The Deschutes: Runs South to North Through the Heart of Oregon
On the West side of the River you will find the Cascade Mountain Range and on the East Side the State transitions to a much dryer, High Desert climate.
The last 100 miles of the Deschutes before its confluence with the Columbia is the area we fish. Three rivers the Metolius, the Crooked, and the Deschutes River come together to form Round Butte Reservoir.
The top 40 miles directly below the dam is the best of the trout water. Public bank access is very limited on this section of the River. On the top 10 miles of river, between Warm Springs and Trout Creek boat ramps, there is access to the River at both the boat ramps and one place on the east side of the River (Mecca Flats) and one place of the west side of the river (Dry Creek).
The first two miles of the float fishing is closed on the west side of the river by agreement with the Warm Springs Tribe. A daily, or yearly tribal permit may be purchased to fish the next 8 miles of river to just past Trout Creek boat ramp.
The bottom 60 miles of fishing has become much better in the last 10 years. Many people think post 1996 flood the fishing got better and in fact, it was about this timeframe we notice a dramatic improvement in the trout fishing below Maupin.
The Fishing: A Fly Fishing Experience of a Lifetime
By law it is illegal to fish out of the boats or any floating devise on this section of the river. All we do is fly fish. Every year we get lots of first time flyfishing anglers and we love fishing you. Understand as in any other endeavor in life the more you practice the better you get at something. If you come expecting to put 20 fish to hand on your very first flyfishing trip, you come with unrealistic expectations.
The Fish: Both Native Deschutes River "Redside" Trout and Steelhead
The Deschutes “Redside” Rainbow Trout and their sea-run cousins the Steelhead are the targeted fish on our guide trips. On rare occasion you might also land a bull trout. The river also supports whitefish, and squaw fish. But the great thing is that the Deschutes Whitefish does not eat dry flies.
When I go on a fishing trip the fish quality is very important to me. First, how big are the fish? The Deschutes Redsides are averaging from 12-16 inches right now. With plenty of 16+ to keep you on your toes. The Redside is a chunky, shouldery, beautiful, wild fish. What ever they lack in stretching a tape consistently over 20 inches is made up for in girth and heart. The fish cycle and the average is bigger some years. Ten years ago you had a hard time catching a redside smaller than 14 inches.
Size is important when I decide to take a fishing trip, but past size, how the fish fights is equally important to me. We are talking about rainbows here, which means fish that jump. I love an aerial show with the fish I hook.
Steelhead (ocean going rainbow trout) start arriving in fishable numbers in August and we pursue them into December. October is the peak of the run. These are incredible game fish. We are total steelhead nuts! This passion is transfered to you, we love to guide and teach steelheading. They do not always come easily, but they are worth it. This is a seriously addictive pursuit. One you have to experience, to truly explain.
The Deschutes steelhead run is a mix of hatchery and wild fish (about 70-30). We have been experiencing some great returns. This is classic Pacific Northwest Steelheading at it's finest and a great place to start your steelheading career. Big traditional swing friendly runs and fish that are known to be eager to move for a fly, sometimes ever skated dries is a trademark of the Deschutes Steelhead experience. A Multi-day trip in the Fall, I can't think of a better place to be in October.
There are a lot of great trout rivers in the West, but there are very few rivers anywhere that can boast a great wild trout population and world renown steelheading. We have them both.
The Location: Oregon, an Outdoor Adventure Paradise
Oregon offers everything an outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) could ever want in a vacation destination. What sets Oregon apart to me is the diversity. In the winter it is steelheading in a temperate rain forest miles from the Pacific Ocean. Summer time it is chasing trout in High Desert Canyons. The Fall the list of options from summer steelhead, to trout, and even fall chinook on the coast. What to do!!!
Indicates the general location of most Deschutes River Outfitters' trips.
Inset shows the Deschutes River Watershed encompassing approximately 7,820 square miles of drainage.