Winter Fly Fishing Oregon

Ultimate Guide to Winter Fishing Opportunities for Central Oregon Anglers

A guide on winter fishing opportunities.

The three questions to answer in any fishing situation is where are they, what are they eating, and what time are they eating it?  Winter fishing can be much more simple than fishing in the warmer months.  Fish will tend to pod up in slow moving deep pools.  The food menu gets smaller with baetis mayflies and midges on top winter bug list.  Best fishing time is during the warmest time of the day 10:00am to 4:00pm.  Make sure to prepare with appropriate winter attire out there.  Winter fishing can be a magical time to fish.  Winter fisheries can really show off their beauty in the colder months.  Here are some places to look at fishing for the next few months.  Below we will highlight the best winter fishing spots along with essential flies for winter fishing.

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Fall River

Fall River

If you're looking for a short drive and high probability of catching fish, the Fall River is your ticket.  The roads will be maintained all winter so snowpack will not be an issue.  The Fall River is a stocked spring creek just south of SunRiver.  The river is easily accessible and wading is simple.  

The menu for hatches is pretty straightforward from now until the spring.  The fish will be feeding on small blue wing olive, and midge patterns.  Egg, worm, and general attractor patterns can oftentimes find fish too.  Small streamer patterns near the log jams can get fish to chase from time to time.

Dry Flies

  • Film Critic sz 18-20 (Make sure to only apply floatant to the CDC top of the fly)
  • Purple Haze sz 16-20
  • Skerik’s Shock & Jive Midge sz 16-20
  • Winkler Midge Red sz 20-22
  • Griffith Gnat sz 16-20


  • Black or Red Two Bit Hooker sz 18-20
  • Mighty May sz 18-20
  • Mighty Midge blue or red sz 18-20
  • Tailwater Tiny sz 18-20
  • San Juan worm sz 10-12
  • Surreal Egg sz 16-18


  • Bunny Busters sz 8
  • Mini Leech sz 12

Crooked River

Crooked River

You’re looking at about a 45 minute drive from bend the Crooked.  The river will be running low this winter.  The fish will be podded up in deeper slots making where to fish a lot easier to determine.  The bug hatches will start around 10:00 in the morning but it is common to see fish rise to spinners first thing.  This is the time of year to break out the smaller 3 and 4 weight fly rods for light trout style fly fishing.  

Dry Flies

  • Rusty Spinner sz 18-20
  • Parachute Adams sz 16-20
  • CDC Softhackle BWO sz 18-20
  • Almost Dun sz 18-20


  • Perdigon Purple sz 18
  • Pheasant Tail sz 16-20
  • Rainbow Warrior sz 18-20
  • Midweight Scud sz 18
  • Mini Leech sz 16

Middle Deschutes

The middle D is open year round to fishing. This section is huge from Benham Falls all the way down to Lake Billy Chinook.  The section from below Benham falls through the town of Bend is a great winter option where you will spend more time fishing then driving.  This section is home to wild rainbow trout averaging 8-14 inches.  There are some decent sized brown trout lurking throughout the river.  Flows remain low all winter. 

The section west of Redmond can offer great fishing opportunities.  These sections are harder to access and require more hiking to get to the river.  Wading and bank access is pretty rugged in this area which can keep the crowds out.  Bigger rainbows, browns, and whitefish live down in this area.  Flows run high in the winter months.  

Dry Flies

  • Micro Chubby sz 14-18
  • Purple Haze sz 16-20
  • Hi Vis BWO sz 16-20


  • Hares Ear sz 16-18
  • Spanish Bullet 16-18
  • Duracell sz 16-18


  • Zonker sz 6
  • Sculpzilla sz 4


From Bend you're looking at about an hour and some change of drive time out to the Metolius.  The “Met” is a great winter tie option with really good hatches through the season.  Be prepared to nymph fish for the most part but hopefully you can be there on a day where the blue wing’s pop off.  If this happens you are in for a treat if you like technical dry fly fishing.  Keep in mind the Metolius is a really challenging river. A couple of fish to hand a day is a really good outing.  Everything you can think of in terms of technical fishing applies here.  The Metolius can at times have out-of-season bugs hatch on it.  For example Golden Stoneflies have been known to hatch in the middle of winter so be prepared for anything.  Fluorocarbon leaders are a must.  The challenging fishery is the price to pay to fish the most beautiful trout river in the world.  Bull trout will be around throughout the winter so if that is your thing throw the biggest streamer you can find.  

Dry Flies

  • Film Critic sz 18-20
  • CDC Softhackle BWO sz 18-20
  • Rusty Spinner sz 18-20
  • Skerik’s Shock & Jive Midge sz 16-20


  • Super Sinker sz 18-20
  • Slim Shady sz 18-20
  • Two Bit Hooker sz 16-20

Lower Deschutes (Maupin Area)


The lower D near the Maupin area can be a great winter fishing destination.  You are looking at about a 2 hour drive from Bend to the area.  The target is wild redband trout and whitefish.  When fishing the right areas during the right time of day anglers can expect lots of hookups while nymphing.  


  • Pheasant Tail sz 18
  • Micro May Olive sz 18
  • Psycho Prince sz 16
  • San Juan Worm Red sz 14
  • Slush Egg sz 14

Middle Fork Willamette

Middle Fork Willamette

The Middle Fork WIllamette is about a 2 hour drive from Bend.  The river has an abundance of spots to fish for trout and whitefish.  Keep an eye flows, anything under 2500 at the gauge in Oakridge is fishable.  Oakridge has its own little microclimate of weather.  Warm days can occur midwinter sparking spring hatches early in the year.  The skwala hatch and march brown hatch are not to be missed and can happen as early as January.  

Dry Flies

  • Hi Viz Micro Chubby Green sz 14
  • Purple Haze sz 16, 18
  • Adams sz 14-16


  • American Nymph sz 16-18
  • Jig Pheasant Tail sz 16
  • Super Sinker sz 18-20
  • Mini Leech sz 16
  • Jimmy Legs Peacock sz 12

Coastal Steelhead

 Oregon Coast Steelhead

The Oregon Coast which is a very broad description of about 20+ rivers to check out can be a daunting task of pursuing a winter run fish.  Conditions can be volatile with water levels and storms.  It is best to string together two or three days of fishing to be successful.  Winter run fish enter their home rivers between January through March.  Nymphing or swinging are the two options for catching a fish all winter.  A lot of research and planning goes into fish the Oregon Coast, give us a call at the shop and we can help stir you in the right direction.


  • Glow Bug sz 10
  • Steelhead Brassie sz 10
  • Vogts Blue Gentleman sz 8-10
  • Steelhead Lightning Bug sz 8
  • Greenie sz 10

Spey Flies

  • Intruder
  • Pick yer Pocket
  • String Leech
  • Loop Leech
  • Hobo Spey

Pyramid Lake, Nevada


If you can string a few days together Pyramid Lake is a must fish lake in Northern Nevada.  Out of Lake Tahoe flows the Truckee river through two states eventually dumping into Pyramid Lake.  The “Mid” is home to the historic Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.  The two strains of this fish are the cookie cutter summit and the behemoth pilot peak.  

Fishing pyramid is really pretty simple, two options are nymphing and stripping streamers.  Indicator fishing tends to be the most productive way to catch fish on the lake.  Big chironomids and flashy nymphs get the job done.  Stripping streamers on sink tips can be a good way to produce a giant fish.  Flashy big wooly buggers and flashy beetle patterns are the ticket.  

There is plenty of access along the south and west shore of the lake.  Pyramid is famous for people fishing off ladders.  There is a natural drop off rim around the whole lake.  Sometimes the drop off can be reached from the bank, some of the areas you’ll want to wade out as far as you can and set up a ladder.  It is not a bad idea to hire a guide if it is your first time out the Pyramid.  Learning access and set ups around the lake can help you for future trips.

Camping is allowed on the Lake in designated areas.  If you want lodging check out Crosby’s for available cabins.  



  • Chiro Cone Black or Red sz 10
  • Traffic Light sz 10
  • Yankee Buzzer sz 12
  • Balanced Leech Brown Pumpkin or Punkperch sz 8


  • Las Vegas Booby black or chartreuse sz 8
  • Crystal Bugger white or orange sz 10
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