Deschutes River, Lower

River Levels

Shitike Ck
Peters Pstr
1 am 5.16/218 7 30 year
Shitike Creek
Warm Springs
1 am 1.57/130 7 30 year
Warm Springs
1 am 2.61/812 7 30 year
1 am 3.78/6580 50.0 7 30 year
1 am 3.84/8940 51.1 7 30 year


What to Expect in April

Blue-winged olive
Pale morning dun
Pale evening dun
Mahogany dun
March brown
Weedy-water caddis
Saddle-case caddis
Spotted caddis
Green caddis
Golden stonefly
Small black stonefly

Hatches divided by half-month.
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None


Look for sporadic hatches of March browns , blue-winged olives , mahogany duns , and caddis this month. Midges and some Skwala stoneflies are also part of the mix.

Trout will begin focusing on big salmonfly nymphs, and you can pick up a lot of fish with a Kaufmanns Stonefly , Rocky Nymph , Rubber Legs , or similar nymph dead-drifted on the bottom. However, it's time for my annual lecture about fishing big stonefly nymphs on the Deschutes in spring: [Rant begins here]From now until the end of May, the river's trout will be spawning, and a spawning trout is the most likely fish to grab a big stonefly nymph tumbled along the bottom. These native wild fish don't need the extra stress of being caught, played, and released several times. If you stick to surface or near-surface flies, you will pick up bright, non-spawning fish--some of which are pretty big. Stay off the gravelly flats, because that's were the spawners are. It's essential that we take good care of the fish. If we don't, we could lose the right to fish year-round on the Deschutes. [End of rant]

There are three mayfly hatches of note this month: blue-winged olives, March browns, and mahogany duns. For the blue-winged olives , the best places to fish are in slow-moderate runs or (my favorite) backeddies. My go-to fly during a hatch is a size 18 olive Sparkle Dun ; it seems to be a favorite with trout, too. For tips on fishing backeddies, see Three Quick Tips for Backeddies. If you're lucky enough to be on the river for an intense blue-winged olive hatch, you may have trouble spotting your fly among the mass of naturals. If you tie your fly with a dark brown wing, you'll have an easier time picking out your fraud; trout don't seem to mind the dark wing. Hatches will start around 2:00 p.m. and may last an hour.

March browns are a spotty hatch on the Deschutes, and it's usually on the way out by mid-April. Still, you should be prepared for it. It's great if you're in the right place at the right time, but that can be tough to arrange. March brown nymphs grow up in riffly water, but they migrate to slow water before hatching. So look for the hatch in slow-to-moderate flows within 100 yards or so of a riffle. A CDC Cripple or Comparadun works well during the hatch; the bugs are size 12-14. March browns on this river have a creamy underside.

Mahogany duns are often mistaken for March browns here, but this bug is size 14 and a dark, reddish-brown. It hatches in slow water along the margins of the river. Hatches are usually from 4:00 pm. to 5:30 p.m.

You'll also find hatches of saddle-case caddis in the afternoons. A size 18-20 imitation is needed. Green caddis larvae (green rock worms) are available to trout below riffles along the riprap banks.

The best fishing will be from 1:00 to 6:00. By 6:30, fishing is pretty much over for the day.

The upper river (upstream from the northern boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation) opens the fourth Saturday of April.

For more information on April fishing, see the Rivers section of the General Oregon Report

What to expect in 

Map (enlarge)

NOAA, Accuweather, Weather Channel
Madras noaa
Maupin noaa
The Dalles noaa
Government Camp noaa


Other Info Sources

The Caddis Fly Angling Shop 541-342-7005

Confluence Fly Shop 541-678-5351

Deschutes Angler Fly Shop 541-395-0995

Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop 541-395-2565

Fin and Fire 541/548-1503

Fly and Field Outfitters 541-318-1616

The Fly Fisher's Place 541-549-3474

The Fly Fishing Shop 503-622-4607

Gorge Fly Shop 541-386-6977

The Hook 541-593-2358

Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters 503-252-1529

The Patient Angler 541-389-6208

River City Fly Shop 503-579-5176

Royal Treatment Fly Shop 503/850-4397