I remember one time in the 5th or 6th grade completing what was clearly the best cardboard turkey in the entire art class. I also remember the teacher giving it a passing glance and saying, “That’s nice Eric”. “NICE! This isn’t nice……it’s stupendous!”, I thought to myself.
Sometimes I wonder if the Middle Deschutes River goes equally unappreciated. The Deschutes has earned what can only be described as a ‘world class’ reputation as a blue ribbon trout stream and in the last 6 years has gained the reputation as an incredible steelhead river as well. But this only pertains to the Lower Deschutes below Lake Billy Chinook. The Upper Deschutes, while not Nationally known, is at least locally considered to be one of the best brook trout waters in the Central Oregon area. But this water stops at Wickiup Reservoir. Which means that there is some 50ish miles of river between the two sections that you almost never hear about.
The Middle Deschutes is similar to a middle child, never in trouble like the oldest sibling but not as loved as the youngest, it is just sort of……….there. This passive recognition of the Middle Deschutes extends from the weekend angler all the way up to the local guide outfits. Most days when I walk into a shop and ask, “How’s the fishing on the Middle Deschutes?”, I get quizzical looks followed by an “I don’t really know.” and “would you mind stopping back by with a report?”
Well, I’m here to set the record straight. The fishing sucks! Don’t even bother. You’d be better off staying at home and watching Classic College Football on ESPN. Especially that crummy section between Wickiup Reservoir and Sunriver, Oregon. What ever you do, don’t put a drift boat in there. Fishing from the boat really stinks anyway.Go find some muck to wade through and cast from brushed in banks. That would be way more fun. Oh, and definitely don’t pull any streamers or buggers of the undercut grass banks….total waste of time. If you are dumb enough to fish this water, you might as well ignore any hatches that take place. Spotting and stalking just won’t work here. If you are lucky enough to hook a fish, chances are that it will be a tiny little thing that had no business trying to eat something as large as a #18 PMD.
Basically I’m saying that after having fished the Middle Deschutes River above Bend, Oregon multiple times this summer; it is
1. Way to convenient to get to.
2. Way to easy to float and fish.
3. Only capable of producing small fish (see pictures)
4. Something that should continue to be ignored by any angler that considers themselves even half way serious about the pursuit.
Recommended Deschutes River Guide Books: