I can honestly say that the last time I was at Lake in the Dunes was before the millennium. Yes remember that – big event. We were all concerned that computers would go down because of the ’00 in programs. Well the world didn’t crash that year, but a lot has changed since then. Cell phones, Facebook, and Instragram immediately came to mind! With all the change surrounding us every day – it is nice to know we can go back in time and experience a great fishery – even if is 16 years later.
Being at Lake of the Dune on Sunday, sure brought back memories. Yes last time I was at Lake of the Dunes it was in 1999 and the first time was probably in the 1996 vintage time. I started fishing in ’95 so way back then I can now say I was truly a rookie. On my first trip to Lake in the Dunes I hooked my first fish that could truly pull line off the reel. Not that I knew what that was back then. I remember being clueless on what to do and yelling “What do I do?” Dave returned in the same tone, “Fight it on the reel”. My reply back – ” I don’t know what that is”. Needless to say I clearly remember losing that fish. I was pretty disappointed. Now if I lose a big fish I say “Oh well, there will be another opportunity – no worries”
This spring Dave and I made two return visits to Lake in the Dunes! Both times I was reminded that how much I enjoy lake fishing and it certainly helps with surrounding scenery, and yes the big fish are nothing to complain about!
The scenery can take your breath away!
On the third cast I hooked into this nice rainbow on a size 20 adams
Another view of the same fish – amazing how the lighting makes it look like a second fish – but it the same. Now mind I caught a few more of this size!
After enduring rain for most of March and April – May has brought us plenty of sunny and warm weather. It has been splendid to be on the McKenzie River – multiple times in the last week. As you can see spring is here – the trees are abundant with leaves and blue skies with the occasional cloud.
A splendid sunny day on the McKenzie River
With all this warm weather – one would expect lots of bug activity on the surface. This hasn’t been the case on the McKenzie. Although the occasional fish will come and look at the indicator – nymphing is still the most productive method to hook a McKenzie Red Side. And there are some nice sized rainbows on the McKenzie and they still continue to take the Mega Prince! We have also had success fishing soft hackles.
A mongo of a rainbow - on a mega prince
If you haven’t gotten out in this sunshine to fish – get out this weekend – as weather prediction says we should see some showers next week.
Dave and I floated the McKenzie River last Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day. We only saw a few bugs – no surface activity to speak of. We fished a mega prince and double beaded stone – the entire day. Lots of fish on both flies – check out the nice McKenzie rainbow that Dave landed early in the day on his bamboo rod.
A nice fish at the start of the day
A closer look at a beauty of a McKenzie River Red Side Rainbow
And if you enjoy watching fish being caught – take the time and watch the video! Play close attention to Dave playing and landing his larger fish – it is a great example of fighting a fish on the reel and on the line.
Early spring in the Mid-Willamette Valley always brings unpredictability – so when the weather and water levels cooperated this last week, I took advantage of it! In the last 8 days, I floated the river 4 of those days. Yes – very lucky for me! Other than this past Sunday, April 15, the river was high and fast, but it still produced some fish. On Sunday, the 8th, the weather sparked a phenomenal grannom caddis hatch –videotaped it. The video tape won’t win an academy award – but it does show how thick the grannom hatch on the McKenzie can be. Enjoy the video!
On each of the floats there were sporadic fish feeding on the surface. Most of these were smaller fish, and we picked up several swinging dark colored #16 soft hackles. We had our best success for the McKenzie red-sides subsurface. Flies that produced fish were the mega prince, golden stone, possie buggers, and caddis pupa. The following video shows a few fish caught on the Bellinger to Hayden run. I floated this on Tuesday with Lou Verdugo and then Sunday, with Dave Dozer. As you watch the video you will notice that we were fishing a switch rod. It was the Reddington CPX 10.5 foot 5 wt. I enjoyed casting and fishing this rod. I loved how I could easily mend the line and had the extra length to manage more line. It took a little while to get used to landing the a fish with the longer stick – but the ability to manage the line outweighed the challenge of managing the fish. Enjoy the video!
On Monday, I floated the McKenzie River with Wes and Spencer. I had a great time with the guys – couldn’t have been with a better bunch of anglers. We definitely chose the right day to fish –as it was sunny but cold on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday we have seen snowflakes in Corvallis.
The weather and water were cold – so we didn’t see a lot of action. There was a small BWO hatch that happened around 2:00 – but we didn’t see any rising fish. We tried dries – no luck! We did get a few nice grabs swinging streamers. The fish landed were dead drifting nypmphs – a 20 incher bead head and Dave’s custom Bishop Nymph. My fish landed was a beauty – lots of red to match my finger nails! I was fishing Wes’s 590 TCX. So yes – it was Dave’s fly, Wes’s rod, Spencer netted the fish for me – but I can say it was my boat we floated and my fish! It was a beauty! Check out the red. Thanks to Wes and Spencer for sharing that great fish with me.
Dave and I floated the McKenzie River a few days ago. This is becoming our annual trip – as we celebrate our anniversary in early February. It was really great to get the drift boat out on the river again. We had a wonderful sunny day…not always the best for trout fishing. We didn’t see a single adult bug all day so we drifted nymphs under indicators. Dave took out a 7 1/2′ 5 wt bamboo rod that worked well in the drift boat and I did the rowing. Somehow, I think he got the better end of that deal! We didn’t have a tremendous amount of action, but we did wake up a few fish. As you watch the video – in addition to seeing a missed fish and then landing a trout, take notice of Dave’s presentation technique. The video does a great job of showing the technique of “fishing to the future” that is casting forward of the boat. And then as the line catches up, mending the line to keep the fly and indicator floating at the pace of the water. Enjoy!