Oregon

 

Rivers

Hatches divided by half-month.
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

HATCH NYMPH/
LARVA
PUPA/
EMERGER
DUN/
ADULT
EGG-
LAYER
Ameletus
Pale morning dun
Yellow quill
Pale evening dun
Hexagenia
Gray drake
Grannom
Saddle-case caddis
Caddis
Golden stonefly
Yellow sally
Salmonfly
Midge
Sculpin
Leech
Crayfish
Baitfish

 

It's not unusual for June to end with cool and occasionally drippy weather. Locals call it "unseasonable" and wonder when summer will start. People, it's normal! June has its hot, dry weather, but there are often cool, showery days, especially at the beginning and end of the month. Predictable, dry, warm weather begins on July 5. Sometimes it starts a little earlier, but not often.

The lesson for July is: whatever fishing has been like, it's about to change because the weather is going to change. It's going to be warm, it's going to be dry, and there will be some very hot days. Take that to the bank.

Trout. During hot weather, trout fishing will be best early in the morning and in the evening. If the sun is up, look for shady water; that's where you're most likely to pick up trout. Hot spells don't last forever, and fishing can rebound quickly after a couple of days of cooler temperatures. Anglers should be alert to these weather trends and head for the rivers when a cool stretch comes along.

On many rivers, pale morning duns will be one of the big stories at the beginning of the month. Pre-hatch, use a size 18 Pheasant Tail nymph with a small split shot (if the regs permit). Drift it near the bottom, then let it rise on a swing to simulate a nymph heading for the surface; sometimes a downstream mend can give a more natural rise to the nymph when it is downstream from you.

Hatches usually begin around noon. As the hatch progresses, trout will begin taking duns. When you see rising trout, switch to a size 18 Sparkle Dun Film Critic. If trout turn up their noses at your dry flies, try a size 18 Soft Hackle with a yellow body; present it with a surface swing. A size 16-18 Rusty Spinner will imitate the spinner stage of the PMDs, so carry a few in your box in case you encounter trout sipping this final stage. The hatch will become less important by mid-month.

Pale evening duns may be present on some rivers the first two of the month. Hatches usually occur in the mid-afternoon to evening hours. Although this hatch is fading out, trout may still take the duns from habit.

Watch, too, for midge hatches in the early morning hours and at dusk. When trout are midging, a Sprout Midge or Griffiths Gnat can work well. A midge pupa pattern is always a good choice.

Take ant patterns anytime you visit a river, especially on the east side of the Cascades. Terrestrial beetle imitations can also be effective. By the end of the month, grasshoppers will be available to trout on some rivers; a Morrish Hopper works very well on most streams. For tips on terrestrials, see Western Hatches: Terrestrials and Tying Better Ant Patterns.

Mostly, though, July is caddis month. Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, Parachute Caddis, Sparkle Pupa, Soft Hackle, Deep Sparkle Pupa, and Diving Caddis are all patterns to have in your fly box this month.

During the caddis season, present a dry fly downstream (or downwind) from overhanging alders. When caddis are hatching in the evening, use the pupa pattern or a Soft Hackle near the surface, or a Diving Caddis (or Soft Hackle) on a surface swing.

Egg-laying caddis like the broken water of a riffle because it's easy to penetrate. Once they're through the surface, they swim to the bottom and lay their eggs. Use a Soft Hackle, Diving Caddis, or similar fly with a surface swing in riffly areas.

Steelhead. Summer-run steelhead will continue to arrive in Oregon. By mid-month, fishable numbers should be present in the Deschutes, upper Rogue, North Umpqua, and other rivers. Traditional tactics with standard flies, such as Green Butt Skunks, Freight Trains, Streetwalkers, etc., work well this month. As the water drops and clears to low summer levels, use smaller, darker flies such as a Purple Green Butt. On low rivers, steelhead will be concentrated into a smaller number of deeper, cooler spots. Also, fewer fresh fish will enter the river, and those that are already in the river will develop lockjaw.

 

Lakes

Hatches divided by half-month.
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

HATCH NYMPH/
LARVA
PUPA/
EMERGER
DUN/
ADULT
EGG-
LAYER
Callibaetis
Hexagenia
Gray drake
Longhorn caddis
Northern caddis
Traveling sedge
Damselfly
Dragonfly
Midge
Alderfly
Scud
Leech
Crayfish
Baitfish
Beetle
Ant

Most days will see a Callibaetis mayfly hatch from late-morning to mid-afternoon. For several hours before the hatch, trout will feed on active nymphs. Cast your fly and retrieve it very slowly, using an intermediate line with a long leader. A Flashback Pheasant Tail, size 14-16, should work quite well.

Trout will also be feeding on midges; look for evening hatches. The trick is to match the size and color of the pupae (size is more important than color). When in doubt, try casting two or three flies at a time, with different size/color patterns on droppers. This lets you find out which patterns the trout prefer. Once you've got it figured out, just cast a single-fly rig.

Damselfly nymphs will be migrating this month, which will excite trout in lakes where the insect is abundant. Nymphs migrate near the surface, often in the top inch of water, so an intermediate line or even a dry line works best. The venerable Marabou Damsel works well; look, too, at Jeff Morgan's patterns (see Three Keys to Effective Damselflies).

Trout also take damselfly adults off the surface. A Foam Adult Damselflyis a good choice. Just chuck one out and hope something happens. The best times for casting adult damselflies is when there is very little wind. They can also work well when cast tight against shoreline reeds.

When you're not casting to trout feeding on midges, mayflies, or damselflies, it's hard to go wrong with a Woolly Bugger or leech pattern on a slow sinking line, such as an intermediate or a Type 3.

High mountain lakes should be opening up by mid-month. Before you head for your favorite alpine stillwater, call the Forest Service and ask if the trail is open and if the ice is off. Ask, too, how long the snow has been gone from the area you're planning to visit. That's important to know because the mosquitoes can be intolerably thick for the first three-four weeks after the snow leaves. Following that, they're merely annoying. Keep bug repellant away from your flies and your fly line.