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4/20/2014
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Email a Friend Steelhead
By Deschutes Angler Staff

Click photos to enlarge Steelhead
This One Fell for a Streetwalker
The Deschutes River is one of the premier steelhead rivers in the world. Large numbers of steelhead, wonderful wide-open boulder-strewn runs, great access to miles of river, beautiful weather, and aggressive steelhead that attack surface and near-surface swinging flies are what make the Deschutes a "must visit" river for every serious steelheader.

Steelhead enter the Deschutes in early July and continue to enter the river throughout August, September, October, November, and December. People often ask us: "When is the very BEST time to fish for steelhead on the Deschutes?" We have simple answer for that question: "Any time between mid-July and mid-December." People wonder how we can answer that way if the numbers of fish over the dams indicate that the "peak" of the run is in mid to late September? Well, after guiding this river for steelhead for nearly thirty years we have seen great fishing in July, in August, in September, in October, in November, and even in December. Let's take a walk through the calendar and talk about the different months of steelhead fishing on the Deschutes.

In July and August the very first run of steelhead enters the Deschutes. Our catch records show that this first influx of steelhead is mainly made up of chrome-bright wild fish. Though there are not large numbers of fish in the river this early in the season, the majority of the steelhead are natives. This means that the fish you are swinging your fly over are the more aggressive wild fish which typically hit the fly harder and fight with more intensity than hatchery fish. These hot days and hot fish provide great shirt-sleeve steelheading in the morning and evening when the sun is not shining intensely on the water. In the mid-day, some steelhead anglers switch to a sink tip line to get the fly down and search for the steelhead in deeper darker pockets of water. Other steelheaders choose to spend the mid-day relaxing in the shade of camp, swiming in the cool waters of the Deschutes, or crawling the banks of the river in search of big trout.

As autumn progresses, the days grow shorter and the weather grows cooler. Fish continue to turn up the Deschutes in greater and greater numbers with the ratio of hatchery fish typically higher than that of native fish at this time of year. September and October are the most popular months for steelhead angling on the Deschutes because water temperatures are in the mid-fifties to high-forties, the steelhead are moving through the river in good numbers, and the weather is generally mild. Great conditions and good steelhead returns always attract a lot of anglers to the Deschutes during these two months. Thanks to plenty of great road access, there is plenty of room for everyone to spread out and find their own steelhead water. With an understanding of the proper etiquette of the Deschutes River, everyone manages to share the river and have a great time hooking steelhead.

November is our favorite month for steelhead fishing, although we often have to chip the ice out of our guides on those early chilly mornings. By now most of the hatchery steelhead have entered the system and are stacking up in the sections of river above Maupin. We continue swinging flies through the month of November, switching to a sink-tip line as the water temperature drops into the low forties. We hook a lot of bright chrome wild steelhead in November, the late comers to the river. By December, steelhead are spread throughout the river and fishing remains good to the end of the month. The steelhead will remain in the river until March or April when they will spawn in the small rain-swollen tributaries and in the main stem of the Deschutes.

Over the past twenty-five years of guiding the Deschutes for steelhead, we have developed many unique fly patterns that have proven themselves in the jaw of many a steelhead. We use a wide selection of skating and waking fly patterns as well as Spey flies, hair-wing flies tied with genuine polar bear, Atlantic salmon patterns, and many patterns developed specifically for the Deschutes River. The flies that we use to attract steelhead change throughout the angling season. In the early part of the season we might use really sparse small little buggy steelhead flies and move to a brighter fly for the mid-to late season. Should the river go off color a bit, we will use large dark flies, often on a sink tip line to get the fly into the range of the steelhead's vision. On an average day of steelhead fishing on the Deschutes, you can expect to encounter

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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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