Deschutes River Steelhead Adventure-Locked Gate to Sherrars



I had already spent 5 amazing days on a back pack trip walking from Macks to the Mouth of the Deschutes in late August (click to read the post) and now I had 5 bonus days of fly fishing steelhead on the Deschutes.  I drove over at least 7 steelhead rivers to get there on a 9.5 hour odyssey that allowed me a short evening session of casting,I did not get any grabs that first night, but I did not let that deter my enthusiasm.


My good friend Peter had arrived the day before, set up camp and started fishing and catching fish in the familiar runs of the town section near Maupin, OR of the Deschutes, so he had our game plan and Jim made it to camp late Saturday night.


The weather was tumultuous with temps ranging  from 36-60 degrees, the wind was nearly constant, the water temp ranged between 48-54 degrees and the moon was full, which can sometimes slow the bite.  But we were committed and none of the weather, tide, barometer data could spoil the trip for us.  The 3 of us fished from above the locked gate down as far as just above the Sherrars Falls.  The White River blew out in the middle of our time there, so we didn’t fish the lower section at all.



We threw heavy sink tips on 7 and 8 weight spey rods, swinging MOALs of various colors.  Our success was consistent even though there were plenty of other fly fisherman and each of us averaged 1 fish per day.  I was especially lucky to land a very large steelhead on my Sage VT2 8 weight spey rod, that weighed in the 12-13 pound range.



It was a real treat for me to have 10 days of steelhead fishing on the Deschutes and over the 2 trips, I saw the temperature swing from over 100 to 36 degrees (August to October) and the flies changed from lightweight summer patterns to heavy winter flies.  The strike, jump and fight of that big wild steelhead in the photo above will keep my spirits high as I plan for my summer and fall next year.



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