Deschutes River advice... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Deschutes River advice...

08-17-2005, 01:13 AM
I'm headed over to the Deschutes this weekend, and I was hoping for some steelhead advice. Believe it or not, I'm in Portland, I've been flyfishing for steelhead for years, and have never made a single cast into that river! :confused:

At any rate, I've checked the reports from the local shops, and have a good idea for what I'm in store for, but if anyone has been on the water in the past couple of days and can offer any advice on patterns I would truly appreciate it. I've got a couple nights left to tie up some winners. I'll probably be fishing between Macs Canyon and Rattlesnake campground if that narrows down a fly selection for anyone.

Thanks a ton. Tight lines to all.

08-17-2005, 11:24 AM

Fly Fishing Forum still has "The Notion of Steelhead" available -- this article deals with the Deschutes from a "swung fly" (i.e., greased line and modifications) perspective.. You might find it helpful.

Fishing the access road can be difficult, if only in finding a good place to fish that's unoccupied. Rattlesnake campground has some excellent water nearby, as does Sinamox, farther down the canyon. Fish early in the morning, at first light, and keep at it until 11 or 12. The fish will hit in the sunshine, expecially in the forenoon. Sink tip lines will probably get you more strikes than a floating line -- if you want to fish a floater, use it while the shade is on the water, and then, once the sun hits, switch to the sink tip.

Fish in the afternoon just as soon as the shade comes on. Don't mind the wind, just cope with it. As long as the line is on the water, you're in with a chance.

There's a lot of good water on the west bank, across the river from the access road. If you have a pontoon boat, or something similar, there are several safe places to cross, and this will give you an opportunity to fish some of the less crowded drifts.

Larger flies (4's and 2's) seem to work better early in the season (ie, August). Any of the standard Deschutes patterns will produce: Green Butt Skunk, Max Canyon, Streetwalker, Surgeon General, etc. Just make sure you have some dark buggy patterns, some slim Spey type flies, some purple flies for daylight. The actual patterns aren't as important as the concept.

The drifts are long. Fish them through at a moderate pace -- cast, take three to five steps down, and cast again until you've worked the drift from inflow to outflow. Don't hestitate to rework a drift, if you think it's promising despite having no offers on your first time through.

Hope this helps,.

and good luck,

let us know how you make out,



08-17-2005, 11:28 AM
Bring lots of water to drink! it is damn hot over there this time of year.

08-17-2005, 07:25 PM
have water and BLM camping. Toward the end of August, when it is hot the White river often starts dumping glacial silt and makes flyfishing difficult. Check before you head over.

08-18-2005, 01:04 AM
Don't forget a boater permit if you plan on floating to the opposite bank. The Deschutes offers you on of the best opportunities to bring a steelhead up to a dry when the sun is off the water.

08-23-2005, 11:51 PM
All great advice given above. If you drive down the gravel road below Shears Falls there is great fly water between Pine Tree and Macks Canyon. The good runs will be obvious (and most will be occupied at prime hours). If there are lots of people in the bigger prime runs, don't overlook many of the smaller spots which may only offer the opportunity for 5-10 casts....some of these will hold fish and if you hit enough of them, you will be in the game eventually.

Another bonus in steelhead fishing the Deschutes are the trout. During the middle of the day, break out your nymphing rigs and you can be rewarded with some nice redsides and occassionally steelhead. As mentioned above, you can swing tips during the day if you like, but personally I usally like to nymph during mid day as the trout can provide a nice change of pace and I have hooked some nice steelies this way as well.

Water temps were in the low 60s last week near Shears Falls so that shouldnt be an issue at least for now.

08-25-2005, 12:04 PM
currently at Macks Canyon. Also, the White started dumping glacial silt Tuesday morning, it was still out below Wednesday night. Call one of the shops before you go.