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 seasonal closure of the Upper Deschutes is fast approaching, so get it while you can. Attractors and terrestrials such as Chubby Chernobyls, ants, beetles, and stimulators have been picking up some fish, as well as small, dark caddis. Swinging caddis pupa can be very effective in areas where nymphing is difficult. Zebra midges and caddis pupa make for great droppers beneath a buoyant terrestrial. Tight line nymphing is often the only way to effectively nymph the narrow pocket water on this stretch, so leave the indicators at home. The fish up here are willing to eat a bugger or other small streamer as well. Try stripping flies around structure.
The river between Wickiup and Crane Prairie reservoirs is now closed. Luckily there are lots of other great options this time of year.