The Water has been Unpredictable....

The Water has been Unpredictable....

Hello fellow anglers, 

It has been a wild week - water and weather-wise. So wild, in fact, that I hesitated to post a report due to the uncertainty of what was going to happen to the river from hour to hour. Here is what happened this week.....on Monday at 5:00 PM we had a very intense and very isolated thunderstorm here in Maupin and there were other isolated and very intense thunderstorms in other parts of the Deschutes basin over the course of Monday and Tuesday. The result of those heavy downpours was that a few of the tributaries of the Deschutes (Trout Creek was one) got very muddy and caused the Deschutes to also be muddy and brown for a 20-30 hour window of time all day Wednesday and through last night. Things are clearing up a bit now and we have had some very good reports from anglers who were willing to go out there and beat the bushes and fish jungle water. The people who are climbing up and down the banks, getting under the trees and along the deep grass lines, and using dry fly salmonflies and golden stones in the Maupin area are hooking some very nice trout. 

Here is what we are hearing from other parts of the river....starting down low....the lower access road (Buck Hollow to Pine Tree to Beavertail to Mack's Canyon and the river below Mack's Canyon as it flows to the confluence with the Columbia River) the river is very high in the lower 45 miles. It is high because the White River is still quite high and both the White and the lower Deschutes are running fairly dirty. The White River is normally around 300 Cubic feet per second and today it is 1320 cubic feet per second. So the water is BIG down low and that makes it challenging to fish.

The water above the White River, through Maupin and up to the locked gate is absolutely crawling with big bugs. There are fairly equal numbers of salmonflies and golden stones on the bushes, in the trees, and in the evenings they are on the wing. As the sun sets over the river, the reddish-orange sky within 10 miles north and 10 miles south of Maupin is speckled with the huge flying stoneflies. 

Further upriver, they are starting to see more and more big bugs by the day. From about the northern border of the Warm Springs reservation south to about South Junction the trout are just now starting to key into the big bugs. The bugs have been on the bushes for a few days - with more and more crawling out of the river onto the banks daily. With more bugs daily, each afternoon and evening (thanks to the hot weather we are having) the fishing is getting better and better with dry flies. 

Furthest up river, from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, the reports that came in today from guys who have been floating up there for the past few days is that the big bugs are just barely coming out and that the trout have not keyed into them yet. That will change fairly quickly since the water temperatures are in the mid-50s coming out of the Madras dam. More and more bugs will emerge from the river daily - so I would guess that the dry fly fishing up there will really get going sometime next week if the air temperatures stay in the high eighties. 

The water is a bit high overall - very common historically for the salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes. Now, high water is not a bad deal for the river during the salmonfly hatch - the high water pushes the fish into the banks and gives bank anglers better access to them. The higher water catches the branches of the trees and starts shaking them - which helps the stoneflies fall into the water.

I have said this in past reports and will repeat it here because I get this statement a lot here in the fly shop, "The trout are NOT eating the dry flies. We are not seeing anything rising out there." 

Anglers of the Deschutes, you WILL NOT SEE TROUT RISING during this hatch. Trout do not feed with any regularity during this hatch. They only eat stoneflies when they fall off the grass and trees into the water. This happens very irregularly - so looking around for feeding trout is a very poor way of determining whether or not the trout are eating adult stoneflies. By the way, all the big bugs that you see are stoneflies. Call them salmonflies, golden stones, yellow sallies, or any other name - they are all from the same family, the stonefly family. In order to see if they are eating adult dry salmonflies or golden stones you have to be the one to get your flies up under the branches of overhanging trees along the river. You have to be the first one to show those trout the dries - if they have already been caught or harassed that day, they will not come to your fly. 

Keep moving from spot to spot - treat your fellow angler with respect by not high-holing or jumping into the water he/she is fishing. Work your dry flies upstream and don't bother letting them float past or behind you. If you are standing on the bank, all of the trout that are downstream of you can SEE you and they are spooked. Keep your focus on the trout upstream of you and keep your casts short and accurate. 

Have fun out there! Tight lines!

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