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 boatramp 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 and unwind. 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.
CLOSED FROM PELTON DAM DOWN TO THE NORTHERN WARM SPRINGS BOUNDARY.
Please be mindful of redds in the early part of the year, where fish can be paired up or have possibly already layed their eggs for the spawn. It is our duty to preserve these areas for future generations of fish and anglers.
Fishing on the lower Deschutes can still be productive in the Maupin area. Small flies are on the menu this time of year. BWOs are likely to come off in the afternoon. Nymphing with a stonefly nymph trailed with small mayfly nymphs and midges in a size 16-22 will be the way to go this time of year. We like the JuJu Baetis, Aero Baetis, Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Psycho Prince, and Zebra Midge. Pat’s Rubber Legs in a size 6 or 8 are the go-to top fly for a double nymph rig.
Don’t shy away from the trout spey this time of year as well. It can be quite good and especially going into early spring when the fish have sculpin and leeches on their menu.\
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