October 15th, 2020
The Lower River below the White River has been rough lately with more days blown out than fishable. With that said, if you like to gamble and win, a trip downriver may yield your fish of the year as those that are willing to take the risk are being rewarded with some truly great fish this year.
The Warm Springs to Maupin stretch is decent for steelhead with a surprising number of nice wild fish being caught in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section. The next few weeks should be good and if you are willing to put the time in you just might get rewarded. Nymphing the Double Bead Peacock Stone with a Silver Lightning Bug is a good place to start and swinging and egg-sucking leech style fly or Black & Blue Mini intruder or Marabou fly is not far behind.
Trout fishing is very good most of the day with Dry Dropper tactics dominating. Continue to experiment with different bead sizes on your dropper flies as making adjustments in weight can make a huge difference. Fish heavy enough that the fly gets down in the strike zone quickly but not so heavy that you aren't getting stuck on the bottom often. We have been having great luck on a new Perdigon called the Pearl & Orange Perdigon as well as the tried and true Firestarter's, Roza's Pink Tag Jig and Duracell's. Most of these flies are in size 14 or 16 and have a 2.8mm or 3.3 mm tungsten bead in silver. We are fishing 5x Fluorocarbon tippet from the Chubby down to the Jig and start with 3 feet. Don't hesitate to go longer if needed. For your leader to the chubby, keep it fairly short. A 7.5 foot 3x leader is great for this system.
Enjoy the fall colors and enjoy the day on our great river with your family and friends!
October 7th, 2020
Trout fishing on the Day Stretch (Warm Springs to Trout Creek) remains quite good with nymphing dominating. Dry fly opportunities are scarce minus a few fish up in backeddies and a few fish looking up for October Caddis. If its bright and sunny and warm, mornings and evenings will be best. If you are a dialed-in nympher with skills with the Euro rig or Dry Dropper tactics you should find fish most of the day. Pheasant Tail Jigs, Duracells and Pink Tag Jigs are getting it done. Egg flies can also crush if you see any chinook around.
Steelhead fishing is starting to hit its stride along the entire 100 miles. Overall fishing is fair but fish are being caught and many of the fish are big this year. Swinging a fly or nymphing below an indicator are both producing. Jessie spent last Friday jet boating around with the G Loomis crew and it was fairly crowded above the mouth with below average visibility. A few eats but nothing to hand except some spunky trout.
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.
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.
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!
Duracell getting it done!
Big redside fooled by the Duracell fly.
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 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.
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 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.
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.