Metolius River Fishing Report

The Fly Fishers Place

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I am going to start on the Metolius with this email I got from my really close friend Chester Allen, who is a published fishing writer and since recently moving back to Central Oregon (Chester was my main fishing buddy in the 80’s and very early 90’s) has adopted the Metolius as his home waters. Here is his report from Saturday 11/20/21:

Nerdiness aside, this afternoon from 11:55 pm to 2:14 pm was one of the best Metolius sessions of my life.

The river was very quiet, aside from the drunken cries and sloshing casts from a group of 12 — count ’em — elderly friends from Southern Oregon who turned the Dolly Hole into their own private frat party.

I hurried downstream, and sat by an eddy to rig up and watch the water.
Ten minutes later, at least four fish were rising in the bubbly seam.
Ten more minutes later, waves of BWO — mostly #20 — were bobbing around, and the trout were so happy. So was I. This was one of heaviest emergences I’ve ever seen on the Metolius. About an hour in, Cingymula — size 18 — made a surprise appearance, along with a size 22 BWO. The fish mostly stuck to the #20 BWO.

Was it just yesterday that I was saying the hatch window was closing? Not today. Fish were up for almost 2.5 hours, and scattered risers were still working on the remains in one of the little eddies just upstream — the one I call Evil Bastards.

I’ve been fishing my old Sage 389LL a lot this fall, It is the ultimate tippet-protecting rod, and it remains one of the most intuitive rods I’ve ever fished — not cast, fished. The other rod has been my Sage Trout 490LL.
Going back tomorrow, but I don’t expect a repeat. But I am hoping.

That is an inspiring bit of writing from my friend. He also reported that earlier in the week in the stretch below Allingham there were still a number of small #18 olive stones hatching and floating on the surface and that he had 2 days of good dry fly fishing with the little stones, fish preferring them to any mayflies of caddis that were also hatching. 

Key Statement: Be prepared for anything, including October Caddis in a #8-12, Grey Caddis #12-14, Tan Caddis #16 and even PMD’s in a #16. 
Bull Trout fishing has been better than average, Brad, Tonn and Eric from the shop have been putting the time in and catching some beauties, and our good friend Jake landed one of the broadest shouldered Bulls I’ve ever seen on a big streamer the other day. 

Generally the hatch window is shorter in the later fall and winter, with an average dry fly session lasting 20 minutes to an hour. So, be prepared to set up a nymph rod too. Golden Stones, Oct Caddis Pupa, smaller Caddis Pupa, Micro May’s, Red Copper John, Eggs, 2 Bit’s, Perdigons, Jigs and Zebra Midges should all make your winter box complete. One other tid bit of info for winter nymphers, BLUE is a great color in the light spectrum as the sun is lower in the horizon. Try tying a Blue Jig, Blue Zebra Midge or buy some Blue Prince Nymphs and give Blue a try next time you’re on the Metolius (or other rivers).

One last reminder, the Upper river from Allingham Bridge upstream to the headwaters is closed now until May 22. I enjoyed hearing that the OSP Game Warden was out patrolling it the other day and caught up with a few illegal anglers. Be aware of closed waters and do the right thing for fish.

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