Mid-winter peace and quiet
DECEMBER HOURS - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Saturday closed Sunday. Closed December 23-January 1 for the holiday break.
Things have been a wee bit chilly over here. The few inches of snow that fell on Sunday are now a hard crunchy crust - but the sun is shining today and we are not supposed to have any more weather through the weekend. If you have not seen the Deschutes in the winter, you owe it to yourself to make a drive out here. If you only wet a line for an hour or so, you will certainly have a huge chunk of the river all to yourself and the wildlife viewing is fantastic at this time of the year. When the water up top and in the canyons is frozen, all the critters have to come down to the river to drink. It is not uncommon to have herds of bighorn sheep standing in the road down below Sherar's Falls, or you might come across a flock of wild turkeys, chukar, or even a bobcat. The snow on the side of the road is a great place to see tracks too.
Many days in the winter we wake up to an inversion - which is where the weather and fog stay down in the canyon while everything up on top of the rimrock is bright and sunny. Sometimes the sun will burn off the fog, but other times the town of Maupin and the river corridor stay socked in all day.
As for the fishing, the trout are pretty much hunkered down now in their winter resting water. These are slow pools or deep glides or big back eddies where the trout don't have to work very hard to maintain their position and allow the food to come to them. The big winter buffet for the trout are, of course, the blue winged olives. The hatch will be stronger in the mid-day whenever the skies are overcast and dark. On bright sunny days there will still be BWOs out and about, but not in the numbers that you will see on a cloudy day.
Euro nymphing for trout seems to be the very best tool in the winter for catching good numbers of fish. Tungsten bead heads in a variety of colors are effective throughout the winter - though I really lean towards glowing pink beads, silver beads, and copper beads. Tippets in the 5.5X to 6X range will hook the greatest number of trout, these small tippets in fluorocarbon are invisible to trout.
This is really that very last hurrah for hooking one of our summer run steelhead. The Deschutes does not have any fresh fish entering the river past October, so we typically leave these fish alone to allow them to retain their strength until it is time to spawn. They are getting pretty skinny by this time of the year.
As for holiday shopping on the website....we will be filling orders through the 22nd - though you will want to order presents earlier than that if you want to be sure to have them in time for the holidays. We currently have a great deal going on the last of our Anderson Custom Rods - they are 30% off online with free shipping. Most of the remaining rods are trout Spey rods in line weights 3 and 4, although there is one 8 weight 14'4" rod left that is an absolute cannon.
Nippers are a great gift, especially nice nippers like the Simms Pro Nipper. This is the only nipper that comes with a fly threading tool built right in. Since this $89 dollar nipper is more than just a stocking stuffer, for the next 10 days the nipper will come with a puck of a dozen free trout flies that you can use as a stocking stuffer. That's over $35 in free flies - a holiday bonus good through December 22. Just place the order on our website and the flies will arrive in the package along with the nippers.
I will be writing one last fishing report before the end of the year - one that will sum up all that has happened in 2022 at Deschutes Angler and our plans for 2023. There are new business ventures, a big shake-up in the guide portion of our business, and some exciting adventures to share with you all. Stay tuned....
Have a very happy holiday season! Celebrate with friends and family and get ready for good times in the coming year.
Thank you for your support in 2022! Amy & John Hazel and shop dog, Lupine.