The Metolius River can be an awesome place to escape to for a few hours during the winter to chase some of our finned friends! As many know, the bull trout leave Billy Chinook to chase the Kokanee during their spawn time. After the spawn finishes, the bulls will stay in the river to do the same. So, this can be a good time to find some big bull trout with throwing streamers and other large flies! This being said, the bull trout fishing has been good. Some of our guides have stuck some nice fish swinging streamers. This is a good chance to bust out the spey rod to swing some big flies into the face of some hungry fish. We like throwing dolly llamas, sculpins, and other white or red streamers. Try to get the streamer down fast and into the fishes face. Utilizing a sink tip or heavy fly will assist in this.
If you are not into throwing big streamers, focus your efforts on nymphing. Remember to get deep and fish a double nymph rig. Also, keep in mind that regulations did change last year so you can fish split shot on the Metolius. This will be important for nymphing deep in the faster water. Get those flies down quick! We have been doing well on size 6 or 8 golden stone fly nymphs, cheeseburger nymphs, october caddis pupa or other large stone fly nymphs. Coming off the anchor fly, we are fishing size 18 to 20 two-bit hookers (red or black), size 16-18 red copper johns, size 16-18 anatomays, size 18 to 20 zebra midge (red, purple, or black), or size 16-18 soft hackle hares ears or pheasant tails.
Lastly, if the conditions are right, you may see a decent BWO or midge hatch coming off. If it does, this is a great chance to fish the back eddies and other waters for fish eating dries! We know nothing beats catching a fish on a dry, so carrying a second rod for dries is a good idea incase you see the hatch coming off! If you see BWO and midges come off, make sure to fish a BWO dry with a midge dry (or emerger) dropper coming off it.
This combination can lead to a bull trout, whitefish, or rainbow trout! No matter what is on the end of the line, at least it is a fish! We recommend fishing fluorocarbon tippets in 4 or 5x if you are just general trout fishing while stepping up to 2 or 3x flouro if you are specifically targeting those big bull trout!
Do not forget to pick up your 2018 license!!