Sometime I will learn to take my own advice. One of the things I've learned over the past few years, that if you want to avoid crowds on the Deschutes, avoid the "closure weekends."
For those of you who may not know what a closure weekend is, jet sleds may use the lower Deschutes 10 days out of every 14. Alternate weeks, sleds are banned from Thursday through Sunday and everyone from three states around with a drift boat or a raft heads for the river. Crowded wasn't the word for it this week. It was sort of like Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras, only with different scenery.
Of course, the lure of 300,000 or more steelhead in the Columbia system would certainly add a lot of incentive for getting out there and giving it a chance, but, take my advice (even if I don't seem to be able to, and don't go during the closures).
Of course, with all due deference to Jet Sled, if closures are so popular, why not go to an alternate week schedule with the sleds (one week on and one week off) and spread the crowding out a little.
Anyway, my friend Ted had flown all the way out here from Florida to go fishing, so, closure or not, we went.
Turned out for us, and the majority of people we talked with (and we had abundant opportunity for that), the fishing absolutely sucked. The river was up, but stayed clear in spite of a pretty heavy rain up on the glaciers, and things looked ideal. We were lucky enough to camp on a very productive drift, but wound up the weekend with only one fish landed out of three fish hooked.
One pair of anglers had an eleven fish morning (!), but they were certainly the exception.
Down at the mouth of the river, few fish were being caught in the Columbia, and, although there are still a ton of fish in the Bonneville and The Dalles pools, there didn't seem to be any push of fish into the Deschutes area.
They'll come eventually, we just timed our trip badly. Stuff happends, as they say.
The "B" run fish are due (large Idaho fish that stray into the lower ten miles of the Deschutes) and I can't wait to see how that will turn out.
All for now. If you head for the river, you might look for fish above Shearars Falls. The fishing was good in the lower river a couple of weeks ago. The water level is way up now, and the fish presumably moved up with it.
Anyway, I'm sure you'll have better luck that we had.