Now one month into the summer season here in the Valley, the drought is official. Rivers are already running at late-summer levels. No one around here can remember a drier first half of the year. Fire restrictions are in place throughout Oregon in both urban and rural environs.
Luckily, the upper McKenzie has provided a welcome respite from the heat. Charged by the upper Cascades aquifer, the river flows cold and clear despite the lack of snowmelt. So even now at minimum annual flow, there is plenty of water, and the fishing has been good. If the weather is hot, a quick dip into one of the McKenzie’s crystal cold green pools is guaranteed to refresh!
This summer in addition to standard hopper/dropper-style fishing, we’ve also been enjoying the novelty and fun of trouting with our Tenkara rods.
Towards the end of the month, I slipped away for a couple of 5-day trips through the Canyon over on the Deschutes. Caddisfly fishing for subtle sipping risers with #16-#20 dries was fair-to-good, with some excellent fish testing anglers’ backing knots and 5X tippets. Here are some highlights:
Now back home for the summer, McKenzie trouting is the focus. Although summer steelhead numbers over Willamette Falls are relatively woeful thus far, angler effort has been correspondingly low. Those who have been diligently putting in their swings have been rewarded as often as not.
We will be out there in the weeks to come. Stay tuned for fresh updates from the field. And pray for rain!