Yesterday professional guide Brian got the opportunity to take a Cadillac ride up the mouth of the Deschutes River to fish for Steelhead, and by Cadillac we mean Sam Sickles jet boat. This provided Brian the opportunity to cover a lot of water and report back to us.
The report is all good news!
Brian was able to land two exceptional summer steelhead and as you can see the river is in great shape. So, as with all our guides, we asked for the intel to pass along to help you in your quest to chase the "fish of a thousand casts", or in Brian's case not so much.
What You Need/What's Working
You want a reel ready to handle these fish (biggest to date we know of was 40" measured) so we recommend a Hatch 9+
or something equivalent
Flies: We are fishing the GRRRR, Pink Panther, Train Wrecks, Green Lantern, and you can never go wrong with a Greenbutt Skunk.
While you can always catch steelhead on a s fly rod, the reason we recommend and fish a two-handed spey rod is it provides the ability to cover a greater amount of water with ease. As the nickname "fish of a thousand casts" suggests, you really need to be able to cover a lot of water quickly. You can also catch steelhead with a nymphing setup, but once you experience the grab on a swung fly you will never go back.
Speaking of swinging flies, the recent success has been just above riffles/runs where the steelhead have pushed through and are holding before their next move upriver.
As far as times of day, there are a couple of different methods. Early in the morning and late in the day when the sun is not directly on the water fish the scandi as is. When the midday sun is on the water get the fly down with a tip and tube flies and you will still find willing participants to take your offering.
We don't normally put dress attire on these reports, but it is an important aspect this time of year to have a successful day on the water. As the Deschutes is in the high desert, air temps drop very low at night and early in the morning. You will want to come prepared for cold mornings, followed by warm afternoons, followed by cool evenings.
At the end of the day, you won't catch a single steelhead if you stay in front of your electronic device reading any more we have to say, so...
Get out there and FISH!