FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM

November 28, 2018 9:30 AM

We hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and you were able to enjoy a day of rest with friends and family. I did not realize that ODFW created a free fishing weekend right after Thanksgiving, but the number of people out here giving the Deschutes a try certainly brought that fact to my attention. It was actually free fishing on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving but not on Sunday. If you keep that in mind for next year - assuming they continue to offer such a thing - this is a great opportunity to share the Deschutes with those who visit you over the Holiday week.

We have had some significant rain over the past two days and, though the gauges on the Deschutes show no indication of bumping up, the White River flows jumped a few hundred CFS yesterday but the White still looked good when I drove past it at 4:00 PM last night. The thing to keep in mind when you come to the Maupin area to fish is that you will still have ample fishing opportunities upstream of the White River (15 miles or more) if it happens to get muddy for a day or two.

Trout and steelhead fishing are still the game here in the Maupin area, though the steelhead return hasn't been the best we have ever seen. There are, however, steelhead in the river and they are still grabbing flies - so there is always a chance of hooking one any day you make the effort to do so.

The trout are slipping back into the slower pools and easy winter water where they don't have to work so hard to stay in the current. They will be in larger groups in the winter than they are in the summer - so if you find one you will often find several in the same spot. Please be aware that we have already seen trout that look like they are in their dark spawning colors and that spawning can occur any time between now and July - different populations of rainbow trout spawn at different times of the year. What to look for to avoid harming spawning fish and their eggs - avoid shallow gravelly areas with fine pea gravel - particularly if some of the gravel looks clean. If you see groups of trout on shallow gravel beds, you can bet that spawning activity is taking place. Avoid these places and remind fellow anglers to do the same because the future of our trout fishery depends on it.

I was reading a New York Times article this morning, some of you may have seen it come across your news feed too, titled "The Insect Apocalypse Is Here." It is a lengthy article about the rapid disappearance of many species of insects over the past few decades, which is obviously a very short time span in the realm of science. While there were many things that struck me while reading the article, a couple hit close to home and I want to touch upon those for those of you who care to read on as I ramble. The article starts out with a snapshot of a Danish man who is out biking with his son when he realizes that his son is not experiencing the same bike ride that he did as a boy. When the man was a boy, he had to keep his mouth closed while biking in order to keep from swallowing hundreds of insects during his ride and he always ended up swallowing bugs anyway - not pleasant, but a memorable part of his childhood. This feeling of loss, this feeling that something was missing, and that something had changed, is one to which any fly angler who fished the Deschutes regularly 15 or 20 years ago can certainly relate. The clouds of evening caddis had all of us wearing red or blue bandanas over our mouths - like a bunch of cowboys about to rob a bank - in order to keep from choking on the massive numbers of bugs. The clouds of caddis have disappeared - and the timing of the disappearance coincides directly with PGE's changes in water management at the Pelton Round Butte complex. Now we have many anglers, and possibly the majority of the guides on the river, who never knew the Deschutes hatches before the changes in water management, before many of these hatches disappeared. It is not their fault that they only started fishing the Deschutes in the last ten years, not their fault that they never experienced these huge blanket hatches that dominated the summer and fall months and provided dry fly fishing opportunities all day and every day. Bank-feeders lined the edges of the river and sipped on insects as they were trapped in the foam lines and delivered to the fat trout patiently looking up and feasting on a floating buffet .

The New York Times article quotes a 1995 study by Peter H. Kahn and Batya Friedman, of the way some children in Houston experienced pollution summed up our blindness this way: "With each generation, the amount of environmental degradation increases, but each generation takes that amount as the norm." The article goes on to describe marine biologist, Loren McClenachean's take on decades of photos of fisherman holding up their catch in the Florida Keys. He points out that the size of the fish in the trophy photos got smaller and smaller over the years - the most recent "trophy fish" are literally dwarfed by fish pictures from three or four decades earlier, YET...."the smiles on the fishermen's faces stayed the same size." This is what has been described as the "shifting baseline syndrome" where the world never feels fallen because we grow accustomed to the fall.

I don't want to grow accustomed to the fall. I don’t want to grow accustomed to not fishing dry flies on the river that I love, that I live on, that I work on, and that I have built my life around sharing with others. I know my personal unscientific baseline data on Deschutes hatches, and I want that insect population back! Unfortunately, in this day and age, polluters can use global warming or declining insect trends as a reason for the decline in insect populations on the Deschutes because "Scientific" baseline data on insect populations is very poor. The NYT article describes the reason why scientific baseline data on insect populations is lacking and in most cases non-existent: "With so much abundance, it very likely never occurred to most entomologists of the past that their multitudinous subjects might dwindle away. As they poured themselves into the studies of the life cycles and taxonomies of the species that fascinated them, few thought to measure or record something as boring as their number. Besides, tracking quantity is slow, tedious and unglamorous work: setting and checking traps, waiting year or decades for your data to be meaningful, grappling with blunt baseline questions instead of more sophisticated ones.... "When entomologists began noticing and investigating insect declines, they lamented the absence of solid information from the past in which to ground their experiences in the present."

The NYT article is a long one, but well-written and thorough. If you sit down and read the entire article carefully, you may come away from it with the feelings I did – I was alarmed, I felt discouraged, and I was, above all, disappointed in our role as human beings in the decline of insect species. We are directly responsible for climate change. We are the ones who came up with insecticides and other poisons in an effort to maximize our crop production. We have put our survival above all else on this planet. If insects disappear so too will the animals that rely upon them as a food source and the plants that rely upon them for pollination and all of the little jobs that insects do for our ecosystem will go undone. As gross as it might be to come across a decaying deer or mouse covered in maggots, without those maggots the flesh rots and decays for weeks or months longer. Insects do a myriad of jobs, many more than we even recognize, and we need them to continue to exist and thrive or else we will have catastrophic collapse.

So, where does this rant lead us? Where am I even going with this whole huge fishing report that turns out to not even really be that much of a fishing report? One of the things that the NYT article shines a light upon is the importance of the involvement of amateur naturalists in data collection. We need everyone to open their eyes and ears and take note of what they see in their own bubble of an environment. If you see changes, speak up! This is how the Deschutes River Alliance was formed. Amateur aquatic entomologists known as fly anglers and fly fishing guides noticed the sudden changes on the Deschutes – disappearing caddis, disappearing mayflies, disappearing craneflies, lesser population densities of stoneflies, and we spoke up. We raised money to get the “real” science done, the gathering of data in a controlled scientific way that could then be analyzed by a non-biased party and presented in such a way that would be acceptable data to use in a challenge to the polluters who said that nothing was changing on the river and that the insect populations were healthy. Amateur entomologists called fly fishing guides and avid Deschutes fly anglers gathered data for the past four years and reported their observations of hatch types and hatch densities to a professional aquatic entomologist for analysis. Much like the story told by the NYT article, the amateur naturalists on the Deschutes River can and are making a difference. If you want to be part of the annual bug survey, you must first study and familiarize yourself with the aquatic insects of the Deschutes River. You don’t have to have skills as extreme as those described in the NYT article where “people train for decades with other amateurs to be able to identify beetles based on their genitalia” but you do have to be able to identify caddis, mayflies, stoneflies, craneflies, and midge. Within those general categories, you will need to know the difference between a salmonfly, a golden stone, and a little yellow sally or between a March Brown, a Pink Albert, a Pale Morning Dun, a Pale Evening Dun and a Blue Winged Olive. Becoming an amateur entomologist is a natural part of a fly angler’s growth and maturity in the sport. Beyond being able to merely identify of these species, you will start to understand more and more about their behavior (once they become a priority for you to observe and document). When you bring these insects into your awareness and begin to understand how they behave in their environment, you will, without a doubt, become a better angler. If you tie flies, knowing more about the insects that you are imitating will make you a better fly tier. No, the knowledge of aquatic entomology won’t make you a better fly caster, a lesson will help there, but the more you know about the river and the creatures that rely on the river, the more enriching your day on the water will become.

My takeaway from this article that has really impacted my thinking and my outlook on the future is the same takeaway that we tried to provide for people who viewed the second video from Deschutes River Alliance called “Song For The Deschutes.” In this video, Rick Hafele, one of the leading aquatic entomologists in the country and a board member for the DRA, gives the opening talk at the DRA fundraiser and he paints the picture of the Deschutes. Though it is bleak, Rick’s final message about the insects of the Deschutes is that they are nothing if not resilient creatures that, given half a chance, have the ability to bounce back from catastrophic environmental degradation. DRA Website

In the NYT article the same glimmer of hope shines through: “Scientists hope that insects will have a chance to embody that resilience. While tigers tend to give birth to three or four cubs at a time, a ghost moth in Australia was once recorded laying 29,100 eggs, and she still had 15,000 in her ovaries. That fecund abundance that is insects’ singular trait should enable them to recover, but only if they are given the space and opportunity to do so.

Just a reminder, the Deschutes River Alliance annual fundraiser (and one Hell of a fun party) is on Saturday, February 9, 2019 in Portland! Go to the DRA website in the above link to get your tickets today!

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM (Closed on Thanksgiving Day)

November 21, 2018 9:30 AM

After a chilly-morning week on the Deschutes, the weather is now trending warmer and the clouds are embracing Central Oregon in a giant wet hug. It hasn't started raining yet, but rain is in the forecast for the next several days and we certainly could use the moisture.

We will be CLOSED tomorrow for the Thanksgiving Holiday, but back up and running on Black Friday. I expect to see a few anglers out here - we typically see visitors to our area who may be celebrating the holiday with family, and regulars who are enjoying a rare weekday off. It will be a rare day off for us (weekday or otherwise) which I plan to spend tying flies in a cozy nook.

Last week was a fun week for me - I had a bunch of girlfriends/lady anglers out for a visit and we fishing together for three days. There were some misadventures for sure - like my truck locking itself while running at the Mack's Canyon boat launch while I was loading up my boat in the evening. That was a fiasco! Fortunately, we had two vehicles and two drift boats, and one was able to drive out far enough to call John. He was thrilled to gather the troops, get the key from the shuttle driver, and drive all the way down to Mack's Canyon in the dark to unlock the truck. FYI - OnStar doesn't work down in Mack's Canyon - but your satellite radio does. It would have been nice if the service that we pay for could have unlocked the doors remotely - that's pretty much the reason to have OnStar - but don't rely on it if you are down in the canyon. We hooked a few steelhead and had a great time, but we are implementing mandatory bed times and morning departure times next year!! We dubbed the week GIRLS GONE FLYLD.

Our steelhead season is wrapping up in the next ten days or so. We have a few more days on the books and then our staff gets a much-deserved rest. We will be trout fishing all winter, testing out new Euro nymphing flies and rods and line/leader configurations. We will certainly be available to guide you this winter if you want to see how to up your numbers of trout hooked and landed in a day using Euro-nymphing techniques. We are also making some great improvements to our fly tying Euro-Nymph section of the shop. More hooks, more tungsten beads, more hot spot material and lots and lots of unique materials for tying Euro-nymphs. We will also be creating a Euro-nymph section on our website where all things Euro-nymph can be located. Stay tuned!

We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! We will be open on Black Friday!! Bust the doors down!!


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM

November 8, 2018 1:30 PM

Good news for anyone planning a trip to the Maupin area! The White River is back in shape. With colder weather in the past few days, we saw the color of the White significantly improve yesterday afternoon and it seems to be holding strong with clearer water that is not having any impact on the condition of the Deschutes below its confluence with the White River.

Steelhead fishing has continued to be challenging due to low returns this year, but you are bound to find a player if you keep your fly in the water long enough. Water temps are between 49 degrees and 52 degrees, depending on the time of day and where you are on the river. The water is warmer the further upstream you go because it appears that the water is being released into the Deschutes from the top of the reservoir. People coming into the shop during the period of time that the White River was blown out (last week) were complaining that the visibility in the river above the White was also poor and that the river had a brownish-green color to it with turbidity. I don't know if that has improved much, but I will update further on conditions after speaking with my guides who are out on the water today. So, knowing that the water temps are what they are, John Hazel says that he sticks with floating lines on the Deschutes until water temps are below 50 degrees. Therefore, we are on the verge of transitioning into sink tips on the Deschutes. As for fly selection, I prefer to fish small flies on the Deschutes unless the visibility is poor and I have to show them something big in order for them to see it through the mud. By small, I mean size 3 or 5 hair wing patterns or muddlers on size 4 hooks.

Because steelhead fishing has been tough, you may want to bring a trout rod when you come out to the Deschutes. Trout fishing has been pretty darn good lately, as I have written in previous reports. As temperatures drop into the 40s the trout typically move into the slower pools and back eddies, so think like a trout trying to conserve energy when looking for trout water.

Until they freeze, our private lakes remain open and are a lot of fun to fish. The hatches are tapering off, but the fish are still eating midge and all subsurface flies eagerly. Give us a call if you want to check out the private lake fishing that we have to offer.

We are here daily to help you with your fly fishing needs. Give us a call and let us help you with questions ranging from selecting the right hooks for Euro-nymphing to choosing the right Spey line for your winter steelhead fishing needs. Tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the friendly folks at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM

November 2, 2018 3:00 PM

The weather continues to be unseasonably warm out here on the Deschutes. Unfortunately, the rains on the mountain over the past few days have turned the White River into a muddy muddy mess, which in turn has turned the lower Deschutes into a muddy muddy mess with less than two feet of visibility. As a result of the White River's complete blow out - which happened yesterday morning or Thursday night (depending on where you happened to be on the river) - the river in the Maupin area has been a bit busy today. Steelheaders are looking for places to fish and they are all crammed into a 16-18 mile stretch of river both up and down stream of Maupin from the White River to the locked gate. But, if we look on the bright side, at least we have clean water to fish!

Trout fishing today has been quite good, at least from the reports we have been getting. The best techniques seem to be fishing with a dry fly and using a dropper below the dry with a tungsten bead head nymph at least 20" below the dry and up to three or four feet below the dry. If you are deep nymphing, remember that the trout are just beginning to move into the slower winter water and won't be found in the fast highly oxygenated riffle water where you would find them in mid-summer.

Euro-nymph techniques and flies continue to be highly effective and super productive. If you don't know what this type of fishing is, come on in and talk with us and we can explain the concept to you and get you lined up to try it for yourself.

Tomorrow and the next day are going to be like yesterday - brutally windy. Today has been very nice and mild, but the winds are forecast to gust as high as 40 mph tomorrow and looks like more of the same for Monday. Ouch. That can make for some tough fishing, but our friends who braved the winds yesterday managed to find a few steelhead willing to grab their swinging flies.

Hope you have a chance to get out there before the weather gets cold! Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM

October 24, 2018 11:00 AM

The weather lately has been difficult to beat - beautiful warm days, not-so-chilly nights, and most of the days have had nothing more than a very slight breeze. I am seeing posts online that a lot of outfitters are wrapping it up for the year and calling it a season, which is one reason that the end of October and through the month of November has always been my favorite time to steelhead fish the Deschutes. Things get quiet, people head off to other rivers like the Grande Ronde and the Clearwater, the hunters are busy chasing deer and elk and upland birds, and the pressure on the steelhead drops significantly. Water temps right now are in the mid to low 50s - still perfect temps for fishing a dry line and a summer steelhead wet fly or even a skater.

Trout fishing has been really quite good lately - the trout are happily feeding both under the surface on nymphs and on the surface on dry flies. Larger caddis in tans and olives and giant October caddis (orange bodies) are great options for your dries. Suspend a bead head nymph about 2-3 feet under the dry fly and get ready for the grab! I prefer that the suspended beadhead fly be a tungsten bead head fly because it cuts down through the currents easily and gets in front of the trout that are laying low. If you really want to mine the depths, the way to get it done is to fish with a double Euro-nymph over-sized tungsten bead head flies. The problem right now is, unless you are a fly tyer, the supply of good heavy tungsten bead head nymphs is quite limited. We have some in stock but many of our special nymphs come from our staff of custom tiers and they are busy right now with guide trips on the river. This winter, they will be building up a huge supply of top-notch Euro nymphs for our fly bins - you will see huge changes in our selection for next year. Until then, if you tie or (better yet) if you want to learn how to tie and get started with the right materials and not some janky off the shelf fly tying kit, stop into the fly shop and let us help you out. We have all the trick Euro-nymph hooks and slotted tungsten beads as well as the UV materials, UV glues, and all the tools you would need to tie thousands of your own Euro Nymphs. Stop in and let us help you get started.

The great weather has been fantastic for people fishing on the private lakes. We took a big group up there on a corporate outing last weekend and everyone had a great time learning to fly fish and catching big rainbows. The lakes will be open until they freeze - which is a long way down the road with the great weather we have been having. To get a spot on the lakes, all you have to do is call ahead and check in with us at the shop to get maps and flies. Catching tons of big rainbow trout while kicking around in a float tube? Sign me up!!

The coolest thing that happened this week on the river? Angler and Conservationist, Dave Moskowitz, was fishing up near the locked gate on some Deschutes Club property. As he was standing in the river, he looked up on the hill behind the cabin and saw a pair of deer casually walkign and grazing on bits of grass. Suddenly, the deer jerked their heads up and started running. Dave glassed the hillside and soon saw two wolves, yes wolves, chasing the deer. One was jet black and the other grey and there was no mistaking these long legged canines for coyotes. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently confirmed that they captured photos of Grey Wolves with pups on a game camera on the Warm Springs Reservation - right here in South Wasco County. The photos were taken in early August of this year of two pups and the mother who was grey. The land on the West side of the river just above the Deschutes Club cabins (downstream of Dant) borders the Warm Springs Reservation, so it is apparent that we have another Apex predator in the neighborhood! I think this is awesome news. These are Federally protected endangered species - so those of you who like to shoot coyotes need to keep in mind that the wolves are out there.

That's the fishing report for this week! I hop e you enjoyed it! Stop in or give us a call if we can ship you anything. Tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM

October 15, 2018 4:00 PM

Fall is here in full force this week! Morning temperatures are getting colder (mid 20s in the morning)and by the time it is light enough to unhook your fly and make the first cast it’s nearly 7AM. Don’t forget to start short! Many fish are hanging tight to the bank at first light. Quite often, a simple leader cast with only 2 feet of fly line out the tip of the rod is the one that hooks the first steelhead of the day. Mid-day breaks are getting shorter as the sun continues to sit lower on the desert rim, but don’t forget to come see us in the fly shop as we have incredible deals right now on single handed and two-handed rods. If you are a fly tier, you will love our selection of materials. We specialize in steelhead materials, Euro-trout materials, saltwater fly materials, and pretty much anything else you can dream up.

Starting tomorrow our hours change just a little bit… we will still be open 7 days a week but our doors will open at 9am (instead of 8) and we will still stay open until 5pm. If you can’t make it here during open hours, but you still want a few items from our shelves, give us a call and we can put those items in an after-hours location for you to grab.

Steelhead fishing continues to be streaky. There are fish around but you have to search for them. We have been averaging one fish per 12 runs fished this year. That means you need to cover water and cover it quickly. I have always enjoyed fishing three shorter runs as opposed to one 200 yard stretch. However, if I start in at the top of a 200 yard stretch and only plan to fish the top 50 yards – my plans will change if I find a willing steelhead in the first section of the run. Steelhead have been known to travel in pods or small groups, so it pays to stay in the same general area where you found the first fish of the day. The water is still in the 50’s, plenty warm enough to fish floating lines and small unweighted flies.

We are anxiously awaiting the start of our season on the John Day. We currently have three spots available in November on our 4 day safari camp trip. These spots do not become available very often and now is the time to grab your seat in one of our boats. Enjoy over 40 miles of world class scenery, gourmet meals and a luxurious camp on the banks of one of the west’s finest rivers. We have one spot open November 4-7th and two spots available November 11-14th. The cost is $2350.00 per angler. This year we will be working with ODFW to collect data from the steelhead that we catch. So, not only will you be able to enjoy one of the finest 100% wild steelhead rivers in the Pacific Northwest, but the steelhead that you land will allow us to collect the necessary data to ensure that this fishery is protected for future generations. We are looking forward to the learning what is revealed through this scientific work.

Let us not forget about trout. The trout fishing has been really good. Last week during the rain we saw great mayfly hatches throughout the day and the trout were gorging themselves! With the sunny weather this week caddis will make a showing as well. My go-to searching rig this time of year is a size 14-16 elk hair caddis with a tungsten bead BWO nymph as a dropper. Nymph fishing has also been productive – and Euro nymphing has been off the charts. Now is the time to fish October caddis pupa and small mayfly nymphs. Come on by the shop and we can show you the hot flies and tell you how we like to fish them. For you Euro-nymphing enthusiasts, the enormous selection of Euro-nymphs we have being custom-tied for our shop for 2019 will blow your minds! Just wait until you see the trick stuff that will only be available here at Deschutes Angler. Stay tuned.

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and Alex Gonsiewski (co-authors of this very report) and the rest of the Crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

October 7, 2018 6:30 AM

Fine fall weather with cloudy skies, a little rain, and crisp mornings makes every steelheader I know feel just a little more optimistic with every swing of the fly. Keep your chins up, there are steelhead out there to be hooked, we just have to work a little bit harder for them this season. If you put in your time and get a little lucky, you should find a shimmering of chrome out there on the Deschutes. Don't take any encounter for granted while swinging your flies, that thing that felt trouty could very well be a ten pound wild hen who touched your fly out of curiosity. Make a second cast, or a third, or even a fourth. Back up, change flies, work that fly back down to the spot where you think you felt that bump. Maybe it was a leaf tumbling in the current that brushed along the broad side of your fly, or maybe, just maybe, it was the beautiful bullet of a steelhead that has been swimming through your dreams. Camping on the river, you get fitful bits of sleep between freight trains rumbling up the Deschutes. The dew on the tent is thick and cold in the morning. You don't want to leave your warm sleeping bag to climb into those waders - the left leg damp from the pinhole leak that you created when you came around a bit hot, broke anchor, and buried that size 5 Alec Jackson in the back of your thigh. But the victory of being the first person in a cherished steelhead run, waiting rod-in-hand for the light to make that first cast, that victory adds to your confidence that today is the day that your line will go tight mid-way through the swing. You will finally connect with the ghost of the river, the one that has been there all along but was waiting for the right presentation, your fly, and you. Keep the faith and keep your flies wet (or skaters dry as the case may be) and you will find many rewards from time spent on the water. One of those rewards might even be a steelhead.

If the last paragraph sounds like self-induced torture to you, then you might enjoy sleeping in, getting that quality time with your sleeping bag and pillow, and waking when the sun is warming the walls of the canyon. The trout are your quarry and they are happy in October, trying to put on some fat reserves for the long winter ahead. There are a few bugs hatching - BWOs on these cloudy days, October Caddis the size of butterflies in the evenings, and smaller caddis and mayflies throughout the day. Nymph fishing between visible hatches will yield plenty of fat footballs at this time of year - especially if you are mastering the Euro-nymphing technique. The nice thing about choosing trout as your targeted species (besides the warm sleep-in time) is that the angling pressure on the river is made up almost entirely of steelhead fishers and the good trout spots are there just waiting for you and your flies. Go get em!

The private lakes are fishing really well - the weeds are dying back, the callibaetis and chironomids are hatching daily, and the trout are fat, stupid, and happy. Until the lakes freeze, we will be booking non-guided and guided trips to fish for steelhead-sized rainbow trout. Gotta feel that heavy weight on the end of your line? You can make that happen multiple times per day up on our private lakes (just a 25 minute drive from Maupin).

I got a few White River calls this week due to a little sprinkle of rain - but I am happy to report that the White has been behaving beautifully this year - she is clear as a bell and low to boot. No problems there!

Tight lines!!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

September 28, 2018 1:00 PM

It's hard to complain about the perfect weather we have been having lately! Crisp mornings make every cast feel cleaner, and the mid-day warmth is perfect for that short rest in the shade in between fishing great pieces of steelhead water. The steelhead are quite spread out throughout the entire system by this time of year, so it doesn't much matter where you choose to wet your line, there are steelhead in every stretch of the lower Deschutes.

This weekend is the opener for deer hunting, so keep that in mind if you are along the river. Most of the hunters that we encounter on the river corridor are responsible and good stewards of the resource, but you don't want to be mistaken for a deer, so leave that antler hat at home this weekend.

Trout fishing has been pretty solid lately. We have been incorporating dry fly techniques using large brown caddis and olive caddis (size 14), and nymph techniques using cased caddis, October Caddis pupae, and a variety of Euro-nymphs. This is the time of year that we sit down with the reps and plan out our pre-season orders for everything that we want to have delivered next year. Flies must be ordered nearly a year in advance because fly companies need to schedule their tyers to create all of the patterns for all of the fly shops around the world. We are really excited for next year because we are ramping up our custom patterns like we never have before. Many of these patterns are of our own creation, will not be found in any other fly shop, and we have tested the heck out of them on the Deschutes. I can't reveal the secret stuff here, but suffice it to say that trout anglers next spring will be thrilled with our overflowing bins of killer flies.

Since we opened the private trophy trout lakes last week, the reports have been excellent. Hatches are still strong and there has been some epic dry fly fishing with callibaetis spinners, callibaetis adults, adult damsels, and midge adults (or, buzzers as they are called in the UK). Fishing a full sinking line with a damsel nymph or a leech pattern is also deadly, once you find the depth where the trout are feeding you can hook one on nearly every cast. If you get tired of trying to find steelhead on the fly, take a break for a day and hook a few dozen steelhead-sized trout in our private lakes.

I have one announcement to make about an event coming up this weekend.....on Sunday, a few long-time loyal Deschutes visiting anglers will be spearheading a river clean-up. The meeting point on Sunday at 12:00 Noon is the Maupin City Park near the boat ramp. Look for the Airstream trailer and a group of people who will be distributing bags and gloves for people to help with the river clean-up. Take a break after a morning of steelhead or trout fishing a do something nice for the Deschutes - you will certainly build up your steelhead or trout karma by helping with the clean-up, and you will meet a bunch of nice people who also love this river. I think this is a stellar idea, and I am sharing it here because I want to do what I can to help these great people.

We hope to see you all out on the river in the month of October - best month of the year, in my opinion. Tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

September 20, 2018 4:00 PM

Well, the days of light fishing pressure are behind us - people have started to make a showing this week for their annual Deschutes trips and the river has gotten busier. It's nothing like we have seen it during huge fish number years, like 2001, but there are a few more folks on the river than we have seen throughout the season up to this point. There is still plenty of great water out there for everyone to fish. Finding steelhead has been the challenge - people are working hard to find a fish a day on most days (though we still have good pushes of steelhead coming up the river in waves and it is possible to run into a pod of fish). The water is in great shape, good clarity, temperatures in the 50s, all conditions are perfect for hooking steelhead on floating lines swinging wet flies or skaters. We just need a few more steelhead to turn out of the COlumbia and into the Deschutes.

If trout are your fish of choice, you will be happy to know that we have seen good caddis hatches, significant mayfly hatches (tricos, pmds, bwos), and the first October Caddis have started to flutter around in the evenings. Whether you are dry fly fishing, traditional nymphing, or Euro-nymphing, you are bound to see lots of trout on the end of your line. The majority of the anglers on the river are concentrating their efforts on steelhead, so that makes it nice for the trout anglers since they are typically targeting deep and steep waters where the steelhead guys don't venture. Stop into the shop and we can show you the flies that have been most productive.

A heads up to anyone who is planning to float the river any time from October 1 to October 5: BUY YOUR BOATER PASS NOW on The boater pass website is undergoing an overhaual during those days and it will NOT be possible to purchase any passes during that five day window Oct 1-5. If you want to buy a boater pass for any day of the calendar year - be sure that you make that purchase before October 1. The good news is that the $10 fee for purchasing a pass (which is a fee that is in addition to the pass fee) will be lowered to $6 in the future once they get the site overhauled.

Our private trophy trout lakes are now open for business! Summer vacation for the big huge rainbow trout is OVER - they have been resting and growing fatter for the past three months eating mayflies and damsels and midge - so it is time to put those fish back to work. We have several lakes on the ranch and the ability to give every group of anglers their own private fishing experience, so give us a ring and we'll set you up on a lake with steelhead-sized rainbows and lots of em!

The White River has been a non-issue so far this year. It is low and clear - much like a lot of other rivers in the state due to the lack of any kind of precipitation this year. We don't expect any trouble from the White River unless we have some huge rain event in the coming weeks and months. So, that is great news for steelhead anglers! We hope that a fresh push of steelhead is headed our way in the coming days...they are sparsely spread out throughout the entire river by now, but the fresh batches keep on pushing upriver and we are eagerly awaiting their arrival. We eagerly await your arrival as well, and we hope to see you in the store in the coming days and weeks. We have a great selection of, well, everything and that includes fly patterns that no other store in the country has, polar bear for tying steelhead flies, a huge selection of fly tying materials, custom-tied flies, custom-tied Euro leaders, fantastic shop dogs, and a friendly and helpful staff.

Tight lines! See you on the water!

Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

September 7, 2018 10:00 AM

Here we are, one week into September, and fishing pressure is as light as we have ever seen it during the prime time of steelhead season. From the standpoint of a guide, this is great! The river is way less crowded, you have lots of choices in which runs to fish, and there is a lot less competitive nonsense behavior on the river such as low-holing. From the standpoint of a fly shop owner, it is a little bit scary to see what should be one of the busiest times in the fly shop turn out to be pretty darn slow. We are having a huge sale right now on some premium high-end rod brands, most of which are not advertised on the web (we like to give our actual walk-in customers first dibs on great deals) and they are not flying off the shelves. So, things are fairly quiet around here.

Steelhead have been swimming into the Deschutes for over two months now, and numbers over the dams are getting bigger by the day. We are working hard to find a few fish a day, but some days we get lucky and run into a pod of fish before lunch. We are using floating lines, Spey rods, unweighted summer flies and skaters, and fishing a lot of water each day. Most of our fish have been hooked with the sun on the water, but we have tried to keep the sun behind the fish or off to the side.

Trout fishing continues to be good - the river is as clear as we have seen it in years and that is thanks to the Crooked River being so low in volume this year. The high nutrient laden pea-green water that the Crooked normally contributes to Lake Billy Chinook is not flowing into the reservoir this year, so the magical mixing tower is pulling water off the top of the reservoir that is much cleaner than it has been in past years. No thanks to the PGE SWW tower, but thanks to the lack of rainfall and drought conditions, we have seen the condition of the Lower Deschutes River improve this year. The insects have responded to the cleaner water - our caddis hatches have bounced back! If we give the river a chance to heal itself it will.

Hope to see some of you on the water this weekend! Tight lines!

Amy Hazel and the Crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

August 23rd, 2018 9:30 AM

The smoke is still here, but let's look at the silver lining, folks, the smoke is creating a "cloud cover" which makes fishing better all day. Steelhead don't like the sun, but they don't mind the glowing orange ball that can't quite make it through the layers of smoke. So, that's the good news for you steelhead fisherpeople. There are not a lot of steelhead around right now, but they come in waves and you have to have your fly in the water in order to intercept one of those chromers.

Trout fishing has been pretty darn good these days. Mornings have been great for dry fly fishing and afternoons have yeilded a lot of big trout using Euro nymphing techniques. Speaking of Euro-nymphing, we have two spots left in our Euro-nymphing class this weekend. This is a full day guided float trip for which we are providing two guides and all of the Euro-nymphing rods. You will learn to be a trout ninja by taking this class. If you want to be the one on the trip who outfishes everyone else ten to one, this is the class for you. $265 is the entry fee. Give us a call if you want to grab one of the last spots. It will change your life.

I can't believe it is almost September! Where does the time go? Summer is drawing to a close, the rafters are going to be wrapping it up soon, school is starting, and that means that the river is going to see quite a bit less traffic in the next month. A lot of people have been calling and asking about the fires and how the river looks. Well, it looks burned and blackened in a lot of places, especially below Mack's Canyon, but not all of the lush green riparian is gone. From Mack's Canyon upstream the riparian right along the river looks pretty good in most spots. The places that have burned already have green shoots of grass coming up. The burn does make it a lot easier to walk around on the bank, no more blackberries and heavy undergrowth to trip you up! So, we look at the bright side of things and realize that everything will grow back in time.

If you have any questions about fishing or need a hand picking out the hot steelehad flies, stop into the shop and we will gladly give you a hand. We are open every day and look forward to hearing your fish stories!

Tight lines,

Amy Hazel and the rest of the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

August 10th, 2018 9:30 AM

Well the weather is cooling down for the weekend which is blessing because it has been damn hot here in Maupin the last 3 days. Although it has been hot the fishing has been quite good. The caddis hatches have been super strong from Warm Springs to the mouth and fish are looking up. The fishing hasn’t been tapering off until 4 o’clock in the afternoon which is amazing considering is has been 108 degrees every day. As long as you wet wade up to your nipples the heat is quite manageable. Most of our trips have been leaving early in the morning to beat the heat and that first couple of hours is pure dry fly magic. From about 10 o’clock on you can still hunt out the top feeders in specific spots or just switch to nymphing in the heavy aerated water.

The river is about as low as we have seen it in 20 years which changes the trout game a bit. Whether you are dry fly fishing or nymphing you need to wade out further than normal. Those typical bank feeders under normal flow are now much further from the bank. Pay attention to where the heaviest foam lines are and you will notice they are much further away than you are used to seeing. A lot of our best dry fly fishing yesterday was 30 feet off the bank. Even nymphing we were wading out much further then I even thought was possible and that is where we found the big boys. Make sure you only wade out as far as you are comfortable or grab a wading staff and charge it.

Want to let all of you know that we have another Euro Nymphing class coming up on Saturday August 25th. We have been doing a lot of these classes over the last several weeks and students are having tremendous amounts of success using this technique. These are full day classes with a ton of on the water instruction while fishing. It has been awesome to watch students perfect the drift and immediately get rewarded for their effort. When the drift is correct you are almost guaranteed a fish. If you are interested in adding a weapon to your trout fishing arsenal give us a call at (541)395-0995.

Now for all of you steelhead junkies out there here is the most recent chrome report. The fishing has been consistent for most people braving the hot weather. Mornings have been the best with this heat and fish are being caught using floating lines and either skaters or small wet flies. Pressure is crazy light from Shears falls all the way to the mouth. When I pulled out at Mack’s canyon yesterday there was one drift boat trailer and one jet boat trailer. The people that have been floating all the way to the mouth cannot believe how few people are down there particularly for this time of year. Now don’t get me wrong you better be ready for some rugged camping conditions with limited shade and plenty of ash but if you are willing to brave it the place is empty. Again it is probably best to not steelhead fish in the evening because of water temps. but the ball is in your court.

Tight Lines,

DA Crew


July 30, 2018 9:00 AM

It seems, for now, that the fires on the Deschutes are behind us. There really isn't much more that can burn at this point. Let's review the fires, and if you have a map of the Deschutes you can pull it out and follow along. The first fire in late June was called the Boxcar fire. It started less than a mile upstream from Maupin due to a lightning strike. That fire burnt right down to Maupin but not downstream of Maupin. The fire spread mostly South and East and burned 100,000 acres of grass and farm land. In terms of the impact on the river, the Boxcar fire blackened the hillside and some campgrounds from Maupin all the way upstream to South Junction. It did not cross the river.

The next fire, the Substation Fire, started in The Dalles by a human (no known cause) and was fanned by extremely strong winds as it roared across dry wheat fields and grass lands in an East-Southeast direction to the Deschutes River. The fire came down into the Deschutes canyon in a few spots - Kloan/Freebridge and Airstrip were two areas where the fire came down. The firefighters fought to keep the fire down in the canyon as much as possible in order to save occupied structures and wheat fields. The fire did a lot of damage down in the canyon - burned both sides of the river all the way down to the water. Most of the trees that made our camps nice and shady were either badly burnt or singed. It remains to be seen which of those trees will survive. All of the undergrowth, grasses, sage brush, and blackberry bushes were wiped out and reduced to ash. Many of the toilets in the campsites were also destroyed. The fire damage from the substation fire extended from the mouth of the Deschutes all the way south to Mack's Canyon where it stopped without burning any of the Mack's Canyon campground. The total burn area for the Substation Fire was 89,000 acres.

The day that they seemed to get the Substation Fire under control, a brand new fire started just south of the Substation burn area - this one started when a piece of farm equipment caught on fire. The new fire was named the Long Hollow Fire and it quickly grew overnight moving Southeast towards the Deschutes River in the area of Beavertail Campground. The river and the access road down to Mack's Canyon was closed and the fire burned hard for four days. It has now burnt what it will burn in the canyon and is 58% contained moving South east towards Grass Valley/Kent. The road down to Mack's Canyon opened yesterday morning and we have reports that the fire didn't burn quite as hot nor was it quite as brutal to the riparian zone as the Substation fire was below Mack's Canyon. The Long Hollow Fire did burn both sides of the Deschutes from Jones Canyon upstream to Sherar's Falls and it burned on the west bank all the way down to Mack's Canyon where it met the scorched earth of the Substation Fire and had nowhere to go. The historic farmhouse in Ferry Canyon was burnt completely in the Long Hollow Fire, as were the other out buildings around it. Most of the riparian zone in Ferry Canyon survived, though the hillsides are blackened. As the most recent report rolled in yesterday, the Long Hollow Fire is 34,000 acres and 58% contained

Anglers want to know if they can access the river to fish and the answer is YES! The entire river is now open. All of the access roads and campgrounds are now open. It is HOT HOT HOT HOT out here - so bring your bathing suit. We are projected to be in the mid 100s today.

The water temperatures in the evenings as you go further and further downstream are getting dangerously warm for playing fish, particularly for steelhead. If you are planning a trip to the mouth, you may want to the best thing for wild fish and do your fishing in the morning and early afternoon and give the fish a rest in the evenings. With evening water temps pushing 72 degrees at the Moody gauge, it is shocking that ODFW hasn't implemented the Hoot Owl closure (no fishing after 3PM) in the Deschutes from Sherar's Falls down.Be aware that they may do so, and you will have to stay tuned to the regulations to be sure that you are in compliance.

We had another Euro Nymphing Clinic this weekend and it was great, despite the hot air temperatures. The water temps were still in the 60s here in Maupin, which is where we did our clinic due to the closure on the rest of the river. Our next Euro Clinic is on August 4 and it has already filled, but we will continue to schedule these classes as long as there is interest. The class price is $265 - which covers the full-day guided float and boater pass($18). Give us a ring at 541-395-0995 if you think you may want to do a class in August on a different date.

Stay cool out there! See you on the water! Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop


July 27, 2018 10:30 AM - update on the fire situation:

The fire is now at 16,000 acres and has been named the Long Hollow Fire. For the most recent information on the new fire - go to: Long Hollow Fire

OR go to: Wasco County Sheriff Fire Updates OR go to: Columbia Gorge Fireland Info OR go to: Central Oregon Fire Info

Info just in from the BLM: The fire has burned down to the Deschutes River and may have jumped the river in the area around Beavertail. Everyone camped from Buckhollow to Mack's Canyon was forced to evacuate last night. Even anglers who had their boats launched at Mack's and were just camping for one more night in the burn-free zone of Mack's were forced out of the canyon by the sheriff and had to seek refuge at one of the hotels in Maupin. I passed the Deschutes Motel this morning and the place was packed.

I believe they are trying to push this fire down towards Mack's because it will collide with the Substation burn area and will have nothing left in the way of fuel. Sadly, I heard a rumor that the Ferry Canyon homestead is on fire right now. The 100 year old farm house that was recently occupied by Dino and Judy but has been sitting empty for a few years now, may be gone forever. That's a bummer. Read on for the report I posted first thing this morning.


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

July 27th, 2018 9:00 AM

Well, the fires WERE out and now we have a new fire burning from Tygh Ridge down to the Deschutes River around Oakbrook and Beavertail Recreation Areas. The fire is crawling down from the top of the canyon towards the river on the west side - this is the opposite side of the river from the access road and the drive-in campgrounds like Beavertail. They have tankers in the air dropping retardant as well as a 60,000 gallon fire train supplied by Burlington Northern Santa Fe which will use water cannons to shoot the flames as they keep towards the river. There are also ground crews and helicopters on the scene. If you are in the area DO NOT fly any personal drones for any reason. As soon as the fire crew sees a drone they have to ground all aircraft immediately. You will be very very heavily fined if you are caught flying your drone anywhere near this fire.

The entire lower access road from Sherar's Falls to Mack's Canyon is CLOSED until further notice. The river is CLOSED to camping, floating, and driving in that section - which also means that boaters who planned to launch at Mack's Canyon will not be able to do so at least until the Sheriff lifts the level 3 Evacuation notice. If you have a trip planned in section 3 or 4, you will be able to use your boater pass for any other section of the river that remains open. The good news is that there isn't a lot of smoke in the air, and that the fishing and camping around Maupin are still open and should remain so all weekend long. You have over 18 miles of beautiful fishable water here in the Maupin area, and there are plenty of campsites along this stretch of water. If you are looking to fish for steelhead, you may want to drive to the mouth of the Deschutes and hike or bike up, though you should be warned that the ash is 3-8" deep down there and it is supposed to be very windy today - bring a mask or other breathing device.

We have been hit really hard this year and fire season doesn't usually even get rolling until August. Our first huge fire started by lightning and the other two have been human-caused. If the winds aren't too strong this morning, we hope that they will be able to get a quick handle on this one before it jumps to the east side of the river.

We have a Euro-nymphing clinic this weekend and things are still a go for that clinic. Our August 4 Euro-nymphing clinic is also a go - and there is only one spot left in that one. There are plenty of places to fish around Maupin and upstream of Maupin.



Since the entire river is already burned to a crisp from Mack's Canyon to the confluence with the Columbia River, they shouldn't close the river down there, but you will not be able to launch a float trip until they open the lower access road the leads to Mack's Canyon. We do not know what will happen with this fire, when they will have a handle on it, if they will have it out anytime soon, which direction it will travel, if it will close additional sections of the river, or any number of "crystal ball" forecasts that you may be interested in. We will try to help you if you call here, but we are guides, not gods, and cannot snuff the fire out (as much as we would like to).

Steelhead season has started with promise - numbers of fish coming up the Columbia look better than they did last year by a decent margin. We have hooked steelhead on nearly every trip this year, but the water temps are getting a little bit warm in the afternoons and that not only puts the bite off, it starts to bring up the question of when is it too warm to continue fishing. We have seen temperatures at the mouth of the Deschutes nearing 71-72 degrees in the evenings. Steelhead mortality rises dramatically at temperatures over 68 degrees, so the right thing to do is to fish until about 1-2 PM and call it a day. These hours are called "hoot owl" hours and ODFW has implemented emergency hoot owl closures in past years. They have not implemented these closures YET but it would not be surprising at all to see these rules come into play in the next few days since air temps are forecast to remain very hot through next Thursday. It is too bad that the powers that be won't release cooler water into the Deschutes to help out the anadromous fish.

Trout fishing has been quite good lately. We have been getting quite a few with our Euro-nymph rigs, but we have been getting even more fish to come up and eat our dry flies! Caddis, caddis, caddis, are the name of the game right now. Come on by the shop and we will show you our favorite patterns. We also have some custom-tied Euro-nymphs hot off the presses, though we will be holding some of these back for the anglers who have enrolled in our Euro-nymph class tomorrow. Our Euro-nymph selection continues to grow - and we have several fly tying companies creating custom patterns for us for the year 2019.

IF hoot-owl restrictions do go into effect on the Deschutes, we plan on holding some fly tying clinics here in the fly shop during the hours that the river is closed. Stop in for additional information - we have the coldest air conditioning in town!!

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


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

July 25th, 2018

It is going to be a hot weekend but fortunately the fires are out and the air is clean. John and Alex floated Mack’s to the mouth yesterday to take inventory on the devastation. Needless to say they were in shock when they got back. The majority of the river is unrecognizable because there is not one sage bush, juniper or alder alive along the banks. The ground is covered in 6 inches to a foot of fine powdered ash and the majority of the popular campsites are absolutely destroyed. They had little to no wind throughout the day and despite that they were both heavily congested with clogged ash in their nostrils. It will be an interesting steelhead season down below Mack’s. You will need to bring your own shade and wind protection to prevent ash from covering your food and maybe even a dust mask.

The trout fishing continues to be good throughout the Maupin area with solid caddis hatches every day. The morning dead caddis fishing has been spectacular if you are willing to hit the river early. The mid-days, despite the heat, are productive using a variety of nymphing techniques, Euro-Nymphing being the best. If you want to learn how to be effective in the mid-day heat, we are offering another Euro-Nymphing course on Saturday August 4th. We will cover the whole gamut from leader design, fly selection, presentation styles to how to approach different water types. All the equipment is provided. If you are interested give the shop a call.

I am sure there are a lot of you waiting to hear a steelhead report so here you go. Fish are being caught on a more consistent basis from the mouth to the falls. Angling pressure is light and the fish have been willing to eat which is the perfect combo. Unfortunately the heat has been an issue as far as water temperature is concerned. If you are going to brave the weather we encourage you to fish no later than 2 in the afternoon. The evening temps. in Ferry canyon have ranged from 68 to 70 degrees which is warm enough to kill any steelhead even if he/she is promptly released. That being said the morning temps. have been great and fishing for hot early fish in a T-shirt is damn appealing. We are going to offer fly tying demos in the late afternoon to keep you occupied for the rest of the day. If you want to bring your vise and tools and join in please do. We will do a separate report with more details on the tying demos this weekend.

Tight Lines,

Deschutes Angler Crew


FLY SHOP HOURS: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM

July 21, 2018 9:00 AM

The Deschutes River is open once again - all segments are open to boating, fishing, drive-in, recreating, and camping. If you are going to float below Mack's Canyon, please be aware theat there may still be hot spots down there. Although this is already in the regulations, be aware that you must bring your own toilet if you are doing an overnight trip. This will be especially important because many of the established outhouses and phoenix toilets were burnt up in this fire and will not be available to use. Also, bring your own shade and perhaps a dust mask because the majority of the river in segment 4 (below Mack's) is treeless burn zone. This was an unusually hot fire and, from what we have heard, the lower river is a barren wasteland. Today is the first day that we can actually get our boats on the water in segment 3 (Buckhollow to Mack's Canyon) so we have guides out there right now checking out the situation.

This should go without saying, but campfires are strictly prohibited along the river right now. However, people seem to leave their common sense at home when they go camping. This morning I got a phone call at 6:15 AM from Alex, who was starting his guided day. He was on the access road just downstream from Maupin when he passed the Oasis Campground and noticed a camper with a big campfire burning away. He stopped to inform them that most of Wasco and Sherman County were in the midst of fighting wildland fires and that having a bonfire in this tinderbox was