September 29, 2014
Swinging into Fall!
Nate Turner

Piles of leaves in the yard, kids back in school, cool mornings and warm afternoons.... what a great time of year!  Fishing on the Lower Deschutes has been solid over the last few weeks.  Thanks to lower water temperatures coming out of the dam and plenty of overcast weather days, the river has consistently produced the right conditions for finding steelhead on the swung fly!

Have you checked the fish counts at The Dalles Dam and Sherar's Falls?  If so, you are well aware that good numbers of our favorite gamefish are steadily moving upstream through the system.  Along with the steelhead, we are seeing a bunch of chinook salmon rolling and jumping in the bigger pools of the lower 30 miles of the Deschutes.  These brutes are less likely to grab a fly, but are great to see nonetheless.  As the Fall progresses, we can expect the entire 100-mile length of the Lower Deschutes River fill with grabby steelhead.  Everything is lining up nicely for another fun season of drifting the canyon, camping and swinging flies for these sea-run redsides.

In the early morning hours before the sun creeps above the canyon walls and hits the water, we've been happy to find steelhead who are eager to take skated dry flies as well as traditional hairwings.  Well known patterns like Bombers, Steelhead Caddis and Grease Liners have worked well on the surface, while the usual Green Butt Skunks and Fly Dujours do the job when presented just at- or under the surface.  We like to fish smaller sizes when the river is busy with other fisherman, so pick your flies in sizes between #4 and #6 or even #8 if you can find them.  Take smaller steps in between your casts when you know your fly is swimming through particularly 'greasy' water and make sure you are showing-off that fly!

Plenty of opportunity to find your fish in the middle of the day exists now that Fall is here to stay.  Cooler daytime temps and longer shadows on the water make this possible.  Get down and dirty with a medium sink tip in traditional runs or go dredging with heavy tips in the belly of the pools. Fish your bigger-bodied patterns like leaches and intruders in order to incite aggressive strikes.  Stick with simple color combinations like blue/black, purple/pink, black/chartreuse and just plain all-black and swing your way through the day in confidence.  

We like to keep one spey rod rigged with a floating line and long leader for fishing skaters and hairwings, another spey rod rigged with a sink tip and a leach.  This ensures total flexibility as we proceed downstream in pursuit of that TUG.

Keep moving, cover water and HAVE FUN!  You'll find your fish this time of year.

Keep Deschutes River Outfitters in mind when visiting the Lower Deschutes River.  We specialize in designing single and multi-day trips around your needs.  Let us provide you with the right gear for a fun, successful experience in this wild canyon we call our 'office.'  We prepare hot streamside lunches on our day trips, while a tasty gourmet menu compliments our fully outfitted multi-day camps.  Large tents, sleeping cots and covered dining areas provide our guests with the means to recharge after a long day on the water.  With October (our favorite month for steelhead) fast approaching, be sure to call and inquire about available dates.

New to spey casting?  No problem.  We've got the rods, experience and the patience to get you into the swing of things.

Come on down and join us for a trip you won't forget!  Our calendar is filling fast.  Call today to reserve your dates!

Tight Lines,
Deschutes River Outfitters