DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT

Friday, February 10, 2017

Happy New Year from Melting Maupin!! We have been buried under layer after layer of snow this winter and it all finally starting melting yesterday. Unfortunately, this means that the Deschutes River is a MUDDY MUDDY MESS. Last I checked, it was over 12,000 CFS and going higher. I would expect it to continue to rise as the tributaries dump more and more water into the mainstem.

So, we just got back from an amazing two weeks in Kiribati AKA Christmas Island. Though my savage tan is beginning to fade, the memories of our weeks on the flats are fresh. We hosted two weeks at The Villages lodge, which is located right on the edge of the lagoon. Each morning every angler is greeted in front of his/her seaside cabin by his/her own personal guide for the day. The guide carries your rods to the boat and you walk down to the beach to step aboard. When we went to Kiribati about a year ago, we stayed at a different lodge and really liked it. However, our expectations of the trip were blown away by the staff and guides at The Villages. This is the only operation on the island which assigns each angler a personal guide - at all other lodges you share a guide with another angler. The one-to-one guide to client ratio insures that you have the best opportunities at all times. Your guide's eyes are always looking for YOU and for YOU ALONE - so every bonefish, triggerfish, Giant Trevally, Blue Fin, or any other species that he spots will be spotted for you and you will be positioned to have the best shot at every fish on the flat. With a two angler per one guide scenario, you only get those eyes for half the time. I loved having my own guide!!

Because the food at the last place we stayed was sub par, and often they ran out before the last person got to the buffet line, we hauled in an extra bag full of bars and beef jerky. It was totally unnecessary, because the food at the Villages was great! We had salad, fresh fruit, steak, fresh Ahi tuna, lobster, chicken, pork, everything. All of the fresh food is flown in from Hawaii each week, so everything was safe to eat and delicious. We ended up giving away most of the snacks that we brought. The Villages staff is incredibly welcoming, they sing welcome songs, they put on dance performances, we had a local band come to play for us, and we got to know all the ladies who served our food, prepared our food, bartended, and cleaned. It is a real family environment, and I loved that aspect of it. We felt at home and hated to say goodbye after two weeks.

The fishing surpassed everyone's expectations. I know most of our group will be returning to fish with us again next year, so we may add a week or two to our stay in order to bring all the people who want to experience the magic of Christmas Island. It is a perfect place for first time saltwater anglers as well as for experienced old salts. Pick your species and make it as easy or hard as you choose. I loved the challenge of trigger fish and the absolute explosive power of GTs. But the bonefish are powerhouses in their own right and I got spanked by quite a few - broken off, hooks straightened, hooks broken, crazy stuff. My best GT was 35-40 lbs, and others caught them as large as 50 lbs. Several people really dialed in the triggers - Harley and Evan picked the guides brains and learned the tricks to making the right presentation and what the magic flies are to fool them. Fly selection was really critical, so if you are headed to Christmas Island, we can set you up with the magic flies. I will be very busy at my fly bench reloading my fly boxes for our next trip.

When we get the dates set, we will first offer the spots to the guys who went this year and then open any remaining spots to others who want to join us. What a place! What a great trip!

Sorry about the flooding and the muddy conditions. I doubt any Oregonians will be finding good fishing water this weekend because the snow melt and heavy rain across the state has probably blown everything out. Tomorrow night is the big fundraiser/auction for the Deschutes River Alliance!! John and I will be there, of course, and we hope to see many of you there too. The auction seats are all sold out, which is good for us, so next year we will have to find a bigger venue! Get ready to spend some money for a good cause and go to deschutesriveralliance.org to see the trailer for the movie that we helped make about the state of the Deschutes.

Tight lines!!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


If this is what global warming is all about, sign me up!! The beautiful fall weather has been so nice, but may be on the verge of collapse with cold weather forecast in the coming days. I don't have too much to crow about right now. The steelhead run was really really tough this year - so dreams of late fall steelhead may be just that....dreams. The trout fishing has been decent, but that doesn't make up for the brutally tough steelhead season we just lived through. What to do? Sit down at the fly bench and start tying up flies for the next season, or for a trip to warmer climes. We are headed to Christmas Island in late January, so I have that to tie for and to look forward to.

We at Deschutes Angler want to wish all of you a very happy and family-filled Thanksgiving! We are giving our guides and staff (not to mention ourselves) a nice two-day break to rest and relax after a long season of working 7 days a week. We will be CLOSED Thanksgiving Day as well as on BLACK FRIDAY. Don't be waiting outside our door at 4:00 AM waiting to bust the door down because that door is not going to open until Saturday morning after the holiday. Get outside, go fishing, go hiking, go hunting, whatever floats your boat - or float your boat....just have a great holiday.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! from all of us at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


The mild fall weather continues to deliver fantastic fishing conditions throughout central Oregon. Most of our days have been warm and overcast, which makes the fish happy and the fishermen too! Even though the steelhead pickings are slim, there are enough of them around to bring joy to the angler lucky enough to find one. This morning, a young angler (Johnny Walker, yes, that is his REAL name) and his dad came into the shop and shared an awesome photo of the Johnny's first steelhead - what a beast! It was truly a spectacular fish and will forever be seared in that kid's brain. Now his lifelong quest for bigger and better steelhead begins! Good luck, Johnny Walker (love that name!), it's a wonderful and adventure-filled, river-filled life ahead of you!

Trout anglers are having fun out there and have been treated to some nice blue winged olive hatches in the mid-day. Up until the hatch goes off, the nymphing game has been producing lots of nice trout. Stop in and we will show you the secret patterns that are working for trout.

No more drone footage - the White River is a non-issue from this point forward. We will find some other fun stuff to drone in the near future.

Tight lines, and we will see you on the river!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Spectacular fall weather has been key to excellent fishing conditions on the river lately. The water has dropped back down to average flows and we are continuing to hook steelhead on floating line and small flies near the surface. The soft morning light in the canyon makes the golden hillsides glow, accented here and there by bright red patches of sumac or poison oak stands mimicking maples. It is a lovely time of year to swing a fly while enveloped in the morning mist. The river is practically empty and the best news of all is that the lower river access road has FINALLY been graded - is that the right spelling? or is it grated, like cheese? No, I think it is GRADED. Oh well, all I know is that the worst drive on the planet is now a silky smooth dream of a drive. It will, of course, deteriorate quickly due to the poor base on that road, but it is enjoyable for now.

Steelhead fishing has been more than challenging this year, it has been downright tough. For those anglers who said, To Heck with the reports! I'm going fishing! Many have been rewarded with a steelhead of a lifetime - because they are BIG this year. Others continue to beat the water to a froth while sending prayers to the heavens for just a bump. Calling on old fishing friends who have passed to the great fishing grounds in the sky is not off limits this year - but even ghosts of great fishermen can't move a steelhead to YOUR fly if there aren't any to be found in the runs that you are fishing. Needles in haystacks are hard to find. You just have to keep pulling strands of hay aside one cast and one swing and one step at a time. The glint of that needle will be in there somewhere if you just keep picking away at the stack!

Needles and haystacks aside, let's talk about trout. The overcast but warm days are bringing out midge and mayflies in droves. The blue winged olives are tiny, but they look like monster bugs next to the size 99 midge that are popping off the river and into the riverside camp food as fast as you can cook it up. Protein sprinkles! If you get fed up with the tiny dries, the solution is to fix your eyes on a bright strike indicator hovering over your Jimmy Legs and small bead head trailer. A little extra split shot to get down will make the difference between hooking one or two trout and hooking a dozen. Don't be afraid to get stuck on the bottom - if you are not getting hung up you are not fully in the game!

The private lakes are still open and may be your best hope for hooking and playing some steelhead-sized trout this fall. Give us a call if you want to get on board for some trouty fun.

Tight lines! We will see you on the river.....Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Friday, October 28, 2016

Hello from the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon. We did fly our drone today but we have not had any office time to sit down and edit the footage. Let me just assure you that the lower Deschutes is clear and beautiful. Evan and Alex both said that their visibility was six feet - so there is no trouble at all with any sediment or silt in the river. Floating lines and skaters or non-weighted flies are still doing the trick for us, which is no real surprise since water temps are still around 54 degrees. A sink tip, if you are so inclined, will get you down a little bit and will help to slow the fly down in the faster deeper runs. A medium-sized wet fly with a tiny bit of weight works well in combination with the sink tip (10 feet of T-8 or T-10/T-11 or any lighter Rio MOW tip or Airflo FLO tip will do the trick).

Blanket hatches of BWO mayflies will continue as long as the cloudy and rainy weather continues. Size 18 and 20 bugs fished off of 6X tippet are best. The midge hatches have been insane, but the bugs themselves are too tiny to imitate unless you fish a cluster pattern that is meant to look like a bunch of midges swarming together. A Griffith's gnat will do the trick. There are a smattering of October Caddis remaining and those will be most active right in the last hours of the day - they are a nocturnal caddis. We open our doors at 9:00 AM tomorrow morning and will be here until 5:00 PM - our winter hours have been in effect seven days a week for a while now. I just thought I would shoot out a gentle reminder.

Rain is in the forecast - though the amount and duration is never exact in any forecast we have found. Our guys who just pulled off the lower river today got drenched over the past three days - but they caught steelhead so that was good. Like I have mentioned in past reports, the steelhead numbers are a little down this year but the quality of the fish in the river has been excellent. The steelhead are spread out throughout the system now, so you are in the game no matter what section of the river you decide to fish. Good luck out there! Have a great time on the river, and keep your fly wet.

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the gang at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hello fishing friends! It is overcast and sprinkling here, but the river is in great shape and the trout are happy. The bug hatches are thick in the midday - blue winged olives mostly and there are still a few October caddis around in the evening. The White River dropped quite a bit - so when I guided on Monday down in the Pine Tree to Macks Canyon stretch the visibility was good - I could see my feet when waist deep.

The steelhead numbers are pretty low this year but the quality of the fish we are hooking is excellent. It just so happens that we have to work for them. I could not believe how few people there were on the river - I saw two anglers all day in a 9 mile stretch of water. Two. In October. Unreal. In a way it is great, but it also disappoints me that the fishermen are so fickle. Come on guys, is cleaning your garage more fun than Spey casting your way down a beautiful piece of steelhead water?? Really?? Go Fish! We may go down and do a drone video later today, stay tuned.

Amy Hazel

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Friday, October 21, 2016

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Thursday, October 20, 2016

 

The White River has been steadily improving and we will be posting a new drone video today. Yesterday there was 3-4 feet of visibility in the Deschutes down around Beavertail. The river is still higher than normal and this might mean that sink tips and slightly weighted flies will be your best bet for getting your fly to slow down a bit. Stay tuned for a little aerial photography...

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

 

Check out the latest video that we made today on the White River.

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Monday, October 17, 2016

 

We are still seeing showers in Maupin and the rain on Mt. Hood is forecast to continue falling this week. The White River is definitely still blown out but slightly better than it was when we made the video. The White is starting to drop in volume a little bit now, which may improve the clarity over the next 24-48 hours. The entire Deschutes, according to my crew on the river today, is brown. They just texted me from the river this morning and, oddly, they said the river is brown today and it wasn't like that yesterday or the day before - which is when the flows out of Madras dam were jacked up. So, we are fishing slightly bigger and brighter flies in these conditions with light sink tips like T-7 or T-10/T-11 about 10 foot tips.

If the river color improves, which it should over the next 24 hours, I will let you know. If the White River drops and the lower 50 miles of the Deschutes gets clear enough to fish, I will also let you know that. Rain on the mountain and fairly warm temperatures might keep the White River big enough to mess up the Deschutes. The graph says that the White is dropping fast, but I take that graph with a grain of salt. As I said earlier, the White River flow graph is based on calculations and a formula (Moody gauge minus flows of several main tributaries) so it is not up to the minute. That graph, as far as I can tell, lags behind the actual flow of the White River by 12 -16 hours.

Tight lines! Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Saturday, October 15, 2016

 

Calm and raining in Maupin this morning. The forecast calls for strong winds tonight as we endure the tail end of the second big storm to roll off the Pacific Ocean. There are quite a few steelhead anglers around town this weekend - probably because the White River is a roiling muddy monster that is dumping so much mud into the Deschutes that visibility has gone to zero in the lower river. We expect that the mud will continue and may get worse in the lower river as a ton of rain falls on the Mountain today and tomorrow. If it gets really cold on Mt. Hood then we can expect the White River to tighten up, but it is likely to be 4-5 days before the lower river gets clear enough to swing flies. We guide both above and below the White, so we can change our game plan at the spur of the moment if we need to. If you have a lower river trip planned, you will want to move that trip up river. Unfortunately, if your trip is with a jet boat guide, then you are stuck in the mud because jet boats are not allowed up above the White where the river is more or less clear.

The river up above the White has bumped up a bit - this is normal for this time of year. The irrigation ends on October 15 and when the irrigators stop sucking water out of the middle Deschutes there is a natural bump in the flow. It usually takes a little time for the steelhead to adjust to this, maybe a day. The problem is that the shut off day, meaning the day that the water spikes, changes slightly from year to year and it is difficult to predict exactly which day the Deschutes will bump. I went back 15 years and looked at the bump day every year and it changes from October 13, to October 19, to the 17th, to the 15th etc. SO you take a little chance planning a trip during this week, but the bump in flows can also draw fish up from the lower river. It's a trade off. The great thing is that the October Brights (big two-salt wild steelhead that come in late) are here this time of year and they are spectacular!

If trout fishing has more appeal to you than steelhead, you will be in for some great blue winged olive mayfly hatches at this time of the year. Bring on the rain!! Mayflies love rain and overcast weather. The flies are small but the trout are fat and hungry.

Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Friday, October 14, 2016

 

The storm blew in last night and the wind was wicked. I felt really sorry for anyone who was attempting to camp because this wind would flatten most tents. Our crew was scheduled to launch at Macks this morning and they turned around at the sight of the White River. It jumped way up overnight and it is now extremely muddy below the White. I did a quick check on all the gauges of the Deschutes and tributaries and found that the flows out of Madras bumped last night about 500-600 cfs, Shitike Creek jumped significantly, the middle Deschutes tripled in size, and even the spring-fed Metolious River jumped several hundred CFS. There is a chance that the entire river is going to run a little brown this morning, but the river below the White will be the worst by far. The coming storm on Saturday night is supposed to bring really strong winds and a lot more rain, so it remains to be seen how that will impact our river conditions. The steelhead that are in the river are, for the most part, big and bright. We get October brights this time of year and John's client, Pat, landed an absolute dandy yesterday in the river between Pine Tree and Mack's Canyon before the blow out last night. This fish was beefy and strong and it really got his Hardy reel to scream. Thirteen pounds of chrome was the only steelhead of the day but brought more than enough joy to John, Pat and Pat's buddy, John. Though the pickings are slim this year, the rewards are better than average!

Our private lakes are really fishing well. I was up there on Wednesday exploring a new venue which is near Shaniko. I will write more about that later...stay tuned. We will be booking our lakes until they freeze up in November or December, so if you are tired of getting skunked on the rivers, treat yourself to some steelhead-sized trout in our private lakes.

Tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the Crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Saturday, October 8, 2016

 

Just after noon on Saturday and I thought I could give you all a brief update on the conditions of the river....but before I do, I wanted to let all of you know that we have changed our store hours to Steelhead Hours: 9 to 5 open daily. We have found that the majority of anglers out here in the late fall are chasing steelhead and are out on the river at the crack of dawn. We see most of the traffic when these guys decide to take a mid-day break. If you need to pick stuff up from us and you can't seem to make your schedule mesh with ours - we have ways around that. We can leave packages for you to pick up during our closed hours. Just give us a call.

We drove down to check the White River out yesterday afternoon and found that the river below the White (down around Pine Tree boat launch) had about 3 good feet of visibility. This, of course, can change with continued rainfall on the mountain. So, what I write one hour may change the next. That's just the way it works with the mud in the White River. It is now 4:45 PM and I started writing this at noon - the shop was busy all day today, so I had very little office time and lots of floor time. I have heard varying reports all day about how dirty or how clear the Deschutes is below the White. It is just best to come out and check it out for yourself and go fishing above or below the White depending on the mud.

Let me clear up some things about the graph of the White River that we have a link to on the website. The graph that you see is NOT in real time. A spike on the graph is a spike in the water flow down at the Moody Gauge which is 12 hours downstream from the mouth of the White River. The graph is created from a formula - Moody flow minus the flows of major tribs of the Deschutes (those that have gauges on them). So, when you see a giant spike like that which was on the graph yesterday, you have to realize that the big spike is not happening in the Maupin area, it is happening at the mouth. I just spoke with a guide who pulled off the lower Deschutes today after a three-day float. He woke to super muddy water on Friday morning in the Lockit area and it cleared all day Friday. The visibility was good on Friday night and absolutely fine all the way down at the mouth this afternoon. The White River can have weird pukes like that - and this is more common later in the year than earlier in the year. Last year was completely crazy - we have not seen the White River blow out that hard and for that long since my first year of guiding in 1998. I can pretty safely say that the only reason for the White river to get muddy from here on out is for the East side of Mount Hood to have huge heavy downpours which cause the bump in flows. For now, the bump has moved on through and the Deschutes should be pretty much back to normal for the time being.

That's the update! Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Thursday, October 6, 2016

 

It's Thursday night and spitting a tiny bit of rain out here in Maupin. I just got in touch with my guides who floated down below the White today - one from Pine to Beav and the other Beav to Macks. They said the river was fine, in good shape, not impacted by the recent rain at all. The White River is muddy for sure, but it doesn't seem to have enough flow to really mess up the Deschutes. Things can change for the worse in a matter of hours, but they can also improve as temperatures drop and the moisture on the mountain freezes. In my nearly 20 years of watching the White River like a hawk, I can safely say that the chances of a horrible blowout decrease significantly as soon as it gets cold and we see Mt Hood holding snow, as it is doing now. A huge and heavy downpour is about the only thing that can cause trouble now - and it is barely raining here in Maupin as it has been doing all week long with no significant change in the clarity of the lower river. So, come out this weekend, check out conditions with your own eyes, and go fishing.

As I have reported all season, the steelhead fishing is tough this year. Numbers are down in the entire Columbia basin and we have the ocean conditions to blame for that. Despite the low numbers, the fish that we have been hooking are impressive. They are, for the most part, BIG, wild, two-salt fish in the 10 plus pound class. We have been working hard for every hook up, but when they do latch on to our swinging fly it is quite the rodeo!

The Deschutes trout are hungry and happy right now, and reports on that front have been great. Not many people are chasing redsides at the moment, so you have all the trout water pretty much to yourself. October caddis are out in okay numbers, as are mayflies with the cloudy weather. I don't know what the forecast is, but my forecast calls for a full day of standing in the river. Gotta hit the rack. Tight lines!!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Friday, September 30, 2016

 

Happy Friday morning! I can hardly believe that this is the last day of September - wow does time fly when things are busy in the fly shop. Most of the anglers visiting the river now are steelhead fishermen, though the trout fishing is still good. Even though they are tougher to find, there is something magical about connecting with a bright chrome fish that was powerful enough to make the journey from natal stream to the ocean and back. Very few people are lucky enough to have both the option of fishing for both trout and steelhead in one's home river. When there is a chance for steelhead, I will opt to swing for them every time. Even when trout are rising all around my fly (targeting live insects), I am happy to be swinging for steelhead because it is a privilege to live in a place that steelhead also call home.

I had the pleasure of fishing with my new Anderson Elite 5 weight 12'7" Spey rod on Wednesday, made even more special because I was fishing with Gary Anderson, himself, who made the rod for me and gifted it to me three days prior. As I stood in the run swinging a chartreuse and purple bomber that I tied up hours earlier, I started thinking about how deeply devoted I am to this river and to protecting the fish and insects and the entire web of life that relies on the Deschutes to be healthy. I have lived in Maupin now for 18 years, it is where I cut my teeth in guiding, these are the waters upon which John and I were married, we have built our guide service sharing days on the water with clients who have become friends over the decades, we built the fly shop from the ground up with blood sweat and tears (and quite a few marital disputes), and we built our dream home on a cliff overlooking this spectacular canyon. As I watched that bomber slide across the glassy dark water on Wednesday evening, I saw two golden eagles hunting low along the rimrock, hoping to flush a chukar from the rocks. I recognized those eagles. They are our neighbors. They allow us to share the rimrock cliff with them, our house being a little over 1/2 mile down the edge of the cliff from their nest. We see them cruise by our windows as they surf the thermal upwellings on the edge of the canyon. We watch as they teach their fledglings to glide on the desert air currents. When we first purchased our piece of property, we received a letter from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife informing us that we have a golden eagle nest on our property. The letter went on to draw up parameters for how far away our house must be from the nest, how we must avoid the nest during certain times of the year, and so on. We have lived in harmony with the huge birds for going on four years now - grateful that not one member of the avian family has decided to take out a barn cat or one of our dogs. The Golden Eagles are just one of the year-round residents that make this river and her canyon a wild and wonderful place.

Back to the rod - that 5 weight Spey rod was awesome. It was deep-loading with a powerful tip and, like all of Gary's rods, crafted beautifully with wood accents in the cork. The casting was effortless, and the bomber mesmerizing to watch swing after swing. When I finished the run, I sat down on a log that had beached itself in the shallow riffle and pulled out my bird nerd binoculars to admire a GBH on the opposite side of the river. The old heron was also enjoying the evening, standing on the dry portion of a submerged riverside boulder and glancing down into the water now and again casually. He slowly waded upstream to the next dry rock and peered into the shallows hoping to see a juicy crayfish or small sculpin. His fishing endeavor was about as successful as mine - at least in the time that I spent watching him, but we both spent those evening hours completely and totally connected to the river. What more could you want?

Did you say an up to the minute report on the condition of the White River?

Tight lines!!! Amy & John Hazel Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

 

For those of you getting yancy, here is the latest report on the White River: it is muddy but too low to do anything to the Deschutes. Things have not changed for the past 5 days. Conditions are good and there are steelhead around - not many, but those that are present in the river seem to be of above average size. There are quite a few Chinook Salmon in the river right now, especially as you get down by the mouth, and they will push steelhead out of their normal holding water into the margins. Nookies will also eat swinging flies, which is an exciting way to spice up your day when steelhead fishing has been hit or miss. Crowds have been fairly minimal this year, so that is the one bonus of a low-return year in the Columbia basin.

Speaking of spicy days, we have had a few here in Maupin in the past week! First, a purple logging truck, double stacked, rolls down main street in Maupin and does not clear the large black telephone lines strung over Deschutes Ave right next to Richmond's Gas Station. The lines catch on the guy's logging truck uprights and SNAP several telephone poles get ripped down - one explodes, and the truck driver high-tails it out of town. He was caught later in Madras. Two nights later, a wild bunch off the reservation come cruising into town, stop in front of the liquor store portion of Maupin Market (closed at 8:00 and one employee was in the back going through final closing procedures), and hurl a huge AX through the 25 foot high plate glass window. The employee hears the crash and comes out to the front to watch some very cut up and bleeding dudes making off with 11 bottles of Canadian Club handles and VO whiskey handles. They didn't grab the Pendleton or Crown Royal just above the Canadian Club, these guys have their favorite booze! They take off and make it back to the reservation before flying off the road and getting arrested by the tribal police. The excitement has been non-stop here in little ol'Maupin.

Unfortunately, our campsites along the river and BLM sites are not as safe as they once were. There have been reports of stolen fly rods and reels right off the picnic tables in front of campers and tents. A couple of bad eggs in our county are ruining our once secure isolated little bubble of a town. So, be aware that this element is out and about and targeting fishermen. If you have had a rod or reel stolen, be sure to report it to the Wasco County sheriff.

Our private lakes are open and fishing well. If you are tired of fishing and not catching, and you need a day of pure gluttony, then give us a ring and we will get you on one of the lakes.

A heads up to all who are heading over here for the weekend....this is the opener of deer hunting and there will be shots ringing out in the canyon. The deer hunters usually do a little fishing in between hunts and a small portion of them may not aware of the regulations or of any sort of etiquette on the river. If you see anyone, hunter or otherwise, fishing bait or killing trout that are over 11", don't hesitate to call the number on the back of your fishing license to turn them in. Most of the time, opening day just means athat we hear shots and see deer hanging in that campgrounds or gut piles left along the river. If you can't handle that, then you might want to chill at home this weekend. If you do hit the river in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, make some human noises when walking through the brush and leave that hat with the deer antlers on it at home! Most of these guys are good, responsible people, and friendly too. The campgrounds will be a little busier than usual, but there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy our public lands.

Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Friday, September 23, 2016

 

Friday morning update on fishing conditions and such. I just sent JT, chief drone pilot down to the White River to check it out. I am 99% certain that it is unchanged since our last video, but I have already had 5-6 anxious calls worrying why we have not put a recent report on the web (Wednesday, apparently, is not recent enough). Today the sky is gray and cloudy and spitting rain - perfect steelhead weather. It is raining lightly on the mountain, but I very much doubt that will change anything on the White River - except maybe clear it up a little bit. The rest of the week is supposed to be warm and dry on both sides of the mountain. In terms of us reporting every five minutes on river conditions, assume that no news is good news. If we see conditions get worse or get better, then we update our report right away.

Steelhead fishing has been challenging this year. The numbers of steelhead are pretty darn low, so everyone is working hard to scape out a few steelhead per trip. It is always possible to find a pod of steelhead here or there - you could be the hero of the river by hooking 3-4 in one day, but reality is that we are searching the runs for hours each day with our swinging flies in order to hook up with one or two steelhead. The great thing about tough years is that we really get to see who the REAL steelhead anglers are. 70 percent of the normal steelhead crowd simply has not shown up this year and that leaves a ton of great, unfished water for the rest of us. So many guys sit at home checking flows, White River reports, fish counts, and weather and it never comes together enough for them to leave the house to give steelhead fishing a try. Fair-weather guys, thanks for staying home, that leaves a lot of great water for the rest of us!

Trout anglers, there are still plenty of great days in front of you for catching big fat rainbows. A dry-dropper combo is a great way to target fish at varying depths. I suggest a midge or other tiny tungsten bead dropper under a dark-bodied caddis pattern. The trout are hungry and happy.

Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 

Wednesday morning update on river conditions. The White river is still very muddy, but you will all be pleased to hear that the volume of the White has dropped enough in the last 24 hours to significantly improve the condition and clarity of the Deschutes below the confluence with the White. JT Milroy did a fly-over with the drone at 9:00 AM this morning and I am in the process of uploading the results of our latest one-minute video. We are sharing this video on our facebook page and our youtube channel. Unfortunately, Maupin's current internet speed is beyond awful, so it takes nearly an hour to upload a 55 second video. Look for it by noon today, maybe sooner. Yesterday's video is up and live if you want to see what it looks like when the White is ugly. This recent blowout started early on Monday morning and has cleared up in 48 hours. That is the good news. If you are headed down the lower access road, I am going to repost what I wrote about two weeks ago on the condition of the road. They grade that road 2 times per year, but they wait until it starts to rain in order to reduce fire danger. Since I wrote the blurb about how bad the road is, we have had a boat trailer break in half, bunks fall off our boat trailers, and muffler assemblies rattled loose. The ironic thing is that OUR shuttle drivers are slow and careful on the road! Here's the description of how bad it is and the consequences that you may face by speeding over the washboards (which makes them worse for everyone).....

I challenge any of you, however, to find a silver lining in the condition of the lower access road between Buck Hollow and Mack's Canyon. It is horrible. Think 18 miles of washboard so intense that your four wheel drive squirrels around everywhere if you try to go fast enough to smooth out the bumps. If you are headed down that way, just be aware that you should slow WAY down on any of the corners. Over the years that I have been on the Deschutes, I have seen 5 cars/trucks that rattled off the road and inside one of them, which was submerged on a rock wall below Rattlesnake Canyon, I found a dead body. I was in my first year of guiding, walking along the high banks looking for big trout next to the wall, when I saw this blue thing about three feet under water. At first, I thought it was a raft or some other great river booty, but I quickly discovered that it was a fully submerged pickup truck and I noticed the blue paint marks on the rocks where it had tumbled before falling into the river. Standing right next to the truck and using my fancy polarized sunglasses, I looked through the water into the cab of the truck and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw a head and torso swirl around in the driver's seat in a slow circle like those giant tube people do in front of the car dealership. Creepy. After I finished my guide trip that day, I called the state police to report what I had seen. The next morning, John and I and his brother, Tom, went steelhead fishing down in the canyon and stopped on the road to watch the state police, the county coroner, a few officers in training, and George Barnett of Barnett's Service in Maupin, figure out how they were going to pull this truck out. I let the trainees use my polarized sunglasses to see the body swirling around inside the cab, quite dramatic since the corpse had long brown hair. Then they chained up the bumper and pulled the truck from the back, and as they did the front end fell off the ledge and pointed straight down into the depths. At that point the body slipped out through the windshield and sank to the bottom of the river. When the truck came up and onto the back of the wrecker, the coroner and the cops looked at me and said, "There's no dead body in here." I was dumbfounded, I knew what I saw. For a week I was on edge while floating and wading downstream of the crash site. Every time I stepped into mushy weeds I jumped back with my heart in my throat expecting hand to rise up from the muck. Ten days later the body was found on the braided islands just below Mack's Canyon. So, drive slowly on that rutted road, that's all I have to say.

Here is a link to our video of the White River - I suggest that you watch it in HD by clicking on the cog and adjusting the quality to HD.

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel, JT Milroy (head drone pilot) and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

 

Tuesday morning update on river conditions - the White River blew out mid-morning yesterday. We waited to see if it was a brief blow out, as we have seen the river bounce right back into shape after a plume of mud. The flows did not seem that bad during the day, but by evening time the White was big enough to really cause the Deschutes below the confluence to have limited to horrible visibility. The problem with the graph that we have for the White River is that it is not based on a gauge in the river itself. This graph is an extrapolation of the flow at Moody (near the mouth of the Deschutes) minus the flow of several tributaries that do have gauges on them. The graph actually lags the rise in the volume of the White River by about 10 hours or so. The water from the White River has to actually flow all the way to the Moody gauge before it registers a rise. So, that's about 47 miles it has to flow at 5-6-7 mph, the White River graph has a delay, which was very clear yesterday as reports came in of the river getting worse and worse and the graph was reading 140 CFS. It did not seem possible that the increase of 20 CFS was enough to blow out the Deschutes, but the increase (as we can clearly see this morning) was actually on the magnitude of about 45 CFS and that sent the color into the Deschutes all the way down to the mouth. As you go further down the river, say below Macks Canyon, the visibility may improve slightly because the mud starts to settle. This is different than last year when the mud was actually very fine silt which behaved more like flour rather than denser mud. Anyway, we flew the drone over the White River mouth this morning and the news is not good. It is, however, dropping now and should be coming back into shape. We will keep you posted. For the next hour I will be working on drone footage and will post a video to our facebook and instagram and youtube accounts so you can check it out for yourselves. I will make a link here when I am finished. Maupin has painfully slow upload speed, so it sometimes takes 4-5 hours to get these videos done. Not my favorite way to spend the day, but it is a service that we do for you and hope that you can return the love by shopping at Deschutes Angler!

Tight lines,

AMy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Saturday, September 17, 2016

 

Saturday afternoon update: 4:00 PM. We flew the drone over the White River and it is certainly muddy but the flows are not at a volume that will color the Deschutes River much at all. Unless the White River spikes up to 300 CFS overnight, the conditions in the lower river, in terms of visibility, will hold strong. If you are planning a trip in the lower 45 miles of the Deschutes, bring sink tips and big flies just in case. The clouds are thick and dark over Maupin and it has been a fairly blustery day. Tight lines!

Saturday morning is starting out with heavy cloud cover and black clouds hiding our normal glorious view of Mt. Hood. This is just about the best weather one could hope for while steelhead fishing. This is FISH ALL DAY weather. I love it! I would love to report that the Deschutes is on fire and that fishing is off the hook great....this has been a tough steelhead season, but there are many bright shining moments when we hook our 1-2 steelhead per day. We are working for them, but there are willing fish around waiting to grab your fly as long as you keep on swinging it. The fair-weather steelhead anglers are staying home, so that has been really nice because it feels like we have the river to ourselves most days. The river below Macks will be quite busy for the coming 3-4 weeks and then deer, elk, and upland bird seasons seem to pull anglers from the water and into the hills.

The access road continues to be very rough on vehicles and trailers. Evan's trailer broke in half last night, so his driftboat is sitting on the grass in the park next to the shop while his trailer gets rewelded across the street by our heros at Richmond's service station. Those guys are the best. They keep us running through flat tires, broken trailers, broken axles, you name it.

The weather looks to be cooling down for the next week - possible rain is in the forecast. That might mean a muddier White River. If you are on Facebook or Instragram you can search out Deschutes Angler and watch our updates on the white via video from our drone. We are not sure how the rain on the mountain may have impacted the White, so JT is headed downstream to check it out. We will get you an up to the minute update when he returns. I will also post the video footage on both Facebook and Instagram. The White River flow has not bumped at all, so the Deschutes should be fine no matter how muddy the White gets as long as the flow stays at 125- 140 CFS.

Trout fishing continues to be good for guys targeting rainbows. The trout get pretty grabby this time of year as the continue to bulk up for the long winter ahead. Midge patterns, small dark caddis, and big ugly bugs down deep will be the key to hooking up with some respectable redsides. If you choose to target trout this time of year you will have a lot of great trout water all to yourself because the majority of anglers are chasing steelhead.

I will give a brief update later today if anything looks bad on the White River.

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

 

It smells of wet sagebrush and dirt in the canyon and burning garbage in town. It must be fall! It is cool and has been raining on and off all morning, don’t worry not enough to affect the White river. These are the days that we as steelhead fisherman love so much. It just feels like you are going to get one on every cast. Numbers, if you are into that sort of thing, have been improving over the past couple of days at both Bonneville and The Dalles Dams . Perhaps the late push of fish knows that fall is here and is moving this way?!

What I do know is that river conditions are near perfect. There is great clarity above and below White river and average morning water temperatures are in the mid to high fifties. Conditions are perfect to capture steelhead on small wet flies and skaters! Have you ever caught a steelhead on a skater? No? Have you fished one for more than fifteen minutes at a time? Probably not. The best advice that I can give you about fishing skaters is to leave all your other flies, minus a small comeback fly, in the truck. In order to succeed you must commit! I think a past girlfriend told me that. Although that relationship did not work out, I have caught many steelhead on skaters. Take advantage of these current conditions and fish new water and new techniques. Exploration is half the fun of this sport.

Trout fishing has been good as well. I have seen several strong BWO hatches in the last couple of days. Evening caddis emergence has been good as well. With the cooler weather we should see a resurgence of mayfly hatches with BWO and Mahogany duns being the biggest players. A purple Parawulff in the appropriate size (size 16-18) is an excellent imitation of both of these mayflies. Small tungsten beadhead mayfly nymphs paired with a black Jimmy Legs is a great option if you want to get down and dirty.

In today’s age of Insta-everything, the river is nearly deserted until phones start binging with pictures of jumping steelhead or mayfly sipping trout. Do not wait for your phone to bing! Come to the river and be the one that takes the photos.

Tight Lines

Alex Gonsiewski

Deschutes Angler Guide and Staff

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Time for a new fishing report! I was out this week fishing with my friend, Kara, and we had a blast swinging flies for steelhead. There are not a ton of steelhead around this year, but that has translated into something that we always appreciate on the tougher years - WAY FEWER ANGLERS. This is not good for the fly shop business, but it is spectacular from the guide trip standpoint. With fewer anglers out there targeting steelhead, those of us who stick with it and fish no matter what are finding that there are a lot more prime runs open and available for us to fish. So, every cloud has its silver lining. I challenge any of you, however, to find a silver lining in the condition of the lower access road between Buck Hollow and Mack's Canyon. It is horrible. Think 18 miles of washboard so intense that your four wheel drive squirrels around everywhere if you try to go fast enough to smooth out the bumps. If you are headed down that way, just be aware that you should slow WAY down on any of the corners. Over the years that I have been on the Deschutes, I have seen 5 cars/trucks that rattled off the road and inside one of them, which was submerged on a rock wall below Rattlesnake Canyon, I found a dead body. I was in my first year of guiding, walking along the high banks looking for big trout next to the wall, when I saw this blue thing about three feet under water. At first, I thought it was a raft or some other great river booty, but I quickly discovered that it was a fully submerged pickup truck and I noticed the blue paint marks on the rocks where it had tumbled before falling into the river. Standing right next to the truck and using my fancy polarized sunglasses, I looked through the water into the cab of the truck and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw a head and torso swirl around in the driver's seat in a slow circle like those giant tube people do in front of the car dealership. Creepy. After I finished my guide trip that day, I called the state police to report what I had seen. The next morning, John and I and his brother, Tom, went steelhead fishing down in the canyon and stopped on the road to watch the state police, the county coroner, a few officers in training, and George Barnett of Barnett's Service in Maupin, figure out how they were going to pull this truck out. I let the trainees use my polarized sunglasses to see the body swirling around inside the cab, quite dramatic since the corpse had long brown hair. Then they chained up the bumper and pulled the truck from the back, and as they did the front end fell off the ledge and pointed straight down into the depths. At that point the body slipped out through the windshield and sank to the bottom of the river. When the truck came up and onto the back of the wrecker, the coroner and the cops looked at me and said, "There's no dead body in here." I was dumbfounded, I knew what I saw. For a week I was on edge while floating and wading downstream of the crash site. Every time I stepped into mushy weeds I jumped back with my heart in my throat expecting hand to rise up from the muck. Ten days later the body was found on the braided islands just below Mack's Canyon. So, drive slowly on that rutted road, that's all I have to say.

The White River started puking mud significantly on Monday and continued to puke all day yesterday. Some people reported 2-3 feet of visibility, others less. Since then, the weather has cooled down quite a bit, we had cloud cover yesterday, and the White River began to get a little better. If you are headed down river to fish for steelhead, bring slightly bigger flies and sink tips just in case the White River gets worse. The forecast on the mountain calls for some rain in the coming days and that could make things a lot worse for those who are chasing steelhead in the lower river. We will keep you posted on the conditions as they change, hopefully for the better.

The bug hatches have been decent for trout anglers. Caddis, midge, and mayflies have been around in good numbers. I was wishing that I had brought a trout rod the other day because we saw a few big boys rising to dries with no way to try to trick them. I would have started by targeting them with a dry fly and would have put on a dropper nymph below the dry if the dry did not peak their interest. I can't give you a great report on trout because I have switched gears to steelhead fishing at this time of year. I do talk to a lot of anglers daily, so I can get some sense of the trout fishing without being out there flinging bugs. Also, we still have a few trout trips going on, like one today, which will help me write a better report on trout in a few days.

Until then, tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin, OR

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Saturday, August 20, 2016

 

I've been on the road in the last few weeks, but now I'm back in the shop and on the river guiding steelhead anglers.

We will get to the steelhead in a minute, let's talk about August trout fishing on the Deschutes. Typically, you are going to find the Deschutes trout happy and feeding on the surface in the early mornings and late evenings in August. The fly patterns that you use to fool them are extremely important because they can get quite selective this time of year. Start your morning off with caddis - dead caddis. If it looks like an elk hair caddis it looks way too lively - you need a pattern that has flat wings and that will lay helplessly on its side as the dead caddis do. Trout who are keyed in on the dead bugs will reject any lively looking caddis because they want the easy protein that won't fly off as they rise to eat it. We have several dead caddis patterns in our shop that will fool the biggest and pickiest of trout on those hot summer mornings. As the day warms up and the sun gets more intense the trout typically opt for one of three habitats - either they migrate to a shade patch such as under an overhanging tree, they move into heavily oxygenated riffles, or they go deep where the water is cooler and they are safe from avian predation - or so they think. Trout have to be ready for diving Osprey, mergansers, Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, Mink, Otters, and even the odd snake. Most of the fish I have seen in the mouths of snakes have been sculpin, but they would take a small trout if they could catch one. Fish one of the three water types and you are in the game for hooking trout throughout the day. After the dead caddis dry fly action subsides, I switch to a foam-body caddis or even a small purple chubby off of which I hang a tungsten bead nymph at 30-36" below the dry. You could also go full-on lead and bead head nymphs to scrape the bottom, but you will get hung up more often in doing so and lose quite a bit more gear. Search the heavy fast moving water and you are likely to encounter the nicest trout. In the evenings, you can fish the more lively caddis patterns, but keep them small. Size 18-20 dry fly caddis are hooking the most redsides on the surface as the sun comes off the water. Caddis pupae fished in the surface film are also highly productive. You can swing those pupae down and across in the riffle water and have lots of grabs and boils from big hungry trout. Come check out the caddis selection in our store - we have over 300 fly bins with caddis patterns alone. Tiny midge patterns and dead mayfly imitations are also good ammo to have handy for August trout on the Deschutes. Let us show you our favorite patterns for picky fish.

Let me start the steelhead conversation with my favorite topic: the White River. It is filthy. The good news is that it is very very low and is, thus, having no impact on the clarity of the lower Deschutes River. The water is a perfect steelhead tint right now, and a little warmer than we would like it, but cool enough to hook a steelhead. As you all know, I will post as soon as I hear of the White River causing any problems - for now, you can rest easy because everything is just fine.

Steelhead are moving into the Deschutes daily and are cruising up river fast in order to get to the cooler pockets of water upstream. I had a guide trip on Thursday and we were fortunate to hook up first thing in the morning with a very nice steelhead who grabbed a size 8 purple hair-wing swung on a floating leader and floating line. The fish boiled at the fly on the first cast and, given a second look, grabbed it when he was offered the fly again. This was a great moment for my guest, Andrew, and we were able to land the steelhead after a series of jumps and runs. We had a few other questionable grabs and plucks throughout the day, but thankful for the one steelhead we landed. Andrew opted to fish a skater for the back half of the day, which is a great way to go when swinging over these wild August steelhead. Fishing a skater also gets you in touch with the currents and nuances of the run you are swinging and helps you understand what a mend does to the fly in terms of speed and presentation. One little trout, we'll call him a steelhead wanna-be, boiled to the skater a half-dozen times as it swung through his domain. Little mini boil-explosions in the wake of the fly gave us a good laugh, but I reminded Andrew that the same thing could easily happen on the next swing with a steelhead boiling again and again in the wake of the swinging fly. It didn't happen for us that afternoon - but it wasn't for the lack of effort.

The pursuit of steelhead is not something to be taken lightly. You have to be dedicated to constantly renewing the hope of the hook-up. Each step down a run and each cast brings the suspense of a hook-up. Some seasons are tougher than others and those challenging seasons can be great for the dedicated angler in so many ways.... When steelhead are scarce each one you hook is so much more memorable. When the season is tough, there is a bright side - way fewer anglers on the river and much more virgin water available to those who make the effort to get out there and fish. This week, our crew experienced triple steelhead encounters on two different outings - one in the wee hours of the morning and one in the waning hours of daylight - in each situation steelhead grabbed flies that were either skating across the surface or just inches below the surface. Boom, boom, boom, the steelhead came one after the next within a fifty to seventy yard-long piece of water. Being in the right place at the right time certainly has its rewards!

You can't hook those steelhead from your desk or from your couch, you have to get your boots wet and get on the river. I have seen familiar faces popping into the shop in recent days, the old steelhead regulars are here from Colorado and from Utah and from Washington and, of course, from Portland and Bend. These are the die-hards that don't have to hear a great fishing report to want to stand in the river for hours casting and swinging in the hopes of just one encounter. They don't wait for a great fishing report, they get out there so that they can be the ones to MAKE the great fishing report! In reality, the hard-core guys don't go tooting their horn on the internet about how many they hooked or where they hooked them. They fish the Deschutes for a week and quietly pack up their camp gear and roll out of town while formulating their plans for the next steelhead adventure. Maybe they will return to the Deschutes or maybe they are bound for some other famous steelhead destination. Perhaps British Columbia is calling.

Whatever river is calling for you, heed the call and get your boots wet! Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin, Oregon

DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING REPORT


Friday, August 1, 2016

 

Starting off the new month with a fishing report - sorry for the delay in getting a recent report out to you all! We had some wonderful weather in July, and by wonderful I am referring to cooler than usual temperatures. This was great for our three day Spey camps which we ran back to back though the middle of the month. We ha