Opening days

Opening up, setting intentions for the new season

Opening days

Opening days don't quite have the same significance in Oregon as they did back home in Michigan.

In Michigan, with the exception of a few select rivers, trout fishing was strictly closed in the winter. The opener is celebrated like New Year's Day: feasting, toasts, and general optimism. Yellowstone Park has a similar hard deadline. Are we lined up like shoppers at a WalMart, for fishing's Black Friday? No. But it's a real moment, something I daydream (and night-dream) about. Something to anticipate. And, everything's better in the anticipation. My casting is right on the money. There's always a nice fish where I expect it. I'm younger, fitter, and better looking, and nothing occupies my mind but fishing.

Oregon's west side, basically a third of the state, opened on May 22. There are enough year-round rivers here that you don't ever have to stop trout fishing. But what's legal now are the small streams, the unnamed stretches, the places only an explorer would look. That's what's available.

I went up with a buddy over the long weekend. We covered a lot of ground, some old, some new and caught two species across three rivers in the same drainage. We planned out a half-dozen different trips to water we'd fished before, and water we'd only heard about.

New year's resolutions rarely work. But what about setting some new season's intentions? My new season's intention: explore more, share more, here, with you. What's yours?


This coming weekend brings TroutFest in Maupin, with a whole load of stuff happening: demos, casting lessons, a casting contest, a Dutch oven cookout, and more. We'll be posted up in town, probably not fishing too hard, but hanging out and seeing what we can pull up.


Upcoming classes

Intro to Fly Fishing and Fly Fishing Outing: Clackamas River go live this week! You can register starting Wednesday, May 29th at 07:00. You can find more info on classes here. Spread the word if you know anyone who should take either course.

Something to bear in mind

The Value of Observation

Sage words from the legendary John Juracek:

But the river (or lake) will always tell us what our options are, and what the best way of fishing will be. I can’t emphasize that enough—the water is always open and forthright, always willing to share the necessary information regarding how to fish it. We merely have to be patient enough to give it a chance.

🚧 New on CFS

The best fly fishing books ever written
A definitive, once-and-for-all, not at all biased list of all the fly fishing books that matter

I'm starting to compile a definitive list of my favorite fly fishing books. Expect this post to grow. And please suggest yours!

What is fly fishing? Why do we fish? A very short introduction
For as long as humans have lived near rivers and oceans, we’ve fished. And I’d argue that fly fishing is the closest to how our ancestors did it.

This week we published the first two articles in the Mindset pillar. Dig in!

My life story as told by water
Who I am, and how that’s shaped my fishing life

Fishing reports

YNP Report - May 23, 2024
Opening weekend is here, and like every year, we are chomping at the bit to get into the park for some fun early season fishing. Our perennial favorites, the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers, are in great shape and we expect them to fish well for the opener. In fact, on recent trips into the park this week to check on conditions, we’ve already seen good numbers of beatis mayflies hatching and fish rising to them on the Madison and Firehole. Conditions look ideal for the opener. Cool weather this week has kept snowmelt to a minimum. Flows on the Firehole are clear, and have been dropping from a high around 600 cfs last week to around 400 cfs approaching the opener. Weather forecasts are showing a cool, wet weekend which bodes extremely well for mayfly hatches, and the first opportunities at rising trout of the season. A good portion of this year’s heavy snowpack remains in the high elevations throughout the park. The Black Bear Snotel Site is a good reference for the snowpack in the high plateau above the the Firehole River. Currently, Black Bear shows 62 inches of snow remaining on the ground with a Snow Water Equivalent of 28 inches. With that much snow (and water) still on the ground, any periods of warm, sunny weather, or rain on snow events, will likely bump the Firehole back up, making fishing, especially with dry flies, more difficult. So, keep a close watch on the weather, and follow the Firehole River flows HERE. (For reference, this time last year the Black Bear site was reporting 67 inches of snow on the ground with 35.3 inches of snow water equivalent.) Cool, wet weather this weekend is ideal for hatches of size # 18-20 Baetis and size #14-16 Pale Morning Dun mayflies. With daytime highs struggling to reach the mid 50’s, mayfly hatches may not begin until as late as 2:00 or 3:00 pm on the Firehole. It’s important to keep in mind that both air and water temperatures play a big role in the timing of mayfly hatches, and water temps will vary drastically from one section to another on the Firehole depending on the proximity to thermal areas. There are many micro-climates on the river. So, if conditions look good, and you’re not seeing bugs and rising fish where you are at, don’t be afraid to jump in your vehicle and move up or down stream to a different section. In addition to the Firehole, the Gibbon and Madison rivers will also present great opportunities this weekend. Both rivers could produce good hatches of beatis and pmd mayflies, as well as excellent pocket water and runs to fish with nymphs or streamers. Many of our other favorites waters in YNP open to fishing this weekend as well, but water conditions remain too cold, high, muddy, or all of the above. With warmer weather predicted by early next week, expect to see many of the park waters return to a state of run off as they swell with melting snowpack. Have a terrific Memorial Day Weekend. We hope you can get out and enjoy some fun fishing in the park, or wherever you find yourself able to wet a line. Here’s to another great season exploring Yellowstone Park with rod and fly!

Yellowstone's opening day is here. Read about how that fishery is shaping up.

News from Blue Ribbon Flies
May 23rd, 2024 Welcome to the Blue Ribbon Flies Newsletter! Thanks for taking the time to read our weekly newsletter, and as always if you have questions or comments don’t hesitate to give us a shout
Opportunities and Access Report for May 23, 2024

Oregon's Opportunities and Access Report is always worthwhile, to read about the health of some of the state's fishable waterways.

Latest Fly Fishing News and Reports - Warming Up
Things look to warm up next week!