Finesse is not the ticket here. Slap it hard on the water and wait for the thrilling strike! While the Salmon fly hatch usually runs from mid-May through EARLY-June, don’t limit your trout fishing trip to this time frame, as there are many other great hatches on the Deschutes to take advantage of.
The river flows straight north through the high desert from Pelton Dam – which creates a classic tailwater fishery. The Deschutes runs hard and cold all year long, and this creates a multitude of insect life for its native trout to feed on. The most famous of all Deschutes Hatches is the famed Salmon fly hatch. These big bugs can top 2 inches in length and the biggest lunkers in the river are all looking up when the big bugs are on the water.
The Low Down
During Fall, winter and early spring, Blue Winged Olives are numerous in the afternoons. Look for trout sipping small mayflies in back-eddies and pockets during these times. With warmer temperatures and spring rains – March Browns and Skwala Stones become the insect of choice on the Deschutes. After Salmon fly season, Caddis are the ticket. There are hundreds of types of Caddis on the Deschutes, and the Trout love them all. It is not uncommon to have 1000 or so Caddis flies swarming the lantern on a summer evening, the morning after can provide amazing trout fishing when the females lay their eggs after a night of procreation. Then to close out the season the big bugs are back. Though not quite the size of Salmon flies, October Caddis are big bugs by any standard, and the fish look up with just as much ferocity as the early season hatch.
The short story is – no matter what time of year you are looking to fish the Deschutes, there are bugs hatching and native Oregon Trout to catch, and very close to Portland International Airport!
The Deschutes River is undoubtedly one of the finest Steelhead Fly Fishing Destinations on Planet earth. Tens of thousands of Native Steelhead return to the high-desert canyon each year and those wild fish are supplemented by robust numbers of hatchery-introduced fish. What makes the Deschutes special is the willingness of its steelhead to rise to the swung fly. There is no need for indicator fishing here. Cast your traditional hairwing pattern 45 degrees downstream and let it swing. There is no mistaking the grab of a Deschutes steelhead that just moved 10 feet to slam your Max Canyon and is now headed back to the ocean screaming line of your real. People like to say "The Tug is the Drug" and well...you'll need to find out for yourself, but we certainly agree.