Upper Deschutes Steelhead Report
After having such poor fishing on the lower river (Macks to Moody) and after hearing about how good the fishing was in the upper river (Warm Springs to Harpam Flat), I decided to try my luck on a three-day float in the middle of last week.
Conditions seemed perfect: the weather was steady, clear and cool, the river was in great shape, and people were catching fish throughout the run. Somehow, though, the steelhead must have gotten word that I was coming, because we had really tough fishing for all of the three days, except for a couple of all-too-brief flurries in the evening.
Floating between Warm Springs and Trout Creek, we saw zero steelhead caught, and pressure was light. The long drift on the Indian side just above Trout Creek, always productive, yielded nothing, as did reliable holds above and below Trout Creek Rapid. We didn't hit fish until South Junction, where we picked up two in short order. Since we were camping at Whiskey Dick and it was getting late (ie, it was dark), we rowed right by some good water at Kaskella and upper Whiskey Dick. Checking around with others in the WD neighborhood, we learned that a couple of fish had been caught during the day on nymphs (#14 pheasant tails fished below a #4 Stonefly Nymph).
The next day saw nothing other than a batch of trout, with the only two steelhead coming minutes apart in the late afternoon. I was lucky enough to hook these, both on an Ackroyd. The second fish swallowed the fly, and I had to cut it off to release the fish. Too bad, as this was my lucky fly and I got no more hits for the balance of the trip.
The final morning, someone may have had one on, but the knot pulled loose so we don't know if it was a steelhead, redside, whitefish or over-eager coarse-scale sucker. Bottom line was that the fishing sucked, although it was a pleasant time to be on the river.
Think I'll go to Alaska next week. The Deschutes seems to have taken a hearty dislike to my presence.