June 26th, 2022
The Lower Deschutes is fishing awesome right now. Other than the occasional cold front that shuts things down some (last Friday the 24th for example), now is the time to get out to the Deschutes and get after it. Caddis hatches are huge and fish are chowing on caddis pupa and finally eating caddis dries in the mornings, evening and in shady spots along the river. Our dry fly routine is pretty simple right now. Run an X Caddis, Finfetcher Caddis or another #16 Tan or Olive Caddis and trail a Sparkle Pupa off the back. When you see rising fish and they are consistently feeding this should get an eat (as long as the presentation is sound). It's lots of fun headhunting rising fish, and with time on the water, it will happen. For best results on the surface, try an evening trip sometime. 8pm to dark (about 930pm this time of year) is primetime. A headlamp is a necessity for the inevitable break-offs to retie.
Our prospecting technique when things on top are slow are Chubby Dropper tactics. Run a small chubby that you see well enough, dress it appropriately with Fly Agra, Top Ride or your favorite floatant and run about 4 feet of 5x Fluorocarbon tippet to a Jigged Euro Nymph. Although we still love to use the classic sparse perdigon styles (such as the now legendary Fire Starter) it's time to play with flies that have a little better movement. Duracells, Blowtorchs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, HDA Fav, and various Walt's type flies are great when caddis are abundant. Not only do they eat them dead-drifted, but the swing up at the end of the drift will be noticed also.
Euro Nymphing is very good right now. You will find fish in tight to the bank in choppy water as fish move to the tops of the runs this time of year. Use the same flies as the Chubby Dropper tactics except play around a lot with size of bead. You should have an assortment of flies with tungsten beads in the 2.4mm to 3.8+ size.
Trout spey has been hit-or-miss lately. Mornings before the sun hits the water is best. Small sculpin patterns in black have been getting some killer eats.
June 9th, 2022
Crowds are diminishing, trout are fat and happy and the canyon is green. The next few weeks should provide an amazing opportunity to chase the Deschutes trout.
Evenings are epic right now with huge caddis hatches occcurring. Don't leave too early as the best fishing is from 8pm to after sunset. Bring your headlamp. We are seeing tons of smaller dark caddis (size 18 or so) at the moment but be prepared with a few others especially tan size 16 which will get cracking soon. Caddis dry fly fishing is just getting going which means most fish are being caught on emerging phases (pupa) and are caught just below the surface. If you see aggressive splashy rises these are most likey pupa eats.
Chubby Dropper tactics were really good this week. Still running at least 3 feet of tippet between flies but going even longer (to 5 feet) if its very bright out. Fish are moving around a lot and one spot that is full of feeding fish will often be void of fish when the light changes. The caddis style droppers have been crushing. Duracells, Walt's Worms, Sexy Walt'sand PCP nymphs have all been streaming out of the shop bins quickly. Silvey's Beadhead Caddis is also killer in June and July.
Walt's Worm. You should try it. It's deadly this time of year.
You still have a few days of decent stonefly dry fly fishing. Probably not going to be epic all day but we have seen some good surges of activity the last few days. There are definitely a fair amount of golden stones and salmonflies left in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section and some pockets that are heavier than others. The hatch is gonna linger longer than the last few years. We have done better on the smaller chubbies size 10 or 12 but the Clark's Stone has been the best fly.
June 5th, 2022
The Lower Deschutes is fishing fantastic these days. Although the salmonflies and golden stones are winding down, the fish are in full seek-and-destroy mode on the smaller insects that make up it's summer hatches.
If you are looking to catch fish on the larger stonefly dries you certainly want to get to the river in the next few days as they are fading quickly. Fish are still looking up in some spots. The ol' Chubby Chernobyl is a good choice, but the Norm Woods, Clark's Stone, DeMoe's Mill Creek Golden Stone and other more subtle patterns will get chomped at a higher rate. If you're goal is to catch fish on the stonefly dries it's time to fire up the engine and get after it.
If your goal is to catch fish and you don't really have a preference how you catch those fish, its an awesome time to employ the Chubby Dropper tactics. Use the size 10 or so Chubby and trail about 3 feet of 5x Fluorocarbon tippet off the bend of the hook. Add your favorite jig-style nymph (commonly referred to as Euro Nymphs or Perdigons). Our favorites are the Fire Starter, Sexy Walt's Pearl & Orange and the Duracell. The Duracell is really good right now with the small dark caddis that are hatching.
You will also start seeing a bunch of caddis and some mayflies on the water over the next few weeks. You can stay with the Chubby Dropper tactics for most of the day but don't forget to bring some X Caddis, Sparkle Pupas, and Purple Hazes as they cover many different scenarios when you want to fish on top.
May 16th, 2022
The stonefly hatches of on the Lower Deschutes River are now in full swing and should continue for the next 3 weeks or so in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section. Golden Stones and Salmonflies are thick in the grass and foliage along the banks and are just starting to fall in and get noticed by the trout.
Overall, dry fly fishing has been affected by the unseasonably cool spring. Water temperatures in particular have us finding many of our fish in slower water that we often fish in spring and late fall. We started getting some good eats on the surface in the last few days, but it has not been red hot on top. If you work at it, you'll get them on top and if you stick with it, you can hit some good surges of activity. We have been employing the Chubby Chernobyls in various colors and sizes. You should carry an assortment of chubbies as well as some Norm Woods and the Clark's Stone in particular for golden stone imitations. We finally got restocked on our famous Chubby Beaver pattern that gets it done. This is a great salmonfly pattern. Dry fly fishing will continue to improve as more fish see the bugs fall in. Any warming trend will be a good thing so keep an eye out for that.
Dropper fishing has been fantastic with Firestarter's, Sexy Walt's, Pink Tag Jigs and Blowtorch's finding plenty of players. Continue to employ 5x Fluorocarbon tippet to the droppers. Cortland Top Secret Fluoro remains our best seller for good reason.
We have been seeing some other bugs on the water including a few PED's, PMD's and a couple Green Drakes. Caddis hatches are also present but not quite strong yet.
Our guide calendar is pretty full, but we do have a couple spots open in May and June. You can book a trip here: Lower Deschutes River | Guided Float Trip - Full Day - Fin & Fire Fly Shop (finandfire.com)
April 29th, 2022
Opening weekend produced well especially on Friday the 22nd. As a cold front rolled in things slowed some, but overall we really like what we're seeing on the Lower Deschutes.
For this weekend, you'll want to focus on nymphing as dry fly fishing has been sporadic at best. Most days we are seeing very little in hatch activity but that will be coming soon. With 50-degree water temperatures and limited insect activity, we are finding most fish in the bottom ends of runs where the water slows down quite a bit. Slow walking speed water with a few feet of depth and a foam line is a good place to hunt out some redsides right now.
Flies that our guides and staff have done well with this week include a new pattern to us called the Dark Knight, the Butano Lite Brite Perdigon and the Sexy Walts. Aidan reported really good luck on the Roza's Pink Tag Jig also. With little doubt stonefly nymphs should also be in your arsenal. Every day we get a couple bonus fish up top on the Chubby Chernobyl (aka our indicator), but the famous hatch is still a couple weeks out.
We have streamer fished some. Opening day was lights out and since then its been fair. Ryan had a field day on Friday with the Black Sculpzilla on his Loomis IMX Pro Shortspey. As we often say you gotta have the streamer in the water to catch fish on the streamer. If you catch less fish swinging less there's nothing wrong with that at all. Each grab, jump and catch becomes just that much memorable.
April 21, 2022
We are excited about the Lower Deschutes River reopening for fishing on April 22nd. The river is flowing at about 3700 CFS (quite low for April) and water clarity is good. The trout are well-rested and haven't been fished for since December. The water temps are hovering around 50 degrees. The world-famous stonefly hatches should get started around May 5th to 10th in the Warm Springs area.
You may see some blue wing olive hatches that can bring some fish up to the surface but keep in mind that if you are catching mostly shiny trout around 10 inches it's time to move on as those are likely steelhead smolt that you should leave alone.
Many bigger fish may also be on their spawning beds which are also to be avoided at all costs. Dark-colored, visible fish in fairly shallow water are to be left alone to do their important business.
Nymphing is generally the method for early season Deschutes trout. Running a stonefly nymph with a small mayfly dropper (Pheasant Tails are often the best bet) has always been a great early season tactic and now is a good time to run some of your favorite stone nymphs along the bottom.
On our first trips down the river, you can bet we will be running the Chubby Dropper tactics we talk about so much. We don't expect to see much surface activity yet but the dropper nymphs such as the Firestarter, Pearl & Orange and Thread Frenchie will find plenty of willing participants. We will also swing our favorite sculpin patterns such as a Sculpzilla in the hopes of finding an early season pig. More than anything else we look forward to connecting with our old friend the Deschutes.
March 26th, 2022
We are super excited about the upcoming reopening of the Lower Deschutes River on April 22nd. The section from Warm Springs to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation will reopen at that time.
In the meantime, the Maupin area is a good option with many miles of public access. Fishing has been improving on that section and is pretty good right now. From Blue Wing Olive hatches to Skwala stones and the beginning of March Brown hatches, now is a good time to put some time in.
Besides the various and improving spring hatches, swinging a streamer on the trout spey or switch rod is a fun way to get some action right now. We have always liked the Sculpzilla series of flies in Black, Olive or Natural and the Whitlock's Near Nuff Sculpin, but simple beadhead Woolly Buggers or egg sucking leeches can be equally effective.
December 31st, 2021
The Lower Deschutes River from Warm Springs to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation is now closed and will remain so until April 22nd. Keep in mind there is tons of good water to fish and explore upstream and downstream of Maupin until then. Steelhead fishing in that section remains closed but trout fishing can be very good if you play your cards right.
Looking back on 2021 we saw some high highs and some low lows.
Steelhead runs hit a new low. The river was closed to steelhead fishing for the first time in recent memory. The early part of the run was devastatingly poor with only a trickle of fish moving up each day. The latter half of the run was inline with what we have seen over the last few years but at that point the decision had been made to close it down. We are hopeful for a rebound in 2022.
Trout fishing was excellent this year. Consistent fishing with many really nice fish in the mix was the hallmark of 2021. Our trout guides had their best fishing in recent memory and the amount of stoked customers we see in the shop reinforces what we see when we fish. As our methods continue to evolve and move away from traditional indicator tactics to Chubby Dropper tactics (and Euro tactics), make a point to stop in the shop or book a guide trip to get you dialed in.
December 9th, 2021
Fishing for trout remains good but is slowing on the Lower Deschutes. The warm weather we had last week helped the fishing quite a bit but it has slowed recently due to the colder temps.
Best fishing is often around noon or 1pm to about 3pm when you will see a slight rise in water temps coming out of the dam. This slight increase seems to stimulate a bit of a midge or mayfly hatch and the fish become more active.
Chubby dropper system is our go-to method. Firestarter's, Pearl & Orange, Roza's Hare's Ear and Blue Lite Brite Perdigon's have been effective. 5x fluorocarbon remains our main tippet material between the chubby and the dropper.
Although spawning activity from the Chinook has diminished, egg patterns can be highly effective on the Deschutes trout. The Slush Egg (tied jig style) from Fulling Mill is good as well as the Unreal Egg.
We have just reopened our bookings for next year's trips on the Lower Deschutes. The season starts on April 22nd. Fishing was excellent for much of the year and we would love to get you out on the water with us in 2022 . A day on the river with our fun and highly skilled guides makes an awesome gift.
November 14th, 2021
Trout fishing has been very good on the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section. This section is open until the end of the year and will close until April 22nd. The next 2 or 3 weeks will remain good out there. Quality of fish is high as the chinook have been spawning so the trout have been feasting.
Of course egg patterns can dominate if you are near active spawners but our favored hot spot style perdigons run below a Chubby such as the Firestarter, Pearl & Orange and Olive Hot Spot have accounted for many great fish lately.
Swinging for trout on the Deschutes continues to grow in popularity and its a great way to stay sharp on the two hander. Grabs can be addictive. If you haven't tried it before give it a shot sometime. Small black streamers such as the #8 Sculpzilla have been our best tool lately. We also like the Near Nuff Sculpins.
Steelhead fishing is closed. If you run into a steelhead on accident please handle them with care and get them back on their way quickly. Now is not the time to be fishing black and blue intruders and call it "trout spey fishing".
October 29th, 2021
Steelhead fishing is closed on the entire Lower Deschutes. Its a real bummer and we miss the regulars in the shop and river that absolutely love this time of year. We are seeing a fair number of incidentally caught steelhead while trout fishing so keep that in mind and make sure all fish are handled quickly and released to do their important business. This is not the year to target steelhead on the Deschutes.
Every once in a while you will hook a steelhead when you least expect it and when you are absolutely not targeting them This hatchery steelhead came up and ate a small purple chubby chernobyl off the surface and was promptly released.
Trout fishing was outstanding for much of October and we expect it will remain so for the next few weeks. Once it gets really cold you'll find some slow times but midday can be great and low light periods can still be good at times(especially warmer days).
There are still some October Caddis around and we have caught quite a few fish on the dry this fall. Chubby Norm and an Orange Stimulator accounted for some great eats. You'll find most fish will eat (or not) on the first pass through a piece of water and you're chances diminish quite a bit after each successive cast. Small mayflies and midge emergers can be locally important to select pieces of water but don't expect a ton of surface activity.
We have been having field days on the Chubby Dropper tactics. Our guides and staff have had numerous stellar days on the Deschutes lately and fall colors have just made it that much better. From Warm Springs to Trout Creek the fish have been very active and fattening up before the winter. It does seem like there are less Chinook in the system this fall so less eggs are being munched than the last few years.
Our top producing fly has been the Firestarter once again. Fish it aggressively, cover water and run it on 5x Fluoro under a Chubby. Some of the best fish we've seen have been in surprisingly shallow water that won't be effectively fished with a heavy bobber/split shot rig. We also find plenty of fish in 4 or 5 feet of water suspended below the Chubby. If you run 3 or 4 feet of Fluoro to the jig you'll be amazed how rarely it hangs up on bottom and how well it fishes at different water heights.
One of other top flies is very similar in style and results. The Pearl & Orange Jig is just deadly and you should be fishing this fly. Have an assortment of sizes also in 14 thru 18.
Of course there is not one secret fly and only one way to catch trout but if you consistently put the time in on this great river with these flies and tactics you will be rewarded with some of the coolest trout found anywhere.
Keep in mind that the Warm Springs Reservation (West) side of the river closes on October 31st to all fishing but the East Side of the river stays open till December 31st. After that you'll need to travel down to the Maupin area to area get your winter fix of Deschutes fishing.
October 4th, 2021
As most of you know the Deschutes River is closed for steelhead for the rest of the year. Steelhead counts remain low and we are hopeful that next year things improve and we can once again chase our favorite fish in our favorite place.
Trout fishing remains good on the Deschutes, especially nymphing and swinging small streamers. Traffic is usually light and fish know that they need to fatten up before the onset of winter. You will still see some sporadic hatches of small caddis and Blue Wing Olives as well as some midge hatches. October Caddis hatches are also strengthening and you will find some fish really looking for the pupa. If you are streamer fishing try black sculpzillas or any orange/burnt orange streamers that replicate crayfish. We definitely feel that the bigger trout are eating crayfish when available.
Chubby Dropper fishing remains good also with solid numbers of fish eating the Firestarter, Olive Hot Spot Jig and Duracell in recent days. You may also get a few fish to eat the Chubby.
Fall is a great time to spend a day on the river despite the lack of steelhead in the river. From the fall leaves to the solitude and the aggressive takes of our native redsides we are still pretty lucky to have this amazing resource in our backyard.
August 19th, 2021
We have definitely had some slow days down on the Deschutes in August. The Dog Days of August are real but mornings and evenings remained consistently good. With the cooler days ahead now would be a good time to get back on the water.
Caddis remain the main bug on the menu but are sparser than a month ago. You may see a few PMD's also. With the caddis, carry a mix of sizes and colors but know that you can rarely go wrong with tan and size 16/18 on the Deschutes. Some of our best flies lately are the X Caddis in Tan and various low-riding CDC versions. Backeddies are still seeing some heads up but these are some of the pickier fish around. Bring your A-game.
When the sun is on the water we are looking for slow runs (fish move there to conserve energy) and we are covering water efficiently with the Chubby Dropper tactics. Some fish have been hooked on the smaller chubbies but most are caught on the jig. Use 3 or 4 feet of 5x fluorocarbon and the better flies have been the Tan Duracell, Natural Blow Torch and the He-Man from Rio (basically a Hare's Ear).
Some riffles are producing also but if they are easy to fish and get fished often most of the fish are getting picky or sore-mouthed at this point.
Don't forget to bring the Trout Spey rod also. We have been having tons of fun throwing the Trout Spey rod around. We generally use 4 weights and small streamers like the #8 Sculpzilla but we have also been finding success on bigger flies which may be imitating the abundant crayfish on the river. Its really fun and you should give it a try.
This beauty gave Austin and his new Dually 4wt Spey a workout.
Steelhead fishing is slow with a few fish caught from Maupin to the Mouth. Numbers are historically low and the water has been very warm.
July 23rd, 2021
Fishing is holding up pretty well on the Lower Deschutes. We are fishing and guiding the Warm Springs to Trout section nearly every day and finding good dry fly fishing most days. Still focus on low light periods or shady stretches. We really like the mornings if you can be on the water as early as 5am to 8am and evenings are consistently good. This is still caddis season so we are fishing X-Caddis in tan followed by a Tan Sparkle Pupa on the surface. We are occasionally seeing a few mayflies around. A PMD Sparkle Dun or Purple Haze often takes care of business at those times.
Chubby dropper fishing continues to put the most fish in the net. We have had to downsize our droppers recently and mostly fishing some smaller 16's and 18's such as the Duracell, Pearl & Orange and Olive Hot Spot's. As always, bring an assortment of sizes and colors and cover water to find the water types where the fish are feeding.
Great fish caught by Austin on the Tan Duracell
We get a lot of questions about water temperature at this time of year. As you move way down river past Maupin its very hot and you should limit your efforts to early in the day. In our Warm Springs to Trout Creek section the water temps are well under the range that concern us. Even during the hottest days we are not seeing water temps above 60 in the Warm Springs area. With that said, fight the fish you hook hard, keep them wet, minimize handling and send them on their way.
We have not really heard much on the steelhead front. We will keep you posted as we get some intell.
June 29th, 2021
If you can work around the stifling heat, fishing on the Lower Deschutes is outstanding in the mornings (5am to 8am) and again from 8pm to about 930pm. We are not recommending fishing during the day at this time due to the extreme heat. There will be good dry fishing in shady spots if you do venture down. Fishing pressure is very light. Water temperatures have gotten terribly hot downstream of Maupin and we do not recommend fishing that stretch. The Warm Springs to Trout Creek section is running at a great temperature well below 60 degrees. Of course, fish hooked should be played quickly and released without being subjected to hot air temperatures.
Our best flies when we spot fish rising consistently are the Tan X Caddis followed by a Tan Sparkle Pupa. Size 16 will cover most needs but carry a few 18's. You may see a few mayflies, generally PMD's. A Gould's Shuckoff PMD is a solid choice but we always carry some Purple Hazes too.
For nymphing with our Chubby Dropper tactics we are doing great with the Duracell and various CDC type jig flies. We are also using the HDA Fav as a searcher and swinging at the end of the drift. We are mostly using 5x Fluoro tippet between the Chubby and the Jig although 4.5x fluoro can be helpful in heavier water.
If you are on the indicator system you will do well with Guide's Choice Hare's Ears. The Red Copper John has always been a good summer fly.
June 23rd, 2021
Caddis season is in full swing down on the Lower Deschutes. Heat and caddis go together and the outlook for next week is HEAT. With that said, pick your times carefully, bring a headlamp and don't over do it midday.
Whether you are nymphing or throwing dries make sure to bring an assortment of different caddis patterns. If you prefer dry fly fishing, focus on the morning and evening but with the heat there will also be some pockets of feeding activity (usually in the shade) you'll see intense feeding on adult caddis. Have an assortment of X Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, EC Caddis and CDC Caddis. Colors are often tan but we have been seeing tons of small dark caddis also. Try the tan sparkle pupa in a 16 or 18 if you find selective feeders. You can run it behind a dry caddis (on 5x nylon or fluoro tippet) to help you see it. It's super fun stalking big Deschutes redsides with small dries and the next few weeks will be some of the best times.
Nymphing is very good and with tradtional, Euro or Chubby Dropper systems. We have had best luck on smallish dropper flies such as the Duracell, Roza's Violet Tag Jig, Blow Torch's and the CDC France Fly. All of these flies have CDC collars and do a great job dead-drifted and swung at the end of the drift. Don't hesitate to throw a Fire Starter either as it continues to rack up some really nice fish. Chubbies won't catch many trout (it does get a few in low light) but their effectiveness as a subtle indicator can't be underestimated. Run 5x Fluoro off the chubby to the tungsten dropper and don't set the hook too aggressively.
June 11th, 2021
Although there are a few stoneflies left in the bushes near Warm Springs you can safely declare the 2021 Stonefly Hatch (Salmonflies/Golden Stones) on the Lower Deschutes is over. You will still catch some nice fish on big dries in select spots. Clark's Stones are great for the remaining fish looking for adult stones.
Fishing is very good on the cloudy days with many fish remaining along the banks feeding opportunistically. Sunny days have been a little tougher with fish sulking in deeper water. Evenings are excellent with a noticeable spike in feeding as soon as shade hits the water. Although the summer caddis hatches are just getting rolling, we have already had some outstanding 1 to 2 hour sessions before pitch black takes over the canyon.
Our predominant style is using the Chubby Chernobyl for the dry and trailing a jig dropper about 3 feet off the chubby. We have been using the Duracell's, Roza's Pink Tag Jig, Fire Starter's and Pearl & Oranges with great success.
Deep nymphing with indicators, split shot etc... will also find some fish and will be a good tactic when the sun is bearing down straight in the eyes of fish looking upstream.
June 2nd, 2021
Big bugs are still pretty thick in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section but starting to fade pretty quick downstream. The next week or so will be end of the hatch in the WS-TC section. Caddis hatches have exploded with the heat and they are quickly becoming most important. You can definitely get some great fish to eat the big dry but overall caddis pupa and nymphs are the main menu item. Our typical routine stilll has us throwing small chubbies (#10 is good) and running tungsten jig droppers 3 feet off the hook bend of the chubby. Our best droppers remain Fire Starter's, Pearl & Orange and Duracells.
5x fluorocarbon tippet between the 2 flies is most commonly used. Consider upsizing to 4x if you fish a fast-action rod as you might get broken off on 5x. Our favorite rods this time of year have some flex to them and include the G Loomis NRX LP 5wt or 6wt, Scott G Series 5wt and Beulah Platinum G2 in the 5wt.
If you'd like to stay with the dry only, (Go Big or Go Home!) take the chubby off and try Clark's Stones, Norm Woods and the Rogue Foam Stone. Low-riding patterns will outfish the high-riding dries from this point on.
X-Caddis, Caddis Pupa (Sparkle Pupa is great!) and Silvey's Beadhead Caddis should be in your box. Size ranges from 14 to 18 are most prevalent in our summer caddis hatches.
Lastly, with the heat look for mornings and evenings when the sun is off the water to be the most productive times. Bring your headlamp!
May 29th, 2021
Fishing is excellent on the Lower Deschutes right now. The warm front that moved in has got the big bugs on the move and the caddis hatches are getting good. Dry fly fishing with the stone dries will not be awesome all day. That is very rare. Most often its a couple hours here and there. Evenings should be very good this week but mornings increase in importance as more dead bugs hit the water. Have larger salmonfly patterns and smaller golden stones. Purple chubbies will work in the evening. Expect another 7 to 10 days of good stonefly eats on the Warm Springs section. Carry some caddis from here on also. An X Caddis and Sparkle Pupas are in most seasoned Deschutes angler boxes. Crowds are pretty intense for the Memorial Weekend but you will see a slight lessening on Sunday and Monday.
Dropper nymphs continue to put some big numbers of fish in the net. Bright sunny days are still in play when you use tungsten droppers. Even when the dry fly fishing is slow you should be hooking lots of fish on droppers. It really is that effective. Our best droppers this week were the Pearl & Orange Perdigon, Roza's Pink Tag Jig and the Black Perdigon. The Duracell will be a really good fly as the caddis hatches build. Dead-drift under the Chubby and let it swing into the bank at the end of the drift. Eats are aggressive and happen as the line comes tight. This is also a good time for classic soft hackle fishing and quite a few fish will move into the quiet bankwater and eddies to eat caddis. You may also see some PMD's and PED's this month.
We have some great dates available in June. Spend a day with one of our hard-working, fun and skilled guides to dial you in on the Lower Deschutes: Lower Deschutes River | Guided Float Trip - Full Day - Fin & Fire Fly Shop (finandfire.com)
Another Pearl & Orange Perdigon caught Lower Deschutes Trout.
May 19th, 2021
Cold fronts are not ideal for stonefly hatches. The big bugs become lethargic and generally inactive and hunker down in the bushes. You won't see a lot of bugs falling in or trout gobbling them up aggressively. That's the bad news.
The good news is that fishing remains excellent on the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section (with nymphs). Dry fly fishing will be decent through the day with small surges anytime warmth and wind conspire to knock some bugs into the feeding lanes. Fish are keyed in now and notice the big meals right away when it happens. The short windows of surface activity will most likely be in the middle of the day. These feeding surges are short but if you are in the right place and right time its game on.
For the large majority of the day you should be focusing on Chubby Dropper tactics. You will be in the game all day if the fish want to eat the dry but you will be hitting fish on the dropper all day even when the surface bite is slow. Cover water aggressively and look for water that hasn't been pounded all day. Our standard routine is a Chubby Chernobyl in size 8 or 10 (Purple, Beaver, Gold and Pteronarcys colors are great) trailed by a size 14 or 16 Perdigon jig fly with a Tungsten bead. Run that Perdigon about 3 feet from the chubby in most water types but don't be afraid to go longer if the water is deep. By far our most favored size of tippet is 5x Fluoro but if you have a very stiff fly rod you may get broken off some. Our hot flies remain the Fire Starter, Pearl & Orange, and Roza's Pink Tag jig. Get a few different bead sizes for varying water types. This technique really works! Please let us know how we can help get you dialed on this method.
Once it warms up next week or when you are feeling the urge to catch some on dries get some Clark's Stones and Norm Woods for trout keying in on Golden Stones and a few different size and color Chubbies. On last Sunday night, the fish really wanted the bigger salmonfly patterns when the naturals were hitting the water and smaller patterns weren't even getting a second look. The biggest dry in the box was the ticket that night. Many other nights the more subtle patterns will outfish the foam flies.
Caddis hatches are currently OK, pupa are being eaten at times and mayfly hatches have been sporadic at best. A few PMD's and Green Drakes have been spotted.
Expect crowded conditions into the first week of June. The cold front may keep a few anglers away but overall the use of the river is at an all-time high.
May 14th, 2021
Salmonfly mania is now in full effect along the entire Lower Deschutes. Salmonflies and Golden Stones are in abundance nearly everywhere from Warm Springs north through Maupin. You can expect to be fishing stone dries for the next 3+ weeks. The warm weather this week really got the Stonefly nymphs to migrate to shore and to hatch.
Dry fly fishing is picking up steam daily and should be good this weekend. We have been catching lots of fish on dries on our multiday trips between Trout Creek and Harpham Flats and a few between Warm Springs to Trout Creek. Our guides report smaller stone dries have outfished the big stuff. Smaller chubbies, Norms and Clark's Stones are always in our starting rotation.
If you are so inclined don't hesitate to throw jig droppers off the back of the stone dries. Firestarters, Pearl & Oranges, Walt's Worms and Black Perdigons have been on fire. 5x Fluorocarbon and about 3 feet from the dry to the dropper. We are also seeing some mayflies (mostly PMD's) as well as good caddis hatches this week.
The river is busy. Very busy. Now is a good time to be flexible with your locations and techniques. On a recent busy day we caught a bunch of quality fish in a piece of water that we rarely fish (or see anyone else fish).
May 9th, 2021
With water temperatures still running a bit cold from the dam, the stonefly migration in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section hasn't hit its stride yet. If you look long and hard you'll find a few salmonflies in the bushes and bankside grass but overall we are still a few days away from the bulk of the hatch start. Its running a few days later than last year. Quite a few bugs are starting to hatch down lower towards Maupin and this will be a good week to venture north.
Nymphing remains good in the Warm Springs to Trout Creek section with good sizes and numbers falling to stonefly nymphs and smaller nymphs. Our favorite flies right now include the Firestarter Nymph (truly becoming a "must have" for Central Oregon), the Pearl & Orange Jig and the Roza's Pink Tag Jig. All have silver tungsten slotted beads in sizes ranging from 2.8mm to 3.8mm. Try 'em if you haven't already. We are using the Chubbies to suspend the single jig fly and we have caught a few on the big dries.
Fluorocarbon tippet is well-stocked at the store including the new and improved Rio Fluoroflex Strong. Keep experimenting with different tippet sizes until you find the right mix of hook-ups to break-offs. Big Deschutes fish have no mercy towards undergunned tippet but at the same time they will not eat your fly if its tied to rope.
We are also well-stocked on the venerable Norm Woods and Clark's Stone patterns as well as some new tricked out patterns that are fun to try each year. If you are going to just run one fly (and not hang a nymph from the dry) make sure to get some Norm's and Clark's in your box as they are the real deal on selective fish.
Get out and get some!
April 30th, 2021
The entire Lower Deschutes River from Warm Springs to the Mouth is now open. The river is low for this time of year and bouncing around between 3600 and 4000 CFS. Fishing pressure was pretty heavy for the opener but has subsided some since. Most importantly, fishing has been good. With that said, it seems to be lining up to be the most crowded May on the river we have seen.
We saw our first salmonfly flying around yesterday just below Mecca and heard reports of a couple seen above Trout Creek. The "hatch" is not on but its not too far off either. We are about a week from seeing large numbers of Golden Stones and Salmonflies hanging out in the grass along the banks.
Fish are moving around quite a bit this time of year. Many of the spots that hold fish all summer are still pretty quiet (except for Kamikaze smolts) and some of the winter lies are holding fish that are conserving energy. Quiet runs with some depth and structure are fishing well right now and the riffles are seeing some fish nose up into them later in the day when the water warms up and there's some shade on the water. No different than summer right now when it's bright on the water....fish are going to look for shade or water that has some chop to it to conceal them. If you are seeing dark fish in shallow water (often paired up) that's a redd and its a not good to fish in there no matter how big or tempting the fish are.
As far as tactics go, now is a good time for classic indicator tactics (strike indicator, split shot, 2 flies) but Chubby Dropper tactics (One Chubby/One Tungsten Jig Fly) are also good. Dropper flies should be near the bottom. Flies going too fast or not deep enough aren't getting it done. As water temps increase and insect hatches explode you will see more activity up top.
Flies that have caught fish this week are Stonefly Nymphs (try different sizes and colors), 20 Incher Stones, Red Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Pearl & Orange Jigs, Roza's Pink Tag Jigs. The Chubby Chernobyl's, Norm Woods and Clarks Stones are on deck waiting for the call.
April 19th, 2021
We are excited that the Lower Deschutes from Warm Springs to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation opens on Thursday April 22nd. You can expect fishing to be good this week, especially indicator nymphing with stonefly nymphs (Jimmy Legs, Pat's Stones, Lex's Improved Stones) and droppers (think Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Hare's Ears). You will also find success with Chubby Dropper tactics. Probably not much action on the Chubby until around May 10th or so but the dropper nymphs should be excellent for the next couple months. Firestarter's, Pearl & Oranges, Thread Frenchies or Jig 20 Inchers will catch fish. We have a massive selection of killer jig flies. If you are trying this style of nymphing for the first time come see us at the shop and we can dial you in. Its effectiveness is a result of its simplicity.
Fish are transitioning between winter and summer lies this time of year and some spots that fish great in summer will still be quiet.
Swinging with a trout spey/switch can also be very effective at this time. Smaller sculpins, minnows and buggers generally outfish the bigger streamers often used for bulls or browns. Sculpzillas are very good redside hunters. Cycle through colors until you find a color that's getting eaten. A T-8 tip, some 2x Fluorocarbon and a 50 foot cast will get you into some good and aggressive redsides.
Visible dark fish in shallow water are off limits. Keep an eye out for spawning redds. Also, move on from any water that seems loaded with silvery steelhead smolt which are prevalent into May.
Our multi-day trips are pretty much booked during the salmonfly hatch but we do have some great mid-June dates open for caddis hatches. Weather is usually good and the consistent hatches make these an underrated time of year to really experience the Deschutes without the crowding that is now commonplace in May.
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.