Steelhead.Fish are still on the move, and good numbers should still be going through the fish ladder at Sherars Falls and heading upstream. Fresh steelhead enter the Deschutes through December, but in smaller numbers. With the Columbia cooling off, fish bound for the Snake River will keep on moving instead of making a rest stop in the lower Deschutes. So the message is: don't entirely give up on the lower reaches of the river, but you won't have the numbers of fish that were there in late summer and there won't be a lot of new recruits.
November can be one of the best months to pursue the river's silver streakers, if you make careful note of air and temperatures and the prevailing weather pattern. Expect the water temperature to fluctuate this month. That means you're going to be wondering whether to use a sink-tip or floating line. Your choice could spell the difference between good fishing and casting practice. See Sink-Tip or Floating Line? for some excellent advice about how to make that choice. This time of year, drab patterns in brown, black, gray, or peacock seem to do well.
There is good water on the west bank between the locked gate and Maupin. However, many guides do their one-day trips in this section in November, so it can be crowded. If you're thinking of fishing this stretch, drive up the road and see how many boats are on the river. If it's three or more, look elsewhere.
The White River may still be a problem on rainy days that are not cold enough to bring snow to Mount Hood. Check with a local store such as the Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop or Deschutes Angler Fly Shop about the current status before heading over.
Trout.Trout fishers can expect blue-winged olive activity to intensify in the first part of November. When there is a hatch, use a Sparkle Dun, Baetis Cripple or Parachute Baetis; size 18 for either of those patterns. Otherwise, a Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail drifted near the bottom is a good choice.
Spotted caddis larvae are available, especially in the upper reaches of the river. Trout take them nearly all year. A size 12-14 Zug Bug or Prince can be a good choice. Fish it near seams and in slower water below a riffle or drop-off.
Some October caddis will still be on the water late in the afternoon and evening, and trout will be interested in them. Pupa patterns should continue to be effective early in November.
There are also some pale evening dun-like mayflies in size 16, as well as midges and micro caddis.
This time of year, the backeddies, foam lines, and steep banks are good places to seek trout.
Whitefish might begin to spawn late in the month, so carry a size 18 pale Egg Fly. Try drifting it near the bottom during the last week of the month; it might find a receptive mouth.
Trout fishing will wind down throughout the month, and by month's end you'll find fishing very slow. It picks up again in mid-February.
The winter months are a good opportunity to practice your nymphing skills on whitefish. You will find these under-valued fish in somewhat slower water than you find trout in. Slow areas just below or beside a riffle, or quiet runs that are three or four feet deep are ideal places. Drift a size 18 Pheasant Tail or Hares Ear nymph right near the bottom. If you don't find fish, keep moving. But if you hook one, odds are there are many more nearby because these guys like to hangout in groups.
As of October 31, the west side is closed from Warm Springs to near river mile 69, the northern boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation. Note that on the east side of this same stretch, the regulations stipulate no trout fishing. Of course, I've seen steelhead take a dead-drifted small dry fly, so who am I to argue with anyone's choice of tactics? But you can't keep trout of any size (you shouldn't anyway) if you accidently hook one while you're tossing a blue-winged olive dun for steelhead.
For more on November tactics and flies, see the Rivers in General forecast