Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Metolius River Oregon
The Metolius River is one of, if not the, largest spring fed rivers in the United States. The fish
are wild and difficult to fool. This is a perfect place to test your Perfect Flies. When the fish see
a fly, they see it with only the lighting conditions affecting it. The clarity of the water usually isn't
The first important thing as with most any other spring creek in the country is to use long, light
leaders and tippets. By the way, you must have to proper fly fishing rod in order to cast long,
light leaders and tippets, so make sure you can do that before going to the Metolius River and
finding out your fly line ends up on top of the leader. To get a little more specific, you will need
to use 6x and 7x tippets that are three and four foot long often.
The next important thing is that you must not spook the trout you are trying to catch and to
explain that in a simple way - it ain't easy. When you can see the trout, they can most likely see
you. Now that said, understand the best, most effective way to catch a trout from the Metolius
River or any other spring creek that flows smooth, is to first spot the fish. You have to do that
in such a way as not to alert the fish of your presence, either by sound or sight. In other words,
the key is to stalk the trout. This must be done very carefully. Remember that trout cannot see
objects low to the horizon due to the refraction of light. The lower you stay, the better off you
are. Get down and move along on your knees if you have to. The best way is to hide behind
something, but that is most often not possible.
The other big key is to fish the hatches. When trout are feeding on hatching insects they are
occupied with that. Catching them is much easier than just offering them something when they
are resting. Knowing what is about to hatch is very important. If nothing is hatching, then you
want to be fishing imitations of what is going to hatch next and what is most plentiful and
available for the trout to eat.
The last key I will mention is that when the water is flowing smooth and undisturbed on the
surface, it allows the trout to see your fly much better. If you concentrate on fishing the current
seams and the riffles and runs when you can find any, you will increase your odds. Anything in
the water large enough to change the speed and flow of the water will create these current
seams such as tree tops, grass lines, etc. The smoothest, slickest places on the river are the
most difficult to fish. However, if the trout are feeding in such places, you need to fish there.
That is where the long, light leaders and tippets come in.
The best situation is to find a feeding trout or one that is rising to sip insects near or on the
surface. If they are not rising and they are feeding on something near the bottom, watch for
their white mouths to flash. That tells you they are eating something. Needless to say, when
you do find a feeding trout, you must make drag free presentations. That doesn't only apply to
fish on the surface, it applies to feed feeding beneath the surface also. A nymph coming down
the stream on the bottom at a speed faster than the current is flowing on the bottom will only
spook the trout. Fast current on the surface can cause that and you have to make adjustments
in your presentation to allow for it.
Fishing clear spring fed streams isn't easy or I should say catching trout from them isn't easy.
When you do catch a nice trout, you can be proud of it. It brings out the best in an angler. The
fish are there and can be caught but it takes some skill and thought, not just pure luck. If you
have never fished it, it is one we hope you will have the opportunity to fish. We thank whoever
is responsible for the catch and release only and the fly fishing only rules.
Metolius River, Oregon
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3. Call or email us with a budget for
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