The Crooked River is fishing fine now, but we are very concerned about some news we heard in the last few days. I’ll start with the good news in that the fishing is going quite well. Flows today are running 85 cfs, but it would not surprise me if we see those come up with warmer weather and more need for irrigation water next week.
Fish are looking up to BWO’s, PMD’s, Midges and Caddis now. Most of the dries at this time will be #16-18 and we recommend Knock Down Duns, Sparkle Duns, BDE Dun, Purple Haze, X Caddis, CDC Caddis, Adams, Griffiths Gnat, Palomino Midges, and Rusty Spinners.
Euro Nymphing and indicator fishing with a light NZ Wool Indicator is great. Nymphs to match all the above hatches and add scuds to the list too.
Now the scary part. The Bureau of Reclamation (Boise, Idaho office) runs the dam operation on the Crooked River (Bowman Dam/Prineville Reservoir). BOR says they will run out of water on the reservoir in early to mid-August. There is an agreement for “conservation flows” for a minimum of 50 cfs during non-irrigation season, however, non-irrigation season usually begins october 15th and runs until April when they start delivering water to the farms and ranches again in the spring.
The problem is we are in unprecedented territory if they run too low on water in the reservoir to provide irrigation water downstream in August. BOR says they plan to drop flows to TEN (10) cubic feet per second. We can’t allow this to happen and next week or so, I will have better organization to share on who to call, and if we can petition the state, the federal government or even river advocacy groups to at least keep the river flowing at 50 cfs.
I will assure you, 10 cfs is not enough to sustain 4000 trout per mile and we will lose much of that fine fishery if that happened. Scary drought conditions in the Ochocco’s, and what is so strange is how the John Day River just over the next drainage did so well yet the Crooked suffers losses like I never imagined.
For more details my friend Yancy does a conservation blog called https://coinformedangler.org and that is worth a look if you care about the Crooked River.