The Heat is On

Our Summer weather kicks in the week, and with it, the Deschutes Salmonfly hatch. If you are considering attending this annual spectacle, start planning soon. While traditionally a mid-June event, the changes made at the Pelton Regulating Dam have pushed the start date closer to the first week in May, depending on the weather. Warmer water releases have bugs crawling out now, and with this turbo-charged heat approaching, this weekend looks to be rocking in the Maupin area.

The Big bugs are now on the bushes in the lower river, but you will find some bugs on the bushes all the way to Warm Springs, and the fish are likely to be more active with the warmer temperatures. In their awkward attempts at flight, these clumsy critters often crash on the water, pulling fish to the surface. As always, the best action is usually found tight to the bank or under overhanging branches. Use heavy short leaders for 'jungle warfare' to increase your chances of success. Start with a fresh 7.5 3x leader and matching tippet to help you retrieve errant casts from the trees. 

If fishing a more open grassy bank, you can lengthen your leader beyond 10ft., provided the wind isn't too strong. Long leaders with big flies in strong breezes can be a recipe for disaster, but longer leaders can lengthen the drift in swirling currents.

With a mix of Salmonfly and Goldenstones crawling out, choosing a fly is simple; pick something big and yellowish orange that floats well. Old-timers will tell you nothing out fishes a Clark's Stone or Norm Wood Special, but the fact is, there are hundreds of patterns out there that work. You just need to get them in the feeding lane. 

Over the last few years, the shop fly of choice has been the MFFR or Improved MFFR. The creation of our Fly Czar, Josh Linn, the MFFR is tyed with a wrapped foam body, bushy hackle, and fluffy wing, increasing its "floatability" and lifelike profile. The MFFR has become the "new age" classic that continues to crush year after year. That said, there are a few dozen other patterns in my box that all catch fish. Find your favorite, and fish it. If there is a secret to filling a Salmonfly box, ensure it is full. Bushes, banks, and big fish eat a lot of flies, so you can never have too many.

While the Big Bugs get all the attention, many other items are currently on the trout menu. Caddis take flight on warmer days, and miscellaneous Mayflies will show if cloud cover rolls in, the biggest of which is the Green Drake. Only slightly more common than unicorns, Green Drake hatches do occur on the Deschutes in May and June, bringing resident Redsides to the surface in splashy rises. If Salmonflies and Goldenstone are cheeseburgers, Green Drakes are street Tacos, and everyone loves Tacos.

So, grab your gear, stuff your fly boxes, and head to the river. Summer is here, and the heat is on!

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