Deschutes River – Trout and steelhead
The Deschutes River is possibly the most well known river in the state excluding the Columbia. Celebrities have fished its storied waters, from Tiger Woods to Jack Nicholson. Legends of fly fishing have been borne from its waters, and some of the tallest fish stories ever told have been spun along its banks. To stand in the water of the lower Deschutes is to feel the current of over 40 years of fly fishing history. Sure, you could wax poetic about the Deschutes like every other fishing rag to ever put ink to paper, or hand to keyboard, or you could get out there and actually fish the damn thing. The average trout in this section of the Deschutes is around 14 inches, and the power and athleticism of these fish cannot be overstated. There will be dry fly opportunities in the morning and evening, with the main culprits being dead and crippled caddis, and PMD cripples and duns. Nymphing will be more effective during the middle of the day, and attractor nymphs such as hare’s ears or pheasant tails in sizes 14-20 will work fine, and a caddis pupa or emerger is a good idea in riffly water. There are also big huge redband trout that have been to the ocean in the river called steelhead, and those steelhead will readily take swung flies. Deschutes fish are some of the most surface oriented in the world, and if you ever wanted to catch a steelhead casting a floating line while wearing a tank top and shorts, then this is your opportunity.
Columbia River – Carp, bass
Ew, carp. I know, I know, they’re disgusting. But do you want to drop multiple semesters worth of tuition on a trip to catch bonefish in Belize? Me neither. This is your next best thing. If I told you that you could sight cast 10-20 feet to 5-30 lb fish 50 times a day, you be pretty interested right? Well that’s carp fishing on nearly any extended shallow flat area along the Columbia. Sure they have a face only a mother could love, and they might smell like the inside of a Gresham bottle drop, but they can also put you into your backing in under 10 seconds easily. Much of the water that holds carp also holds smallmouth, as will drop offs, back eddies and sloughs along I-84. The sloughs can also contain largemouth in addition to other various carp and panfish.
Willamette Valley – Trout, warmwater species
The Mckenzie River is gorgeous and varied in its appearance. The upper river has fantastic camping opportunities and wade fishing, and the lower section is great for floating for big wild trout. The Middle Fork Willamette from Eugene upstream has good fishing for trout and possibly some steelhead this time of year, with an emphasis on hoppers if you have some leftover salmonfly hatch flies. There are also multiple reservoirs along these rivers that have trout and warmwater species. You can get to pretty much anywhere in these watersheds within 3 hours of Portland as well, which is closer than you might think.
Cascade high lakes/reservoirs – Trout, some bass
The high lakes, which aren’t all that high compared to, say, the Rockies or the Sierras, are excellent trout producers. This time of year is your best chance for one of the large brook trout that inhabit most of the lakes as they stage at creek mouths waiting to go upstream and spawn. Interestingly enough, these brook trout are one of the few wild trout in the area that will pursue small poppers and mouse flies with some consistency. Timothy and Lost Lake still have a few Hexagenia mayflies flying around as well, which is basically the salmonfly hatch of lakes. There are also rainbows that get to 20 inches and more looking to pack on pounds before the cold fall kicks in.
Cascade skinny water – Wild trout
Within 20 minutes of the shop we have multiple small streams rich with hungry little trout. Cutthroat and Rainbow are the main catch,