Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Crooked River In
The Crooked River is located in Central Oregon
and is one of the state's top rivers for rainbow trout.
The tailwater flows from the Bowman Dam at the
Prineville Reservoir through a deep canyon to
From Prineville, the Crooked River flows north
through Smith Rock State Park. It eventually joins
two other famous Oregon rivers, the Deschutes at
Lake Billy Chinook, and the Metolious, a spring fed
The river boast a population of 3000 trout per mile.
It is normal for anglers to be able to catch dozens
of trout. Its also a great place for beginners to learn
to fly fish for trout.
The famous "redside" trout inhabit the river. These
trout probably average only eight to twelve inches
but they get larger. They are also known for taking
dry flies readily and this provides for some exciting
fly fishing. It has large hatches of mayflies and
caddisflies. It also has a large number of scuds and
The best part of the river is the first nine miles
below Bowman dam. This water holds the largest
concentration of redsides or rainbow trout. It's
typical pocket water with long riffles and runs.
Something quite different about the river than most
others is that it is often best to wade down the
center of the river and fish the weed beds and
banks on both sides. The Crooked River also has
some good stretches of pocket water. Most anglers
prefer nymph fishing. One reason is that much of
the trout's food comes from scuds and freshwater
The fish tend to feed on the bottom far more than
the surface on hatching insects. Don't be surprised
if you catch a mountain whitefish. The river also has
plenty of these gamefish.
To sum it up, Oregon's Crooked River Oregon has
some of the best fly fishing in the central part of the
state. It has a very high population of trout (not
that they are extremely to catch) that provides
plenty of fly fishing opportunities for anyone willing
to use a little caution, select good imitations of the
naturals, and get good drifts. Smooth water is
always more difficult to fish that faster moving water
and this tailwater has plenty of both.
Crooked River Oregon
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The season runs year-round.
Winter is one of the best times to catch
trout. Trout are mostly caught on
Spring is a good time to experience the
Crooked River's hatches.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Crooked
Fly fishing the Crooked River in Oregon is
mostly pocket water fishing. The Crooked
River is considered by many to be as good
of a trout stream as Oregon has to offer. It
forms in the Ochoco Mountains and runs
through the Oregon High Desert country to
the Deschutes River. The stream has
plenty of aquatic insects that hatch just
about every month of the year as well as
plenty of scuds for the trout to eat. It
produces some round, healthy, redband
rainbows that fight as hard as any. The
average size is about eight to twelve inches
but there are as many as 3000 fish per mile
of water in some areas of the tailwater.
The six or seven mile stretch of the river
below Bowman Dam is considered the best
water. The tailwater comes from Prineville
Reservoir. The best fishing is in the Fall
and Winter. From the first of January on to
the forth Friday in May, this section of the
river is catch and release only and files and
lures only. November 1 to December 31 is
also catch and release only.
Highway #27 follows along the river for
about a seven mile stretch below Bowman
Dam. It provides easy access. The river
can become quite busy with anglers
especially on he weekends. There are
usually less anglers during the winter
months which is yet another good reason
to fish during the winter. The fishing often
requires fishing with hook size 20 and 22
midge imitations and not all anglers enjoy
this type of fishing. It is rather exciting to
hook a good size redside on a 7X tippet.
Not all the fishing is done on midges,
nymphs and scud imitations. There's also
plenty of aquatic insect hatches and
times you can catch plenty of trout on a
dry fly. You will need to follow the hatches
and not waste a lot of time fishing a dry
fly when there isn't a hatch underway.
Specific imitations work much better than
the generics and attractors on this stream.
Crooked River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Crooked River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The first mayfly that hatches at the
beginning of a new Year on the Crooked
River is the Blue-winged Olives. These are
mostly baetis species. These hatches take
place in January, February, March, April
and Mayl. These mayflies also hatch late in
the year during September, October,
November and December.
Trout can be taken on imitations of midges
throughout the year but are more popular
during the times the water is cold and few
other aquatic insects are hatching. Have
plenty of larvae, pupae and adult imitations
for the winter season.
Brown stoneflies also begin to hatch in
February and March. Little Short-horned
Sedges or caddisflies hatch from the last of
April into the first of August,depending on
the section of the river your fishing.
Little Yellow Stoneflies also start hatching
in June and last through July. Many anglers
call these Yellow Sallies.
PMDs or Pale Morning Duns start hatching
around the first of June. These little
mayflies hatch up until mid July. Green
Sedges or caddisflies will hatch in April.
This hatch last until about the first of June.
The larvae of these caddisflies, imitated by
the Green Rock Worm, will take trout all
Streamers are very important flies to
have with you anytime of the year. Those
that imitate sculpin are usually very
effective. Others should imitate baitfish
and minnows. These will come in very
handy anytime the water is stained from
rain. It runs clear most all the time,
Scuds and freshwater shrimp are very
important food for the trout In Crooked
River. Don't forget to have plenty of
imitations of them.
Craneflies are also abundant on the
Crooked River. They are most plentiful in
August and September.
Large October Caddis start hatching in
mid September and last through most of
November. Be sure to have imitations of
the pupae and the adults.
We recommend our own "Perfect Flies",
of course, but not because they are ours.
Its because they are the best flies you
can buy. They imitate specifics insects at
all the stages of their life trout feed on.
They are highly effective when used
properly. If you haven't already tried
them, we suggest you do. You won't be
Spotted Sedges, or caddisflies, hatch
from May through the month of
September. These are the largest of the
caddisfly hatches and consist of several
species that are almost identical.
Mahogany Duns hatch in May (Blue
Quills) and again in September and
Don't overlook the terrestrial insects.
They can be very important during the
summer and early fall months of the year.
Imitations of grass hoppers, ants, and
beetles all catch trout. The terrestrial
season starts in June and last through
the month of September.
The river can get a little too warm to fish
in many areas of during the Summer
Fall is probably the best time of the year
to fish the Crooked River.
Thumbnail Images: Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The Crooked River
continues to be one of the better
fly fishing destinations in the state.
There are good stream levels and
good Blue-winged olive and mIdge
hatches taking place. The water is
staying reasonably in good shape
thanks to the bottom discharge.
Brown and White Belly sculpin
continue to catch some large
trout. Keep track of the latest
information on our Crooked River
fishing report linked above.
Map of Crooked River
10/16/15 Good hatches of aquatic insects, especially little Blue-winged olives, are keeping
the dry fly action hot on the little tailwater. The forecast for the coming week looks good for
those that want to give it a shot. Scuds are also working good. Carpenteer Ants and
Japanese beetles are working good as well. Sculpin streamers are always a top producing
fly on the Crooked River.
10/24/15 The headlines for this week are blue-winged olives. They are hatching in big
numbers and with all the cloudy days that should take place within the next week, it should
only get better. We had a report from a customer this past week that caught a dozen or
more trout on scuds. Streamers like our Brown Sculpin should also work very good. There
is some rain in the forecast and that should help them flush the river out.
10/3115 Conditions are very good right now for this time of the season. Local anglers are
about the only ones fishing but they are scoring well. Scuds and BWO nymphs seem to
work best for the numbers but the Brown Sculpin fly is really fooling some big brown pre-
spawn trout. The are very aggressive and territorial.
11/07/15 The stream is flowing at 215 cfs and 1.72 ft. There is a chance of rain or rain and
snow almost every day for the next week. It is getting cooler and hatching are getting down
to mostly Blue-winged olives and midges. Midges are cream, light green and blood midges,
or red midges. Fish the larva on the bottom and pupa up a foot or so. The Brown sculpin
streamer is also working great.
11/14/15 There is rain or snow in the forecast everyday this coming week and that's a plus.
The stream levels remain a little low and the cloud cover we should have this week makes
the Blue-winged Olive and Midge hatches big. The Brown sculpin should get you a shot at
the larges brown trout in the river. Dropper rigs and or strike indicators, sometimes pay off
on this stream.
11/21/15 The river fished pretty good last week according to our customers. They did well
on Midges, cream, fishing the larva and pupa in tandem. They did well even when it snowed
a little. The water temps are staying up fine and although a little cloudy in places, it still
produced several trout. We don't see any reason for any changes this coming week. If
anything it should be better.
11/28/15 It is colder than it has been but it has little effect on the water temperature and the
trout. It is helping the grass situation. There's no rain in the forecast until next Tuesday.
Little BWO nymphs dnd midges are the key flies to use. fish the midges in tandem with the
pupa up above the larva about a foot. Fish the adult midge fly only when you see trout
swirling on the surface.
12/06/15 The stream levels are still low in the tailwater. That should be changing soon.
There is rain in the forecast every day for the next seven days. It is going to be warm and
the cloud cover will definitely help the Blue-winged olive and midge hatches. I think you may
get some good dry fly action this coming week. That will help those having a difficult time
dealing with the vegetation.
12/12/15 I mentioned in the report linked above that with all the heavy rain and flooding
events that it taking place in Oregon, it is difficult to believe that the Crooked River is still
flowing at a below normal level. As it has been for the past few weeks, stealth is required to
catch the trout in the river. Blue-winged olives and midges are still the most important
insects to imitate but don't forget about the Brown Sculpin Streamer.
12/19/15 The Crooked is almost acting like it is crooked. With all the snow and rain, the
stream is still flowing along at a normal level. It is a tailwater and the levels can vary with
discharges, so keep a close check on them. Midges and little BWO nymphs are the first
choice flies. The Sculpin streamers has been the top producing fly for our customers.
12/25/15 Stream levels are in good shape in the tailwater. This may be the only stream in
the state where that's the case. I'm kidding but it is one of the best fly fishing opportunities
there are in Oregon at the time. Midges and little Blue-winged olive nymphs are the main
flies you need. The Brown Sculpin streamer has been producing the larger trout for the last
01/02/16 The Crooked River is in good shape for this time of the season. The discharges
are low and likely to stay low. There is snow in the forecast every day for the next week. Pay
attention to the road situation. Midges and little BWO nymphs are the key flies to use. We
have seen BWOs hatch on days when it was snowing. The cloud cover seems to help.
01/09/16 There is a chance of snow today and Monday and rain on Wednesday. That isn't
bad at all considering the stream levels and discharges have been good for fishing. Scuds
recently worked for one angler. We are recommending Cream and Red or Blood midges
and the White Belly sculpin. It has produced some larger brown trout recently.
01/17/16 There is rain or snow in the forecast every day for the next week. That really
helps. It means it will be a little warmer and there will be plenty of cloud cover. The White
Belly Sculpin streamer will be a good fly to use. Little BWO nymphs and Winter stonefly
nymphs will be the mainstay of the flies you need to use.
01/23/16 The flows are up just a little and likely to be high. It has rained a lot during the
past week and will continue to rain and snow more this coming week. That really just helps
the fishing opportunity. This little creek is small enough you can cast all the way across it in
01/30/16 The stream level is still high, but the stained water helps keep you hidden from the
trout. Streamers, like our White Belly Sculpin and Black Matuka Sculpin, work great under
these conditions. There has been a lot of rain lately.
02/06/16 The rain and snow has ended and the flows are back down to normal for this time
of the year. The water has cleared up to a slight stain and fishing should be very good. It is
going to be a little warmer this coming week. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are the
main aquatic insects to imitate.
02/13/16 The stream level is up just a little and rising. The water is a little off color with
stain. Streamers like the White Belly sculpin and Brown Sculpin streamers are good flies to
use under these conditions. Blue-winged olives are near hatching and the nymphs
02/20/16 There are some good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place but the river is very
high and the only fishing you could do it from the banks and only in places. You will just
have to watch the levels and when they fall fishing should be very good.
02/27/16 The discharges have been high and the stream level high as a result. There is
more rain in the forecast and these stronger flows are not likely to subside. Streamers like
our Brown Sculpin and White Belly sculpin work good under these conditions. Blue-winged
olives are hatching.
03/05/16 They just dropped the heavy discharges and the stream is down to near normal
flows. You do have to keep checking the levels though, as they are always subjet to
change. Midges and Little Blue-winged olives are the insects you need to be imitating. The
Brown sculpin streamer has been producing fish.
03/12/16 Heavy discharges continue making the stream very high and highly stained. You
are going to have to wait a few more days until the rains slow down. It is all up to the power
company, so it doesn't hurt to keep checking. Streamers would be about your only option
03/19/16 The discharges from the dam are very high, too high to be worth fishing. Let's
hope it doesn't last long because the water is warmer and several aquatic insects are going
to start hatching in the near future. You will just have to watch the stream levels. There is
some more rain in the forecast.
03/26/16 The discharges continue to be very high, with the USGS gauge showing 1560 cfs
at 5.66 ft. Normal flows is about 259 cfs at this time of the year. It is possible to fish the river
with streamers but not very practical. You will just have to watch the stream levels and wait
for them to cut down on the discharges.
04/02/16 The discharges are down and so is the stream level. Conditions are very good at
this time. Brown Sculpin streamers have been catching trout on the high water levels, but
midges, and little Blue-winged olives are hatching and you may want to change strategies.
You can probably catch some on top.
04/09/16 The discharges and stream level is up. Currently it is flowing at 953 cfs and 4.48
feet. The weather shows rain or snow from Tuesday through next Friday. You will have to
watch the levels to know when to fish. You can cast streamers like our Brown sculpin from
the bank and do well.
04/16/15 The discharges and stream levels are very high right now. It is flowing at 1060 cfs
at 4.92 feet. We don't think that is going to last very long. There is no rain in the forecast
for the next week. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are the main hatches to watch.
Scuds always work on the Crooked River.
04/23/16 The discharges and stream level is back down to where you can wade in the
sections you normal can wade in. Blue-winged olives, March Browns and little Black Caddis
are hatching. Scuds are also working good as well as our Brown Sculpin streamer. The
water is fairly clear.
04/30/16 We think the stream levels are an okay shape but the USGS gauge is broken and
the reading not available. We ae trying our local contact but they are all on the water out of
phone range. We will update this as soon as we can. We did get two good reports from
customers this past week. We think the stream is in good shape.
05/07/16 The gauge still isn't working but the discharges and stream levels is about normal.
There is a week of no rain and warm weather ahead and the water will warm up fast. Blue-
winged olives ae hatching good and in two different sizes, 18 and 20's. Little Short-horned
sedges, size 20 or caddis are hatching good.
05/14/16 The USGS gauge still isn't working but the levels are a little high right now, but fine
to fish from the bank. We think they will drop the level of discharge very soon. There is
more rain through the weekend but then clear for the next few days. Little Blue-winged
olives and Pale Evening duns are hatching good.
05/21/16 The USGS gauge is not working but the levels are just a little above normal. There
is a chance of rain everyday for the next week, and the levels could go up again. Right now,
conditions are good and our customers are reporting catching several nice trout a day.
05/28/16 The flows have been very high all week but are back down to the 285 cfs rate.
This should put the conditions for fly fishing the Crooked River back in good shape for the
coming week. There are a lot of insects hatching and you should be able to not only catch
plenty of trout, but catch some on the surface on dry flies.
06/04/16 Pale Morning duns have begin to hatch and this should be the hot insect for the
coming weeks. Blue-winged olives, size 18 are still plentiful as well. Scuds are working for
some of our customers. Spotted Sedges, and Green sedges, or caddisflies, are hatching
everywhere and about everyday. Conditions are good.
06/12/16 The stream levels are down thanks to lower discharges. Our customers are
reporting that they are catching trout in good number mostly on PMD nymphs, emegers and
duns. Don't forget the morning spinner falls. They are often overlooked, yet they can
produce a lot of trout in a short time. You will see the clouds of spinners early and then only
rise rings from the trout eating them.
06/18/16 We received two good reports this past week from customers. They caught good
numbers and sizes of trout and many on the surface. The Pale Morning Duns and two
species of caddisflies, Green Sedges and Spotted Sedges, brought the most action. They
caught trout on the early morning PMD spinner falls and late morning hatches on the duns.
06/25/16 It is getting hot and there is no rain in the forecast this coming week. Fishing early
and late in the day will help you but really makes little difference in the tailwater because it
is a tailwater. There are regular caddisfly hatches taking place during the day and the egg
laying activity ranges from the middle of the afternoon until dark.
07/02/16 The river is in good shape and our customers are catching a lot of trout. Make
sure you fish to near dark. The caddis egg laying activity will allow you to catch a lot of trout
in a short time and on top. The early morning Pale Morning dun spinner fall is also very
good. They are hatching consistently. It won't be long, another week or two, until the
terrestrial insects will become important to imitate. Good conditions still exist.
07/09/16 The river just doesn't get much better than it is right now. There are three
different species of caddisflies hatching along with a lot of Pale Morning Duns. The late
afternoon spinnerfall falls and egg laying caddis is bringing the trout to the surface to eat.
Our customers are sent in two very good reports this past week. Make sure you stay late
and fish until almost dark. That is when you will get the most action. Good conditions exist.
07/16/16 Stream level are running at a normal level. There is a change of rain on Sunday
through Tuesday, then clearing. The spotted sedges and green sedges are still hatching.
Fish the pupa during the hatch and the adult during the egg laying process which take
place late in the day near dark. There are still a lot of hatches going on. The Pale Morning
dun are still hatching good.
07/23/16 The discharges and stream levels remain in good shape. The water is still cool, in
spite of the heat. Pale Morning duns are still hatching very good along with three species of
caddisflies. The late afternoon caddisfly egg laying activity gives you the best opportunity to
catch a lot of trout in a short time. Fish late in the day until dark. Terrestrials are starting to
play a big role.
07/30/16 The water is getting a little low with low discharges. You will need to stay low and
as hidden as possible. It helps to dress to match the background. There are lots of Trios
hatching. The spinner falls is in the late mornings. They hatch in the afternoons. There are
also a lot of caddis, mostly Spotted Sedges and some Green Sedges. Terrestrials are also
working - ants, beetles and hoppers.
08/06/16 Our customers continue to report catching good numbers of trout in spite of the
heat. Some how, they are continuing to run a little water through the dam. The weather is
going to be a little cooler this coming week. Tricos are hatching good. Terrestrials like
hoppers and Japanese beetles are working good as well. Fish early and as late in the day
as you can.
08/13/16 The discharges and stream levels are running about normal for mid August. Our
customers continue to send in some good reports. There are fewer people at the
campgrounds and plenty of water that's easy to wade and fairly easy to catch trout. There
are still some insects hatching and terrestrials are working very well. Carpenter ants,
Japanese Beetles and grass hoppers are plentiful along the banks of the river.
08/20/16 It is still hot weather but the stream levels are okay and those fishing early and
late are doing very well. Most anglers are fishing terrestrial imitations. Hopper, ants and
beetles will work but the most available food right now is Tricos. Spinner falls take place late
morning. We still recommend fishing early and the last two or three hours of the day.
08/27/16 The discharges and stream levels are normal for this time of the season.
Conditions are better with slightly cooler weather. It makes a little difference in the lower
secions of the river. Terrestrial insect imitations like our Carpenter ants and Japanese
beetles are working good. Some anglers are catching a few on green hoppers about a hook
size 10. Streamers, like the Brown sculpin, fished in the early morning is also working good.
09/03/16 he grassy banks of the Crooked river provides the ideal habitat for grass hoppers.
Windy days are best, but you can sill catch some trout fishing a hopper near the banks
most anytime. Ants and beetle imitations are also working well. Some larger baetis Blue-
winged olives have started to hatch. That and the Tricos will keep you busy matching the
hatch. Remember, the Tricos spinner fall is in the mornings.
09/10/16The discharges and stream levels are currently a little low but that makes it easy to
wade in the sections that are wadable. Not all parts of the river are safe to wade. There are
more hatches starting up, mostly Mahogany duns and Blue-winged olives. There are also
two species of caddisflies continuing to hatch. Terrestrial imitations continue to work as well.
09/17/16 The river continues to be one of the better destinations for trout in the state. Our
customers did well again this past week and this should continue. Terrestrial are working
good, especially hoppers fished right against the banks. The fish will come up even in the
middle of the day to eat them. Hatches are taking places as well. Tricos, BWOs, Spotted
sedges and Little Sister caddis are hatching.
09/24/16 The hatches continue to get better and anglers are having a ball catching trout
feeding on top during the day and just before dark. Spinner falls and caddis egg laying
activity are bringing a lot of trout to the surface late in the day. Blue-winged olives,
Mahogany duns, Midges, and Tricos continue to hatch.
10/01/16 The river is in very good shape for this time of the season. The weather is going
to be much cooler and that will help the middle and lower sections and eventually all of it.
The discharges and stream levels are still low and wading is possible most places you can
normally wade. Terrestrials are still working good - ants, beetles and hoppers. Now is a very
good time to fish the Crooked River.
10/08/16 The little Crooked river is turning out some nice trout for anglers that can half way
match the hatch. Blue-winged olives are the most plentiful, with the exception of midges,
and is what most are using Fish the nymphs until you see them emerging and switch to the
dun. Fish the spinner near dark. You can catch more faster at that time than any.
10/15/16 The river is in very good shape with good stream levels. Brown trout are in the pre-
spawn stage and very aggressive. They will take the Perfect fly sculpin patterns very well.
Blue-winged olives and Mahogany duns are hatching very good. It is an excellent time to
fish the river.
10/29/16 You can expect good flows for the next few week since the irrigation season has
ended. The lower flows make it a lttle easier to spook the trout in some cases, so stay
hidden from the trout as best you can. There are some very good Blue-winged olive
hatches taking place. Fish the BWO nymph in the mornings, duns mid afternoon and
spinner late i the day.
12/05/16 Midges, both creams and reds or blood midges, are hatching good. Blue-winged
olives are hatching good. Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers are catching the larger
size trout. We received two very good reports from customers fishing the river this past
week. The stream and weather conditions are both good at this time.
11/12/16 The stream levels remain good thanks to low discharges. Wading is possible in
some sections of the river. There are few anglers fishing, yet the catching has been very
good by those that are. They are still catching trout from the surface on the afternoon BWO
and midge hatches. The water temperature is still in the fifties and the trout very active.
11/19/16 We received more good reports this past week from customers. The stream levels
and discharges are staying low allowing good wading opportunity. Blue-winged olives and
Cream and Red midges are hatching good. The Brown sculpin streamer is catching some of
the larger brown trout. There are few angles fishing. What more could you ask for.