September 17th, 2020
Although we did not encourage it, a few of our brave (OK maybe slightly foolish) buddies fished the Lower Deschutes for steelhead and trout while the river was blanketed in smoke and reported excellent trout fishing and good steelhead fishing. Dry dropper, caddis dries, and indicator methods were getting it done all week for anyone willing to donate their lungs for this fishing report. Our hottest fly still remains the Duracell under a Chubby. Use the Chubby Beaver in a size 10 to do a good job of imitating an October Caddis and the Duracell in sizes 14 and 16.
Steelheading has been good despite the challenging conditions. Fish are being caught from the mouth to well-upstream of Maupin. Most of the fish are being caught on dryline tactics with swung flies but the nymphers and sink-tip swingers are also finding some chrome. The White River made for some pretty dirty water but a few confident anglers still found success. There's nothing wrong with sticking a Skagit Head, some T-11 and few Prom Dresses in your bag just in case the river blows out again.
September 17th, 2020
The smoke covering the region looks like it will dissipate this weekend so it might be a good time to get on the Crooked. Fishing pressure has been light and hatches were building pretty well before the fires and smoky sky took over. You can expect some good PMD hatches every day as well as good hopper-dropper fishing, especially in the late afternoon. Nymphing will produce of course as it always does on our local tailwater gem. Try small Perdigon's, Split Case PMD's and Zebra Midges this week.
September 7th, 2020
Pretty darn good fishing this week on the Crooked River with steady midday PMD hatches and great nymphing opportunities. The rubber floaty hatch on the Crooked was pretty extreme this weekend but the fish still were eating on top for much of the day. Emerging PMD patterns in size 16 and 18, as well as soft hackles, were very effective. Small hoppers are abundant along the banks so you can play the hopper-dropper game also. Smallish size 12 hoppers are generally going to outfish the big foam monsters out there.
September 7th, 2020
The Lionshead Fire is growing rapidly and has forced the closure of all the campgrounds along the Metolius River. Now is not a good time to fish or access the river.
September 2nd, 2020
September is a great time to try your hand on the Metolius. With a myriad of hatches brought upon by the coming Fall, now is a good time to put some time in out there. Of course, you will have quite a few other anglers, as well as hikers and campers around, but the chance of finding rising fish for much of the day exists. Hatches include the end of the Golden Stone hatches on the upper river, the unique Willow Fly ( a large bodied short-wing stone) found on the middle and lower river, hoppers in the canyon, Little Olive Stones in size 16 or 18, Caddis, and an assortment of mayflies from Drakes to PMD's. Bring all your flies because they won't do you any good at home or the car. It will be pretty hot there this week but with the lower sun angle now the fishing can still be pretty good even midday.
Nymphing is good for the native rainbows and whitefish especially before the hatches and streamer fishing for the migrating bulls can be good if you pick the right spots. Kokanee will start showing up in about 3 weeks and the streamer fishing can be outstanding after that.
August 29th, 2020
Overall its been a nymphing game on the Crooked with some great but sporadic dry fly fishing mixed in. Small PMD's mixed with some midges are keeping the hatch matching dry fly enthusiasts on their toes. You may also do well with the occasional hopper. Flows are stable at 215 CFS and water conditions are decent except for the junk in the drift which can be annoying at times.
Nymphing is very good with tightline/ Euro tactics dominating. Small perdigon's jig pheasant tails and Duracell's are getting it done. We really feel sparser is better so when tying or buying flies. Crooked fish can surprisingly stingy at times but sparse flies that sink quickly are key.
Expect that Labor Day weekend will be very crowded. Evenings will be the least fished times, so plan accordingly.
August 20th, 2020
The Crooked River is fishing well right now. Expect some company out there as everyone seems to be finding some fish especially the Euro nymph crowd. If you haven't tried the Euro style of nymphing, the Crooked is tailor-made for the technique. Short precise drifts with smallish nymphs have always been the order of the day but with Euro nymphing the tools are vastly better than most other techniques. The most popular set-ups are 10 or 10.5 foot 3wt Euro rods. The 2 wt. models also have some play on the Crooked but might be undergunned for some rivers especially the Deschutes. Tippet size matters also. Generally 5x and 6x Flurocarbon are best. 7x tippet is even back on the radar in our shop when it previously collected dust on the shelves or went out with the occasional Fall River angler.
Play around with light tippet if you have a true Euro-rod. Your Euro rod is designed to protect tippet. Not only is the rod longer to give you a reach advantage, but its softer flex pattern has shock absorption that is not found in most rods. Light tippet will allow your flies to sink faster and get "in the zone" much faster than other tippet. Light tippet hooks more fish than heavy tippet. The question becomes how many break-offs can you tolerate. Everyone hates breaking off fish but some hate it more than others.
Dry fly fishing is good in the afternoons with some hopper-dropper action, PMD's and some midges. If you are a dry fly fisher and you aren't really into nymphing the good news is that traffic declines quite a bit in the late afternoons when dry fly fishing is better. Many in the Euro-crowd arrive early so you can time your day accordingly.
If you are out on the Crooked on one of those Tough Days with a capital T, try a small woolly bugger or leech pattern. Dead-drifted or stripped, the small streamers can save the day when nothing else seems to work.
August 13th, 2020
Evenings are best on the Metolius right now. Quite a few different things are on the menu with some caddis, assorted mayfly hatches and evening mayfly spinner falls. Just like most rivers in Central Oregon, the hatches are fairly sparse and trout feeding activity light in the heat of the day. However, as shade starts to form when the sun dips to the west over the pines, bugs start to make an appearance and the trout notice. It's a great place to be when the feeding activity concentrates in just a few hours each evening. Some flies to bring to the Metolius in the next 2 weeks include: Purple Haze #16-18, Quigley's Film Critic #16-18, Clark's Stone #10, Tan Sparkle Pupa #18, Rusty Spinner #16-18, and X2 Caddis #16. A small fly box with these flies, your favorite 4 or 5wt, some 5x and a good attitude are what you need for a great Central Oregon night out on the Metolius.
August 13th, 2020
Good fishing on the Crooked right now with Euro Nymphing and Dry Dropper fishing leading the way. Small profile mayfly nymphs and perdigon's continue to be the most popular patterns. Tungsten is your friend out here and all but eliminates the need to fish external split shot. For your dry fly in the Dry Dropper rig now is a time to start fishing some smallish hopper patterns such as a Parachute Hopper. Indicator fishing with a Zebra Midge and a Split Back PMD or Juan's PMD Slim Shady is good also for anyone that prefers this method. Dry fly anglers are doing well most afternoons on PMD emergers and dries as well as small Purple Hazes and Parachute Adams. Flows are stable at 215 CFS and you can expect fishing will only improve into late summer and fall. Generally 5x tippet is perfect for the Crooked but carry some 6x also especially when the fish are being picky and the sun is on the water.
August 6th, 2020
Although we are firmly in the dog days of summer on the Deschutes, trout fishing is good with some great fishing to be had for anyone that can hunt the backeddies and shady spots with sniper-like precision. Big fish are up eating dries every day but not too often in easy to fish water. Caddis dries in size 16 and 18 are the main food source. X Caddis and X2 Caddis are two of our favorites. Nymphing remains good although there will be some days that just don't turn on. That's the dog days of summer.
Steelhead fishing is fair overall with a slight increase of numbers this year over the last couple. It seems as if the fish are travelling in groups so if you find one, keep hunting for more. If you are not finding a fish start covering water and don't try to keep going through the same spot. Water temps are high in the afternoons so look for the mornings to be primetime. Fish your Scandi set-up early and don't hesitate to switch to a Skagit, sink-tips and larger-profile flies in the late morning when the sun starts beating down the river.
We have a great selection of anything you might need for a successful day on the water. Whether its stalking wary trout on the day stretch or outfitting you for a steelhead trip from Mack's to the Mouth, we are here 7 days a week to help you enjoy every day on the Deschutes River.
August 6th, 2020
We are having a good summer on the Crooked. Flows are down to 215 CFS after running a touch higher than normal. Fish are chowing down the nymphs every day and anglers that have precise drifts are finding a lot of fish. Perdigon's, Thread Frenchies and the ever-popular Duracell are getting it done. You can swing some soft hackes also, particularly in the afternoons. Dry fly fishing is hit-or-miss right now but look for afternoons and evenings to be the best time to find some fish feeding on top. Midges and PMD's are best. We generally fish a Purple Haze size 18 day-to-day unless the fish are thumbing their noses at it and then we will change into a little more match-the-hatch bugs. Often just changing your angle on a picky fish will do the trick. The Crooked is a great place to build skills and after catching a bunch of fish with one tactic look to catch a few with a tactic that you are not as dialed-in with. Doing this will make you a better angler and is respectful to the resource.
July 19th, 2020
The caddis explosion from a couple weeks ago has slowed overall but fishing remains fair to good with a nice surge in the late evening. You can still find some fish up eating dries during the day but you will need to be pretty stealthy in your approach and your presentation. 5x tippet is good for most situations on top but you should also carry some 6x or at least lengthen your tippet length. Drag-free drifts are important (remember Dead Bugs Don't Move!) and use smaller size caddis. Size 16 and 18 for the most part are going to outfish the bigger stuff. The Tan X Caddis in #16 followed by a #18 Tan Sparkle Pupa is a good way to target any fish you see eating on top. Look for shade and you should find a few fish slurping on top.
Nymphing is slowing down but you should find a few fish eating in the favored spots. Continue to fish the dry dropper tactics. Look for drop-offs, shady pockets and deep runs off the bank. Smaller flies such as the Thread Frenchie and Duracell are best right now. Use 5x Fluoro tippet when you can. We now carry an expanded selection of Fluorocarbon from Rio, Scientific Angler, Trout Hunter, Cortland, Fulling Mill and Orvis.
Steelhead are starting to show in the lower river from Mack's to the Mouth and maybe a few above Mack's. Traditional swung fly tactics with classic hairwing patterns is the dominant theme right now. Cover water well with confidence and it will happen. Work hard to get your favored spots in the morning and keep an eye on water temp's the rest of the day. So far the counts above the dams is trending slightly higher than last year so we are hopeful for some good fishing in 2020.
July 8th, 2020
We are having a great year on the Lower Deschutes. Continue to look for the best fishing periods to be when shade is on the water. Mornings and evenings are the best time to fish dries but nymphing can be productive almost anytime of day. If the high sun is beating down on the water look for fast moving riffles and deeper runs for fish trying to evade predators from above. In the month of July, caddis really dominate the scene with a scattering of PMD's and PED's and possibly some midge hatches. The best flies remain the X Caddis in Tan #16, CDC Caddis Tan #16, Sparkle Pupa's Tan in #16 and #18 . When you can't find fish eating on top and using an indicator try the Guide's Choice Hare's Ear, Dirty Bird, and Pheasant Tail. We are still throwing a small chubby chernobyl with jig flies hanging 2 to 3 feet on Fluorocarbon tippet. The #16 Duracell continues to crush but we also really like the Fire Starter, Thread Frenchie and assorted Perdigon's.
We have some availability for guide trips this coming week. Now is a good time to get with one of our experienced guides and get your caddis game dialed in. Call to book a day float on the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section of the Lower Deschutes.
June 30th, 2020
Cool and unsettled summer weather over the last few days hasn't really slowed down the caddis hatches on the Deschutes as much as expected. The best fishing has been in the evening as usual but first light (5am to 9am) has been good with dead caddis on the menu. X Caddis and X2 Caddis are good early morning flies.
Midday brings a mixed bag each day with some caddis hitting the water when it warms up and the Aquatic moths making an appearance most days. The moth is often confused for a caddis but its speckled wing is more splayed out. Use a tan X Caddis in a #14 to get a pretty good match. Some nice fish are in the backeddies now and often found in the little shady pocket found under overhanging grasses and the willows. These are often bruiser-size redsides and won't really like a sloppy presentation. 5x tippet and a well-presented caddis inches from the feeding lane are needed.
Nymphing is ruling the midday scene however and the Dry Dropper tactic continue to find many players. A small chubby (size 10 is a good start) followed by 2 to 3.5 feet of 5x fluoro tippet and a jig fly is an amazing way to cover the spots that others cannot. Traditional indicator tactics as well as Euro-nymphing certainly have their place but if you fish the Dry Dropper tactics in all the spots that others cannot fish effectively you are going to find some great fish.
The Jig flies that remain hot in the store (and more importantly, on the river!) include:
Fire Starter Jig .(basically a UV Orange Perdigon fly with a silver tungsten bead) that absolutely hunts down fish in all the dropoffs and deeper slots. Use in a size 14 on some 5x and fish it deep. No split shot needed anymore as this thing plummets
Duracell Jig. Fulling Mills and our top selling Jig fly that is hammering all year but even more so now with the abundance of caddis hatching. The Duracell is good in any water typed but particularly backeddies and soft water below tree lines (similar spot as you would fish the Stonefly hatch). It does a good job as a drowned caddis and swung like a caddis pupa it gets fish to chase it down and grab it hard. It's also good on the dead drift (use size 16 most of the time but try a size 14 in heavier water). This is another pattern with a silver bead that really gets fish to move for the fly.
Perdigon's in Butano color and the Black which really looks bright green. More silver beaded flies that get down fast and stay there. Use a #14 in bigger water and the #16 in slower moving water.
Brillon's Lucent Jig Hare's Ear in size 16. A deadly modern jig with a Hare's Ear Soft Hackle base. Great in the backeddies and soft water like the Duracell.
Hot Spot Pheasant Tails and Thread Frenchies round out a diverse mix and give you a mayfly on the days they are important. If you need help picking out a fly or need advice on the simple rigging tactics let us know.
Evenings remain primetime on the D and we are doing well with X Caddis and Sparkle Pupa's in tan. There are also quite a few dark bodied caddis in size 18 so have a couple of those. Don't forget a couple Purple Haze's in size 16 and 18. They can save the day. Best fishing is from 8pm till pitch black which will be around 930 to 945pm this time of year. Bring a headlamp and consider having two rods ready. One with a Dry Dropper rig and the other with a Dry caddis ready to roll. The Silvey's Beadhead Caddis is great right now just below a chubby or on an indicator rig. It's OK to give the fly some movement at the end of the drift as fish like eating this pattern on the swing.
July is a great month to fish the Lower D. Continue to look for low light periods as the best time but midday has plenty of opportunity for the angler willing to hunt out fish. 4th of July is usually not too crowded on the Deschutes with No Fireworks allowed but it being on a Saturday and pleasant weather you can expect some traffic this year.
Steelhead are just around the corner and Jessie has already tied into one on the swing on a different Columbia tributary. We can't wait!
June 23rd, 2020
With heat comes caddis. With caddis comes big redsides feeding tight to the banks feasting on caddis pupa, adult caddis and dead caddis. Managing heat can become an issue but if you target late evenings and early mornings you have good strategy and will find more fish eating. The trout aren't big fans of the bright sunlight anywhere and even more so on the Deschutes.
Nymphing remains good with dropoffs and swirly water holding fish all day. Drop a Firestarter Jig off a chubby and be ready for the eat on the first cast. Duracells are also getting lots of play right now. Yes, we are still fishing with the chubby although we are getting very few eats on it anymore. We just find the chubby to be an incredible indicator that doesn't spook fish, allows the nymph to hand directly below it without much lag and is sensitive on light bites.
For the traditional indicator angler, Guide's Choice Hare's Ears and Tan Sparkle Pupas are good and get some hard eats. Red Copper John's and Small stonefly nymphs in size 10 or 12 are also good right now.
In general Pupa are finding plenty of willing players right now. The Silvey's Beadhead Caddis is also a shop favorite. Dead-drift it yes, but for the type of take that you will remember, let that fly hang down below you in the evening and wait for a crushing eat. 5 wt rods are our preferred rod of choice this time of year. The Scott G Series, Winston Pure and G Loomis NRX LP are all in stock and do a great job of delivering small flies and protecting the tippet when a fish eats and takes off.
When caddis are on the water and the fish are actually eating the egg-laying caddis it's time to throw some dries. Look for evenings and mornings to be best or hunt out the small slivers of shade on the banks to find fish eating on top. We have been using the X Caddis Tan in size 16 on most nights with good success. The ultimate rig is the X-Caddis trailed by 18-24" of 5x and a Tan Sparkle Pupa hanging off the bend of the hook. It really works when the fish are keyed in on caddis.
Primetime on the Deschutes Caddis hatches will be for the next month or so. Stop in for a timely fishing report, grab a crowler of your favorite Ale and head to the river for an evening of fun. We are doing quite a few guide trips right now but overall we would not describe the river as busy. Sure, it has it's moments when it seems really busy, but traffic on most days is very manageable. If you are interested in a primetime caddis hatch day give Guide Manager Dave a ring here at the shop and he will get you out on the water for a memorable day.
June 18, 2020
We are at about the 6th inning of the Great Green Drake hatch on the Metolius. Although the PMD's seem to steal the show some days, the Green Drake is the main draw and will go for another week to 10 days. Remember, the Drake doesn't need to hatch in the thousands to get Metolius bows to look for them. Drakes must be very tasty as the trout seem to relish every opportunity to pluck them off the surface. Most of the best feeding will occur from about 3 to 5pm every day so don't feel the need to rush out of the house. Slow roll, take a hike first, come up with a game plan, have an RPM IPA and be at the right spot and patiently wait for the first Drakes to make an appearance. Make the cast and set the hook. Admire the beauty of a Metolius trout.
5x leader and tippet is usually enough to fool and land the nicer trout on the Metolius. 6x is popular too but if you are fishing a modern fast action rod you will need to be Cool Hand Luke on the hook set...or have another RPM and slow those reflexes down a bit.
Flies to bring for the Green Drake hatch include the Green Paradrake, Lucent-Wing Drake and the Carnage Green Drake. For the PMD's bring some Stalcup's Winger PMD's, PMD cripples and the Sparkle Dun is size 16 and 18. As usual, Purple Haze's are never a bad ideal to bring along.
Nymphing is gaining in popularity on the Metolius with the increasing use of Tungsten Jig flies. Look for shallow water with dropoffs below and you will find plenty of mighty whities and trout looking for a meal.
June 18th, 2020
Caddis, Caddis, Caddis.
Although we are seeing some PMD's, a few Yellow Sallies and quite a few midge hatches, the caddis explosion has begun and some of the very best angling opportunity for wild and native Deschutes trout will be during the next month. Although the salmonfly hatch gets all the press, the caddis hatches on the Deschutes are the real story.
Emerger and dry fly fishing in the evenings is epic right now as long as you don't leave too early. Best fishing is from about 8pm to pitch black. There is also really good topwater fishing at times during the day as long as you can find some shade. Heat really gets the caddis moving around and a little wind can help blow some caddis onto the water creating windows of opportunity to catch some bruisers on top. Morning fishing will also improve as more caddis die off and the egg-laying phase builds. Tan X Caddis, X2 Caddis, Swisher's Dancing Caddis and the venerable Tan Sparkle Pupa should be in the starting rotation. Size 16 is doing the trick. We are carrying a few Purple Hazes and Yellow Sally's to round out the options.
Nymph fishing is excellent. We are still fishing the dry-dropper tactics we have been talking about all year with great results. When there's bright sun on the water we are fishing the larger size 14 Jig flies on about 3 feet of 5x tippet hanging off a small chubby. You'll get some eats on the chubby but its mostly a deadly indicator for hanging a single jig fly off of. As far as the flies go...fish the tungsten jig flies and you will find success. Flies with silver tungsten beads are fishing very well. When the water gets some shade and the fish start heavily feeding on emergers and adults you can still run the same tactic just downsize the fly a bit and let that thing swing up in the water column under tension. Many fish will eat as the jig fiy rises in the column. Hang on and don't set the hook too hard otherwise it will be over fast with the nice trout sporting a jig fly in its upper lip and you having to retie a new fly in the fading light. This tactic is here to stay. Let us show you how to set it up(its pretty darn easy!) next time in the store.
Euro nymphing tactics continue to dominate and the increasing success rate for many of our good customers is actually pretty astounding. We carry a great assortment of the tools that you need to get started including the very popular Echo Shadow II Euro rods. If you want to fish the traditional indicator tactics you will also have good success right now. Small stonefly nymphs, Silvey's Beadhead Caddis, Red Copper Johns and Guide's Choice Hare's Ears are all proven winners.
Our guide business (and retail store) has gotten busy quickly and we are appreciative of all the support. We would love to get you (re)acquainted with the Lower Deschutes this summer as fishing has been stellar and traffic is way down since the end of the salmonfly hatch two weeks ago.
June 10th, 2020
With the Salmonfly Hatch in the rear view mirror the traffic on the river has diminished but fishing remains good. There are a few big bugs in the grass from Warm Springs to Trout Creek but the fish aren't really seeing many anymore. They will still eat the big bug in select spots for a week or so. Caddis have been hatching big time for the last few weeks and many more fish were keyed in on caddis than stones for much of the hatch. Caddis emergers are key right now with some adult caddis being eaten also in the morning and evenings. One of the most effective techniques is to run an X Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis or Purple Haze dry in size 16 with 5x tippet tied to the bend of the hook with a Tan Sparkle Pupa trailing behind. This is the standard rig for the next few weeks and is deadly effective when you can find fish. Expect to see some PMD and PED hatches from time to time as well as some Yellow Sallies.
The dry- jig dropper technique we used all May is still working great, with most fish coming to the dropper. Fish a small chubby (it might get a few eats) with a tungsten jig dropper 3 feet off the bend of the hook. Quite frankly, this technique will generally outfish traditional indicator tactics by quite a bit. The bonus is that you will occasionally pick up a nice fish on the chubby that you would otherwise miss on the plastic bobber. If you want to fish big stone fly nymphs you should use a traditional indicator but for the most part we are now fishing size 14 and 16 flies with occasional 18's. With the dry-jig dropper tactic the direct connection (without split shot) between the Chubby and the jig dropper is so much more effective than the methods we used for the last decade or two. Jig flies are here to stay and let us help you get dialed in the method we have been finding tremendous success with the last couple years.
June 1st, 2020
It's June and the Salmonfly hatch of 2020 is fading fast. To say its been "an interesting" year would be an understatement. The severe wind and rain event on Saturday put the river into a pretty rough state for a couple days with an increased flow of 500 CFS as well as muddy water. It is clearing now and will be back into shape soon but Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday (so far) were tough to find fish eating dries. A few fish were caught nymphing and our streamer devotees (all 3 of them!) got some swinging sculpins. Again, the river will improve this week and don't let some off-colored water keep you from fishing. Be there when it does get back into shape and you'll have a good day.
One of the other "interesting things" is that how fast the hatch is fading in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section. It seems as if the cold front and freezing weather had a pretty bad effect on the adult stones. What happened to them? There's a lot less in the bushes than normally for this time of year. Our guides reported decent numbers down to Maupin this week and had good days on golden stones and chubbies but the "Day Stretch" bugs are in lower numbers than expected. Fishing last week was good on dries for a few hours per day (often around noon and again at dark). Dropper fishing was lights out again as many of the dominant fish have switched their behaviors and position in the river to feed on the abundant caddis hatches. Size 14-18 droppers particularly the Duracell, Jig Hare's Ear and a Silvey's Beadhead Caddis are getting many fish. A small pupa hanging off the back of a stone dry is great right now each evening and will continue into June.
You can expect about one more week of big dry fishing from here on out in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section. Focus on the golden stones and use Norm Woods and Clark's Stones for the jungle water casts or small chubbies when fishing tungsten jig droppers. For leader when fishing the Norm or Clark's 4x is a good choice. When fishing the chubby 3x will aid in turnover.
After the big bugs fade away, make this the year to learn what many locals see as the best time of year to fish trout on the Deschutes: Caddis Season in June and July. Consistent hatches, dramatic drop in angling presssure and big fat redsides on light leader and small flies. A guide trip this summer is a great way to sample the amazing resource of the Deschutes in our backyard.
May 25th, 2020
Finally some heat! With temperatures hitting the 80's this week you can expect some good fishing on the big bugs. It's pretty rare to hit a day where it's "going off" the whole day but if you are at the right place and right time you will have a day to remember. It's been pretty slow with the big bugs this past week (but dropper fishing has been great!) but now is the time to break out your favorite Salmonfly and Golden Stone dries. Chubby Chernobyl's, Norm Woods and Clark's Stones need to be in your box. Grab a few "wildcards" also as they can save the day. Stimulator's and Paulson's Flutter bug come to mind. When fishing the big dries we generally are fishing 7.5 foot leaders in 3x with chubbies. We occasionally go to 4x if we have trout munching golden stones and we are fishing the more subtle Clark's Stone or the Norm Woods.
Caddis are hatching heavily right now. Have caddis on hand as every evening many more fish are keyed on caddis than the stones. Caddis nymphs such as the Silvey's Beadhead Caddis and the Sparkle Pupa are working well. We have seen a few Green Drakes and some PMD's but nothing major.
Jig-style nymphs continue to dominate the discussion in the store. They are gaining converts on a daily basis. Why? They catch a lot of fish. They are also hooking fish in way that seems to minimize damage to the facial area of the trout and they can be fished in so many ways (i.e. Tightline or Euro Nymphing, in a dry-dropper rig or traditional indicator rig). We have over 60 models of jig flies in stock and when buying them look to get some of different sizes, and more importantly, different tungsten bead sizes that allow you to fish different water types and depths. You will not be using split shot in a Euro rig or dry-dropper rig so use the flies to achieve the proper depth. You use light enough tippet to help achieve a rapid sink rate but not-too light that you can't turn a hot redside in a 4000 CFS river. Also, if you are fishing a fast action rod you will see some breakoffs if the tippet is too light. If you are fishing a 5wt or 6wt fast action rod your rod does not protect tippet that well. Generally we are fishing 4x or 5x between the Chubby and the jig fly. The Trout Hunter 4.5x Fluoro has proven to be a good choice this year. If you fish lighter you will hook more fish without a doubt but we see many bad endings on the Deschutes when a fish is hooked on anything lighter than 5x.
You can expect that the big bugs will be around until around June 5th or so with maybe some lingering a few days beyond that. Pressure is heavy at the few day-use areas but floating traffic was surprisingly light since the reopening of floating on May 21.
May 18th, 2020
Things are little different out here right now. The main difference is that there are still no boats on the river. We still do not have a firm date on when boats can float the Deschutes once again in the stretch from Warm Springs down to below Maupin (Segment 1 and 2). Also, the pressure on the river is extremely intense at times and quiet on others. For example, on Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th, the Mecca area was a complete zoo with dozens of cars at the parking lot and the road in. Sunday with the rain, traffic was light. Camping is scheduled to reopen on May 21 at Mecca, Trout Creek and South Junction. Expect crowds.
Dry fly fishing with the big bugs is only OK right now with the cold front that rolled in. Yes, some nice fish are being caught on the big dry but it's not hot and heavy consistently. Cold weather has the bugs hunkered down and hiding out in the grasses. During the few times the bugs hit the water they get noticed pretty quickly. On Saturday the 16th, quite a few took to the air to lay their eggs and for a few hours it was game on.
With that said, fishing is very good right now. Most fish are being caught on nymphs, particularly dropper nymphs off of a dry. The cloudy/rainy weather has the fish in tight to the bank eating heavily. Our standard rig is a size 8-12 Chubby Chernobyl (just in case they want the big dry) followed by 3 feet of 4x fluoro and jig-style nymph. Flies that worked very well this week included the Duracell, the Thread Frenchie and the Quill Jig. The dropper is usually a size 14 or 16. If you haven't tried this tactic yet stop on in and let us get you dialed.
Caddis hatches are solid with a few PMD's and PED's in the mix. Be ready for Green Drakes as they make an occasional appearance in May. If the fish are eating small dries or emergers don't be afraid to change to what they are eating instead of sticking with the big dry. If you see tons of swallows on the river you can bet the fish are eating small bugs.
The big dry fly action will improve as it warms up. Chubbies, Norm Woods and the Clark's Stone should always be in your box. We have also caught some very nice fish on the Paulson's Flutter Bug. That fly seems to trigger a response from some of the bigger specimens. Big fish eating big flies. Go figure.
May 11th, 2020
The Hatch Heard Around the World is here and in full swing. Salmonflies and golden stones have hatched along the entire length of the river including all the way up to Mecca/ Warm Springs area. Fishing was fair this weekend. It was unseasonably hot and the water is very low for May and has been bumping up and down. Fish were on the dries for a bit on Saturday primarily in the late morning when it warmed up fast and some bugs were flying and again in the evening when the sun dipped behind the canyon. Sunday was much of the same. We are finding success on the usual suspects: Purple Chubby, Royal Chubby, Norm Woods and droppers. The dropper game is very good in the evening when fish move in tight to chow on a mixed bag of bugs mostly salmonflies and caddis. Overall the dropper fishing was good (not great) all day. Duracell and Hot Spot Pheasant Tails are good with any other jig-style in the game. We fish them pretty deep off the bend of the dry hook (2 to 3.5 feet) to get down in the column. Because the jig rides hook point up it doesn't get hung up on the bottom too often.
With colder weather this week expect the hatch to sputter for a bit. The big bugs hunker down with lower temps. If it fits your schedule try to hit the time of day when you expect it to warm up some. Often this is around 11am to 1pm. If it stays in the 70's look for some good evening action also. Overall, we are just in the first inning and not many fish have moved in or noticed the "big cheeseburgers" floating down the river so you have plenty of time to get-it-done.
May 5th, 2020
As of May 5th, salmonflies and golden stones are now hatching along the entire length of the Deschutes River. It's safe to say that due to the warm spring weather coupled with low water has created an early hatch this year. If you snooze you lose.
The Maupin area is loaded with big bugs and the fish are just starting to look for them. Both golden stones and salmonflies are thick in the bushes and are just starting to fly. You will also see some yellow sallies as well as some PMD's and caddis. Expect that the fishing will get stronger day by day and if you can time it right on a hot day expect the fishing to be great. We really like fishing the smaller dries down towards Maupin. Norm Woods and Clark's Stone in size 8 and 10 are essential but have a few chubbies as well as they are great to hang a dropper off of and get some good looks in the meantime. We are fishing a dropper behind the stonefly dry with good results right now. We are running a modern jig-style nymph on 4x or 5x Fluorocarbon tippet to hook fish that have not really keyed in on the big bugs yet. Our favorite flavors at the moment are the Hot Spot Pheasant Tail and the Duracell but almost any other size 14 or 16 jig fly will get some good eats.
There are some salmonflies and golden stones in the Warm Springs area. Not a ton yet but they are there. Expect that the entire upper river will be completely hatched out in the next few days to a week. At that point you will have about 3 weeks to go get it done with your 3x and foam. With water temps climbing in to the mid 50's and flows below 4000 CFS its going to happen very soon. Covering water with a Purple Chubby or Beaver Chubby with a jig style fly is good right now. Expect most eats to come on the dropper but everyday will see an uptick on fish looking up. Traditional indicator nymphing with stone nymphs remains good. Make sure to avoid redds at all costs. Don't be that guy. A "Hero Shot" with a dark spawning redside is a "Zero Shot". Local walk-in traffic will likely be heavy until the 21st of May when its possible that boats may be able to float again. There is no camping at Mecca Flats Campground, Trout Creek or South Junction until further notice and the Warm Springs Tribe is not allowing any access on the west side of the river. We are hopeful for resuming more normal patterns in late May if for no other reason than to spread out the traffic on the river.
May 1st, 2020
The Crooked spiked pretty big today to 560CFS. The ODFW is attempting to aid the down migration of salmon and steelhead smolts by increasing the volume of water from the dam. We recommend waiting until the flows drop back into the 200-350 CFS range before making the drive. When it drops back into shape look for the Mother's Day Caddis hatch to become the main driver of activity for a week or two.
March 26th, 2020
With only a few weeks away from Opening Day (April 22nd) on the Lower Deschutes, we couldn't be happier. It's time to fill up the boxes with Stonefly Nymphs. A couple weeks after the opener look for the big Salmonflies and Golden Stones to make their annual migration up onto the overhanging grasses and banks and then the party will start. If the last couple years can be a guide to what to expect, look for the days around May 10th to start seeing the adult big bugs in the Warm Springs area. If you are interested in booking a trip during this fun (and busy) time send an email to Dave@finandfire.com. Dave will give you good advice and get you dialed in with one of our great guides.
Currently, trout fishing is good in the open sections around Maupin. Nymphing (both indicator and Euro-styles) is productive. Perdigons, Small stonefly nymphs and Jig Pheasant Tails have been good. Also, look for some dry fly action each afternoon with Blue-Wing Olives and March Browns on the menu. Also, it would be a mistake to not have a few Skwala stoneflies in your box. Trout really dig the big meal after a long winter.
Lastly, please abide by any current government directives regarding access along the river and any pertinent travel restrictions which are in place for all of our safety, including the great people in Maupin.
March 10th, 2020
Psst. Don't tell anyone but the Crooked is fishing pretty well. Is it as good as it was back in 2015 (our last great year out there)? No, probably not, but we have seen a nice increase in the average size and many anglers are catching good numbers again. March should be a very good month to get reacquainted with our little tailwater gem. The consistent water flows all winter seemed to provide good habitat for both the fish and the insects.
Nymphing will remain the most consistent method to fool some fish. Whether you are an indicator or tightline-style angler, get those flies down and in the strike zone and get those flies dead-drifting. Crooked fish see a lot of natural insects going past their noses all day so they don't normally chase too far for their meals. Flies to consider on the Crooked would include the Perdigon's, Hot Spot Pheasant Tails, and the good ol' Zebra Midge. When you see some fish start working the surface in March, put on a Griffith's Gnat, small Parachute Adams (sizes 18 -22), Midge Emergers such as the Juju Midge or the VC Midge and look for the odd Skwala stone towards the end of March.
January 31st, 2020
The Crooked is fishing pretty decent right now. Overall nymphing is your best bet with very sporadic fishing on dries at this time. Nymphing with New Zealand Strike Indicators is the way to go unless of course you are one of the many that have converted to Euro Nymphing in the last couple years. Euro Nymphing is quickly finding its way into the mainstream here in Central Oregon and the Crooked is one of the best places to hone your technique. Whether you are fishing with indicators or Euro-style, Perdigons, Duracell Jigs and Hot Spot Pheasant Tails will get it done. Access is excellent with no snow along the banks, water condition is excellent and the average size trout seems to be increasing. If you haven't been out to the Crooked lately, definitely put that back on your list again this winter or spring.