Best spots for beginner fly fishing

B
brokencoastal
Hey everyone! I just picked up fly fishing last month, and I am already super addicted to it. I live in Portland and having a blast hiking around the coast range and fishing on the Wilson. I've been using a 3wt rod per a friend's suggestion but also picked up a 5wt as I have ambitions to try out some bigger rivers like the Deschutes.

Any rivers or streams you recommend for beginners on a 3wt?

I have a couple of days off mid-week and was planning to camp and fish somewhere. My first thoughts were to camp at the Deschutes River Recreation Area and bike up the rail trail, and fish from there. The trail goes for 21 miles and seems like a good place to get in some bigger water without getting in anyone's way.

I'd also love some recommendations for getting some lessons as well. Know of anyone that is good with beginners?

Thanks in advance. It's been great digging through all the information on this forum!
 
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DOKF
DOKF
Deschutes is big water for a beginner. Be careful! Other than that, great place to learn.

A guide might help you with some initial tips. You might also spend some time on smaller streams to get the hang of drifting the offerings.
 
O. mykiss
O. mykiss
I would start with coastal streams chasing coastal cutthroat trout. The are aggressive and willing biters. Fly fishing can be challenging so fishing for trout that are aggressive will help you get your confidence up
 
B
brokencoastal
O. mykiss said:
I would start with coastal streams chasing coastal cutthroat trout. The are aggressive and willing biters. Fly fishing can be challenging so fishing for trout that are aggressive will help you get your confidence up
Thanks! I've been loving the Wilson River. I think I'll check out the Alsea in a few days as it seems like everyone is buzzing about it at the moment.
 
B
brokencoastal
DOKF said:
Deschutes is big water for a beginner. Be careful! Other than that, great place to learn.

A guide might help you with some initial tips. You might also spend some time on smaller streams to get the hang of drifting the offerings.
Thanks!
 
Echskech
Echskech
Broken Coastal, what's up. Welcome to flyfishing! This sport kicks ass.
I'm in Hillsboro and fish the Tillimook tribbs often. You'll probably see a rush of SRC soon as they spawn and prep for eating salmon eggs.
As for systems, check the Trask R. It's super fishy.
Deschutes is big water but big fish.

Questions: do you have chest waders? Do you fish dry or wet flies?

I like helping my friends get better with the fly rod so, if you ever want to meet up on the water just hit me with a DM.
 
Raincatcher
Raincatcher
Best fly fishing is the stream, lake, pond or river you can get to the most often to learn as much as you can. Not many are willing to give up their honey hole. It's more of an earn the right thing with most.
 
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TheKnigit
TheKnigit
Welcome to the addiction that is fly fishing. It has been several years since I have fished around the Portland area to really be able to comment on good spots. I will second Raincatcher's comment on fishing wherever and whenever you can. Time on the water is always worth it, whether or not you are pulling in fish. Try and match the hatch as closely as you can. Not just in size or color, but drift patterns as well. If you see rising fish, don't land your fly directly on top of them, but rather off to the side or so that your fly drifts down through where the fish are feeding.
 
B
brokencoastal
Echskech said:
Broken Coastal, what's up. Welcome to flyfishing! This sport kicks ass.
I'm in Hillsboro and fish the Tillimook tribbs often. You'll probably see a rush of SRC soon as they spawn and prep for eating salmon eggs.
As for systems, check the Trask R. It's super fishy.
Deschutes is big water but big fish.

Questions: do you have chest waders? Do you fish dry or wet flies?

I like helping my friends get better with the fly rod so, if you ever want to meet up on the water just hit me with a DM.
I'll def take you up on that! I picked up some Waders and Boots the other day. Yesterday I went out to the Wilson, and what a game changer it is. I've been using a 3wt and got another one so I can have two setups.

I saw some bigger fish yesterday and really want to figure out how to target those. I imagine there much smarter.
 
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GungasUncle
GungasUncle
Gales Creek, along Hwy 6 headed toward Tillamook. Unless its changed in the last two years since I moved to Texas, its open year round, fly & lure only regs. Start fishing at Dorman's Pond (junction of Hwy 6 and 8) - you can walk down stream to the bridge where 6 crosses it - there's a great hole right under that bridge, and you can wade fish for a long way upstream.

The next place is Gales Creek Campground about 10-15 minutes further west. The campground *gate* closes in the winter, but there's a big wide area you can park without blocking the gate and walk down the road to the campground and access the stream. Fish it downstream or upstream - LOTS of great water to fish.

Creek is loaded with cutthroats. One of the nicest fish I'd taken from the creek in years was 50 feet downstream from the bridge in the campground, Czech nymphing a team of soft hackles & simple caddis patterns.

There's some much deeper holes both down stream and upstream of the campground that is great to run a streamer through. Aggressive takes.

Take lots of water / gatorade and a lunch. Make sure you have good slip resistant wading boots - I'm a big fan of felts still, even though a lot of people are switching to rubber soles. Slipping and falling on your head sucks.

Gales Creek is PERFECT 3 weight water. Your 5 weight will work, but the 3 weight is great for that stream. Its not real huge, you dont' need to make 40-50 foot casts but there are places you CAN make such casts.

Another stream I really liked to fish is the Youngs River above the falls - it was one of the first coastal rivers to open to year round angling. Access it off Hwy 26 near Seaside, its a little bit of a drive in, but last time I was up there was in a compact sedan, you dont' need a truck to get there unless its snowy. Its another small stream that doesn't require long, technical casts or drifts to get into fish. Don't expect monsters up there, but you WILL catch some fish.

IF you can afford the drive - the Deschutes is a great place to exercise your 5 weight. You do NOT need to make huge casts to catch fish. I hooked up with a steelhead on a 20' cast, fishing for trout the last time I fished it. If you can throw a nymph rig, you'll catch fish on the D. If there's bugs on top - so much the better, you can get your dry fly game on. Don't be afraid to fish a streamer either - people say the Deschutes fish are not meat eaters - they dunno what they're talking about, or they're lying to you trying to keep the secret for themselves. Woolly buggers catch a lot of Deschutes fish.

Its another fishery that is open year round, and late season fishing can be epic.

The Metolius is another river with year-round fishing - its also one of the only places you can legally target bull trout. Take a heavier rod for them - 7 or 8 weight, throw big meaty Kelly Galloup streamer patterns. Otherwise - nymph with your 5 weight. The Met is a gorgeous river.

If you make it out east, the Grande Ronde River is another one your 5 weight would be great on. Open year round.

If you really venture east - do yourself a favor and fish the Owyhee River. Take everything - nymphs, dries, streamers. Some nice browns to be found in addition to rainbows.
 
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B
brokencoastal
GungasUncle said:
Gales Creek, along Hwy 6 headed toward Tillamook. Unless its changed in the last two years since I moved to Texas, its open year round, fly & lure only regs. Start fishing at Dorman's Pond (junction of Hwy 6 and 8) - you can walk down stream to the bridge where 6 crosses it - there's a great hole right under that bridge, and you can wade fish for a long way upstream.

The next place is Gales Creek Campground about 10-15 minutes further west. The campground *gate* closes in the winter, but there's a big wide area you can park without blocking the gate and walk down the road to the campground and access the stream. Fish it downstream or upstream - LOTS of great water to fish.

Creek is loaded with cutthroats. One of the nicest fish I'd taken from the creek in years was 50 feet downstream from the bridge in the campground, Czech nymphing a team of soft hackles & simple caddis patterns.

There's some much deeper holes both down stream and upstream of the campground that is great to run a streamer through. Aggressive takes.

Take lots of water / gatorade and a lunch. Make sure you have good slip resistant wading boots - I'm a big fan of felts still, even though a lot of people are switching to rubber soles. Slipping and falling on your head sucks.

Gales Creek is PERFECT 3 weight water. Your 5 weight will work, but the 3 weight is great for that stream. Its not real huge, you dont' need to make 40-50 foot casts but there are places you CAN make such casts.

Another stream I really liked to fish is the Youngs River above the falls - it was one of the first coastal rivers to open to year round angling. Access it off Hwy 26 near Seaside, its a little bit of a drive in, but last time I was up there was in a compact sedan, you dont' need a truck to get there unless its snowy. Its another small stream that doesn't require long, technical casts or drifts to get into fish. Don't expect monsters up there, but you WILL catch some fish.

IF you can afford the drive - the Deschutes is a great place to exercise your 5 weight. You do NOT need to make huge casts to catch fish. I hooked up with a steelhead on a 20' cast, fishing for trout the last time I fished it. If you can throw a nymph rig, you'll catch fish on the D. If there's bugs on top - so much the better, you can get your dry fly game on. Don't be afraid to fish a streamer either - people say the Deschutes fish are not meat eaters - they dunno what they're talking about, or they're lying to you trying to keep the secret for themselves. Woolly buggers catch a lot of Deschutes fish.

Its another fishery that is open year round, and late season fishing can be epic.

The Metolius is another river with year-round fishing - its also one of the only places you can legally target bull trout. Take a heavier rod for them - 7 or 8 weight, throw big meaty Kelly Galloup streamer patterns. Otherwise - nymph with your 5 weight. The Met is a gorgeous river.

If you make it out east, the Grande Ronde River is another one your 5 weight would be great on. Open year round.

If you really venture east - do yourself a favor and fish the Owyhee River. Take everything - nymphs, dries, streamers. Some nice browns to be found in addition to rainbows.
GungasUncle said:
Gales Creek, along Hwy 6 headed toward Tillamook. Unless its changed in the last two years since I moved to Texas, its open year round, fly & lure only regs. Start fishing at Dorman's Pond (junction of Hwy 6 and 8) - you can walk down stream to the bridge where 6 crosses it - there's a great hole right under that bridge, and you can wade fish for a long way upstream.

The next place is Gales Creek Campground about 10-15 minutes further west. The campground *gate* closes in the winter, but there's a big wide area you can park without blocking the gate and walk down the road to the campground and access the stream. Fish it downstream or upstream - LOTS of great water to fish.

Creek is loaded with cutthroats. One of the nicest fish I'd taken from the creek in years was 50 feet downstream from the bridge in the campground, Czech nymphing a team of soft hackles & simple caddis patterns.

There's some much deeper holes both down stream and upstream of the campground that is great to run a streamer through. Aggressive takes.

Take lots of water / gatorade and a lunch. Make sure you have good slip resistant wading boots - I'm a big fan of felts still, even though a lot of people are switching to rubber soles. Slipping and falling on your head sucks.

Gales Creek is PERFECT 3 weight water. Your 5 weight will work, but the 3 weight is great for that stream. Its not real huge, you dont' need to make 40-50 foot casts but there are places you CAN make such casts.

Another stream I really liked to fish is the Youngs River above the falls - it was one of the first coastal rivers to open to year round angling. Access it off Hwy 26 near Seaside, its a little bit of a drive in, but last time I was up there was in a compact sedan, you dont' need a truck to get there unless its snowy. Its another small stream that doesn't require long, technical casts or drifts to get into fish. Don't expect monsters up there, but you WILL catch some fish.

IF you can afford the drive - the Deschutes is a great place to exercise your 5 weight. You do NOT need to make huge casts to catch fish. I hooked up with a steelhead on a 20' cast, fishing for trout the last time I fished it. If you can throw a nymph rig, you'll catch fish on the D. If there's bugs on top - so much the better, you can get your dry fly game on. Don't be afraid to fish a streamer either - people say the Deschutes fish are not meat eaters - they dunno what they're talking about, or they're lying to you trying to keep the secret for themselves. Woolly buggers catch a lot of Deschutes fish.

Its another fishery that is open year round, and late season fishing can be epic.

The Metolius is another river with year-round fishing - its also one of the only places you can legally target bull trout. Take a heavier rod for them - 7 or 8 weight, throw big meaty Kelly Galloup streamer patterns. Otherwise - nymph with your 5 weight. The Met is a gorgeous river.

If you make it out east, the Grande Ronde River is another one your 5 weight would be great on. Open year round.

If you really venture east - do yourself a favor and fish the Owyhee River. Take everything - nymphs, dries, streamers. Some nice browns to be found in addition to rainbows.
Thank you for all the info! I've actually explored Gales Creek at the campground. The water was super low but I saw some potential for sure! I've been having great luck on the Upper Clackamas and parts of the Wilson. With most rivers closing on the 31st I am hoping to do some more exploring! Thanks for all the recommendations and lately I've been using Streamers with huge success!
 
M
mattsavage
brokencoastal said:
Thank you for all the info! I've actually explored Gales Creek at the campground. The water was super low but I saw some potential for sure! I've been having great luck on the Upper Clackamas and parts of the Wilson. With most rivers closing on the 31st I am hoping to do some more exploring! Thanks for all the recommendations and lately I've been using Streamers with huge success!
I just got in to fly fishing this year as well... The upper clack kills it, trout in the 14"-18" range on the regular. Usually on the euro nymph rod, but some dry action. the upper upper clack and collawash had really good action on the smaller trout as well. can't wait for it to reopen next year.
in regards to lessons, if you're interested in picking up the euronymph style, I went through Portland fly shop, a guy named Devon. Fishing dries is fun, but if you want to catch a lot of fish, bigger fish, euronymphing is where its at... ;)
 
B
brokencoastal
I wanted to update everyone on my progress and share my findings with other newcomers. Since posting this, I've fished the Upper Clackamas, Wilson, Trask, Middle Fork Willamette, Oak Groove, Gales Creek, Sandy River, Nestucca, Lower Deschutes, and a few awesome rivers in B.C. Canada.

I enjoyed fishing the Wilson for its ease of access and endless pullouts along the highway. All the fish I was catching were pretty small except for a nice cutthroat here and there. I had some breakthroughs on the Upper Clackamas, catching some large trout for me (12-14") I also liked how quiet it was though the access to spots was few and far between. I discovered the Trask late into the season, and it is my new favorite spot. A little further drive, but the fishing is amazing.

This weekend I am either off to the Deschutes or the Middle Fork open year-round for trout. Cheers everyone
 
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DOKF
DOKF
Which streams in BC were you lucky enough to visit? I am a BC transplant; so just curious.
 
M
mattsavage
brokencoastal said:
I wanted to update everyone on my progress and share my findings with other newcomers. Since posting this, I've fished the Upper Clackamas, Wilson, Trask, Middle Fork Willamette, Oak Groove, Gales Creek, Sandy River, Nestucca, Lower Deschutes, and a few awesome rivers in B.C. Canada.

I enjoyed fishing the Wilson for its ease of access and endless pullouts along the highway. All the fish I was catching were pretty small except for a nice cutthroat here and there. I had some breakthroughs on the Upper Clackamas, catching some large trout for me (12-14") I also liked how quiet it was though the access to spots was few and far between. I discovered the Trask late into the season, and it is my new favorite spot. A little further drive, but the fishing is amazing.

This weekend I am either off to the Deschutes or the Middle Fork open year-round for trout. Cheers everyone
Did you make it to the deschutes this weekend? I was tempted to head there or the mckenzie, but didn't really want to deal with subfreezing camping and the dogs, in and out of the water all day.

I have yet to fish the deschutes, one of these days i'll get there.
 
B
brokencoastal
DOKF said:
Which streams in BC were you lucky enough to visit? I am a BC transplant; so just curious.
I just got back from Fernie. A big storm rolled in, but I still managed to fish the Elk River. Solo in sub-20 degree weather. I got the biggest cutthroat of my very short fishing career! I also did a little bit of fishing outside Whistler, B.C. while I was there this summer. We go to Fernie a couple of times a year to visit friends so looking forward to going back in the warmer months.
 
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B
brokencoastal
mattsavage said:
Did you make it to the deschutes this weekend? I was tempted to head there or the mckenzie, but didn't really want to deal with subfreezing camping and the dogs, in and out of the water all day.

I have yet to fish the deschutes, one of these days i'll get there.
I ended up going out to Oakridge to Mountain Bike and fish the Middle Fork. It was freezing. I fished the morning and got one fish but not a single bite after. In the later afternoon, I managed to catch a really nice-sized trout but again that was the only bite. I am headed to the Deschutes this weekend to camp and check out the river near Madras.
 
DOKF
DOKF
brokencoastal said:
I just got back from Fernie. A big storm rolled in, but I still managed to fish the Elk River. Solo in sub-20 degree weather. I got the biggest cutthroat of my very short fishing career! I also did a little bit of fishing outside Whistler, B.C. while I was there this summer. We go to Fernie a couple of times a year to visit friends so looking forward to going back in the warmer months.
I lived in Sparwood for a while. Fished the Elk almost daily, with frequent weekend excursions to the the Crowsnest and Bow. Also fished a lot on Vancouver Island, Squamish, and Abbottsford. Fond memories! Burnt up several graphite reels pulling in big chinook, but mostly targeted trout, steelhead, westslope cutts, coastal cutts, and coho.
 
Casting Call
Casting Call
brokencoastal said:
I wanted to update everyone on my progress and share my findings with other newcomers. Since posting this, I've fished the Upper Clackamas, Wilson, Trask, Middle Fork Willamette, Oak Groove, Gales Creek, Sandy River, Nestucca, Lower Deschutes, and a few awesome rivers in B.C. Canada.

I enjoyed fishing the Wilson for its ease of access and endless pullouts along the highway. All the fish I was catching were pretty small except for a nice cutthroat here and there. I had some breakthroughs on the Upper Clackamas, catching some large trout for me (12-14") I also liked how quiet it was though the access to spots was few and far between. I discovered the Trask late into the season, and it is my new favorite spot. A little further drive, but the fishing is amazing.

This weekend I am either off to the Deschutes or the Middle Fork open year-round for trout. Cheers everyone
The Trask Is a very nice hatchery lane. Tony
 
B
brokencoastal
DOKF said:
I lived in Sparwood for a while. Fished the Elk almost daily, with frequent weekend excursions to the the Crowsnest and Bow. Also fished a lot on Vancouver Island, Squamish, and Abbottsford. Fond memories! Burnt up several graphite reels pulling in big chinook, but mostly targeted trout, steelhead, westslope cutts, coastal cutts, and coho.
That's awesome! I am looking forward to going back there in Spring!
 
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