Fishing the Owyhee River After the Storm

15 June 2006 By Dan Bachman • Fishing-Spots • Comments (14)

Tuesday night after work I ran over to the Owyhee to try a little fishing on the river that was now running at 279 CFS. Barely out of town on the freeway the weather turned nasty with hail, high winds and dark swirling clouds. A tornado watch was announced on the radio for western Idaho as I continued to make my way to the river.

When I finally did the worst of the weather had blown over and with the sun shining and the dark blue clouds on the horizon, it made for a very dramatic photograph.

Owyhee after a storm Owyhee Brown

Fish were rising to the Caddis hatch that was on and the fishing was very good for a couple hours until dark. I noticed a lack of the really big fish that inhabit the Owyhee. Normally you can drive olong the river and stop at several places where, when fish are rising, you can see brown’s in the 25-30 inch range rising rhythmically to the hatch. That was not the case this time. Based on this one trip it would seem that the older big boys fell prey to the very high flows of earlier this spring.


Other Tattered Fly articles about the Owhyee river.


  1. 15 June 2006 LAZ

    How was the water clarity? Great site!!!

  2. 15 June 2006 Dan Bachman

    The water was very off-color. Less than 8-10 inches of visibility in the main current.

  3. 16 June 2006 eggs

    I would imagine that the fish that have been there for ever, can and will deal with high flows(going tward the banks/etc) and the biggest deal would be the “spring creek like bugs we have been seeing for the last 5 years. Those “BIG” fish don’t get that big by being stupid, the are still there. But thanks for the report

  4. 16 June 2006 Dan Bachman

    Eggs-I have had conversations with several other anglers that spend a good amount of time on the Owyhee as well. They have had the similar observations to mine. Our observations are by no means scientific but consistent.

    If anybody has seen or caught some of the Owyhee “big boys” let us know.

  5. 16 June 2006 Tina

    That is an AMAZING photo. WOW. Thanks.

  6. 17 June 2006 Jim Batsel

    I’ve Fished the Owyhee several times since it’s flows decreased to below 300 c.f.s. . It’s been a little slow this past week due to the lunar phase ( I believe ) . Two weeks ago fish were taking PMD’s with plenty of bigs taken in our party. I however, haven’t caught as many large fish so far this season. I havn’t fared as well with nymphs either.

  7. 17 June 2006 Dan Bachman

    Jim-Good to hear there are still some bigs around.

  8. 19 June 2006 Ron

    Planning to fish the Owyhee below the dam in July. Have been there before, but was not driving. Anyone have directions from Adrian?

  9. 19 June 2006 Dan Bachman

    About 2 miles north of Adrian turn left (there’s a sign) on Overstreet Rd. You follow it for 5-6 miles to the ‘T’ in the road and then turn left and follow to the river. On the way back don’t forget to turn back onto Overstreet or you’ll end up in Nyssa.

  10. 23 June 2006 Courtney

    Did you do any nymph fishing, and if so, was it successful?

  11. 23 June 2006 Dan Bachman

    Courtney-No on the nymphing. With the caddis hatch on, I was fishing dries.

  12. 23 June 2006 Ron

    Thanks for the directions. We plan to camp there for the week and fish ‘til we get blisters!

  13. 11 July 2006 eggs

    great photo, But still, the big fish are still around. I have a good friend who is closer to the river than me (idaho) and who fishes it more than anyone i know and is still catching the bigs, and knows his size (inches wise)

    I have never, and i have been fly fishing for 16+ years and have never seen 25-30 inch fish rising steady on the Owyhee or any river for that matter. Not to say you havent. Its just wow! That’s a huge fish and it would be hard to estimate inches on a rise on a slow river like this. Every fish looks big in the flats. I think the biggest fish i ve ever hooked after fishing this river for 8 yrs is maybe 21 inches. I hope to see the 30’s some day. But when i land a fish, I will briefly hold it up to my straightened arm, (from the tips of my fingers to the crease in my elbow is exactly 18 inches), a 30 inch fish, which I know live, would go to my shoulder, straightened out. BIG FISH. Agian , not to say they don’t exist, they do, but Man, I geek out on size and being honest about size, I hope your still seeing the big ones! Thanks again and the photo is unreal
  14. 11 July 2006 Dan Bachman

    eggs-Last year on the Owyhee I caught 2 that were 24 inches and was present when a 25 and 27 inch fish were caught by a fishing buddy. All 4 of these fish were taped, so the sizes are accurate. But I am hearing reports of people catching the larger fish-so that’s a good thing. It will be a little while before I get over to the Owyhee again…

Back Cast
Feed: Back Cast