Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Deschutes River In
The two-hundred mile long Deschutes River (river of
falls) begins in the Cascades at Little Lava Lake. Here
the spring-fed river flows through pine forest and
beautiful meadows. This section, called the Upper
Deschutes, makes its way through Crane Prairie and
Wickiup Reservoirs. Below the reservoirs, the stream
drops about 750 feet through canyons of lava creating
plenty of fast water and some white water sections. Fly
fishing the Deschutes River is Oregon's finest.
After the drop in elevation, the Deschutes slows down
and flows through the City of Bend into a huge irrigation
canal system. The water not used for irrigation
continues on downstream through more canyons as it
continues to make its way through the middle of
Oregon's high desert. This difficult to access part of the
river is generally referred to as the Middle Section of the
Deschutes. The river slows down again and flows into
Billy Chinook Reservoir.
Below the large lake, the Lower Deschutes River flows
for another hundred miles providing more native rainbow
trout and steelhead fishing for the angler. The Lower
Section is the most famous section of the Deschutes. Fly
fishing the Deschuters River in this section is second to
The Upper Deschutes flows through pines and meadows
in the Deschutes National Forest. From Little Lava Lake
through the Ponderssa Forest, the Upper Deschutes
changes drastically. The Spring Creek section is a
wading paradise with plenty of easy to catch brown,
brook and rainbow trout. Fly fishing the Upper
Deschutes can best be described as fun. The wild life
and Bald Eagles and surrounding landscape makes it
well worth fishing although larger fish exist downstream.
Dry fly fishing the Upper Deschutes is usually great.
The Upper River flows into two reservoirs - Crane Prairie
and Wickiup. Both lakes are stocked with rainbow and
brown trout. Flowing out of Crane Prairie Reservoir the
river goes through a short section that runs down to
Wickiup Reservoir. This section offers some really great
water, and there are plenty of brown trout. This section
has a shortened fishing season, so be sure you check
the current fishing regulations.
After Wickiup the river turns and flows to the North
towards Bend. There are several water falls - Pringle
Falls, Benham Falls, Dillon Falls and Lava Island Falls.
Even though there are plenty of water falls, there's also
plenty of good fishing water. The river flows through
steep canyon walls.
Right smack in the city of Bend you can find several
places where nice riffles hold the famous Redside trout.
Dry fly fishing can be excellent during the summer.
There is plenty of private property and irrigation can
present problems with the middle section. The stream
flows through Juniper and Sage but there are stands of
Ponderosa Pines in many areas.
Fishing is best form about mid April through October.
There are several access points. Even though there's a
lot of private property, there still a lot of trout water you
can fish. The water temperature during mid Summer can
become marginal and irrigation can create some low
flows that doesn't help the situation. The Middle Section
of the Deschutes River ends at Lake Billy Chinook.
The Lower Deschutes River is completely different. It is
also the most popular area of the huge Deschutes
River. It has both wild trout and steelhead. The trout
population is said to exceed 3500 fish per mile of water.
The best trout fishing is in the first forty or fifty miles of
the river below Pelton Dam. It also has huge returns of
Summer Steelhead. Some consider the Lower Section
of the Deschutes the finest river in Oregon and a top
one in the United States.
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Recommended Tackle & Gear
For Steelhead and Salmon
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The Lower Deschutes flows through a basalt
canyon that runs through the high desert of
Central Oregon. There's a hundred miles of
fishing from the base of the Pelton Dam to its
confluence with the Columbia River.
Similar to the entire Deschutes River, the into
three major sections of water. The section
between Warm Springs and Maupin is called
the upper section of the Lower Deschutes
Similar to the entire Deschutes River, the
Similar to the entire Deschutes River, the
Lower Section of the Deschutes is also broken
into three major sections of water. The section
between Warm Springs and Maupin is called
the upper section of the Lower Deschutes
River. From Maupin to Mack's Canyon lies the
middle section of the Lower Deschutes River.
From Mack's Canyon to the Columbia River is
the lower section of the Lower Deschutes
You can fish the Lower Deschutes
Steelhead run through December. Trout
fishing can be okay on warm days in the
Springtime is the best time for fishing the
This can get confusing to the visiting angler,
so make sure you get the specifics of the
The Lower Deschutes has a great
population of native Redside rainbow trout.
They average about 15 inches but go up to
over 20 inches. The summer run steelhead
are in the river from August to the first of
Fishing opportunities last year-round and
considering the size and quantities of the
fish, anyone would have to consider the
Deschutes River as one of the best fly
fishing streams in the country.
We will start with the steelhead fishing in the
Lower Deschutes. It is World renowned for its
steelhead fishing primarily because the fish
will eat a fly on the surface of the water. The
steelhead start coming into the Deschutes
from the Columbia River as early as July and
can be caught as late as November. There
are both wild steelhead and steelhead that
have been stocked. The hatchery raised
trout will come into the river from the Ocean
anywhere from late June to August
depending on the water levels. The stocked
steelhead average about nine pounds. The
wild fish are referred to as "A" run and "B"
run fish The "A" run wild steelhead come into
the Deschutes in July and August and will
average from four to six pounds. The "B" run
steelhead enter the river from August to
September and average about twelve
pounds or better. They stay in the Ocean
from two to three years. All wild fish must be
returned to the river.
There are several ways these steelhead can
be caught but the most frequently used
method, and one that has been around for
years, is the traditional wet fly method of
fishing. A floating fly line is used for this. The
presentation is made down and across the
runs and the fly allowed to swing across the
run to the downstream position. It usually
takes a few mends to control the drift of the
fly. Anglers fish the entire length of a long
run from it head to it tail. It is best to fish
early and late, especially when there's a
bright, sunny sky. You can catch steelhead
up in the day when the sun is bearing down
on the water, but you will need to use a sink
tip fly line or a sinking fly line to get the fly
down to them.
Upper Deschutes River Trout:
The trout fishing is good throughout the
entire length of the Deschutes River from its
Upper Section all the way to the Columbia
River. The trout have a tremendous diversity
and quantity of aquatic insects to choose
from. The Upper River is considered the
water upstream from Bend to Lava Lake, a
distance of about 80 miles. Public access is
easy because most of the river is in the
Deschutes National Forest in the Cascades
Below Wickiup Reservoir down to Benham
Falls, the Deschutes River has both wild and
stocked trout. Both rainbows and brown trout
are present. The stream in this area is best
fished from a drift boat. Both rainbows and
browns move out of Crane Prairie and
Wickiup Reservoirs to spawn and this adds
additional big fish to the river. There are
rainbows and brook trout in the uppermost
part above Crane Prairie Reservoir. Thee
are both brown and rainbows below Wickiup
Reservoir., but it's mostly brown trout down
to Benham Falls.
Below the falls, the majority of the trout are
rainbows. The brown trout get quite large
but the rainbows only average about ten
inches. The brook trout are about four to
six inches long.
Fly Fishing the Middle Deschutes
River for Trout:
For purposes of this guide, we will call the
Middle Deschutes the water downstream of
Bend Oregon to Billy Chinook Reservoir.
Most of the Middle Deschutes River runs
through private property but there are still
several places you can access the stream.
There is public access just outside of Bend
in the Tumalo State Park. Fishing is best in
this section during the Spring and Fall
seasons. During the summer, especially
during years of low water, irrigation needs
can create low water in the Middle
Deschutes which can get too warm for
good trout fishing. There are several
smaller sections of canyons and fishing
can be very good in the pocket water when
the water levels are good.
Fly Fishing the Lower Deschutes River
The Lower Deschutes River starts below
Billy Chinook Reservoir. It flows for a
hundred miles before reaching the
Columbia River. The upper part of this
section consist mostly of huge canyons.
This section is classified as a National Wild
and Scenic River. The section of the river
from Warm Springs downstream to Mauplin
is as good as it gets. It has a very good
population of wild rainbow trout.
There are several places you can access
the stream to wade but there are also
some sections as long as thirty miles
without access for walk in anglers. Most
anglers prefer to fish this section from a
drift boat. It will take at least two days to
fish the section from Warm Springs to
Mauplin from a drift boat and most prefer
to stretch that out a day or two so they can
stop and fish occasionally.
The area around Mauplin, both above and
especially downstream of Mauplin to
Mack's Canyon, has plenty of access. You
can catch trout in this area year-round.
Keep in mind that it can become crowded
during Steelhead season.
Below Mack's Canyon downstream to the
Columbia River, there's about twenty-five
miles of water that has almost no access
for waders. This area is best fished from a
drift boat. It is the prime Steelhead fishing
area of the Deschutes River.
Deschutes River Hatches and Flies::
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Deschutes River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call.
We not only will help you with selections,
you will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies,
92% of the thousands of our customers will
use nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
There is quite a bit of difference in what
locals call the Upper Deschutes River and
the Lower Deschutes River. This is a very
diverse and long river. For that reason, we
will sometimes specify which section we are
Blue-winged Olives start hatching in the
lower section in February, increase in
March and April and still continue into May.
Some of these are bi-brooded and also,
there are several different species. There
will be another hatch that takes place in
September and October.
During the months of May and June, you
may find a few Green Drakes hatching but it
is usually not what you would call a prolific
hatch and it only occurs in certain areas of
the river. The most important mayfly on the
Deschutes River is the Pale Morning Dun. It
hatches in May, June and July, depending
on the area of the stream. There are also
some Pale Evening Duns in the Deschutes.
They hatch over a long period of time,
depending on the section of the river,
starting in April and lasting into August.
March Browns can hatch in decent
quantities during March and April. They
progress upstream and hatch as late as the
end of April in the Upper River. Mahogany
Duns hatch in April and May and again in
September and October. These can be
important hatches even though they are not
In the Upper Deschutes, Little Brown
Stoneflies start hatching by the middle of
February and last through March. Skwala
Stoneflies begin to hatch in the lower river
the first of March and continue through April.
Midges are important all year but usually
only focused on during periods of cold
About the middle of July, grasshopper,
ants and beetles become a part of the
diet of the trout in the Deschutes River.
They are quite abundant. Imitations of
them can be effective and terrestrial
fishing is a popular method during that
time of the year.
One of the most important flies you can
have on the Deschutes in many angler's
opinion, are streamers. Imitations of
sculpin, minnows and baitfish will produce
trout anytime of the year and especially
when the lighting conditions are low.
Imitations of crayfish can also be effective.
Fish eggs are an important form of food in
the Lower Deschutes River. Salmon eggs
are in the river during November and
December. Flies imitating these eggs are
very effective as well as other traditional
We recommend our "Perfect Flies". They
have been tested and used by several
regular Deschutes anglers would great
results. They are not only the most
realistic flies you can buy, they are the
most effective at catching trout. If you
haven't already done so, please give
them an opportunity to produce for you.
We are confident, you will be glad you did.
Caddisflies are very plentiful in the
Deschutes River. The Spotted Sedges,
which consist of several different species,
hatch from March through September.
They are heavier at times and vary with
the various parts of the river. The little
Short-horned Sedges last about the same
length of time or even longer. There are
also several species of Green Sedges
that hatch from the first of March all the
way through October. Imitations of their
larvae, called "rock worms", are effective
flies anytime you fish the river. The larger
October Caddis start hatching about the
middle of September and last until about
the middle of November.
Golden Stoneflies start hatching about the
middle of May and last for the first couple
of week of June. They are more plentiful
in the Lower Section of the river. There
are a few Salmonflies that hatch from
about the middle of May until the middle of
June in the Lower Deschutes. Yellow
Sallies, or Little Yellow Stoneflies, hatch in
June and July.
Summer is excellent for fly fishing the
Deschutes River due to the cold tailwaters.
Steelhead run from late August through
December. Trout fishing can be very good
during the Fall.
All images property of Dennis McCartly:
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The river is in good
shape in all respects and lots of trout
are being caught. There are some
excellent hatches of stoneflies, both
Salmonflies and Golden stoneflies.
Other insects are hatching as well.
Stream levels are good and the
weather for the coming week looks
good. Keep track of the latest info by
clicking the above link to our weekly
updated Deschutes River fishing
10/16/15 Steelhead anglers are continuing to do well in the lower river. Summer steelhead
are plentiful and being caught nymphing and swinging. The middle and upper sections of the
river continues to produce some good catches of trout. Little Yellow stoneflies, Green
Sedges, and October Caddis are hatching and a Imitations of terrestrials are working good.
10/24/15 October Caddis are nearing the peak of their hatch and bringing trout to the
surface to feed on the egg laying females. Fish the pupa during the hatch. Trout are being
caught from Warm Spring to Maupin. Maupin to the Mack's Canyon area is producing some
nice catches of steelhead. They are in the river from the mouth to the South Junction.
10/31/15 Stream levels are good throughout the system. The weather is a little cooler and
that will help both the trout and steelhead fishing opportunity. October Caddis are still
hatching in some sections. More Blue-winged olive hatches are taking place. The cooler
weather should bring more steelhead into the river but anglers are scoring well as it is now.
11/07/15 Maulpin to Mack's Canyon is still the hot steelhead section of the river. Egg flies,
like the Perfect Fly Veiled Beadhead Egg fly is doing the job. Hatches of aquatic insects are
down to just about midges and Blue-winged olives. Don't forget the Sculpin streamers, like
the Brown and White Belly Sculpin. They are catching some larger size trout.
11/14/15 They are still catching some steelhead from the mouth of the river upstream to
South Junction. Egg flies seemed to have worked the best but they are using nymphs and
swinging flies as well. Two customers reported catching some nice trout from near Maulpin.
Blue-winged olives are hatching good on cloudy days. Stream levels are currently okay but
keep a close check on them.
11/21/15 The middle and upper river are still warm enough to catch some trout. It is down to
mostly Blue-winged olives, size 18 and 20, and midges. Cream midges are very plentiful and
hatch about every day. The Brown sculpin streamer still catches some of the larger trout. The
lower river is producing both trout and summer steelhead.
11/28/15 Steelhead are still being caught from the mouth of the river upstream to the South
Junction. The rainbows are also being caught in decent numbers. The best trout fishing is
considered from Warm Springs to Maulpin. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching. The
Brown Sculpin streamer fly continues to produce some of the largest trout.
12/05/15 There has been a few steelhead caught lately and a few trout. The trout fishing
scene should be better this coming week. There is rain in the forecast every day for the next
week. The cloud cover helps the intensity of the Blue-winged olive hatches. We recommend
small BWO nymphs, midges and our Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers. They have
been catching some big trout.
12/12/15 The weather is going to be a little wild for a day or two. They are showing lots of
snow in the forecast through the weekend and rain later near the middle of next week. So far,
the stream levels and discharges remain in good shape. We have added Winter Stoneflies to
the list of flies as they have started hatching in some sections of the river.
12/17/15 The bottom line is the fishing just isn't good at all right now. There are very few
summer steelhead being caught and a very few trout being caught but that's mostly because
anglers are having to make a lot of cast to catch a few fish. If you do fish for the redband,
we recommend using midges and Winter stonefly nymphs. Swinging is you best best for the
steelhead because you do need to cover a lot of water.
12/25/15 The weather is getting a little colder in all sections of the Deschutes and that will
bring some snow but better water levels. The water is still warm enough the fishing shouldn't
be affected. We didn't get any reports of steelhead caught this past week but the conditions
were not that bad at all. Trout fishing in the middle section of the Deschutes should be good.
01/02/16 Anglers are still catching some steelhead in the lower river by swinging and
nymphing. The water in the upper river is colder and there's snow in the forecast every day
for the next week. Winter stonefly nymphs and midges should be the go to flies this coming
week. Avoid fishing directly in the fast water. Trout won't hold in it at the lower water temps.
01/17/16 It is warming up and of course, with that come rain or rain/snow in some cases. This
should get the trout fishing in better shape. We didn't receive any reports from the past week.
Winter stoneflies and little BWO numphs should work as well as midges. The White Belly
sculpin fly is always good when the skies are cloudy.
01/23/16 A few steelhead were caught this past week upstream of Maupin. Trout are on the
bottom in the deep holes out of the main current. The water temperatures are marginal but
they can be caught. Midges, red and cream, and Winter stonefly nymphs are the flies you
need. The White Belly sculpin works great when the skies are cloudy.
01/30/16 Trout fishing has been good the past week. The fish are in the slower current in
holes in the bottom. Little BWO nymphs, winter stonefly nymphs and midges, both cream and
red, are working good. Steelhead are scattered throughout the river up to Warm Springs.
Trout fishing seems to be best from Warm Springs up to Mac's Canyon.
92/06/16 Trout fishing should be excellent this coming week. It is going to be warm and the
water temperature may even come up a little. It is possible to have some little BWO and
midge hatches but the clear skies won't help in that respect. Midge larva and pupa combos
and little winter stonefly and BWO nymphs are the best fly choices.
02/13/16 Very good conditions exist for trout fishing. Blue-winged olives are hatching and
anglers are catching trout mostly on nymphs, but occasionally on dry flies. All sections of the
river are producing but what the stream levels. There is a lot of rain in the forecast for the
02/20/16 The warm weather has melted a lot of snow and created what we call a mini-runoff.
The water is high and stained but not too high or dingy to fish. Wading isn't advisable in most
places. Blue-winged olives are hatching in good numbers and so are midges, creams and
reds. Keep a close check on the levels to see when it is low enough to wade.
02/27/16 The stream levels are in great shape from top to bottom. The water is clear and
trout and steelhead are both being caught. There is rain in the forecast, and the only thing
sure is conditions will change. The water temperature is slowly coming up with the warm
weather pattern. Midges and Blue-winged olives are still the most important insects to imitate.
03/05/16 The stream levels are in good shape throughout the system. Based on the weather
forecast, I wouldn't count on that lasting very long. There is rain in the forecast every day for
the next week. Today, many be the best day of the next week. Skwala stoneflies and March
Browns will start hatching anytime now. .
03/19/16 The river is in good shape from its headwaters to the lowest section. Several
hatches are taking place. Skwala stoneflies, March Browns, Blue-winged olive and midges.
Little Black Caddis are starting to hatch in some sections. Steelhead are being caught in the
lower river. There is more rain and snow on the way most days this coming week.
04/26/16 The river is in good shape from its headwaters to it lowest section. Stream levels
are good and the water clear and warm. There is some rain and snow in the forecast through
next Tuesday. March Browns and Skwala stoneflies are hatching and anglers catching good
numbers of trout. The hatches should move upstream as the water warms.
04/02/16 The Deschutes is looking great and conditions are excellent for the first part of
April. The stream levels are all down to a normal level and most in good shape for wading.
The water is getting warm and several new aquatic insects are starting to hatch soon, if not
already. The weather forecast for the coming week looks great.
04/09/16 Right now the stream levels are in good shape in all sections of the river. Based on
the weather forecast, the levels should remain good for this coming week. Several aquatic
insects are hatching, all depending on the section of the river you are fishing. Green Sedges,
or caddisflies, is the most recent one.
04/15/16 The Deschutes is in good shape from a weather and stream level situation from the
headwater to the lowest section of the river. Anglers are catching lots of trout on dry flies,
including March Browns, Green sedge caddis, little Blue-winged olives and Skwala stoneflies.
The lower section is probably the best section to fish but any of them will produce.
04/22/16 The river is in good shape, with most sections at a good level. Some is a little on the
high side but falling. There is a little more rain in the forecast but nothing substantial. Lots of
aquatic insects are hatching. Midges, Blue-winged olives, March Browns, little Black Caddis,
green Sedges and others. Our customers are doing good with the Brown Sculpin streamers
in the lower river.
04/29/16 The river is in great shape in all sections. Stream levels are good, wading possible
in most sections, and lots of aquatic insects are hatching. The big Salmonfly hatch could start
anytime now. That brings some great action each year. Two species of caddis, March Browns
and Blue-winged olives are keeping anglers busy at this time.
05/07/16 The weather forecast just doesn't look real for the Deschutes this coming week. No
rain and nice warm weather, no kidding. What a great week to head for Oregon's best trout
stream. There are several hatches going on and in all sections of the river. Stream levels are
good in all sections. As my day would say, "You better get it while the getting is good".
05/14/16 The river is in good shape from the upper most sections to the lower river. Our
customers are catching trout in good numbers in about all of the sections of the river. Several
hatches are taking place including a lot of stoneflies. Pale evening duns should begin to
hatch anytime and soon, Pale morning duns.
05/21/16 The weather has been a little cooler and slowed down the hatches of some like the
Pale Morning Duns, but otherwise, the hatches are going full stream ahead. Our customers
are reporting catching a lot of trout and many on top. The stream levels are good in all
sections right now, but there is some rain in the forecast for the next few days.
05/28/16 You can say goodbye to the cool weather by the end of this coming week. It is going
into the high eighties. There will be some changes in the hatches before the week is over but
we will keep you updated. For now, stoneflies have produced the most fish. Stonefly nymphs
will outproduce the adult patterns but isn't as much fun when it comes to catching them.
06/04/16 We are getting lots of good report from anglers fishing in various sections of the
Deschutes this past week. Conditions have been very good and are expected to continue to
be good this coming week. There are lot of insects hatching but vary depending on the
section of the river you fish. Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges, both caddisflies, are hatching
06/11/16 This past week has been a good one, with our customers sending in some good
reports. Trout are being caught in all sections of the river and on a large variety of hatches. It
is about as good as it gets the first part of June. Stream levels are all in good shape. The
weather will be turning a little cooler this coming week but the hot action should continue.
06/18/16 Sometimes, anglers just ignore good fishing reports on the highly famed Deschutes.
Some think it is just hype. I will assure you, Perfect Fly has no reason to stretch the truth. We
don't guide and we cover a lot of streams. Our customers continued to catch lots of good size
trout this past week. The stream levels and discharges are all favorable and should continue
to be this coming week.
06/25/16 Stream levels and flow rates are good in all sections of the Deschutes. Our
customers are reporting some good numbers of trout being caught in all sections of the river
from the headwaters to the lowest end. There are still several hatches taking place and many
trout are being taken on the surface. The weather is hot with no chance of rain, so it is
probably best to fish early and late in the day.
07/02/16The stream levels are in good shape in all sections of the river. Summer steelhead
are in the lower river and being caught by those that pursue them. Trout are being caught in
good numbers in all sections of the river. There are still a lot of hatches taking place but this
varies greatly with the particular section of the river you fish. Notice, we added terrestrial
insects to the list because they will soon become important.
07/09/16 Summer steelhead are being caught in good numbers in the lower river, along with
a lot of trout. The middle and upper sections of the river continue to produce a lotof trout.
There are still many different hatches taking place but they vary from section to section. The
dry fly fishing has been fantastic. We still recommend fishing nymphs in the mornings.
07/16/16 The Deschutes remains in good shape in all sections with little changes from this
past week. The summer steelhead are being caught in good numbers along with the big
rebband trout. From the uppermost headwaters to the lowest section of the river, there is little
change from the previous week. You can select a section of water near your location and
fully expect to catch trout.
07/23/16 Our customers are catching summer steelhead in the lower river below Mac's
Canyon. Trout fishing is excellent in all sections of the Deschutes. The uppermost
headwaters is a good place to fish and avoid the heat but all sections still have some good
hatches and good trout fishing opportunity. The tailwaters have cooler water near the dams.
07/30/16 The river is in very good shape. Our customers continue to send in good reports on
the summer run steelehead in the lower river as well as trout in all sections of the Deschutes.
There is no chance of rain for the coming week and levels are likely to remain the same or a
little lower this coming week. The hatches continue to be good but vary with the section of the
08/06/16 The river is still in good shape. The weather is a little cooler and that is going to
help some. Discharges and stream levels continue to be low but lots of trout are being
caught. In some sections you have to use stealth and stay low and hidden from the trout.
Summer run steelhead are being caught in decent numbers below Macs Canyon.
08/13/16 The uppermost sections of the river are in good shape and our customers are
sending some good reports about the fish there. All sections are in good shape with hatches
but they hatches vary some with the type of water and elevation. Summer run steelhead
fishing in the lower river is still going good. The Deschutes just doesn't get much better than
08/20/16 It continues to be hot and dry as most all of you know. That written, the fishing
continues to be good thanks to the bottom release tailwaters. Summer run steeehead are
being caught in the lower river and lot of trout in all the other sections of the river. There are
still a lot of hatches taking place, although mostly caddisflies. Imitations of terrestrials are also
08/27/16 The section between Warm Springs and Spring Creek has been a favorite of our
customers this past week. Summer steelehead fishing in the lower river continues to be good.
Considering the hot weather, fishing has been good in all sections of the river. The hatches
vary greatly from section to section but caddisflies are in all sections. There are a lot of
Tricos hatching right now as well.
09/03/16 Trout fishing has been very good in all sections from the uppermost waters to the
lowest section of the river. Summer runs are still being caught in the lower river as well. Trout
are being caught on a variety of flies, depending on the section. There are lots of caddisflies
in all sections. Terrestials are also working - imitations of Carpenter ants, Japanese beetles
and brown and green grass hoppers.
09/10/16 Steelhead fishing below both the Dallas and Bonneville Dams has been very good.
Trout fishing has also been excellent. Our customers have been sending in some good
reports. There are baetis Blue-winged olives, Mahagany duns, Spotted sedges and other
insects hatching. The river is fishing about as good as it gets at this time of the year.
Conditions are likely to remain the same for the coming week.
09/17/16 More good reports came in this past week. The trout anglers are catching them
from the headwaters to the lower section of the river. Steelhead are also being caught in
good numbers below the Dallas and Bonneville dams. It just doesn't get much better than this
at this time of the year. The weather forecast looks good this coming week with more cool fall
- like weather.
09/23/16 It has been a very good week for our customers and everyone else fishing the
Deschutes this past week. It is going to be a little warmer this coming week. We hope that
don't slow things down but it shouldn't. Mahogany duns are hatching along with October
caddis. Steelhead are being caught in good numbers in the lower river.
10/01/16 There are still a lot of steelhead being caught in the lower river. Trout are being
caught in good numbers in all sections of the river, including the lower section. The much
cooler weather is helping everything. The stream levels are running normal in all sections
from the headwaters to the lowest section. There are a lot of hatches taking place but vary
from section to section.
10/08/16 The stream levels are high in the upper and lower sections of the river and will be
getting higher the next three days. You should expect much at all for the next week.
10/21/16 The lower river has plenty of summer steelhead and some big trout but the water is
still stained below the White river confluence downstream. Fish the edges of the fast currents
in the seams near the bank. The upper river has some sections clear and some in the lower
and middle upper, stained. Trout are being caught there in good numbers.
10/28/16 The lower hundred miles of river is very high and muddy. It isn't worth fishing. The
upper river levels are okay as of now, but keep an eye on the levels. There is a lot of rain in
the forecast. The lower river has plenty of steelhead present and fishing for them should be
good as soon as the water does drop and clear up.
11/05/16 The lower river has cleared up and in good shape. The levels are still a little high
but clarity is fine. We didn't receive any catch reports this past week, but steelhead and trout
are both being caught now in the lower and middle sections of the river. Swinging flies should
be your best option at this time. Midges and Blue-winged olives are the main insects hatching.
11/12/16 The river is in good shape in the middle and upper sections, with good numbers of
trout being caught. Blue-winged olives and cream midges are hatching good. The lower river
is still dingy with only a few steelhead being caught along with a few trout. There is rain
coming starting Sunday for five days, so the levels are likely to rise again.
11/19/16 Steelhead fishing has been good this past week. The fish are distributed
throughout the lower one-hundred miles of the river. Trout fishing has been excellent in all
sections of the river. The stream levels are down and the water clearer. Our customers
reported some good steelhead numbers and trout fishing the past week. There is rain in the
forecast everyday, so be sure to check the levels.
11/26/16 The stream levels are water clarity is good in all sections of the river. Trout are
being caught in good numbers in the middle section as well as the lower section. It has been
excellent in the lower section the past week. Steelhead are being caught but they are
scattered throughout the lower river. Hatches have been reduced to mostly Blue-winged
olives and Midges.
12/03/16 The river is still in good shape. The weather is a little colder but is having little effect
on the fishing opportunity. Midges, both creams and reds, are hatching good with all the
cloud cover. Winter stoneflies are hatching. The lower river is turning out steelhead and big
redside trout. Stream levels are in good shape. It doesn't get much better in December.
12/10/16 Stream levels are in good shape in all sections of the river. Midges are hatching
everywhere, mostly creams and reds or blood midges. You should fish the pupa and larva
imitations in tandem with the larva the bottom fly. Steelhead are being caught in tehe lower
river by both nymphs and swinging. There is a chance of snow in the forecast everyday next
12/17/16 Trout fishing is good in all sections of the river except the uppermost section. It is a
little too cold there. The best section for Summer steelhead is probably Maupin to Warm
Springs but there are steelhead throughout the entire lower river. Midges, Creams and Reds,
or blood midges,are hatching. The best steelhead flies is listed in our fishing report attached
at the link above.
12/24/16 The water is cold and you shouldn't fish like it is May. The trout and steelhead in
the lower river are a little sluggish and holding in the deeper water out of the current.
Steelhead nymphs such as the Giant Black stonely or Spotted sedge pupa are working best
for the steelhead. Cream and Red midges are hatching and imitations of the pupa and larva
fished in tandem will catch them.
12/31/16 Keep in mind that the northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation
upstream to Pelton Dam will be closed to fishing at the end of December and will reopen April
22, There are still some steelhead being caught from Warm Springs to the mouth of the river.
Nymphs will be the best bet will the colder weather. Trout fishing is limited to mostly midges,
creams and reds.
01/07/17 The steelhead fishing this past week was okay. We had some good reports. They
exist from Warm Springs to the mouth. Trout fishing should be good as well. The water is
colder thanks to last weeks low temperatures. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the main
insects you should be imitating. Fish the Cream and Blood midges with the larva and pupa in
tandem. You can do this under a strike indicator.
01/14/17 We didn't receive any reports of steelhead caught this past week, but we did some
large redband trout. Fish between Warmsprings and Mac's Canyon using red (blood) or
cream midges. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem. There are some Winter stoneflies
hatching. Fish the nymphs late in the day near the banks. The Black Matuka Sculpin worked
for the larger fish recently. Fish it during times of cloud cover.
01/21/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this pat week. The lower river is
high but rain ends on Wednesday and maybe the levels will be lower by the next weekend.
MIdges, creams and reds, with the larva and pupa fished in tandem under an indicator should
work. The Black Matuka sculpin streamers worked slowing in the slack current near the
bottom has been working good under these same conditions.
01/29/17 Sorry for missing this last weeks report. The river levels are a little low but in
relatively good shape. The middle and upper sections are very cold with little opportunity.
The lower river is in good shape with a few steelhead left in the main river and lots of
redbands ready to provide plenty of action. Midges, Creams and Reds, are still the most
important insects. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem.
02/11/17 Snow has limited the access to the river, especially in the canyon and we did not
receive any reports from anyone this past week. The weather is clearing and the snow should
melt with the warmer weather. Stream levels are high but falling. Midges, Cream and reds, or
blood midges are hatching good. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem with the pupa the top fly
about 16 inches above the larva. We now have these pre-rigged.
02/18/17 The weather has turned a little colder and there is snow in the forecast everyday for
the next week. This is limiting the access to the lower river and from looking at the forecast, it
will continue to do so. Fish Sculpin streamers like the Brown Sculpin or the Black Matuka
sculpin streamer when it is snowing or very cloudy. Fish midges, Cream or Reds, with the
pupa and larva rigged in tandem. The pupa should be about 16 inches above the larva.
02/25/17 The lower river is the place you need to be but access in the canyon isn't going to
be easy with all the snow in the forecast. Fish streamers like the Brown Sculpin or Black
Matuka sculpin when it is snowing or there's heavy clouds. Fish midges, creams and reds,
rigged with the larva and pupa in tandem. This will get you more fish that anything right now.
03/04/17 The weather is much better this coming week but there is snow and rain in the
forecast everyday. The stream levels are at a normal level at this time but are likely to
increase some. There are a lot of new hatches that should start showing up. March Brown
mayflies and two species of caddis should begin to hatch. You may see some Skwala
stoneflies hatching soon.
03/11/17 The stream levels are all in good shape running just a little above normal in most
cases. There is some stain to the water, mostly from melting snow. The weather is going to
be much warmer this coming week and the trout will be more active. Fish Midges, and
streamers like the Black and Olive Matuka sculpin. Midges are Creams and Reds with some
light Greens starting to hatch, There are some March Browns starting.
03/18/17 The stream levels are high and the water dirty in all sections, especially the lower
river. It will take some time for this to clear up. Skwala stoneflies are hatching. Three species
of caddisflies are hatching. March Browns and Blue-winged olives are hatching. We just need
for the stream levels to go down. Fish sculpin streamers in the dingy water.
03/25/17 The stream levels are high in all sections. The water ranges from highly stained to
down right muddy. This should be clearing up all week. There is a break in the rain pattern
this coming weekend. I is the rainy season and all we can do is be prepared and ready when
it does clear up. It is always hot action when that happens. The bugs are there and the trout
eating them, we just need a chance to catch them.
04/01/17 It has been a tough winter and early spring for those who fish the Deschutes. The
river is still high and badly stained to muddy in all section and not fit to fish; however, the
good news is, there isn't any rain in the forecast for the next five days. The levels are already
starting to drop and will continue to do so. It will take some time but maybe be getting much
better by the coming weekend.
04/08/17 The lower river is down a lot and getting into much better shape. There are a lot of
hatches taking place, most of which isn't doing anyone fishing much good. The stream levels
are still high, too high to wade safely in most all sections. It is getting into better shape faster,
and hopefully, things will turn around very soon. Keep in touch with us.
04/13/17 I hate to report the same lousy stuff but the river is still high in all sections. It is too
high to fish anywhere in our opinion. It shouldn't be waded anywhere and although some drift
boats will probably fish it, we don't recommend it. Hopefully, the levels will start dropping soon
but there is rain in the forecast everyday for the next week except today.
04/22/17 The river is still flowing high with a little higher than normal discharges. It is too high
to wade most places but drift boats should do fine. There is rain in the forecast everyday but
today for the coming week. The section of the river from the Northern Boundary of the Warm
Springs Reservation upstream to Pelton Dam re-opens today. There are a lot of insects
hatching including some small Spotted Sedges and March Browns.
04/29/17 The discharges and stream levels are still high, too high to wade in most all
sections but okay to fish from a drift boat. The weather forecast for the coming week looks
great. There is almost no rain in it for the next week. Assuming the lake levels are coming
down, the flows should drop low enough that you can wade most of the river, or at least we
hope so. There are a lot of hatches taking place.
05/05/17 The lower Deschutes has the same problem it has had for the last several days.
The stream levels are too high for wading. It is okay to fish from a drift boat, but even that is
far from ideal. We don't guide and we don't have to push anything. We just try to tell it like it
is. Otherwise, everything is in okay shape. There are some good hatches taking place. By
the way, the upper river is even higher.
05/13/17 Discharges and stream levels are down and conditions much better. There are lots
of salmon flies hatching in the Middle Deschutes. They are just now starting in the lower
Deschutes. There are lots of caddisflies everywhere. Now it the time you have been waiting
for. Conditions are good.
05/20/17 The big salmonflies are hatching good in the middle and lower rivers, along with lots
of other insects. The stream levels are down a lot from the past week and sure to keep on
falling. There is no rain in the forecast for the next week. Our customers are catching good
numbers of trout in the lower and middle sections. This coming week should be a very good
05/27/17 All sections of the river are in good shape except the lower river is cloudy and dingy
below the White River confluence. Some anglers are catching trout and others aren't. Some
know how to fish the samonfly nymphs and some don't. Some use lousy imitations fly shops
sell and some use flies that look like the real things called Perfect Flies.
06/03/17 The river is in excellent shape from the uppermost sections to the lowest section.
There are a large number of hatches taking place. Our customers sent in three good reports
from the past week. Stream levels are good and the water mostly all clear. Dry fly action has
been very good. The salmonfly hatch is still taking place even though the crowds are gone.
06/10/17 The river continues to be in good shape and in all sections from the headwaters to
the lower river. We received two good reports from customers fishing it this past week. The
stream levels are still in good shape and the water clear. There are lots of insects hatching
including Pale Evening duns, which we just added to the fly list. The stoneflies are now mostly
Golden stoneflies with some adult Salmonflies still depositing eggs.
06/17/17 All sections of the river are in good shape, including the higher elevations. There
are still a lot of insects hatching with plenty of Golden stoneflies, Pale Morning and Pale
Evening duns. There are Green Sedge caddis and Spotted sedge caddis hatching. All
sections have good water levels and clear water. Our customers sent in a good report
06/24/17 Excellent conditions continue to exist in all sections of the Deschutes from the
uppermost section to the lowest section. There are lot of hatches taking place, in most cases
multiple hatches, but they vary some from section to section. We had some good reports
from customers this past week fishing different sections of the river.
07/01/17 Conditions are good in all section of the Deschutes. We are receiving good fishing
reports from customers about everyday now. There are multiple hatches taking place but
they vary some from section to section. The most numbers are coming from the middle and
upper sections, but the larger trout, the lower section.
07/08/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. The stream levels are good and the water
clear. There are still a lot of hatches going on but there is less than the past couple of weeks.
The upper and middle sections of the river is turning out some good numbers of fish.
Terrestrials are being to work good for some anglers.
07/15/17 The are still plenty of hatches taking place on the Deschutes, but keep in mind,
they vary from section to section. Not all of them hatch in any one section. They vary with the
water temperature at the various elevations. There is no rain in the forecast for the coming
week. The stream levels are all okay at this time and wading mostly easy about anywhere.
07/22/17 The river is in good shape in all sections from the headwaters to the lower
deschutes. There are still some major hatces in the middle and upper sections of the river.
The lower deschutes is changing some, with fewer hatches. There are still plenty of
caddisflies but the PMDs are finished. We are recommending the upper sections.
07/29/17 The weather is hot, as I'm sure everyone knows. The water temperature is still fine
for the trout in all sections for the lower river to the uppermost sections. It is a good time to
fish the upper sections. There are stil plenty of hatches, especially in the middle and upper
sections of the river. Some steelhead are being caught in the lower river. Few are fishing, but
those that are, manage to score sometimes.
08/05/17 Considering the record heat, all sections of the river are in good shape. We
recommend fishing the upper middle and uppermost sections of the river. There are plenty of
hatches taking place there. We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week,
but feel like there were few that did. Everyone is excited to fish imitations of terrestrials,
mostly because they know what ants, beetles and hoppers are.
08/12/17 Hopefully, the heat wave will be over tomorrow. Rain chances end. The upper and
middle sections of the river are in good shape with stream levels just a little above normal.
Our customers are catching trout in the upper sections. The lower should cool off some and
the action return to normal. The water temperature should drop back down some.
08/19/17 The river is in good shape in the middle and upper sections. The lower river is
okay, but fishing is much slower. There are some steelhead in the river but few are being
caught. We haven't received any reports on them. There are some hatches still taking place
in the river, mostly the middle and upper sections. There are a few large trout being caught in
the lower river, but it is slow.
08/26/17 The weather continues to be hot. The lower river did produce one good report but it
is slow and the water too warm for much opportunity. There were no reports of steelhead
being caught. The middle and upper sections of the river are turning out some good catches
of trout. There are still some good hatches taking place.
09/02/17 The heat wave will continue. The lower river is still to warm. Although there are
steelhead showing up in the lower river, there are not reports of any being caught. The water
is too warm. The middle and upper sections are still okay and good numbers of trout are still
being caught. The uppermost section is in very good shape turning out lots of smaller, but
fun to catch trout.
09/09/17 There is still some smoke in the area, so be sure to check this out before making a
long trip. The lower river is turning out some steelhead. We had one good report on them
from a customer, and another on trout fishing the middle section this past week. The weather
and water is getting slightly cooler. Stream levels are in good shape in all sections.
09/16/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week, most likely
because of the smoke. It should be much better to non existent this coming week. There is a
chance of rain everyday for the next six days. The weather is much cooler and that is helping
a lot by lowering the water temperature in the lower and middle sections of the river.
09/23/17 The lower river is a little cooler water temperature wise and thats' a big help. We
had good reports this past week on the red band trout fishing in the lower river, as will as
good reports on trout in the middle and upper sections. So far, we haven't received any
reports on steelhead showing up or being caught.
09/30/17 October starts tomorrow and is one of the best months to fish the river for both
steelhead and trout. The trout are already eating hatching Mahogany duns, Blue-winged
olives, October caddis and Midges. Steelhead are still coming into the lower river. We had
one good report from a customer who caught some very nice trout this past week.
10/07/17 Conditions remain good at this time. The stream levels are in good shape in all
sections of the river. Steelhead and trout are being caught in good number in the lower river.
There is rain in the forecast almost everyday this coming week, so watch the stream levels.
There ar still a few hatches taking place and trout can still be taken on the surface.
10/14/17 There are good numbers of steelhead being caught in the lower river. The stream
levels are up and that should bring even more in. Steelhead fishing should continue to be
good through the end of the month. Trout fishing is good right now from Lake Billy Chinook to
10/21/17 There isn't much change from the last week. We received two good reports from
customers fishing for steelhead. The water levels are up in the lower river and that is bringing
more fish into the river. Trout fishing is still good above Lake Billy Chinook. This coming week
should be a good or better. The rain should end tomorrow.
10/29/17 The steelhead fishing in the lower river continues to be very good,.We received two
more good reports from customers fishing this past week. Trout fishing is good as well, with
good hatches of Blue-winged olives, Cream and Red midges, and a few Spotted sedge
caddis. The weather is going to be a little cooler this coming week and that should also help.
11/05/17 There are still good numbers of summer steelhead being caught. We received two
good reports from customers fishing this past week. Send us an email for a lits of flies we
recommend. There are also a few good trout being caught in the lower river. Blue-winged
olives are hatching good.
11/12/17 Two more good reports from customers came in from the lower river. They had
some good catches of steelhead. The stream levels remain good in all sections of the river.
There are chances of rain about everyday this coming week, but none of it appears to be
heavy. The cloud cover should help the conditions.
11/19/17 Trout are being caught from Warm Springs to Mack's Canyon, and steelhead from
the canyon to the mouth of the river. We had two good reports from customers fishing this
past week. There is a chance of rain in the forecast everyday for the coming week. Sculpin
streamers are catching the larger trout. Send us an email for a recommended steelhead fly
11/26/17 The lower river is up a little but we still received reports of steelhead being caught.
Trout fishing is okay above the canyon up to Warm Springs. Midges and Blue-winged olives
represent most of the hatches. Sculpin streamers continue to catch the larger trout.
Steelhead are being caught swinging, on eggs and nymphs.
12/04/17 The river is in good shape and steelhead and trout are being caught. Fish from
Mack's canyon to the mouth for steelhead and above there for trout. The stream levels are
down from last week and the river in good shape. This coming week has no rain in the
forecast and conditions should continue to be good.
12/11/17 Stream levels are in good shape in all section of the river. Steelhead are spread
throughout the lower river but we recommend fishing from Maupin to Warm Springs.
12/17/17 The river is still in good shape with summer run steelhead being caught in the lower
river. Trout can be caught on Cream and Red midges. Fish the larva and pupa imitations in
tandem. Winter stoneflies are also starting to hatch.
12/25/17 The river is still in very good shape for Christmas Day. There are few fishing but
those that are, are catching some of both steelhead and trout, depending on where they are
fishing. Midges and Winter stoneflies continue to be the most important insects to imitate.
01/01/18 The lower river is still turning out some nice trout and a few steelhead. Midges and
Winter stoneflies are hatching good. The cloud cover should help this coming week. Fish the
winter stonefly nymphs near the banks. They crawl out of the water to hatch.
01/08/18 The river is in good shape in all sections. This coming week should be a good one.
Steelhead are still being caught in the lower river along with a few trout. Midges and Winter
stoneflies are hatching. Stream levels are good in all sections.
01/15/18 Conditions remain about the same except the stream levels are up some, but still in
good shape. Few anglers are fishing the river. There is rain and snow in the forecast
everyday this coming week.
01/22/18 Conditions remain good. Trout and summer steelhead are still being caught in the
lower river.As of now, the stream levels are in good shape, but there is rain in the forecast
everyday for the coming week.
01/29/18 The river is in good shape for this time of the year. There are steelhead in the lower
river and a few being caught by the few anglers fishing for them. Some larger trout were also
caught in the lower river this past week. Midges, Winter stoneflies, size 20 BWOs, and some
black flies are hatching.
02/05/18 Conditions remain good with few anglers fishing. There are still a few summer
steelhead being caught in the Maulpin area downstream to Mack's canyon.
02/19/18 The weather is turning a little colder with chances of snow. The river is still in good
shape in all sections. The water is a little colder in some places, but otherwise, the same as it
has been now for a few days. Midges, and winter stoneflies are still hatching.
02/26/18 Trout are being caught by the few anglers fishing for them. The weather is rather
cold but the water is staying in the lower forties. Midges winter stoneflies, aquatic worms and
sometimes, little BWOs hatch.
03/02/18 The river is in good shape with good stream levels in all sections. We didn't receive
any reports from anyone fishing this past week.
03/12/18 Conditions are fair. There is a lot of snow in the forecast for the coming week. A few
trout are being caught but only a few. There are few anglers fishing for one reason.
03/19/18 Trout fishing is getting better according to our customers. Little Blue-winged olives
are hatching during the warmest part of the day. By the way, they will hatch when it is
03/27/18 The weather and water should be a little better and warmer this coming week. This
past week was better, and more trout were caught, but the numbers are still low and the
action slow. Midges are still the most important insects to imitate. There are some little BWOs
and some Skwala stoneflies hatching as well..
04/02/18 The stream levels are good in all sections at this time. There is a chance of rain
everyday and these are of course, subject to change. The water is getting warmer and
insects and the trout more active. There are some good hatches of Blue-winged olives,
March Browns, Skwala stoneflies and midges.
04/09/18 Conditions are good and good numbers of trout are being caught. There are some
good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place. Midges, creams and light greens, are still
hatching and imitations of them will catch trout. There are still some Skwala stoneflies
04/17/18 Conditions are improving fast. Trout are being caught in good numbers. The water
is getting warmer and lots of new hatches are starting. Remember, the hatches vary greatly
with the location. This coming week should be a very good one.
04/23/18 Conditions continue to get better. Good numbers of trout are being caught. There
are several insects hatching but they depend on the section of water you are fishing. This
coming week should be good. All stream levels are normal or a little below normal.
05/30/18 Conditions are good, good stream levels and clear water conditions. There are
Blue-winged olives, March Browns and Little Black Caddis hatching. Salmonflies are just
starting to hatch. The water temperature needs to come up another couple of degrees.
Golden stoneflies will follow them closely.
05/08/18 Salmonflies are hatching. Golden stoneflies have also been spotted and usually
follow the salmonfly hatch. There are other flies hatching as well. The stream levels are up a
little but still in good shape. Good numbers of trout are being caught. This coming week
should be a good one.
The river is in good shape with good stream levels. There are lots of hatches taking place
including Salmonflies and Golden stoneflies. Pale Morning duns are starting to hatch as well.
Now is the time to be fishing the Deschutes.