The Lower Deschutes has continued to fish well. Water temperatures are slowly rising, and with the salmon fly hatch on the horizon we have been seeing success with larger stonefly nymphs. This being said, we are still seeing the most success on smaller patterns in the upper stretches of the lower river. Pheasant tails, black copper johns, black lighting bugs, and two bit hookers in sizes 16-20 have been some of our most productive patterns. Fishing one of these behind a jimmy legs or lex’s improved stonefly in sizes 4-8 is our preferred set up this time of year. As the hatch will work its way upstream, the Maupin area will be the first to see the big bugs as the warm weather continues. For those who have the time to drive a couple of hours north, a pleasant surprise may be wating! The uncertainty of where and when the salmon fly hatch will peak is all part of the fun and excitement that surrounds it!
While we wait for the big bugs, there may be some opportunities to fish dry flies depending on the day. Look for march browns and smaller mayflies that have been coming off in tailouts and back eddies, we will likely see fewer and fewer as the salmon fly hatch ramps up in the coming weeks.