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Deschutes River, Lower

Tuesday, September 27, 6:53 p.m. PDT

Current River Levels

For 7-day, 30-day, and one-year graphs, click bold type below.





Shitike Ck / Peters Pstr

7 30 year

4.29 / 48

5 pm

Shitike Creek / Warm Springs

7 30 year

0.74 / 27

5 pm

Warm Springs / Kahneeta

7 30 year

1.02 / 226

5 pm

Deschutes / Madras

7 30 year

2.79 / 3880

5 pm

Deschutes / Moody

7 30 year

2.55 / 4400

5 pm


Click bold type for weather from NOAA, Accuweather, or The Weather Channel










The Dalles




Government Camp




What to Expect in September

How to use this section.

Hatches divided by half-month.  Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None






Blue-winged olive

Mahogany dun

October caddis

Saddle-case caddis

Spotted caddis

Green caddis

Golden stonefly









You should soon find decent steelhead fishing from Macks to Sherars Falls. By the end of the month, it should be good in the Maupin area, with a few fish all the way up to Warm Springs.

Nothing special needs to be said about the steelheading in September--no special tactics, no trick flies, no secret spots. Just get out there and do it. A combination of traditional tactics and indicator tactics will cover most situations.

There are seven prime types of steelhead water on the Deschutes. They are (in order of importance):

  1. Transition water
  2. Runs
  3. Tailouts
  4. Current breaks (places where a line of rocks breaks the current)
  5. Structure water (ledges and big rock gardens)
  6. Current sandwiches (slow water between two faster currents)
  7. Pocket water (small, one-fish holding areas near a single boulder or depression in the bottom)
  8. Bankside troughs (deep water of the right speed that is near the bank and overhung with alder branches).

Most anglers only fish the first two or three. If you want to find water that's unmolested by other anglers, expand your vision to include other types of steelhead holding water.

Trout fishing should keep getting better all month. The water cools off as the nights grow longer. The sun gets lower. New hatches start up. Anglers can still find hatches of caddis, primarily saddle-case caddis (Glossosoma). This time of year, take along some gray-bodied Soft Hackles in sizes 16 and 18. These can be excellent producers during afternoon caddis hatches.

You'll also find spotted caddis and green caddis hatching in September. Later in the month, look for hatches of October caddis (Dicosmoecus). These big guys don't hatch like other caddis. The pupa crawls out of the water at night, then the adult emerges on dry land, kind of like a stonefly. So a size-8 Stimulator or Clarks Stonefly with a pale-orange body (smaller and less gaudy than a salmonfly imitation) can produce when cast near the bank over water that's 2-4 feet deep and flowing at a moderate pace, especially if the bottom is rocky. Cloudy days seem to be best. While a drag-free drift can take trout, the best strikes can come when you skate the dry fly across the surface. To do this, cast down-and-across and just let the fly swing on the surface. It's a wet-fly swing, but with a dry fly. October caddis pupa patterns can be very productive when presented near the bottom.

This month many evening rises are to midges, and you'll need to match the size and color of the natural insect. Carry a seine so you can examine whatever is drifting down the river. Midge fishing is best in quiet runs, in backeddies, and near rocky banks that create mini-eddies. You'll find whitefish feeding in the slackwater areas, and trout where there's more current; sometimes only a couple of feet will separate the two species of fish. A midge pupa pattern is usually the best choice during a midge hatch.

Beginning around mid-month, look for hatches of mahogany duns in the late morning to evening hours. These mayflies hatch in the slow margins, so don't blind cast--you'll put the trout down if you do. Pick a rising trout and cast to it with a downstream presentation.

Size 20 blue-winged olives will also be hatching this month. Craneflies are another option in September.

The White River can be an occasional problem on the lower Deschutes. Warm weather or heavy rain causes this river to spew glacial silt into the Deschutes. When it's bad, it's really bad; you can't fish from the confluence (between Maupin and Sherars Falls) and the mouth of the Deschutes. Baring heavy rain falls on Mt. Hood (possible) or a heat wave (not likely) it probably won't affect your September fishing. If you're concerned, check with a local source, such as Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop or Deschutes Angler Fly Shop; both stores are in Maupin.

For more on September tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General forecast

Other Fisheries

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Other Info Sources

Phone or click on links

The Caddis Fly Angling Shop 541-342-7005

Confluence Fly Shop 541-678-5351

Deschutes Angler Fly Shop 541-395-0995
Online report

Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop 541-395-2565
Online report

Fin and Fire 541/548-1503
Online report

Fly and Field Outfitters 541-318-1616
Online report

The Fly Fisher's Place 541-549-3474
Online report

The Fly Fishing Shop 503-622-4607

Gorge Fly Shop 541-386-6977

The Hook 541-593-2358
Online report

Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters 503-252-1529

The Patient Angler 541-389-6208

River City Fly Shop 503-579-5176

Royal Treatment Fly Shop 503/850-4397

Feature Articles

Can the Deschutes Be Saved?

Thanks to the Birds!

Steelhead Tactics: Spey Casting for Noobs

Tactics: Thoughts on Flies and Presentation

Is the Deschutes River in Danger? Yes!

Oregon Spring Fishing--Beyond Salmonflies

Deschutes River Spring Trout

Tower of Doom or Tower of Better River Management?

Deschutes Late Season Steelhead

Lower Deschutes Steelhead with Sam Sickles

Deschutes Blue-Winged Olive Hatch

Deschutes December Steelhead with John Smeraglio

Hunting Trout in the Trees with Chris O'Donnell

Deschutes Trout, July

Deschutes Steelhead, 2010 Season

Deschutes Salmonfly Hatch

What to Expect on the Deschutes

Westfly Makes Donations

Fishing the Deschutes with Chris O'Donnell

The Drift--March 2004

The Drift--February 2003

An Oasis of Tradition on the Deschutes

Recent News Articles

Deschutes, Hood rivers to Open for Spring Chinook. April 01, 2016

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