What to Expect in Oregon in September

Importance by half-month
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

Hatches are matched from Westfly's database of "standard" fly patterns.


Nymph

Size 16-20 Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear. Brown, brown-olive

Moderate runs, just below riffles: indicator, tight line, rising nymph

Emerger

Size 16-20 Sprout Midge, Film Critic, Hackle Stacker. Olive-brown body, gray wing

Flats, runs, backeddies: standard dry fly

Dun

Size 16-20 Sparkle Dun, Comparadun, Hairwing Dun. Olive-brown body, gray wing

Flats, runs, backeddies: standard dry fly

Spinner

Size 16-20 Diving Caddis, Soft Hackle. Dark body

runs, slowish riffles: surface swing

► Hatches will be sporadic, but nymphs are active and are taken by trout more regularly than the duns, especially in riffly water; see A Little Known Two-Fer-One for tips on how to take advantage of this.

► Hatches will be sporadic, but nymphs are active and are taken by trout more regularly than the duns, especially in riffly water; see A Little Known Two-Fer-One for tips on how to take advantage of this.

Nymph

Size 12-16 Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail. Dark brown, olive brown

Slow-moderate runs, bankwater: indicator, tight line, shallow nymph

Emerger

Size 12-16 Quigley Cripple, Film Critic, Hackle Stacker. Red-brown body, gray wing

Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs: standard dry fly

Dun

Size 12-16 Comparadun, Sparkle Dun, Hairwing Dun. Red-brown body, gray wing

Bankwater, backeddies, slow runs: standard dry fly

► Mahogany duns (genus Paraleptophelbia) create trout feeding activity in quiet bankwater because that's where the nymphs migrate before hatching. If you see trout languidly rising in slow water near the riverbank this month, you're probably witnessing a mahogany dun hatch.

► DON'T cast blindly. In this quiet water you'll spook the fish. Instead, watch the rises and pick a single trout. Use a downstream presentation so the fly reaches the fish before the leader and line.

► Mahogany duns (genus Paraleptophelbia) create trout feeding activity in quiet bankwater because that's where the nymphs migrate before hatching. If you see trout languidly rising in slow water near the riverbank this month, you're probably witnessing a mahogany dun hatch.

► DON'T cast blindly. In this quiet water you'll spook the fish. Instead, watch the rises and pick a single trout. Use a downstream presentation so the fly reaches the fish before the leader and line.

Dun

Size 18-22 Hairwing Dun, Sparkle Dun. Olive body/dark thorax/white wing, or dark brown/white wing

Slow runs, lakes: standard dry fly, chuck-and-sit

Spinner

Size 18-22 Rusty Spinner. black body, clear wing, or dark brown/white wing

Slow runs, lakes: standard dry fly, chuck-and-sit

► Tricos are generally not important in Oregon rivers, but on a few streams, such as the Williamson, there are enough of them to create selective feeding situations. The hatch will continue into early September.

Adult

Size 6-8 Stimulator, Madam X. Body: light orange; Wing: tan

Bankwater near foilage: standard dry fly

► On many rivers, the pupa is often much more important than the adult.

► Trout take pupa beginning a few weeks before you see adults. Present a pupa imitation near the bottom.

► When fishing an adult October caddis pattern, you might try skating the fly if a standard dead-drift doesn't entice the fish.

Pupa

Size 16-18 , Deep Sparkle Pupa, Soft Hackle. Body: tan, green

Riffles, fast runs; just below these: indicator, tight line, shallow nymph

Adult

Bankwater near foilage: standard dry fly

Egg-layer

Size 16-18 Soft Hackle, Diving Caddis. Body: tan, olive-brown; Wing: dark brown, black

Riffles, seams, backeddies below riffles: surface swing, shallow nymph, rising nymph

► These size 16-18 caddis are usually dark gray as adults. Adult patterns can be effective, but sometimes the most effective approach is a dark Soft Hackle presented on a surface swing, especially if you see concentrations of these caddis clinging just above the surface on the downstream side of rocks.

Nymph

Size 6-8 Kaufmanns Stonefly, Rubber Legs. Tan, yellow-tan

Riffles, moderate-fast runs; just below these: indicator, tight line

Nymph

Size 6-10 Kaufmanns Stonefly, Rubber Legs. Black, chocolate brown

Riffles, moderate-fast runs; just below these: indicator, tight line

► Nymphs, which are never totally off the menu for trout, will become more important this month. Two-nymph rigs, with a salmonfly nymph on the point, will be very productive when no hatches are in progress.

Pupa

Size 10-22 Chans Chironomid Pupa, Zebra Midge. Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns

Adult

Size 10-22 Griffiths Gnat, Sprout Midge. Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns

► When trout are midging, a Sprout Midge or Griffiths Gnat can work well, but a pupa pattern is always a good choice.

► Be prepared for midge hatches in the early morning hours and at dusk.

Adult

Size 2-8 Muddler, Morrish Sculpin. Browns, olives

Lakes; rivers over gravel and cobble, undercut banks: count-down-and-retrieve, slow retrieve, wind drift, deep swing

Adult

Size 4-10 Madam X, Daves Hopper, Morrish Hopper. Tan/yellow, olive/yellow, green

Bankwater with grass: standard dry fly

► Hopper fishing is spotty on Oregon rivers, but it's something to be prepared for this month because it's great fun when it happens. Look for grassy river banks and put your fly within inches (not feet) of the edge.

Ant



Adult

Size 10-16 Parachute Ant, Ant. Black, brown, red-brown

► Ants often fall onto streams, especially if there are pine trees nearby. Anglers usually miss this event, but trout do not.

Steelhead


► While your best chance of a hookup is during low-light time, it's possible to pick up steelhead during the bright hours. If you feel compelled to cast all day, switch to a sink-tip line and standard summer steelhead deep swinging fly. Swing your fly through deeper water or riffly sections (steelhead pull into the frothy water in search of overhead cover and more oxygen). Or use indicator tactics and work any slots, seams, or rocky areas that you think may hold fish.

Traditional tactics with standard summer steelhead swinging flies should work well this month, especially in the low-light times.

► As the sun gets lower in the sky and temperatures cool, you can be productive for a longer time each day, instead of restricting yourself to the early morning and late evening.

► Most major summer steelhead streams are hitting their prime. The strength of the run will vary from one year to the next.

General


► Fall fishing should arrive the second or third week of September. Even if we have high peak temperatures, it's not hot for long. The nights are cooler and longer, and that means lower water temperatures overall. It's all due to the earth's tilt on its axis, and that ain't gonna change. Enjoy!

► September is usually two months in one. The first half often has inconsistent fishing and feels like a continuation of August. In the second half, cooler weather settles in, with maybe a little rain, and trout and steelhead respond to the change with gusto.

► Slippery rocks are an issue this month. A summer of low rivers and warm sunshine will have encouraged thick coats of algae on many submerged boulders. Watch your step, and be prepared in case you fall in.

► Some rivers will start to see coho salmon this month. Coho can be caught with methods similar to steelhead traditional tactics, except you can find coho in somewhat slower water and they will chase a fly. So stay alert as you retrieve, because they might grab your fly right at your feet. And manage your loose line.

► How can you tell the difference between a coho and a steelhead? Steelhead and coho both have white gums at the base of the teeth on the lower jaw, but steelhead have a white mouth and coho have a black mouth. Also, steelhead have black spots in uniform rows on the tailfin. Coho tailfins have black spots only on the top part. And--Run your thumbnail along the rays of the tailfin. If it's a steelhead it will feel smooth. If it's a coho it will feel rough.

Importance by half-month
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

Hatches are matched from Westfly's database of "standard" fly patterns.


Nymph

Size 14-16 Pheasant Tail. Brown

Emerger

Size 14-16 Quigley Cripple, Film Critic, Hackle Stacker. Gray to tan

Lakes, slow water: chuck-and-sit

Dun

Size 14-16 Sparkle Dun, Hairwing Dun, Adams, Comparadun. Gray to tan

Lakes, slow water: chuck-and-sit

Spinner

Size 14-16 Rusty Spinner. Tan to brown

Lakes, slow water: chuck-and-sit

► Hatches have a resurgence around mid-September. These late hatches are usually size 16 insects, and they are a little darker than the Callibaetis you saw earlier in the year.

► Be prepared to fish all stages of the hatch: nymph, emerger, dun, spinner.

Pupa

Size 8-16 Soft Hackle, . Body: black, brown, white; Shroud: tan

Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers: verticle retrieve, slow retrieve

Adult

Size 10-16 Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Caddis, X Caddis. Body: black, brown, white, cream

Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers: chuck-and-sit

► These caddis are recognizable by their very long antennae. Evening hatches may occur. Try skating a size 8-10 Goddard Caddis across the surface.

Pupa

Size 10-22 Chans Chironomid Pupa, Zebra Midge. Black, gray, olive, red, creams, browns

► Expect evening hatches.

► The trick is to match the size and color of the pupae (size is more important than color). When in doubt, try different colors/sizes until you find what works. Or try casting two flies at a time, with different size/color patterns on droppers to find the magic combination.

Adult

Size 2-10 Woolly Bugger, Bunny Leech, Hale Bopp Leech, Possie Bugger. Black, browns, olives

Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers: count-down-and-retrieve, slow retrieve, wind drift

► Always a good choice for lakes.

Adult

Size 2-8 Muddler, Woolly Bugger, Clouser Minnow, Possie Bugger. Browns, olives, silver, greens

Lakes; rivers over gravel and cobble, undercut banks: count-down-and-retrieve, slow retrieve, wind drift, deep swing

► Like leeches, baitfish imitations are always a good choice for lakes, especially lakes that hold large trout.

Ant



Adult

Size 10-16 Parachute Ant, Ant. Black, brown, red-brown

► Ants often blow out of pine trees and onto the lake when the wind picks up, creating a "mystery" hatch.

General


► Want to know where to look for brook trout this month? Any shallow place that has rocky structures or gravel. They are getting ready to spawn. Unlike browns and rainbows, brook trout can spawn in stillwater (that's because they're a char, not a trout).

► Rainbow trout are spring spawners, so they will wait several months before looking for a place to propagate themselves. But they are always searching for good water conditions. So in lakes where the water cools off, they'll scatter and be hard to locate. In other lakes, the level will have dropped, the water is warm, and rainbows will look for cool water sources, such as springs, inlets, and deeper water.

► Brown trout will move toward inlet and outlet streams in preparation for fall spawning. Once they're in their spawning mode, though, leave them alone.