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Monday, July 30, 2012

Deschutes Steelhead and Sockeye!!!!

I stopped by Shears Falls Sunday evening for about a half hour.  In that time I was fortunate to see the first adult Sockeye caught at the fish trap this year!!!  They are getting a little more color to them at this point.  It is illegal to keep a Sockeye on the Deschutes River.  With the Fall Chinook season opening Wednesday I thought I might help you all tell the difference between a Chinook and a Sockeye.  Even when chrome bright, the Sockeye will not have the rectangular spots on their backs.  As they color up like the fish in the picture below you will notice the Sockeye will have a green hugh to their head and usually a reddish color on their sides.  A Chinook will not have a drastic color difference between their body and their head.  I mention this as sockeye are more interested in flies such as traditional Steelhead flies than Fall Chinook are.   Below is a picture of the Sockeye that was released last night to continue its journey to Suttle Lake.

I also saw a fantastic 10lb Steelhead at the trap.  It was processed and released to continue its journey to the Round Butte Hatchery.  The missing maxillary told us where the fish was headed.

There was also a nice 6lb Native Steelhead processed and released.  Unfortunately my picture did not turn out so you all will just have to take my word on this  

The fish are coming and I'm really getting pumped to go after them.  I think I'll hit the water on Wednesday and post a report on what I find. 

Tight lines all,
Gil Muhleman

Friday, July 20, 2012

July Steelhead on the Way to the Deschutes

Numbers of steelhead both hatchery and wild are starting to climb on the Columbia River as they head for the Deschutes River.  Water temperatures at the Dalles Dam on the Columbia are around 65 degrees.  Water temperatures on the Deschutes near Madras are closer to 57 degrees.  This cool water will warm as it gets closer to the mouth where it meets the Columbia river.

Graph of  Temperature, water, degrees Celsius

7/20/2012 7:00:46 AM
07/13/12 906 172 0 0 906 172 0 0 0 0 766 407 n/a 3104 57 0 0 USACE
07/14/12 1234 201 0 0 1234 201 0 0 0 0 1372 727 n/a 3173 55 0 0 USACE
07/15/12 970 202 0 0 970 202 0 0 0 0 1487 768 n/a 1856 112 0 0 USACE
07/16/12 895 164 0 0 895 164 0 0 0 0 1756 920 n/a 1192 51 0 0 USACE
07/17/12 661 178 0 0 661 178 0 0 0 0 1321 563 n/a 741 82 0 0 USACE
07/18/12 875 166 0 0 875 166 0 0 0 0 1832 971 n/a 617 58 0 0 USACE
07/19/12 866 215 0 0 866 215 0 0 0 0 2102 1069 n/a 422 97 0 0 USACE

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Clackamas River Steelhead Report -July

The Clackamas River is now dropping into summer levels. Summer steelhead are spread through the system and are available to the early rising angler.  Best timing for fishing is to be up at the crack of dawn.  Swung flies on a floating line are the standard now.  Standard patterns such as green butt skunks, purple perils and leech patterns will produce. 

Floating the river is difficult in low water conditions in the upper reaches of the river.  Gravel bars will be evident in most sections of the river.  Careful boat management is required at these levels. 

Water temps are up in the high 50's with temps this week being around 59 degrees.

Water temps are going up while the rive level is going down.  Expect this trend to continue.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Deschutes River Steelhead - Best on the Planet?

The lower Deschutes River is perhaps one of the very best steelhead fisheries available to fly fishers in the entire western United States.  Columbia River which cuts a line between Washington and Oregon is the river highway for summer steelies going to eastern Washington, Oregon and Idaho.  Most years over 1/2 million steelhead migrate this passage.  During the warm summer months the Columbia River gets intolerably hot while the Deschutes River often stays relatively cool by comparison.  This creates a cool water magnet that steelhead cannot resist and often a major portion of the entire run will branch off into the comfort zone of the Deschutes waters.  Many of these fish travel the 100 miles up to Pelton Dam before turning back down river and on up the Columbia to their final destination.  This strain of summer steelhead is much different than it's winter run cousin.  These fish begin entering freshwater in July, August and September and won't spawn until the following February, March or April.  A long stint in freshwater for sure but puts into perspective how a short 100 mile jaunt up the Deschutes for them is no big deal.  The combination of cooler water, mega amounts of fish, the natural tendency of these fish to attack flies on the surface is the perfect combination for creating one of the best steelhead fisheries around.

The lower Deschutes has many access locations.  Favorite access sites are the mouth of the River at Heritage Landing or the Deschutes River State Park or the Maupin area.  For the traveling angler with a family there is a lot to do in both locations.  White water rafting is a big deal in Maupin with one day floats that have frothy whitewater spray for miles- a sure fire fun way to cool off on a hot August day.  Near the mouth of the Deschutes there is a great campground- called the Deschutes River State Park.  Full hookups here go for $20 per night.  Hiking, biking and swiming  fun are all around.  Of course fishing for steelhead can also be supplemented with some local smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River and the many small ponds along HWY 84. 

The old railroad bed build in 1909 is a great way to see the lower Deschutes River.  From the mouth of the river this grade is perfect for a mountain bike and a great way to access to lower 8 miles of the river. 

The mouth of the Deschutes is a popular trolling zone, just below the bridges where the Deschutes meets the Columbia River, steelhead and salmon alike will stack up.

This area is a historic zone where Lewis and Clark, native Indians and the Oregon Trail come through at the mouth of the Deschutes River. 

An interesting side trip a little over an hour from the mouth of the Deschutes river and about the same from the town of Maupin, OR is the interesting little town of Shaniko.  A listed "Ghost Town" Shaniko has a lot to see and represents a lot of history in the area.

If your wife likes to knit like mine does the Imperial Stock Ranch not far from Shaniko and a scenic drive from Maupin will give her plenty of great material for her next project.  A working ranch since the 1800's this ranch has some amazing history. 

Scenery on the drive to Imperial Stock Ranch.  The land between the Deschutes River and John Day river are full of scenic views of the Cascade range, rolling hills of wheat and plentiful deer. 

See more info on the Deschutes River including Trout and steelhead fishing- click this link for one of our other articles:

If you come to the state of Oregon, be sure to visit one of the best steelhead fisheries on the planet.  The Deschutes River has steelhead fly fishing from July through November.  Water Time Outfitters offers guided fly fishing trips on the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River.  Limited BLM permits allow guiding on the river.  Our permit allows us to offer guided float trips, jet boat trips and walk in fishing trips.  Come join us for a Deschutes River fishing adventure! See more at: