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4/24/2014
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Email a Friend April Fishing on the Deschutes River
By Amy Hazel

Click photos to enlarge Deschutes Trout, Fly Fishing Deschutes, April Trout Fishing, Fly Shop Deschutes, Stonefly
Recently spawned trout will have a dusky belly. They are voracious eaters!
Deschutes Trout, Fly Fishing Deschutes, April Trout Fishing, Fly Shop Deschutes, Stonefly
One large stonefly nymph is a hand full!
Deschutes Trout, Fly Fishing Deschutes, April Trout Fishing, Fly Shop Deschutes, Stonefly
Shearer's Falls at this flow is nearly flat.
Deschutes Trout, Fly Fishing Deschutes, April Trout Fishing, Fly Shop Deschutes, Stonefly
When the river is too high for good fishing, consider a hike up a side canyon.
Deschutes Trout, Fly Fishing Deschutes, April Trout Fishing, Fly Shop Deschutes, Stonefly
There are many beautiful wildflowers along the Deschutes in April.
Recommended Gear:
Bead Head Rubberleg Stonefly Nymph
Water Gremlin Removable Split Shots
MOAB Stonefly Nymph
20 in. Stonefly Nymph
They say: “April showers bring May flowers,” but we think a better (though less catchy) saying is: “April Showers bring May flies,” as in March Brown mayflies. The typical April on the Deschutes is a month of some rainy, windy, wild weather; lots of spawning trout; fluctuating water flows; and sporadic hatch opportunities. The saving grace of the month of April is the March Brown hatch – particularly this year, as it has been delayed several weeks due to the cold weather, and the cooler and higher than normal water conditions. Currently, our water conditions are at January levels, as high as anyone can remember seeing the Deschutes in April. The water may take a week to settle, possibly longer, and until it does we are unlikely to see anything in the way of a March Brown hatch. Though these mayflies are named for the month of March, their strongest showing is often during the month of April. In anticipation of this great kick-off-the-spring hatch, we wrote a lengthy article last month on fishing the March Brown hatch. This article is located on the front page of The Bent Rod Bulletin.

April is the month during which many of the fully mature 2 and 3 year-old stonefly nymphs are becoming very active. We have several different stonefly species on the Deschutes, but the dominant three are those that emerge from the river and become airborne adults during the months of May and June. Commonly known as the Salmonfly, the Golden Stone, and the Little Yellow Sally, these three stoneflies make up a large percentage of the aquatic insects actively crawling on the Deschutes riverbed in April. Stoneflies take up to three years to become fully mature, so they are available to trout year-round in the nymph stage in many different sizes and colors, which are particularly active in the afternoons and evenings of mid to late April. These are periods of intense activity for these one to two inch long nymphs as they are leaving their feeding stations in the rocky runs and riffles and beginning to migrate towards the edges of the river in preparation for their emergence in late April and May.

When choosing a stonefly nymph pattern to fish, definitely stock your box with the standard big black nymph imitations, but don’t overlook the golden stone imitations which can range in color from light brown to tan to a true golden hue. Most of these nymphs have massive amounts of lead incorporated into the tie, but you may still need some additional split shot to get down to the bottom in the faster pocket water. Since many migrating stones will lose their grasp on the rocks, the trout will have a keen eye out for dead drifted nymphs near the river’s edges. One feature of stoneflies that trout really key in on is a mass of light colored gills just at the base of each leg and on the underside of the thorax. Patterns that incorporate imitations of gills are typically the most effective at this time of year. The Rub a Dub Stone, MOAB Stones in many colors, and Brook’s Stonefly are all great choices for April stonefly nymphing. On the Deschutes the stonefly nymphs are extremely active for nearly three months, but April is the very best month for fishing stonefly nymphs. The stonefly emergence starts in the lower river downstream of Maupin and moves upstream over the course of April, May and June. The big bruisers, Salmonflies and Golden Stones, have an earlier emergence than the delicate Little Yellow Sally stones, so it is more productive to fish the larger nymphs in April.

April is a time of heavy spawning for trout, so it is important that anglers are aware of what spawning areas look like so that they can avoid these areas. If you see clean gravel mounds, especially with dark trout on them, these are areas to avoid. Let those wild trout spawn, our future Deschutes trout fishing depends on it. Remember, if you find an area where trout are spawning, there is usually an area nearby where trout will feed voraciously after spawning. This can be a deep slow moving section of river fifty yards downstream of the spawning beds – you can do really well fishing these areas without doing any harm to the spawning beds or the trout on them.

Warm overcast rainy days are a dream for fishing the March Brown hatch, but you have to get lucky to have one of these days. The weather changes rapidly in April, so a typical weekend on the Deschutes may present you a huge wicked cold front blowing through in the morning, followed by a couple hours of sun breaks and calmer weather, followed by another cold front complete with hail, followed by a nice warm cloudy, calm, still, very fishy afternoon. If you don’t like the April weather, wait a few minutes, it will change.

It is important in April to check in on our fishing report for accurate, up-to-date information on our current water conditions. You can look at the USGS water flow data for Moody – the link to the graph is under “water conditions” in the upper right hand corner of our home page. If water flows are higher than 8000 CFS, or if the water flow chart looks like it is spiking drastically, the fishing is going to be tough. Regardless of the flow, April is a wonderful time to enjoy the Deschutes. Hiking, biking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, camping under the stars with a nice big campfire, and enjoying the quiet solitude of the high desert – these are all great things to do at this time of year on the Deschutes. Fish the Deschutes for a day and try out some of our private trophy trout lakes for a day – located just 20-30 minutes from Maupin.

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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, 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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