Fishing Report: July 28, 2022

Willamette Valley Fishing and Home Waters Fly Shop Fishing report for July 28, 2022:


  • Let’s be honest, last week was hot! The heatwave that settled over the PNW carried with it rising water temps and dropping river flows. These factors, combined with dour July fish have made for challenging fishing conditions. Looking ahead to the weekend, the National Weather Service is calling for temps in the mid-90s. This kind of heat has us looking to early morning launches, late evening wet wading, and warm water species like bass (large mouth and smallmouth) and carp.
  • On the McKenzie we are seeing summer flows and warming water temps. The dry fly bite has been from about 7am to 10am and then in the evening starting about 7pm to dusk. We’re liking Parachute Adams in Guide’s Choice Gold at a #10, ants, hoppers, and smaller green caddis. Streamer action has been productive in the early afternoon until about 3pm. Nymphing has been all about the black Pat’s Rubber Legs #6, Mega Prince #6, and either a Purple Perdigon, Rainbow Warrior, or Little French in #18.
  • Willamette River fishing is also at summer flows and wet wading conditions. We are doing well with tan caddis on the dry side as well as a larger Parachute Adams in traditional dun color. The evening dry bite has been better than the morning bite. We’re fishing the nervous water before the deeper holes. For nymphs, Pat’s Rubber Legs with a split case PMD as a dropper or a smaller Prince nymph has worked well. Here, we are trying to finesse a dry/dropper set-up so that we get the nymph down at the head of the pools.
  • Given the heat, we are turning away from trout for a while and looking to the warm water species for our kicks. Lately, we’ve become addicted to the top water bite on bucket-mouth bass as well as the fiberglass joy of landing those golden bones (AKA carp). Here at the shop we have a great selection of poppers to get that bass fishery going.

McKenzie River:

  • Above Leaburg Dam
    • Up river has been fishing well if the flows have been low. Believe it or not, we have preferred the soft hackle over the dry fly for the early morning work. After 10am it’s been a nymphing game.
    • With the river at summer flows and water temps rising, land fish as fast as you can, keep them wet, and try not to handle them at all. Summer photoshoots kill fish, so take your pics with the fish in the net rather than in hand! 
  • Below Leaburg Dam:
    • This stretch 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. Dry fly has been somewhat productive in faster water early. However, we are committed to the bottom game down here.
    • As with the upper river, land fish fast, keep them wet, and save the photo shoot for the fall.

Middle Fork Willamette River:

  • Middle Fork Willamette from Oakridge to Black Canyon:
    • This stretch remains cooler and has the best evening action around. We have been wet wading to beat the heat and fishing the faster water for reaction strikes. This is the stretch where terrestrials have been getting the job done in a good way.
  • Middle Fork Willamette from Dexter Dam to Coast Fork Confluence:
    • The water temps in this area are rising driving the fish deep. We like the evening bite best out here. Think nymphs, nymphs, and more nymphs. That said, if you are feeling frisky tossing an ant wouldn’t be a bad idea. 

Recommended Flies:

  • Nymphs:
    • Prince Nymph(#6)
    • Pat’s Rubber Legs (#6)
    • Rainbow Warrior
    • Purple Perdigon
    • Little Frenchie
  • Dries
    • Guide’s Choice Gold Parachute (#10-12)
    • Green Caddis (#8-12)
    • Tan caddis (#8-12)
    • Ants, Crickets, and hoppers
  • Bass, Carp, Smallmouth Flies
    • Ska-opper (#4)
    • Fire Tiger Popper
    • Kermit 
    • Wooly buggers/mohair leech 
    • Double Dolly (slow strip/jig for big bass…)