Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Metolius River Oregon
The Metolius River is another one of those rivers those
that think they are great anglers should visit. It is a
beautiful river that flows on the Eastern side of the
Cascades. The water comes out of the ground at a
constant temperature of less than fifty degrees. It is one
of the largest spring fed rivers in the entire United States.
One of the best things about the river is the way it is
managed. It is fly fishing only, all catch and release and
all wild trout. Stocking was stopped in 1998. It is
managed the way all good trout streams should be
managed. They don't even allow commercial guiding on
An added bonus of this stream is its huge bull trout.
Kokonee Salmon also migrate up into the river to spawn
from Lake Billy Kokonee.
Although aquatic insects hatch year-round, the stream is
very difficult to fish. That doesn't mean that you cannot
catch trout from the Metolius River. You can catch them
if you do everything just right. It is a great place to hone
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
You can fish year-round but the prime season
is May through October.
The water stays a constant temperature and
you can fish all winter long.
Late Spring begins better weather and the
Fly Fishing Guide to the Metolius River
The Metolius River flows through pine forest and is fed
by springs and tributary streams that also have spring
water. 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 a factor.
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
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 Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all
the insects in the Metolius River and in all
stages of life that are applicable to fishing. If
you want to fish better, more realistic trout
flies, have a much higher degree of success,
give us a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The first and probably the most important
mayflies to hatch on the Metolius River are
the Blue-winged Olives. They start as early a
January and last through most of June. These
are bi-brooded insects that hatch again from
the middle of September through December.
This includes several species.
Green Drakes hatch from about the first of
June through the middle of July, but this isn't
a huge hatch. The Small Western Green
Drakes, or Flavs as many call them, hatch
from mid September to mid October. It is not a
major hatch either.
Pale Evening Duns hatch during the month of
August and Mahogany Dun hatch during
September. The second most important
mayflies are the Pale Morning Duns, called
PMDs by most anglers. They hatch from the
middle of May all the way through the middle
of September. Western Ginger Quill hatch
during October and on into the first of
Caddisflies are very plentiful on the Metolius
River. The Spotted Sedge is probably the
most plentiful with its several species. They
start hatching about the first of April and can
last all the way through September.
Little Short-horned Sedges, hatch even
longer, or from the first of April through
September. Green Sedges also hatch over
a very long time. They usually start around
the first of May and last through
September. The most important stage of
life of the Green Sedge is the larva stage.
They are imitated with what is usually
called "Green Rock Worms". These can be
very effective on the Metolius.
Golden Stoneflies can hatch from the
middle of June until the middle of
September. Imitations of their nymphs work
year-round. The Little Yellow Stoneflies,
called Yellow Sallies" hatch from the middle
of June to the middle of August.
Terrestrial insects are on the Metolius
River available for the trout to eat from the
middle of June through September.
Imitations of beetles, ants and
grasshoppers all three work great during
this time period.
Midges hatch throughout the year and
trout can be taken on imitations of their
larvae, pupae and adults most anytime of
the year, but the most important times are
when no other large insects are hatching.
If you haven't tried our "Perfect Flies", you
are missing out on the best you can
purchase. They not only are the most
realistic, they are the most effective flies to
use on any spring creek. We hope you
give them the opportunity to work for you
on this great stream.
Summer is probably the best time all
around time to fish the river. Most hatches
occur during the summer.
Early fall can be a good time for fly fishing
the Metolius River. Blue-winged Olives
provide decent dry fly fishing at times.
Metolius River, Oregon
Photos Courtesy of Dennis McCarthy
Metolius River Fishing Report - 03/19/18
The stream is still in good shape with good levels. Sculpin streamers will catch the larger size
trout. Blue-winged olives, and Midges are hatching. Scuds and sowbugs are working.
7 Day Weather Forecast: There is a chance of snow everyday for the coming week. Highs
will range from 35 to 53 degrees and lows from 23 to 36 degrees.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes 20, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Cream, size 20, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Light Green, size 20/22, larva, pupa and adults
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin, size 6
Blue-winged Olives, size 20 and 18, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Scuds, size 14
Sowbugs, size 16
Spotted Sedges, 16/14, larva, pupa and adults
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
Midges are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem for the best results.
Various species of Blue-winged olives are still plentiful and available.
The Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin are great flies to use in the Fall months.
The Metolius River is full of sculpins.
Scuds and Sowbug are available for the trout to eat year-round.
Spotted Sedges, or caddisflies, are hatching.
Fishing Report Updated 03/19/18
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
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