February 15, 2018 We are coming into a long holiday weekend and one that is also a FREE FISHING WEEKEND for everyone - whether you are an Oregon resident or not. Unfortunately, the weather looks like it may go back to a more wintery mix with strong winds and possible rain/snow mix. Why is it that we typically have beautiful weather all week only for the weather to get crumby on the weekend??? It doesn't seem fair to the weekend warriors... but I suppose that's why you call yourselves warriors, you are ready to do battle with anything that mother nature can throw at you! If camping has little to no appeal with a forecast such as this one, remember that all of the hotels in Maupin have winter rates and they are CHEAP! The Riverside, our local restaurant and watering hole, will cook your hot meals for you and we will be here to help you with fly fishing gear, tips, and information.
Last weekend was a big one - we went into Portland on Saturday to the Deschutes River Alliance fundraising auction and it was a huge success. John was the emcee and he was in rare (not really) form drumming up high bids on all of the auction items. We successfully raised a good chunk of money, which will help our organization fight on for the health of the Deschutes River. If you want to get up to date on the latest news go to www.deschutesriveralliance.org. Please take a look at the latest DRA video which shows how the changes in the river have impacted the economic base of Maupin:
We drove home on Saturday night because Sunday is our one day off and we wanted to go trout fishing. So, we got out on Sunday with our buddy, Matt Krill, and we had a really good day of trout fishing on the Deschutes. We were testing out a new rod made by Echo which is called the Echo Shadow. This rod is specially designed for Euro nymphing, which is a technique that we have been employing since the river has undergone such massive changes in bug hatches (see DRA website above). Since the rocks close to the river's edge are now covered in nuisance algae, and our trout (once known worldwide as some of the finest dry fly eaters anywhere) don't have nearly as many dry flies from which to choose, we figure that they have changed their eating habits and we now must change our fishing style on order to find them. So, we are embracing the Euro nymphing tools available to us, and one of those tools is the Echo Shadow 2 weight 10 foot rod specifically designed for Euro nymphing. This rod can be modified with an aftermarket upgrade (which includes an extension section and some counter balance weights) to become an 11 foot 2 weight with extra weights in the butt section in order to balance out the extra length. Matt put his trout reel on this rod with a floating line, we attached one of our hand-tied Euro leaders (available here in our fly shop) tied on two flies, and we hooked and landed some really big trout as well as a bunch of middleweights.
The flies were all of our own creation - a heavily weighted golden stone as the bottom point fly and a euro nymph (Frenchie or perdigon) as the dropper fly. The water that we fished mostly consisted of a big riffle that poured into a deep slow slick. By tossing the flies in the riffle, they were instantly in the zone thanks to their weight and the specially designed leader that cuts right through the water allowing fast penetration of the nymphs. The takes were quite subtle, but the brightly colored indicator section of the leader let us know immediately if our nymphs hesitated for even a moment. You just can't get to "Fly Fishing Ninja" status with a big bobber on the water - it causes too much drag if not fished with absolute prescision, and even then, your flies down deep are rarely in line with your indicator six feet or eight feet above them on the surface of the water. What many people don't realize is that the water on the surface of a river moves at a faster pace than the water near the bottom of the river. This is why, when water temperatures are quite cold (as they are on the Deschutes right now) the fish will opt to be further down in the flow so they don't have to expend as much energy to hold their position in a feeding lane. Temps right now are 44-45 degrees throughout the entire river and the water levels have dropped to normal or slightly below normal flows for this time of year.
Euro-style nymphing has opened up a Pandora's box of fun goodies for us to bring into the shop. We are bringing in a slew if new flies (not here yet - but coming soon) as well as a gob of fly tying materials for tying up the ammo that you need for this style of fishing. Several styles and brands of Euro hooks, jigged and other, are either on the walls of the shop now or are due in this coming week. We have every available color of Coq de Leon feathers for the tails of these flies, tungsten bead heads in every color and with or without slots, UV resins of the highest quality, CDC in every shade imaginable, and all of the other materials necessary to create these cool little nymphs. Not a fly tyer yet? Thinking of giving it a try? There is no easier fly to tie than one of these Euro nymphs. We can help you get started.
We expanded our leader and tippet wall to include TROUTHUNTER brand fluorocarbon leaders and tippets. These super strong leaders and tippets will help you fool the pickiest trout and, the unique feature of the tippet material is that it is available in half sizes. If 5X tippet is spooking your picky trout, but 6X is so fine that you are sure to break that pig off when you fool him, why not shift down to 5.5X tippet? Trouthunter has you covered.
I have been tying a lot of these flies in the evening at home in my wo-mancave and it is one of the reasons that John and I have been out on the water fishing more this winter. Another reason? Sundays off. Another? It is fun to fish with my hubby! Another? Oh yeah, he finished working on the boat that I bought him (a wooden boat that turned out to be quite a project) and he is really having fun using it on the Deschutes this winter. The boat is a 22 foot long Dean River Dory purchased from a lodge on the Dean River in British Columbia and originally built by the Blewett family. There are very few of these boats in the world and I have been infatuated with them since I first laid eyes on them on the Dean River about 18 years ago. My father was a wood boat guy - he built one, he had tons of books about them, he had a subscription to Wooden Boat magazine, and he eventually got his dream boat - a 1952 Chris Craft runabout, which he named Amy. So, my love for wood boats runs deep and so does John's (though he would not have called his feelings towards this boat anything close to love while he was refinishing it). We have been cruising around in the boat for about two months now, just getting to feel comfortable running it up and down the river. It will be our fun boat - not a work boat - we will continue to do all of our guiding in the drift boats. If you see us out there, you will see a beaming smile on John's face because he is loving his new toy and we are getting time to fish and enjoy it during this unbelievably warm winter.
Amy & John Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler
February 9, 2018
The weather we are having this winter has been unreal! Yesterday felt more like May than February. John and I went trout fishing down below Sherar's Falls and took our new (old) Dean River Dory out for a spin. It was a long drive down to Mack's Canyon - but that was mainly because we don't have a cover for the boat and we didn't want a bunch of rock chips on the new paint job. The road down there is quite good but not perfect. It has been grated down to Rattlesnake Campground and the equipment is down there to finish the job on the next rainy day. We saw a few folks out fishing, but not many, and we managed to fool quite a few trout on our Euro nymphs using Euro leaders and rods 10-12 feet in length.
When we got back to town, the guys in the shop couldn't believe how long we had stayed on the water because the wind here in town was HOWLING. It was limb-breaking, roof-destroying wind that kept blowing the front door open all day long and scattering fly tying materials all over the floor. Surprisingly, the wind was dead just 20 miles down river where we were. I have found that to be true quite a bit of the time, so keep that in mind when you are fishing the Deschutes...it may be possible to change your location to find better conditions elsewhere on the river.
The unseasonably warm weather means that our private lakes are open for business as long as they remain unfrozen. We have lots of options at different prices if you want to get your rod bent. The big rainbows in the private lakes are eager to eat dries, and we have seen some decent midge hatches up there this winter. Give us a ring if you want to jump on one of our lakes. We have float tubes that you can rent if you don't have one of your own. Or, fish the lakes from the edges and you don't have to worry about weeds this time of year.
We have been seeing a few hatches on the river but not a ton of fish looking up, so we are sticking with the high-sticking Euro nymph game for now. Since there are not a ton of Euro-style nymphs available commercially, we have been bringing in all of the specialty hooks and beads so that we can help you tie your own. If there is an easier fly to tie in the world, I haven't seen it yet! So this could be a great chance for someone new to tying to stock up his/her fly boxes with a ton of deadly patterns. Of course, the initial investment into fly tying is going to set you back at least $100 minimum - but you will pay for that with the first 40-50 Euro-nymphs that you tie. I am not normally one to say that getting into fly tying will save you a lot of money - but in this case, with the bugs being so easy to tie as well as so easy to lose on the bottom of the river, you might find your return on investment comes more easily than, say, getting into tying steelhead flies. In this golden age of Youtube videos, it is easy to see why the popularity of fly tying is exploding. I have to keep expanding my shop just to find space on the walls for all the new stuff!
Today is a little cooler than yesterday but the wind has died off completely, so I am going fishing. Tight lines!
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
January 26, 2018
The Western edge of Oregon and the Willamette Valley rivers look to be high and muddy after the recent big rains. Not the case out here in the desert! The Deschutes is absolutely crystal clear right now and fishing well. We did not get the rain and it is quite mild out here with morning temps in the low 40s and the daytime temps in the mid 50s. Is it really January? Hard to tell with the beautiful weather we are experiencing. Yesterday we had a healthy Blue Wing Olive hatch in the mid-day and the caddis are active all winter long, so there is an opportunity for dry fly fishing at least for part of the day. The nymph fishing has been good with the regular old two fly nymph-dropper combo, however, we are using our two weight trout Spey rods and Euro nymph leaders - custom tied here at Deschutes Angler - to explore new ways of tempting the Deschutes redsides. The Euro nymphing has been on our radar for a few years, we have used Czech nymph leaders for almost 10 years now, but nymphing was not as important to our guiding program before the changes in the Deschutes River water management caused many of the dry fly hatches to decline. We used to fish dry flies all day long, but the trout that once fed actively on dries daily are gone from their normal feeding lanes. They are, we surmise, relying on the nymphs down deep where the rocks are free from the nuisance algae that we see on the rocks closer to the surface. So, we are putting our flies where we think the trout have gone and we are finding the trout quite receptive to our offerings. This year at Deschutes Angler you will see a lot of new Euro nymph patterns with oversized tungsten bead heads and UV coated bodies. Most of them will have a hot-spot or two on them - bright patches of florescent floss that glow under UV light. The extra heavy tungsten bead allows you to fish these nymphs without any additional split shot or weight. The leader is key to the style of Euro nymphing - it is ultra thin and long and this allows the nymphs to drop straight to the depths with little to no resistance (which they have when the leader is a regular tapered leader). Stop into the fly shop and we will show you how we set up our Euro nymph rigs.
As long as it is mild our private lakes are open for business and the fish are eager and strong in that cold clean winter water. Call us to get a day on the lakes. $100-$150 per day.
John is enjoying the warmth and sunshine of Christmas Island right now with a group of wonderful anglers. Thanks to a little satellite device that we carry with us on trips like this one, I can text daily with John to get the up to the minute report on his trip. Yesterday John got a nice Giant Trevally to hand and one of the other guys on the trip got a nine pound bonefish! The weather is warm and sunny - perfect for spotting fish - and not as windy as it was when I was at Christmas Island for two weeks last month. I had great fishing - caught all three species of Triggerfish and many GTS. John had to stay home while I was on Christmas Island and now I have to stay home while John is there because neither one of us wants to leave our old geriatric dog, KD, in the hands of a dog sitter. Those of you who come into the shop regularly have met the old girl, KD. She was the finest pointing hunting dog we have ever hunted behind, and we are making her golden years as comfortable as they can be. She has a litany of health problems now, lots of lumps, a few big tumors, Cushing's Disease, and so on. She has some tough nights with a bit of groaning, but she wakes up every morning with a furiously wagging tail and an appetite that is shocking. She's a tough old girl who has lost the hair on her ears and her flanks, but she wants to get up and go every morning!
Looks like a little rain might creep over the mountains tonight, but Saturday is going to be mild with overcast skies - perfect for mayfly hatches! We will see you on the river!
Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Happy New Year !!! I know we haven’t wrote a report in over a month but just like everyone else it is hectic during the holidays. Fortunately we all survived and are back at it here at Deschutes Angler. Well the fishing has been surprisingly good over the last couple of weeks for both late fall steelhead and trout. We have actually been putting quite a bit of time in on the water for both species because the weather has been pleasantly mild.
On the steelhead end of things sink-tips and larger flies have been the ticket particularly when fished on the Airflo F.I.S.T. Skagit head. The triple density material really slows the fly down without even having to work for it. As usual for this time of year the fish have come out of the slower moving runs or the slowest part of whatever run we have fished. The quality has been great with most fish still bright and in healthy condition especially below Sherar’s Falls. I’d say we have another couple weeks before these fish will move into the tribs.
Trout fishing has been quite good over the last couple of weeks. Haven’t really seen many hatches but the nymph fishing has been solid. If you know how to Czech or Euro-style nymph then the fishing is going to be great because the fish are lying in the deep water right off the steep banks. Most people indicator nymphing the more traditional looking riffles have had less success. Top flies have been the Jimmy Legg in whatever color and size and a tungsten jigged pheasant tail. Hopefully we will start to see some blue wing olive hatches soon because it is the season.
In addition to the river, the Grass Valley and Shaniko lakes are defrosted and open to anyone looking to find some big rainbows. This time of year plan on using sinking lines and larger streamers to entice these beasts. You may see a midge hatch but typically the fish are hunkered down in the warmer water near the bottom of the lake. If you would like to get up to lakes give the shop a call at (541)395-0995.
Deschutes Angler Crew
Friday, November 24, 2017 6:30 AM
All of us here at Deschutes Angler hope that you had a very nice Thanksgiving and that you are ready to get out on the water somewhere to enjoy the weekend ahead. For those of you who live in Oregon or who may be visiting Oregon or who have out of state visitors, the good news is that this Friday and Saturday are FREE FISHING days. This means that no license is required for fishing in Oregon waters today or tomorrow. So, drag your relatives out of bed, tell them to buck up and deal with their turkey hangovers (or other hangovers, as the case may be) and show them your beloved rivers or streams or lakes this weekend! It sure beats straggling around in a stupid shopping mall.
We have had a few days of rain in central Oregon and this, along with some increased flows out of the dam near Madras, has caused the Deschutes River to rise pretty significantly in the last couple of days. If you go to the tab LOCAL INFORMATION located right next to the FISHING REPORT tab, you can see the two water flow gauges for the lower Deschutes. The Madras reading tells you what the river is going to be like above the White River and the Moody reading (taken at the mouth of the Deschutes where it reaches the Columbia) tells us what the river looks like below the confluence with the White River (the main tributary which enters the Deschutes about 8 miles north of Maupin). The White River was looking pretty high and a bit dirty when I drove over it on Wednesday and it looks like it went higher yesterday but started dropping again overnight. The Deschutes will seem high to those of you who fish it all summer and fall, and it may have a tinge of color in it through the Maupin area and certainly a bit more than a tinge of color down below the confluence with the White River.
If you are trout fishing, your success rate will depend on fishing softer water and using three to four BB shot to get your nymphs down to the slower water near the bottom of the river. We just got some tungsten shot in stock - a new product from Montana Fly Company. Tungsten is a natural element that we often use in flies as bead heads. In relation to brass beads, a similar sized tungsten bead is 4 times heavier. So, this is the stuff to use for high water or fast water if you want to efficiently get to where the fish are. Another good strategy is to use a Czech style nymphing leader. Unlike a normal tapered leader which is thick at the top and tapers down at the end where you tie on your flies, the Czech leader is ultra thin and ultra strong from the top to the bottom. When you pitch your flies out, the ultra fine leader cuts quickly through the water and your nymphs start bouncing along the bottom immediately. Nymphing Ninjas know the advantage to the Czech leader - and one leader will last you years since they are easy to rebuild again and again. Stop in and we will show you how these specialized leaders work.
Fly-wise, trout anglers will want to have one big stonefly pattern and one bright little bead head as a trailer. You double down on your chances of hooking up with this combo. Trout are now settling into the winter water that keeps them from working too hard. The backeddies and slow tailouts will be key to your success. Riffles of summer have been abandoned by trout due to cooler water temps.
Speaking of cooler water temps, the Deschutes still has steelhead around and they too will be hanging out in some of the slower tailouts and deeper pools where they don't have to expend too much energy to hold their ground. Though we don't get any winter run fresh fish in the Deschutes, this time of year can be surprisingly good because the maximum number of fish are in the system, they are settled into a holding pattern, and there are very few people around targeting them. Water temps have actually risen significantly in the last week due to warm air temps or possibly due to water being released off the top of lake Billy Chinook, but whatever the reason, water temps are now around 52 degrees instead of the mid to low 40s which we saw last week. You could easily get steelhead to eat surface and near surface flies on floating line at these temperatures, but you have to find the right water type that will hold fish and not be too deep. Sink tips might be a better option while the water is high because the water near the surface moves a lot faster than the water near the bottom of the river. With high water, steelhead tend to drop down to take advantage of the slower water and rocky substrate that the bottom offers. No need for huge intruders, these steelhead are eager to eat small and mid-sized flies. Stop in and we will share some killer patterns with you.
The weather has been great - it was 60 degrees yesterday! Sure, conditions are less than perfect, the river is high, but it appears to have crested and should start falling today. A rising river brings fish in and moves them around and a falling river is good for the bite.
If you just want to do the All-American thing and shop 'til you drop on Black Friday, we can help you there! We are open today and all weekend and we have some great deals in the shop on Simms G3 Waders, a handful of Spey Rods, Hatch Finatic reels, and Deschutes Angler insulated water bottles. Remember, this Saturday is Shop Small Saturday. If you want to support a small family-run business, shop at Deschutes Angler! If you can't make it in to see us in person, jump on our website or give us a call. We are here to help.
Have a great weekend and TIGHT LINES!!
John and Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
November 12, 2017 9:30 AM
Hello fellow anglers! Yes, things are winding down around here. As the foggy fall weather rolls in, most of the fishermen/fisherwomen have wrapped it up for the year. There are still steelhead in the river moving around, but the water is getting cooler and the fish seem to be getting less grabby and aggressive towards flies. Now is the time to transition into slower water, maybe put on a light sink tip, and fish a fly that has a slightly larger profile. The Deschutes does not have a winter run of steelhead - so the last steelhead of the year are just now entering the river. The steelhead won't spawn for 4 more months so the greatest number of steelhead are in the river now just waiting for spring and their spawning time. Late in the year we get a nice push of fresh fish, which we nickname the October Brights. There is a decent chance of hooking a steelhead in the 12-15 lb category this time of year on the Deschutes - so, your suffering in cold weather through the month of November might just be rewarded with a big wild buck or hen.
Trout fishing this time of year will require that you find the slower froggier water that trout prefer in the winter. Think back eddies, slow moving slicks, anything but the fast oxygenated water that you find trout living in during the summer months. It's mostly a nymphing game, big stonefly trailed by a small bright beadhead, but there have been pretty decent mid-day mayfly hatches (BWOs) during the mid-day. Unfortunately, the big trout don't seem to be too keyed-in on the dry flies this fall, though you might find pockets of trout looking up.
Our private lakes are fishing well - the weeds have dropped back, the fish are happy and well-rested, and we will be sending anglers up to the lakes until they freeze over.
The next few days are supposed to be pretty WINDY, which may make the fishing challenging. We will have a lot of leaves in the water as they blow from the riverside trees.
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler
November 4, 2017 12:05 PM
Happy Saturday morning! We have a cool overcast day here in Maupin and the river is in really great shape. Reports of steelhead being hooked are spotty but there are pods of steelhead moving around. Typically, if you hook a steelhead in a run, it pays to fish that run one more time to be sure that you presented your fly to every fish in the run. Fish are moving more slowly now that the water temps have cooled. We are still hooking steelhead using floating lines and small hairwing patterns, but the shift to slightly larger flies and light sink tips is a matter of a few degrees away. As water temps get down in to the high 40s, the steelhead won't move as fast and far to grab your fly, so it is time to take the fly to the steelhead. How late do we fish? Our guided trips have tapered off now but we enjoy getting out for fun trips this time of year and fishing will be good through the month. The bucks are pretty colored up now - we are talking double red stripes on some of these guys - but the hens stay pretty bright in the late fall. The lower access road has been graded and is very smooth now, but the washboards will slowly work their way back over the coming weeks.
Our private lakes are still fishing well - until they freeze, you have an opportunity to hook dozens of 20 + inch fish per person per day.
We hope to see you in the shop!
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler
October 25, 2017 12:05 PM
Shortly after I wrote the last report, the water came up on the entire river and it blew out for the entire 100 miles of the lower river. I hesitated to write anything because this bump in the water out of the dam (Madras gauge) was a reaction to the rainfall that we had over the weekend. They spilled extra water from the dam and jacked the river up 600 cfs overnight. It immediately started to drop after that, as did the White River, and it was cleared up and fishable by yesterday morning in the section of river above Maupin. The whole river is now in decent fishable shape, though a bit higher than average flow for this date. When the river gets high and dirty, or even just dirty, I will use a little bit larger and darker fly to be sure that the steelhead can see my offering. I might even put on a light sink tip to get the fly in the mid water column - but I switch back to floating line and smaller flies as soon as the clarity improves.
Trout fishing would have been poor over the last two days due to the muddy water, but things should be back to normal now. We have seen excellent hatches lately of blue winged olive mayflies as well as caddis and larger green body mayflies. Keep your eyes peeled for those hatches around noon, particularly on cloudy days.
Tight lines! Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
October 22, 2017 12:05 PM
Well, I jinxed it. After writing a glowing report about how the White River hasn't been a problem for the Deschutes all year, it happened last night....the White River blew out. It is a muddy mess and the Deschutes River from the White River downstream is unfishable. It is dirty, folks. This is a rain-caused blow out, so it should come back into shape during the week, because the weather is supposed to be nice all week, but it just may take a couple of days for that to happen. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will be hard-pressed to find a river on the west-side or possibly even on the east-side that hasn't come up fairly dramatically thanks to the river of rain that blew through the Northwest. Skies are clearing in Maupin right now, so the rain may be finished. The rivers that I have checked have mostly crested and are now dropping, but they are still high and mighty on the coast and near Portland and Hood River. Even the Grande Ronde flows are rocketing upwards. So, the Deschutes in the area from the White River upstream might be your best bet for fishable steelhead and trout water in the state of Oregon right now. However, expect that it will be a bit crowded.
Tight lines! Amy and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
October 21, 2017 11:30 AM
Quick update - we had a heavy rain last night and we expected that it could have an impact on the Deschutes. We had a customer call this morning and he told us that the river was muddy at the mouth - he drove over the Deschutes where it enters the Columbia. We immediately drove down to the White River to see if that was the source of the mud and it was not very dirty at all. The White River is not currently putting enough color into the Deschutes to impact it, so the brown water must be coming out of another tributary further down river. It was a rain event like this several years ago and a mini flash flood that formed the rapid that we know as Washout - so any little side canyon of the Deschutes has the ability to cause instant muddy water. It may clear quickly - which is likely if it was just a small canyon blow out and not a major tributary blow out. We will keep you posted if we hear anything else.
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
October 20, 2017 7:30 AM
Sorry for the long delay in getting this fishing report out! Between guiding, getting the flu, having an awesome string of visits from our favorite fishing friends, and working every other day in the fly shop - I have been really busy. The first three weeks of October are already past us and the steelhead season has been far better than we could have hoped for on a year of doom and gloom predictions. When we work hard and the cold fronts aren't pounding down upon us, we are managing to eke out a steelhead or two per day and a few more on days when we get lucky. The daylight is not an issue now - the sun is low in the sky and we are fishing pretty much all day long with a short break for lunch.
Floating lines and small hairwing flies are still the method that we use until water temps drop down into the mid to low 40s. Right now water temps are around 51-53, so all the surface stuff is still a good choice. Favorite flies for this time of year: Lady Caroline, Tiny Dancer October Caddis, Hazel's Recon, Dutt's Addison, Night Dancer, and Max Canyon. I always wonder how the Max Canyon name got muddled - because the canyon on the Deschutes for which the fly is presumed to be named is Mack's Canyon. My guess is that the name was printed wrong in a book when it first came out, or, the name was slapped on it as a twist on the real canyon name. Either way, the fly, with the orange on the back, is a good choice during this time of year when the October Caddis are actively emerging.
Speaking of October Caddis....they are still coming off int he evenings but the real bounty for the trout in the past three weeks has been the insane number of mayflies hatching off - especially on cloudy or rainy days. All summer long, when the water released into the Deschutes was of poor quality, warm, and an off-putting green color, we couldn't find a mayfly to save our lives. Now, the water releases from the dam have been coming off the bottom of the reservoir because the Deschutes has been cold, clean, clear, and LO AND BEHOLD insects are happily hatching off in droves. Unfortunately, the trout have pretty much moved out of the normal feeding lanes where they used to hold and wait for dry flies to hatch. Rafts of mayflies are coming down river and there are very few trout sipping from the surface. The trout are still around, but most have resorted to eating from the bottom of the river the majority of the time. Sure, you will see trout rising for dry flies here and there, but our trout fishery has been severely damaged by the short-sighted actions of the operator of the dam complex - PGE. For more about this, I refer you to the Deschutes River Alliance web site. www.deschutesriveralliance.org.
Christmas Island - who wants to go to a warm tropical destination where the bonefish are plentiful and robust, the triggerfish are insane, and the Giant Trevally will bring you to your knees? We have a few spots available on our Christmas Island hosted trips coming right up in December and January. Don't put off for another year the experience of this amazing saltwater destination! People think it is hard to get there - not true! Fly to Hawaii, sleep, get on a 3 1/2 hour flight the next morning and BOOM just like that you are in the most remote tropical environment you will ever experience. Here are the dates: December 5-12, December 12-19 (this allows you to stay for two weeks), and January 23-30, 2018. Call me at the shop if you want in - I can best sum up the Christmas Island experience with a quote from one of the guys that we took last year: (stepping off the boat after the first full day of fishing) "I caught more fish today than I have in the last 6 trips to Belize - combined!"
This has been a glorious year because our water conditions have been absolutely pristine. The WHITE RIVER has been clear and has not blown out the Deschutes as it has so many times in past years. YEAH!!!!!! We still have a lot of great steelhead fishing ahead of us - so come on out to the Deschutes to enjoy the return of the big October brights (large wild fish that enter the river in late October).
Tight Lines! Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
September 29, 2017 9:30 AM
Fall is here! Nice crisp weather and overcast days make for the perfect conditions for steelhead fishing. We were chatting with our friend, Brian Silvey, in the shop yesterday, and he and John were remarking on the beautiful condition that the river has been in all fall. The clarity hasn't been this good in years, and the White River has not had any negative impact on our fishing - which is a refreshing change from years past. As those of you who follow the counts closely have, no doubt, observed, the numbers of steelhead passing over Bonneville have dropped off, but they are still coming over The Dalles dam in decent numbers and the counts right here on the Deschutes at Sherar's Falls have bumped significantly in the past week - which means that the steelhead are spreading out into all reaches of the Deschutes.
As we head into October, we expect a few things to happen as they normally do in October. First off, we are still in prime time for steelhead and that means that a lot of anglers will still be coming to the Deschutes for their annual trip. We may see numbers of people bump a little bit this year if the folks who normally fish the Snake and Clearwater Rivers decide to head west where the numbers of steelhead are better than on their home waters. We also have seen a lot of anglers coming down from the north - Washington and Canada. On the flip side of that coin, many anglers who have been fishing the Deschutes for steelhead since August may decide to try their luck on other Columbia tributaries like the Grande Ronde. Anglers who also hunt will feel the pull of deer or elk camp or perhaps will choose to hike the hillsides in search of upland birds rather than fishing. October has a lot of sporting opportunities that tend to pull some anglers away from the river. By November, the Deschutes gets pretty quiet, and sometimes quite cold, but it can be a very pleasant time to be hunting steelhead.
For trout anglers, this is the time of year when we start to see bug bugs again. The October Caddis are out in full force already, so you will see them in the last light of the day hovering around the riverside trees. The emergence and main activity of the October Caddis is nocturnal, but the nymph, pupa and adult imitations will all work sporadically throughout the day when presented to an eager trout. The trout are moving out of the fast riffle water into the slower pools where they will spend their winter conserving energy and feeding on a mid-day hatch of Blue wing Olive mayflies and large slate-wing mayfly species. Besides the huge October caddis that come at this time of year, the trout will also be dining on brown caddis in size 14 and 12 - so the larger patterns in your fly box will come into play this month. Dry-dropper rigs with a variety of bead head nymph patterns will produce well as will double nymph rigs fished deep.
If you need a day of catching catching catching after a dry spell on the river, we can get you a spot on one of our private lakes where the trout have been growing fat and happy all summer and are now fair game for anglers. For $100 to $125 a day per person, you will have a whole day of fun. Call us to schedule a spot.
Enjoy the beautiful weather and the crispness of the fall. Tight lines!!
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
September 21, 2017 9:30 AM
White River looks much the same as it did yesterday at this time. The color is dark brown, but it is not coloring the Deschutes much, if at all. I did notice that there were 9 cars parked along the road fishing this morning between Maupin and the White River Campground. That is 8 more cars than yesterday morning. I think those guys might be reading the White River wrong - a little dirty water coming out at the mouth of the White doesn't always mean that the lower river is unfishable. All of our guides are fishing down below the confluence of the White and the Deschutes. Yesterday, when the White looked exactly like it does now, there was easily 5-6 feet of visibility in the lower river, probably more. White River has less than 300 cfs - certainly not enough flow to be a headache. That's the news!
September 20, 2017 5:10 PM
White River looks much the same as it did this morning. Alex stopped off at Pine Tree boat launch and waded in to the top of his waders around 4:00 PM. He could see his feet which means 5 feet of visibility. Also - it is cold in higher elevations, so the White should be okay. We will see what happens overnight....
September 20, 2017 2:10 PM
Here is a picture that I took of the mouth of the White River this morning at 9:30 AM. As you can see, the White has some color in it but it is not the color of a Latte or Milky and it is NOT or WAS NOT causing problems in the Deschutes as of this morning. The color barely made an impact on the water just below the confluence - so that is good news. This could, of course, change a bit throughout the day. The White River has come up 200 or so CFS, but that isn't really that bad. We'll keep you posted...
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:00 AM
It rained all night last night, which is our first significant rain since who knows when. The dry and thirsty ground should absorb the majority of the precipitation from this first moisture event, but the rain has been coming down on Mt. Hood for two days and that did bump the White River up a bit yesterday. However, I will have to drive down to the White River this morning to see if it is big enough or dirty enough to be impacting the Deschutes. I drove over it at about 3:45 PM yesterday and it was a little more colored but not latte colored. The color was more green with a tinge of brown and was certainly not the color or the volume capable of blowing out the Deschutes. That may have changed overnight, so I will charge up the drone batteries and have a full report for you later this morning. Remember, the condition of the White River can change day to day hour to hour, so if your trip is coming up this weekend - please don't be that guy who calls the shop on Wednesday, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning, Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, Friday late morning, and Friday afternoon, to try to get up to the minute updates on the White River. We check it once a day, it can change within an hour of checking it, we will report any changes,AND... dealing with what Mother Nature hands you is part of being an angler, oh yes, and we have caller ID.
It has become quite clear in recent years how dependent upon technology anglers have become. People used to pick a time to go fishing, clear it with their work schedule, and just go fishing. There were trips with great conditions and other trips where the fish counts were way lower than in past years, or trips where the weather and/or water conditions were less than ideal. People, let's call them ANGLERS, they just went fishing anyway. The blown out water conditions might have led to an epic day of tying flies in a wall tent next to the river - a spontaneous clave of like-minded anglers who would certainly rather have been swinging for steel... but who found new fishing friends while bending a few feathers and sharing their secrets for steelhead success.
Some of the folks in the younger generation, let's call them Millennianglers, have the ability to check in an instant the weather at any spot on the map, the water flows on hundreds of rivers and their tributaries, the fish counts at dozens of locations which they then extrapolate to pinpoint the predictions for each potential fishing destination, the fishing reports from a handful of fly shops and outfitters, and the up to the minute road conditions to minimize drive time. Smart? For sure. We, of the "geezer low-tech generation who grew up hand-writing letters to one another and mailing them with little square things called stamps," we, too, check some of these wonderful high-tech sources of information, but the information does not typically make or break our decision to go stand in a river.
Now, I want to state clearly that not all of the 20 and 30 somethings fall into this trap - I see hard core young anglers out on the river weekend after weekend no matter the weather or the fish counts. Kudos to you guys and gals! Of, course, my window into your world often comes from your up to the second posts on Instagram, BUT you are out there standing in the water at any given opportunity, and my hat is off to you.
My hat is also off to all those Millennianglers who check all the vectors and decide to stay home. We have been enjoying a very very uncrowded river this year and I can only assume that this is due to some less than stellar dam counts. "Less than stellar" might be a little harsh, the counts are less than the ten year average, but the counts overall are fantastic when compared to numbers of steelhead that return to other river systems in the Northwest. We have thousands of fish PER DAY making their journey up and over the dams on the Columbia. Some famous rivers in British Columbia that people pay dearly to fish only get back a few thousand steelhead for the entire season. So far this season, we have had over NINETY-SEVEN THOUSAND STEELHEAD pass over Bonneville dam on their way up the Columbia. Over FIFTY THOUSAND of those steelhead have passed over the Dalles dam and have had the opportunity to turn into the Deschutes River. That's a lot of fish, folks, no matter how crappy people want to say this year is.
Do you have to work hard to hook a steelhead this year? Yep, you have to put in some angler effort hours to find those fish, but they are there. We are currently guiding a guy from Switzerland who fished in British Columbia last week and arrived to find high water and blown out rivers. He said he was in a group of twelve at the lodge. They managed, among all anglers' efforts, to land one steelhead for the week. Granted - the rivers were really high and dirty until the last day of the trip. He flew down here on Sunday night to fish with us all week on a guided trip, and he has landed one steelhead per day so far. Who knows, this morning may have been the morning that he hooked three... Of course, the conditions may be changing today with the rain that fell last night. It remains to be seen.
The drone batteries are all charged up now, so I am off to check on the White River. I do not love the extra two hours of my day that it takes to post a few White River pictures or videos, but it does help keep the phone calls down a bit.
The trout fishing has been okay lately - we still have some warm days ahead of us this week. The October caddis should start to make their appearance soon, the BWOs are out between 1:30 and 3:30 most days, especially the cloudy days. Regular size 12 caddis are also out and about as are a few crane flies. One annoying thing is the massive amounts of carpet-like weeds that are breaking loose in chunks and covering our flies (both steelhead flies and trout flies). Until dam operations change and the PH levels of our now nutrient-laden river drop, we will continue to see massive weed growth in the Deschutes and very slippery wading conditions.
Need to just wail on some big trout? We can send you up to our private lakes for a day's fishing. Your rod will be bent over and over again and your lust for big trout will be satisfied. Give us a call and we can arrange for your gluttonous adventure.
Tight lines, and we will see you on the river!
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Hey, steelhead fishermen! What's UP??? I have to thank you for the lack of phone calls about the White River. It has been a pleasure to NOT have to field 40-50 of those phone calls a day. I guess I should really thank the White River for staying in shape so far this year. Now that it is getting cooler, chances are good that we will have dodged the bullet all year long on the White River blowing out. The water conditions are fantastic, water temps are cool, the crowds are minimal to none, and there are a few steelhead around. What more of a report do you need? Go fishing!
Trout anglers will enjoy some of the better caddis and blue wing olive hatches of the year. The trout like the cooling water temps. Most everyone else is fishing for steelhead - so all the trout water is yours for the taking.
The number one question of the week is about the smoke. Though we do not have any fires in our immediate area, the smoke is drifting in from the Sisters fire to the south of us and also from the Fire in the Columbia River Gorge. Most of the time the smoke is just a high haze without any perceptible smell of smoke, but there are other times when there is no doubt that you feel as if you are near a large campfire. It changes day to day and hour to hour, so it is difficult to predict what the weekend will bring. When in doubt, go fishing.
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
It's still a ghost-town out here in terms of fishermen, but there are certainly reasons why that might be. First off, we have been getting a lot of phone calls about the smoke out here. We are sitting in a fairly good position relatively speaking. It is far more smoky in Madras, Redmond, Sisters, Bend, and The Dalles thanks to the direction of the wind and their proximity to the fires. When I woke this morning I certainly could smell smoke and we are surrounded by a haze, but we can see at least 1/2 to a mile and it is not intolerable to be outdoors. Of course, it depends on your sensitivity to smoke and whether or not you have asthma.
The bug hatches have been very very good lately - lots of caddis, aquatic moths, craneflies and mayflies (BWOs) which is better than we have seen throughout the months of June and July. I believe the boom in bug hatches is directly correlated with the drop in the water temperatures coming out of the Madras dam. So, this is great news for the trout anglers.
Steelhead fishing has been steadily good, not great, but better than last year. We are averaging a fish hooked per day per guide boat, sometimes two. All of the fish we have hooked have come on floating line and non-weighted traditional hairwing patterns or muddlers or skaters. I am also happy to report that the White River has remained clear so far this year - knock knock knock on wood. If that changes, we will post changes on this report immediately.
Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Labor Day Weekend is nearly over - where are all the fishermen? It's hard to believe that September is upon us and steelhead fishermen are nowhere to be found. Don't get me wrong, I love guiding and fishing with so few people on the water, but it is quite lonely here in the fly shop without our regular crew of die hard steelheaders passing through. I looked at some posts from last year at this time and the White River was a huge muddy mess. Fortunately, this year the White has been tight and clean and has not had any impact at all on our steelhead fishing or on the condition of the Deschutes River below its confluence. If it changes, we will be the first to let you know.
The bug hatches in the last few days have been as good as we have seen in years - caddis are thick, aquatic moths are coming off like crazy, and the high smoke cover creates a haze which encourages incredible mayfly hatches (Blue Wing Olives). Speaking of smoke, in the last few days the smoke rolled back over the bright sun, but it is nowhere near what it is like in Bend or Sisters. What we have is a high altitude smoke layer that we can't smell or even recognize as smoke, and which creates ideal fishing conditions for both trout and steelhead. The fish are way less wary and way happier when the sun isn't blazing down directly in their eyes, so this smoke is welcome to stick around for a while, as far as I am concerned. Of course, it could change as the wind changes and the smoke could blow out of here in a matter of hours or it could get heavier, but we have not had any breathing problems or eyes watering or such as they have in Bend.
Steelhead fishing has been pretty good this year despite the bad forecast. The numbers coming over The Dalles dam are finally starting to climb and those steelhead will be completely unmolested in the Columbia (other than the gill nets - on the days they are out there). What the fish won't have to run is a gauntlet of gear slung at them from 20-30 boats sitting at the mouth of the Deschutes. They also won't have to run the second gauntlet of swinging gear once they are in the Deschutes coming from the island at Heritage landing - because the Deschutes is closed to fishing from the mouth to Moody Rapids (a very short stretch) starting September 1. I can barely keep up on the changing regulations, so don't be surprised if ODFW makes rolling changes as the season goes on.
The best thing about the bad reports and doom and gloom of a low steelhead return is that the anglers are not showing up in the numbers that we see on the better years. Fewer anglers means no crowds and more water to fish. Get out there and get your rod bent.
Tight lines, Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
Friday, August 25, 2017
Well we survived eclipsamania over the weekend although in reality it was surprisingly quiet in and around Maupin. The only traffic we had was immediately following the eclipse when everyone decided to head home. Fishing traffic has been zilch. Where is everyone? Did fishing fall out of fashion this winter? The fact of the matter is fishing has been quite good for both trout and steelhead over the last couple weeks.
Trout fishing has been consistently good both nymphing and dry fly fishing. Caddis are still the primary insect although the fall BWO’s are starting to show up in the afternoon. Dry dropper rigs have been working throughout most of the day with a caddis dry and a mayfly nymph with a heavy tungsten bead. On the nymphing end, Jimmy legs in smaller sizes have been the go to bug with a caddis pupa dropper. Fish the heavier aerated water with a couple pieces of split shot to really dig deep.
Steelhead fishing has been consistent over the last week. Most days anglers are getting a fish or two if they put in the time during good light and cover a lot of water. It is shocking to see how few anglers are even attempting to go fishing. Most days I have been the only boat on the water and little to no road traffic. Macks to the mouth is like a ghost town with the lightest pressure we have ever seen. Yes the fish counts are down and yes last year was tough despite there being a few more fish around but you can’t catch steelhead on the couch. I will say that personally I have had the best August I have had in about 4 years and hopefully the season continues that way. We have also been getting quite a few on skaters this last week which is always super fun to watch. Hope to see out and about.
Deschutes Angler Crew
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
The heat wave finally subsided and the massive wildfire that was burning on the Warms Springs Reservation through the weekend has been snuffed out. This means that the skies are clear just in time for the big event of the year - the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. We are already starting to see people rolling into town for the eclipse and we expect to see hundreds of thousands more eclipse peepers passing through over the weekend on their way to Madras. When you come into the fly shop, do not be surprised to see caution tape across the rod tables - we just don't want kids sword fighting with thousand dollar Spey rods.
As you steelhead anglers know, the forecast for the steelhead return is pretty poor. When this population of steelhead out-migrated as smolts, the theory is that they hit a warm blob of sterile water in the pacific and many starved to death. So, the run is forecast to be a fraction of the ten year average. As a result, the pressure on the river, in terms of steelhead anglers, is very light. The Columbia River has rolling closures August 1-October 31 designed to protect steelhead. Basically, the steelhead anglers on the Columbia will have to release all steelhead, hatchery and wild, during certain time frames on certain sections and this will surely decrease the overall impact that Columbia anglers have on steelhead returning to the Deschutes. Unfortunately, the native net fishing will continue.
All that being said, we have had darn good steelhead fishing so far this year. I would say that the number of steelhead hooked so far this year looks really promising for the rest of our season. The White River is in good shape (of course we will tell you if that changes) and the morning water temperatures are good for hooking steelhead. If the heat wave returns, you may want to limit your afternoon fishing because playing fish in 70 degree waters is harmful and very often lethal to steelhead. We are offering morning only steelhead trips this August - something that we have never before offered - so take advantage of slashed rates to enjoy a guided trip during the prime time. See our home page for details.
The name of the game for steelhead on the Deschutes has always been floating lines, floating leaders, and unweighted swung flies in size 4, 6, 8 and even 10. These are classic hairwing patterns that will elicit a huge boil and vicious grab from a steelhead when swung through his living room. No need for Skagit lines, sink tips, huge intruder-style flies. Enjoy the Deschutes for the surface-oriented steelhead that love to grab skaters. Fishing a skater is such an incredible visual mind-blowing experience, why wouldn't you want to get a steelhead on a skater?
This is the in-between time of year where we are still fishing for trout on some days. Alex had a trout trip yesterday and they landed quite a few nice redsides during the course of the day. It was mostly a down and dirty nymphing game, but Alex did find some surface action with trout willing to rise to the dry fly. As with steelhead, the best trout fishing will be in the early morning when the water temps are cooler. Caddis are still hovering around daily, so fish dead caddis patterns in the morning and livelier ones in the evening. When it is hot, concentrate your efforts on the shade patches on the river's edge where trees offer the trout both cover and shade. Deep nymphing with a weighted nymph and a few pieces of BB shot will get the job done in the super oxygenated riffles. In the hot summer months the trout love depth and oxygen, so go deep my friends and stay thirsty.
Amy Hazel and the crew at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
Friday, August 4, 2017 <