March 30th, 2021
With warm weather on the way, this might be a good week to get down to the Maupin area and get some trout fishing in. Late March and Early April is when we start seeing some solid March Brown hatches midday as well as a few Skwala Stones and Blue Wing Olives. We carry some great March Brown dries such as Sparkle Duns and Carnage Drakes but often the most consistent fishing will be subsurface. Nymphing with an indicator, Chubby Dropper rig or Tightline/Euro styles will find fish. Don't be afraid to try stonefly nymphs as well as larger Hare's Ear nymphs (covers the March Brown hatch well), Dirty Birds and Guide's Choice Hare's Ears. We also have a fly called the HDA Fav (High Desert Anglers Favorite) that the fish have a hard time refusing. It's basically a #14 flashy Hare's Ear tied on a jig hook.
It goes without saying that some Deschutes redsides are on their spawning beds and its not cool to target fish doing their business. You will see this activity well into June or July.
As a reminder, the Warm Springs to North Junction section of river reopens on April 22nd. Our guides would love to get you on the water this spring!
March 6th, 2021
Still about 6 weeks away from opening day on the Lower Deschutes bordering the Warm Springs Reservation. For the time being you can fish the waters in the Maupin area and find good fishing for redsides in the month of March. As the water warms up and the days get longer, look for March Browns later in the month as well as Skwala Stoneflies, a few caddis and Blue Wing Olives. Nymphing will be good and don't forget how important stonefly nymphs become as we get closer to the stonefly hatches. Even when stonefly nymphs are available you may find that fishing smaller nymphs will be most effective. Good flies for March include the Jig Pheasant Tails, Guide's Choice Hare's Ear and a fly we carry called the HDA Fav. Its basically a modern and flashy Hare's Ear on a jig hook that is super effective when we see March Browns or caddis emerging and moving up the water column. Give one a try on the Deschutes, McKenzie or anywhere else you see good March Brown hatches.
January 26th, 2021
We haven't been getting too many reports from the last few days. With cold overnight lows into the single digits you can expect that trout fishing will be pretty slow to start and build as temps get into the 30's or 40's. You may see a few blue-wing olives in the afternoon. When you do see some blue wing's poppin head to your favorite backeddy or slow run and you may see a few noses break the surface.
Nymphing will be a more consistent way to find some fish. Traditional indicator tactics with a smallish stonefly trailed by a small pheasant tail will work. Euro Nymphing may be a more effective approach as getting your flies down and moving slowly is important in the winter. Most fish won't move too far for their meals right now. We have a great and ever-expanding selection of Tungsten Beaded Euro Nymphs that will get it done as well as an impressive selection of materials to custom make your own Deschutes special fly. If you have wanted to get into Euro style fishing but would rather not be inundated with all the options we were recently restocked with the Orvis Clearwater 10' 3wt rod/reel outfit. At $398 for the whole enchilada its a proven rod package that will help you get started and beyond.
As a reminder, the river is closed to all fishing in the Warm Springs, Trout Creek and South Junction area but remains open all winter in the Maupin area.
December 31st, 2020
The Lower Deschutes from the Warm Springs area north to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation is closed to all fishing (yes even fishing for whitefish!) until April 22nd 2021. This includes all water adjacent to Highway 20, Mecca Flats,Trout Creek and South Junction.
For anyone that gets the urge to get on the Deschutes, there is plenty of good roadside water in the Maupin area and fishing can be pretty darn good with very little competition in the winter. Of course, focus on soft water and warmer overcast days for your highest chances of success. Smal flies such as Perdigon's, Pheasant Tails and smaller Stonefly Nymphs are the most favored flies. Dry fly fishing starts pretty slow in January with improvements by late February. Steelhead fishing is essentially over but a few will be caught in the next couple months. These are summer steelhead that are preparing to spawn.
We are now booking Single Day and Mult-Day trips for April 22nd and beyond. If you have ever wanted to learn more about our greatest fishery resource in our backyard, make this the year. Although its never an easy lay-up, the Deschutes holds many secrets that will take a lifetime to learn. Allow us to shorten that learning curve and put the Lower Deschutes back onto your radar as a great place to cast a fly. Call our Guide Manager Dave Hogan here at the shop for more details and he will get you dialed and ready for your trip.
December 18th, 2020
Warmer than average December temps are keeping us on the grind on our favorite river. Trout fishing is holding up pretty well, especially midday. Small blue-wings hatch around 1pm and that gets the trout a little more active. Don't expect much dry fly fishing but small pheasant tail nymphs or perdigons below an indicator (or chubby) will get some eats.
Steelhead are definitely around in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section. Fishing is fair to good depending on who you talk to. Nymphing with a stonefly and an egg pattern will get you in the game as will swinging an egg sucking leech or an intruder on a sink-tip. The river has been busier than a typical December so be ready to cover some water and be flexible. Enjoy every moment of this bonus time as the river will close from Warm Springs to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation on December 31st.
December 8th, 2020
The Lower Deschutes remains a good option. With the short days, focus on the middle part of the day for best success. Noon to 3pm is prime time for trout but if you are steelheading you will need to get to your favorite spot earlier than that.
When trout fishing we are employing the Chubby Dropper tactics. No fish are coming on the big dry anymore but it works great as an indicator. Use flurocarbon on your dropper. Generally we use 5x. If there are some bigger fish around you may want to upsize. We really like the half size tippet from Trout Hunter. 4.5x and 5.5x are mainstays in our pack. Use jig flies with Tungsten beadheads to get down fast and stay in the zone. The Fire Starter Nymph continues to crush and we will be restocked soon (hopefully!) It's really been that popular. We also are having luck with the Lite Brite Perdigon and Thread Frenchies. Look for slower runs and get out of the faster riffles and heavy water. Chinook spawning is slowing down also but the whities are super fat with eggs right now so an egg pattern may still be a good option for trout.
Dry fly fishing is decent. In the slower runs you may see some fish chasing down emergers. If so, try a Quigleys Film Critic solo or run a size 20 Non-beadhead Pheasant Tail or WD-40 off the chubby. These fish are notoriously picky so if you fool a couple consider that a great afternoon.
Steelheading is slowing but if you have your fly in the water...good things will happen. This hatchery hen was fooled while trout fishing by a size 14 Blue Perdigon and 4.5x Trout Hunter Fluorocarbon (it's crazy how well blue works in the winter) and was promptly dispatched. If you are targeting steelhead with the nymph obviously upsize your tippet to at least 3x. Swinging flies has been slow, but again...if you have your fly in the water...good things will happen.
November 28th, 2020
Solid fishing remains on the Lower Deschutes. Whether you are looking for that one last tug from a steelhead or a few eats from healthy redsides, you have about a month to get it done. The Warm Springs to Trout Creek section as well as South Junction down to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation will close on December 31st.
We saw a few nice steelhead picked up around Warm Springs this week. Late November and December are a good time to find a steelhead on this section and they can be caught swinging or nymphing. The days are getting shorter and some sections of river aren't getting much light while other sections seem to get blazing bright light directly in the fish's eyes. Plan accordingly.
Sink-tips are preferred by most. T-8 and T-11 should be staples in your kit as well as flies that move well. Also keep in mind that the average steelhead has seen a lot in its upstream journey and you might want to show something a little different.
Trout fishing is still good. The window of success seems to get shorter every day with the most activity around 1pm. Small hatches of BWO's, midges and a few yellow mayflies get the fish to activate. Swinging small soft hackles will work during this time if you have active feeders. You can also try a small dry in some spots but that window is very short. Of course, we are fishing Chubby Dropper tactics. Fire Starter Jigs in #14 and #16, Perdigons, PT Jigs and Thread Frenchies are getting it done. Maintain a nice dead-drift and fish about 3-4 feet of 5x Fluorocarbon tippet between the chubby and your nymph.
If you are more interested in steelhead but wouldn't mind some nice redsides along the way stay with traditional indicator tactics. Fish heavier leader such as 2X Fluoro and a 2 nymph rig with one stonefly and a flashy nymph or egg pattern dropper.
November 21st, 2020
Steelhead fishing is holding up pretty well on the Lower Deschutes. Its not hot and heavy (that's for sure) but if you put the time in you will be rewarded. Swingers are finding some fish with their sink-tips and Skagit heads. Fly choices seem to be all over the board with mid-sized flies like the HoBo spey leading the way. Black and blue is always a good place to start but don't hesitate to try some purple, orange or even fuschia for a little different look. Nymphers are using the two nymph rigs with a stonefly followed by a smaller flashy nymph such as a Lightning Bug or and Egg Fly. Steelheading should remain decent for the next month or so when it's time for all of us to hang it up on the D and start chasing winter steelhead on the Coast.
Trout fishing remains good especially midday when small blue-wing olive hatches seem to wake the trout up pretty good. For trout,we are generally fishing the Chubby Dropper tactic. We used Fire Starter's, Lite Brite Perdigon's and other size 14 and 16 jig flies with good success. Which color chubby you use probably doesn't matter too much, just make it something you can see well and allows you to get true dead drifts. The chubby will occasionally get eaten if you are getting good dead drifts towards the end of the day as the sun goes behind the canyon wall but its mainly your indicator. Deschutes trout are truly conditioned to get more aggressive as the light dims and what didn't work for you 5 mintues before the sun dipped may now work. For the tradtional nymphers you probably can't beat a simple pheasant tail trailed behind a stonefly nymph but egg patterns will crush in some spots (where Chinook are) and a Red Copper John in size 14-18 always seems to be a good fly on the Deschutes. Remember, flies matter but how you fish matters more.
Overall, its a great time to be thankful to have such a wonderful river in our backyard that we can all access and enjoy.
November 10th, 2020
Things seemed to cool down a bit on the Deschutes this past week. Air temps dropped and everything got a little more quiet. Steelhead fishing is occuring over the whole 100 miles with fish being caught throughout. Most fish are being taken on sink-tips at this point with a few dryline devotees still getting it done on the lighter presentations. The legendary HoBo Spey is a great fly right now. Warm Springs to Trout Creek is hit-or-miss with a few nice fish caught. We see a mix of swingers and nymphers finding a few. Chinook are spawning right now so if you see a large fish jumping around or digging a redd it's often a big ol' king and not a steelhead.
Trout fishing is good but slowing a bit. The windows of opportunity have gotten smaller as the days shorten but midday remains the best time and linger into the short early evening if you are stilll having some success. Small blue-wing olives are hatching and a few fish are eating the adults and emergers. We have stuck to our guns and continue to fish the Chubby-Dropper routine with good results. Very few fish will eat the chubby now that most of the October Caddis have faded but the single jig fly below the Chubby is working well. Duracells, Fire Starter Jigs and assorted Perdigons will find fish. Look for slower walking speed runs and less in the faster riffly water for concentrations of fish. We are finding steelhead and trout occupying the same water types right now.
Trout Spey fishing is fair to good. Numbers aren't that great but the Spey angler understands and likes the hard grabs by aggressive fish that punctuate the quiet on a late fall day. Try Black Sculpzillas, Near Nuff Sculpins and smaller egg-sucking leeches. It's FUN!
October 28th, 2020
With beautiful weather forecasted this week, now would be a good time to get after some Deschutes steelhead. Water temps plummeted this week below 50 degrees making Skagit heads and Sink-tips the preferred option. You will see an increase in water temps this week giving you more options than dredging. Numbers of steelhead remain low but success is being had from the mouth up to Warm Springs. Sizes of the Deschutes steelhead remains very good with the larger 2-salt fish making for some impressive catches. Our favorite flies at this time of year include the HoBo Spey, Marabou Tubes, and Mini-Intruders. Expect some crowding especially if the White River remains dirty which it has been.
This is also the last week to fish the Tribal side of the Deschutes with the closure on October 31st. The river is running clear and the fall colors are out. Trout fishing is excellent and steelhead are being caught on the Warm Springs to Maupin section. Dry fly fishing for trout is inconsistent but some heads are up in the evening eating scattered hatches including midge emergers. Dry Dropper Fishing (Chubby followed by 3-4 feet of 5x Fluorocarbon and Jig Fly) and Euro tactics are cleaning up right now. Hot flies include the Firestarter Nymph, Pearl and Orange Jig, and the Blowtorch. All of these flies are in size 14 or 16 and we still prefer jig flies with silver tungsten beads. We did catch a nice hatchery steelhead this week on 5x and a size 16 jig fishing for trout on the WS-TC section. Sometimes luck is on your side when you have your fly in the water!
Most of the trout are caught in runs and less in the riffles and backeddies we prefer in summer. We are also swinging some of the slower runs and doing well with Black Sculpzillas on our Trout Spey rods. We do have several discontinued 4 wt. Redington Hydrogen Trout Spey rods on the sale section of our Web Store that are perfect for the Lower Deschutes. Although not the best way to catch a lot of fish you will get some great eats and some hefty redside trout.
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.