Oregon

 

Rivers

Hatches divided by half-month.
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

HATCH NYMPH/
LARVA
PUPA/
EMERGER
DUN/
ADULT
EGG-
LAYER
Ameletus
Blue-winged olive
Mahogany dun
Gray drake
October caddis
Saddle-case caddis
Golden stonefly
Salmonfly
Midge
Sculpin
Hopper
Leech
Crayfish
Baitfish
Beetle
Ant

 

Typically, October offers (mostly) nice days early in the month, and some nasty, cold weather near the end. And a bit of rain throughout. Rain is good; it puts steelhead, salmon, and sea-run cutthroat on the move.

Rain and temperature--especially water temperature--will determine much of this month's fishing. When fishing for steelhead this month, always measure the water temp. That will inform your choice of fly line--sink-tip vs. floater. The choice can be crucial to your success. For some good advice, see Sink-Tip or Floating Line?

Trout. Cloudy, drippy days will be good for trout anglers. That kind of weather stimulates the ubiquitous blue-winged olives--a major hatch on many rivers all month. The nymphs will drift in the current throughout the hatch season, and you can take trout on nymph imitations, such as size 16-18 Pheasant Tails and gold-ribbed Hares Ears, from morning to dusk; see Jeff Morgan's article on Tiny Flies for thoughts on these small nymphs. Nymphs can be productive before, during, and after a blue-wing hatch, and even when there is no hatch that day. The key is to make sure your imitation is drifting near the bottom. To achieve that goal, you may want to team your nymph with a heavy fly such as a Kaufmanns Stonefly or beadhead Prince.

During a hatch of blue-wings, the Film Critics is a good emerger pattern. My hands-down favorite for a dun imitation is a Sparkle Dun. Rusty Spinners will take care of the final stage. Emergers, duns, and spinners tend to collect in backeddies and slow margins, and trout often just wait there for them to arrive.

Mahogany duns are present on many rivers in the early part of the month. These mayflies migrate to slow water before emerging, and hatches usually take place in the slow margins of the river. Trout are in no hurry to sip the duns, and rises are usually lazy, head-and-tail affairs. Because the action is in quiet water, your approach and casts need to be stealthy. The best strategy is to wait until you see a rise, then cast to that trout. Blind casting usually just puts the fish down. Let your cast settle gently on the water and avoid lining the trout. You may need a downstream presentation. A red-brown size 14-16 Sparkle Dun works well; in a pinch, you can use a Parachute Adams.

October caddis are the big bug of the fall. They are often matched with a size 8 Stimulator, but the traditional orange pattern is a bit bright. If you're tyingm, try a browner body and a darker wing. Another option is a Madam X with an orange-brown body.

Many anglers dead-drift an adult October caddis imitation without effect, then conclude that trout don't take October caddis. Wrong. If your dead-drift generates no rises, try a little twitch. If that doesn't work, try skating your fly across the surface. This can be deadly in riffles, just below riffles, and along current seams. All that dry-fly talk aside, the best plan for the October Caddis hatch is to dead-drift a pupa imitation along the bottom.

Streamers, such as Woolly Buggers, Morrish Sculpins, Muddlers, are another good choice this month. They can trigger strikes from big fish, especially from brown trout on those few Oregon rivers that hold them. The browns are getting into spawning mode, so you will find them moving out of lakes and into running water.

By month's end, the nights will be cold enough to slow the fish down, and the best trout fishing will be from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The higher (and colder) the water, the narrower the time slot for good fishing.

 

Lakes

Hatches divided by half-month.
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

HATCH NYMPH/
LARVA
PUPA/
EMERGER
DUN/
ADULT
EGG-
LAYER
Callibaetis
Gray drake
Longhorn caddis
Dragonfly
Midge
Scud
Leech
Crayfish
Baitfish
Beetle
Ant

This is the last good shot you'll have at the lakes for half a year, so get in all the casting you can. Fish may be slow to wake up as lake temperatures cool down; fishing will be better in the middle of the day than you might expect.

Callibaetis often have an early-October resurgence, so you may encounter hatches and spinner falls the first couple of weeks. After that, however, forget these delightful mayflies until spring.

On most lakes, the main fare will be the aforementioned Callibaetis, midges, and anything that moves. Look for midge hatches at any time of day, and cast a midge pupa pattern on a floating line when you see feeding trout. Let your cast sit quietly until you see a subtle swirl in the right place, then tighten up.

Other than that, it's nothing fancy. Woolly Buggers on an intermediate line should entice willing fish (there will be lots of unwilling fish this month, too).

Watch the weather on the lakes. It can quickly turn cold and nasty, especially on the big waters where there's nothing to stop the wind. Most lakes close at the end of the month, but weather is bigger factor than a bureaucrat's time schedule.