Tag Archives: deschutes river fly fishing guides

Deschutes River Salmonfly Hatch 2015

Steve Hanson with a football-shaped Deschutes River redside.

Steve Hanson with a football-shaped Deschutes River redside.

Yes, as we creep through the dog days of summer, this spring’s stonefly hatch on the Deschutes seems like old news.  My good friend Matt Ramsey, another veteran flyfishing guide in the Eugene area who I often collaborate with, recently sent me a bunch of great photos he took while working with our crew on the Deschutes for this year’s salmonfly hatch.  Matt takes great pictures, and was generous enough to share them with me.  They are a great reminder of the beauty of the Deschutes River canyon in the springtime, the awesome dry fly fishing opportunities for hard-fighting Deschutes redsides.  The overnight Deschutes canyon camping trip during the salmonfly hatch is one of the best fishing trips around.  From the fishing, the quality and dedication of the guide staff, to the camp amenities and food, it is a top notch experience.  For more information on overnight Deschutes trips, please click on the Deschutes link at the top of the page.

A flash in the water as a big Deschutes Redside puts a serious bend into a 5 wt.

A flash in the water as a big Deschutes Redside puts a serious bend into a 5 wt.

Now is a great time to start organizing and scheduling a Deschutes salmonfly trip for 2016.  To guarantee the best dates and best guides, it is a good idea to start the ball rolling early.  The peak dates for the hatch and the best dry fly fishing are any time between May 10 and the end of the month.  Within this window of opportunity, the Deschutes salmonfly hatch is not a hit or miss type of thing; the hatch is consistent within these dates, and when the bugs are around, the fish will be looking for them.

TJ Rosengarth, preparing to dig a big trout out of dense brush with a bow-and-arrow cast.

TJ Rosengarth, preparing to dig a big trout out of dense brush with a bow-and-arrow cast.

Brushy spots often offer good dry fly opportunities during the salmonfly hatch.  Unlike most of the bugs trout feed on, the salmonflies and golden stoneflies first migrate to the bank as nymphs and climb up onto stream side rocks and vegetation to emerge as adult insects.  As a result, the trout will often lie in wait adjacent to grassy banks and overhanging limbs, waiting to ambush the big bugs.  As the insects become active and begin their mating flights, however, they become available to the trout in all sorts of different types of water, including mid-stream seams and riffles.

Tim Becker takes trout after trout from the seams surrounding this mid-stream rock pile.

Tim Becker takes trout after trout from the seams surrounding this mid-stream rock pile.

The scenery in the Deschutes Canyon in the springtime is hard to beat.

Evening light on the Deschutes and a drift boat gliding downstream.

Evening light on the Deschutes and a drift boat gliding downstream.

A dramatic sky, precursor to an afternoon thundershower.

A dramatic sky, precursor to an afternoon thundershower.

The salmonfly hatch is hands-down the most fun and most productive time to fish the lower Deschutes for trout.  Good-sized, hungry rainbow trout and big dry flies are a great combination.

Eli Krainock with his rod bent on another nice fish.

Eli Krainock with his rod bent on another nice fish.

Phillip Dean with a well-fed Deschutes rainbow that pounced on a Norm Woods Special.

Phillip Dean with a well-fed Deschutes rainbow that pounced on a Norm Woods Special.

Providing the best fishing trips possible really is our family business!  Below, my wife and I are busy packing and reloading camp boxes and coolers while 4 month old Henry looks on from the shade of the boat stack.  We are getting ready for another trip the following day!

Teamwork at Ethan Nickel Outfitters.  It is a family affair!

Teamwork at Ethan Nickel Outfitters. It is a family affair!

Now is a great time to get in touch with your fishing buddies and organize a trip for next year’s salmonfly hatch.  Book early to secure the best dates!

MJ Lyons with a beautiful wild trout.

MJ Lyons with a beautiful wild trout.

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Deschutes River Fishing Report: the Steelhead are in

We just finished a three day trip on the Deschutes from Trout Creek to Maupin yesterday. Although it is no secret that the lower Deschutes (below Maupin) has had good numbers of steelhead in it for some time, there are now good numbers of fish throughout the system.
Aside from some wind, we had good weather throughout the trip and enjoyed some cloudy weather. This helped things out; steelhead will generally come for a swung fly better when they don’t have the sun shining directly in their eyes. We did well swinging flies, but also did some nymphing when the sun came out.

Wild Deschutes Steelhead

A variety of wet flies caught fish. In my boat, we did well on a sparkly purple fly, the Silver Hilton, and the Lady Carolyn (all #4). When the sun comes out, try fishing a black or purple leech on a sink tip. Top producing nymphs were the Prince Nymph (#8-#14), a black girdle bug (#6-#8), as well as a Flash Back Pheasant tail (#12-#14).

Deschutes Steelhead

Trout fishing also remains good. We caught some nice trout on the surface with October Caddis imitations as well as small caddises. We also took some nice trout on nymphs.

A Beautiful Deschutes River Rainbow

Mid and Late September are a nice time of year on the Trout Creek to Maupin stretch. The trout fishing is generally good, there are usually fishable numbers of steelhead and light traffic. This was a weekend trip and we saw very few people. As we move into October, there will generally be more steelhead up on this stretch but also more people trying to catch them. Because the weather cools and the days get shorter, November is not a very busy month on this stretch of the river, but can offer some spectacular steelhead fishing. That time of year, the fish are in and are unharassed. This makes the fish happier, and when they are in a good mood, they tend to bite better.
For anyone interested in doing a guided trip on the Deschutes, we have some availability still in October and more openings in November. With record numbers of steelhead coming up the river, this is the year to do it.

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