Friday, November 24, 2017 6:30 AM

All of us here at Deschutes Angler hope that you had a very nice Thanksgiving and that you are ready to get out on the water somewhere to enjoy the weekend ahead. For those of you who live in Oregon or who may be visiting Oregon or who have out of state visitors, the good news is that this Friday and Saturday are FREE FISHING days. This means that no license is required for fishing in Oregon waters today or tomorrow. So, drag your relatives out of bed, tell them to buck up and deal with their turkey hangovers (or other hangovers, as the case may be) and show them your beloved rivers or streams or lakes this weekend! It sure beats straggling around in a stupid shopping mall.

We have had a few days of rain in central Oregon and this, along with some increased flows out of the dam near Madras, has caused the Deschutes River to rise pretty significantly in the last couple of days. If you go to the tab LOCAL INFORMATION located right next to the FISHING REPORT tab, you can see the two water flow gauges for the lower Deschutes. The Madras reading tells you what the river is going to be like above the White River and the Moody reading (taken at the mouth of the Deschutes where it reaches the Columbia) tells us what the river looks like below the confluence with the White River (the main tributary which enters the Deschutes about 8 miles north of Maupin). The White River was looking pretty high and a bit dirty when I drove over it on Wednesday and it looks like it went higher yesterday but started dropping again overnight. The Deschutes will seem high to those of you who fish it all summer and fall, and it may have a tinge of color in it through the Maupin area and certainly a bit more than a tinge of color down below the confluence with the White River.

If you are trout fishing, your success rate will depend on fishing softer water and using three to four BB shot to get your nymphs down to the slower water near the bottom of the river. We just got some tungsten shot in stock - a new product from Montana Fly Company. Tungsten is a natural element that we often use in flies as bead heads. In relation to brass beads, a similar sized tungsten bead is 4 times heavier. So, this is the stuff to use for high water or fast water if you want to efficiently get to where the fish are. Another good strategy is to use a Czech style nymphing leader. Unlike a normal tapered leader which is thick at the top and tapers down at the end where you tie on your flies, the Czech leader is ultra thin and ultra strong from the top to the bottom. When you pitch your flies out, the ultra fine leader cuts quickly through the water and your nymphs start bouncing along the bottom immediately. Nymphing Ninjas know the advantage to the Czech leader - and one leader will last you years since they are easy to rebuild again and again. Stop in and we will show you how these specialized leaders work.

Fly-wise, trout anglers will want to have one big stonefly pattern and one bright little bead head as a trailer. You double down on your chances of hooking up with this combo. Trout are now settling into the winter water that keeps them from working too hard. The backeddies and slow tailouts will be key to your success. Riffles of summer have been abandoned by trout due to cooler water temps.

Speaking of cooler water temps, the Deschutes still has steelhead around and they too will be hanging out in some of the slower tailouts and deeper pools where they don't have to expend too much energy to hold their ground. Though we don't get any winter run fresh fish in the Deschutes, this time of year can be surprisingly good because the maximum number of fish are in the system, they are settled into a holding pattern, and there are very few people around targeting them. Water temps have actually risen significantly in the last week due to warm air temps or possibly due to water being released off the top of lake Billy Chinook, but whatever the reason, water temps are now around 52 degrees instead of the mid to low 40s which we saw last week. You could easily get steelhead to eat surface and near surface flies on floating line at these temperatures, but you have to find the right water type that will hold fish and not be too deep. Sink tips might be a better option while the water is high because the water near the surface moves a lot faster than the water near the bottom of the river. With high water, steelhead tend to drop down to take advantage of the slower water and rocky substrate that the bottom offers. No need for huge intruders, these steelhead are eager to eat small and mid-sized flies. Stop in and we will share some killer patterns with you.

The weather has been great - it was 60 degrees yesterday! Sure, conditions are less than perfect, the river is high, but it appears to have crested and should start falling today. A rising river brings fish in and moves them around and a falling river is good for the bite.

If you just want to do the All-American thing and shop 'til you drop on Black Friday, we can help you there! We are open today and all weekend and we have some great deals in the shop on Simms G3 Waders, a handful of Spey Rods, Hatch Finatic reels, and Deschutes Angler insulated water bottles. Remember, this Saturday is Shop Small Saturday. If you want to support a small family-run business, shop at Deschutes Angler! If you can't make it in to see us in person, jump on our website or give us a call. We are here to help.

Have a great weekend and TIGHT LINES!!

John and Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


November 12, 2017 9:30 AM

Hello fellow anglers! Yes, things are winding down around here. As the foggy fall weather rolls in, most of the fishermen/fisherwomen have wrapped it up for the year. There are still steelhead in the river moving around, but the water is getting cooler and the fish seem to be getting less grabby and aggressive towards flies. Now is the time to transition into slower water, maybe put on a light sink tip, and fish a fly that has a slightly larger profile. The Deschutes does not have a winter run of steelhead - so the last steelhead of the year are just now entering the river. The steelhead won't spawn for 4 more months so the greatest number of steelhead are in the river now just waiting for spring and their spawning time. Late in the year we get a nice push of fresh fish, which we nickname the October Brights. There is a decent chance of hooking a steelhead in the 12-15 lb category this time of year on the Deschutes - so, your suffering in cold weather through the month of November might just be rewarded with a big wild buck or hen.

Trout fishing this time of year will require that you find the slower froggier water that trout prefer in the winter. Think back eddies, slow moving slicks, anything but the fast oxygenated water that you find trout living in during the summer months. It's mostly a nymphing game, big stonefly trailed by a small bright beadhead, but there have been pretty decent mid-day mayfly hatches (BWOs) during the mid-day. Unfortunately, the big trout don't seem to be too keyed-in on the dry flies this fall, though you might find pockets of trout looking up.

Our private lakes are fishing well - the weeds have dropped back, the fish are happy and well-rested, and we will be sending anglers up to the lakes until they freeze over.

The next few days are supposed to be pretty WINDY, which may make the fishing challenging. We will have a lot of leaves in the water as they blow from the riverside trees.

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler


November 4, 2017 12:05 PM

Happy Saturday morning! We have a cool overcast day here in Maupin and the river is in really great shape. Reports of steelhead being hooked are spotty but there are pods of steelhead moving around. Typically, if you hook a steelhead in a run, it pays to fish that run one more time to be sure that you presented your fly to every fish in the run. Fish are moving more slowly now that the water temps have cooled. We are still hooking steelhead using floating lines and small hairwing patterns, but the shift to slightly larger flies and light sink tips is a matter of a few degrees away. As water temps get down in to the high 40s, the steelhead won't move as fast and far to grab your fly, so it is time to take the fly to the steelhead. How late do we fish? Our guided trips have tapered off now but we enjoy getting out for fun trips this time of year and fishing will be good through the month. The bucks are pretty colored up now - we are talking double red stripes on some of these guys - but the hens stay pretty bright in the late fall. The lower access road has been graded and is very smooth now, but the washboards will slowly work their way back over the coming weeks.

Our private lakes are still fishing well - until they freeze, you have an opportunity to hook dozens of 20 + inch fish per person per day.

We hope to see you in the shop!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler


October 25, 2017 12:05 PM

Shortly after I wrote the last report, the water came up on the entire river and it blew out for the entire 100 miles of the lower river. I hesitated to write anything because this bump in the water out of the dam (Madras gauge) was a reaction to the rainfall that we had over the weekend. They spilled extra water from the dam and jacked the river up 600 cfs overnight. It immediately started to drop after that, as did the White River, and it was cleared up and fishable by yesterday morning in the section of river above Maupin. The whole river is now in decent fishable shape, though a bit higher than average flow for this date. When the river gets high and dirty, or even just dirty, I will use a little bit larger and darker fly to be sure that the steelhead can see my offering. I might even put on a light sink tip to get the fly in the mid water column - but I switch back to floating line and smaller flies as soon as the clarity improves.

Trout fishing would have been poor over the last two days due to the muddy water, but things should be back to normal now. We have seen excellent hatches lately of blue winged olive mayflies as well as caddis and larger green body mayflies. Keep your eyes peeled for those hatches around noon, particularly on cloudy days.

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


October 22, 2017 12:05 PM

Well, I jinxed it. After writing a glowing report about how the White River hasn't been a problem for the Deschutes all year, it happened last night....the White River blew out. It is a muddy mess and the Deschutes River from the White River downstream is unfishable. It is dirty, folks. This is a rain-caused blow out, so it should come back into shape during the week, because the weather is supposed to be nice all week, but it just may take a couple of days for that to happen. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will be hard-pressed to find a river on the west-side or possibly even on the east-side that hasn't come up fairly dramatically thanks to the river of rain that blew through the Northwest. Skies are clearing in Maupin right now, so the rain may be finished. The rivers that I have checked have mostly crested and are now dropping, but they are still high and mighty on the coast and near Portland and Hood River. Even the Grande Ronde flows are rocketing upwards. So, the Deschutes in the area from the White River upstream might be your best bet for fishable steelhead and trout water in the state of Oregon right now. However, expect that it will be a bit crowded.

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


October 21, 2017 11:30 AM

Quick update - we had a heavy rain last night and we expected that it could have an impact on the Deschutes. We had a customer call this morning and he told us that the river was muddy at the mouth - he drove over the Deschutes where it enters the Columbia. We immediately drove down to the White River to see if that was the source of the mud and it was not very dirty at all. The White River is not currently putting enough color into the Deschutes to impact it, so the brown water must be coming out of another tributary further down river. It was a rain event like this several years ago and a mini flash flood that formed the rapid that we know as Washout - so any little side canyon of the Deschutes has the ability to cause instant muddy water. It may clear quickly - which is likely if it was just a small canyon blow out and not a major tributary blow out. We will keep you posted if we hear anything else.

Tight lines!!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


October 20, 2017 7:30 AM

Sorry for the long delay in getting this fishing report out! Between guiding, getting the flu, having an awesome string of visits from our favorite fishing friends, and working every other day in the fly shop - I have been really busy. The first three weeks of October are already past us and the steelhead season has been far better than we could have hoped for on a year of doom and gloom predictions. When we work hard and the cold fronts aren't pounding down upon us, we are managing to eke out a steelhead or two per day and a few more on days when we get lucky. The daylight is not an issue now - the sun is low in the sky and we are fishing pretty much all day long with a short break for lunch.

Floating lines and small hairwing flies are still the method that we use until water temps drop down into the mid to low 40s. Right now water temps are around 51-53, so all the surface stuff is still a good choice. Favorite flies for this time of year: Lady Caroline, Tiny Dancer October Caddis, Hazel's Recon, Dutt's Addison, Night Dancer, and Max Canyon. I always wonder how the Max Canyon name got muddled - because the canyon on the Deschutes for which the fly is presumed to be named is Mack's Canyon. My guess is that the name was printed wrong in a book when it first came out, or, the name was slapped on it as a twist on the real canyon name. Either way, the fly, with the orange on the back, is a good choice during this time of year when the October Caddis are actively emerging.

Speaking of October Caddis....they are still coming off int he evenings but the real bounty for the trout in the past three weeks has been the insane number of mayflies hatching off - especially on cloudy or rainy days. All summer long, when the water released into the Deschutes was of poor quality, warm, and an off-putting green color, we couldn't find a mayfly to save our lives. Now, the water releases from the dam have been coming off the bottom of the reservoir because the Deschutes has been cold, clean, clear, and LO AND BEHOLD insects are happily hatching off in droves. Unfortunately, the trout have pretty much moved out of the normal feeding lanes where they used to hold and wait for dry flies to hatch. Rafts of mayflies are coming down river and there are very few trout sipping from the surface. The trout are still around, but most have resorted to eating from the bottom of the river the majority of the time. Sure, you will see trout rising for dry flies here and there, but our trout fishery has been severely damaged by the short-sighted actions of the operator of the dam complex - PGE. For more about this, I refer you to the Deschutes River Alliance web site.

Christmas Island - who wants to go to a warm tropical destination where the bonefish are plentiful and robust, the triggerfish are insane, and the Giant Trevally will bring you to your knees? We have a few spots available on our Christmas Island hosted trips coming right up in December and January. Don't put off for another year the experience of this amazing saltwater destination! People think it is hard to get there - not true! Fly to Hawaii, sleep, get on a 3 1/2 hour flight the next morning and BOOM just like that you are in the most remote tropical environment you will ever experience. Here are the dates: December 5-12, December 12-19 (this allows you to stay for two weeks), and January 23-30, 2018. Call me at the shop if you want in - I can best sum up the Christmas Island experience with a quote from one of the guys that we took last year: (stepping off the boat after the first full day of fishing) "I caught more fish today than I have in the last 6 trips to Belize - combined!"

This has been a glorious year because our water conditions have been absolutely pristine. The WHITE RIVER has been clear and has not blown out the Deschutes as it has so many times in past years. YEAH!!!!!! We still have a lot of great steelhead fishing ahead of us - so come on out to the Deschutes to enjoy the return of the big October brights (large wild fish that enter the river in late October).

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


September 29, 2017 9:30 AM

Fall is here! Nice crisp weather and overcast days make for the perfect conditions for steelhead fishing. We were chatting with our friend, Brian Silvey, in the shop yesterday, and he and John were remarking on the beautiful condition that the river has been in all fall. The clarity hasn't been this good in years, and the White River has not had any negative impact on our fishing - which is a refreshing change from years past. As those of you who follow the counts closely have, no doubt, observed, the numbers of steelhead passing over Bonneville have dropped off, but they are still coming over The Dalles dam in decent numbers and the counts right here on the Deschutes at Sherar's Falls have bumped significantly in the past week - which means that the steelhead are spreading out into all reaches of the Deschutes.

As we head into October, we expect a few things to happen as they normally do in October. First off, we are still in prime time for steelhead and that means that a lot of anglers will still be coming to the Deschutes for their annual trip. We may see numbers of people bump a little bit this year if the folks who normally fish the Snake and Clearwater Rivers decide to head west where the numbers of steelhead are better than on their home waters. We also have seen a lot of anglers coming down from the north - Washington and Canada. On the flip side of that coin, many anglers who have been fishing the Deschutes for steelhead since August may decide to try their luck on other Columbia tributaries like the Grande Ronde. Anglers who also hunt will feel the pull of deer or elk camp or perhaps will choose to hike the hillsides in search of upland birds rather than fishing. October has a lot of sporting opportunities that tend to pull some anglers away from the river. By November, the Deschutes gets pretty quiet, and sometimes quite cold, but it can be a very pleasant time to be hunting steelhead.

For trout anglers, this is the time of year when we start to see bug bugs again. The October Caddis are out in full force already, so you will see them in the last light of the day hovering around the riverside trees. The emergence and main activity of the October Caddis is nocturnal, but the nymph, pupa and adult imitations will all work sporadically throughout the day when presented to an eager trout. The trout are moving out of the fast riffle water into the slower pools where they will spend their winter conserving energy and feeding on a mid-day hatch of Blue wing Olive mayflies and large slate-wing mayfly species. Besides the huge October caddis that come at this time of year, the trout will also be dining on brown caddis in size 14 and 12 - so the larger patterns in your fly box will come into play this month. Dry-dropper rigs with a variety of bead head nymph patterns will produce well as will double nymph rigs fished deep.

If you need a day of catching catching catching after a dry spell on the river, we can get you a spot on one of our private lakes where the trout have been growing fat and happy all summer and are now fair game for anglers. For $100 to $125 a day per person, you will have a whole day of fun. Call us to schedule a spot.

Enjoy the beautiful weather and the crispness of the fall. Tight lines!!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


September 21, 2017 9:30 AM

White River looks much the same as it did yesterday at this time. The color is dark brown, but it is not coloring the Deschutes much, if at all. I did notice that there were 9 cars parked along the road fishing this morning between Maupin and the White River Campground. That is 8 more cars than yesterday morning. I think those guys might be reading the White River wrong - a little dirty water coming out at the mouth of the White doesn't always mean that the lower river is unfishable. All of our guides are fishing down below the confluence of the White and the Deschutes. Yesterday, when the White looked exactly like it does now, there was easily 5-6 feet of visibility in the lower river, probably more. White River has less than 300 cfs - certainly not enough flow to be a headache. That's the news!


September 20, 2017 5:10 PM

White River looks much the same as it did this morning. Alex stopped off at Pine Tree boat launch and waded in to the top of his waders around 4:00 PM. He could see his feet which means 5 feet of visibility. Also - it is cold in higher elevations, so the White should be okay. We will see what happens overnight....


September 20, 2017 2:10 PM

Here is a picture that I took of the mouth of the White River this morning at 9:30 AM. As you can see, the White has some color in it but it is not the color of a Latte or Milky and it is NOT or WAS NOT causing problems in the Deschutes as of this morning. The color barely made an impact on the water just below the confluence - so that is good news. This could, of course, change a bit throughout the day. The White River has come up 200 or so CFS, but that isn't really that bad. We'll keep you posted...


Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:00 AM

It rained all night last night, which is our first significant rain since who knows when. The dry and thirsty ground should absorb the majority of the precipitation from this first moisture event, but the rain has been coming down on Mt. Hood for two days and that did bump the White River up a bit yesterday. However, I will have to drive down to the White River this morning to see if it is big enough or dirty enough to be impacting the Deschutes. I drove over it at about 3:45 PM yesterday and it was a little more colored but not latte colored. The color was more green with a tinge of brown and was certainly not the color or the volume capable of blowing out the Deschutes. That may have changed overnight, so I will charge up the drone batteries and have a full report for you later this morning. Remember, the condition of the White River can change day to day hour to hour, so if your trip is coming up this weekend - please don't be that guy who calls the shop on Wednesday, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning, Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, Friday late morning, and Friday afternoon, to try to get up to the minute updates on the White River. We check it once a day, it can change within an hour of checking it, we will report any changes,AND... dealing with what Mother Nature hands you is part of being an angler, oh yes, and we have caller ID.

It has become quite clear in recent years how dependent upon technology anglers have become. People used to pick a time to go fishing, clear it with their work schedule, and just go fishing. There were trips with great conditions and other trips where the fish counts were way lower than in past years, or trips where the weather and/or water conditions were less than ideal. People, let's call them ANGLERS, they just went fishing anyway. The blown out water conditions might have led to an epic day of tying flies in a wall tent next to the river - a spontaneous clave of like-minded anglers who would certainly rather have been swinging for steel... but who found new fishing friends while bending a few feathers and sharing their secrets for steelhead success.

Some of the folks in the younger generation, let's call them Millennianglers, have the ability to check in an instant the weather at any spot on the map, the water flows on hundreds of rivers and their tributaries, the fish counts at dozens of locations which they then extrapolate to pinpoint the predictions for each potential fishing destination, the fishing reports from a handful of fly shops and outfitters, and the up to the minute road conditions to minimize drive time. Smart? For sure. We, of the "geezer low-tech generation who grew up hand-writing letters to one another and mailing them with little square things called stamps," we, too, check some of these wonderful high-tech sources of information, but the information does not typically make or break our decision to go stand in a river.

Now, I want to state clearly that not all of the 20 and 30 somethings fall into this trap - I see hard core young anglers out on the river weekend after weekend no matter the weather or the fish counts. Kudos to you guys and gals! Of, course, my window into your world often comes from your up to the second posts on Instagram, BUT you are out there standing in the water at any given opportunity, and my hat is off to you.

My hat is also off to all those Millennianglers who check all the vectors and decide to stay home. We have been enjoying a very very uncrowded river this year and I can only assume that this is due to some less than stellar dam counts. "Less than stellar" might be a little harsh, the counts are less than the ten year average, but the counts overall are fantastic when compared to numbers of steelhead that return to other river systems in the Northwest. We have thousands of fish PER DAY making their journey up and over the dams on the Columbia. Some famous rivers in British Columbia that people pay dearly to fish only get back a few thousand steelhead for the entire season. So far this season, we have had over NINETY-SEVEN THOUSAND STEELHEAD pass over Bonneville dam on their way up the Columbia. Over FIFTY THOUSAND of those steelhead have passed over the Dalles dam and have had the opportunity to turn into the Deschutes River. That's a lot of fish, folks, no matter how crappy people want to say this year is.

Do you have to work hard to hook a steelhead this year? Yep, you have to put in some angler effort hours to find those fish, but they are there. We are currently guiding a guy from Switzerland who fished in British Columbia last week and arrived to find high water and blown out rivers. He said he was in a group of twelve at the lodge. They managed, among all anglers' efforts, to land one steelhead for the week. Granted - the rivers were really high and dirty until the last day of the trip. He flew down here on Sunday night to fish with us all week on a guided trip, and he has landed one steelhead per day so far. Who knows, this morning may have been the morning that he hooked three... Of course, the conditions may be changing today with the rain that fell last night. It remains to be seen.

The drone batteries are all charged up now, so I am off to check on the White River. I do not love the extra two hours of my day that it takes to post a few White River pictures or videos, but it does help keep the phone calls down a bit.

The trout fishing has been okay lately - we still have some warm days ahead of us this week. The October caddis should start to make their appearance soon, the BWOs are out between 1:30 and 3:30 most days, especially the cloudy days. Regular size 12 caddis are also out and about as are a few crane flies. One annoying thing is the massive amounts of carpet-like weeds that are breaking loose in chunks and covering our flies (both steelhead flies and trout flies). Until dam operations change and the PH levels of our now nutrient-laden river drop, we will continue to see massive weed growth in the Deschutes and very slippery wading conditions.

Need to just wail on some big trout? We can send you up to our private lakes for a day's fishing. Your rod will be bent over and over again and your lust for big trout will be satisfied. Give us a call and we can arrange for your gluttonous adventure.

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

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Hey, steelhead fishermen! What's UP??? I have to thank you for the lack of phone calls about the White River. It has been a pleasure to NOT have to field 40-50 of those phone calls a day. I guess I should really thank the White River for staying in shape so far this year. Now that it is getting cooler, chances are good that we will have dodged the bullet all year long on the White River blowing out. The water conditions are fantastic, water temps are cool, the crowds are minimal to none, and there are a few steelhead around. What more of a report do you need? Go fishing!

Trout anglers will enjoy some of the better caddis and blue wing olive hatches of the year. The trout like the cooling water temps. Most everyone else is fishing for steelhead - so all the trout water is yours for the taking.

The number one question of the week is about the smoke. Though we do not have any fires in our immediate area, the smoke is drifting in from the Sisters fire to the south of us and also from the Fire in the Columbia River Gorge. Most of the time the smoke is just a high haze without any perceptible smell of smoke, but there are other times when there is no doubt that you feel as if you are near a large campfire. It changes day to day and hour to hour, so it is difficult to predict what the weekend will bring. When in doubt, go fishing.

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

It's still a ghost-town out here in terms of fishermen, but there are certainly reasons why that might be. First off, we have been getting a lot of phone calls about the smoke out here. We are sitting in a fairly good position relatively speaking. It is far more smoky in Madras, Redmond, Sisters, Bend, and The Dalles thanks to the direction of the wind and their proximity to the fires. When I woke this morning I certainly could smell smoke and we are surrounded by a haze, but we can see at least 1/2 to a mile and it is not intolerable to be outdoors. Of course, it depends on your sensitivity to smoke and whether or not you have asthma.

The bug hatches have been very very good lately - lots of caddis, aquatic moths, craneflies and mayflies (BWOs) which is better than we have seen throughout the months of June and July. I believe the boom in bug hatches is directly correlated with the drop in the water temperatures coming out of the Madras dam. So, this is great news for the trout anglers.

Steelhead fishing has been steadily good, not great, but better than last year. We are averaging a fish hooked per day per guide boat, sometimes two. All of the fish we have hooked have come on floating line and non-weighted traditional hairwing patterns or muddlers or skaters. I am also happy to report that the White River has remained clear so far this year - knock knock knock on wood. If that changes, we will post changes on this report immediately.

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


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Labor Day Weekend is nearly over - where are all the fishermen? It's hard to believe that September is upon us and steelhead fishermen are nowhere to be found. Don't get me wrong, I love guiding and fishing with so few people on the water, but it is quite lonely here in the fly shop without our regular crew of die hard steelheaders passing through. I looked at some posts from last year at this time and the White River was a huge muddy mess. Fortunately, this year the White has been tight and clean and has not had any impact at all on our steelhead fishing or on the condition of the Deschutes River below its confluence. If it changes, we will be the first to let you know.

The bug hatches in the last few days have been as good as we have seen in years - caddis are thick, aquatic moths are coming off like crazy, and the high smoke cover creates a haze which encourages incredible mayfly hatches (Blue Wing Olives). Speaking of smoke, in the last few days the smoke rolled back over the bright sun, but it is nowhere near what it is like in Bend or Sisters. What we have is a high altitude smoke layer that we can't smell or even recognize as smoke, and which creates ideal fishing conditions for both trout and steelhead. The fish are way less wary and way happier when the sun isn't blazing down directly in their eyes, so this smoke is welcome to stick around for a while, as far as I am concerned. Of course, it could change as the wind changes and the smoke could blow out of here in a matter of hours or it could get heavier, but we have not had any breathing problems or eyes watering or such as they have in Bend.

Steelhead fishing has been pretty good this year despite the bad forecast. The numbers coming over The Dalles dam are finally starting to climb and those steelhead will be completely unmolested in the Columbia (other than the gill nets - on the days they are out there). What the fish won't have to run is a gauntlet of gear slung at them from 20-30 boats sitting at the mouth of the Deschutes. They also won't have to run the second gauntlet of swinging gear once they are in the Deschutes coming from the island at Heritage landing - because the Deschutes is closed to fishing from the mouth to Moody Rapids (a very short stretch) starting September 1. I can barely keep up on the changing regulations, so don't be surprised if ODFW makes rolling changes as the season goes on.

The best thing about the bad reports and doom and gloom of a low steelhead return is that the anglers are not showing up in the numbers that we see on the better years. Fewer anglers means no crowds and more water to fish. Get out there and get your rod bent.

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


Friday, August 25, 2017

Well we survived eclipsamania over the weekend although in reality it was surprisingly quiet in and around Maupin. The only traffic we had was immediately following the eclipse when everyone decided to head home. Fishing traffic has been zilch. Where is everyone? Did fishing fall out of fashion this winter? The fact of the matter is fishing has been quite good for both trout and steelhead over the last couple weeks.

Trout fishing has been consistently good both nymphing and dry fly fishing. Caddis are still the primary insect although the fall BWO’s are starting to show up in the afternoon. Dry dropper rigs have been working throughout most of the day with a caddis dry and a mayfly nymph with a heavy tungsten bead. On the nymphing end, Jimmy legs in smaller sizes have been the go to bug with a caddis pupa dropper. Fish the heavier aerated water with a couple pieces of split shot to really dig deep.

Steelhead fishing has been consistent over the last week. Most days anglers are getting a fish or two if they put in the time during good light and cover a lot of water. It is shocking to see how few anglers are even attempting to go fishing. Most days I have been the only boat on the water and little to no road traffic. Macks to the mouth is like a ghost town with the lightest pressure we have ever seen. Yes the fish counts are down and yes last year was tough despite there being a few more fish around but you can’t catch steelhead on the couch. I will say that personally I have had the best August I have had in about 4 years and hopefully the season continues that way. We have also been getting quite a few on skaters this last week which is always super fun to watch. Hope to see out and about.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The heat wave finally subsided and the massive wildfire that was burning on the Warms Springs Reservation through the weekend has been snuffed out. This means that the skies are clear just in time for the big event of the year - the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. We are already starting to see people rolling into town for the eclipse and we expect to see hundreds of thousands more eclipse peepers passing through over the weekend on their way to Madras. When you come into the fly shop, do not be surprised to see caution tape across the rod tables - we just don't want kids sword fighting with thousand dollar Spey rods.

As you steelhead anglers know, the forecast for the steelhead return is pretty poor. When this population of steelhead out-migrated as smolts, the theory is that they hit a warm blob of sterile water in the pacific and many starved to death. So, the run is forecast to be a fraction of the ten year average. As a result, the pressure on the river, in terms of steelhead anglers, is very light. The Columbia River has rolling closures August 1-October 31 designed to protect steelhead. Basically, the steelhead anglers on the Columbia will have to release all steelhead, hatchery and wild, during certain time frames on certain sections and this will surely decrease the overall impact that Columbia anglers have on steelhead returning to the Deschutes. Unfortunately, the native net fishing will continue.

All that being said, we have had darn good steelhead fishing so far this year. I would say that the number of steelhead hooked so far this year looks really promising for the rest of our season. The White River is in good shape (of course we will tell you if that changes) and the morning water temperatures are good for hooking steelhead. If the heat wave returns, you may want to limit your afternoon fishing because playing fish in 70 degree waters is harmful and very often lethal to steelhead. We are offering morning only steelhead trips this August - something that we have never before offered - so take advantage of slashed rates to enjoy a guided trip during the prime time. See our home page for details.

The name of the game for steelhead on the Deschutes has always been floating lines, floating leaders, and unweighted swung flies in size 4, 6, 8 and even 10. These are classic hairwing patterns that will elicit a huge boil and vicious grab from a steelhead when swung through his living room. No need for Skagit lines, sink tips, huge intruder-style flies. Enjoy the Deschutes for the surface-oriented steelhead that love to grab skaters. Fishing a skater is such an incredible visual mind-blowing experience, why wouldn't you want to get a steelhead on a skater?

This is the in-between time of year where we are still fishing for trout on some days. Alex had a trout trip yesterday and they landed quite a few nice redsides during the course of the day. It was mostly a down and dirty nymphing game, but Alex did find some surface action with trout willing to rise to the dry fly. As with steelhead, the best trout fishing will be in the early morning when the water temps are cooler. Caddis are still hovering around daily, so fish dead caddis patterns in the morning and livelier ones in the evening. When it is hot, concentrate your efforts on the shade patches on the river's edge where trees offer the trout both cover and shade. Deep nymphing with a weighted nymph and a few pieces of BB shot will get the job done in the super oxygenated riffles. In the hot summer months the trout love depth and oxygen, so go deep my friends and stay thirsty.

Tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


Friday, August 4, 2017

We are now in the middle of a serious heat wave with floods of wildfire smoke engulfing central Oregon. The heat has definitely made fishing tougher than usual despite the huge caddis flurries along the river bank. Again early morning and late evening are going to be your best bet with either dries or nymphs. By noon the fishing is pretty much over with exception of the odd fish huddled in the shade still sucking down caddis. The evenings have been hit or miss depending on whether the caddis decide to show up or not. The nymphing is still solid in the evening if no hatch materializes. Mid-day is a good time to swim, hang out in the shade or go on a splash and giggle float.

The steelhead fishing has been better than most of us assumed. The anglers willing to brave the low fish numbers and unbearable heat have been finding success. A big part of the reason is the pressure is so light. Even down at the mouth there are very few drift boats, jet boats and walk in anglers. This hopefully bodes well for the rest of the season. The fish being caught have been super hot and almost un-landable based on several reports. Our guides have been able to find a fish or two a day over the last week which has everyone in high spirits. No telling what the future holds but if you want to catch steelhead there is only one way to do it: go fishing. Good luck to you all this weekend.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Friday, July 28, 2017

Well, we are officially in the dog days of summer and it is hot, hot, hot out there as I write this report. Trout fishing this time of year can be challenging particularly in the mid-day. Your best bet is to get out there at first light and target back eddies and foam lines tight to the bank. Use small size 18 caddis and mayfly patterns and be sure to always have the fly in the foam. If there is no foam just wait until a new batch rolls in before making your next cast. The mid-day is all about nymphing the heavier, deeper oxygen rich water and be prepared to go deep. Czech style leaders with 4 to 5 pieces of split shot will be the most productive way to cover the heavy water. Evening caddis fishing is old reliable and the last hour has been spectacular most evenings that don’t have howling winds.

I know everyone is eagerly waiting for a steelhead report so here it is. Not many people have been out targeting steelhead, probably because of the poor numbers coming over the dam. Fair enough. But the few anglers that say screw the numbers and go because they love steelhead fishing have been finding success. By no means has it been outstanding but thus far fishing has exceeded our expectations. People fishing in around the mouth have been catching a fair number small mouth bass which is never good to hear, and we have heard of a few Walleye being caught in the lower 5 miles… so figure that one out. Morning is best time to target steelhead because the afternoon and evening water temps are super warm. If you are going to target steelhead, be sure to bring a trout rod for the rest of the day.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Friday, July 14, 2017

Today is the first day of our Spey Camp - a three day total Spey immersion on the Deschutes combining excellent casting instruction with mornings of steelhead fishing to solidify our skills. We have been teaching these Spey camps now for about 18 years, and every year it is so fun to see our participants progress through the three days. Some people come to camp with no prior Spey experience, while others come after years with a two-hander just to sharpen their skills and spend quality early-season time on the water. One of the most interesting things I have observed about the three day format is how much people improve while they are sleeping. Seriously, more often than not the people in our class miraculously improve overnight as their brains have had time to process all of the information that we cram into that first day of instruction.

So, I will be out on the river all day today and it looks to be another beautiful cloudless day here in Central Oregon. The sun is just now rising in the East as a bright orange fireball on the horizon and the few clouds in the sky are little wisps beginning to turn pink. I am fortunate to have an expansive river view from my living room - I can see for miles and miles without another building in sight. This is where I will be for the great Eclipse of 2017 on August 21. Our house is just inside the path of totality - so we will be plunged into darkness for about 45 seconds. The eclipse has me and many others quite nervous due to the huge numbers of visitors projected to come to Central Oregon for this once in a lifetime event. We are not worried so much about the visitors as we are about their lack of understanding of the fragility of the region. The desert cannot take a lot of abuse. It doesn't bounce back. By mid-August when the 100's of thousands descend upon the Deschutes and Madras (the epicenter) the desert will be full of tall dry grass - the definition of a tinderbox. One car pulled off the side of the highway into the grass can easily ignite a wildfire. Multiply that by 300,000 people, many of whom will be camping on public lands between Maupin and Madras, smoking cigarettes, lighting campfires, who knows what - we will have a massive fire. I have no doubt that that is going to happen. Unfortunately, with that many folks on one lane roads there will be no escape and it could be tragic. We went to a few meetings put on by the BLM - on of the managers of the Deschutes River - and they stated that they would be keeping their employees out of the field during the eclipse because it will be too dangerous to have them out on the river or driving around with such a high fire danger and so much congestion. If you are planning to be out here for the eclipse, be sure that you get here early. Days early. Maybe even a week early. On the Monday of the eclipse there is no limit to the number of boater passes that can be issued between Warm Springs and Maupin - so there could be tens of thousands of boaters floating. Good luck finding a campsite! Okay, I know I sound like a bit of a pessimist, but I think the chambers of commerce of a lot of these little towns in the path of the eclipse are painting a picture of rainbows and butterflies and the reality could be quite different.

Speaking of rainbows and bugs... Trout fishing has been pretty decent lately - the caddis hatches are not huge, but there are enough caddis around to coax the rainbows to the surface. Our crew has been over on the John Day River all week guiding bass camp trips, so I haven't gotten my normal first hand reports from my guides, but I was on the water on Wednesday teaching a class and saw a fair number of fish rising to dries. Caddis and craneflies are the name of the game right now. The odd mayfly like a PMD will show up even on sunny days - so have a little variety in your fly box to match the hatch. Heavy riffles and more oxygenated water will be your best bet whether you are dry fly fishing or nymphing, so look for a lot of white foam and even heavy rapids - that is the preferred habitat for the trout.

We are starting the search for steelhead - as we always do this early in the year. There may not be many in the river right now, but those that are in the river will be wild and chrome-bright. Fishing will be best in the mornings when the water is cooler. We are not targeting steelhead in the evening because PGE has water temps soaring close to 71 degrees in the evenings. Morning temps are closer to 65 degrees - which is still on the warm side but safe for playing and releasing steelhead. The forecast for the return is poor this year. I think we won't see very much pressure as a result - so the river should be less crowded than it is in years when the forecast for steelhead is good.

Gotta run! Tight lines! Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler


Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer is here and the days are HOT!! This means that dry fly fishing will be hot in the early mornings and in the late evenings just before dark. The rest of the day, when the sun is burning bright and the heat is on, nymphing in the heavy water, down deep, and in oxygenated riffles will be your best bet. If you love fishing dries, you will need to seek out areas where a little shade is thrown on the water by overhanging trees. Fish a dry like a caddis or yellow sally with a dropper trailing it by about 18". Cover lots of water moving quickly upstream as you go. Those hard-fighting rainbows are out there, you just have to find them in their summer holding water.

July ushers in the first steelhead of the season, which happen to be bright ocean-fresh wild fish that are typically quite aggressive towards surface flies. We are using floating lines in the morning, switching to a light sink tip or sinking poly leader from about 10 AM on. Water temps are already pushing 70 degrees in the afternoon, so we are voluntarily curtailing our afternoon fishing because it is too stressful to the fish to hook and play them in 70 degree temps. Last year or the year before (recently) ODFW mandated an afternoon closure on steelhead fishing due to warm water. It's a good idea to self-regulate in order to protect the stocks of wild steelhead that are the first populations to enter the Deschutes as the return of summer-run steelhead kicks off. Most of the fish will be in the lower 40 miles of the river right now, so not much action up here in the Maupin area. Follow the access road downriver until you hit the dirt road and you will be in the game anywhere from there to the mouth of the Deschutes. ODFW has some new regulations for steelhead this fall - the bag limit for hatchery fish is down to one and the Deschutes from Moody rapid to the mouth is closed to fishing Sept 1-30. The Columbia is catch and release for all steelhead wild and hatchery through October 31. For a more complete listing of all the new rules, consult the ODFW website.

The John Day River has been really fun lately - we have been catching a lot of bass. Our day trips and camp trips are going strong and we will be running the JD until water levels fall too low to float. Right now, there are lots of exposed rocks and gravel bars, so a driftboat (especially aluminum) would make it tough to get over a lot of the obstacles. Give us a call if you would like to get out on the water with one of our guides.

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


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fourth of July weekend is here already?? Where does the time go? As usual, Maupin is practically a ghost town on this weekend, probably because fireworks of any kind are strictly prohibited out here in the tinderbox that is the high desert. We have already seen a couple of huge grass fires this year - one that got within about 1/4 mile of the house that sits on the edge of the canyon furthest downriver from Maupin (across from the Oasis BLM campground). It was called the Oak Springs fire because it burned all the way down to Oak Springs. You will see the blackened hillside when you drive down the river access road. The other big fire was on the John Day River upstream of the Clarno bridge - it burned thousands of acres.

On Sunday and Monday, I floated the John Day River with Alex and Ben doing a little photo shoot/filming/fishing. It was HOT - so we did a lot of swimming along the way. What a great river the John Day is - so much fun fishing from the boat and catching bass after bass. The campsites are beautiful and it make for the absolute perfect family fishing trip. The John Day didn't let us off easy, though, because we were clobbered by a HUGE hailstorm twice on our way off the river. Want to see the footage? Go to the DeschutesAngler Instagram page and you can see how heavy it was coming down. The hailstones were the size of large marbles and they hurt so much when they hit us that we had to pull the boats over and run for cover. We couldn't sit under any trees because the thunder was rumbling and lightning bolts were piercing the sky, so we dove into the willows along the bank and pulled them over our heads for protection. It was pretty crazy. Then the mud avalanches started cascading into the river and we pulled out in an absolute mudflow on Monday afternoon. The river was thick with sticks, mud and debris - which may have cleared a little bit over the course of the week. I was back on the John Day on Thursday upriver, a ways up from Clarno and it was nice and clear but I imagine the lower section of river took a while to process all the mud that dumped into it on Monday.

July on the Deschutes offers angler good early morning dry fly fishing on caddis - dead caddis work the best. As it gets hotter and hotter throughout the day, one effective method of finding fish is to go deep for them in the highly-oxygenated water. The trout will seek out these riffle areas as well as any area shaded by overhanging trees. Yellow sallies are still around here and there, but the name of the game throughout July is CADDIS. We are well-stocked with hundreds of caddis patterns to help you fool them. Stop by and we will show you what to use.

I have one more opening in my prime-time August week on British Columbia's DEAN RIVER. This is the be all end all destination for steelhead. It is a place of unparalleled beauty where your odds are very good of hooking a chrome bright 20 lb steelhead just a few yards from saltwater. I say hooking, because some of the largest Dean River steelhead are simply unlandable. If you are interested in this trip, and I will tell you that it is not cheap, give me a call this weekend at the fly shop 541-395-0995 or drop me an email I can't even put into words how much this place means to me and how impactful and special every single trip I have ever taken there has been. If you love steelhead, love to Spey cast for them, and have ever dreamed of fishing this river, I can make that happen for you. There are no roads into the Dean - the only way in is via float plane or helicopter. There are only 4 lodges on the river. We will be staying at Kimsquit Bay Lodge and fishing the lower river below the canyon. There are only 6 people in our week and the one other lodge on that stretch of river has only 4 people - so it is not at all crowded. You will feel like you have the river all to yourself. The pictures of steelhead being caught there right now are showing up on social media and they are blindingly chrome and huge. This is your chance at a fish of a lifetime. I have hooked fish at the mouth of the Dean that are into my backing in less than 5 seconds and are jumping and cartwheeling in the saltwater channel as I stand dumbfounded in the current of the Dean. I'm sure this spot will be taken not long after I post this fishing report..... Dates of the Dean trip: August 4-11. We fly directly to the lodge from Vancouver, BC on a float plane. Cost: $7600 charter flight included, fantastic lodge accommodations, professionally prepared meals, the most breathtakingly beautiful setting for fishing, don't let the chance to get on the Dean's List pass you by.

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


Friday, June 23, 2017

Okay, I know that I wasn't very good about updating the fishing report this week, but I woke up on Friday morning with my left eye swollen completely shut. It was not pretty. It took me out of the writing mood - so that is why this is the first fishing report in six days. At first I thought the swollen eye might be due to poison oak from the day before out on the water, and it was quite itchy, but I ruled it out when no bumps appeared. I am extremely careful about poison oak because I can get it just by looking at it, and it has been years since I have had any. However, I broke my cardinal rule of not petting and snuggling dogs that have been walking along the river with you. Alex's dog, Nellie, was with us on Thursday. She stayed in the boat most of the day, but came out of the boat a few times for potty breaks and likely walked through PO and got the oils on her coat. Then, we were babysitting her and she slept in my bed. So, I now have poison oak on both arms, my fingers, and my side. Fantastic!

So, the eye did not turn out to be poison oak - I think it must have been a spider bite. I was deep in the jungle water, wading up to the top of my chest waders under trees that hang out over the water. Those trees are loaded with spiders, so I have to assume that is what happened. Over the week, the poison must have worked its way out because the swelling is mostly gone now. It still itches a little and the eyelid skin is tender, but it's not so bad, could be old familiar Minnesotan saying.

Now on with the fishing report....

The hot weather is here and it seems to be having an effect on the fishing and not for the better. A few days ago the fishing was pretty good, but in the last two days, for whatever reason, the guides have reported to me that fishing has been tough river-wide. What is going on? Anyone's guess. The moon is new, not full, so that should be a plus for the fishing. The weather has gotten hot, and we are seeing decent bug hatches - mainly caddis and yellow sally stones, but the fish seem to be focusing on something else from about 11:00 AM on. We have been out on trips that go until dusk and the caddis activity, which is typically awesome in the evenings on the Deschutes, is just so so.

Last Thursday, when John and I floated and fished with Alex, the fishing the day before was excellent (according to another guide who was out there with clients) but it dropped off markedly on the Thursday that we were on the river. We did some experimenting with trout Spey rods and sculpin and leech patterns, and that method actually produced a few more decent fish than fishing with a dry/dropper rig. So, are the trout scouring the bottom for food? One has to wonder. Is this a response to the rapid change in weather over the past six days? Possibly. The water warmed up significantly and that may have driven the trout into deeper cooler water, or into the heaviest, most oxygenated riffles. Whatever is going on...we hope that it will change back to the reliable trout fishing that we once knew on this river. It could be better tomorrow - which is the attitude you really must have if you are going to be any kind of fisherman/angler.

The crew just got off a three day camp trip on Tuesday and there were smiles a mile wide on the faces of the guides because the camp trip was a refreshing change of pace - BASSIN' it up on the John Day River. They took two fathers and their two sons on a 40 mile two night camp trip, which sounded like summer camp for the kids. The weather was hot and the water was warm, so the fishing portion of the day contained frequent intermissions of swim time. Catch about 10 bass on surface poppers, jump out of the boat and float around with your life vest on, jump back into the boat to catch a few more bass, and repeat. All this fun in one of the most scenic and spectacular river canyons in the is hard to beat these trips. As I type this, I am excited to be launching on a JD trip on Sunday with a few of our guides. We are going to focus on capturing some great images - so my camera bag is ready to go with no fewer than 5 cameras plus my iPhone. We have a new drone to test out on the trip, an old familiar drone to do most of the dirty work, some cool new camera accessories, and we are ready to roll. After I finish typing this fishing report it is time to hit the tying bench to whip up some crazy bass poppers.

I hope to see some of you on the river this weekend. Don't let this less than stellar report change your mind about the potential for great trout fishing this weekend. As a fishing guide out here for 18 years now, I can tell you that there are good days and bad days and it is not often predictable which days will be which. If the trout aren't coming to your fly, perhaps you will find them by changing the water that you fish or by changing your tactics. I have always loved fly fishing because there is always another riddle to solve. Get out there and have some fun. Enjoy your weekend!

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop

This 17" redside charged at and ate a yellow sally dry fly


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Well, I got a little fishing in this week, as John and I celebrated our anniversary on Thursday by doing a float trip with Alex as our guide. It was a cool and slightly rainy day, and we saw an okay mayfly hatch in the afternoon but caught most of our fish on yellow sally dries or dries with small beadhead droppers under them. We also caught several nice fish on the trout Spey - swinging little sculpin patterns through the classic steelhead flats.

I am in the fly shop on a beautiful Saturday morning and cannot believe how few people there are in town to go fishing. What's up with that? The best hatches of the year are right now and the trout are eager and hungry. If you want the river to