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Motorboats and Deschutes

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  • Motorboats and Deschutes

    After a decade of exploring mostly above Maupin, I've been amped to explore the lower stretches of the D and hit Macks last weekend on my own and camped at the mouth with the kids this weekend. I had no idea the big boats launched at Macks. Are motorboats allowed from Macks all the way down to the mouth? I'm considering a bikecamp trip from the mouth but the thought of putting in hard work and then having motorboats blaze up and down the river bums me out. It looks like there are motorized boats are allowed every other weekend until the end of September. Does that mean motorboats are allowed every weekend now?

  • #2
    You are correct. Motorboats are open all weekends now, and they can even go upstream of Macks after 10/1. Down low you will see a mix of gear and fly guides. The boats can be obnoxious, but I have found they don't screw up the fishing much and are generally pretty friendly. A good tip on a jet boat off weekend is to float starting Friday or Saturday. A lot of people race down low on Thursday to get "their" camp. When you go later there seems to be more available as you float down. On Mondays when the jeb boats are back, many of them aren't fishing. They are setting up their camp to pick up clients in the afternoon. Most every run is open to fish!

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    • #3
      Most jet boats are doing day trips, which means they can't leave too early or return too late--not enough light to see the rocks. So get a good light for the bike and pedal upstream in the dark; and/or come back in the dark; or camp on the river. Thus you can claim prime fishing water during prime fishing hours before the boats even arrive.

      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Second what UF says. It's really satisfying to see a jet boat heading your way in the twilight, you give them a friendly wave, and off they go to another run. Almost makes getting up that early just to watch Soxfan catch another steelhead worth it.
        Support the Deschutes River Alliance: Cooler, cleaner H2O for the lower Deschutes River

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        • #5
          Thanks for the info. Good to know. Even though I'm not a motor boat guy it's something to see those things blazing through the rapids. Planning on an overnighter Saturday so if I have too much whisky by the fire Friday evening and can't do the early peddle then at least I'll have the evening camp water motor free. Saw a couple fish caught on side planers across from the campground this past weekend so it gives me hope. All it takes is one! Also...what's the trout fishing like in that lower ten miles? Feel like I'd have to bring one trout rod to feel a bend even though I'll mostly swing. The fire cut off is Sunday. Either I'll have to wait till midnight or light a small fire on East coast time. Camping and whisky just isn't the same without a fire. Wind dependent of course. The cut off date is sort of silly as it has nothing to do with current conditions. It could be 90 next week and windy and you are allowed to have a fire or we've had early rains in Sept and no fires allowed.

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          • #6
            For what its worth, if you stay in the campground, fires are allowed now.

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            • Mr. Chin
              Mr. Chin commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah I know fires are cool at the State Park but I thought it's still a no-go till the 15th on the river campsites.

          • #7
            Trout fishing is okay down there. Not as many trout as higher up, but very few people chasing them

            I prefer biking that stretch when the jet boats ARE allowed. That's because there aren't as many drift boaters--the drift guys will camp there for the weekend whereas the jet boats are only there for the day. So it's noisier during the day, but quieter at the edges. But this time of year you just don't get many people anyway.

            Some years back I did a solo three-day raft trip from Macks to the mouth just before Halloween. I was camped at Lockit with no one else in the campground and no boats on the river. That evening I heard several un-earthly moans from across the river. But there were no boats and no people in evidence. The moans were repeated several times. It was very unsettling due to the darkness, loneliness and--not to put too fine a point on it--the fact that it was Halloween. Anyway, I was able to put it aside and get some sleep. In the morning I saw a couple of bikers camped on the other side. Apparently one of them had missed a few steelhead the evening before, hence the moans.
            aka Scott Richmond

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            • #8
              Funny, I used to exclusively fish way down low on the D and now I'm exploring the WS/TC area.

              I do love that canyon down there

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