Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Owyhee River Oregon
The Owyhee River is a 346 mile long river that drains
a remote area of the plateau region of the Great
Basin in northeastern Nevada. It flows from the
Oregon - Idaho border to the Snake River. The little
known section that provides for great fly fishing
opportunities is a tailwater section located below the
Owyhee Dam in Oregon. It flows through a deep
canyon section of the desert-like area. The tailwater
is located below Owyhee Reservoir in southeastern
Oregon about sixty miles from Boise, Idaho.
Fly fishing the Owhyee River is usually great. I can
be a dry fly fishing paradise. The Owhyee River
tailwater is known for its fabulous year-round fly
fishing. Its hatches are amazing for a tailwater
fishery. It's very possible to catch a large 20 inch
brown trout on a dry fly. You don't need a drift boat
to fish this small stream. It is best done wading.
We don't have a hatch section for the Owyhee River,
so I will list a few of the aquatic insects that are
present in the stream in good quantities. The
Skwalas stoneflies start the stonefly hatches off each
year. Lots of different species of Blue-winged olives
hatch through the year. There's also plenty of Pale
Morning duns, callibaetis or Speckled Wing Quills,
Spotted Sedge caddisflies, Midges and many other
aquatic insects. During the late summer and early fall
months, ants and hoppers are prevalent along the
Fishing the stream successfully isn't exactly a easy
task. The stream drops at a very low gradient and
the flows are smooth and tricky. Drag free drifts are a
must to fool the trout because they have plenty of
time to check your fly out. This is one stream where
our Perfect Flies show off their simi-realistic
appearance and natural behavior and really increase
your odds of success.
Water from the base of the Owyhee Dam is a
greenish color. It provides a type of cover for the
fish. Rarely do the flows become high due to runoff.
The Owyhee can be fished throughout the spring
most years. The flows are actually low to non-existent
much of the year. The deep, slow moving water is
very suitable for the large brown trout.
The season is year-round.
The Spring season starts off the big hatches.
Summertime is a good time for fly fishing the Owhyee
Fall is good because of the brown trout spawn.
Fishing can be great on nice days during the Winter.
Owyhee River Oregon
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
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.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.com)
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.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Owhyee River Fishing Report - Archive:
04/17/14 Trout fishing has been good lately with most fish caught on Blue-winged Olives,
nymphs, emergers, duns, and spinners. Sculpin pattern streamers like our Brown Sculpin
are also producing some larger size trout.
Fishing Report Updated 03/26/18
(Bottom Of Page)
05/06/14 Good Speckled wing Quill (Callibaetis) hatches are taking place and anglers
ordering our nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners and are catching some nice trout.
06/24/14 Flows have been up and down but recently, trout are being caught on a
consistent basis. Two customers ordered flies this past week, both reporting decent
conditions and catching a few browns but of good sizes. They are mostly using streamers,
our Brown and White Belly Sculpin.
09/11/14 Sorry for the lack of fishing reports. The river has been fishing well all summer
long. We have added USGS stream flow data on your upper left.
10/09/14 There are still a lot of Spotted Sedges around but soon, the main insect to imitate
will be the bi-brooded Blue-winged Olives. Anglers are still catching trout and terrestrials,
ants, beetles and hoppers, are still producing.
10/18/14 More good fishing reports have come in. Rain and cooler weather has helped and
anglers are catching plenty of trout.
12/05/14 Several more good reports have come in. Sorry we are slow posting. Anglers
using Midges, red and cream, size 20 and BWO's, mostly 20 and 18 size nymphs.
12/23/14 Customer ordering more flies reported catching lots of trout this past week. Great
02/09/15 Sorry for the lack of reports, but it wasn't because the fishing was poor or slow.
Three good reports have come in the past two weeks from customers. They used midges
and our Brown Sculpin streamer.
03/05/15 Conditions are much better and plenty of fish being caught by the few fishing.
Look for some nice hatches within the next two weeks.
07/25/15 Plenty of trout being caught in the tailwater on Tricos, PMDs, Spotted Sedge and
Owhyee River Fishing Report:
11/19/15 We are resuming the fishing reports. We were running short of help posting
reports but are back full steam now. Stream levels are high right now. It is raining as I write
this but clearing up tomorrow. Blue-winged olives and midges are the only hatches. Brown
Sculpin streamers have been catching some nice size trout.
11/26/15 Two good reports came in this past week from customers. The Brown Sculpin was
the most productive fly for them. They were catching some nice brown trout.
12/12/15 The discharges from the dam are very high and the stream is blown out. That's
slang for very high and off color. Based on the weather forecast for more precipitation, it
doesn't look like the coming week will offer any fly fishing opportunities.
12/26/15 The Owyhee River tailwater is still a little high but can be fished with nymphs on
strike indicators and with streamers like our Brown Sculpin very well. The daily high
temperature are only in the high twenties but the bottom discharge is warm enough to fish.
01/09/16 They are running a lot of water right now and you just about have to high stick or
drift nymphs on an indicator from the bank. The White Belly sculpin streamer is also a good
fly to use. Keep a close check on the levels because they should come down soon.
01/16/16 They are still running some water but it isn't all that bad. The water is around 40
degrees and midges and Winter stonefly nymphs both will catch trout. Fish the slack
current, not the fast current.
01/23/16 Very little change has taken place from last week. We didn't receive any reports
from anyone fishing. They are still running some water and it is still about 40 degrees. The
conditions are not that bad and you should be able to catch trout on midges.
01/30/16 The discharges are a little high but should only be temporary. There is no rain
and only a little snow in the forecast for today and next Tuesday, so it should be back to
normal soon. They would have little reason to keep running water.
02/06/16 The stream is still a little high but that in some ways is an advantage because it
has a little stain that helps conceal your line/leader/etc. The river discharges should soon
subside with no rain in the forecast.
02/13/16 The discharges are steady and a little high but that is allowing some good sized
fish to be caught on our Brown Sculpin and White Belly sculpin streamers.
02/27/16 The flows are good but there a lot of rain forecast, so you need to watch them
carefully. The water is slightly stained and that helps. Blue-winged olives, size 20 and 18,
are hatching along with midges.
03/19/16 Conditions are excellent for mid March. Skwala stoneflies should begin to hatch
any time now. Little Black caddis are hatching along with Blue-winged olives and midges.
03/26/16 Discharges and stream levels are fine and the water clear and warmer.
Blue-winged olives are hatching good. Scuds and midges are also working.
04/02/16 Good conditions continue to exist. Customers are catching trout in good numbers.
04/09/16 They have begin to run some water through the dam and that should help the
overall situation. Blue-winged olives have been hatching very, very good and anglers are
catching some on the surface on the dry fly.
04/16/16 The Owyee continues to be one of the best fly fishing destinations in the
northwest at this time. Good stream levels and lots of hatches taking place. Damselfly
numphs are a good fly choice early and late in the day.
04/30/16 The stream levels are a little below normal and the water clear. Customers are
reporting catching a good number of trout. Blue-winged olives, Little Black Caddis, sculpin,
scuds, sowbugs and tons of cream and red midges are the foods you need to imitate.
05/07/16 The discharges and stream levels are still low and there is no rain in the forecast
for the next week. Blue-winged olives, spotted sedges, and little short-horned sedges are
05/14/16 The conditions are still good for fly fishing the river. There are a lot of insects
hatching. Pale Morning duns will be showing up in the near future. Speckled-wing Quills are
hatching in the moderate to slow sections.
05/21/16 More hatches are starting up, including the Pale Morning Duns and Pale Evening
Duns. Blue-winged olives are still going strong and never forget scuds and sculpin.
05/28/16 Trout fishing is as good as it gets on the Owhyee. Good levels, lots of hatches
and lots of rainbows and brown trout are being caught.
06/04/16 Little Yellow stones are starting to hatch, Pale Morning Duns are hatching,
Blue-winged olive, size 18 are hatching. Good conditions exist and lots of trout being
07/02/16 There are a lot of Callabeatis hatching, or "speckled-winged Quills. Trout are
taking them along with Pale Morning duns, Spotted and Green sedges, Little Short-horned
sedges and some little Yellow stones. Terrestrial will soon become important to imitate.
07/09/16 More good reports came in this past week. There are still lots of insects hatching
and trout being caught, many of them on the surface. It is about as good as it gets right
now. Plan on staying late for the most action. The last two hours of the day are the best.
07/23/16 More good reports from customers this past two weeks. This is one of the better
destinations with the hot weather and low water conditions otherwise. Callebaetis (Speckled
wing Quills) are hatching good and the spinner falls providing excellent action. There are
still plenty of PMDs and two species of caddis hatching.
08/06/16 This little tailwater is one of the best trout streams in the state to fish with the low
rainfall amounts and high temperatures. Terrestrials are beginning to work well but we don't
recommend using them as long as anything of significance in hatching. Fish early and late
in the day near dark.
08/20/16 Conditions are still good with lots of trout being caught. Tricos are hatching along
with the Pale Morning Duns. There are lots of Spotted sedge caddis, little Sister Caddis,
and green Sedges. Terrestrial imitations like ants, hoppers and beetles are also working.
09/03/16 The little river continues to produce some very good trout for our customers.
There are some larger baetis species of mayflies, or larger size Blue-winged olives starting
to hatch. There's still a lot of caddis and Tricos.
09/10/16 More good reports. Stream levels remain good and Blue-winged olive hatches
have been strong this past week. Terrestrial imitations, ants, beetles and hoppers also work.
09/17/16 The river is in very good shape and our customers are catching good numbers of
trout. In addition to BWOs, Mahogany duns, Spotted sedges and the normal hatches to
match, terrestrial imitations are working good along the banks of the stream.
10/08/16 The river is still low due to low discharges but that makes it easy to wade. The
problem is it also makes it easy to spook trout, so you have to use extra stealth and stay
hidden from the trout. Dress to match the background and stay low as possible.
11/05/16 The stream is flowing at 32 cfs at 1.03 ft. Brown and White belly sculpin streamers
have been catching some very nice size trout for our customers. Blue-winged olives and
Midges are the main aquatic insects that are hatching.
11/19/16 The discharges are staying around 30 cfs. Normal at this time of the year is about
15 to 30. Trout are being caught.
11/26/16 The levels are still low, at 27 cfs and should remain low at this time of the year..
Trout are still being caught. Midges, BWO nymphs on indicators and Sculpin streamers will
12/03/16 Two of our customers caught lots of trout this past week. There are a lot of red or
blood midges hatching. Remember, the adult blood midge is black with a little white. Browns
are still spawning, so don't wade through the redds.
12/17/16 The discharges and flows are high and it is tough to fish (not safe for wading) but
possible. Fish the slack current.
01/07/16 There is snow and/or rain forecast for the next week. The discharges are still fairly
strong. We are not getting any reports from anyone fishing. Conditions should improve the
first of next week.
01/14/17 Flows are still very high. Watch the discharges and stream levels and fish when it
comes down. Other conditions are good.
01/28/17 Discharges and flows are a little lower and better, but still strong. Midges, Creams,
and reds, are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem. There are still some winter
stoneflies and on cloudy days, little BWOs are hatching.
02/11/17 The stream is flowing at 32 cfs, or high but falling. Keep an eye on the levels and
fish as soon as it gets back down. it is a little warmer.
02/25/17 The flows are 75 cfs, very high but falling. This will take a while to get down to a
fishable level. Midges, creams and reds, will be the insects you should imitate. Sculpin
streamers should also work good.
03/11/17 The stream is very high, or you could say, blown out. It is flowing at 951 cfs at
3.79 ft. You will just have to watch the levels to determine when you should fish.
04/01/17 The stream levels are still far to high to wade or fish.
04/22/17 Stream levels still flowing at 939 cfs. Normal flow are about 225 cfs.
04/29/17 The discharges and stream levels are flowing at 5330 cfs at 8.24 ft. Normal is
about 225 cfs. In other words, blown out big time.
05/27/17 The stream flows are down to 278 cfs at 2.25 ft, which is a good level that can be
waded in places. There are lots of insects hatching including spotted sedge caddis, little
black caddis. Blue-winged olives and March Browns.
06/03/17 Good reports are coming in. Lots of insects are hatching and lots of trout being
07/01/17 The stream can be waded with caution. The discharges and levels are down and
there are lots of insects hatching. Shoot us an email and we will send you a list. Good
reports are coming in from customers fishing it.
07/15/17 The flows are still high making wading tough to impossible. There are fish being
caught, and the numbers are average at best. There are still plenty of PMDs, two species
of caddis and other insects hatching. Terrestrials are beginning to work.
07/22/17 Flows are still at 260 cfs at 2.28 ft. , or high. PMD nymphs on indicators and
Sculpin streamers are working good.
07/29/17 More good reports from customers. Streamers are getting the larger trout - Brown
sculpin, White Belly sculpin, White and Yellow Marabou.
08/05/17 The discharges and stream levels are okay but wading varies from okay with
caution to not safe. There are lots of trout being caught by our customers. There are
several hatches taking place. Conditions are good.
08/19/17 The river is in good shape with 263 cfs at 2.20 ft. That makes wading tough in
most places. There are still a lot of nice trout being caught. We received two good reports
this past week. PMDs, little BWOs, Spotted and Green sedge caddis, lt. green midges,
damsel and dragon fly nymphs..
08/26/17 Flows are still at 260 cfs at 2.19 ft. In can be waded with caution in some places.
We are still getting some good reports in spite of the levels.
09/02/17 The discharges and stream levels are still fine and good numbers of trout are
being caught by our customers. There are still some good hatches taking place. Terrestrial
imitations are also working okay- ants, hoppers and beetles.
09/09/17 The discharges and stream levels are still a little high but we are still getting good
reports from customers. Blue-winged olives, size 18, have started hatching again and there
are still some PMDs and lots of caddis.
09/16/17 The conditions remain about the same, with heavier than desirable discharges
and stream levels. In spite of that, we continue to get some very good reports.
09/23/17 The river is still flowing a little high but trout are still being caught. We received
two good reports from customers this past week. Sculpin streamers are doing very good.
10/08/17 We have reports from a customer of a few large trout caught this past week. The
river is still a little high. Sculpin streamers worked for him.
10/14/17 More good reports. Good numbers of brown trout are being caught below the
dam. Sculpin streamers and Cream and Red or blood, midges are also working good.
10/21/17 Fish are being caught below the dam and downstream for a few miles. Sclpin
streamers are continuing to catch the large trout. Discharges are still a little high.
10/29/17 The discharges and stream levels are down and more trout are being caught.
Sculpin streamers are catching the larger browns. There are some good BWO hatches and
well as Cream and Red or blood, midges.
11/05/17 Stream levels are still about the same. Good numbers of brown trout are being
caught. Fish the first few, say ten, miles below the dam.
11/20/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are up some but we still received two
good reports from the previous week. Sculpin streamers - Black and olive Matuka and the
Brown sculpin are working good for larger browns.
11/27/17 The stream levels are about the same. We received two more good reports from
customers this past week. Most of the fish are being caught on Midges, creams and reds,
or Sculpin streamers.
12/04/17 We received another good report from a customer fishing this past week.
Conditions are good. The water is in the low forties and Midges and BWOs the main
insects to imitate.
12/11/17 Conditions remain the same. Sculpin streamers like our Brown Sculpin and
Matuka Sculpin streamers are catching the larger trout.
01/08/18 Cream and Red, or blood, midges are hatching. Winter stoneflies are hatching.
Fish the Winter SF nymphs near the banks. Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem.
01/15/18 There is some ice in the water downstream a couple to three miles below the dam.
Fish the upper section below the dam.
01/29/18 Fish the upper section of the tailwater as near the dam as legal for the best
results. Use Brown sculpin streamers, Cream and Red midges and Winter stonefflies.
02/05/18 Still one of the best locations in the state to fish. The water is about 37-38
degrees near the dam. Lots of midges and Winter stoneflies.
02/12/18 Fish as near the dam as legal and no further downstream than five miles. The
water gets colder and colder. Hatches of midges are still strong.
02/19/18 The discharges and stream levels are usually in good shape. The water is cold,
of course, and we recommend fishing the upper tailwater section.
02/26/18 Fish cream, red (blood), or light green midge pupa and lava imitations rigged in
tandem. You can do this under a strike indicator. Sculpin streamers should also work.
03/05/18 Discharges and stream levels are low to normal. There are lots of midges
hatching. Sculpin streamers like our Brown sculpin, are still catching the larger trout.
03/12/18 The stream levels are in better shape thanks to better discharges. We didn't
receive any reports from the past week, but conditions are goodo.
03/19/18 Skwala stoneflies are starting to hatch. This coming week should be a better
one than it has lately. Midges are still the most important insects to imitate.
03/26/18 The discharges and stream levels are just a little above normal levels. Good
hatches of Skwala stoneflies taking place as well as the cream and light green midges.