Breaking into the Owyhee’s

Quick disclaimer: This blog will not cover the basics of fly-fishing.  I am writing this blog in hopes that you gain knowledge of how to fly fish. The goal of this blogs is to take the basic or advanced knowledge you have, and put it to practice on the Owyhee River.

The Owyhee river runs through Oregon, Idaho and even parts of Nevada. As shown in the image below, there are many points in this river, but we are going to focus on the top point. Just over the Oregon-Idaho border, the Owyhee

This river has been named “best trout fly-fishing” by ( ) I get asked all the time what makes the river so special? Many people speculate the river is great due to the “hatches”. Hatch is a term fly fishermen use often, and is when an insect goes from a nymph (a swimming insect) to a bug (an adult, which is the flying or fully grown stage).  This can be seen in more detail on Amateur Entomologist’ Society’s website (you can find the article here).  The hatch is essential to fly-fishing. It’s what the fish will be eating.  You must be able to match the hatch or you’ll end up being the guy calling down the river, “HEY WHAT ARE YOU USING?” every time you see someone catch a fish…. Don’t be that guy…. No one will ever actually tell you what they are using. Another reason we call it fishing and not sharing.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a hatch is, I’m going to let you in on a little fishing secret. Hatches happen due to 2 things, weather and time. Though I would love to tell you the exact time of day each hatch happens, I can’t. It’s never at the same time, it all depends on the heat of the day. The hotter the days are, the earlier the hatch will happen. To make it a little more simple, I broke it down into 3 categories of heat and time.


If it is HOT AS HELL (99-110 Degrees Fahrenheit)



9pm- sundown

If it is HOT (80-100 Degrees Fahrenheit)



If it is not catching fish hot (70-80 Degrees Fahrenheit)

Go play cornhole, it ain’t happening today! The reasons for this is as the hatch happens the insects need heat to survive and dry their wings. When it is this cold the wings don’t dry and it is hard for the insects to survive.

Due to living in Utah, most of the year I fish the river over the summer. This means that Pale morning Duns (PMD), Celibaetis, Caddis and in the later months of summer, the Hopper, will be the main source of food for fish. If you are interested in other months of the year you can check out The Three Rivers Ranch Hatch Chart here. They do a wonderful job of staying up to date with the insects and their hatch. Now that we know most of the basics of the river; we can determine what time of day we should be planning on going out, what type of fly we are going to bring and what to be looking for. Now go out and fish the Owyhee!

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