The weather has been great, and is likely to continue. Water temperature is in the mid-fifties both going into and coming out of Detroit Lake. Niagara water has been between 56 and 59 degrees, tolerable for steelhead and salmon.
Water temperature at Green’s Bridge has been between 64 and 71, much too warm for sporting fish. Steelhead willl quickly swim upstream in order to find cooler water. If you happen to be fishing where the steelhead are quickly migrating upstream, you might get lucky and intercept one with a good lure or bait. But in order to find fish that are just hanging out biding their time (until spawning season), you’ll to go upstream.
We know that some of the fish around Packsaddle and Minto will drop back downstream twelve miles on some days and will go back upstream as the heat of the day increases.
A few steelhead have been reliably found in a drift about two miles downstream from Mill City for the last nine float trips. It’s always been a good drift and that hasn’t changed this year. The unusual thing is that other normally good drifts in aren’t consistently occupied. As the season matures, perhaps that will change.
Many birds and and plenty of deer are cruising the river banks feeding and resting. Some of the deer are timid and spooky, and some don’t seem to care about our presence. The same is true about geese and ducks and osprey.
Some young eagles are becoming proficient at spotting fish in the river and diving to pick them out of several feet of water and flying them up to treetops for eating. Most of this year’s crop of new eagles, osprey, and heron are fledged and are feeding themselves. They often still take fish back to the nest to eat in peace.
River sections downstream from Mehama have shallow places and some dragging of boats is necessary, especially around Stayton Island. The solitude makes the extra work bearable, and boaters should be prepared to do some wading and dragging.