Here in Oregon we are in our second year of a drought. In much of the west many of our rivers are missing the much needed snow pack reserves to keep waters cool through the summer. Record warm flows are changing things for wild fish at they attempt to ascend NW rivers. The Deschutes River is no exception and we have seen extreme warm conditions already this year. A recent cooling trend has helped knock the edge off the heat and has dropped water temps back to a survivable range but many of our rivers like the Clackamas, Willamette and lower Deschutes fish have been stressed.
On the Deschutes River water temps are coolest towards the dam. For trout fishing focus on Warm Springs area for coolest water. In addition expect that water temps from the dam will be cooler starting Aug 1. The new selective water withdrawl system in place now mandates cooler water reserves to be used in August. With very low snow pack in the region the Columbia river is running much warmer than normal. This creates an incredible draw to the cooler waters of the Deschutes for the entire Columbia river run of steelhead passing the mouth of the Deschutes.
(Compare the two charts above- the top chart is the Deschutes water temp at the mouth of the Deschutes. The bottom chart is the Columbia River water temp near the mouth of the Deschutes. This difference in temperature will draw a lot of fish into the Deschutes.)
We recommend fishing with a thermometer and limit your fishing when water temps soar to around 68 or more. This range is extreme danger for our wild trout and steelhead. Fish mornings for coolest water temps and be sure to crush the barb for a quick release.