Fishing Report: July 7, 2022

Willamette Valley Fishing and Home Waters Fly Shop fishing report for July 7, 2022:

Fishing Report Overview:

  • Cooler temps throughout last week and longer evenings have made for some great fishing on both the McKenzie and Willamette rivers. We’ve seen the dry fly action pick up to summer levels while nymphs have been solid. This weekend and through next week, the National Weather Service claims typical summer temps in the 80s. The rivers are all in prime condition and we forecast some epic days ahead.
  • On the McKenzie, golden stones, split case PMD droppers, purple perdigons and light cahills have all been productive. We’ve been crushing it in the evening on green drakes and green caddis sizes 12-14. As a last resort—when we’re seeing fish rise but can’t tell what they’re eating, the old CDC rusty spinner has been the ticket..
  • Willamette River fishing has improved even as the flows from Dexter remain anyone’s guess. We are doing well with tan caddis on the dry side, Pat’s Rubber Legs on the nymph, with a CDC pheasant tail as a dropper.
  • In terms of bigger fish, there are reports of both springers and steelhead being caught coming in on a regular basis. Here at the shop, we’ve had some luck in our own rights. For the adventurous kind, Ska-oppers skated through the fast water have called up some excitement. Those interested in a more traditional approach should look to either the fine Lady Carolyn and/or the low water green butt in purple.

McKenzie River:


Above Leaburg Dam

    • Up river has been going ballistic with the fishing and been great for those of us looking to avoid the crowded lower river. Golden stones, light Cahill, and split case PMDs have been outstanding. For dries, green caddis and green drakes in a size 10 has been productive..
    • Vida is at 2880 cfs and remaining steady. This is in the normal range and we are no longer anchoring in the tall grass. 

      Below Leaburg Dam:

      • Water levels are still a bit high but fishing exceptionally well. ODFW has been stocking the river so hatchery fish are in abundance and biting. In general, the best dry action has come fishing the fast water and skating the dries. Longer dead drifts in the evening—especially the green caddis—has been a go-to strategy as well.
      • Flows below Leaburg are at 3120 cfs and rising. While that is an all time high for this time of year, the water has been good for both salmon and steelhead counts, so we’ll take it!
      • Lastly, Hayden is at 3090 cfs which is above normal but fishing well. In the lowest sections (think Bellinger down to Armitage) green caddis #12 is the way to go.

Middle Fork Willamette River:


Middle Fork Willamette from Oakridge to Black Canyon:

    • Water clarity is good but run-off and reservoir management remains a wildcard here. Things have been wadeable if a little higher than we’ve been used to in years past. If you are a dry or die kind of angler, this is the spot for you.
    • 942 cfs at Salt Creek and 1930 cfs at the NF of the Middle Fork are excellent flows that are wadeable. Here, as always, we like parachute Adams and green caddis. We are also liking the Rio yellow stimulator to mimic the small stone fly hatch in this stretch.

      Middle Fork Willamette from Dexter Dam to Coast Fork Confluence:

      • Flows at Dexter are at 3140 cfs. Some research on our end has led to the conclusion that the Army Corps is trying to keep both Hills Creek and Lookout Point reservoirs at equal levels and managing flows for temp control down river from the dams. Higher flows should last through July 15 to meet the terms of an injunction to protect the salmon and steelhead on the MF Willamette. 

        Middle Fork from McKenzie Confluence up to Marshall Island

          • Armitage is at 3570 cfs, which is “above normal” for this time of year. The confluence between the Willamette and McKenzie has all new timber in it so be careful and choose your routes with care. Along with the confluence, once in the Willamette there are several new trees down in the middle of the river. There is plenty of space to get around them, but if you’re in a pontoon or smaller craft, start making your mover a little early.

Shop Recommended Flies:

  • Nymphs:

    • Golden Stones (#6-10)
    • Split Case PMD
    • Purple Perdigon
    • Pat’s Rubber Legs (#6-8)
  • Dries

    • Green Drakes (#10-12)
    • Green Caddis (#8-12)
    • CDC Rusty Spinnter (#12-16)
  • Steelhead Flies

    • Ska-opper (#4)
    • Lady Carolyn
    • Low Water Green Butt Purple