The Deschutes is a desert river flowing north through deep, rugged canyons and has some of the biggest trout water that an angler will ever see. High-side drift boats or inflatable rafts help anglers easily cover large stretches water, but numerous class III and IV rapids make the Deschutes appropriate for experienced whitewater boaters only. Keep in mind, there is no fishing from a boat allowed on the Lower Deschutes. This roughly 100 miles of river boasts abundant insect hatches, healthy populations of Rainbow Trout, and a run of Summer Steelhead. The Deschutes basin’s strain of rainbow trout, called “Redsides,” grow thick shouldered, and are surprisingly strong for their size.
A popular float with plenty of fishing time and great views is the almost 10 mile stretch from the Warm Springs boat ramp to Trout Creek Campground. Beyond Trout Creek, boaters must float 30-35 miles before arriving at one of the three next possible takeouts. The first is a boat ramp at Nena Creek, followed by Long Bend, then the biggest at Harpham Flat, then finally Wapanitia. We fondly label this lengthy section of river, the "Camp Stretch", where numerous BLM campsites dot the river's edge, and provide boaters a chance to camp. Towering canyon walls and challenging whitewater guard the beauty and remoteness of this section of the river from over fishing. A float on this Wild and Scenic stretch of the Deschutes is our most popular guided fly fishing trip.
October caddis are beginning to taper off but are still around and pupas are still getting the job done. Blue winged olives and midges are out in force. Nymphing with a smaller stonefly nymph or October caddis pupa trailed with small mayfly nymphs (#16-#20) will be the way to go, likely until next spring. Most mayflies on the water right now are in the size 16-20 range so any nymph in that size range will catch fish. We like the JuJu Baetis, pheasant tail, Copper John, Psycho Prince, and Zebra Midge. Steelhead are making their way higher in the system and a few have been spotted between Warm Springs and Trout Creek. Try a big, flashy stonefly followed by an egg, Jumbo John, or larger Psycho Prince. Hoh Bo Speys and Silveynator Tubes are still the go-to swing flies for the guides, but traditional hair wing and married wing patterns are fishing well as well.
To stay up to date with our guides make sure to follow them on Instagram