Fall River - Our Lovely Spring-fed Gem

The Fall River, just south of Bend, Oregon is a spring-fed gem. It is open to Fly Fishing only. This little river runs approximately eight miles from its source 2 miles northwest of Pringle Falls to the Deschutes River, mostly ghosting silently through pine forests and lupine-filled meadows, slicing dramatic “S” and oxbow bends. There are few prettier places to wave a fly rod.

For those familiar with spring creek fishing, you understand the inherent complexity of fooling fish in such places. For those curious about the delicate presentations used on spring creeks, this is the place to explore! Watching a trout casually tip up to your size 20 dry fly is one of the greatest thrills in fly fishing. Many of us get addicted to the intricacies of spring creek fishing. Some days can be the epitome of frustration. Others, the reward for all we’ve practiced and perfected.

The Inside Scoop

The Fall River here in Central Oregon is open for fly fishing year ‘round and fishes wonderfully throughout the seasons. During spring, summer, and fall there are reliable hatches of mayflies and caddis. Many of us actually prefer the winter months. We’ve fished it in knee-deep snow in February and had an amazing dry fly action under bluebird skies. The peaceful serenity of this spring creek is difficult to put into words and the beauty must simply be seen to be believed.

There are special regulations for the Fall River. Be sure to check the ODFW Regulation Book or with us here at the shop to get the scoop. There are several good access points along the Fall River. We have maps at the shop that illustrate the best and most productive stretches of the river. We are always happy to discuss tactics with the Do-It-Yourself angler. So if you are feeling confident and want to have a go on your own, we will set you up with a map, some flies, and skinny tippet! Catching or no catching, you’ll be glad you went.

FAQ's About Fall River Fly Fishing

When is the best time of the year to fish the Fall River?
Pretty much every day of the year is the right time to be up there. The entire eight miles of river is open to fishing year ‘round. The hatch patterns change with the seasons. Being there at the right time of the day can be the most important thing. This is where touching base with the shop prior to going will be especially helpful. We can be reached at 1-866-800-2812.
Is there anything else I need for the Fall River?
Yes! You must have tippet down to 7x. You won’t always have to go that light, but there are days when it is required. Also, if you plan on any sub-surface presentations, you will need fluorocarbon tippet because the water is absolutely gin clear. Good floatant is important too, both some kind of gel for initial water retardation as well as shake for absorbing water off the fly when it starts to sink. The shake is the best way to keep fishing! We have the light-colored shake for summer and the “Dun” shake for winter months. Also, the Fall River can have some big, thirsty mosquitos so be ready with really good repellant.
What is the best rod to fish the Fall River with?
Most of us prefer a nice eight and a half or nine foot three or four weight up there. Rarely will you have to cast very far. The delicate presentation is most important. So leave the six weight at home. A soft three or four will get the job done nicely. Sometimes we’ll take two rods, one for dry or dry-dropper rigs and the other for the streamer.
How far is the Fall River from Bend, Oregon?
Generally, it takes around a half hour to get to the Fall River from our shop on the west side of Bend. There are several access points, each easily found. For more direction on how to find them, come and see us at the shop on Century Dr. or call us at 1-866-800-2812.
What are the best hatches and flies to sue on the Fall River?
This is where it gets tricky. Like all good spring creeks, the Fall River can have prolific hatches. The fish get very “keyed in” on particular flies and will eat only that. Through the late-spring and summer months, we look for the PMD hatch. This typically comes off late-morning. The size can vary from #16 & #18 early season to #14 mid-summer and then back to tiny bugs in the early fall. There is a caddis that hatches mid-day throughout the summer. Both these flies return in the evening to oviposit making last light a great time to be out there. In the winter months, it’s more of a BWO and midge show. Little flies on 6 or 7x tippet. The hatch comes off most days around 11 am and goes until 2 pm. We like Cahill-style dries and parachute PMD, Sparkle Dun and cripple flies. The caddis is a dark-bodied fly in a #16. The winter fly is a Hackle Stacker BWO in a #20 or #22.
Do I need a guide to successfully fish the Fall River?
As with any new river (especially, a technical spring creek) having a local guide can be a huge advantage. If you are an experienced spring creek angler, our advice would be to go up there and get after it! Otherwise a half-day or full-day guided trip would make the day way more fun. And fishy. There are specific techniques, based on weather and hatch conditions, that can change day-to-day or even during the same day.

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We’re Here to Help

Fly & Field Outfitters, here in Bend, is staffed with avid anglers who have all spent many days on the Fall River. We are more than happy to give the latest intel on hatches and techniques. We also have guides who have spent decades studying the methods used on our local spring creeks. If you’ve been on one and had no success, or are interested in dipping your toe into these particularly chilly waters, we offer either half-day or full-day guided trips on the Fall River.

If you want to learn some of the insider secrets for fly fishing at the Fall River check out the latest Fall River fishing reports or schedule a Walk and Wade guided fishing trip with us by calling us at 1-866-800-2812, or email info@flyandfield.com.

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