A mild winter for Central Oregon means that access to the Metolius has been great for the past few months! Roads from Camp Sherman to Bridge 99 are mostly clear and will remain so unless a spring storm drops some snow, which is always a possibility. Nymphing has remained the most reliable method for producing fish, but don’t forget to keep an eye on back eddies and slow pockets for rising fish. There have been some sporadic BWO hatches coming off on cloudy afternoons, sparkle duns and hackle stackers in sizes 18-22 are great options if you should find yourself in the right situation.
Large, weighted stonefly patterns are a great way to get flies deep in the water column and into the zones in which the fish are feeding, but many of the deeper runs will require additional weight. Golden Stones in sizes 8-12 and brown or black Jimmy legs in similar sizes should produce fish. October caddis pupas in sizes 10-12, tan sparkle pupas, or bead-head pheasant tails and hares ears in 14-16 are all great weighted flies for the Metolius. Stop by the shop to have a look at some new prince nymph, hare’s ear, and pheasant tail variations tied on jighead hooks. They’re a great way to add a little extra weight to your rig and minimize hookups on the bottom. Smaller nymphs like red or black two-bit hookers and olive micro mayflies in sizes 16-20 are a safe bet if you don’t see success on larger flies mentioned above.
The Bull Trout that made their way into the river from Billy Chinook have returned to the lake, but there are still plenty of resident Bulls around if you feel the itch through a big streamer or want to swing some flies. Large olive and white streamers are the way to attract attention from the big Bulls, make sure you are utilizing heavy sink tips to get those flies deep!