Salmonfly Season on the Lower Deschutes - 2023

Salmonfly Season on the Lower Deschutes - 2023

I've been fishing the Lower Deschutes during the Salmonfly hatch for many years. I've fished it before the peak, during the peak, and after the peak. I've guided clients and personally fished throughout the entire region of the Lower Deschutes - from Warm Springs all the way down below Maupin. This year was a head-scratcher for sure.

I went down to some private land that doesn't have the same pressure as the rest of the system with the rest of the gang here at Stillwater to have a fun fishing day with the crew. The first thing I did before getting rigged up or in my waders was to walk around and look for signs.

Signs of life, signs of the biggest stonefly in North America, and I didn't find anything. No casings and very few adult Salmonflies and Golden Stones in the grasses, bushes, trees, etc. Of course, there was a plethora of Caddis buzzing around as there usually is this time of year, but that species wasn't what I wanted to toss out to trout today.

Nature has its own way, and even with the lackluster volume of those giant bugs, the trout were still ready and willing to take them in different reaches and at other times. I did have a wide variety of flies to choose from for the day, and if there was ever a rule about fishing, it would be, "Be prepared for as much as you can - and let the fish in the river tell you what to do."

During some recent thunderstorm activity the previous week, the impact of the heavy-than-normal flows and increased turbidity had the effect one would expect. It is likely that the Salmonflies had been pushed around by this increased flow and probably stressed out their process of crawling from the water onto dry land to mature, mate, and eventually become food for the area.

The takeaway from this adventure? Just another reminder that we are a pile of intelligent monkeys standing on a rock doing doughnuts around a star spinning through eternity in an indefinite and everlasting expanse of space. So enjoy whatever time you get on the water. The fishing will always be up or down, no matter how prepared and stoked you might be. Take the time to reflect on that and enjoy nature's peace. It is what it is, a profound connection to nature we all share regardless of any of our invented differences.

To close, yes, we caught plenty of fish on various Salmonfly patterns, Caddis patterns, and even a few choice nymphs. Smiles were seen, laughter ensued, libations were shared, and hearty/healthy fun was had.

Another intelligent monkey

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