5 Top Rivers for Winter Fly Fishing in Oregon

Fly Fishing, Perfect Fishing Days, Winter Fly Fishing
Added Date:
Friday, 3 Feb, 2017
Snow and ice cover the landscape. Wind chills your face as you make your way to the river. Though it may be cold outside, winter offers fishing opportunities that cannot be passed up, such as the amazing steelhead run that takes place in Oregon’s coastal rivers.
Snow and ice cover the landscape. Wind chills your face as you make your way to the river. Though it may be cold outside, winter offers authentic fishing opportunities that cannot be passed up, such as the amazing steelhead run that takes place in Oregon’s coastal rivers.
Whether you’re looking for the excitement of a steelhead run in full force, or hoping to catch some sizable bull trout, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied during the winter months in Oregon. Here are some of the top rivers to cast your line.

Metolius River

Undeveloped and wild, the Metolius River is one of the best destinations for an authentic experience fly fishing. Because professional guides are not allowed, the visitors that do frequent the banks of the Metolius are often more experienced fisherman. Anglers are limited to fly fishing only due to regulations, but that may be more of a blessing than a curse as good hatches abound even in wintery weather. BWOs, Silver Stripe Sledge, and Stoneflies are common.

Learn More About Fly Fishing on the Metolius River ➜

Fall River

LocalGirl at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Open year-round above Fall River Falls, this tributary of the Deschutes River is a great place to find some action even in the winter months. Wet and rainy days in the pacific northwest can be brightened by good BWO hatches that help bring more activity. Many game fish opportunities can be found, but anglers should note the presence of Brown Trout that swim up from the Deschutes to make their winter homes.

Find Out More About Fishing Oregon's Fall River ➜

Crooked River

One of Central Oregon’s finest fisheries, the Crooked River is located less than an hour from Bend, Oregon, a fly fisherman’s paradise. Opportunities abound for the avid fly fisherman, with an ample amount of Redband Trout frequenting these waters.

Discover Fishing Trips, Access Sites, Conditions, and More on the Crooked River ➜

Middle Deschutes River

Lucas Jans [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via flickr

The Deschutes is one of Oregon’s top fly fishing rivers and officially bears the recognition of “Blue Ribbon” status. It’s no wonder with the teeming numbers of Redband Trout that can be found. As many as 1,700 “redsides” per mile are common on this National Recreation River. For some of the best fishing this river has to offer try Foley Waters or Steelhead Falls.

Find Your Own Fishing Adventure on the Deschutes River ➜

Rogue River

Rachel Kramer [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via flickr

As winter unleashes its fury on the west coast, the Steelhead run brings excitement for anglers on Oregon’s coastal rivers and Cascade Mountain waterways. The Rogue River is one of the best places to witness this phenomenon as upwards of 20,000 fish make their way throughout the river and its tributaries.

Explore Great Fishing Opportunities the Rogue River Has to Offer ➜
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It’s fair to say that for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, the city of Bend should be on your radar screen. Once known as a logging town on the Deschutes River, it is now hailed ... moreas premier destination for anyone that likes mountain biking, hiking, skiing, camping, white-water rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, golfing and of course, fly fishing! Lumberjacks may now be hard to find here, but adventure tourists and outdoor sports lovers are in great abundance.

One look at what the city has to offer and it’s easy to understand why Bend is a magnet for athletes and rugged sports enthusiasts. Among many other events, the city has hosted 2 USA Winter Triathlon National Championships, several national cycling competitions, 2 XTERRA National Trail Running Championships and is home to a men’s division 3 Rugby club, a women’s flat track team and a West Coast Collegiate Baseball team. 

Not far from town, is the 1.8 million-acre Deschutes National Forest that contains parts of 5 designated wilderness areas – Mount Jefferson, Mount Thielsen, Mount Washington, Three Sisters and Diamond Peak as well as six National Wild and Scenic Rivers. Great waters to trout fish near Bend include the Crooked River, the Fall River, the Metolius River and the Deschutes River that runs through town. The town also boasts the Old Mill Casting Course, the first and only, 18 station fly casting course where anglers can hone their fishing skills.

If you like to grab a cold one after fishing, Bend has over a dozen microbreweries and offers beer seekers bus tours, horse-drawn carriage tours and bike to beer trails. It even has a “find a beer” phone app. In keeping with other historical tourist towns, Bend has several museums, shopping areas, art galleries, live entertainment, and a wide range of restaurant and lodging choices.

There are several options for traveling to Bend, including:

Fly into Portland International Airport and drive for approximately 3 hours

Fly into Eugene, Oregon Airport and drive for approximately 2 ½ hours

Fly into Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport and drive for approximately 5 ½ hours

Fly into Boise’s BOI Airport and drive for approximately 5 ½ hours
Fishing Waters
Starting at Little Lava Lake in central Oregon, this 252 mile, southward flowing River, takes a turn at the Wikiup Reservoir, defies gravity and flows north until it empties into the ... moreColumbia River. Archaeologists will tell that for eons, the Deschutes was an important route for Native Americans as they traveled to and from the Columbia. Later, in the 19th century, Historians will tell you that the river was an important marker for pioneers, eventually becoming part of the famous Oregon Trail.

Today the river is considered an important part of our national heritage due to its extraordinary beauty and bountiful fisheries. Over 145 miles of the river have been designated as a National Recreational River while another 30 miles are crowned with National Wild and Scenic River distinction. Typically thought of in three sections – upper, middle and lower - the river passes through high arid country, flower filled meadows, and steep canyons.

As an official “blue ribbon” river, the Deschutes is perhaps most famous for its Columbia River redband trout, known locally as redsides. These trout have an unusual, bright red stripe that covers the bottom half of their bodies; the spots on the upper body are darker than other wild rainbow. Depending on where you are on the river, there can be as many as 1,700 redbands per mile, ranging from 8 – 16 inches. 

Warm Springs to Macks Canyon is the preferred stretch for catching redbands. There is good redband fishing along Warm Springs Tribal Land but special permits are required. The section from Pelton Dam to the River’s mouth has high concentrations of wild trout, including summer steelhead. The entire river is managed as a wild trout fishery.
A short journey, just a 1-hour drive east of Bend, will take you to a very special place – the Crooked River tailwater. Beginning at the meeting of the South Fork Crooked River and ... moreBeaver Creek, the river flows beneath the shadows of the Ochoco Mountains and Ochoco National Forest, flows into the Prineville Reservoir then turns north gathering several small tributaries before emptying into Lake Billy Chinook.

Like other rivers in this area, 18 miles of the Crooked are designated as a National Recreational River. Once home to migrating anadromous Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and Pacific lamprey, the combined forces of dams, irrigation and low water caused those populations to disappear. Today the non-migratory, redband trout is the only remaining native species left in the Crooked. That said, they appear to be thriving and sections of this river are considered by veteran anglers to have the best redband fishing in all of Oregon.

Most anglers consider the 7-mile area below Bowman Dam and the outlet of the Prineville Reservoir, the top place to fish and one of the most productive trout waters in the state. Cool water releases from the dam keep the water at about 50 degrees year round, and fish counts range from 1,000 to 8,000 per mile.

The river, open year round, is managed as a wild trout fishery with catch and release restrictions. The Prineville Reservoir however, supports large populations of rainbow, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and crayfish and can be fished by boat. Further downstream at the Crooked River Gorge good fishing can also be found but access is limited.
The Rogue River begins near Crater Lake and flows 215 miles through the mountains and valleys of southwest Oregon emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the town of Gold Beach. Rushing ... morefrom the Cascade Range, the river glides into the Rogue Valley floor, drifting peacefully past cities and towns and agricultural lands. The Wild and Scenic River designation begins west of the city of Grants Pass where the Applegate River flows into the Rogue River. The river turns north, flowing through the scenic Hellgate Canyon, and then bends sharply west at Grave Creek, where the Wild Section of the Rogue River begins. Here the powerful river cuts through the rugged terrain of the northern edge of the Klamath Mountains. The river churns through the steep rock walls of Mule Creek Canyon and the boulder-strewn Blossom Bar Rapids before slowing in Huggins Canyon and Clayhill Stillwater. Below the town of Agness, the Rogue and Illinois Rivers join and flow through picturesque Copper Canyon. Below Copper Canyon, the river widens and slows, with the Wild and Scenic designation ending where Lobster Creek enters the Rogue River.

Flowing through time, the Rogue River has nurtured those who have come to its lush banks. The earliest inhabitants were Indians who lived a life of hunting, fishing, and gathering. Various Indian tribes made their homes and found sustenance along the Rogue River for over 9,000 years before Euro-Americans arrived. In the 1850s, miners poured into the Rogue Valley and Indians awoke to the coarse cry of “Gold!” which, with startling immediacy, signaled an end to a way of life Indians had known for thousands of years. The boatmen of the early- to mid-1900s, whose daring and perseverance established dominance over the wild waters of the river, were responsible for opening these waters to the guide-fishing industry and whitewater boating that has become so economically vital to southwest Oregon today.

The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. With its famous steelhead and salmon fishing, challenging whitewater, and extraordinary wildlife-viewing opportunities, the Rogue River continues to be one of the world’s most popular recreation destinations. The 34-mile Wild section features predominantly Class III (or less) rapids, and includes thundering Rainie Falls (Class V) and breathtaking rapids at Mule Creek Canyon (Class III) and Blossom Bar (Class IV).
/ Boat
1 - 3 anglers
1 day
FLY FISHING ON THE CROOKED RIVER The Crooked River is one of the state’s most popular spots. This small stream is known as a year round fishery and most of the time it lives up to ... morethat designation. It has the most prolific trout population of any stream in Central Oregon and lives up to it’s reputation as a very good fishery.

Spring, Summer and Fall often gives us amazing fishing opportunities with BWO’s, PMD’s, Caddis and Midges accounting for the very best fishing of the season. Nymph fishing with small zebra midges and micro mayfly nymphs is absolutely the best way to take trout and some really nice whitefish on the Crooked. Around the middle of May to the middle of June you should encounter some monster caddis hatches. In the fall add Mahogany Duns to the list of hatches and look for them in September and early October in pretty decent numbers.
Winter fishing is often good, there are good midge hatches to be found and drifting a zebra midge is hard to beat.

Scuds, Eggs and Prince Nymphs are often a really good bet for the off times of hatches or biological drift activity.

The Crooked River is best fished in the Tailwater section from Bowman Dam back downstream towards Prineville to Mile Marker 12. This 8 mile stretch of river is the best section of water to fly fish. There are also limited opportunities to fish the Crooked River near Smith Rock State Park and near Opal Springs.
/ Angler
1 - 3 anglers
2 days
/ Boat
1 - 3 anglers
1 day
DESCHUTES FLY FISHING GUIDES & STEELHEAD GUIDES Regulations & Fishing Methods: Lower Deschutes River regulations prohibit fishing from a floating device, which means that ... morewe wade fish exclusively. As well, the regulations only allow fishing with artificial lures and flies on the Lower Deschutes, so we do both. We primarily fly fish for trout, but we always have a couple of spinning rods along just in case the fish aren’t hitting the fly. We focus our Steelhead fishing efforts swinging flies with spey rods in morning and evening and use a combination of nymphing techniques, throwing lures and using side planers with plugs through the middle of the day.

Above Maupin (River Mile 52): The famous Deschutes Redside Trout are the focus of our efforts above Maupin from mid-April through September when Steelhead begin to show up in the 50-miles above Maupin. September and October provide an opportunity above Maupin for “combo” trips where we target both Redside Trout and Steelhead in the same trip. November and December can be some of the best Deschutes River Steelhead fishing of the year if you are tough enough to brave the cold weather!

Below Maupin (River Mile 52): Beginning in mid-July, when Steelhead start to enter the Mouth of the Deschutes, we focus our Steelheading efforts to the last 50-miles of the river, below Maupin, where the Deschutes meets the Columbia River. Trout are common in this section of the river as well, but the main focus of our attention are powerful and fresh Deschutes River Steelhead.
/ Angler
1 angler
On Thu, Sep 8 2016 - Sat, Aug 25 2018
4 days
Trip Details Floating and fishing the "Wild and Scenic" Rogue River Canyon is considered one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular river experiences. Enjoy this stunning canyon ... morefrom the classy comfortable ride of a beautiful wooden drift boat and spend your evenings in unique riverside lodges. Spend four days floating the 43 miles of protected waters while fly fishing for half-pounder and adult steelhead fresh out of the ocean. Legendary for its combination of dramatic rapids and tranquil pools, fishing on the Rogue River has been popular with guests of the Helfrich family since 1931 when Prince Helfrich first explored the canyon.

His legacy continues as newcomers enjoy the same majestic old-growth forests of Douglas fir and twisted Madrone along the riverbanks. Picturesque grassy pastures, wildflowers and wildlife are all part of this unspoiled wilderness. Deer, otter, black bear, blue herons, osprey and bald eagles call this paradise home.

And then, there are the fish! With two fishermen and one guide in each drift boat, you’ll have a unique opportunity to catch fall run Steelhead and Salmon on lures and flies. Even the most experienced fishermen will be challenged by the great sport of landing these fighters on light tackle. This is a world-class fishing river and our guides serve as skilled fishing instructors and experienced boatmen. Their knowledge of the river and the maneuverability of the drift boats allow them to easily access the placid pools and rich holes where the fishing is best.

Our trips begin at Argo Riffle and for four days and 43 miles we will travel west in McKenzie River drift boats through the Coastal Range to Hog Eddie at Agness. You’ll get a firsthand look at Rainie Falls, Zane Grey’s cabin, Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar rapid.

Each night you will enjoy the comfort of three different rustic wilderness lodges. Shore lunch stops along the river allow time to relax and explore the area. We often barbecue or pan-fry any freshly caught steelhead or salmon. Delicious! No one goes away hungry.

The combination of unforgettable fishing experiences and drift boating through exciting whitewater make this outing on the Rogue River's "Wild and Scenic" section Helfrich River Outfitter's most sought after and desired fishing adventures.

River Accommodations

Nights are spent in comfortable wilderness lodges with private sleeping accommodations for couples or singles. All of the breakfasts and dinners are served family-style by the guides and lodge staff. Each remote lodge offers its own distinct character, which adds a memorable element to the trip that few ever experience, as they are only accessible by river or hiking trail and are run on generator power.
"Guided Fly Fishing Trips In Central Oregon!" River Borne Outfitters is an Oregon fly fishing guide service based out of Bend, Oregon. We offer day and overnight guided fly fishing ... moretrips for wild "Redside" rainbow trout and steelhead on the Deschutes River...

Full and half day guide trips on the Crooked River near Bend, Oregon for wild trout (Our best trip option for beginning anglers) Group and private fly fishing classes and casting lessons locally in Bend... And Winter Steelhead trips through out Oregon!

Professional and Hardworking

You can rest assured that you have enlisted a guide service that is professional and hard working. We will do everything we can to make sure you have a productive and rewarding time on the river.

All our guides are seasoned veterans with years of experience.
They are enthusiastic, patient, and knowledgeable instructors with experience in instructing and guiding beginners and experts alike!
All of our guides are CPR and First Aid certified and safety conscience.
Welcome to The Fly Fisher’s Place, your first choice in Central Oregon for information, top line equipment from Sage, RL Winston, Beulah, Redington, Abel, Ross, Hatch, Rio, Scientific ... moreAnglers, Simms and Patagonia plus one of Oregon’s best fly selections. If you are looking for the perfect nymph, emerger, dry or streamer, we have it covered.
BEND FLY FISHING GUIDES | DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING GUIDES Guided fly fishing trips on the Deschutes River, John Day River, Grande Ronde River, Crooked River, Rogue River, North Santiam ... moreRiver and throughout Central Oregon are our specialties and our passion. We offer everything from multiple day fly fishing trips on the Deschutes River to full day wade fly fishing trips on the Crooked River. We also offer a complete course of fly fishing lessons in Bend and throughout Central Oregon. Please have a look at our Guide Servicepage for more details about all of the guided fly fishing trips in Oregon that we offer.

River's Bend Fly Fishing Guides is owned and operated by professional fly fishing guides in Bend, Oregon. Our client-focused approach to guiding ensures that your guided fly fishing experience in Central Oregon is one you will not soon forget. We are Bend's premier provider of guided fly fishing trips in Central Oregon.
Welcome to the best drift boat fly-fishing trips Oregon & Idaho have to offer! Join the Helfrich family for a drift boat fly fishing trip in Oregon or Idaho. Helfrich River Trips ... moreare known as the most deluxe trips offered in the picturesque Pacific Northwest. The vacation of a lifetime, these trips offer a wonderful experience for guests of all ages.

"History" and "tradition" are words that have different meanings to different people. To us, at Helfrich River Outfitters, they are extremely important because they represent much of what we stand for. The Helfrich name has been synonymous with river running since the mid 1920's.

We are committed to excellent service and the safety of our guests. With state-of-the-art equipment, delicious freshly prepared meals, and a friendly experienced professional staff, we are able to provide river experiences that are second to none.

Why Helfrich

When people ask who they entrust their river vacation with, HELFRICH River Outfitters comes up first every time.Not only are we the oldest and most experienced company on the rivers we specialize in, but our safety record has been flawless since the beginning.

In 1925 when Prince Helfrich first started guiding on the McKenzie, he had an edge on other fishing guides because he added value to his trips with extra things like frying the fish his clients caught on the river bank or bringing one of Marjorie Helfrich’s home made pies to share at lunch time. The concept of added value to our trips has continued for 87 years, and is adopted a Helfrich standard.

Now into our fourth generation, our trips continue to improve and evolve.We have and will continue to always make the trips the best that they can be for our clients. The safety and comfort of our clients is our first concern.

The experience of our crew members and their accommodating and friendly attitudes makes our guests know they are in good hands.

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With top destinations, guided trips, outfitters and guides, and river reports, you have everything you need.