Pronghorn Lake offers a fishing experience which fills the senses. Watching eagles dive to catch their share of fish, hearing the sand cranes call to each other, marveling at the night the sky filled with sparking jewels of the Milky Way, and hearing the song of the coyotes at night, these all heal the spirit and soothe the soul during these troubled times. For a brief respite you can escape to Pronghorn Ranch in the heart of southern Oregon and enjoy stellar trout fishing before the lake opens for bass anglers on June 15th.
Farms and ranches surround this southern Oregon gem. Mike Tyrholm, the owner of Pronghorn, stocked 850 14 to 18-inch steelhead trout between last fall and this spring to add to the holdover of Kamloops trout which inhabit this 150-acre lake. While the lake is slightly off-color, the trout do not seem to mind. A biologist that recently tested the lake and determined the color is be due to the large amount of phytoplankton.
Day 1 Conditions: The day started at 32 degrees F and gradually warmed to 55 degrees. Sustained 11 MPH wind gusted up to 18 MPH. Water temperature was 55 degrees F. Every fish felt like a personal victory in this cold, windy weather.
Day 2 Conditions: Water temperature 55 degrees at 9 AM, warmed up to 61 degrees by 1:30PM. The morning air temperature was ten degrees warmer than the previous day. There was no wind and it was a calm and sunny day.
I searched the south end of the lake and found the largest trout in the southwest corner bay. I fished the bay in the morning and landed 11 fish: 9 trout and 3 crappies. I caught robust Kamloop trout up to 24 inches with broad shoulders.
I selected my white and black UV Emerger pattern with the signature burnt orange thorax for maximum visibility in the stained water.
I have found that the more a fly stands out from its visual background, the better the chance it has in being seen, especially in stained water. Black has worked well for me as it provides a nice silhouette in these conditions.
The UV Emerger pattern incorporates a contrasting burnt orange hot spot in the thorax. I find that contrasting color in a fly as a visual point of interest helps trigger a reactive response. Jason Randall reports similar finding in Trout Sense, A Flyfisher’s Guide to What Trout See, Hear, & Smell, (Stackpole/Headwater, 2014).
White UV Emerger
After observing adult midges emerging from the surface (see below), I switched to my white UV Emerger. As the water temperature warmed above 60 degrees F, the crappie started biting.
Large crappie caught the White UV Emerger. Note the white midge emergers.
This trout inhaled my White UV Emerger
Now it the perfect time to contact Mike to book a fishing trip for now or next fall. Give him a call at 541 281-3030. Contact me if you would like more information about the lake, lines, flies, and best locations to fish.
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