Deschutes River Salmon Fly Report May 2015

We’ve been guiding most every day on the world famous Deschutes River salmon fly hatch.  Fishing has been good as river levels are at very low flows for this time of year.  The hatch that creates such a buzz is the salmon fly hatch- “big mac” meals for feisty rainbows on the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River.  These big bugs are up to 3″ long and provide a super size meal for post spawn-wild redband rainbows of this legendary tailwater river.

The primary focal points for trout fishing the Deschutes are from Warm Springs area to Maupin.  This includes good access points like Mecca Flats, Trout Creek and South Junction.  Easily accessed areas above and below the centrally located town of Maupin also provide room to roam on one of Oregon’s biggest trout rivers.  For our guided adventures we focus on the most inaccessible section of this most loved river in Oregon.  We float 32 mile stretch from Trout Creek to just above Maupin.  This float brings the angler on a three day adventure through the wild and scenic canyon and away from the easy accessible and often crowded roadside locals.  Be ready for whitewater however because this solitude does not come easy; you must pass muster with the class 3+ Whitehorse rapid which stretches it’s wild ride over 2 miles.  Already this year 2 boats have been bested by this rapid and sunk beneath the dangerous waves.  There are many points of entry to the Deschutes salmon fly action- as the hatch begins to wane, as it is now, focus on the upper segments like Trout Creek, Mecca Flats and Warm Springs.

                        Mark Angel works to retreive a boat that sunk in Whitehorse Rapids last week.

This year with record low snow pack and very mild spring temperatures the waters of the lower Deschutes have warmed quickly and the hatch is as early as I have ever seen it on the lower D.  Some reports of salmon flies showing as early as May 1 were reported this year.  When water temps hit 52.5 degrees is often when the big bug migration occurs.  These big meals in armored shells crawl up shoreline vegetation and hatch.  After hatching they linger on shoreline vegetation for up to 10 days while they mate and lay eggs on the water.  Usually the egg laying or ovipositing is done during the warmest part of the day.  A good hot sunny day really gets the action going.

    Both Salmon flies and golden stones provide an important key in the food chain along the Deschutes R.

Our recent weather has kept the action from getting really hot but it has also spread out the duration of the hatch with soggy bugs in shoreside vegetation waiting for the heat of the day.  The hatch is spread from Maupin to Warm Springs and is waning lower in this section.  Already there are fewer bugs than last week and expect the amount of black stones to dissapate soon with remaining bugs usually being the golden stones. I’d expect about one more week of dry fly action as the hatch sputters out.

      Favorite patterns on the Deschutes salmon fly hatch are Chubby Chernobyls, Chubby Norman, Norm           Woods Special and Stimulator patterns.

For other hatches going on now are a varied mix of morsels.   Caddis, green drakes, pmd’s and some days blue winged olives along with yellow sallies are showing.

For more information on fishing the Deschutes river or to connect with an excellent guide contact us at:

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