Last weekend in March looks to be the best!
Friday Morning Fishing Report for March 25, 2022
This beautiful photo of the river was taken by our friend, Mark Freshley.
We have had some exceptional weather this week and that is forecast to continue through this weekend with high temperatures in the low seventies and LIGHT WINDS for a nice change. It should be absolutely beautiful.
This weekend marks the end of the Oregon spring break and the beginning of the Washington spring break – so we expect that there will be some folks around, but nothing too crazy. Finding a campsite shouldn’t be a problem, there are plenty of them in the 40 miles of access road that follows the river upstream and downstream from Maupin.
The river is still closed in all areas and both sides of the river wherever the river touches the Warm Springs Reservation lands. This means that Warm Springs, Trout Creek, Mecca Flats and South Junction campgrounds are all located in areas that are closed to fishing.
The river is also still closed to fishing for steelhead. Does this mean that you will get in trouble if you hook a steelhead while trout fishing? No, you won’t, as long as the gear that you are using is appropriate for targeting trout (5X leader and tippet, light rods) and as long as you let that steelhead go unharmed. Most of the steelhead that are still here in the Deschutes are fish that migrated into the Columbia and swam up to the Deschutes last summer or early fall. They spawn now, and much of that spawning will take place in the mainstem of the Deschutes this year due to low water and no water in many of the normal spawning tributaries. If you see big fish or dark fish, or any fish for that matter, hovering in shallow water over a bed of gravel – keep on moving. These are spawning redds that must not be disturbed if we want to continue to have returns of wild trout and steelhead.
We have seen some excellent blue winged olive hatches this past week. The strongest hatches of BWOs happen on the cloudy or rainy days. The size of these insects ranges from as large as a size 14 down to a size 20. Have some handy in case you find yourself in the middle of a hatch in the mid-day. The hatch can start as early as 10:30 and can continue to 3:00 PM.
Another bug of note on the river these days is the Skwala stonefly. Yes, this looks very much like the stoneflies that make their big showing in May – just slightly smaller with an olive/grey olive body and the bug is not likely to be flying around and more likely to be crawling on the trees and falling into the river. We have been using micro chubby Chernobyl patterns in our dry/dropper fishing and they are getting eaten here and there.
Euro nymphing – love it or hate it – is always an effective way to catch a lot of trout in the winter/spring. There is a Euro-nymphing competition taking place on the Deschutes this weekend, in fact, with guys from all over the country travelling in to participate. The competition will be held in a very short stretch of the river, well downstream from Maupin. Evan and Ben would probably do very well in the competition, but they are teaching a full-day Euro nymphing clinic on Saturday and cannot compete. The Euro-nymphing clinics filled up very quickly for March and April. If you are looking for Euro-specific coaching, you can always book a guide trip with either Evan or Ben and they can get you dialed in on this deadly technique used by competition anglers around the world.
The month of April is usually a bit of a wild card. We anticipate the March Browns (always late to the party) to make their big splash in April. This is a very large mayfly with speckled wings that seem far too large for the body trying to support them. Look for tiny regattas of this tasty insects – particularly on cloudy or rainy days. April showers bring May flowers, so they say, but I think the saying should be April showers bring Mayflies. April showers, however, have been known to produce high and muddy rivers. I doubt that will happen this year – given the ongoing drought.
What sets our March Brown apart from other Mayflies? Well, the scientific name of our March Brown is Rithrogena morrisoni and it is one of the only mayflies that sheds its nymphal shuck at the bottom of the river and swims to the surface with its wing trailing over the top of its back. This style of emergence makes soft hackle fishing quite productive in the month of April. We have specific March brown patterns that are good for swinging. We are just now starting to see a few March Browns and will expect to see more and more of them as we cruise into April.
The White River has been a non-issue for a couple of weeks. It should stay reasonably clean unless we have some heavy low elevation snow and heavy rain. The White River putting a little color in the Deschutes is not a bad thing – we often do better fishing water that is a bit off-color because the trout are a bit less spooky.
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!