Wednesday, May 25, 2011

High Water Attitude on the Deschutes

This wonderful spring we're having here in the Northwest has continued to keep the flows on the Deschutes high.  At the moment, the big girl is running at 8110cfs... We should be around 6000cfs for this time of the year.  Given the forecast for the next few days, I don't expect the river to come down anytime soon.  So, you can sit on your hands and bitch about it, or, you can adapt.

The first thing you need to do is get in the right mind-set.  It's easy to get discouraged in high dirty water.  Keep in mind though, the trout don't stop eating just because the river is high.

The next thing through your head should be to forget everything you know about the Deschutes and look at it as a brand new river.  Many of your "old faithful" spots simply won't fish the same way they do when the river is at normal flows.  Look for soft water behind breaks and riffles.  The trout won't sit in raging water this time of the year.  I'm talking about water that usually is dry land.  As long as it has a rock bottom, soft water and provides the fish with consistent bugs the fish will live there.  The river has been high for a while now and the trout have adapted to it.

Finally, be thinking about fly selection.  The stoneflies are still happening!  While you may not find epic dry fly fishing, the fish will still look up.  Try fishing an attractor nymph below your stonefly dry, especially in the afternoons and evenings.  If that isn't happening, nymphing with stonefly nymphs and a dropper is the way to go.

You need to fish slow in high water... Pick the spots apart like a surgeon.  Change flies, and play with the distance between your indicator and flies.  Be persistent and good things will happen.

Good luck!
-Tom Larimer

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