One of the West’s true gems, the Deschutes is a first-class Blue Ribbon Trout stream, and one of the world’s finest Summer Steelhead destinations to boot.
A day spent fly fishing on the Deschutes River is like a step back in time. The Deschutes winds through a high-desert canyon in Central Oregon with a rugged landscape straight out of a classic western film. The river flows quickly and broad, ranging from 180 to 220 feet across. By law, anglers are not able to fish from a boat, which allows many secrets to be kept about this magnificent stream.
Summer days are long and canyon temperatures can reach over 100 degrees, but the cool bottom along the river is full of life. The birds, deer and bighorn sheep are everywhere. Fish are drawn to the Deschutes’ Big Bug hatches, including the Salmon fly and Stone fly, and prolific numbers of Caddis and Mayfly. The robust native Deschutes ‘Redside’ Trout run 13 to 16 inches long, with many larger than that. These wild rainbow trout are very eager to take dry flies from late spring through late fall.
Steelheading on the Deschutes is unlike anywhere else in the world—and ideal for fishing with Spey rods. The pursuit of Steelhead with only the use of floating lines is an everyday occurrence, with some even responding on skated dries. Sink tips are seldom used until water temperatures fall below 48 degrees, typically late October or early November.