The Lower Deschutes River
The Lower opened in its entirety on 4/22. There is still ZERO BOATING ACCESS for the whole 100 miles. This restriction goes through the end of April. Initial reports are that the fishing is good. The flows have been low all year, so temps are coming up. No stoneflies are showing up yet, but all indications are that we’ll see an early year for the big bug. Down around Maupin, it’s only a week or two from “game time” while closer to the dam, we anticipate a Mother’s Day explosion. For now, the typical early season stuff is working. Try Jimmy Legs with a Hare’s Ear behind it. You can still use pretty heavy tippets (3 and 4x) as the fish are not shy. As for access, everything from around the ramp at Warm Springs to Mecca Flats and Trout Creek are good. Please be mindful that the trout are still in spawning mode. Do not fish over paired up trout. And always make sure you’re not wading around spawning areas. Look for mid-day March Browns and Blue-winged Olive dry fly in eddies and soft water.
The Middle Deschutes River
We’ve seen some crazy flow changes on the Deschutes River between Wickiup and Billy Chinook. That’s not too unusual this time of the year. We’ve seen flows double from Benham Falls down through Bend. That’s pretty normal as irrigation season begins. Seeing the flows below Bend go under 100cfs, now that’s unusual. On April 16th we saw 67cfs on that gauge. That is really bad news. This morning (4/27/20) they are holding at 85cfs. This is simply not enough water. There will be a fish kill downriver. The invertebrates will be destroyed throughout large sections of the river. Trout habitat is suffering right now, right when the Redbands are spawning. Not a good scenario. Until these flows come back up above 100cfs, avoid fishing immediately downriver from town. Way downriver, closer to Billy Chinook, springs help the flow and there is enough water for the fish, but from Bend, down to at least Steelhead Falls should be left alone in these low flows. We will revise this report as soon as we see more water in the river.