternoon session was complete, we had landed 12 fish between us and had several drive-by misses and refusals. The fish had eaten dry flies, emergers, and soft hackles. By far, our best day ever in that spot on that river.
Well, a few days later we had one of those warm wet fronts move in. It was mid-week so I was certain If I arrived early, I could hit my spot and the weather would be ideal for the afternoon hatches. As expected, I arrived at the parking area in a steady drizzle. I was able wader up and headed up the trail without another fisherman in sight. As soon as I arrived at the spot, a steady rain began to fall, so I hunkered down and planned to wait it out. The rain did ease up and everything was working as I had planned, except there were no fish rising in the pool. I waited patiently for a hatch to begin, and I waited longer. Finally, I spotted a feeding fish, but the hatch just never materialized. Several other guys eventually came by and saw that someone had beaten them to the well known spot. I did finally connect with what appeared to be a very strong fish. Playing the fish carefully with my size 18 fly and 5x tippet, the fish made several strong runs in the heavy current. But, to my chagrin, when the fish was finally close at hand, I discovered he had been foul hooked and the fly pulled loose.
Despite my well planned approach to the day, things just didn’t come close to the last time in the spot. The Metolius had apparently returned to its normal behavior. Every now and then you can have one of those days you’ll long remember. But, it was a different day, and it was certainly a different outcome. But, I’ll be back, those fish are still there and maybe next time they’ll be looking up.
September 7th, 2020
The Lionshead Fire is growing rapidly and has forced the closure of all the campgrounds along the Metolius River. Now is not a good time to fish or access the river.
September 2nd, 2020
September is a great time to try your hand on the Metolius. With a myriad of hatches brought upon by the coming Fall, now is a good time to put some time in out there. Of course, you will have quite a few other anglers, as well as hikers and campers around, but the chance of finding rising fish for much of the day exists. Hatches include the end of the Golden Stone hatches on the upper river, the unique Willow Fly ( a large bodied short-wing stone) found on the middle and lower river, hoppers in the canyon, Little Olive Stones in size 16 or 18, Caddis, and an assortment of mayflies from Drakes to PMD's. Bring all your flies because they won't do you any good at home or the car. It will be pretty hot there this week but with the lower sun angle now the fishing can still be pretty good even midday.
Nymphing is good for the native rainbows and whitefish especially before the hatches and streamer fishing for the migrating bulls can be good if you pick the right spots. Kokanee will start showing up in about 3 weeks and the streamer fishing can be outstanding after that.
August 13th, 2020
Evenings are best on the Metolius right now. Quite a few different things are on the menu with some caddis, assorted mayfly hatches and evening mayfly spinner falls. Just like most rivers in Central Oregon, the hatches are fairly sparse and trout feeding activity light in the heat of the day. However, as shade starts to form when the sun dips to the west over the pines, bugs start to make an appearance and the trout notice. It's a great place to be when the feeding activity concentrates in just a few hours each evening. Some flies to bring to the Metolius in the next 2 weeks include: Purple Haze #16-18, Quigley's Film Critic #16-18, Clark's Stone #10, Tan Sparkle Pupa #18, Rusty Spinner #16-18, and X2 Caddis #16. A small fly box with these flies, your favorite 4 or 5wt, some 5x and a good attitude are what you need for a great Central Oregon night out on the Metolius.