Trip Highlights

  • Float the lower 23 miles of the Deschutes River from Mack’s Canyon to the mouth
  • Swing flies with spey rods for hot summer steelhead
  • Float and fish a new stretch of river each day
  • Meals and camping equipment provided

Trip Overview

Swing flies with confidence. Our multi-day steelhead float trips cover 23+ miles of the Lower Deschutes River in three to five days. Relax and absorb the rugged beauty of the canyon from Mack’s Canyon to the mouth of the Deschutes as you drift from one seductive steelhead run to another. Each day you will methodically fish a new stretch of river, arriving afterward to a fully prepared camp. Meals and camping equipment are provided, allowing you and your guide to focus on fishing.

Fishing Program

Your guide will meet you at the Mack’s Canyon boat launch on the Lower Deschutes River just before sunrise the first day of the trip. Staying in Maupin the night before your trip is recommended (accommodations handled independently). Having your waders and boots on when you arrive at Mack’s Canyon will help expedite your morning fishing. We provide large dry bags for you to pack your sleeping bag and clothes into. These dry bags will be loaded onto a separate boat and taken directly to camp along with all of the food and camping gear.

At the boat launch you will split into groups of two. We typically fish two anglers per boat and guide. The drift boats are used for transportation and all fishing is done on foot, swinging flies with spey rods. The wading can be difficult on the Deschutes. Many people find a wading staff useful and even essential. We strive to match anglers with appropriate water they are comfortable wading.

To swing flies for Deschutes River steelhead we usually use spey rods 11 – 14 feet long equipped with full floating lines. We love Deschutes steelhead for their willingness to take flies on or near the surface. The flies we fish for Deschutes steelhead include traditional hair wing wet flies and surface flies, mostly in sizes 3, 5, and 7. We do keep Skagit heads and sink tips handy and use them when its appropriate to dig a little deeper in the water column. Fishing tends to be best on the Deschutes during low light periods of morning and evening when the sun is off the water. Our fishing program is optimized to fish hard during those times, although there are plenty of mid day opportunities. Spey casting and fishing instruction is always available and part of our service.

We progressively fish our way down river, meeting for lunch as a group around 12:30 – 1:00 pm. During longer summer days we usually take a break after lunch to rest and also to secure a good piece of water for the afternoon and evening fishing. There are times when we opportunistically fish through the day during cloudy weather, later in the season when the sun stays pretty low in the sky, or when we come across a handful of gem spots that fish well in the bright sun.

We typically arrive at camp at dusk after fishing or in time to fish camp water. Dinner is served just after dark.

Accomodations & Meals

After fishing each day you will arrive at our fully prepared mobile streamside camp. Each day while you are fishing our camp staff 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 fishing.

We sleep two guests 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 advanced notice. During fall a steel framed canvas wall tent serves as the centerpiece of camp. Here we gather for meals, comradery, and occasionally for shelter. During the warmest months of summer we dine under an open sky.

The meals we serve are simple preparations, featuring a rotation of fresh seasonal ingredients. We love to cook and eat, and enjoy sharing our passion for food on the river. We strive to provide hearty and healthy meals that our guests look forward to each day. We are happy to accommodate dietary requirements and preferences.

Rates

Camp trips priced per angler based on double occupancy, minimum four anglers.  We do have options for two anglers. Four night trips are also available.

Three Day, Two Night Float:  $1650

Four Day, Three Night Float:  $1950

Season

July through November

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 rod setups, flies and fishing tackle.

Not Included: Transportation to Mack’s Canyon Campground, vehicle shuttle, alcohol, staff / guide gratuities, Waders and wading boots, sleeping bag and pillow, Deschutes Boater Pass, and Oregon fishing license.

You Will Need:  Fishing license and steelhead tag with Columbia Basin Endorsement, Deschutes Boater Pass, waders and wading boots (studded felt sole recommended), sleeping bag and pillow.  We can assist you with obtaining most of these items.

Sample Itinerary

Arrival

Fly in to PDX, rent a car, and drive to Maupin. Stay the night in Maupin.

Fishing Days

Drive to Mack's Canyon before sunrise the first morning of the trip. Meet your guide at Mack's at 5:00 am. Three full days of fishing.

Departure

Half fishing day. Take out around 1:00 or 2:00 pm at Heritage Landing. Your vehicle will be there when you arrive.

Location & Travel

Deschutes steelhead camp trips begin at the boat launch at the Mack’s Canyon Campground on the Lower Deschutes River 27 miles North of Maupin, Oregon. Guests arriving by plane typically fly into Portland, rent a car, and drive approx. 2 hrs to Maupin. Spending the night in Maupin prior to your float is highly recommended as we start before sunrise and Mack’s Canyon is a one hour drive from Maupin. Please be advised that the last 17 miles of the drive to Mack’s Canyon is on a gravel road that varies in quality throughout the season.

Pre and post accommodations in Maupin should be handled independently.

Licenses & Permits

Fishing License: You will need a valid Oregon angling license and steelhead tag with a Columbia Basin Endorsement.  Daily combo ($16.50 / day), three day, and five day license are available and include the steelhead tag (available online at https://or.outdoorcentral.us/or/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.

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.