My past two weeks fly fishing for steelhead on the Deschutes has been interesting to say the least. The highs have been very high, and there have been some difficult times as well. Between Nick, Nate, Ben, and myself we have been fishing the whole river from Trout Creek down to the mouth. A brief fishing summary would be that the fish are spread out through the entire system. The river clarity is currently better upstream from the White River. River temperatures are still perfect for floating lines. There are some big beautiful wild fish around right now, as usual during fall.
My most recent trip was a four day camp on the lower river. I fished with a single angler, so it was a self support trip (no bag boat to set up camp for us). Even though I love my bag boat I was stoked to do a self support float with my new Koffler 18' x 64" drift boat. It is a lot of boat and easily accommodates two anglers, a dog, and a week's worth of gear. The river gods did not smile on us, as the Deschutes swelled by nearly 1,000 cfs. To make conditions even better the White River completely blew out the lower river. If there was a trip to blow out, this was it. My angler was also an avid hunter and brought a beautiful Browning side by side 12 gauge. I brought my English Setter, Dixon. I wish I had photos of the rooster! Enough said about that. Fishing sucked, bird hunting saved the trip!
Before that I had a week of day trips near Maupin. While we were generally scratching for steelhead, we found a few nice pods of fish. Fishing was tough overall with a fish here and one there, except for two lucky spots where we encountered 16 fish!! A few of these were nice grabs, but most of them were line peeling fish on. One of the spots gave up three fish to a floating line and wet fly, then seven more hook ups with a sink tip. Un-freakin-real. Aside from that we had been searching long and hard for our fish-a-day. In one angler's case we worked very hard on learning to spey cast and swing a fly, and the morning of the third day she caught a gorgeous buck. Being a part of someone's first steelhead is a huge pleasure of guiding.
While I was guiding day trips near Maupin the crew made a four day camp float from Trout Creek to Maupin. For them the river was in great shape and pleasantly uncrowded. I have come to expect modest numbers of fish from the upper river the past two seasons (a theory for another day), and this trip was no exception. Each angler caught fish, including some stunning wild ones.
Here are som photos form the past few weeks. We're in the thick of fall, get your fish on! - Chris
Photos courtesy of Guido Rahr
Photos courtesy of Nate Koenigsknecht
Photos courtesy of Dan LeMoine and Tim Soderquist