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Secret Fishing Spots

July 27, 2018

Most fishermen have their secret fishing spots. Most often they are not willing to divulge these locations and certainly they would never make them public. I am a bit of an exception. As a fly fisherman who has beat the water for some 65 years, I would like to share my secret fishing spots. They all are diverse and surprisingly productive for the serious angler. They are located all over the globe and offer truly great fishing opportunities.

Here are the top ten spots:

1. The Clark Fork (of the Columbia), Deer Lodge, Montana.

This stream’s headwaters are near the town of Anaconda, Montana. The stream follows Highway 90 and its entire length from Warm Springs to Drummond is accessible by car and foot and offers completely uncrowded fly fishing for large German Brown trout and Whitefish. Exit Highway 90 to the frontage road and look for gravel roads that lead north towards the river. Recommended flies: Blue Winged Olives (14, 16), Hare’s Ear Nymphs (6, 8).

2. Black Creek, Oakridge, Oregon.

This is a fun little creek that produces a huge quantity of Cutthroat Trout of varying sizes. There are no really big fish here with the average running between 8 and 12 inches but the quantity is overwhelming. This is a place to take new fly fishermen as almost every cast is apt to yield a fish. Approach the town of Oakridge on Highway 58 from Eugene (35 miles) and bear left in Oakridge to Black Creek. Recommended flies: Just about anything in 14’s including Green Caddis.

3. Black Canyon on the Willamette River, Oakridge, Oregon.

This is my all-time favorite place on the planet. Take Highway 58 east approximately 33 miles from Eugene, Oregon. You’ll see a sign for the Black Canyon Campground on your left several miles above the town of Dexter. Enter the one-way road and follow it to camp spot number 32 or to the boat ramp. The entire section can be fished from the top of the campground down into the canyon that leads to Lookout Point Lake. This varying water produces large native Redside Rainbows along with an occasional Dolly Varden. Recommended flies: See my book: The Blackest of Canyons.

4. Long Ear Ranch on the Owens River, Sierra Nevada, California.

This was my childhood river of learning and it’s a tough one. There are Rainbows and really big Brown Trout here but you need to be patient. This stretch of the river is in swampy cow pasture and is full of mosquitoes. Be prepared for a few welts. The Long Ear Ranch section of the Owens River can be reached by exiting Highway 395 at Big Springs Campground and following the gravel road south or by exiting at Whitmore Hot Springs and following the gravel road north. Recommended flies: Large nymphs (4, 6, 8) and Caddis Flies (8, 10, 12).

5. The Bojinka River, Bled, Slovenia.

This is the absolute cleanest river that I have seen in the whole world. It is also home to large Rainbow Trout, Grayling and several hybrid trout. The river is best reached from the town of Bled in the Julian Alps. Ask locally about directions and especially about fishing regulations and permits as they are complicated. Fishing here in not cheap with the lowest permit cost at about 70 Euro per day. Recommended flies: Prince Nymphs (8, 10, 12) and Caddis Flies (12, 14).

6. The North Mills River, Mills River, North Carolina.

This is a local stream that gets its share of fishermen but is always a strong producer. Exit Interstate 26 at Boyleston Highway (280) and proceed west to just before the Ingles supermarket. Turn right on the North Mills River Road and go 5 miles to the campground. Species include Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout in the 10 to 24 inch range. This is a small system so finesse is required. Recommended flies: Green Woolly Bugger Nymphs (12, 14) and Blue Winged Olives (12, 14).

7. Lake Tret, Tret di Fondo, Italy.

This small lake sits above the village of Tret, Italy and is about a 45 minute walk from the parking lot at the Plazze. Follow the signs to the “Plazze” from the Ciaspole Restaurant (200 meters) along the state highway to the parking lot and then the path signs to the lake. While there are fish throughout the lake, the best bet is to head to the most northern side of the lake where the springs enter. The lake is full of Salmarino Trout (Brook Trout). Recommended flies: Small Green Caddis (14, 16) and Copper Johns.

8. Smith River, Oregon.

The Smith River is a long tributary of the Umpqua River in the state of Oregon. This river is an excellent steelhead and salmon fishery in its entire length. However, the best fishing (and least amount of fishermen) is to be found in its upper reaches. The best access to this remote river is from the town of Eugene on Highway 37 (Upper Smith River Road) Recommended flies: Blue Boy (6, 8), Skykomish Sunrise (6, 8).

9. San Joaquin River, Mammoth, California.

This is a vintage High Sierra trout stream. It can be accessed by driving from Highway 395 to the Mammoth Lakes turnoff. Go through the town of Mammoth and follow the signs to the Devil’s Postpile and Red’s Meadow. Once you reach Red’s Meadow, park your car and be prepared for a walk. You can fish downstream of Rainbow Falls all the way to Fish Creek. Lot’s of crafty Rainbow Trout here! Recommended flies: Small nymphs and Caddis Flies (14, 16). PS – I’ve heard that a shuttle bus may now be required to enter this area.

10. Lago di Caprioli, Pellizano, Italy.

This rounds out my top ten secret places. Take the SS42 toward Tonale Pass from the town of Cagno in the Val di Non. Proceed up the Val di Sole until you reach the village of Pellizzano. Go through the village, making sure to stop at the Bar Centrale to buy your daily permit, and proceed up a road marked Localita’ Fazzon. Follow this road through the one-way tunnel until you reach the parking area for Lago di Capriolli. The lake is within a hundred yards of the parking lot. While the entire lake has good fishing, the best place to go is to the opposite end of the lake at the bottom of the Brenta Dolomite mountains. There where the springs feed the lake is where you will find the best fishing. The beautifully breathtaking area is home to several trout species including Rainbow, Brown and Marmarota. Recommended flies: Green Woolly Bugger Nymphs (10, 12, 14), Green Elk Hair Caddis Flies (12, 14) and Hare’s Ear Nymphs (8, 10, 12).

Now you know what I know! Your feedback would be most appreciated.

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3 Comments
  1. I like to visit the rivers, even though I don’t fish anymore. Lovely spots!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list. I just wish I could visit a couple of your western spots. My favorite spot is midway down the Barrel Pool on the lower no-kill section of the Beaverkill in New York’s Catskill Mountains. October 1 can’t get here too soon. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

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