Heading for the Deschutes

MCHammer

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After much waffling and obsessing over the weather forecasts, I've decided to head for the Deschutes for a week or so. I originally planned to give up on steelhead for this year and go to Northern Idaho to swing for Bull trout. Since I've never targeted Bull trout and don't know much about them except what I've read on the interweb, and with the recent storm and cold weather with another storm forecast for early next week up there, I bailed on that plan. I don't mind rain, but the passes on my route were slick and snow-covered last night, and they could be again with the next storm. Not much fun when towing a 4,000 lb. trailer.

I have fished the Deschutes several years in a row. I've caught at least one steelhead every trip out there except last year. Last year's trip hardly counted, since my fishing partner got impatient after 2 days of no hookups and wanted to move on to the Grande Ronde. I have a very long story about that trip that I won't go into now.

I'll be at Long Bend (or possibly at the Maupin City Park but not likely), in a Rockwood 21' trailer. Dark green Tundra with Idaho plates...stop by and say hi if you see me.

Maybe I can post a fish photo when I get back!
 

flytie09

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Good luck to you. It is a magical place for sure. I was there 2 weeks ago and was able to bring a couple to hand.

first deschutes steelhead.jpg

I wish I could have experienced it 20 years ago. May your flies be black or purple and swing true.
 

Ard

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Going anyway Mike, good for you. I'm sorry for backing out on the N. Umpqua Deschutes trip but what's done is done. I hope you get mixed up with a bunch of them. Oh and the 'long story' about last years trip.... I saved that into my document file for reference. If I was any kind of guy I'd fly into the nearest airport and then drive to your camper bud, who knows I still may. It's raining hard here now, it poured all day on me while I fished yesterday. I don't need to look at any river gage pages to know what conditions are right now. If it stopped this minute it would take 4 days for the water to drop to fishable levels. This time of year there aren't a lot of 4 day stretches left as we are losing 5 minutes 37 seconds of daylight each day. Once it is dark all the time it will get cold. Maybe not real Alaska cold but cold enough to snow and that's the end of launching the boat.
 

MCHammer

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Well at least you're finally getting some rain up there. From one extreme to another these days, it seems.
The forecast looks like mild weather for Maupin next week, so I'm looking forward to that. It was going to be cold where I was headed up north.
You've got my number in case you decide to fly down. That would be fun.
 

Unknownflyman

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I hope you get into a few nice ones sir, It's cold and snowing here but Steelhead continues until November 15th, I'll be out again soon, I see my buddies hooking up on some nice chromer`s now the big run is on and the weather is ugly.
 

dillon

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Clear skies and bright sun all week in Central Oregon. The forecast is for showers next week so one may be able to swing with confidence all day. Water flow are good with a temp of 50 degrees, so surface presentation may work as well as a sunk fly swing. Not many steelhead or steelheaders around. One may sleep in and still find good prime vacant runs. More people are fishing trout which is reportedly good. The pay to play trout ponds are fishing well too.
 

MCHammer

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Clear skies and bright sun all week in Central Oregon. The forecast is for showers next week so one may be able to swing with confidence all day. Water flow are good with a temp of 50 degrees, so surface presentation may work as well as a sunk fly swing. Not many steelhead or steelheaders around. One may sleep in and still find good prime vacant runs. More people are fishing trout which is reportedly good. The pay to play trout ponds are fishing well too.
Thanks for the report. I'm bringing trout gear too, so in the event of several days of no grabs, maybe I'll swing a few soft hackles with my new to me TFO 4 wt. switch.
 

MCHammer

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I just got home from Maupin, a 2-day drive towing my travel trailer. I stayed for 7 days and fished 6 days; after 4 days I was so sore from the wading I had to take a break.

No hookups for me. I tried Skagit and sink tips on the lighter side with big flies; I tried Scandi and slow sink polyleaders with smaller flies. I fished water where I’ve caught steelhead in the past, water where I’ve not caught steelhead in the past, and water I’ve never fished before. The weather was clear with a few clouds the first few days, then pretty much the rest of the week it rained off and on with good cloud cover most of the time.

Had a big wind event Sunday—50 mph gusts—and I helped a guy whose tent was trying to pull him into the river with it at Longbend. It was all the two of us could do to hang onto that tent in those gusts. I found a spot somewhat protected from the wind after that, but it was a short run and I called it a day after fishing for 3 hours that day. I fished one spot below the White river before it started puking. After the White turned white, all the places above White river became very popular. I mostly fish upriver of Maupin anyway.

I talked to a fellow spey-caster in the RV park who had caught 2; I believe he had been there for at least 2 weeks. He left a few days after I got there. A group in the RV park that came for the weekend and had a driftboat said they hooked one and lost it but I think they hooked it using nymphs and a bobber. I also met a guy who I shared a few runs with who said he had been chasing them all summer without a hookup.

It’s great to read other reports in other threads from guys who’ve had better luck than I have. It makes me want to keep going back even though this is my second season of being skunked for steelhead.

And, to paraphrase Bob Nall, at least I didn't have any stinky fish to clean....

I can't figure out how to insert text between my photos, so I'll explain them here. The first is of a family of raccoons I happened to spot while I was taking photos of the jack o' lanterns in the middle of the river. Then, there is one of the jack o' lanterns...there are some gnarly boaters on the Deschutes! And because I'm a lifelong train nut, here comes the BNSF heading downriver under the highway bridge in the evening.
 

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flav

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Sounds, and looks, like a nice trip even if you didn't find any fish. That stretch is a tough wade, I understand taking a break after a few days. I've never done particularly well along the paved stretch around Maupin myself, just a fish here and there. I hope you find some steelhead love before a third year comes and goes.
 

Ard

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Hi Mike,

Sorry to hear you drew a blank buddy, that Jack O lantern was put there with a helicopter right?

I'm trying to get myself pumped up for one last hurrah beginning next Tuesday. Tuesdays are my start days because the weekenders pound the water to a froth slinging the beads - weights and bobber rigs and I can't handle that crowd. Monday gives them a day to calm down and by daylight Tuesday I can sometimes surprise one.

I will fish Sundays as you know when I'm pretty sure there won't be anyone else around where I fish. This past Sunday was one of those days. I got a fly in trip to a remote river where there was no one and we did pretty good on rainbow trout. The steelhead near home here have been protected by high or colored water the past 4 times I tried here and that's enough to make me crazy. I may give it a whirl tomorrow because it's been dry over a week and I got a look at it from the plane Monday evening, it looks low and clear. If ever I have a decent shot those are the conditions I need.

I love the train photo!
 

MCHammer

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Hi Mike,

Sorry to hear you drew a blank buddy, that Jack O lantern was put there with a helicopter right?

I'm trying to get myself pumped up for one last hurrah beginning next Tuesday. Tuesdays are my start days because the weekenders pound the water to a froth slinging the beads - weights and bobber rigs and I can't handle that crowd. Monday gives them a day to calm down and by daylight Tuesday I can sometimes surprise one.

I will fish Sundays as you know when I'm pretty sure there won't be anyone else around where I fish. This past Sunday was one of those days. I got a fly in trip to a remote river where there was no one and we did pretty good on rainbow trout. The steelhead near home here have been protected by high or colored water the past 4 times I tried here and that's enough to make me crazy. I may give it a whirl tomorrow because it's been dry over a week and I got a look at it from the plane Monday evening, it looks low and clear. If ever I have a decent shot those are the conditions I need.

I love the train photo!
It's possible that jack o' lantern was put there by helicopter. One of those rocks that had a jack o' lantern had a 5 or 6 foot drop on either side and an ugly looking boil on the upriver side. The only thing I can figure out is they shot past the rock and pulled into the eddy below, then the rower held the boat there while some crazy person in a dry suit scrambled up to place the jack o' lantern.

You are in fishing heaven I think. How much daylight do you have tomorrow?
 

Ard

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It's getting pretty dark by 6:30 Mike. I got 2 small trout one nice one (maybe 16 / 17") and a salmon of about 7 pounds. I should have gotten under way sooner. I feel like I need to go further upriver, like 15 miles further. Just not finding them in the usual places this year and I figure that is linked to the drought.
 
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