Home » Oregon » This Month

Oregon Forecast for November

By Scott Richmond

Oregon Rivers in General

What to Expect in November:

Trout. Most Novembers begin cloudy and maybe wet, and this shift can create good fishing--with reduced fishing pressure--for the first half of the month. However, if we have an extended cold spell, trout will hole-up and it could be mid-February before they begin to stir again. Also, very rainy weather will render rivers high and muddy. Under those conditions, trout will be reluctant to rise to a dry fly, but might be enticed by a small nymph and/or San Juan Worm presented near the bottom in slower water.

Other than a few caddis species and the ever-present midges, the dominant insect activity in November is blue-winged olives. They will mount some kind of hatch every afternoon. The strongest hatches will be on cloudy days with a little drizzle. Some trout will be interested, many others won't want to know about it.

When there is a hatch of blue-winged olives, I reach for a size 18 Sparkle Dun or Baetis Cripple, generally the former. Spinner falls are sometimes important in winter, so carry a couple of Rusty Spinners. Most blue-wings will be size 18.

Nymphing is generally more reliable than waiting for a hatch of blue-wings. A good nymph pattern for the fall blue-winged olive season is a size 18 dark Gold-Ribbed Hares Ear. The gold ribbing on the Hares Ear mimics the light and dark segments on the abdomen of a dominant BWO for this time of year. Pheasant Tails work, too. Either way, present the fly near the bottom.

As the weather and water settle to a low temperature, the best trout and whitefish fishing will be between 10:00 a.m.and 2:00 p.m. (standard time).

Late in the month, whitefish could begin spawning. Trout will hang below the whitefish and scarf drifting roe, so a small Egg Fly in is a good choice; drift it near the bottom. See the article Egg Flies for tips and patterns to imitate eggs.

Most chinook salmon are done spawning, but there may be a few late-bloomers and some coho who are still at it. If so, leave them alone. You might, however, try drifting an Egg Fly on the bottom below them. Trout will eat their roe, too.

You may run into some remnant October caddis early in the month, if the day is on the warm side. You may also encounter the end of the mahogany dun hatch and the ever present midges. Midges will be small this month--size 20-22.

Steelhead. Steelheading will depend on water temperature and rain. Check the river levels: sudden surges will dampen the fishing, and very high water will make the rivers too muddy for fly fishing (wade in up to your knees; if you can't see your boots, go home).

Summer steelhead, will remain active right through the end of the year. They're still considered summer steelhead if they entered freshwater in summer--even if there are icicles hanging off your nose when you fish for them.

When fishing for steelhead this month, pay close attention to the water temperature. That will inform your choice of fly line--sink-tip vs. floater--and that choice can be crucial to your success. For some good advice, see Sink-Tip or Floating Line?.

When the water turns consistently cold, steelhead will be reluctant to move very far for a fly. Under those circumstances you'll need to pack a sink-tip line and present the fly more slowly (and in somewhat slower water) than you did in summer. Indicator tactics are also effective.

No matter where you go at this time of year, take a change of clothes. When you do a slam dunk into water that's 45 degrees, and the air is about the same temperature (with a bit of a wind), you don't want to be 10 miles from the nearest dry, warm clothing. Pack some extra gear on the trip. It could help you avoid a heap of discomfort, and may even save your life.



Oregon Lakes in General

What to Expect in November:

There's not much to say about the lakes right now. Many are closed for the season, and many that are technically open will soon be frozen over or access will be blocked by snow.

Other than midge patterns, you might get some action on a Woolly Bugger; don't be afraid of the larger sizes this time of year. "Low and slow"--a slow presentations near the bottom--is the watchword on most lakes at this time of year. Unless, of course, you stumble into a midge hatch, when your motto should be "go small in fall."



Clackamas River

What to Expect in November:

The Clackamas will see some early winter steelhead late in the month. However, November is typically the wettest month of the year in western Oregon, so pay attention to the river levels before you head for the water. Look for river levels less than 13.5 feet on the Estacada gage.

Both traditional tactics and indicator tactics work well on the Clackamas in winter. Use the former in the runs, and the latter near rocks, rocky points, slots, and ledges. Due to private property, it's difficult to fish very much of the Clack without a boat. However, there are numerous convenient boat ramps.

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



Crooked River

What to Expect in November:

Blue-winged olives (size 18-20), midge larvae (size 20-22, red or black), and small scuds (size 12) will take most of the trout in November. Expect hatches of blue-wings between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

For the blue-wings, you can use a Sparkle Dun, Parachute Baetis, Baetis Cripple, or CDC Baetis during hatches, and a gold-ribbed Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail dead-drifted near the bottom when there is no hatch; size 18 or 20 for all these flies. In my experience, the nymphs usually outfish the dries on this river, even when it's so murky you can't see more than a few inches into the water. Even during a hatch, the larger trout may favor a drifting nymph over a dry fly.

If the water is low, a nymph will definitely be the best choice.

Scud imitations are always a good winter choice here, especially when they have an orange or pink tint on the back. Dead drift your size 12-16 patterns near the bottom, or slowly retrieve them in slow water.

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



Deschutes River, Lower

What to Expect in November:

Steelhead.Fish are still on the move, and good numbers should still be going through the fish ladder at Sherars Falls and heading upstream. Fresh steelhead enter the Deschutes through December, but in smaller numbers. With the Columbia cooling off, fish bound for the Snake River will keep on moving instead of making a rest stop in the lower Deschutes. So the message is: don't entirely give up on the lower reaches of the river, but you won't have the numbers of fish that were there in late summer and there won't be a lot of new recruits.

November can be one of the best months to pursue the river's silver streakers, if you make careful note of air and temperatures and the prevailing weather pattern. Expect the water temperature to fluctuate this month. That means you're going to be wondering whether to use a sink-tip or floating line. Your choice could spell the difference between good fishing and casting practice. See Sink-Tip or Floating Line? for some excellent advice about how to make that choice. This time of year, drab patterns in brown, black, gray, or peacock seem to do well.

There is good water on the west bank between the locked gate and Maupin. However, many guides do their one-day trips in this section in November, so it can be crowded. If you're thinking of fishing this stretch, drive up the road and see how many boats are on the river. If it's three or more, look elsewhere.

The White River may still be a problem on rainy days that are not cold enough to bring snow to Mount Hood. Check with a local store such as the Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop or Deschutes Angler Fly Shop about the current status before heading over.

Trout.Trout fishers can expect blue-winged olive activity to intensify in the first part of November. When there is a hatch, use a Sparkle Dun, Baetis Cripple or Parachute Baetis; size 18 for either of those patterns. Otherwise, a Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail drifted near the bottom is a good choice.

Spotted caddis larvae are available, especially in the upper reaches of the river. Trout take them nearly all year. A size 12-14 Zug Bug or Prince can be a good choice. Fish it near seams and in slower water below a riffle or drop-off.

Some October caddis will still be on the water late in the afternoon and evening, and trout will be interested in them. Pupa patterns should continue to be effective early in November.

There are also some pale evening dun-like mayflies in size 16, as well as midges and micro caddis.

This time of year, the backeddies, foam lines, and steep banks are good places to seek trout.

Whitefish might begin to spawn late in the month, so carry a size 18 pale Egg Fly. Try drifting it near the bottom during the last week of the month; it might find a receptive mouth.

Trout fishing will wind down throughout the month, and by month's end you'll find fishing very slow. It picks up again in mid-February.

The winter months are a good opportunity to practice your nymphing skills on whitefish. You will find these under-valued fish in somewhat slower water than you find trout in. Slow areas just below or beside a riffle, or quiet runs that are three or four feet deep are ideal places. Drift a size 18 Pheasant Tail or Hares Ear nymph right near the bottom. If you don't find fish, keep moving. But if you hook one, odds are there are many more nearby because these guys like to hangout in groups.

As of October 31, the west side is closed from Warm Springs to near river mile 69, the northern boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation. Note that on the east side of this same stretch, the regulations stipulate no trout fishing. Of course, I've seen steelhead take a dead-drifted small dry fly, so who am I to argue with anyone's choice of tactics? But you can't keep trout of any size (you shouldn't anyway) if you accidently hook one while you're tossing a blue-winged olive dun for steelhead.

For more on November 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 November:

The river is now closed above Benham Falls. In the middle section between Benham Falls and Lake Billy Chinook, look for hatches of blue-winged olives. This section holds resident brown trout, and they can whack a streamer pattern that is presented in the pools and alongside the river bank where the water is over two feet deep. Leech and sculpin patterns should do well. Match your fly to the sky color: dark patterns on dark days, lighter patterns on bright days. There is good public access near Terrebonne. Irrigation season should be over, and that means more water in the river than there was during summer.

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



Fall River

What to Expect in November:

A winter fly-fishing mainstay, Fall River is open from its source to above the falls (about four miles). This section can produce trout, but the hatchery and springs areas offer the best access, especially once there is snow on the ground. When the weather turns frigid--which may or may not happen in November--trout will migrate up the river, making the headwaters section the best place to seek them because the water is warmer there.

You'll find hatches of blue-winged olives, midges, some mahogany duns (early in the month), and a small, dark caddis. Use a Sparkle Dun, Baetis Cripple, or Parachute Baetis for the first one, a Griffiths Gnat or Sprout Midge for the middle one, and a size 16 dark Elk Hair Caddis for the latter.

Tan San Juan Worms can be effective in the Fall River.

Be prepared for fussy fish. They see lots of anglers all year, so you'll need a 6X or 7X tippet, a 60-foot cast, and a downstream presentation when fishing a dry fly.

For more on November 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 November:

Optimum flows are 800-1200 cfs. The Grande Ronde can blow out during a storm and it can take almost a week to drop back to fishable levels, so watch the river gage.

Muddlers and other traditional patterns, such as Green Butt Skunks, work well here. The best fishing is usually between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Keep an eye on the weather this month. The Grande Ronde is in a deep canyon, and you drop almost 3,000 feet to get to the river. The weather on top could be quite different than on the river. It could be a chilly rain while you're fishing . . . and a raging blizzard on the only road home. In other words, you could be stranded in tiny Troy. Scary thought.

Make sure you have licenses and tags for both Washington and Oregon; good fishing doesn't stop at the border.

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



Klamath River

What to Expect in November:

The Keno section opened up in October. For agile anglers who hike down the canyon, there are good numbers of 14-18 inch rainbows, and not a few trout over five pounds. The best fishing is when the dam output is under 1,000-1,200 cfs.

A large purple or black Woolly Bugger or Rubber Legs dead drifted near the bottom works well. Present the fly near current seams, between boulders, and any place you find slow water near fast water.

The section below Boyle is open and should have fair fishing for anglers using Zug Bugs or Princes near the bottom. Most anglers, however, would rather fish the Keno stretch at this time of year because it is closer and holds bigger fish.

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



McKenzie River

What to Expect in November:

The McKenzie above Blue River closed on October 31; the tributaries close then, too.

Between Armitage and Hendricks Bridge, trout fishing should hold up until the first hard freeze or first string of heavy rain storms. Then it will become "difficult" until the March brown season.

As on other rivers, blue-winged olives provide the major bug action. Baetis Cripples and Sparkle Duns are good bets during a hatch. When there's no hatch, dead-drift a gold-ribbed Hares Ear near the bottom of runs that have a moderate flow. Cloudy days will be best for the blue-winged olive hatches, while sunny days could bring out the caddis. Nymphing can hold up through November, river levels permitting.

October caddis will be encountered early in November. You may also find some mahogany duns, small caddis, and flavs.

Steelhead should be available from Leaburg Dam to Leaburg, and a few above that. Rain should stir them to action.

For more on November 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 November:

The river is open all year below Allingham Bridge. Winter fishing is sporadic, but it's available. Because the Metolius is spring-fed, it's seldom affected by winter storms. On the other hand, it is at a high elevation, and the cold air temperature can make a difference. As the temperature drops to near freezing or below, the best fishing will be from noon to 2:00 p.m., with marginal fishing an hour either side of that.

Usually, the Metolius fishes well until around mid-November, after which it slows down. If it's not too cold, you might find an occasional left-over hatch of the cream-colored small western Gordon quill (Cinygmula). You can match it with a size 16 or 18 Sparkle Dun or similar fly. Some lingering pale morning duns and caddis were also available at the end of October.

You may also find some remnant October caddis early in the month. Use a size-8 orange-brown Stimulator and a thin leader. I've even used a 7X tippet with this big fly; it's no fun to cast, but it fishes well once it's on the water.

The Metolius also gets hatches of silver stripe caddis, which are another species of the genus Dicosmoecus, the same genus as October caddis. The silver stripes will be on the river in small numbers from now through spring. They are size 10-12. Both adult and pupa forms will take trout. Blue-winged olives will hatch most afternoons. Use a Sparkle Dun, Baetis Cripple, or Parachute Baetis (size 18 or 20) during the hatch, and a size-18 gold-ribbed Hares Ear (fished on the bottom) when there isn't a hatch.

Midges are also important, so bring midge pupa patterns when you come. You'll also find small caddis: tan size 16, olive size 18, and black size 20.

Kokanee are spawning this month, and trout will take the drifting roe. An Egg Fly drifted near the bottom will work to your advantage. The egg "hatch" is not a major factor here, but you might want to have a few patterns in your fly box in case nothing else is working.

Nymphs will be the most consistent producers, with double-bead stonefly nymphs with a Pheasant Tail or Hares Ear on a dropper being the best rig.

Bull trout are active in the river and may be hooked on large streamers.

For more on November 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 November:

Fall fishing can be good on this far eastern gem, especially after the river drops following the end of the irrigation season. But get here early, before the river starts to ice up. Your best action will probably come with Woolly Buggers and other streamer patterns fished with a slow-sinking line. Work the slackwater portions of the pools, but keep an eye out for feeding fish near the heads of the pools. You might find a mahogany dun hatch in the margins. Be prepared with midge patterns, as well as blue-winged olive imitations.

Brown trout will spawning this month; be careful not to tread on a redd.

For more on November 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 November:

There's still a few spawning chinook around, although most are now dead. Egg Flies can catch steelhead all month when dead-drifted behind a spawning pair of chinook, but you might want to switch to nymphs when the salmon are all dead or if they are sparse in numbers. Small stonefly patterns, such as a size 10 Kaufmanns Stonefly or Rubber Legs, and a red or regular Copper John in size 12 are excellent flies to carry right now. Other options include flashback Pheasant Tails, Soft Hackles, Big Birds, and Hares Ears.

Keep an eye on the river gage at Dodge Bridge. If flows spike upwards, stay home until they start to drop.

For more on November 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 November:

Some early winter steelhead may show up late in November. The Sandy clears quickly after a storm, and fishing should get better as December nears.

For more on November 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 November:

The water temperature is probably cold by now, and most fish will be taken on sink-tip lines; you've got to get down to the fish when it's cold. On the other hand, if November proves to be a mild month with a little rain but no big duck-drowners, you could have good fishing here, with plenty of steelhead and no crowds. On yet another hand, extended cold weather or heavy rains will finish off the summer-run fishing and it will be March before there's much action again. Once the rain starts, most of the summer-run fish will head up the spawning tributaries and will not be available to anglers. There can be lots of leaves and debris in the river this month, so check your fly often.

For more on November 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 November:

Closed as of October 31.

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




Click here to learn about advertising

logo
Home Forums Fly Patterns Entomology Articles Basic Skills Reviews Classifed Ads Photo Gallery Links Auctions  
IDAHO MONTANA OREGON WASHINGTON
Fishing Reports Trip Planner Hatches River Levels Weather Tides Guides+Lodges Events Fly Shops Fly Clubs