We just returned from one of the most spectacular and remote river trips anywhere in the US. If you are like most people, you have never seen or even heard of the Owyhee River canyon. While the lower Owyhee is well know among a growing circle of northwest fly fishermen for it's large and plentiful Brown trout, the upper river is primarily experienced by a small number of whitewater rafters during a brief spring runoff period. While there isn't much fishing during this runoff period, the whitewater thrills are a big draw. The rugged and remote canyon's biggest attraction; however, is the stunning scenery and geology. This canyon is often called the Grand Canyon of Oregon and rightly so. Another attraction is the mark that the indian culture has left on this place. Petroglyphs are common and pictographs and other artifacts are present throughout the canyon. The wildlife is also amazing, especially the raptors and other birds as well as the Bighorn sheep that inhabit the canyon. Add to all this a few hot springs along the way and you have a river trip that is tough to top.
Unlike most other boaters, we opted for the comfort and maneuverability of our drift boats to float the river. Planning for five days to cover the roughly fifty miles, we pushed off from the Rome launch site at the peak of runoff so far this year, 18,100 cubic feet per second. At this level many of the rapids become less technical as many of the rocks are fully submerged. What is missing in technicality is most certainly made up for in volume, power, and speed. While some parties opted to abandon gear and boats and hike out of the canyon where possible, and other groups decided to beach boats high and dry to wait out the surge, we enjoyed perfect social conditions all trip, seeing few other human beings, and riding out the peak of spring runoff. It is hard to soak up all of the sights the canyon has to offer as you float down river. The scenery changes on most every corner, and we took ample time to stop and explore many of the more notable sites. The boating was fast paced and exhilarating, the scenery spectacular, the company wonderful, and the camp and food first rate.
We will be offering five day float trips in the drift boats on the Owyhee River in a partnership with the BLM in the near future. You can expect the same guides you have come to know, the same great food with a focus on dutch oven cuisine, and our deluxe camps on this spectacular Oregon river. Please enjoy the pictures from our trip and contact us for more information about this trip.
There comes a time every fall in Oregon when we leave the Deschutes and it's great summer fish behind and head out to the Northern Oregon coast. The reason for this move is simple: Winter Chrome! Although there are still plenty of Steelhead east of the Cascades, they just can't compete with the waves of ocean fresh and chrome bright winter steelhead now beginning to enter fresh water.
Our motivation is simple. There are certain places at certain times of the year and we can't imagine being anywhere else. Whether it's the Middle Fork of the Salmon from mid-June through late August, the Deschutes in October, or the North Coast during the winter months, these are places we can be found, year after year. The steelhead runs here on the North Coast usually start around Thanksgiving and fresh fish continue to arrive well into April. With multiple rivers in several different basins we can almost always find good water levels and clarity to fish successfully all winter long. We'll keep you posted as the fishing gets rolling down here at sea level………
After several weeks on the Deschutes and it's high desert environs where Fall was creeping in but not yet fully evident, I headed west for the North Oregon Coast. Here, Fall has most definitely arrived. I awoke at two in the morning to the erie sound of Elk talking in their ancient language. By four AM they had moved off, or so I thought, and I fell back to sleep until 5:30. As I gathered up gear and reached for boots and waders heavy with dew the herd spooked up the hill with clattering hooves into the type of fog you don't see anywhere else, trailing off into the moss draped rain forest. The first heavy rains of this Fall season had come down until the rivers swelled to levels unseen since last spring and in them floated and drifted leaves of gold and crimson from trees bent on emptying every branch of their summer greenery. Bright Fall Coho and Chinook, plus barred Chums await these Fall rains and surge upstream on the freshet bound for clear, clean gravel well above the head of tide, and that's is why I find myself standing, at dawn, knee deep in a river seeming full of cracking and splashing fish bright from the ocean. Steelhead require a sense of faith in their existence and presence but these fish let you know they are HERE! Just because they are present does not mean you will catch them however. Timing and a good location increase the odds to sane levels and this week I ended up in the right place at the right time at least a few times. Tying into one of these fish, so full of the power of the salt, big and bright, full of panic in the close confines of a small river after feeling the bite of the hook never loses it's draw. To touch these fish, so bent on re-creation, so full of both parts of their existence, fresh and salt water, is a lesson lost on most of our modern world, but something I can't imagine being without. For those less lucky than I, there are a few new pictures in our photo gallery. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year………
- DESCHUTES RIVER - LOWER
May 8th, 2013Temperature: 81 ° FFishing: Good
- DESCHUTES RIVER - LOWER
October 26th, 2012Temperature: 58 ° FFishing: Fair
- DESCHUTES RIVER - LOWER
October 7th, 2012Temperature: 67 ° FFishing: Good
- DESCHUTES RIVER - Madras
Flow (cfs): 4350Temperature (°F): 55.22
- DESCHUTES RIVER - Moody
Flow (cfs): 5390Temperature (°F): 59
- MF SALMON RIVER AT MF LODGE NR YELLOW PINE ID
Flow (cfs): 3730
- OWYHEE RIVER NR ROME OR
Flow (cfs): 187
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We just returned from one of the most spectacular and remote river trips anywhere in the US. If you are like most people, you have never seen or even heard of the...
This has been a long standing description of hooking steelhead on the fly, especially winter steelhead. I admit to having that coming close to the truth when I...
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