Flyfishing on the Wild and Scenic Lower Deshutes River, Oregon

Article and Photos by Dan S.

My wife and friends of ours decided to take a trip to Oregon this past September. It was a couples’ get away week to a place none of us had ever visited, with an emphasis on craft brewery visits, wineries, hiking and, of course, flyfishing.

Originally, our plan was to spend a few days in Portland and a few days in Hood River. But as you may recall a huge wildfire was raging in the Columbia Gorge about that time and many folks had to evacuate the Hood River area.

So we went with plan B by visiting Bend instead. As it turned out, it put us closer to the Deshutes River. I did some quick research and picked a fly-fishing guide service within 45 minutes of Bend.

Early Tuesday morning, my friend Dave and I headed out for a full day of fly-fishing on the Lower Deshutes River. I chose River Bourne Outfitters because Dave and I needed full outfitting as we did not bring our own equipment, rods, waders and boots. Also, all permits, fishing licenses and flies could be purchased onsite making it extremely convenient.

This was the first fly-fishing experience for Dave, and my first time giving a two-handed spey rod a try. Nate was our guide on this float trip, from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, about 10 miles of blue-ribbon trout fishing. The day started out overcast and misty – in other words it was perfect.

The scenery was spectacular as we floated through the Warms Springs Reservation. Nate would stop along the way so Dave and I could jump out and fish. (Flyfishing from the boat is not permitted in this section of river.)

Just as Nate was telling us that the steelhead would be moving through this section in a few weeks, Dave yelled “I think I hooked something!” Nate coached Dave, while I stood still just downstream… then I caught sight of a flash of silver and saw what Dave hooked as this beautiful fish took cover behind a boulder. Neither Nate or I actually thought Dave would land this beauty. But he did. (Beginner’s luck, I say).

Nate handled this native Steelhead just quick enough to get this photo before releasing it.

Native Oregon Steelhead caught by first time fly-fisher Dave. Lucky dude… some people fish for years and never land a trophy like this one!

I caught a few fish that day, including a white fish that gave me quite a battle, and a native “redside” trout on a dry fly. All in all, it was a memorable day and I’m looking forward to booking a multiple day float trip the next time.

Authorized Guides & Outfitters
Fishing License
Boater Pass
Tribal Permit


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