We are entering the prime season on Crane Prairie Reservoir. Fish are beginning to concentrate in cool waters of the various channels that thread the bottom of one of the area’s favorite stillwater fisheries. We spend much of our time fishing indicator rigs this time of year, so we can consistently and accurately target specific depths that hold actively feeding fish. Chironomids, small Mayflies, and lake specific flies like the popular Dark Assassin should be abundantly available in any lake angler’s box in the coming months. Savvy decisions when it comes to fly selection and locating an appropriate area to fish can produce some of the best numbers of the year.
Generally, water depths in the channels will range from 10-12 feet compared to the 7-10 foot depths found through most of the lake. While this distinction may seem minor, the cooler water temperatures found in the old river channels of the Deschutes, Rock Creek, Quinn River, and others will hold the vast majority of fish in the lake until things begin to cool in September. Most serious Crane Prairie anglers heavily utilize depth finders and other marine electronics to hone in on the most productive areas, a process that can take a little time but is helped along with past knowledge and experience. It is certainly possible to have success without the luxuries of a boat dedicated to fishing, but those in pontoons and smaller craft will typically spend a little more time using trial and error to find productive areas.
As previously mentioned, indicator rigs are by far the most simple way to achieve the proper presentation. Ideally we suspend 2 different patterns within 6”-2’ of the bottom within a deeper channel. An occasional twitch to impart slight movement to the flies is also important to achieving a natural presentation, particularly when there is little wind or chop on the surface of the water. Our guides have been having great days and getting into some high quality fish, and now is as good a time as any to be on Crane.
Suggested Dries: Parachute Callibaetis #14-16, Thorax Callibaetis #14-16, Last Chance Cripple #14-18, Parachute Adams #16-20, Black or Red CDC Flying Ant #16, Black Foam Ant #16, Foam Beetle #16, Peacock Chubby Chernobyl #16, Tan X-Caddis #14-18, Tan Cutter’s Caddis #14-18, Outrigger Caddis #14-18, Griffith’s Gnat #18-22
Suggested Nymphs: Dark Assassin #16-18, Bird’s Nest Hare’s Ear #14-18, Black or Bird’s Nest Depth Charge #16-18, Black or Red Zebra Midge #16-18, BH Pheasant Tail #16-20, Brown Micro Mayfly #16-20, Balanced Assassin #14, Poxyback Callibaetis #14-18, Black or Red Ice Cream Cone #14-16, Olive Juju Chironomid #16, Gillie Midge #16-20, Traffic Light Chironomid #16-18, Ruby or Olive Balanced Leech #12-16