The Upper Deschutes River starts its journey as a narrow stream exiting the southwest corner of Little Lava Lake. In the shadow of Mount Bachelor, the Upper Deschutes continues roughly 7 miles southward until it enters the north end of Crane Prairie reservoir. Although generally in the 6-9 inch range, anglers can enjoy the fantastic brook trout and redband fishing in this stretch. Casting dries and terrestrials during the summer months can offer hours of excitement. Undercut banks and fallen timber provide excellent habitat for these fish, but can make casting a bit challenging at times. The remaining stretch downstream from Wickiup Reservoir to Bend is generally meandering, shallow gradient, and sand bottomed.
The Upper Deschutes continues to fish well from Benham Falls to the headwaters. There are multiple opportunities to target a variety of species depending on where you're at. Brook Trout and Rainbows can be found above Crane Prairie Reservoir. Attractor type dry flies like Parachute Adams, Stimulators, and Chubby Chernobyls have been picking up some fish, as well as small, dark caddis. Prospect with these patterns around logs and undercut banks. If you aren't picking up fish on the dries, then tie on one of our many tungsten nymphs as a dropper. Tight line nymphing is often the only way to effectively nymph the narrow pocket water on this stretch.
The river temperature below Crane Prairie Reservoir is currently reading at 69F. These water temperatures are potentially LETHAL to fish hooked, played, and released. There is a very limited amount of dissolved oxygen with temperatures like this due to surface draws by Crane Prairie Dam. Please consider giving this stretch a rest from fishing and make an effort to seek out colder water elsewhere.