Suggestions on fly fishing vaca in Or – travel routes and waters...


Spokane Rick

New member
New guy, here, first post!:)

I’ve been fly fishing for most of my life, mostly the streams of Montana and Idaho, and have never wet a line in Or.
This year my wife and I are dragging our camp trailer to Netarts on the coast (she needs to see the beach), and then spending 10 days cruising back east, then to the 97, and then north to where HWY 97 meets the Columbia in Biggs.
From my research, there seems to be endless camping and fishing opportunities. I’m looking for travel destination/fly fishing suggestions. I’d love to travel a day and fish for a day, travel and fish. Maybe stay 2 days, or even 3 if there are opportunities in driving distance. Here’s some more data:
  • Most of my fishing has been on relatively smaller/medium streams, mostly isolated, trout only. My heaviest rod is a 6wt. I’ve never fished for Steelies.
  • Wading small streams is my love, but I enjoy drifting in my pontoon in larger waters (Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Yakima sized).
  • I’d rather catch a few 10-15” trout on dries than catch more larger fish plunking nymphs, but I’m happy to do what it takes. I don’t mind small fish if I’m alone on the stream.
  • We are traveling middle to end of August (worst time?). We’re 60 and will plug in our RV when camping (if you call it that).
If you were me, what route would you travel and where would you fish along the way? Obviously, I’ll hit the Deschutes at some point (I think it’s illegal to drive along it and not wet a fly. 😊 )
Thank you for any suggestions!
Want to give me tips, but not on a public forum? Email: ricklovesp@gmail.com.
Rick
 
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4labs

Active member
If your on Hwy 97 then your in the best spots in OR to fly fish. Especially if you have a pontoon.
The Deschutes is legendary but does get crowed in Aug and a lot of hiking will get you away from most.
If it were just for a couple of days I would camp at East Lake or Paulina but Aug will be packed since kok fishing will be in full swing. There are some places to stay if you can dry camp before the main entrance to the lake. East lake can produce 100+ fish days for fly fisherman and great scenery. Also Crane Prairie is a legend for fish over 23" Wickiup should have plenty of camp spots since fishing may be pretty bad.
Bring a spin pole also koks aren't that far out and jigging will produce
 
Good dry fly prospects:
The Fall river
Upper Deschutes (above bend)
Any river or stream within 20 miles of Oakridge
Upper Santiam (above Detroit res.) LOTS of fish, smallish

Farther away:
Donner and Blitzen ( could be the best fishing in the state)
Owyhee River below the Owyhee Reservoir ( on my bucket list, hear great things about it)
Wallowa river is great fishing and the surrounding creeks are fun.

Don’t even get me going on my fav Montana and Idaho streams.................

BB
 

Irishrover

Well-known member
Moderator
If you have the opportunity to veer off hwy 97 and cut over toward Prineville follow hwy 27 along the Crooked River to mile post 12 to 18 is just what you are looking for medium sized trout and plenty of them. Best when the water flow is at least 75 cfs. Plenty of places to camp and awesome scenery. For dry flies I like Callibaetis Compara-dun, I also tie this in an all black pattern and it has worked for me on that river. For nymphs I like the pheasant tail. I wade to the center of the river and cast back into the cut bank. One thing about this river is that it is always a bit off color. Don't let that bother you the fish are used to it. I've only seen a couple of rattle snakes over there, they are not really a problem.

Another place is the Metolius, a central Oregon gem off hwy 20 go north on Forest road 14. It is a lot more clear than the Crooked. If you come over to 97 on hwy 20 check out the McKinzie, another great trout stream. The Deschutes turns into big water below Warm Springs but there are many bank spots to access the river. You should find plenty of places to fish. What is your time frame?
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
  • We are traveling middle to end of August (worst time?). We’re 60 and will plug in our RV when camping (if you call it that).
If you were me, what route would you travel and where would you fish along the way? Obviously, I’ll hit the Deschutes at some point (I think it’s illegal to drive along it and not wet a fly. 😊 )
Welcome of OFF. I hope that you have a splendid time in our state.

Those are two of funniest comments ever!!! ROTFL!

I will defer to Irish Rover: he covered all of the skinny.

Good luck and tight lines. Let us know how you do and please share some pics.
 

wils

Active member
If youre dropping down to the 20 to cross over to the 97 then - as mentioned previously - the Metolius just west of Sisters is a "go to" campground & fly fishing spot. The clear waters & surrounding scenery is postcard-material. google has plenty of info.
 

Irishrover

Well-known member
Moderator
OK cleaned off my glasses and saw that.;) 'We are traveling middle to end of August (worst time?). We’re 60 and will plug in our RV when camping (if you call it that)."

The Crooked is all BLM no electricity, August it could be hot and not sure about the CFS. Metolius and Fall Rivers are better bet for that time of year. If you have the time it could be fun to go with a guide down the Deschutes in a drift boat. The lower Deschutes around Maupin can be full of rafters watch out for that.

When you leave Netarts you have options of which way you want to go, but head toward I-5 and near Salem get on Hwy 20. On that route you could check out the North Santiam River. On Hwy 20 near Clear lake you can take Hwy 126 down the McKenzie, back on Hwy 20 go east to the Metolius and further east to Hwy 97 and the Deschutes.
 
The Metolious is a BEAUTIFUL river with ample camping opertunities, a tough tough nut to crack if your looking to dri fly fish there.. been skunked on dries there many times. Gin clear and wise trout. Be sure to to go to the place where it bubbles up out of the ground, a few miles upstream of Camp Sherman. Kind of a cool place to visit.

Like I said in previous post, the upper Santiam River fisher well, just smallish fish.

Crooked river is good, Water conditions in August can be challenging, I’ve always fished it in winter. The Upper Deschutes and the Fall River are my personal faves in that area.

The lower Deschutes ( below Warm springs to Maks Canyon ) holds a lot of fish, other then the late evening hatch or before the sun hits the river, August is primarily a nymphing game. The wading on parts of this stretch is tough. Lots of camping all along that stretch, the access road below Shearers Falls gets washboarded pretty bad in spots, but is doable if you keep the speed down. A guided trip on this stretch is fun..steelhead start to show up in late August, hook into one of those and you will be amazed with the fight they put up, a memorable experience on a fly rod.

The McKenzie river is good fishing, lots of it is brush lined banks and faster water then I would normally fish. I like the lower river better. ( near Springfield )

Seriously, google the forks of the Willamette river and it’s tributaries near Oakridge. Less pressure there and it all fishes well. Plenty of camping opertunities in the area. A walk and wade guided trip in this area would be good, the guy at the Orvis shop in Tualatin knows this area well and would hook you up with a guide if interested,

Funny, once a year I try to go to Id. Or Mont. and fly fish fish for a week. Other then certain hatches on the Deschutes, I have had far better success in northern Id. and sw Montana.. Kelly creek.....OMG, the Madison, Galatin , Firehole, St. Joe,
Oregon just doesn’t match up with those and others IMHO..

Generally, August is a tough dry fly trout fishing month.


Good luck..

BB.
 

Spokane Rick

New member
"Oregon just doesn’t match up with those and others IMHO.. "

Yeah, we have decided that, too. After seeing these replies (Irishrover, could you PLEASE be more detailed! LOL!!), we have changed our destination to a beautiful place in BC (it's my avatar pic). The stream only fishes well in August and early Sept, so the timing is perfect. See the snow in the pic? That was taken in early Sept.

Seeing pics of Deschutes boat traffic and shore crowds in 98 degree conditions was a definite turn off.

Brandonbeach, yeah, I practically live on some of those rivers you mentioned, but usually hit them during the spring, pre-runoff skwala hatch, or Sept after everyone goes back to school/work. PM me if you're headed to Kelly and I'll share a place within 30 mins drive and 20 min walk that is isolated and empty of people - but not cutties! It's so close to famous water that it gets ignored. I'm not afraid to share it because once people hit Kelly (lots), they can't seem to pull themselves away. Plus, road fisherman don't seem to want to hike 20 mins.

So again, thank you for the above help! If you're goal was to scare me away, it worked! :)

Good fishing!
Rick
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
Funny, once a year I try to go to Id. Or Mont. and fly fish fish for a week. Other then certain hatches on the Deschutes, I have had far better success in northern Id. and sw Montana.. Kelly creek.....OMG, the Madison, Galatin , Firehole, St. Joe, Oregon just doesn’t match up with those and others IMHO..
Western & Central Oregon hasn't been like that, since the 1960's (at least). In the 60's, for example 50-pound Coastal Fall Chinook were quite common. With several 60-pounders and occassional fish topping even 70! Now it's rare to find any in the 50-pound range. But NONE larger. IMO it's mostly due to Oregon's increasing population and correlative angling pressure.
 
Agreed Dude.
As a teenager in the 60’s, we plunk fished the Columbia river for summer steelhead and spring salmon when the water wasn’t to high. Very common to get a fish a day steelheading, sometimes more. We would fill up a punchcard on steelhead in June alone. Always got a few springers each year.

Sea run Cutthroat ( called them harvest trout then ) were a common catch in the summer, now they are all but gone.

Those were the days........
 

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