Trip Highlights

  • Drift ten miles of the Lower Deschutes River from Warm Springs to Trout Creek
  • Wade and fly fish for wild “Redside” rainbow trout
  • Oregon’s most famous blue ribbon wild trout stream
  • Our most popular guided trip

Trip Overview

Drift and wade the Wild & Scenic Lower Deschutes River and fly fish for wild and native “Redside” rainbow trout. Our daily guided float trip takes you down a ten-mile stretch of the Deschutes from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, about an hour from Bend, Oregon. Drift boats are used for transportation and access, however all fishing is done on foot. Reasonable physical condition is required. This fly fishing experience is suitable for most ages and abilities. We can accommodate larger groups with advance notice.

Fishing Program

Your fishing day begins when you meet your guide at 8:00 am in Madras (42 miles North of Bend). You’ll leave your vehicle at a safe location in Madras and ride with your guide 12 miles to the Warm Springs Boat Launch on the Lower Deschutes River. Your guide will launch a drift boat and soon you’ll begin a ten-mile float down the Deschutes.

If you don’t have a car to use for the day, transportation arrangements can be made in advance.

For the best overall experience, we recommend one or two anglers per boat. A third angler can be added if necessary. Larger groups will have additional guides and boats. Boats are used for transportation down river and provide access to both banks as well as many productive islands and gravel bars. There is no serious whitewater on this stretch of the Deschutes and the drift boat provides a safe and comfortable ride down river.

The weather on the Lower Deschutes can vary greatly, but the sun shines more often than not. Appropriate sun protection is important. The potential for cold or rain is always there, so warm layers and a rain jacket are a must. One observation our guests make on a regular basis is the absence of annoying insects. It’s true! While the Lower Deschutes sustains an enormous biomass of aquatic insects, there are relatively few if any mosquitos or other bugs to worry about. We almost never need to use bug spray.

All fishing is done on foot. You will need waders and wading boots, although just wading boots and shorts (wet wading) are appropriate during warmer summer weather. Waders and wading boots are provided upon request and included in the price of your trip. Physical limitations should be noted at the time of reservation. We’re happy to talk in advance to make sure this experience is right for you, and adjust our program to suit age or condition.

You’ll fly fish for wild rainbow trout, locally known as Redsides. Trout average 12 to 15 inches in length and are great sport on a five-weight fly rod. 17+ inch fish are encountered almost daily. Redsides are hard fighters and remarkably strong for their size. Their first burst of power catches many anglers off guard.

A variety of hatches keep the trout feeding on the surface many days throughout the season. The busiest time of year on the Deschutes is May and June during the salmonfly and golden stonefly hatch. The trout key in on the stoneflies and dry fly fishing can be fast and furious. After the stonefly hatch fades for the season, caddis flies become the most important food source for the trout. July brings warm sunny weather and consistent dry fly fishing, as the trout must eat a ton of these little insects each day. Throughout the summer and fall the trout continue to feed daily on a variety of caddis, mayflies, craneflies, and midges.

When the trout aren’t feeding on the surface we use a variety of sub-surface techniques, including dry/dropper, Czech (or Euro-style) nymphing, and streamer/trout spey. We are lifelong students of fly fishing and always studying modern methods and trends.

The Lower Deschutes fly fishing experience can be appreciated by both novice and experienced anglers.

Those new to fly fishing will enjoy our guide’s patient demeanor. We’re happy to be on the river with you. Equipment and instruction for those new to fly fishing is part of our service. One can expect to enjoy a scenic float down a federally designated Wild & Scenic River, learn some sound fundamental skills, and have the have a chance to hook a few fish.

Keen anglers will relish our guide’s hard charging enthusiasm and bird dog-like knack for finding trout. We are dry fly aficionados and will do what we can to put you on rising fish.

Lunch is provided and served either streamside or right in the boat. We happily accommodate dietary requirements and preferences. Your guide will have plenty of drinking water in the boat.

You’ll likely reach the take-out around 4:00 – 4:30pm. Please let your guide know if you need to be off the water at a certain time.


Full Day Float:  $650 (1 or 2 anglers), $750 (3 anglers)


April 22 to November 1

Included: One guide and boat per one to three anglers, fly rods, waders and wading boots, lunch, drinking water.

Transportation from Madras to the river and back is standard. Transportation from Bend or Redmond can be arranged.

Not Included: Flies, fishing license, Boater Pass, Tribal Permit, alcohol, guide gratuities.

We can assist you with obtaining most these items.

Location & Travel

Trips begin at Safeway (grocery store) in Madras, 80 NE Cedar St, Madras, OR 97741 – about 44 miles from Bend Fly Shop. You’ll leave your vehicle at Safeway and ride with your guide 12 miles to the Warm Springs Boat Launch, and back to your vehicle in Madras at the end of the Day. Allow 45 – 60 minutes to drive from Bend to Madras.

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

Licenses & Permits

Fishing License: You will need a valid Oregon fishing license. One, two, and three-day angling licenses can be purchased online at Annual licenses and additional info can be found at You can also download the app, MyODFW, and purchase a license from your phone.

Boater Pass: You will need a Deschutes Boater Pass (one Boater pass will cover the group), required by the Bureau of Land Management and available online at Boater Passes cost $5/person/day + $6 transaction fee, and are limited in availability during peak season. To save time and eliminate the hassle, most of our guests prefer to have us purchase the Boater Pass on their behalf.

Tribal Permit: A Warm Springs Tribal Permit grants you access to 8 miles of productive water along the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Tribal Permits are $14/person/day, available online at As with the Boater Pass, we’re happy to purchase Tribal Permits on your behalf.

Boater Pass and Tribal Permits generally cost $25 (1 angler), $44 (2 anglers), or $63 (3 anglers). Having us purchase these items for you never costs more than purchasing them directly.

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.