What to Expect in Oregon in October

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

► Emergers, duns, and spinners tend to collect in backeddies and slow margins, and trout often just wait there for them to arrive.

► Cloudy, drippy weather stimulates the ubiquitous blue-winged olives. If it's sunny, look for them in areas where shadows fall on the water.

► 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. You might want to look at Jeff Morgan's article on Tiny Flies for thoughts on these small nymphs.

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

► 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.

Adult

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

Bankwater near foilage: standard dry fly

Egg-layer

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

► Often, the best plan for the October Caddis hatch is to dead-drift a pupa imitation along the bottom.

► If your dead-drift adult 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.

► Adults can be matched with a size 8 Stimulator, but the traditional orange pattern is a bit bright. If you're tying, try a browner body and a darker wing. Another option is a Madam X with an orange-brown body. (On the other hand, I've used a yellow-bodies Madam X on small streams and did just fine.)

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

► 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.

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--salmonfly nymph on the point and a smaller nymph on a dropper--can 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

► Trout can be very picky about size and color of the pupa. You may need to swap flies several times to find the right combination. You can speed up this process by fishing two pupa at once and noting which one the trout show more interest in.

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

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

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

► Many Oregon streams do not offer good hopper fishing, but some do. And on those rivers you can have decent hopper fishing up to the first frosts--about mid-October. Look for grassy river banks and put your fly within inches (not feet) of the edge.

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

► 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.

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. Ants can be important until the first frosts, usually mid-October depending on the stream.

Trout


► Brown trout

► By month's end, the nights will be cold enough to slow the trout 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.

Steelhead


► 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?

Traditional tactics with standard summer steelhead swinging flies should work well most of the month and most of the day. However, midday fishing will probably be better with a sink-tip line and standard summer steelhead deep swinging fly.

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

► By early October, temperatures are cool and the sun is low in the sky. Therefore you can be productive for a longer time each day, instead of restricting yourself to the early morning and late evening. Some anglers, however, still like to be on the water at crack-o-dawn so they can have the first shot at receptive fish.

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

► Expect an early-October resurgence of these hatches. After mid-month, however, forget these delightful mayflies until spring.

► 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

Pupa

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

► Trout can be very picky about size and color of the pupa. You may need to swap flies several times to find the right combination. You can speed up this process by fishing two pupa at once and noting which one the trout show more interest in.

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

► 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 and try to stay awake. When you see a subtle swirl near your fly, tighten up.

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 imitation 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

Trout


► Fish may be slow to wake up as lake temperatures cool; fishing will be better in the middle of the day than you might expect. As water temperature cools below fifty degrees, trout become more lethargic and hang out near the bottom. So when it's cold, your streamers will probably do best when you fish "low and slow."

► This is the last good shot you'll have at the lakes for half a year, so get in all the fishing you can.

General


► 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.