Oregon is a mecca for the fly fisherman, and the spring season marks the hatchings of insects such as the stonefly, mayfly, caddisfly, and an assortment of midges. Hatches will ignite on the surface waters of the rivers across the state, attracting fish as well as anglers. Hillerns noted that the Deschutes River in Central Oregon is good for catching trout and steelhead. Around the same area, the Metolius is known for rainbow and brown trout alike. The McKenzie River near Eugene is where hatching mayflies attract local trout. Springing down from Mt. Hood, the Sandy River also has trout and steelhead that feed on surface-grazing stoneflies. On the Clackamas River, closest to Portland, you may find salmon and steelhead.
After understanding the duties of a fly, Hillerns showed us the art of tying one by hand. Selecting a fly depends on your location and target fish. These animals are use to seeing particular bugs on their waters, and Hillerns pointed out particular tools and resources to help ensure you come to the waters equipped with what the fish are hungry for. Just like any art form, HIllerns suggested focusing perfecting a few patterns first. The Woolly Bugger is a classic catch-all type of fly. Participants hunkered down on their vices, threaded their bobbins, and within 25 minutes had tied their very first fly.