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4/21/2014
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Email a Friend Trout
By Deschutes Angler Staff

Click photos to enlarge Trout
Native Deschutes Rainbow Trout
Trout
Guide Trip on the Deschutes
Trout
Feeding in Foam Lines
Trout
Redside on a Norm Woods Special
Trout
Lone Golden Stonefly
The Deschutes River is home to a unique wild and native strain of rainbow trout known locally as redsides. It would be difficult to find a more beautiful rainbow trout or one that fights harder or jumps higher than these wonderful Deschutes fish. The seasons of the year bring with them massive insect hatches, providing our rainbows with an entomological smorgesborg throughout the year.

Most fly anglers will nymph fish throughout the winter, occasionally breaking for some dry fly midge (Chironomid) or blue wing olive (Baetis sp.) activity on warm days. The March Brown (Rithrogena morrisoni) hatch is the real kick off hatch of the Deschutes River dry fly bonanza. These are large, light tan mayfly which really give the trout a hearty early spring mouthful. Warm, calm, cloudy days in March and April are your best opportunity to catch this hatch.

The Deschutes River stonefly hatch draws anglers from around the globe who thrill at casting big dry flies to eagerly rising bank feeders. Large, clumsy, bumbling stoneflies mate in the tall grass on the river's edge and often fall into the water, much to the delight of the eager trout that stake themselves out just inches from the bank. The Deschutes actually has three types of stoneflies that hatch during the spring. The largest stonefly is the Pteronarcys californica, commonly known throughout the west as the Salmonfly. During the peak of the hatch, an angler will see the sky above the river darkened by clouds of egg-laying salmonflies in flight. The golden stone (Hesperoperla pacifica) is slightly smaller than the Salmonfly and is the dominant stonefly on the lower 50 miles of the Deschutes. The smallest stonefly is commonly known as a Little Yellow Sally (Perlodidae cultus), and she can be your saving grace if you arrive too late for the big bugs. This little beauty hatches throughout June and July. Timing a trip to hit the stonefly hatch at its peak can be tricky because the big bugs need hot weather to get them in the air, but a safe bet to catch the stonefly activity on the Deschutes is any time between May 20 and June 20.

If you arrive on the Deschutes to fish the stonefly hatch and you are met with cool cloudy weather, have no fear - the PEDs are here. A terrific Deschutes hatch that coincides with the stonefly hatch is the Pale Evening Dun (Heptagenia solitaria). This is a large (size 12 to 14 flies), tan-pink bodied mayfly which, like most mayflies, will typically have its strongest hatches on cloudy days. As their name implies, these insects hatch primarily in the late afternoon or early evening. Trout gather in back eddies and along foam lines to feed upon PEDs as they emerge and float down river. These mayflies make up an important part of the trout's diet from early May through mid-July.

Another treat for the trout are the mayflies known as Pale Morning Duns (Ephemerella inermis). PMDs on the Deschutes River are a bit smaller than the PED, and have a tint to their pale bodies that is olive. Pale Morning Duns typically hatch, you guessed it, in the morning beginning around 10 AM. They are a significant food source for the Deschutes River trout from mid-June through late July.

As the weather warms, clouds of caddis emerge from the water and become the mainstay for trout throughout the hot summer days. When you brush against the sage that grows alongside the Deschutes, you will likely find at least three or four different caddis species clouding the air. These caddis have a wide diversity in size (hook size from 12 to 20) and in color (brown, tan, olive, and black bodies are all common) which gives the angler a great puzzle to solve streamside. It is important to have a wide selection of caddis flies in your fly box when you hit the Deschutes in the summer. Caddis in various stages of their lifecycle provide excellent dry fly fishing all day long and a feeding frenzy each evening just as the sun goes down.

On the rare cloudy day in June or July, when the humidity is just right and the planets have aligned themselves just so, there is a Green Drake (Ephemerella grandis) hatch that is absolutely as mind boggling as it is unpredictable. The lucky few that catch this hatch will never forget the regattas of large green mayflies sailing down the river and the violet explosions of aggressive trout coming out of the water to grab these juicy morsels.

As the days get crisp and fall sets in, the trout angler will find that many fellow fly enthusiasts have turned their attention to steelhead, leaving most of the great trout water untouched. In the fall, the summer caddis hatches are typically dying off only to be replaced by the monster October Caddis (Discosmoecus sp.). Nearly as large as the salmonfly, the October caddis provide autumn anglers with wonderful bushy dry fly opportunities.

Nearly every day on the Deschutes provides the trout angler with a window of opportunity for dry fly fishing. In between hatches, many fly anglers choose to dead drift nymphs or tight line swing emergers.

Though you may be a very experienced fly angler with many successes under your belt on other western streams, you will find that the Deschutes redsides will challenge your every angling skill. To be successful on the Deschutes (if hooking trout is your main measure of success) you must be able to:

1. Cast well and cast accurately - big bank feeders don't give second chances, nor do overhanging trees.

2. Understand the types of water to fish and methodologies to use at different times throughout the day.

3. Read big water accurately and understand where the trout are most likely to be holding (trout hold in different types of water throughout the seasons).

4. Present fly patterns that are realistic in silohette, size, and color as well as realistic in the way they are presented to the trout.

5. Climb up and down banks, dodge poison oak, nettles, and the ubiquitous rattlesnakes. Wade tricky water, move often and cover a lot of ground.

It takes a lifetime to know a river intimately, to learn her subtle nuances, to know the secrets that she holds. A river like the Deschutes does not reveal her secrets to an angler on his/her first visit to her waters. One must spend days, weeks, and even years walking her banks and observing the lifecycles of insects and fish to truly began to develop an understanding of the Deschutes. That process of discovery is the greatest joy of fly angling. If you have the time to invest in your relationship with the Deschutes, enjoy your every cast and soak in as much as the river reveals to you daily.

Let's face it, not every angler has tons of free time to spend lounging around on the banks of the Deschutes. Many dedicated fly anglers have real jobs, families, and homes in places that are far from central Oregon. In any case, when time is limited and we would like to make the most of our visit to the Deschutes or if we are simply looking for a little insight into the intricacies of a river that we fish often, floating or exploring with the assistance of a guide can be a wonderful experience - if you have a wonderful guide. Deschutes Angler fly shop offers guided float and walk-in trips on the Deschutes with the area's most experienced guides. Get off on the right foot on your trip to the Deschutes. Our guides will show you what types of water hold fish, and what types of flies to use in different situations. What you learn in a day with our guides will be useful information that you can utilize on any section of the Deschutes and, for that matter, on many other rivers that you trout fish.

For more information on our guided trout trips check out our guide services

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Deschutes River Guided Fly Fishing, Spey Casting, Spey Rods, Spey Reels, Spey Lines, DESCHUTES ANGLER - INFO & ARTICLES, Fly Fishing Classes and Clinics, Spey Fishing, Steelhead, Trout, Beulah Rods and Lines, Spey Rods, Spey Reels, Spey Lines, Spey Casting, Spey Video, Switch Rods, Spey Rods, Spey Reels, Spey Lines, Spey Casting, Spey Video, Spey Rods, Spey Reels, Spey Lines, Spey Casting, Spey Video, Switch Lines, Spey Sink-Tips, Deschutes angler carries Winston Fly Rods, Sage Fly Rods, Beulah Fly Rods all year round, Fly Fishing Reels, Fly Reels, Nautilus, Ross, Galvan, Sage, Tibor, Hatch, Running/Shooting Lines, Shooting Head Wallets and Bags, Fly Lines, Fly Leaders & Tippet, Waders & Boots, Fly Chest/Waist/Back Packs, Fly Boxes, Fly Fishing-Accessories, Fly Fishing Handy Gadgets and Tools, Sunglasses/Optics, Gear Bags & Luggage, Rod Tubes, Fly Float Tubes & Pontoon Boats, Fly Fishing Books and DVD's, Gift Certificates, Rental Equipment, Rental Cabins on the Deschutes, Fly Fishing Closeouts
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