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Oregon Forecast for May

By Scott Richmond

Oregon Rivers in General

What to Expect in May:

It's May, so watch the river levels carefully. If you see a sudden large increase, you can figure fishing is going to be poor on that river until the flows stabilize or drop significantly. If the flows are only up a little and the river is slightly colored, you'll do best with nymphs, and those nymphs will usually work best when drifted near the bank.

Trout are taking--or will soon be taking--drifting salmonfly and golden stonefly nymphs on rivers that host populations of these mega-sized insects. The key to effective nymph fishing is to get your fly to the bottom. Period. Spilt shot, beadhead, extra weight under the body dubbing--whatever it takes and is still legal. If you aren't losing a few nymphs, you're not doing it right.

Salmonfly nymphs are most active at dawn and dusk, so that's when they are most likely to get knocked loose and drift in the current--and when trout will be waiting for them. But that doesn't mean you can't catch fish all day, either. It just tells you when you'll probably do best. Fish below riffles, among boulder fields, and through drop-offs. Kaufmanns Stoneflies, Rubber Legs, etc.--they all work.

By mid-month, adult salmonflies will start to hatch. The key to the hatch is water temperature. When it gets around 52-53 degrees, the nymphs begin crawling to shore in earnest. Once out of the water, the adult emerges from the nymph, dries its wings, and flies to an alder tree where it utters the insect equivalent of "Hey, Baby, Baby." In their relentless pursuit of the opposite sex, adult stoneflies often fall or are blown out of the trees, land in the water, and are devoured by trout.

So if you cast a Clarks Stonefly, Low Ball Stonefly, Stimulator, or similar fly near shore and just downstream or downwind from overhanging vegetation--especially in the afternoon when the bugs and the wind are at their most active--you may catch a fish.

Note that just because the adult salmonflies are out, it doesn't mean trout are taking them yet. Trout are creatures of habit, and they can be slow to make the switch from nymphs to adults.

One hint: if you buy your salmonfly flies, buy them now because the fly shops only stock-up once and won't re-order until next year. If you wait too long all you'll find are empty bins or flies that are the wrong size, pattern, etc.

By late May we should be seeing some green drakes in the Metolius and a few other rivers. Hatches of this large insect usually occur in early afternoon. Green drakes are not found in large numbers in Oregon streams, but the bug is big enough to catch the interest of trout, both before and during a hatch. Before the hatch, a Poxyback Green Drake can catch fish when drifted through a run with a slow to moderate current. This fly has a shiny back, based on the fact that top of the thorax of most mayflies gets shiny just as it is ready to emerge. Use this fly before the hatch. During the hatch, use the Green Drake Paradrake, Green Drake Cripple, or similar pattern. Wait until a trout rises to a natural insect so you know where it's lying, then cast to that fish. Blind casting will only put the trout down.

Pale evening duns can make an appearance on some rivers this month. A Light Cahill is a good fly to use during the midday hatches.

You can still find occasional blue-winged olive hatches. These late bloomers tend to be big (for a blue-winged olive). A few size 16 and 18 Parachute Baetis, olive Sparkle Duns, or Baetis Cripples should be in your fly box. You may also encounter some very small blue-wings, about size 22-24.

Caddis continue to be important. Caddis-rich rivers such as the Deschutes and McKenzie have large populations of green caddis (genus Rhyacophila) and spotted caddis (genus Hydropsyche). Try a Sparkle Larva or Czech Nymph in size 14. The larvae often drift in the current and are taken by trout. This month we will also see hatches of spotted caddis. See below for the adult patterns. There are also sporadic hatches of green caddis 1-3 p.m. in soft water below riffles. The green caddis will hatch the early part of May, then come back again in fall.

Grannoms (genus Brachycentrus), the "Mother's Day Caddis," are important on some Oregon rivers. Use a Sparkle Pupa or Deep Sparkle Pupa with a green body and a tan shroud before and during the hatch. Dead drift it near the bottom, then let it swing up to the surface. If you see trout feeding consistently just subsurface or making splashy rises, cast a Sparkle Pupa upstream-and-across and let it drift drag-free just under the surface. See below for the color and size of adults.

Weedy water caddis (genus Amiocentrus) hatches will be found in slow-moving parts of some rivers this month.

With caddis fly patterns, "close" is usually good enough, so you only need a couple of fly patterns; just vary the color and size to match the natural insects. For a dry, an Elk Hair Caddis, Deer Hair Caddis, Casanova Caddis, X Caddis, or similar pattern works in these combinations:

  1. Green rock worm: size 12-14; dark olive body, gray wing
  2. Spotted caddis: size 12-14; brown to tan body, tan wing
  3. Saddle-case caddis: size 18-20; tan body, dark wing
  4. Grannom: size 12-16; olive body, tan or cream wing
  5. Weedy Water: size 16-18; dark olive body, dark wing

Many caddis species lay eggs by swimming or crawling underwater, and they are often taken by trout. Use a wet fly such as a Soft Hackle or a Diving Caddis in the sizes listed above for adults; caddis get darker when ready to lay eggs, so use darker versions of the listed colors.

Trout and steelhead have been spawning in many rivers, so if you're wading over gravelly areas or see small rocky spots that are "cleaner" than their surroundings, you're probably on a redd. Get off it, and don't fish in that area. Spawners need their rest.

Also, this is the time of year that salmon and steelhead smolts migrate to sea. They congregate in backeddies, below riffles, and near shore. They're suckers for a dry fly or anything near the surface. If you're catching a bunch of 5-8 inch "trout" that are shiny and silvery and maybe have the adipose fin clipped off, you're into smolts. Move on and fish another area. They are likely to be damaged by your fly, whether it's barbless or not.



Oregon Lakes in General

What to Expect in May:

Callibaetis hatches will begin in earnest on many lakes this month. They usually occur late-morning to mid-afternoon. Trout will feed on nymphs for a couple of hours before the hatch. Take advantage of this and cast a nymph pattern, then retrieve it slooooooowly; use an intermediate line with a long leader. A Flashback Callibaetis or Flashback Pheasant Tail, size 14-16, should work quite well. In my experience, a Flashback PT outfishes a regular PT by 3-to-1 during this hatch. The reason is that many nymphs develop a shiny back just before they hatch, and trout look for this feature.

Use a Callibaetis Cripple or Sparkle Dun during the hatch. The chuck-and-sit presentation works just fine.

Trout will also be feeding on midges. Look for several hatches of different species throughout the day. The deep midge tactic is good for midday hatches because trout are reluctant to leave the safety of deeper water and prefer to take their midges farther down the water column.

In many desert lakes, there is a very large midge that hatches in early May and is preferred by trout. It is matched by a black-bodied, silver or white ribbed pupa pattern in size 10 or 12; the pattern MUST be slender.

Damselfly nymphs should become effective on many lakes as they warm up. Present a good pattern, such as Dougs Damsel, Marabou Damsel, or Approximate Damsel, near weedbeds. The standard damselfly retrieve is to pull two inches of line in two seconds, pause two seconds, then repeat. Use an intermediate line; damselfly nymphs move in the top inch or so of water. That said, you can do pretty well just trolling a damsel nymph as you slowly and steadily kick around the lake in your float tube. But fishing writers don't like to talk about stuff that's that simple.

Other than a midge pupa pattern or damsel nymph, it's hard to go wrong with a Woolly Bugger or Seal Bugger on a slow sinking line, such as an intermediate or Type 3.

If the weather continues to be cool, most of Oregon's higher lakes will be locked in snow and ice, and it will be several more weeks before some of the lower high lakes are open.



Chickahominy Reservoir

What to Expect in May:

Midges, Woolly Buggers, Prince nymphs, and dragonfly patterns are good choices. Be careful when it rains; the roads can get very rutted and muddy.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Chickahominy Reservoir report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Clackamas River

What to Expect in May:

Summer steelhead arrive this month in the Clackamas. Both traditional tactics and indicator tactics are effective here. When runoff starts, the water temp will stay cool and the river will be on the high side. Look for a river stage of around 12.5 to 13.5 on the Estacada gage.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Clackamas River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Crane Prairie Reservoir

What to Expect in May:

Crane is generally not a good early season producer due to cold water. However, you might try fishing in the snaggy areas with a Woolly Bugger with lots of rainbow Krystal Flash in the tail. That's a good way to pick up the lake's brook trout. Brookies are more tolerant of cold water than rainbows. Unfortunately, there's not many of them left.

Otherwise, midge and leech patterns will provide most of the action this month

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Crane Prairie Reservoir report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Crooked River

What to Expect in May:

The Crooked can be high and unfishable in May, so check the river levels before heading over here. If the river's in shape, fishing should hold up until the weather gets hot in July.

Midges and caddis will provide the most of the action. Midge rises can be very difficult to detect--just a gentle sip and maybe a little bit of nose is all you'll see. So walk slowly, pause often, and use your eyes before unlimbering your casting arm. Keep your midge pupa patterns small, generally around size 20-22. However it's always a good idea to snag a real bug or at least its shuck and measure your fly against the real McCoy.

Grannom caddis will be hatching this month. Mid-month is a typical kick-off time for this hatch, but warmer weather can make it happen earlier, and cold weather can put it off for a week or so. A CDC Caddis or Henryville in size 12-14 is a good choice on this moderately-paced river. During a hatch and when there is no hatch, you can also cast a size 12-14 green Sparkle Pupa.

Blue-winged olive patterns and olive or orange scuds will work well, too.

Trout are still in spawning mode, so don't tread on a redd.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Crooked River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Davis Lake

What to Expect in May:

Trout can be taken during Callibaetis and midge hatches. Focus on the inlet channels and the area near the lava dam at the other end of the lake.

Bass fishing can be slow while the water is warming up, but it should improve throughout the month. Long leech-type patterns are good, as are large deer-hair surface poppers. The poppers will probably work best when fished during cloudy times or very early in the morning or late in the evening (I mean dark, but legal). Look for the bass in the weedbeds near the lava dam.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Davis Lake report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Deschutes River, Lower

What to Expect in May:

Flows can fluctuate in May. High but steady or decreasing flows are fishable, but once you get above 6500 cfs or so (Madras gage), it's hard to find good spots to fish. When flows are high, you should look for the same TYPE of water that you usually fish, but it may be in a different place. And there won't be as many places to fish as there are at lower flows.

Mahogany duns might last until mid-month. The blue-winged olives are on the way out, too, but you can encounter important hatches of them for the first part of the month. Between these two insects, you might have hatching bugs from noon to 3:00 p.m.

The big stories for the month are the stonefly hatches. The salmonflies and golden stoneflies will dominate the river until mid-June. Salmonflies are predominant in the upper portions of the river, while golden stoneflies are more prevalent in the lower miles. The two species meet in the Maupin area, where you can find plenty of both.

Of these two big insects, salmonflies are the first to become active. As the water warms up, nymphs begin to crawl about. In the process they get knocked loose and drift in the current, where trout pick them off. About the third week of May, the salmonflies will crawl to shore and hatch on land. Adults are often blown or stumble onto the water and are sucked down by waiting trout.

The hatch starts in the river's lower reaches because the water has had more time to warm up. Then it progresses upriver until it arrives in the Warm Springs area. Many years, the hatch near Warm Springs begins a week or more after the first salmonflies appear in Maupin.

Stonefly nymphs such as Kaufmanns Stoneflies, Rubber Legs, etc. will do well all month. Your imitation needs to be on the bottom. Dead drift it through rocky areas, along current seams, and through slower, deeper water just below riffles. Use tight line or trout indicator tactics. Avoid spawning area; stay off gravelly flats, because that's were the spawners are.

Team your stonefly nymph with a smaller wet fly, such as a beadhead Prince (size 12-14), Zug Bug (size 14), Green Rock Worm (size 12-14), Pheasant Tail (size 16-18), or Sparkle Larva (size 12-14).

Golden stoneflies have a life history similar to that for salmonflies, but their hatch cycle starts a couple of weeks later. The very bottom part of the Deschutes, near the mouth, has golden stoneflies that usually start to hatch mid-May because the water is warmest down there (there aren't many salmonflies in that part of the river). The lower river isn't great stonefly habitat, but you'll find fewer people fishing for trout.

The closer to you get to Warm Springs, the fewer golden stones you'll see. The closer you get to the mouth, the fewer salmonflies you'll see. Trout usually prefer the goldens to the salmonflies when both are available.

I've tried a number of salmonfly patterns, and in my opinion it's hard to beat a Clarks Stonefly. The Clarks Stonefly works well on the soft bankwater, lands gently on the water, casts more accurately than other stonefly patterns, and--due to its light weight--lets you use a finer tippet. It's also a really easy fly to tie. For some other good patterns, see Graduate School Stoneflies.

When casting salmonfly patterns, remember that most of the action is near the bank. Drift your fly through quiet water that is near overhanging vegetation; or water that is two-four feet deep and flowing over boulders; or pocket water just behind boulders; or current seams where fast water meets slow; or drop-offs below riffles; or riffly water near deeper water.

In the hatch's late stages, you'll probably do best with low-riding patterns. Take a look at the Titanic Stone for a sunken-adult pattern. This can be very effective at the end of the salmonfly/golden stonefly cycle.

Green caddis and spotted caddis hatches will also be going on, so don't just get stuck in a stonefly frame of mind. See the Rivers in General section for caddis tactics and patterns.

Near the end of May the pale morning duns may be hatching. At the beginning of May you may see some remnant March browns.

All month the Deschutes will be full of salmon and steelhead smolts. They are idiots and will take any surface or near-surface fly you toss at them. The risk of injury to these fish is great. Don't target them, and don't fish a dry fly, Soft Hackle, or emerger in backeddies unless you know you are casting to mature trout, not smolts. If you're hooking 5-9 inch fish, they're probably smolts; move on.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Deschutes River, Lower report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Deschutes River, Upper

What to Expect in May:

There is still some fishing available in the section between Bend and Lake Billy Chinook. Early in the month you can find a few stragglers from the March brown hatch, as well as some blue-winged olives (both size 18 and 22; trout can be picky about the size).

Late afternoon and evening look for hatches of green caddis and grannom caddis. Larva patterns such as a Sparkle Larva will work subsurface. Use a size 12-14 tan Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, or Casanova Caddis on the surface.

There are many rainbow fry in the river, and brown trout gobble them up. A fry pattern can be effective.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Deschutes River, Upper report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



East Lake

What to Expect in May:

Ice and snow govern May fishing here. Snow can block the road until after Memorial Day, if the winter was harsh. And when the snow is gone, the lake can still be partially iced over. As the ice leaves, the first place to turn on is the area near the hot springs. You can tell where it is when your go through it in a boat: it smells like sulfur. Underwater vents release warm geothermal water, and that's the first place trout head in the spring. The south shore near East Lake Campground (the first campground as you approach the lake on the road) is another good early-season area.

You can do well with a streamer fished with a slow retrieve. Look for hatches of Callibaetis mayflies later in the month when it warms up.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the East Lake report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Fall River

What to Expect in May:

Fall River remains a good central Oregon option. Midges will provide much of the action, with hatches occurring at midday. Try a Sprout Midge or a Griffiths Gnat. You will probably need a 7X tippet and a downstream presentation. You might see some caddis in another week or two, so carry a few cream-bodied X Caddis in size 14 or 16. A good May fly is a beadhead Pheasant Tail in size 14 or 16. Blue-winged olives and March browns are other spring hatches that can linger into May.

Look for trout in deeper areas and where there is cover or rocky structure.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Fall River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Grande Ronde River

What to Expect in May:

Waiting for steelhead to arrive in fall.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Grande Ronde River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Hosmer Lake

What to Expect in May:

Access to Hosmer is uncertain in May. The lake is at the north end of the Cascade Lakes Highway, near South Sister, and winter leaves late in that area. Once the snow is gone and you can reach the lake, you may still find a little ice. But when you can get there and when the ice goes off Hosmer, the fish will go on a two-week feeding binge. You want to be there. The south end of the lake (near the boat ramp) warms up first, and that is where the early action will be. Midge patterns and damselfly nymphs (Dougs Damsel, Approximate Damsel, Marabou Damsel, etc.) should take fish.

Later in the month you can expect Callibaetis hatches. For the latter, use a size 14 Sparkle Dun with a gray body, or a Callibaetis Cripple (my favorite).

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Hosmer Lake report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Klamath Lake

What to Expect in May:

May can be a good month if we get a string of warm days. Concentrate on the Pelican Bay area, working the weedy edges with Seal Buggers and damselfly patterns. Fishing is best on sunny days at this time because the sunshine warms up the water.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Klamath Lake report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Klamath River

What to Expect in May:

In the Keno section, look for fishable flows of under 1,500 cfs, preferably under 1,000 cfs. Conditions will sometimes be turbid, even if the flows are fishable. Toss big, black, weighted flies, such as Rubber Legs or Woolly Buggers. Dead-drift them past boulders, current seams, and any place the water slows or deepens.

The water below Boyle Dam can be productive, if river levels and clarity are acceptable; clarity can be a major issue this month. Salmonfly nymphs such as Kaufmanns Stoneflies, Rubber Legs, and Rocky Nymphs, should do well; this section is rich in salmonflies. Zug Bugs, Net Builders, and Sparkle Larvas are also productive flies; they imitate the spotted caddis larva that are common in this part of the river. Trout in this section seem to prefer nymphs with a bit of color, such as a bright head or bit of orange yarn in the thorax (see the Hot Spot Pheasant Tail for an example).

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Klamath River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Lava Lake

What to Expect in May:

Midges and rust, peacock-and-green, and peacock-and-black Woolly Buggers are usually good early-season producers here. The west shore and south end will probably have the best early season fishing. Check to make sure the lake is accessible before you go here.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Lava Lake report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Mann Lake

What to Expect in May:

If you visit this remote stillwater in May, look for fish in the shallows. Remember, Mann's trout often congregate in pods of dozens of fish--sometimes it seems like every fish in the lake is packed into 100 square feet of water.

Carry drab beadhead flies in size 14, red midge pupa patterns, and size 10-12 midge pupa patterns with a black body and silver or white ribbing. Also pack some large flies, such as a size 4 Woolly Bugger or Matts Fur, and use them with a sinking line. Vary your retrieve. Sometimes a very fast retrieve is needed to induce a strike.

Some action should continue through the end of the May. After Memorial Day, I'd forget about this lake until fall.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Lakes in General report. See the Mann Lake report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



McKenzie River

What to Expect in May:

The McKenzie will offer variable fishing this month, depending on river flows. Watch out for major spikes in the flows/levels; they indicate poor fishing conditions.

You'll find pale morning duns this month, and some green caddis. That latter hatch will start low and work its way up the river as the water warms. Caddis, especially the McKenzie caddis (genus Actopsyche, a cousin of the green caddis), are a traditional May event on this river. The McKenzie caddis usually starts to hatch in mid-May; size 12-14 caddis patterns with a green or blue-green body can do well.

Early in May you might still encounter some March browns as well as size 16-18 egg-laying caddis.

Later in the month, green drakes will become important. The hatch is sparse, but those big duns are seldom ignored by trout when they're drifting down the river.

Golden stoneflies will also begin hatching near month's end, and you can do well with the nymphs most of the month.

Nymphing should be good all month, and you can do very well here if you tie on a Soft Hackle and present it with a wet-fly swing.

Some summer steelhead should soon be in the river. Both indicator tactics and traditional tactics can take fish here. It can be ugly between Leaburg and Leaburg Dam as gear anglers crowd shoulder to should in the pursuit of salmon and steelhead, but there are plenty of other places to fish for steelhead.

The smolt migration is still underway. It is tapering off some, and should be mostly done in a couple of weeks.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the McKenzie River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Metolius River

What to Expect in May:

Dry fly fishing can be uncertain in early May. Nymphing is usually more consistent at this time of year. Fishing should improve as the weather gets warmer.

Cinygmula mayflies can be found during early May. They hatch at midday and are matched with a size 16 cream-bodied dry fly. You may catch the tail end of the blue-winged olive hatch through the first half of the month.

Some caddis will hatch in the late afternoon and early evening of warmer days. Match them with a tan/olive size 16 X Caddis.

The pale morning duns and green drakes get going during the second half of May, The PMDs will start first, and the green drakes follow one or two weeks later. Trout will focus on green drake nymphs for a couple of weeks before the hatch begins. A Poxyback Green Drake is an excellent imitation. Dead drift it near the bottom. Even after the green drakes begin to hatch, trout will prefer the nymph to the dun for several days until they become interested in the duns.

In the absence of surface activity, dead-drift a large golden stonefly nymph, such as a dark tan Kaufmanns Stonefly or Matts Fur (goldens are a huge part of the biomass on the Metolius). The fly needs to be near the bottom. Put another fly, such as a size 18 Pheasant Tail or a size 12 Poxyback Green Drakes, on a dropper or trailer.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Metolius River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Owyhee River, Lower

What to Expect in May:

Keep an eye on the river gage; when the irrigation season starts, flows will increased substantially. Also, some Mays see a lot of water even without irrigation flows; it all depends on how much snow needs to melt.

Look for Callibaetis and morning midge hatches in the slow stretches, and caddis in the faster water. Size 16 caddis larva patterns can be effective this month. You might also encounter some blue-winged olives.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Owyhee River, Lower report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Rogue River, Upper

What to Expect in May:

The Rogue gets a nice caddis hatch in May, both in the mainstem and in the fly-only Holy Water below Lost Creek Dam. Use size 12 patterns. Trout fishing is closed in the mainstem of the Rogue, but you can fish for half-pounders (immature steelhead); just release your catch.

At the very end of May or in early June, the salmonflies should start hatching in the Rogue "Holy Water," the short fly-fishing-only section below Lost Creek Dam. Look for female stoneflies to drop to the surface in the evening to lay their eggs; that's the best time to fish here. Good flies are MacSalmons and Clarks Stoneflies.

There will be some early-arriving summer steelhead this month, as well as spring chinook. Some winter steelhead are available until mid-month, but they should be left alone to spawn and return to the ocean. So big, fresh anadromous fish are around, but realize that it's low-percentage fishing until August.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Rogue River, Upper report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Sandy River

What to Expect in May:

A few summer steelhead will show up in the Sandy this month, but fishing will be on the slow side. Traditional tactics work well here, but you'll probably want a sink-tip line and traditional tactics for most of May. When runoff starts, the water temp will stay cool and the river may have days when it's high and off-color. But the Sandy clears quickly and it pays to keep an eye on the river gage.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Sandy River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Umpqua River, North Fork

What to Expect in May:

We're in-between the late winter steelhead and the early summer-runs, so this is not a good month to visit the North Umpqua.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Umpqua River, North Fork report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Williamson River

What to Expect in May:

The Williamson below Klamath Marsh is closed until the last Saturday in May. The upper Williamson is open, however. Access is difficult due to private property.

Small nymphs and the usual size 10-12 Woolly Buggers (brown, black) should do well in the lower Williamson when it opens. Present the Woolly Buggers down-and-across and retrieve in quick, two-inch pulls with a pause between each pull. You can also team the Woolly Bugger with a Prince nymph and drift the combo past rocks.

While this river's biggest trout are rainbows that move up from Klamath Lake later in the year, the Williamson also supports a good population of resident trout that can go 20 inches. Those are the fish you're casting for in May and June.

For more on May tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General report. See the Williamson River report for current conditions, hatches, guides, and other information.



Central Region

What to Expect in May:

Early season fishing for stocked rainbows can been good in South Twin and North Twin lakes. Both lakes are very deep, so just fish the first 50 feet near shore. These lakes are options when the wind blows you off other lakes. Size 10 olive Woolly Buggers and size 14-16 Flashback Pheasant Tails are good flies to use. Present them with an intermediate line and a 9-12 foot 5X leader.

Laurence Lake near Hood River can be good for anglers who present small Woolly Buggers with a slow retrieve near the surface. Illegally-planted bass are in the lake, although they are not plentiful. If you catch one, take it home and fillet it for dinner.



Northeast Region

What to Expect in May:

It will soon be time to think about smallmouth bass on the John Day river.



Northwest Region

What to Expect in May:

Some of the coastal lakes, such as Cape Meares Lake near Tillamook have stocked trout and are worth casting to in May.



Southeast Region

What to Expect in May:

Howard Prairie and Hyatt lakes are now open. These lakes are between Klamath Falls and Ashland. Trout fishing can be good at times, but a cool spring will result in a slow start.



Southwest Region

What to Expect in May:

By the end of the month, the smallmouth bass in the mainstem of the Umpqua should be done with their spawning and ready to smack a fly, unless the flows are too high and cold.

Shad will be available in the Umpqua.

Some of the coastal lakes, such as Eel Lake near Coos Bay, have stocked trout and are worth casting to in May.

Coastal bass lakes such as Tenmile and Siltcoos should be good for largemouth bass.



Willamette Region

What to Expect in May:

Shad should be available in the Willamette River around mid-month. Fly fishing for them can be productive if the river level is not too high.




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