Friday, April 21, 2017

Thursday night's rain put a little color in the river but the fishing yesterday was still decent, despite some strong and blustery winds. Saw a few March Browns and Caddis, but the mayflies were having trouble sticking to the water through the big gusts. There are gazillions of steelhead smolt in the water this time of year as well as a few juvenile salmon, and they are eager to attack nearly anything on the surface - so try out a few bug bushy dry flies if you want to catch lots and lots of ten-inchers. This weekend is the first of two FREE FISHING WEEKENDS in Oregon for 2017. This is a great time to bring a friend out to the river to see what fly fishing is all about. For not much more than a fishing license would have cost you for one day, you can rent a rod and reel at Deschutes Angler ($25) for your non-fly fishing buddy and have a great day on the river.

Last year we had a very dry warm spring and the result was a very early start to the Salmonfly Hatch. This year, we have the opposite - it has been wet and cold (I had frost on the windshield this morning). So, our crystal ball predicts the start of "The Hatch" to be slightly later. Definition of "slightly" is maybe 4-7 days, but that could be shorter (hot temps) or longer (cool temps) depending on the weather. If your schedule is flexible, watch the weather for the hottest days in the late first week or second to third week of May and you should be right on the money. If you have picked your days, then be prepared to roll with whatever the river gods throw at you - and that could mean switching from the big bugs to smaller mayflies like PMDs or PEDs if they outnumber the stones. Don't get locked in on salmonflies/stoneflies just because that is what you have been dreaming about for months. Sometimes during the hatch there are bugs that interest the trout a lot more than salmonflies/stoneflies.

The private lakes are still fishing really well. The bugs are popping and so are the heads of the trout all over the lakes. We are getting pretty busy on weekends, but can certainly fit you in on nearly any day Mon-Thurs.Give us a call and we can arrange a lake for you to fish for the day.

The weather is absolutely spectacular out here today! Calm, sunny, and wonderful for camping and fishing. We will see you on the river! Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Deschutes has been fishing surprisingly well over the last week and a half despite the high water. The flow is right around 7000 c.f.s through Maupin which is intimidating but certainly fishable. I guided on Monday and had outstanding fishing for this time of year. We nymphed all day and every stop produced a number of quality fish. Jimmy legs and March Brown emergers were are top producing flies fished under an indicator with 2 pieces of split shot. The fish were congregated in slow moving water about a foot to two feet off the bank. Fish were found further out in some of the back eddies. The fast moving rip rap walls produced fish in the slow pockets but be prepared to lose some flies. There was a decent hatch of March Browns and Blue Wing Olives but I didn’t see fish feeding on them with the exception of a couple of 3 inchers. The fishing should continue to be consistent throughout the weekend and weather report calls for some nice weather with the exception of Friday.

The lakes have been off the charts good this last week, in fact the best we have ever seen it. The fish are big and there are plenty of them eating a variety of bugs. Every person we have sent up there has come back juiced up about how good the fishing has been. Early mornings are best fished with a sinking line and your favorite leech, streamer or woolly bugger pattern trolled around the deeper sections of the lake. Around 11:00 a.m. the midges begin to emerge and this is the time to either chironomid fish or fish cripples in the surface film. By 1:00 p.m. the dry fly fishing really takes off with cripples and adults fished on top or in the surface film. I had some fish hit the fly so aggressively they broke the leader before I even lifted the rod. The guy I was guiding continued to fish chironomids throughout the hatch and he probably hooked over 50 in 4 hours it was unbelievable! I did see some callibaetis floating around on Sunday, I wouldn’t call it a hatch but they should be in full force any day now. The weekends are pretty busy from now until early June but there is plenty of room during the week if you cash in on a sick day. If you want to get up to the lakes give us a call at (541)395-0995.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Monday, April 3, 2017

The river is finally starting to drop a little and the clarity has improved dramatically. Most anglers that were out this weekend found success fishing every little slow pocket tight to the banks. Almost every angler we spoke to was nymphing deep to find fish and no reports of the much anticipated March Brown hatch. This is is typically the time of year those bugs start to show so I have to believe it will be any day now. Jimmy legs and March Brown soft hackles were the top performing bugs primarily fished under an indicator with at least 2 pieces of BB shot. Hopefully the river continues to drop a little each day throughout the week which would put it at a prime level come this weekend. We will keep everybody posted.

The lakes are money right now!! Both Grass Valley and Shaniko have been fishing super well with a mix of tactics. Midges have started showing up in the mid-day offering plenty of dryfly opportunity. Chironomid fishing and stripping leeches has also been extremely productive throughout the day. All the lakes have fish of all ages from 10 inches to well over 20 inches and everything in between. We could not believe how healthy the fish looked and how well they survived one of the most brutal winters we have had in this area. The lakes were literally frozen over with 3 feet of ice for 3 months and the fish not only survived but somehow thrived. We still have availability for the cabins if you would like to spend a couple days on the ranch. If you are interested give us a call at (541)395-0995.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Friday, March 31, 2017

The river got a little color in it over the weekend and early this week due to a bit of rain. The flows out of the dam near Madras have dropped 1000 CFS in the past few days and the over all flows (from the gauge at Moody near the mouth of the Deschutes) are down 1500 CFS which means that the tributaries are also dropping a bit. The river is pretty mighty, though, and we urge caution for those who are fishing. One misstep and you could be going for a very ugly swim. It is spring break right now and we have seen a lot of families out and about. This is great! Get your kids outdoors! Just keep them close while you are along the river, especially with the high water.

Nymphing will continue to be your best bet for fishing the high water. It is raining again out here right now, so any bit of color in the water caused by runoff will make your flies a bit more difficult for the trout to see. Use black or bright red - at depth, black is the color that fish can see the best. Fishing high water requires weight, lots of weight, in order to get your flies to the bottom where the trout are holding. 4-5 BB shot minimum for these flows and you might want more. One trick I use is to wrap the BB shot in tungsten putty. We have putty called Tung Fu.

It's been a rough winter for many anglers - lots of rain, high water, blown out rivers, and more rain. If you want to cure those wintertime blues, dust off your trout rod and hit our private lakes. The lakes have been fishing really well this spring and they are only going to get better in the next six weeks as more and more hatches start happening and we get good dry fly action all day long. Last week we did a little drone flyover of the lakes in Grass Valley on the Justesen Ranch. This is one of three venues we have on the ranch, so we have lots of room to spread anglers out on the lakes in Grass Valley as well as in our other two locations, Shaniko and Jackknife Canyon. Check out the video here:

We look forward to seeing you all when you get out to Maupin! Thank you to all of you who have supported us over the winter by ordering fly tying materials, waders, and other items on our website. It truly keeps us alive all winter. Supporting your local fly shop is more important than you may realize now. We do more than simply sell you gear, we support local non-profits by donating gear and trips to their auctions, we fight for the river by supporting and volunteering for Deschutes River Alliance, we donate thousands of dollars in merchandise to fly clubs from Portland to Southern Oregon, we keep you up to date with fishing reports all year long, we update you almost daily on the condition of the White River during steelhead season, and we keep our doors open year-round to serve you when you arrive in Maupin.

If you like shopping for your fly fishing stuff online, you might take a close look at the store you choose to support. Is it really a fly shop? Do they sell flies? I am talking individual flies, not pre-packaged selections from manufacturers. If they do not sell flies, they are likely a warehouse "fly" shop. What is wrong with a warehouse fly shop? Well, they don't do much to give back to the industry, to teach classes, to donate fly gear to clubs or schools or to non-profits. They have poor knowledge of the gear because many of the owners don't fly fish. They are likely to push you to sell you what they have not what you need. They won't have some top brands of rods or reels because those top brands refuse to sell to them due to their poor business practices. If you call to order a brand that they don't sell, they often badmouth the brand because they are trying to sell you something else (these are horror stories I have heard from customers who have sworn never to go back to these warehouse shops again). Order a rod from this warehouse store and they take your money, try to order the rod from the manufacturer to be drop-shipped (they don't have a showroom and don't stock inventory - why would they? They don't have any place for real customers to come into the shop to talk about and then cast the rods.) If the manufacturer doesn't have the rod, then they hold your money while you wait weeks for the rod. They might offer you some percentage discount on your gear, but they will charge you for every little thing - like $15 for every 100 yards of backing, or even charge you for the service of putting backing on the reel you just bought from them. Your discount isn't really a discount if they overcharge you for backing which most "real" fly shops will actually put on your reel for free.

Okay, I got off on a little rant there! All I am saying is that this is a very small industry, and I am seeing good fly shops with hard-working, honest, die-hard angler-owners go down in flames. Why? Well, for many reasons for sure, but part of the problem is that anglers are sometimes unaware that the rod you buy at a big-box store like Cabela's or Sportsman's warehouse or Bass Pro, or dozens of other big-box store disguised as fly shops.....that exact same rod will cost you exactly the same at your small local fly shop. Your small local fly shop may also walk you out to the park to give you a few casting pointers. The small local fly shop will see to it that you understand how to set your new rod up with the proper nymphing rig, or dry fly rig, and they will even give you pointers on where you should go on the river to have the greatest chance at success. As those small fly shops that serve destinations like the Deschutes die off due to lack of support from the fly fishing public, so too will our sport. Please think about that before you make your next purchase. Cheers, and Tight Lines!

Amy Hazel and the crew at your local fly shop, Deschutes Angler.


Friday, March 24, 2017

The river is still running high - but the good news is that it is not dirty. When I say high, we are looking at about 12,000 cfs through Maupin. Many of the small islands are submerged or partially submerged and the river is moving at quite a fast clip. In some areas the standing waves are much bigger than you see when the river is flowing at half this volume, and other rapids have virtually disappeared. If you are familiar with the river, you may recall a gravel bar and small island mid-river just downstream of the Maupin City Park - the small tree on that island is the only thing out of the water. Many places where you can safely wade and fish during normal flows are 4-5 feet deep and running fast. Trees are standing in water with 10-15 feet of water between them and the bank. So, in order to fish this water effectively, you will need a couple of things. First off, it is going to be a deep nymphing game. You are going to need weighted flies and weight in addition to the flies. We are talking 3-5 BB shot size pinch-on lead weights on your leader about a foot above your point fly. Some people may find that 3 BB shot slathered in tungsten putty (Tung-Fu) will be most effective and will keep the split shot from spreading out on the leader. After all this weight on the leader, the fly can be of the slightly weighted or even unweighted variety (Jimmy Legs with San Juan Worm is a good fly combo) as long as you have sufficient weight on the leader in the form of multiple split shot. The fish are holding tight to the bottom of the river and in some cases in backeddies because these are the areas where they have to fight the strong current the least. The water on the bottom of a river is always a lot slower than the water on the surface so this is an easier place to hold if you are a fish. If you are not ticking the bottom or getting hung up once in a while, you do not have enough weight on the leader. Second, you will have to find the water that is fishable at these flows. Look for places where the water is deep right off the bank but not running super fast. I would not suggest wading out or even wading at all. The current is swift and the water is cold!

So, should you wish for a more serene experience that does not entail raging rivers, our private lakes are open and are fishing well. We were up there yesterday, and it was a little slow to start due to the cold water in the morning, but once the fish warmed up they started to eat eat eat and were were on them all day with midges, buggers, and even had some decent top water dry fly action. I was up there just to take pictures and JT flew his drone over each lake to get some good shots from the air - so the actual fishing was handled by John and fellow Deschutes guide Matt Carter and his friend, Lanie. It was a good day. We can get you up there any day this weekend or coming week. It is a great place to put a deep bend in your fly rod to start the season off right.

We will see you on the river or in the shop!!

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the gang at Deschutes Angler


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Well the river is running super high this week and it is virtually unfishable. Our guess it the Deschutes is right around 12,000 c.f.s. through town right now which makes for a quick boat ride. I wouldn’t expect conditions to get much better before the weekend based on the amount of rain we are predicted to get throughout the week. If you do venture out to the Deschutes, fish carefully because the river is moving super-fast. If conditions do improve we will be sure to let everyone know.

If you are still itching to fish, our lakes are open and fishing well. The weather up in Grass Valley looks wet but with light winds throughout the weekend which is a good combo. We still have availability at both the Grass Valley lakes and Shaniko. Give us a call if you need to scratch the itch at (541)395-0995.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I am sure with all the rain the state is getting that many of you are hoping the Deschutes is in shape. Unfortunately the river is pretty darn high and off color. I wouldn’t say it is completely blown out but the fishing conditions are certainly difficult. If you do decide to brave the big water focus your attention on any little pocket that slows down and be sure to fish your flies deep. Most of these pockets are only 5 to 10 foot stretches so you need to makes sure the fly gets down quick. Big stoneflies , San Juan worms and red lightning bugs are the best bugs to use in these conditions. There are Skwalla stones, Blue Wings and a few March Browns around but I would bet the dry fly fishing would be tough.

On the brighter side our Private Lakes are now open and fishing well if you apply the right tactics at the right time of day. This time of year it is critical to have both a floating and sinking line setup to maximize your opportunities. Mornings are best with a sinking line fished fairly deep 6 to 8 feet below the surface with any kind of leech pattern. The water is still cold so be sure to retrieve the fly on long slow strips. From about noon on there will be opportunity to fish chironomids in the shallower end of the lake. Typically an indicator is placed 3 to 5 feet above the chiromonid and tie the fly on a loop knot to give it the most realistic presentation. You have to be stealthy in the shallow end so approach as slowly and quietly as possible. Based on the weather forecast I would say Friday and Sunday are the 2 best days to fish the lakes. Saturday looks to be a bit windy with wind 20-30 mph and gusts to 40 mph so don’t even bother. If you are interested in fishing the lakes gives us a call at the shop (541)395-0995.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


Friday, March 10, 2017

John and Evan did a little R&D yesterday on the Justesen Ranch lakes and the news is good! We were, frankly, a bit concerned that the long and very cold winter was hard on the trout. We have never had a winter kill, which is fairly amazing, and this year was no exception. The rainbows are thriving, fat, and happy. The variety of sizes of trout was excellent. All of the trout were fat and well-fed, thanks to the huge variety and abundance of aquatic insects in our lakes, and the older trout are pushing 20-24" while the younger ones are coming in at 15-16" but FAT. A few of the lakes still have a bit of ice in places, but today is a warm and beautiful sunny day, so the ice is short lived from here on out. We have dozens of lakes, so it is not a problem to get on the lakes at anytime and any day from now through early to mid-June. John and I are headed up on Sunday to see a few new lakes on a 9000 acre parcel that the ranch has added to their holdings. If any of you subscribe to Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine, you may have seen the article that I wrote about our private lakes in their latest issue.

The Deschutes River comes alive in March, and we have just the kind of weather to bring about some bug hatches. I am down by the river right now and there are caddis flying around as well as a few BWOs (despite the sunshine). The mayfly that we are waiting to show itself in the next few weeks is the March Brown (rhithrogena morrisoni) which is a large mayfly with a wing that looks way too big for its body. This hatch used to take place mainly in April, but the water temps being released from the dam are so much warmer in the past 6-7 years, that the March Brown might actually live up to its name. As per most mayfly hatches, the cloudy or slightly rainy days will produce higher densities of bugs, but they will still be present on sunny days like today. Most westside rivers are blown out, high, muddy, and non-fishable right now, but the Deschutes is in shape and ready to welcome you back with open arms this weekend. We are hanging on to our winter hours for one last weekend - so we are closed on Sunday but open from 9-4 on Saturday. We hope to see you dusting off your trout rods this weekend and enjoying the Deschutes River in the Maupin area. Please be aware that the rules changed back in 2017 - the river is closed to all fishing from the border of the Warm Springs Reservation south and open from the boundary north. The boundary is well above the locked gate, so if you fish any of the access roads north or south of Maupin you are legal. Closed areas include: Warm Springs, Trout Creek, Mecca, Dry Creek, South Junction, and North Junction. Those areas open to anglers on the third Saturday of April. We will see you on the river!!!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The river has been dropping everyday over the last 5 days and it looks fishy. It is coming out of the dam at 5450 c.f.s. and is right around 6000 c.f.s. around Maupin which is a pretty optimum flow for trout fishing. When the river is this big the fish have no choice but to move into the slower water near the banks making them easy targets. This weekend should be money with decent overcast weather that will more than likely produce a B.W.O. hatch in the early afternoon. For the most part it will be a nymph game using Jimmy Leggs and any red mayfly looking nymph. For whatever reason red is a top producing color when the river is big. I also wouldn’t hesitate to tie a San Juan worm on as a trailer which has worked wonders for me in the past.

I am sure there are quite a few of you wondering if the lakes are open yet and unfortunately they are still froze and we don’t expect them to be in fishable shape until mid to late March. Of course it is all dependent on what the weather decides to do. We will definitely keep everyone posted on the conditions of the lakes and their 2017 opening.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


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 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


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


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


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


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


Friday, October 21, 2016


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...


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 c