Fly Fishing For Steelhead and Rainbows on the Famous Deschutes River
Deschutes Angler is an operation with a passionate guide staff, an amazing level of technical competence, and a willingness to teach and instruct on everything from the intricacies of river fishing to the dynamics of technical spey casting. Whether you’re looking to fish for chrome-bright, hard-fighting steelhead with floating lines and light spey rods, or to pursue wild redside rainbow trout with a dry fly, Deschutes Angler can guide you on the area’s waters, instruct you on applicable techniques, and set you up for success. For a change of pace from the river, Deschutes Angler also books over thirty private lakes, ideal for big fish enthusiasts who enjoy sight casting dries to huge cruising rainbows.
When visiting Central Oregon to fish the Deschutes River, there is one obvious oasis in the desert that no serious angler should overlook – Maupin, Oregon. Located in the middle of the lower 100-mile section of the Deschutes, the small town of Maupin welcomes fly anglers from around the world. Though Bend and Sunriver are more well-known than Maupin, those cities are 90 to 110 miles away from the prime, blue ribbon trout and steelhead sections of the Deschutes. If you are serious about your fly fishing, then you’ll want to station yourself in Maupin to take advantage of nearly 40 miles of river access via unpaved and paved access roads which parallel the river both upstream and downstream of this little community. Maupin offers four lodging facilities for those who desire a comfortable bed and private bath after a long day on the river. Rooms can be difficult to secure on last minute notice, so we suggest that you make arrangements for a room upon booking a trout or steelhead trip.
Small town charm is what you will find at each of Maupin’s lodging establishments. These family-run businesses offer rooms which are comfortable and quiet but, for the most part, lacking in modern conveniences like televisions and telephones. Your trusty cell phone may not work down in the canyon on the river’s edge, but good reception is only a short drive up the hill just minutes outside town. Lodging options (hotels and campgrounds) include –
Imperial River Company
The only lodging right on the banks of the Deschutes, the Imperial offers 25 rooms and a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
River Run Lodge
Six rooms, each with a private bath and ranging in size from “tight quarters” to a suite with a full kitchen. If you are just looking for a clean place to leave your gear while you fish all day, and you are not planning on hanging out in your hotel room, this is a solid option.
Celebrating fifty years of welcoming visitors to their family-run establishment, the Oasis Resort offers private cabins in a grassy tree-shaded “oasis” just across the street from the river.
On the edge of town, perched on a hillside overlooking the Deschutes River, you will find the 12-room Deschutes Motel.
Camping and Campgrounds
If you drive up or down the river along the Deschutes River access road, you will come across many public fee campgrounds maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. The portions of the access road that is closest to Maupin are paved. As you drive further away from Maupin, either upstream or downstream, the paved access road turns into rough gravel. Driving south (upstream) of Maupin, you will find four BLM campgrounds in six miles of access road; two are on the paved stretch and two are on the gravel section. Driving north (downstream) of Maupin, you will find nine campgrounds in 28 miles of access road; four are on the paved stretch and five are on the gravel stretch. All BLM campgrounds have very clean permanent outhouses and several designated campsites, each with a picnic table. BLM campgrounds fill on a first-come-first-served basis and they do not accept reservations. Each campground has a self-service pay station and some have campground hosts.
Maupin City Park
In the town of Maupin, the Maupin City Park has tent sites and RV sites with full hookups right on the river’s edge. City Park also has flush toilets and shower facilities. Camping fees are payable to the camp host at the Maupin City Park.
Food and Beverages
For all standard day trips, the guide will provide beverages throughout the day and a large, deli-style lunch. If you are staying in Maupin, there are several restaurant options in town for an early breakfast, a late dinner, and plenty of cold beer.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Central Oregon is home to every type of outdoor activity imaginable. Hiking, camping and pack trips are all popular in the area, and almost every trail in the area is a scenic marvel. There is something for everyone to enjoy. The world famous Smith Rocks attract climbers of all levels and are one of the most popular climbing sites in North America. Other activities include swimming, canoeing, whitewater rafting, snowmobiling, skiing, cycling, mountain climbing, horseback riding, boating, and shopping.
Internet / Communications
Wireless internet is available at several motels in the Maupin area. Most cell phone will not work in the river canyon, but will if you drive to the top of the hill and leave the canyon.
How To Get There
Anglers wanting to fish Central Oregon can fly directly into Roberts Field/Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM) in Redmond, OR or into Portland International Airport (PDX). From both places, you can then rent a car and make a short and easy drive to Maupin.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Trips can be booked and scheduled any day of the week and anglers can arrive and depart on any day of the week at any time.
Oregon fishing license, available Deschutes Angler Fly Shop or by logging on to the following website: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
Winding its way through Oregon’s beautiful high desert country, the Deschutes offers some of the Northwest’s finest and most productive fly fishing. Fish populations include rainbow trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, bull trout, and mountain whitefish. The wild trout on the Deschutes are strong, feisty rainbows known as “redsides” – named for the deep red stripe on their side. These wild fish have the rare circumstance of being a truly indigenous species. They were not introduced to the region by man, but are natural denizens of the river. They average from 14 to 18 inches, with fish as large as 23 inches occasionally caught. These trout don’t know the meaning of the word quit, and are legendary for their strength. It’s not unusual to get into your backing during a fight with a 16-incher. Trout fishing is good year round, with prime time being May through October. May has outstanding nymph fishing, and the legendary salmonfly hatch usually starts mid-month and lasts until mid-June. Mid-June brings on abundant caddis fly hatches and mayflies and caddis continue through September.
Aside from great trout fishing, the Deschutes is also recognized throughout the world as a premier steelhead fishery, offering one of the finest summer runs in the Northwest. Each summer and fall, powerful steelhead make their way from the Pacific Ocean, swim the Columbia River and make a right turn when they reach the mouth of the Deschutes. Beginning in late July and running into November, you can choose from an early season trip on the lower 20 miles of the river or opt for a multi-day float on the upper 50-mile section later in the season. Fly fishing for steelhead is for the determined and the patient; strong wading skills and the ability to cast a good line are definitely an asset. Deschutes River steelhead range in size from 4 to 15 pounds, with fish in the 20-pound range occasionally found.
For those who prefer chasing steelhead with dry flies and skating patterns, the Lower Deschutes is known as one of the finest dry-line steelhead fisheries in the Northwest. While the Deschutes offers large amounts of public access, we strongly recommend that people fishing the area for the first time, or those looking to advance their skills, take advantage of one of the professional and knowledgeable guides that we work with. You’ll enjoy more time on the water, fish with less hassle, and ultimately, catch more fish.
Boats and Equipment
All Deschutes Angler trips involve floating the river in McKenzie-style drift boats. With regard to gear and equipment, Deschutes Angler operates the area’s number one fly shop, offering a variety of tackle from the finest manufacturers and an extensive fly selection.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the outfitter.
Traditional Camp (based on 1 or 2 anglers)
3 days / 2 nights = $3,295.00 total
Safari Camp (based on 1 or 2 anglers)
3 days / 2 nights = $3,960.00 total
4 days / 3 nights = $5,280.00 total
Safari Camp (based on 3 or 4 anglers)
3 days / 2 nights = $6,600.00 total
4 days / 3 nights = $8,800.00 total
Safari Camp (based on 5 or 6 anglers)
3 days / 2 nights = $9,900.00 total
4 days / 3 nights = $13,200.00 total
– Guided fishing
– Outfitted camping (tent, cots, sleeping bags, dry bags, etc)
– Waders and wading boots
– All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
– Shuttle fees
– Airport transportation (rent a car)
– Fishing licenses and other river permits
– Gratuities for guides
– Alcoholic beverages (BYO)
– Flies and tackle (can be paid for at the fly shop before you depart)
– Items of personal nature (toiletries, etc)