The Blue Wing Olive Fly

Though it’s a week before I leave, I’m getting pretty excited about my trout fishing expedition to Central Oregon – especially now that I’ll get to chronicle the adventure in a story for the March issue of Travel Oregon! While it’s not the best time of year to fish the region’s most famous river, the Deschutes, some of the other rivers near Bend – the Crooked, the Fall and the Metolius – all have the potential to fish very well in the winter. I’ve been over on the Crooked in early March when the Blue Wing Olive hatch (a form of mayfly) is just epic, lasting for hours – even I can reliably hook a few rainbows! While the Fall and Metolius can be a little trickier, the beauty of their surroundings makes up for the lack of catching – and on these streams, you’re almost certain to at least see fish, as these spring-fed rivers run gin clear year-round.

One thing I should be to catch in greater Bend is a good pint of ale. I’m hoping to sample the seasonal offering from Deschutes Brewery, Red Chair. Though I find that I don’t buy Deschutes beers as much in Portland thanks to all the great small brewpubs about, I always love visiting the mothership in downtown Bend – one of the first brewpubs I ever visited in Oregon, more than 15 years ago. I’ve yet to visit Bend Brewing Company, which has won a number of awards in recent years. I hoping to rectify that situation on this trip.

I’ve been scanning some of my favorite fishing reports (compiled by local fly shops) to whet my appetite, and things look hopeful:

For the Metolius – “We are seeing some BWO hatches mid to late afternoon and good midge hatches along side. I don’t find too many fish rising to midges but a pupa or larva imitation is a good bet anytime. (Courtesy of The Fly Fisher’s Place, Sisters)

For the Crooked – “If we can get a stretch of warm weather it should turn on. Until then. Bobberin’ with #20 Midges and sight casting to risers with #20 BWO’s should find a fish or two.” (Courtesy of Fly & Field, Bend)

For the Fall – “Now that the winter has set in the Capnia Stones are in full regalia. So bring your favorite little stone pattern in a #10 or #12. BWO’s and Midges as usual are out and about daily.”(Courtesy of Fly & Field, Bend)

Before fishing the Metolius on Friday, I’m hoping to spend an hour picking the brain of John Judy who knows the river about as well as anyone. I’m hoping he can help me unravel some of its secrets.

With a night in Bend at McMenamins Old St. Francis School and a night on the banks of the Metolius at Lake Creek Lodge, photographer Daniel Root and my fishing buddy Hamp Byerly will get a full taste of the central Oregon experience.

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