John Day Fishing Report

December 1, 2020

We just wrapped up our guided fishing trips on the John Day River. What a season! In a year when the river never came up we faired pretty well. Although we didn’t catch fish each day we did pretty well.

We fished floating lines most of November with water temps in the upper forties, switching to sink tips when the water temps dropped below forty later in the month. Most fish came to the fly in relatively fast moving water…if you’ve ever fished the JDR you know what I mean by “relatively fast water”.

As most of you know I spend a lot of days on the Deschutes, the John Day was just what I needed for November. A busy day is seeing another angler or two, maybe another boat on the river but probably not. The fish were spectacular! In the early season fish would move twenty feet to eat a fly and then do cartwheels across the river. As the water cooled the fish still fought really hard but were less willing to move long distance to eat a fly.

I found six weight spey rods the most useful tools on the JDR. The use of lighter sink tips and full size skagit lines made the most sense for the type of fishing we were doing. Floating lines and weighted flies worked great in many of the runs, for that I prefer a 13′ seven weight with a Scandi or a Rage paired with fairly long tapered leader.

Fly selection was real easy for me. The Klamath Intruder in a variety of colors is my go too fly. Small, flashy, lightly weighted, Klamath intruders are a can’t miss and we got ’em on every color.

I look forward to next year and I think I’ll start the last week in October. We are now booking 2021. Here’s a few highlights from this season.

Tight Lines,

Sam Sickles