Monday April 22nd!
The lower Deschutes River is arguably one of the best trout streams in the west. Trout per river mile is around 1500. Rainbow trout, “redsides,” are available year-round between the Northern Warm Springs Indian Reservation and the Mouth of the Deschutes. The open section has very robust numbers of fish and angling opportunities are numerous. This time of year anglers should look for Blue Winged Olives, March Browns and Swallas for surface fishing. Nymph fishing opportunities are everywhere. Swinging flies with a “trout spey” is also effective.
On April 22nd, the Deschutes River opens upstream of the reservation boundary; this is the Deschutes opener. These upriver fish have not seen a fly since last year! The section from Warm Springs boat ramp to Trout Creek is known as “the day stretch,” and is easily the busiest section of the river for trout fishing, and for good reason! Access is good up and down the east bank from Mecca Flats to Trout Creek. There is a trail that runs the river for this distance. Access on the west bank is the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The tribes grant access from Dry Creek to the Jefferson County line if you have a Tribal Pass.
The multi-day section from Trout Creek to Maupin also opens up and is best done over three or four days. Note: anglers floating below Trout Creek should go with a guide or be very experienced boat operators. There are dangerous rapids below and boats are lost each season. The section below Trout Creek has the best scenery on the river and some of the best trout fishing around. Campgrounds are numerous and well marked.
No angling from a floating device is the law of the land on the lower Deschutes, angling is done wading the river. The Deschutes is big and has strong current, more so in the spring with runoff, so anglers should take care stepping off her banks. The spring is also when the Deschutes Redsides are spawning so take care where you are wading and do not – I repeat – do not fish the redds!
Five and six-weight rods, floating lines and good reels are recommended for these fish. Anglers should be prepared to nymph fish with an open eye for fish feeding on the surface. Your local fly shop can hook you up with leaders, tippet, flies, strike indicators and other necessary fly fishing gear. Be sure to have some Pat’s stones, crazy legs (or the like) and variety of bead head flies in the 14 to 16 size.
A couple things to remember:
ODFW Fishing License
CTWS Tribal Permit (if applicable)
Deschutes River Boaters Pass (if applicable)
NO FISHING FROM THE BOAT
Deschutes River Boaters Guide