Fishing Reports

1 report total
Owyhee River - February 26th, 2009
  • Recorded:
  • Mostly sunny
  • 52 ° F 
  • Fishing: Good
February 20–22, 2009


Owyhee River


            For those of you who know me, this report will come as a shocker.  You know I am an unapologetic Steelhead bum who trout fishes only when I can’t chase chrome.  So it will come as a surprise to hear that I intentionally spent a long weekend chasing trout.  The end of days must be near!

            Jay, his wife Cathy, and I arranged a long weekend off together and decided to try something different; something short on cell phone service, the need for a watch, and crowds were the requirements we sought.  The Owyhee seemed to fit our qualifications.  We got out of town Thursday afternoon.  Jay is always hyping books on CD, so he chose a Clive Cussler novel that made the 5½-hour drive very enjoyable.  We rolled into the canyon below the dam after dark and found Cathy and Jay’s favorite campsite with little problem.  We woke up Friday morning to beautiful blue skies with hardly a breath of wind.  The temperature was hovering right at freezing but that wasn’t stopping the fish from sipping midges right under the surface.  Even though the fish were working the surface didn’t mean they were pushovers, by any means. Many flies were thrown, and many flies were inspected and refused. We were able to pick up fish here and there, but we definitely had to work for everything we caught.  Saturday and Sunday were very similar to the first day, although we were able to refine our approach.  While there is some moving water on the river, 27 cfs ensures that there is plenty of painfully slow, lake-like water.  Switching to stillwater techniques produced good, if not, consistent results.  Casting small chironomids: #20-#24 wd-40’s, zebra midges, rojo midges, without an indicator and making incredibly slow, deliberate long strips in seemed to produce the best results.  Locate an active fish and then target the general area the fish is working.  We caught a few fish retrieving olive buggers along the bottom, but it was much more fun sight fishing to risers.  Altogether we brought 20 or so healthy, beautiful German Browns to hand.  I’m pretty sure I made a long distant release on a big-shouldered Rainbow, but otherwise it was a Brown game only.  The weather cooperated perfectly until Sunday when the rain showers came rolling in.

            The wild life in the canyon is incredible.  Golden eagle, hawk, a Sandhill Crane, otter, mink, Rojo’s Doves, beaver, coyote, deer, Canadian and Snow Geese, and elk were just a few of the animal species we saw.  Oh yeah! There was one other animal species that was as thick as I have ever seen.  The Idaho hatch was off the charts.  While the Owyhee is closer to the Boise population center than anything in Oregon, the Idaho license plates outnumbered Oregon plates 25 to 1.  Jay and I discussed before and during our trip if we wanted to write reports on a great winter gem.  Was the Owyhee a closely held secret?  The overwhelming answer is not in the least.  The Idaho guys know the river well and are not afraid to use it so we Oregon guys should the make the effort to get East and have a blast fishing educated, big, healthy Browns. 

            All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.  Time with great friends fishing to rising fish in a beautiful setting without the need for a watch or cell phone in a deserted canyon……. well, two out of three isn’t bad.  And I’m still cursing Jay.  We weren’t able to finish the book on CD, and I haven’t been able to locate the book locally.  How does it end?!?  Damn you, Jay!

            The Owyhee was out of my normal fishing routine, but it is something that is at least going to become a semi-annual visit.  If you haven’t fished it before, I couldn’t recommend it more. Bring your 3, 4, or 5 weight, your box(es) of small flies and buggers, small tippets, and a relaxed, easy attitude and you’ll have a heck of a time.


Tight Lines and Happy Fishing!


Reed Teuscher

The Patient Angler

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