December 1, 2003
The river has returned to its winter flows, and hatches of midges provide sporadic yet daily surface action. Blue Wing Olive or Baetis mayflies hatch in clouds at midday and on good days last until three o’clock. Skilled anglers equipped with a three weight and the appropriate BWO and midge patterns can land at least twenty trout in a day of fishing.
The great thing about the Crooked is that when trout in other area streams are hunkering down for the winter, the Crooked’s trout turn on. It is one of the precious few rivers in the state where an angler can have consistent dry fly fishing throughout the winter.
To catch trout on the Crooked, simply locate rising fish. Even on the coldest morning, rise-forms are visible. If you arrive at the Crooked and find fish rising early or late in the day you can expect that they are feeding on midges. The midge hatch can be covered with a few Griffith’s gnats and sprout midges. During the warmest part of the day the Blue Wing Olives hatch. The fish truly take advantage of these mayflies as they float along on the surface of the water. Usually you will see the duns on the water, but if fish are making splashy rises around one o’clock in the afternoon they are probably taking emergers. Cover this hatch with #18 olive sparkle duns for the emergers and #18-20 BWO duns for the adults. #18 parachute Adams will work in a pinch and they are also much easier to see.
The biggest trout in the Crooked are often taken on nymphs. A #18 tungsten bead pheasant tail nymph is hard to beat. Also, scuds have a following among fishermen on the Crooked. Fish these flies three feet below a strike indicator in the slots and fast water dumping into pools. The Crooked is a shallow river and you will rarely need to fish deeper than five feet below the surface.
The fish in the Crooked may not be as big as a Metolius bow or fight like a Deschutes redside but as far as lots of fish on tiny dry flies in the snow the Crooked is tough to beat.