McKenzie River Trout Fishing – Thumbs Up!

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to guide a super awesome guy from Japan named Seiji. He came to the United States for a fly fishing vacation, and I was fortunate enough to be his guide for his very first day of fly fishing in the states. Seiji had never been to the United States before, nor had he ever fished here for our wonderful trout. He was super excited to get out and experience it all, and I was ready to christen his trout catching experience on the lower McKenzie.

We got on the water, and the weather seemed to be one of those days where everything was threatening, but we ended up lucking out. More or less, most of the threatening squalls swirled around and just missed us all day. We ended up getting rained on hard for about 10 minutes towards the end of the day, and the sun took over to dry us up after that cell passed us.

The fishing started out slow, but Seiji persisted to probe his subsurface offerings into likely lies hoping his luck would soon change. He had a huge fish hook up, as the rod thumped and throbbed down with a serious bend. The fish ripped some line, and bucked the rod hard. I was anticipating a huge rainbow, but the fish gave itself a long distance release. Seiji looked heartbroken at the moment, but I reassured him that it would not matter in the long run; since I had confidence we would redeem that pig of a rainbow sometime during the day.

We fished hard, and the fishing was remaining to be slow for what this time of the year should be providing for action. It was time for lunch, and time to regroup. Lunch was interesting for me to experience; since it was Seiji’s first time having an “American” lunch. He commented on how good our vegetables and produce are; being that Japan does not grow many of the things we have here in the states (we import a lot of produce to Japan), and he also really enjoyed things like the chips & salsa. He loved his gourmet sandwich, and he was stoked on his experience so far for the day. He commented to me several times about what a wonderful time he was having out there. Now I was just hoping for the hookups and landings to pick up, and that was the only (and most important) variable I was really wanting to change for this given day.

As luck would turn out, the fishing immediately turned around right after lunch time. Right away, Seiji hooked a nice sized rainbow, and it jumped and threw the hook. Then right after that, the hookups started to come with some serious consistency. It finally got to the point where the fishing was where I like it to be. I was able to call the fish when Seiji presented the fly into the spots. We were crushing rainbows more or less where they should have been holding. I would say, “Seiji, put your flies into that deep green slot on the left side down below that riffle….”, and when he put them in there, I would see the indicator dunk down, and he would rip the line tight with a lively trout on the other end. Seiji was having a blast, and I was utterly stoked to see how good of a time he was having.

The fishing was good for nymphing with a golden stone and a possie bugger dropped about 3 1/2 feet off of a Thingamabobber. Swinging wet flies also worked well, and we caught fish on the shallower drop off shelf spots with a downstream 45 degree cast. The flies that worked that day were a beadhead peacock and partridge softhackle with a red yarn butt (size 10), and a size 10 Royal Coachman Wet. We fished them tandem with the softhackle on the end of the leader, and the Royal Coachman Wet about 3 feet up on a dropper tag hitched off of the leader. No topwater opportunities on this day, but we had very good nymphing and relatively good wet fly swing fishing.

It was really a special day to be a part of someone’s first experience in another country. I really enjoyed guiding someone who was so stoked on everything ranging from the scenery to the fish to the food. Guiding someone from a foreign place helped me to really appreciate how good we have things here in Oregon. Seiji commented on everything from the nice bountiful trout to the large open space we live in to the great produce we have here. He let me feel really good about where I live and what I get to experience where I live. We truly live in a wonderful land!

If you are interested in booking a trip for trout on the McKenzie River, or any of our other trout fishing destinations call us at (503)-639-6400 or email us at


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