The last few days of warm sunshine in Central Oregon make fishing in the Bend, Oregon area the perfect way to spend lazy days. Not to mention that the fishing is great as well!
For the anglers who enjoy angling for aggressive and elusive summer steelhead rainbow trout as they head for the ocean, the Lower Deschutes River is one of the premiere areas in the West to catch these beauties. Catching one of these summer steelheads isn’t an easy task and landing one is something many anglers have long tried to accomplish.
Steelhead have recently been reported and caught in good numbers from the mouth of the Lower Deschutes downstream to Sherars Falls. Several weeks ago intense rainstorms had muddied the waters of the Lower Deschutes but silted has now settled and fishing conditions have greatly improved. There have been many reports of steelheads beginning to go over Sherars Falls as the numbers of fish there have begun to increase. Many have reported that as many as 10,000 fish per day are now swimming over The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River.
Steelhead often travel from the mouth of the Deschutes upstream to Pelton Dam, almost 100 miles, but greater numbers of steelhead can be found around the mouth of the river. Experts expect to see the numbers of steelhead to increase near Warm Springs within the next week or so but for now, the mouth of the river is truly the spot to catch them, making the trip from Central Oregon worth the drive.
Steelhead in the Lower Deschutes are a mixture of wild or native fish and hatchery steelhead by a ratio of 4 hatchery fish to each native fish. The native fish tend to be more aggressive and more apt to strike at any lure tossed their way.
The advice of most expert anglers indicates the best places to find steelhead on the Lower Deschutes are areas where the current breaks and the fish often stop to rest. Most steelhead are not typically found in deep holes in the river bottom.
The fishing equipment of preference for anglers seeking steelhead seems to be a two-hand spey rod. This rod allows the angler to cover more water than with a standard single-hand rod. Using the two-hand spey rod and skating flies on the water’s surface seems to be producing the best results. Good results have also been seen using spinners, bobbers and jigs.
Fishing for steelhead is always a challenge but an experienced angler can have great results this time of year in the Lower Deschutes River. Many anglers are bringing in four to give a day.