Deschutes River Pacific Northwest

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There is good reason that the Deschutes is Oregon’s best known river. The Deschutes is a desert oasis rife with wild rainbows, hearty steelhead, whitewater and stunning scenery. During the steelhead fly fishing season the Deschutes becomes a “Temple of Spey.” This is one of the first rivers in the U.S. where the guides regularly employed the use of spey rods to cover water for these anadromous jewels. As such, all of our guides are proficient in two-handed casting instruction. Due to the dam-controlled nature of the Deschutes most of the steelhead season provides ideal conditions for fly fishing a floating line. If you’ve ever yearned to see a powerful, ocean-fed fish rise to the rivers’ surface for a fly, then this is the place!

With day trips and multi-day float trips for both trout and steelhead, the Deschutes is one of the West’s most unique and captivating systems. The quintessential Deschutes trips are deluxe, multi-day float trips on both the upper and lower portions of the river. Best done as a three night, four day float, these trips offer anglers the best shot at the river’s trout and steelhead and represent one of the West’s greatest down river fly fishing adventures. At Fly Water Travel we pride ourselves on our relationships with the guides who know the Deschutes best. 

The Deschutes River flows north through central Oregon, eventually draining into the Columbia River near The Dalles, Oregon.

Deschutes River Fishing Program:
The Deschutes has the distinction of being one of the West’s best rainbow trout fisheries, as well as being a world-class steelhead river. Fishing for the famed “redsides”, which range from 12 to 20 inches, can be good throughout the year. The steelhead fly fishing gets going as early as July on the lower river and peaks on the upper river from mid-September through October. Typical flows range from 4,000 to 5,500 cfs. Drift boats are used for transportation but no fishing is allowed from the boat. Be prepared for aggressive wading and dealing with low overhanging bushes especially when trout fly fishing.

Be prepared for long days on the water when steelhead fishing. Catching tends to be most productive in the low light hours of the day. Your guide will typically have you out on the water at the first hint of light in the morning and fish hard until mid-day. At that point you’ll stop for a streamside lunch and perhaps a siesta. In the afternoon your guide will have you back out on the water for the “evening session.”

Fly fishing for trout on the Deschutes may be one of the most unique angling experiences to be found in the American West. The fish are all native, wild “redsides.” This is a distinct sub-species of rainbow trout that tend to be some of the hardest fighting trout, for their size, you’ll ever find. Add to that the size of the river, these fish swim in 4,000 to 6,000 cfs, and you’ve got a real battle on your hands! The Deschutes is a very healthy river system with an abundance of food for the trout. This means a “typical” day could have you fishing small mayfly emergers on 6x tippet, then bouncing large stonefly nymphs along the river bottom before spending the evening swinging caddis soft hackles. Variety of bugs is the key component here and our guides are all well-prepared to lead you through ever-changing fishing techniques.

Guest Experiences:
Guests have a variety of options to choose from including, whitewater rafting, wildlife viewing, and riverside relaxation.

Deschutes River Accommodations and Meals:
Camp Trips: Your hosts will set up a comfortable camp each night. With larger groups, the bag boater will make their way down river to have camp set up by the time you arrive. Your guides will provide your tent and all camping gear.  All meals and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided river side. The meals are a mix of BBQ entrees and side dishes. Appetizers and dessert's are also included. Breakfast and dinner are served at camp, while lunches are served by your guide for the day.
**Note: Make sure to bring your own sleeping bag

Day Trips: There are several day trip options on the Lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River. These trips are typically based in the towns of Madras or Maupin, depending on the time of year and preferred target species. Both towns offer accommodations, restaurants and any needed last minute items, such as alcoholic beverages, fishing licenses and other provisions for your day on the river. Day trips include a riverside lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. It is recommended that guests provide their own waders and felt soled, studded boots.
**Note: Rental waders can be accommodated with advanced notice and additional fee. 

Jet Boat Trips: Guided jet boat trips are done on the lower 25 miles of the Deschutes River, where motorized boats are allowed for limited days during the prime window of July through September. Motorized boats are not allowed on alternate weekends through this time. Please call for dates. Jet boat trips are a unique way of traveling the river, following the shade and accessing the prime runs of the lower 25 miles of river. A base camp will be set from which guests depart each day via jet boat. Steelhead days start early to fish the prime low light periods of the day. Typically there will be a midday break where guests can take a siesta and then ready themselves for a late afternoon and evening session.  All meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included and camp gear is provided. Guests need only to bring their own sleeping bag and waders with felt soled, studded boots. The wading on the lower river can be slick, so wading staffs are suggested.

Sample Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive Maupin or Madras, Oregon and overnight (not included in your package).
Day 2 - 5: Four full days of guided fishing. Overnight (not included) or depart for home after fishing.

“Our Deschutes River trip with Colin Carr was terrific. The food was fantastic, the guides very helpful and accommodating, and the weather and fishing were great. All in all it was a ‘10 out of 10’.” J.F., CA

"We had an amazing time on the river with Chris O'Donnell. He did an amazing job finding some great spots to catch some nice fish, and had a lovely demeanor. We really loved the experience, and would be happy to use Fly Water again for a trip. We thank you very much for making our holiday so special, and will be in touch when we’re ready for our next trip!" M.S., NY


Rates and Details

2017 Rates:
Float Trips: $1,800-$2,400 per person for a 3 night/4 day package for 2 or more anglers  
Jet Boat Trips: $2,000 per person for a 3 night/3 day package for 2 or more anglers  
Day Trips: $450-$700 per day for 1 to 3 anglers

Included: On the water meals, guided fishing, fishing tackle, boater pass

Not Included: Alcohol, waders/boots, fishing licenses, vehicle shuttle, guide gratuities, sleeping bag, personal items


Species: Redside (rainbow) trout, Summer steelhead

Season: Trout: Year-round; Steelhead: July - November

Capacity: 8 anglers

Map:  Maupin, OR


Deschutes River Pacific Northwest NEWS

Apr 7, 2016

The Best Multi-Day Float Trips In The West

  For many people, muli-day float trips are the best downriver fly fishing experience. Staying on the river can truly maximize your fishing time.  Anglers that like to fish hard can get up early in camp or stay at river’s edge until dark targeting the evening bite. With an outfitted trip there is a crew of people taking […]
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Mar 3, 2016

Destination Spotlight – Deschutes River, Oregon

Deschutes River There is good reason that the Deschutes is Oregon’s best known river. The Deschutes is a desert oasis rife with wild rainbows, hearty steelhead, whitewater and stunning scenery. With day trips and multi-day float trips for both trout and steelhead, the Deschutes is one of the west’s most unique and captivating systems. The quintessential […]
Read Full Post »
Mar 11, 2014

The West’s Best Multi-Day Float Trips

For some, multi-day float trips represent the quintessential fly fishing trip. What we love about the multi-day downriver floats is that we never have to leave the river. If you’d like to stay out on the water until the last rays of light are gone you can. Or maybe you’d rather sit riverside with a […]
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Aug 19, 2013

Prime Availability – Deschutes River, Oregon – September, 2013

Deschutes River, Oregon Available Dates: September 5 – 8, 2013 (2 spots available!) Cost of this trip = $1,608 per person for a 3 night/4 day float trip This 3 night/4 day float trip is on the lower Deschutes targeting steelhead with Chris O’Donnell’s River Runner Outfitters. The first week of September is absolutely prime […]
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