September Fishing Report: Steelhead, Trout and COHO!
September is my favorite month of the year. I used to talk in my sleep and just after we got married my wife would try to get secrets out of me when I would sleep talk. One night while sound asleep I blurted out, “September is the best month!” (My wife and I were married in Sept) “Why is that honey?” she asked, expecting a romantic response about being married that month. Sound asleep I replied, “The fishing!” I startled awake from a sharp elbow jab in the ribs. I guess I was supposed to say something different?…
September truly is a great month of fishing in Oregon. There are so many things to do and the weather is typically awesome; just cooling a bit at night for best nights sleep on the river.
Mother Nature performs quiet miracles year-round but come fall she can’t help but brag a bit.
Normally September is prime time for steelhead fishing on the lower Deschutes. This year is a bit different. While we’ve had low returns since 2016 this years returns started off even lower. Right now we are on par to be about the same return size as 2019- not saying much. This down cycle in steelhead fishing has been felt from California to BC. Many of our clients who travel to the hallowed waters of BC are coming back skunked. We are wondering what the bigger issue is…ocean health or ocean harvest?
Just returning from a long trip away from the office the end of August I learned that the lower Deschutes and many other NW rivers were closed for the month of September. This closure, due to low return numbers. With over 10,000 steelhead in the cool waters of the lower Deschutes River I believe the intent of this ruling was to allow safe passage for endangered fish headed to the upper Columbia basin, Snake and Salmon rivers etc…What we’ve seen in the past 5 years of lower numbers of steelhead is that there has almost always been about 10,000 or so steelhead in the lower Deschutes. We are looking forward to getting back on the water in October- rested steelhead and fewer anglers- good combo!
On the other end of the spectrum for fish numbers coho salmon returns are looking good! The Clackamas River early wild coho run appears to be heading for a new record with nearly 200-300 coho going over NF dam on the Clackamas each day. On the Clackamas we typically cast and retrieve flies from the boat. We like big flashy flies with lots of movement. See our next posts for some great fly patterns for coho and chinook. This is a fun fishery if your interested drop me an email to connect with a guide day on the Clack.
Trout fishing on the Deschutes has been excellent. We just returned from a 3 day trip that was lights out! Even with brand new anglers we were experiencing doubles and even triple hookups many times each day. These fish are fit and fat; prime condition getting ready for winter. There are still some good hatches in the fall and caddis action on the surface can be a blast. Your also heading into the BIG Caddis time, that is the October caddis. These are big bugs and the pupal stage can make for some especially good fishing. If your considering a fall trout trip find more details here.
As always we are so grateful for each of you! Thank you for your continued patronage during these interesting times. We value each and every one of you!
From the Crew at Water Time Outfitters