With water conditions less then ideal in Eastern Wa. where I was working I talked to my buddy Colton and we made a plan for him to come down for Memorial Day weekend for a little fishing escape to Central Oregon. Even down in Oregon the flows were still high, but at least fishable, so we made for one of my favorite redband streams. We didn't get to the river until about 10pm and by the time that we set up camp it was time to crash for the night. When we awoke in the morning, we found a river that was flowing about double what I am used too for this time of the year, but the clarity was there so we got to fishing.
We started at a side channel that I had done well at a couple of years ago and it didn't take long to see result as on my first cast a decent fish grabbed my sz 18 copper john but popped off after a short battle. A few casts later Colton had a similar experience, but with a nicer sized fish. The next fish that I hooked into I got a bit of a better hook set on and after a little game of tug of war I slid a nice sized mountain whitefish into the net.
I have never understood why whitefish have so little respect among anglers, as they aren't a half bad looking fish and being native to the watershed's they are found in definitely gains them some bonus points in my book. We will put it this way I was glad to get the whitefish as it got the skunk off for the trip, however after the one whitey we couldn't manage to find any ofter fish in the stretch.
With that we decided to relocate, so we hoped in the car and drove a few miles downstream till we spotted a likely looking run with a few boulders breaking the current. At this point it was about mid-day and the weather which had been grey in the morning was now sunny and starting to warm up. Once we got on the water there were some size 14 and 16 tan caddisflies coming off, but the trout didn't seem to be keying into them on top yet so we started out nymphing. We got a few takes and another whitefish doing that before the rises started in earnest and we decided to switch to dries.
Colton hooked up with a redband
Once the hatch kicked into gear fishing was fast and furious for a couple of hours with the little redbands greedily feasting on caddisflies.
Colton's beautiful redband
During the early part of the hatch the fish didn't seem overly picky, but as it progressed the weather started getting grey and threatened to rain and the takes also started getting fewer and further between. To try to counteract the slowly fishing I switched to a lower ridding egg-laying caddis and the fish seemed to respond a bit better to that.
Another caddis eating redband
While the switch in flies made a difference for a while the changing weather was something that it couldn't fight and once the wind and the rain picked up that hatch died like somebody had flipped a switch and dry fly time was at an end. We went back to nymphing for a while and I got another ~16" whitefish before we decided to call it quites and head back to camp.
My big whitey
A sign that it's time to leave
We got back to time just in time to save our tent from blowing away and with worse weather on the horizon we decided to make to for the Metolius River with hopes of better weather and some good fishing in the morning. Coming soon Part II - Metolius