Willamette Valley Fishing and Home Waters Fly Shop fishing report for July 14, 2022:

Fishing Report Overview:

  • A hot start to the week has given way to more moderate temperatures in the McKenzie and Willamette River valleys. The heat sent the fish looking for cooler, more oxygenated water in either faster riffles or the plunge pools at the bottom of the run. This weekend and through next week, the National Weather Service alleges typical summer temps for the region albeit with a huge influx of traffic jams because of Worlds at Hayward field. While the rivers are all in prime condition, expect more tourists to be on the water and some crowded town conditions as well. Locals will have to dig into their bag of tricks to beat the crowds over the next 9 days.
  • On the McKenzie, the dry fly bite has been from about 7am to 11am and then in the evening starting about 7pm to dusk. We’re liking green caddis in #10-12, Parachute Adams in Guide’s Choice Gold at a #10, and PMDs. Streamer action has been productive in the early afternoon until about 3pm. Here, we like the Pocket Rocket in a #4 as well as leech-looking wooly buggers in black. Finally, nymphing has been all about the black Pat’s Rubber Legs and either a Purple Perdigon or Rainbow Warrior in #18 as the amuse-bouche before the steak dinner.
  • Willamette River fishing has improved and Dexter flows have been more reasonable over the last week. We are doing well with tan caddis on the dry side as well as a larger Parachute Adams in traditional dun color. For nymphs, Pat’s Rubber Legs with a split case PMD as a dropper or a smaller Prince nymph has worked well.
  • In terms of bigger fish, there are reports of both springers and steelhead being caught coming in on a regular basis. Willamette Falls fish counts have over 5k steelhead in the system which, while still low, is better than the last three years. Lately, we’ve been swinging the natural wet fly on a sink 3 or sink 5 tip off a scandi head. The clearer water has meant more delicate presentations.

McKenzie River Report:

  • Above Leaburg Dam

    • Up river has been going amazing and been ideal for those of us looking to avoid the crowded lower river. Dry fly action early in the week gave us our best fishing early, with the wet fly swing helping out at the end of the day.
    • Vida is at 2530 cfs and remaining steady while Gate Creek is at 75.7 cfs. Flows and water temps are ideal and water clarity means more precision with the presentation. 

  • Below Leaburg Dam:

    • This area has been fishing relatively well even as it has been pounded over the last week. Long drifts under the bobber with the black Pat’s and purple Perdigon saved the day on a few occasions.
    • Flows below Leaburg are at 2700 cfs and remaining steady. While that is an all time high for this time of year, fishing has not seemed to suffer too much from the increased water in the system.

Middle Fork Willamette River Report:

  • Middle Fork Willamette from Oakridge to Black Canyon:

    • This stretch has finally come into shape over the last week. We have been wet wading to beat the heat. Here, we like tan caddis (#10-14) as well as yellow elk hair caddis in a #12 for dries.
    • 517 cfs at Salt Creek and 1260 cfs at the NF of the Middle Fork are excellent flows that are wadeable. This area has been productive with Euro nymph techniques. Split case PMD and a bigger Prince nymph have been lights out.

  • Middle Fork Willamette from Dexter Dam to Coast Fork Confluence:

    • Flows at Dexter are at 2970 cfs with steelhead fish counts over the falls still rising. We are swinging these runs with more natural patterns for steelhead and working the Rio Pocket Rocket in a #4 for both trout and steelhead. 

  • Middle Fork from McKenzie Confluence up to Marshall Island

      • Armitage is at 3050 cfs making wading at the park easier. The confluence between the Willamette and McKenzie has all new timber in it so be careful and choose your routes with care. Over the next week, this area will see an increase in inner tube floaters making finding some solitude more challenging.

Recommended Flies:

  • Nymphs:

    • Prince Nymph(#6-10)
    • Rainbow Warrior
    • Purple Perdigon
    • Pat’s Rubber Legs (#6-8)
  • Dries

    • Guide’s Choice Gold Parachute (#10-12)
    • Green Caddis (#8-12)
    • Tan caddis (#8-12)
    • PMDs in the morning
  • Steelhead Flies

    • Ska-opper (#4)
    • Pocket Rocket
    • Ho Bo Spey in Black
    • Low Water Green Butt Purple