McKenzie Trout Fishing 3/23/2011

This past Wednesday the 23rd, I had the day off; so I decided to fish the McKenzie for trout, since I was booked for Thursday. I figured fish for fun before the trip on Thursday, and so I decided to invite my friends Brian Morris and Scott Richmond along. We floated the lower river and the conditions were looking spot on for some good McKenzie trout fishing.

We met at 9am, put in and took care of shuttling my rig down to the takeout before we even started. Scott had to do a presentation for the local fly fishing club in Eugene (the Cascade Family Fly Fishers), and he needed to be ready for his obligation at 5pm. Scott Richmond is the person behind the popular fly fishing website, and he is the author of several popular fly fishing books; so check out some of Scott’s work when you have a chance. His book Fishing in Oregon’s Deschutes River, 2nd Edition is the best publication written about the Deschutes river; so pick yourself up a copy. It is a must for the fly fishing book collector, or the angler who frequents the Deschutes River.

Brian had the hot hand on this day; as he tended to be the one who was picking up the nicest fish out there. It was a day where Scott and I had some trouble landing the big ones, and it seemed that every time Brian probed nymphs into a spot or swung a wetfly, he would cheerfully grin and say,”FISH ON!” Luckily Scott and I enjoy watching beautiful fish get caught as much as getting them on our own. Seeing beautiful wild rainbows tear your friend up is always a fun thing to do; especially when you are not having the luck of high frequency catching.

On this day, the famous March Brown hatch did not amount to anything significant. They came off way later than the standard 2pm hatch time, and we literally only saw about 10 or less actual tangible bugs. We only saw about 3 rises all day, but the fish were taking swing wet flies, and deeply probed nymphs. The golden stone nymph was the nymph that received the most attention from the nicest trout. For swinging wet flies, using a size #12 peacock red butted bead thorax softhackle was the best fly to use. Another good example of catching nice fish during the time frame of the March Brown hatch without March Brown dry flies. It is always a great time to fish on the McKenzie, but don’t fix yourself on going to fish the river with dries and rising fish.

The fishing has been fair to good on the McKenzie River; since the last bouts of rain we had and water levels dropping into shape. Things should only improve for hatches and fish looking up. I have noticed over the past few day how the wet fly swing fishing has improved and how the fish are started to rise when the hatches are on. It is time to get out there!

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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