Trip Highlights

  • Float and fish the Lower Deschutes River near Maupin, Oregon
  • Wade, spey cast, and swing flies for summer steelhead
  • Two handed casting and fishing instruction from thoughtful and patient guides
  • Full day trips can last dawn ’till dusk. Shorter days can be arranged.

Trip Overview

Our daily steelhead float trips focus on the 35 miles of the Lower Deschutes River surrounding Maupin, Oregon July through November. From Maupin we set out each day to float one of more than five beats of productive steelhead fly water. We use drift boats to get to the best runs, and get out of the boat to wade, spey cast, and swing flies for steelhead. Our gudies posses local knowledge and a keen intuition, and to say that we are passionate about swinging flies for steelhead would be a huge understatement. We’re happy to provide spey casting instruction as well as rods and lines for you to fish with. We spent ten years living in Maupin and guiding for steelhead on this part of the Deschutes. We would love the opportunity to share it with you.

Fishing Program

Your guide will meet you at your accommodations in Maupin predawn the morning of your trip. It is recommended to have your waders before meeting your guide. From there you will carpool with your guide to one of several boat launches in the area. You will float four to fourteen miles in a day depending on fishing conditions and where your guide decides to fish. The goal is to be standing in the water, fly in hand, at first light.

We use drift boats to float the Deschutes River and to get to the best runs but we don’t fish from the boats. All fishing is done while wading and is part of the process of traditional fly fishing for steelhead. Many anglers find wading the Deschutes to be tough and a wading staff is very helpful.  Our goal each day, in addition to successful fishing, is to keep our anglers comfortable and wading within their means. This is where having an experienced guide makes a huge difference.

Swinging flies on the Deschutes is most effectively done with two handed spey or switch rods. The Deschutes is world famous as a floating line steelhead river, so most fishing is done with full floating lines. Scandinavian shooting heads are easy to cast and what we recommend fishing with in most cases, although our guides are well versed in casting longer lines as well and encourage their use when appropriate. mall traditional wet flies such as the Green Butt Skunk, Silver Hilton, and Max Canyon are very popular for Deschutes steelhead, as well as surface or near surface flies like the Bomber, Muddler, and Dragonfly. Our philosophy regarding steelhead fishing is “when in Roam”, and there may be no better place on Earth to raise a steelhead. With that being said we do carry and use Skagit heads sink tips and fish with them under the right circumstances.

You will systematically fish your way down river, each run being carefully chosen based on your guide’s analytics. Mid day you will break for lunch in the shade. 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 you will fish during the middle of the day, usually at a choice “sink tip spot” or two, during cloudy weather, or later in the fall when the sun stays pretty low in the sky.

We typically fish until dark before heading back to Maupin, although we can tailor the length of the day to suit your preference.


Day Float: $625 (1 or 2 anglers), $725 (3 anglers)


Mid July through December

Included: Guided fishing (one boat and guide per one to three anglers), lunch, drinking water, and spey rod setups.  Transportation to the river and back from Maupin, Oregon.

Not Included:  Rental waders and / or wading boots, fishing license, Deschutes Boater Pass, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities.

You Will Need:  Waders and / or wading boots, Oregon fishing license (w/ Columbia Basin Endorsement), and Deschutes Boater Pass. We can assist you with obtaining these items, except for your fishing license.

Location & Travel

Our Deschutes steelhead float trips begin in 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 trip is highly recommended as we start in Maupin before sunrise.

Pre and post trip 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 ($16.50/angler), three day, and five day combo license are available and include the steelhead tag (available online at

Boater Pass: You will need a Deschutes Boater Pass, a BLM fee and document available at  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.