The Crooked River is down to a water level that is more typical for this time of year. Fishing is slow to average right now. The numbers of rainbows seem to be down a bit since the high water in December. Hopefully they are just layed low because of the cold water, but I am starting to suspect that a few might have been lost to high water and gas bubble disease, only time will tell.
There are still some fish to be caught though. The warmer days are going to fish better. We are seeing some Blue Wing Olives out there, and anglers are picking up fish on Scud and Sow Bug patterns (Ray Charles) Small midges and flash back pheasant tails.
Crooked River Guide Trips all winter long. If you are in Bend for a ski vacation and conditions are not good, consider a guided fly fishing trip out of Bend to the Crooked River for something fun to do!
Recently they bumped the river up over a 100 CFS, flows have been at good levels as of late, but so far have been high and unstable for most of the winter. When flows are stable for a few days, and ideally below 200 CFS, fishing has been good. The Crooked is mainly a midge fishery in the winter where small dry flies and nymphs are the norm. Fish can be found rising on midges, but because of their slow metabolism in winter, and the minimal protein punch, you will not find fish working to aggressively to dries. Nymphing is usually easier and productive as well. Zebra Midges, Flash Back Pheasant tails, and other small nymphs will work, as will egg patterns.
There will be some hatches of BWO's as we edge closer to spring. I don't expect the high water to be that much more of an issue if this dry weather continues. Last year we fished through the usual high water period (April-May) catching fish all along. One good high water technique is to swing Woolly Buggers in the pools and slower water, small and brown seems to do the trick!
Oregon Winter Steelhead:
The best fishing is yet to come though, February and March are when the bulk of the runs show up and when we have consistently the best fishing. For the coast streams typically we are looking to catch the rivers on the drop. Flows between 5-6' are ideal. There is nothing better than drifting a steelhead green coastal river in search of crome bright steelhead fresh in from the Ocean. These winter fish can get big with steelhead to 15 pounds a real possibility, and if you get lucky maybe you can break that elusive 20 pound mark!
We still have availability for Guided Winter Steelhead Trips on the Oregon Coast and Upper Rogue!
Ideally we encourage you to book a couple days so we can fully show you around some of our winter haunts! Call for more details!