Deschutes River, Lower

River Levels

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7 30 year
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Recent Reports


Steelhead anglers are picking up trout while swinging flies; unfortunately they aren't picking up many steelhead. All-in-all, though, steelheading is actually better than you might expect from the fish counts over the dams; reduced angling pressure is probaby the reason. Fish will be scattered from Warm Springs to the mouth, with most of the action up higher in the river. The variable weather has been and will continue to be a major issue. Between intense rain and quickly dropping air/water temperatures, it will take steelhead a while to settle out. During periods of steady weather, you can expect so-so steelheading.

Weather is a factor for trout anglers, as well. As the water temps drop, trout will be less and less willing to come to the surface for a dry fly. Size 16-18 nymphs (Pheasant Tail, Rainbow Warrior etc.) and size 14-16 caddis pupas (Deep Sparkle Pupa etc.) drifted near the bottom will interest a few trout. John at Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop says that a good tactic is team a size 8-10 stonefly with small fly; it helps if the larger fly has a bit of flash. John adds that you should not hesitate to change flies; if the small fly isn't picking up fish, try something different!

Don't ignore whitefish! Use the same flies, but in slower water; and make sure you are deep enough.



November Tips


► If the river suddenly rises, such as following an intense rainstorm, fishing will be poor until the extra water subsides or stabilizes at a consistent level for a few days.

► Colder weather will slow trout fishing to a crawl. The best trout fishing--"best" being a relative word, not an absolute--will be from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

► This time of year you will find more trout in backeddies and in slower water near the bank than you will in faster water.


Traditional tactics with standard summer steelhead swinging flies may work early in the month, but for the most part you will do better with a sink-tip line and standard summer steelhead deep swinging flies.

► Because the sun is low in the sky, you can be productive for a longer time each day and don't need to restrict yourself to the early morning and late evening. Some anglers, however, still like to be on the water at crack-o-dawn so they can have the first shot at receptive fish.

► While most anglers will have quit summer steelheading for the year, there are still fish around. They continue to enter many river systems until the end of the year. However, they will be more plentiful higher upstream and near the mouths of spawning tributaries.

► Some anglers feel that by this time of year the fish are more receptive to drab patterns and smaller sized flies--probably because the fish are seeing lots of anglers.

► Steelhead should be well-spread out between Sherars Falls and Warm Springs, and there will still be a few fish between Sherars and the mouth.


► Keep in mind that it's November. Expect cool days, occasional rain (or snow) and sometimes bitter winds. Bring extra clothes in case you slip and get wet. If you're headed over here from the Willamette Valley, be careful on the roads.

► Remember that the west bank is closed along the Warm Springs Reservation (from Pelton Dam to river mile 69) and trout fishing is not permitted in November and December anywhere in that section (If you happen to be steelheading with a size 18 Pheasant Tail and accidentally hook a trout--don't kill it and take it home; and remember, you were fishing for steelhead).


Other Months

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Other Rivers or Lakes


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The Dalles
Government Camp


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