Trip Highlights

  • Float 35 miles of the Wild & Scenic Deschutes River from the comfort and safety of a drift boat
  • Wade and fly fish for wild “redside” rainbow trout
  • Fish and float a new stretch of river each day
  • All meals and camping equipment included

Trip Overview

Our Deschutes River fly fishing and camping float trips span 35 river miles from Trout Creek to Maupin over three to five days. Fly fish for native “redside” rainbow trout each day and enjoy the ride in between fishing spots from the comfort and safety of a drift boat. The Lower Deschutes changes character around every bend, from a broad valley to rugged mountains and deep canyons. Each evening you arrive to a fully prepared riverside camp and thoughtfully prepared meals. Guests sleep two per tent on sturdy padded cots. All meals and camping equipment are included, providing turn key access to a rich and rewarding outdoor experience.

Fishing Program

Your guide will meet you at the boat launch at Trout Creek Campgrounds at 8:00 am on the first day of your trip. Large dry bags will be provided for each guest to pack their sleeping bag and clothes. Your bags will be loaded onto a separate boat and taken directly to camp.  Put on your waders, string up your fly rods, and split into groups of two.  We typically fish two anglers per boat and guide.

You will float from one fishing spot to the next, getting out of the drift boat to wade and fish.  The wading can be difficult on the Deschutes, but we tend to fish pretty close to shore, or in shallow water, and our guides are experienced and place a top priority on putting anglers in water that is within their ability and comfort zone. Bring your own waders and/or wading boots, or arrange rentals through Bend Fly Shop.

Deschutes redsides are an all wild and native subspecies of rainbow trout. They’re a hearty fish and great sport on a fly rod. From Trout Creek to Maupin redsides average a girthy 14 inches and larger fish are common. The trout’s diet consists mainly of aquatic insects, with the occasional sculpin, leech, or crawdad mixed in.

The Deschutes has great aquatic insect hatches throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Some of the most noteworthy hatches include Blue Winged Olive and March Brown mayflies in March and April, salmonflies and golden stoneflies in May and June, and caddis hatches July through October.

We place a heavy emphasis on traditional dry fly fishing, although anglers can expect to use a variety of fly fishing techniques that may include several styles of nymphing and swinging flies with miniature spey rods.

From September through November steelhead (ocean-going rainbow trout that average six to eight pounds) return to this stretch of the Deschutes and create the unique opportunity to target both resident rainbow trout and steelhead during the same trip. There are overlapping nymphing techniques that are effective for both fish, however we encourage anglers who wish to specifically target steelhead to swing flies with two-handed spey rods – a traditional Atlantic Salmon fishing process originating in Scotland. Our idea of the perfect fall fishing trip is to opportunistically cast dries when the redsides are rising, swing flies with spey rods for steelhead when the best water presents itself, and nymph fish for “whatever is biting” in between.

Most trout fishing is done with nine foot five weight fly rods and full floating lines. Four and six weight rods are also appropriate. We swing flies for trout with lightweight spey rods when the time is right. Most often we drift down river with both nymph and dry fly rods rigged up and adapt our technique to each spot we fish. In addition to a well stocked fly box, trout fishing tackle includes nine foot 4X leaders, 3, 4, and 5X tippet, fly floatant, split shot, and strike indicators.  We are happy to provide fly rod setups, flies, and tackle for our guests.

Casting and fishing instruction is always available and part of our service. We use simple and effective teaching methods and have introduced a ton of people to fly fishing. Helping people learn and being a part of the joy of hooking and landing fish is better than catching fish ourselves. That’s why we guide. Also, we believe there is no minimum age requirement. We can tailor the experience for young anglers, keeping things light, fun, and safe.

Experienced anglers will appreciate our bird dog-like energy and enthusiasm, and capitalize on what we have learned over a lifetime of fishing the Deschutes to maximize their effective fishing time.

Each day begins with coffee and breakfast in camp. Wake up time is casual, and we have coffee brewing by 6:00 am (we set up the coffee program the night before, and super early risers are welcome to get it going). After a hearty breakfast guests are welcome to fish near camp while we break down and prepare for the day. Between 9:00 and 10:00 am we set out in the drift boats to float and fish a new stretch of river. You’ll fish through the morning, hitting a number of good spots before meeting for lunch as a group. We usually take about an hour for lunch (or as long as you want to rest), then continue fishing our way downriver toward our next camp. We tend to arrive at camp early to mid-evening for appetizers and dinner. Again, fishing around camp is welcome and encouraged.

The last day begins like the others, and we will float and fish our way downriver, arriving at the take out near Maupin at 2:00 pm. An early takeout can be arranged to accommodate schedules if necessary. We will arrange a shuttle for your vehicle ($65 per vehicle, not included in the price of the trip) and it will be waiting for you at the take out, along with your bags.

Accomodations & Meals

After fishing each day you will arrive at our fully prepared mobile streamside camp. Each day while you are fishing our bagger is busy hauling gear down river, setting up camp, and preparing the evening’s meal. Without the hassle of setting up camp, you and your guide focus on purely on fishing and having fun.

Guests sleep two per tent. Our Eureka Outfitter tents are over six feet tall and equipped with sturdy padded cots. We are happy to accommodate special sleeping arrangements with advance notice. During spring and fall (or any time when cooler weather is forecast) a steel framed canvas wall tent serves as the centerpiece of camp. Here we gather for meals, comradery, and occasionally shelter. During the warmest months of summer we dine under a vast open sky.

We serve a seasonal rotation of simple, fresh, and thoughtful preparations. Food, along with fly fishing, is a passion of ours that we strive to share on our river trips. Our goal is to provide hearty yet healthy meals that our guests look forward to each day. We are sensitive to dietary requirements and preferences, and gladly cater to individual needs.

Rates

Camping trips are priced per angler, minimum four. We do have options for two anglers.

Three Day, Two Night Float:  $1650

Four Day, Three Night Float:  $1950

Season

March through October for trout, September through November for steelhead.

Included: One guide and boat per two anglers, all meals from lunch on first day through lunch on the last day, camping equipment (please bring your own sleeping bag), fly rods, flies and fishing tackle.

Not Included: Transportation to Trout Creek, vehicle shuttle ($65 / vehicle), Deschutes Boater Pass, Tribal Permits (if needed, we will advise), alcoholic beverages, staff / guide gratuities.

You Will Need: Fishing license, Deschutes Boater Pass, Tribal Permits (only if we put in at Warm Springs. We’ll advise), waders and / or wading boots (studded felt sole recommended), sleeping bag and pillow. We can assist you with obtaining most of these items.

Sample Itinerary

Arrival

Fly into PDX, rent a car, and drive to Madras, Oregon. Overnight in Madras. Accommodations handled independently and not included.

Alternatively, overnight in Bend, Oregon. Flights into Redmond, Oregon from San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA are available.

Fishing Days

Meet your guide at the boat launch at Trout Creek Campgrounds at 8:00 am, 30 minutes from Madras, Oregon. two to four full fishing days, arriving at a fully catered streamside camp each evening.

Departure

Half fishing day. Arrive at the take out near Maupin, Oregon at 2:00 pm. Your vehicle will be shuttled to the take out and waiting for you when you arrive ($65 per vehicle, not included in the price of the trip). The take out is a 2 hour drive from the Portland Intl Airport (PDX) and 1.5 hours from the Redmond Airport.

Location & Travel

Our Deschutes Trout Drift begins at the Trout Creek Campgrounds boat launch, located on the Lower Deschutes River about 13 miles North of Madras, Oregon. Guests arriving by plane typically fly into Portland, rent a car, and drive approx. 2 hrs 30 min to Madras and stay at a hotel the night before the trip. From Madras it is 30 min to Trout Creek Campgrounds.

Pre and post trip accommodations in Bend or Madras should be handled independently.

Licenses & Permits

Fishing License: You will need a valid Oregon angling license (daily ($16.50 / person), three day, and five day combination angling license available online at https://or.outdoorcentral.us/or/license). You will be responsible for obtaining your fishing license.

Boater Pass: You will need a Deschutes Boater Pass, a BLM fee and document available at https://www.recreation.gov/permits/251980.  Boater passes cost $6/transaction fee + $2/person (weekdays) and $8/person (weekend days) and are limited in availability during peak season (Memorial Day weekend through Octboer 15th depending on the stretch of river), so early reservations are encouraged. We are happy to assist you in obtaining your boater pass. Please contact us for details.

Tribal Permit: If we put in at Warm Springs (adding an additional ten miles to the drift, most often done on four or five day trips) each angler will need a Warm Springs Tribal Permit to access 8 miles of Indian Reservation the first day or two of the trip. We will advise as to whether or not you will need this permit. Daily permits are available at http://tribalpermit.com.  We are happy to purchase your tribal permit on your behalf ($14 / person / day, not included in the price of the trip)

Bend Fly Shop’s outfitter, Chris O’Donnell’s Guide Service, is an equal opportunities recreation provider operating under special recreation permits granted by the Bureau of Land Management for the Lower Deschutes, Crooked, and John Day Rivers.