Search This Blog

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Deschutes Guide Tricks -Working in August Water

Fishing the Deschutes for steelhead has been interesting this year.  With low flows, warmer water and glacial silt coming in from White River the angler who adapts and changes their approach will do much better.  

White River a tributary to the lower Deschutes has been dumping in chocolate milkshake colored water this year.  Some days more than others.  Often it is but a trickle and doesn't effect the big Deschutes river, however some days it can make the entire lower 50 miles look the color of concrete.  We have been hearing of many anglers getting blanked on the lower Deschutes.   We have found that switching our strategy and flies has produced consistent results even in the murky water.

As fishing guides who make a living finding steelhead year round we have found a comfortable switch for us has worked; diving into our winter steelhead strategies has made a difference.  Get the fly down where fish can see it seems to be the ticket lately with water clarity as a mere 20" some days.  T-11 sink tips and big flies have created some lasting memories and slimy hands for many of our guests this season.

Top flies have been the Crandall's Wedding dress in cerise and the Crandall's Devil Candy pattern.  Both these flies have delivered for us quiet well during limited visibility times.  

You can find these patterns at:  Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn, OR or at 

#crandallflies, #flyfishsteelhead

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August River Report- Deschutes Steelhead

It's August and it has been typically hot weather lately.  The next few days hold 97 and 99 degrees in the forecast making even the dog look for shade.  It's also prime summer steelhead time on the Lower Deschutes River in central Oregon.  The Deschutes is an important sanctuary for the entire upper Columbia basin migration of salmon and steelhead.  Many of these fish are precious and sometimes endangered wild salmon and steelhead.  The cool waters of the Deschutes river are a respite from the harsh and nearly lethal conditions found in the bath water of the dammed and nearly stagnant Columbia River, where water temps soar over 70 degrees- not a good mix for cold water fish.

This chart from August 17th shows how deadly warm the Columbia river can be and why it is so important for PGE and dam operators on the Deschutes River system to draw cool waters from the base of the dam at Pelton dam on the Deschutes river utilizing the new selective water withdrawl system put in place about 5 years ago.

Here you can see the lower Deschutes at Moody rapids near the mouth of the Deschutes where it meets the Columbia River.  The huge difference in temperature between the Deschutes and the warm Columbia river create a safe haven for upstream migrating fish where they can duck into the cool waters and revive before heading on up the Columbia river later in the fall when water temperatures have cooled and are not so lethal.
Visit  for more information and see how you can help support proper management of the Deschutes river flows and help protect wild salmon and steelhead of Oregon, Washingtoon and Idaho.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Deschutes River Report August

This month so far has been a series of ups and downs; water clarity has been good, bad and everything inbetween lately.  White River, a tributary to the lower Deschutes River has been dumping in cement like water that makes the best DQ  Blizzard look thin.  This combines with the Deschutes to create off colored water for the lower 50 miles or so.  This clarity has made steelhead fishing difficult at times.  Predicting when it will clear is anybody's best guess.  With out more thundershowers on the glacier or extreme heat the river will usually drop and clear a bit in two days.

Each day is a new test wading into the river this year as severe drought has brought the White River glacier to tears everytime it get very hot or a thundershower blasts through.

There are still lots of steelhead to be found on the lower Deschutes.  Get your fly down with a sink-tip and fish in full sun for best visibility when the water has only 20" of clarity.  Using bigger flies with lots of flash like Crandall's Wedding Dress in Cerise or Blue have worked well for us or the Devil's Candy Pattern (both available at ).  #flyfishthedeschutes   #perfectingperformance @sageflyfish

This year's weather and water conditions have made it a year of adaption.  Try these strategies and good luck on the water!