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Metolius River Report

January 31st, 2022

We have been out on the Metolius quite a bit over the last couple weeks.  Its been good.  Without the Lower Deschutes at Warm Springs as an option till April and "just not feeling it" at the Crooked due to off-color and low water, the Met has been the center of our attention.

Hatches of Blue-Wings have been consistent.  Most days you will see the first blue-wings popping off around 1230 or 1pm and roll till about 2pm.  Dark cloudy days help lengthen the hatch.  Fishing with emergers and adults can be good if you are in the right place (and right time).  A 4wt rod, a flask of your favorite spirit and a decent box of blue-wings and you'll be set for a good winter afternoon.  Some otters have been patrolling the river between Gorge and Allingham so if you're not finding any fish at least you'll have a reason to tell your buddies why you got skunked. 

Nymphing for trout and whitefish is good as the Euro Nymph gang continues to increase the catch rate.  Thread Frenchies, Jig Pheasant Tails, Blue Perdigons and the Walt's Worm are good patterns for winter. 

Bull trout fishing is very good. Angling pressure is pretty heavy.  Although we haven't been finding the "megas" we have been accustomed to over the last couple winter's, numbers have been good.  Streamer fishing is typically a little off in winter but it's producing well.  We fish the big stuff on 7 and 8 weight rods.  When you find a bull and the fish doesn't look at your fly (or even worse shies away), change it up or move on.  Streamer fishing is not flossing.  The aggressive take of a fish that really wants to eat is pretty cool and is something to work hard for.  

Nymphing for bulls is also good.  Stonefly and October caddis nymphs as well as larger Chironomid's will get eaten.   Best fishing occurs once the river warms up some.  Afternoons have been better than early mornings.  These big cold-blooded animals need a little warmth to get going. 

Metolius River Report

October 4th, 2021

October is really nice time to fish the Metolius River.  Whether you are targeting the bows or the bulls a day on the "Met" is never a day wasted.

Dry fly fishing is still good.  Focus on the afternoons for the highest odds of coming across a strong hatch.  Some smaller caddis, Blue Wing Olives, PMD's Mahogany Duns are in the mix.  Drakes are about over for the year but we still saw some late last week.  October Caddis are also important.  Pupa more than the adult dries but don't be surprised to get a few to eat the dry.

Nymphing is good with many different flies accounting for fish.  Finding fish and getting good presentations are often more important than anything else.   With that said, one of our favorite jig nymphs on the Metolius is the Sexy Walts fly.  It doesn't really look too imitative but it really hunts out there.

Bull trout fishing is good and getting better.  A fair amount of the larger bulls are just finishing up their spawn in small (off-limits) tributary streams and will work their way down the mainstem Metolius this month. This is streamer and egg season.  Eggs dominate the first half of the month and fade a bit as the kokanee spawn and start dying off.  If you ever wanted to land one of those monster bulls on a streamer you have the best 6 to 8 weeks ahead of you.  Flies imitating dying kokanee can really elicit an aggressive take from the river's large bulls.  Don't be afraid to toss really large flies in the 4 to 6" range. 7 or 8 weight rods are necessary to turn a big bull and cast the big and nasty flies.  A really good aggressive tapered fly line can also really help.  Our favorite is the Rio Outbound Short 

 

Metolius River Report

August 26th, 2021

The single best month to dry fly fish the Metolius is upon us.  Although hot summer days produce some shining moments, when the evenings cool in late August, the Metolius hatches go into overdrive and the fish respond. 

A well-stocked fly box and an observant angler make for a formidable duo.  As soon as you think you've solved the riddle new hatches spring up from the cold water.  The one trick pony will certainly find a few fish but there's no river anywhere that will test your patience and skill more than our favorite spring creek. 

Timing is also important.  Overall, the uninitiated angler often shows up and leaves too early on the Metolius.  These insects and fish are late sleepers and its OK for you to do the same. 

A recitation of all the hatches may take a bit but you should have the following:  PMD's in size 16 and 18, small Blue Wing Olives, Caddis from size 12 to 20 in several colors.  Don't forget the emerging stages. Drakes of lesser and greater variety are coming and occasionally outshine the more famous June emergence.  Little Olive Stones in size 16 and 18 are abundant and draw attention.  The elusive Willow Fly (aka Cascade Stone) is an uncommon but locally important large stonefly best imitated with big Skwala stone patterns.  Have some attractors, terrestrials Beetles and Ants mostly) and hoppers because its summer and they flat out work. 

Or, you could just Euro nymph but seriously that's just kinda weird when there's so many hatches and rising fish.  Or, you could chase some bulls around with the 7 or 8 weight. There are some bruisers present as they are headed to spawn.  Or you could throw dries for rising fish because its late summer.  

We have been fishing the new G Loomis IMX Pro Creek rod in the 7'9" 4 wt recently.  It is so fun.  It is seriously more capable than we first thought it would be.  You can throw nymphs on it but that's not its destiny.  Hooking and fighting fish on this little gem with dry flies is a summer highlight.  Matcing it up with a little click and pawl reel is perfection. 

Metolius River Report

June 11th, 2021

June is an excellent dry fly month on the Metolius. The lead player is the famous Green Drake hatch.  Drakes like to hatch best on cloudy or rainy days but sunny days will still have respectable hatches. Drakes most often hatch from 3 to 5pm on the Metolius but occasionally you will see some pop a little early.  Our most popular drake is the Nealley's Green Drake which is tied comparadun style.  You should also carry an assortment of Paradrakes, cripples and emerger styles.  Not every fish will eat your first choice.

Other key hatches to be ready for include the PMD's, Caddis of various sizes and colors and Blue Wing Olives. Just like the drakes, you should have different stages of such as emergers and spinners. 

Nymphing will always produce.  Carry some Lex's Improved Golden Stones, Guide's Choice Hare's ears and Pheasant Tails.  Modern jig style flies are gaining in popularity.  We like the HDA Fav, Pearl & Orange and Thread Frenchies on the Metolius.

Metolius River Report

May 29th, 2021

Memorial Weekend typically kicks off one of the more popular and productive hatches on the Metolius: The Green Drake Hatch.

This hatch started a couple weeks ago on the lower river and has been building momentum.  The peak is over the next 3 to 4 weeks and is usually done by the end of June. Midday around 3 to 5pm is usually best and its a pretty popular time to fish on the river so find a good spot and be ready at the right time.  When picking out Drakes make sure to have several different bugs as they can get quite picky.  Once they have refused your fly either clean up your presentation (aka bring your A-game) or change flies.

Of course there are several other big hatches going on namely PMD's and caddis so don't put all your marbles in the Drake basket.  

Nymphing is good.  Soft Hackle Jig Pheasant Tails, Duracells, Perdigons and tradtional indicator rigs with small stoneflies can find some willing participants.

There are some bull trout being caught.  Mostly nymphing the larger October Caddis or stonefly nymphs but some streamer-eating fish too. Low light is a much more effective time to get a bull to eat a streamer especially in summer.

Metolius River Report

April 17th, 2021

April is a real up and down month on the Metolius for the bulls and the bows.  The higher sun angle seems to move the fish around and out of their winter lies. 

Hatches also are inconsistent but be ready for almost anything.  Dry fly fishing is also inconsistent.  But like all rewarding fishing, you must put the time in on this river for you to reap its rewards.  Enjoy the process, move around and fish waters you may not have had success in before.  The famous hatches of summer are coming but now is a good time to find some new pieces of water that hold promise for later.  Use a Chubby Dropper program to search and cover water efficiently.  Use a small chubby (it will get a few eats here and there) and use a size 14 or 16 Jig Fly below it.  3 feet of 5x fluorocarbon is a good depth.  Obviously adjust as needed.   Which color and model of fly you use is less important than how you fish it.  If pressed, we'd say a Thread Frenchie, Walt's Worm (tied by Fulling Mill its called the SOB-Czech) and a Pearl & Orange are as good as any.  All of these are tied on jig hooks and have tungsten slotted beads.  Remember, its better to take 1 cast in 100 different spots than 100 casts in 1 spot when searching. 

If chasing bulls right now there are some large ones lingering.  Most have seen it all and seen it all many times.  But the big fellas gotta eat.  Try fishing early and late when the light is low if you know where they live.  If hunting for the first time or haven't spotted them before it might be good to fish when its bright so that you can gain confidence in their location.  If they aren't willing to eat at that moment hit 'em when its lower light.  Streamers are working but your'e gonna need to put the time in.  Nymphing is a little more consistent. October Caddis Pupa get it done. Egg patterns and stoneflies also find paydirt.  

Metolius River Report

March 6th, 2021

Everyday is a new day on our area's most famous spring creek.  One day will find you in the middle of rising fish slurping blue wing olives, the next day it will warm up and you will have emerging caddis being hunted down subsurface by trout craving the larger meal.  And if you aren't too lucky you will hit one of those days when nothing seems to be happening.  That's the Metolius and you have to be prepared to lose a few battles to succeed out there.

Overall its been a good winter of fishing with a definite spike in angling traffic from previous years.  Many different angling tactics are being employed while some are looking for dry fly only opportunity while others are hucking the big stuff for the resident bulls. Whatever floats your boat just try to leave the place better than you found it and pass on proper etiquette to all you come in contact with.  Its a special place and we will need to be special stewards for it to remain so.

Metolius River Report

January 19th, 2021

Awfully nice weather for January has us fishing the Metolius quite a bit this winter. Of course we could join others to fish for the behemoth bulls but its refreshing to target the native bows also.  Hatches are consistent around 1pm on most days and will last for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Expect blue-wing olives to be the main bug but some yellow maylfies are making appearances also.  Its really a treat to be able to throw dries in January but with the short window of opportunity you need to be in the right position and ready.  Whether you use 5x or 6x is up to you but try to get nice short drifts over the fish.  If the fish you are targeting will not eat your fly reassess your angle of approach or change the fly.  Emerger patterns are often the ticket on this river and a Film Critic or Gould's Shuckoff are two good ones.

When not confronted by rising fish its typically nymphing time and we remain committed to the Chubby Dropper system even out here.  You probably won't catch any fish on the Chubby in January but its right angle drop to the Jig fly is super effective. Use 5x fluoro to the tungsten jig fly.  For flies we are using Firestarters, Roza's Pink Tag Jig and the SOB-Czech (Walt's Worm) with good success.  You would also do well with a New Zealand Indicator.  Euro Nymphing also continues to grow in popularity out here, and for good reason; you will catch more fish.  Best fishing will be from 11am to 3pm most days on the nymph stick.  

 

Metolius River Report

November 28th, 2020

Short days and colder nights are here but brief windows of good dry fly fishing on the Metolius exist.  Small blue-wings are going to get gobbled up for an hour or so most days.  Use a #18 and #20's and have a few different stages, with emergers being very important.  The Quigley's Film Critic is one of our "go-to" patterns on that river.

Nymphing is good and the windows of success are a little longer than fishing dries.  Small pheasant tails are always good and its a good idea to have beadhead and tradtional non-beadhead for different water types.

Bull trout fishing is good but it did seem that the kokanee run was smaller this year so maybe some of the lake run fish will head back sooner than the last few years.   Large streamers are going to get smashed if you can find fish that are not being pressured every day.  

Metolius River Report

November 4th, 2020

Getting towards the end of the annual kokanee run on the Metolius with Bull Trout looking for the last Kokanee McNuggets of the year.  Bulls will hunt down kokanee that are dead or dying this time of year so pull out the 7 or 8 wt. rod and chuck some meat.  Of course, you can fish an egg pattern or nymph but getting a big ol' bull to eat a large streamer is awesome.  Fish heavy leader, 15 pound is about right and look for runs below where kokanee spawned.  They often eat on one of the first casts and usually don't eat if something looks wrong.

Rainbow trout fishing is decent on dries and good on nymphs.  Blue wing olives will be the dominant hatch  If you are headhunting look for midday to be best with very limited activity before 11am.  Nymphing with jig flies, small stonefly nymphs (we like the Lex's Improved Stone) and pheasant tails will get some fish below the surface.

Metolius River Report

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.

 

 

Metolius River Report


October 1st, 2020

October is the real kickoff for good bull trout fishing on the Metolius. Of course, bulls are available all year but they are on the prowl right now. Bulls are looking for eggs coming from the spawning kokanee, and as the month progresses, the kokanee themself. If you want to catch a bull make sure you bring the right tool for the job. Your 5 wt. is not the right tool for the job. Look at bringing a 7wt. rod with a head heavy line(the Rio Outbound Short or SA Titan Taper are great) to help turnover the large streamers needed to entice a bull. Bulls are often"hiding in plain sight" and are usually hanging near their food sources. Don't pass up shallow water and dropoffs downstream of shallow water this time of year if kokanee are in the area. We use a Black/White Dolly Llama in size 2 as it's a good place to start but if you are creative fly tyer don't be afraid to "Go Big" with the flies. Generally, dead-drifted flies are going to work best but as the kokanee start to die off you can be more aggressive with your presentations in stripping and making the fly look like an erratic zombie kokanee. Bulls are just like any other predator. They notice when another animal is struggling and will take advantage. It's your job to make the fly tell a compelling story and make the fish buy your story.

Metolius River Report


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.

 

Metolius River Report

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.

 

Metolius River Report

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.

 

Metolius River Report

June 18, 2020

We are at about the 6th inning of the Great Green Drake hatch on the Metolius. Although the PMD's seem to steal the show some days, the Green Drake is the main draw and will go for another week to 10 days. Remember, the Drake doesn't need to hatch in the thousands to get Metolius bows to look for them. Drakes must be very tasty as the trout seem to relish every opportunity to pluck them off the surface. Most of the best feeding will occur from about 3 to 5pm every day so don't feel the need to rush out of the house. Slow roll, take a hike first, come up with a game plan, have an RPM IPA and be at the right spot and patiently wait for the first Drakes to make an appearance. Make the cast and set the hook. Admire the beauty of a Metolius trout.

5x leader and tippet is usually enough to fool and land the nicer trout on the Metolius. 6x is popular too but if you are fishing a modern fast action rod you will need to be Cool Hand Luke on the hook set...or have another RPM and slow those reflexes down a bit.

Flies to bring for the Green Drake hatch include the Green Paradrake, Lucent-Wing Drake and the Carnage Green Drake. For the PMD's bring some Stalcup's Winger PMD's, PMD cripples and the Sparkle Dun is size 16 and 18. As usual, Purple Haze's are never a bad ideal to bring along.

Nymphing is gaining in popularity on the Metolius with the increasing use of Tungsten Jig flies. Look for shallow water with dropoffs below and you will find plenty of mighty whities and trout looking for a meal.