The River - Monday at Noon
I was finally able to break out of the fly shop to go down to the river to take a photo for the report. It was hard to get away because of the sheer number of people calling the shop to get information.
I know I say this every year, but I truly cannot give you more up to date information during the day without stopping all commerce, locking the door, and driving down to the river. This is all the most up to the minute information that I can get you for today.
The river looks a lot better today than yesterday at this time. I would say that you have 18" to 2.5 feet of visibility in the river in the Maupin area. It was about the same yesterday at 9:15 but it turned dark chocolate-red within minutes of my visit to the river (see yesterday's report). That could happen again today - I have no way of knowing. Hard to say what will happen. Here is what the river looked like at 12:15 PM:
I can report that the river right now is very fishable. The dry-dropper combo will still be most productive with a stonefly on the surface and a dropper bead head trailing the dry fly on a 18" to 36" piece of 4 or 5X tippet. Fling those flies under the trees. The trout are looking up and keyed into the adult stones.
Here's the good news - the dirty water scared off most of the anglers. Campsites are empty, the river is empty, the road has only one or two cars where there normally are 45-60 during this week of the year. You can fish anywhere you want and the fish are not shell shocked nor harassed. A lot of outfitters have cancelled trips or rescheduled them - there were only about 5 trailers waiting at Harpham Flat this morning.
The color in the water is impacted by a lot of factors. Starting way up high, the Deschutes is running muddy through Bend, and the Crooked is running muddy right out of the dam. This means that the two muddy rivers are mixing with clean Metolius River water in the reservoir. The Metolius water is the coldest and it goes to the bottom of the reservoir, while the warmer and more polluted and dirty Crooked and Middle Deschutes rivers are in the middle and top of the reservoir. The water is about an 80% top water dump out of the reservoir and that water coming right out of the dam is already dirty.
The Deschutes will probably stay like this for the rest of the week, though it might clear up a little here and there. I think the tributaries that made the river so brown and so red might be done spitting mud for now. Barring any additional rain events, the river will probably just stay slightly brown until the Crooked River drops down to a more average flow.
John told a little story about one year - sometime back in the 80s - when the river got a bit brown and he cancelled a bunch of trips, fearing that fishing would be terrible. With nothing to do, he took his buddy, JW, fishing and they absolutely wailed on trout with stonefly dries despite the water being off-color. The color of the water didn't matter to the trout - as long as they could see a few feet they could see they stoneflies and they were eager to grab them.
The trout know what time it is, they know that the bugs are here, and they are hungry. With the visibility as is, you should have no problem fooling those trout that are sitting just off the grass lines tight to the bank (which is where they are sitting right now waiting for the big bugs).