McKenzie River

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7 30 year
7 pm
7 pm
3.58/686 ↓
6 pm
7 30 year
7 pm
6 pm
7 30 year
6 pm
2.54/2540 ↓
7 30 year
7 pm
7 30 year
7 pm
7 30 year

Tim at The Caddis Fly Angling Shop says the March browns and blue-winged olives are fading. Expect hatches of grannoms on sunny days. These are a size 16 dark caddis. You may also find hatches of pale evening duns. The much-anticipated McKenzie caddis hatch is still a few weeks away.

Troy at Watershed Fly Shop in Corvallis notes that streamers can be effective here. The folks at Watershed are into micro spey, and pick up trout on the swing or swing/strip with Sculpzilla and Slumpbuster patterns in size 6-8; olive, brown, and olive/tan are favorite colors.

Importance by half-month
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

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


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

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


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

Flats, runs, backeddies: standard dry fly


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

Flats, runs, backeddies: standard dry fly


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

runs, slowish riffles: surface swing

► Runs of slow to moderate speed are best for the blue-winged olive nymphs, but the dry flies and emergers work best in backeddies.

► There will be some sort of hatch nearly every day from 1:00 to 3:00 (daylight time). Cool, drippy days prolong and intensify the hatch, bringing more trout to the surface. Sometimes the best hatches occur when the weather is warming up after a couple of cold days. Temperatures near or below freezing will not produce a good hatch.

► Trout and whitefish feed on drifting nymphs prior to the hatch.

► Emerging duns collect in backeddies, and trout will be waiting for them.


Size 10-14 Soft Hackle, Quigley Cripple, Film Critic, Hackle Stacker. Tan to red-brown body, brown wing

Near riffles, flats: surface swing


Size 10-14 Sparkle Dun, Hairwing Dun, Comparadun. Tan to red-brown body, brown wing

Near riffles, flats: standard dry fly

► Prior to the hatch, nymphs can be productive if you drift them near the bottom. Or, tie a nymph to a 12"-18" trailing leader that is attached to the hook bend of a dry fly; trout could pick up either fly.

► During the hatch, trout may be receptive to emerger patterns.

► This hatch will probably start to fade by mid-April.

► Look for feeding fish in the slow-to-moderate runs that are within about a hundred yards (upstream or downstream) of a good-sized riffle. Nymphs grow-up in the riffle, then migrate to quieter water (upstream or downstream) just before hatching.

► Hatches start around 2:00-2:30 p.m., daylight time.


Size 12-18 Soft Hackle, , Deep Sparkle Pupa. Body: tan, green; Shroud: tan

Riffles, runs, just below riffles: surface swing, shallow nymph


Size 12-18 Goddard Caddis, X Caddis, Parachute Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis. Body: brown, green, dark gray; Wing: tan, brown

► Caddis tend to be present on sunny days when March browns are no-shows. If all else fails, a size 16 Adams or Purple Haze can work dandy when the caddis are around. Sometimes it works great when NOTHING is around and NO trout are dimpling the surface; don't try to make sense out this--just go with it.


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


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

► Be prepared for midge hatches in the warmer parts of the day.

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


► Fishing below Armitage can be good, also. At that point you're in the Willamette, not the McKenzie, but who's keeping track?? You can put in at Armitage Park (next to I-5 on the McKenzie) and float to Hays (12 miles) or put in at Hays and float to Harrisburg (7 miles). Hatches and tactics are similar to those on the McKenzie.

► The Mohawk River can dump a lot of silt into the McKenzie. So fishing can be poor below the Mohawk after a storm, but okay above it. If you look at the river at Armitage Park and see chocolate milk flowing past you, don't automatically assume the entire McK is blown-out.

► Trout fishing will be best in the lower river--between Armitage and Hendricks Bridge--unless there is a string of heavy rain storms. Then it will become "difficult."

► Watch for hatches of other mayflies of size 18 and size 14-16; the latter is locally called a "pink lady" for its color, but it doesn't appear to be a pink albert mayfly.

The Caddis Fly Angling Shop 541-342-7005

Cascadia Fly Shop 541/230-1706

The Fly Fisher's Place 541-549-3474

Home-Waters 541-342-6691

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