Deschutes Steelhead Update

This is the first week of September, summer is winding down, kids are going back to school, and rivers are filling up with steelhead. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the shorter days, longer nights, cooler temps, and all the colors.

I started fishing for summer steelhead 25 years plus years ago. At that time steelhead populations were on the rise, returns were getting better. I didn’t know anything and was happy to catch a fish or two those first seasons.  I got better and so did the returns, and inherently I caught more fish. To this day I still love chasing summer steelhead, the big desert rivers, big canyons, floating lines, and small classic flies.

Sadly the past few years steelhead have been on the decline throughout the Pacific Northwest, from Oregon to Canada. This year the Columbia river is getting what seems to be a better return over the past few years. And even though it’s not a huge increase it is an increase and maybe something to get a little excited about.

This past week was Labor Day weekend and I was out chasing steelhead. I blasted out of work a little early on Saturday so we could get on the water and maybe fish a run before dark.

That night, it rained a bit, and when we awoke, it was extremely hot and humid. We broke camp and made our way downriver as it was starting to get light out. We pulled into one of my favorite runs, I dropped Larry at the top, and I slid into the middle. No sooner did I get out of the boat and make a cast than I heard Larry’s reel scream, “Fish on!”

This was going to be a very good weekend!

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