fishing Adventures—Deschutes

Deschutes Fishing with RRO Q&A

These expeditions begin in early May and last through July, fishing the Deschutes River. The enormous rainbow trout known as “Redsides” are in close proximity to the shore at this time, eating on a variety of insect hatches that occur in the spring and early summer. The most well-known of these hatches, the stone fly, often known as the salmon fly, begins on May 1st and continues until early June.

Spring Deschutes Trout Fly Fishing Trips

We have 3- and 4-day tours available throughout this season. We float about 35 miles off the Deschutes River. Our journey begins 20 miles north of Madras, Oregon, at Trout Creek and concludes just upstream of Maupin, Oregon. You’ll get to see some of Oregon’s most gorgeous high desert land and fish miles of superb trout waters while eating exquisite shore lunches and first-class camping accommodations.

The Deschutes River has a discharge rate of 42 cubic feet per second. It’s deep and rapid, and it’s home to a big number of hardy native trout. Due to a state regulation preventing fishing from any floating device, we must wade the brushy shorelines and riffles to catch our fish. Even for the most experienced anglers, this can be difficult at times.

The Deschutes River is a blue-ribbon trout stream. Although we highly encourage capture and release, there is a two-fish slot limit. To be kept, trout must be between 10 and 13 inches long. The goal of this restriction is to allow larger fish to breed and establish a trophy trout stream. I’ve been guiding the Deschutes for 37 years, and I’ve seen ups and downs in the trout population, just like any other river. The Deschutes is still one of the top trout streams in the country, and it’s my personal favorite.

We float the Deschutes in McKenzie River drift boats and tow our camp on a huge gear raft. The gear raft heads out ahead of us to set up camp and make sure we have everything we need when we arrive in the evening. Large, spacious tents, sleeping cots, lounge chairs, and even a hot shower are all available. Meals of the highest quality will be prepared for you. Outdoor camp cooking is our specialty. Dutch oven baked breads, grilled meats, fresh tossed salads, and a range of fresh fruits and vegetables make up our meals.

My guides are all full-time fishing guides, just like me. We all work together as a crew from May to November. The guides are all experienced boatmen who are passionate about teaching and assisting clients in catching fish. It’s a privilege for me to have the opportunity to spend so much time with true professionals.

Trip Preparation Details by Step

The information below will be explained in detail on the following tabs. These steps are designed to make your trip run as smoothly as possible.

STEP 1: The Packet

STEP 2: Shuttles

STEP 3: Things to Bring List

STEP 4: Fishing Gear, Rod, & Tackle List

STEP 5: Flies

STEP 6: Night Prior


Prior to your trip, RRO will include a copy of our trip release waiver in your trip packet. Please read it carefully, sign it, date it, and return it to us by mail or email. Prior to the start of the excursion, all guests must sign the waiver. Craig will be prepared with extras.


All transportation arrangements will be made at the river. Your vehicle will need to be shuttled to our Wapinitia takeout location. Please ensure that you have a full tank and a spare key. Please be aware that your vehicle will be travelling on an 8-mile gravel road. The cost of the shuttle is $80.00 per vehicle.


Pack your luggage as directed on the “Things to Bring List.” Your luggage will be repacked into waterproof bags so please follow directions. Excess luggage will be left behind!

  • 2 changes of clothes (combined fishing and camp attire)
  • 1 warm jacket
  • 1 wind breaker
  • 1 pair of shoes for camp (tennis or hiking shoes)
  • 1 pair river sandals (We like Chaco’s or Teva)
  • 1 set of quality rain gear (pants, coat, and hat)
  • Good sleeping bag and pad (cots are provided)
  • Good waders and felt bottom wading boots (recommended)
  • Polarized sunglasses, chums, and holder to prevent loss
  • Long-billed hat
  • Greaseless sunscreen
  • Small flashlight
  • Personal toiletry items
  • Camera/cell phone
  • Liquor and mix (plastic bottles please)
  • Iced down or cold beverages (We provide one case of assorted soft drinks, water, and lemon aid in each boat)
  • Do not forget your Oregon Fishing License

EXCESS LUGGAGE AND SUITCASES WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. Pack no more than you will need for the river trip. We suggest packing cloths in large zip lock bags and then into a duffel bag or stuff sack. Duffel bags will be repacked in special waterproof dry bags. Sleeping bag and cloths all should fit easily into our waterproof dry bags. All camping equipment tents, cots, chairs and all meals are provided.


Pack your fishing gear in a separate small boat bag, include fishing gear, wind breaker, rain gear, sunscreen, all things you will need during the day.

Anglers visiting the Deschutes are recommended to bring at least two fly rods. One for dry fly fishing and one for nymph fishing. Our guides have extra rods however, we recommend 1 extra rod per every 3 fishermen, and this can save a trip in case of a broken rod (PLEASE NOTE: if you break a borrowed Rod, you are responsible the replacement, with an equal valued rod). The Deschutes is unique, and this requires different rod weights depending on the time of year.

May – June

  • Dry fly fishing: 9 or 9½ 5 wt. for the big flies
  • Nymphing: 9½ or 10 ft. 5 or 6 wt. for mending and lifting line

Late: June, July, August

  • Dry fly fishing: 9-foot 3wt or 4wt for the small flies
  • Nymphing: 9½ or 10 ft. 4wt or 5 wt.

A reel is a line holder however you do want a reel with a good smooth drag especially when fishing light tippet.

Lines are the most overlooked and maybe the most important. Make sure your lines are clean. We recommend a weight forward or a cut down double tapper. I also like to overload my rod 1 line size especially when casting larger flies.

Leader and Tippets:
Each angler should have 2 good leaders. We recommend a 7½ leader for fishing the larger flies and a 9-foot leader for the smaller flies. Tippet is important I am a big fan of flouro carbon tippet. For the big flies you will need IX, 2X, and 3X tippet and for the smaller flies you will need 3X, 4X and 5x tippets.


May, early June – Stone Patterns

  • Norm Woods special (calf tail wing stimulator) #8, #10
  • Chubby Chernobyl #6, #8
  • Stimulator (orange, yellow, olive) #8

June, July

  • EC Caddis #14, #16, #18
  • Elk hair caddis #14, #16
  • Comparadun # 16, #18
  • Purple haze #14, #16, #18
  • Parachute Adams #14, #16, #18


  • Bead head prince #6, #8, #10
  • Bead head pheasant tail #12, #14, #16
  • Copper johns #14, #16, #18
  • Bead head hairs ear #8, #10
  • Case caddis #8, #10
  • Kaufman stone #8, #10

Flies are listed in the order of most recommended


  • Waders
  • Good wading boots (felt sole, spiked sole or both)
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Dry shake
  • Nippers or scissors
  • Strike indicators
  • Pinch on Split Shot
  • Fly vest
  • Flashlight
  • Long billed hat
  • Rain wear


Arrive the night before your scheduled departure in Madras. We’ve compiled a list of places to stay in Madras and the surrounding area to make your stay more enjoyable. We’ve also included a list of restaurants and dining establishments.

Places To Stay:

Inn at Cross Keys Station

Motel 6

Quality Inn


Rio Restaurant (Mexican Cuisine)

Black Bear Diner

Geno’s Italian Grill (Italian)

Great Earth Natural Foods (Café)

After breakfast at a restaurant of your choice you will drive to Trout Creek which is the launch point for our trip. You will arrive at 8:00 a.m. Drive time from Madras is 30 minutes.

Interested in Booking?