This season is shaping up differently than many: we have very little snow pack here in Oregon and unseasonably warm temperatures. So far this Spring, the usual succession of hatches has been a couple weeks ahead of schedule. I expect this trend to continue. Most years, late May is when you start to see good numbers of adult salmonflies and golden stones distributed fairly well up and down the river, and consistently good dry fly fishing. This year, I anticipate that these oversized stoneflies will start their crawl to the river bank and emergence earlier than usual. I think that this season there will be some very good fishing by the middle of May on the Lower Deschutes, and that some of the best dry fly fishing of the salmonfly hatch will happen in late May.
I base this forecast is on trends that I have observed over 14 seasons of guiding the salmonfly hatch on the lower Deschutes. When we have heavy snowpack and cool Spring weather, the hatch can stall out, with the adult stoneflies and good dry fly fishing lingering until late June. When we have low and warm water and hot weather, however, the salmonfly hatch is often largely played-out by the second week of June.
If you have never experienced the salmonfly hatch on the lower Deschutes, it is a spectacle, and while every month of the season and every hatch has its charms, the big stonefly hatch is my favorite time to fish for trout on the Deschutes. Every year during the salmonfly hatch there are magical periods of time when the fish are so keyed in to these bugs that I see some amazing stuff: multiple fish competing for a dry fly, big trout chasing the dry downstream to gobble it, times when the wind will disperse the bugs all over the river and violent rises appear from bank to bank. Hungry wild trout and oversized dry flies make a winning combination.
I still have some salmonfly dates available for this season. I am offering a 10% discount to groups of 4 anglers or more who are interested in booking a 3 or 4 day guided and outfitted trip on the lower Deschutes to experience the salmonfly hatch. The fishing that time of year generally ranges from fair to outstanding, and this year I believe that these late May dates will offer some of the best of the fishing. For more information on th multi-day Deschutes trip, click on the “Deschutes River” tab at the top of the page, or contact me.