Carving a beautiful canyon through the volcanic basalt, the Crooked River is a tributary of the Deschutes. Cold water released from the base of Bowman Dam creates the river’s most productive 10 miles, called the Wild and Scenic section. This stretch of the river supports a buffet of insects and large numbers of native Redband rainbow trout and mountain whitefish. The river is characterized by long runs, pools, riffles and pocket water, producing trout in the 8″-12″ range and some as big as 16” . This is a great stream for all skill levels, but the generally plentiful numbers of fish make it an excellent choice for beginners. Wading is possible through most all of the river though sometimes can be difficult; a wading staff is a great tool here. Expect winter flows to be low, but fishable between 60-100cfs. Normal summer flows are around 250cfs, but the river is fishable up to about 500cfs. Check the levels below before you make the trip. Additionally, make sure to let the river and the fish stabilize a few days after a significant rise or drop in flow.
Highway 27 follows the edge of the river as it winds its way through the canyon, rarely getting more than 50 yards or so from the water’s edge, and provides easy access to all of the Crooked River’s campgrounds. Camping on this river is worth bragging about and ten improved BLM campgrounds dot the river’s edge throughout this section. All have numerous sites, restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits.
The Crooked is fishing well, and should only improve in the coming weeks. There has been a considerable amount of algae floating down from the dam, making for messy fly lines and gear. But the algae is receding, and fishing is improving. PMDs and BWOs are the most likely adults to hatch. Caddis will come off sporadically. Fishing hoppers is a good option in July, if you see them around. Euro nymphing can be a very productive tactic on the Crooked. Blowtorches, Red Tags, Perdigons, and Glo Bugs have all worked well for us recently.