Awesome Trout Fishing near Maupin, Oregon
A few notes about the Lower Deschutes River last week...
The river is currently colored up (not blown out, but very green) from Pelton Dam to the mouth. Word is that the Whitewater River, tributary of the lower Metolius, blew out and dumped a ton of sediment into Lake Billy Chinook. When this happens, fine particles of silt slowly settle to the bottom of Lake Billy Chinook. It can take up to two weeks for the silt to settle. Last time the Whitewater River blew out (not to be confused with the White River) Round Butte Dam was releasing 100% of the water from the bottom of Lake Billy Chinook where all the silt was concentrated. The Deschutes was chocolate milk for two weeks. Fortunately Round Butte Dam is releasing 50% of the water from the top of the lake and 50% from the bottom this month, so we are seeing relatively mild effects in the Lower Deschutes. Like I said, very green but not blown out.
The steelheading has been tough last week. We have found a few ass kicking wild bucks, but very tough fishing for the most part. What has been exceptional is the dry fly fishing for native rainbow trout. The weather last week was cloudy with showers for the most part, and the Blue Winged Olive hatch has been outstanding each day around 2:00 pm. It was good when the river was clear, and has improved with the colored water.
I don't often ditch the spey rod to chase trout, but I am not talking about a few rising fish. I am talking about hands down the best trout fishing I have ever seen around Maupin. Spots that might hold a rising fish or two on a good trout day have had huge pods of big trout. The colored water has allowed us to get closer than normal to the fish. I have never seen so many 15 to 18 inch trout around town. So each day I have been out for steelhead we have taken a trout break from around 2:00 to 5:00. I haven't twisted anyone's arm either... all it has taken was to see all the rising trout. And what do you know, the guide has a five weight rigged with just the right fly in the boat. Resistance is futile!
Hot flies have been the purple para wulff and purple haze in size 16 and even 14. Also, x - caddis and EC caddis have worked after the BWO hatch subsides. All fished with 4X tippet. Trout have been rising in eddies and slow moving water. The river is about 52 degrees around Maupin so the fish are hanging in a little softer water.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from steelheading, but if rising trout sound like fun bring a five weight along and a few dry flies and take an afternoon break from spey casting. Giving up on steelhead to trout fish is one thing I never recommend... its a great way to not catch a steelhead. However, being an opportunist and taking advantage of a beautiful trout fishing situation for a few hours is no compromise at all. It's what makes the Deschutes so unique.