The Fall River is a small spring-fed tributary of the Deschutes River. It springs out of the ground and makes a slow meandering 12-mile journey through pine forests. The river is cold and crystal clear year-round, which creates the perfect conditions for trout. Most of the rainbow trout in the system was raised at the local Fall River Fish Hatchery, but there can be some wild brown trout and native redbands that will hang out in the stream. The trout can be very picky at the Fall River, and you’ll need to make sure your presentation is nearly perfect to fool a giant rainbow.
As with most streams, the majority of trout feeding occurs subsurface at the Fall River. Year-round fish will key into midges. Typically we use zebra midges around size 20 - 22, but other midge patterns can do the trick as long as they’re small. Small mayfly nymph imitations can be successful as well. Baetis nymphs are reasonably common in the system, size 16 - 22. Pale morning duns nymphs can work in the late spring and summer; keep these around size 14 - 18. Hares ears, pheasant tails, copper johns, and other general mayfly imitations can produce results. Larger mayflies can be found in the stream; however, they are not nearly as common as small mayflies. Caddis pupa can make trout during warmer periods of the year; sizes 14 - 18 is an excellent range to try out. Stoneflies are present in the waters of the Fall River. Big stoneflies are rare, so a stonefly nymph pattern around sizes 12 - 16 is preferable. When all else fails, small streamers and leech patterns can do well to fool a hungry trout. Either swing these past a group of feeding trout or dead drift it, and one will likely give it a chase.
The Fall River has some pretty fun dry fly hatches. Just like with nymphing, midges are the most major bug in the stream. A small size 20 - 22 Griffiths gnat or other adult midge pattern can work very well when drifted on or near the surface of the water. Bluewing olive mayflies are an important hatch from early fall through late spring. They will hatch in some somewhat rainy and cold conditions. At the Fall River, most of these mayflies are around size 18 or 20. Pale morning duns hatch in the spring, summer, and early fall. Most of the PMDs are usually around sizes 16 - 18. March browns make a small appearance during mid-spring. Green drakes will pop up briefly around late May. Caddis hatches on the Fall River are sporadic and can be hard to predict. Size 14 - 18 is a good size range for caddis; fish them on warmer days. Stoneflies will hatch throughout late spring and early summer. Most are around size 12 - 16, but every once in and awhile they can get to be up to size 8. Terrestrials are great flies to use during spring, summer, and fall. These are excellent attractor patterns and can be used as an indicator in a dry-dropper rig. It’s an absolute blast watching the fish rise for your dry fly. It’s not easy to trick the Fall River fish with dries, but when it happens its magical.