Bend Oregon

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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 as 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
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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.
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Less than an hour northwest of Bend, Oregon, the Metolius River, secreted away in the Deschutes National Forest, is little known since professional guides are not permitted and the ... moreriver is not advertised. The river begins at Metolius Springs, near the base of Black Butte, and is fed from cold spring water that keeps the river at an even flow and a near constant 48 degrees – ideal trout habitat. The river ends at Lake Billy Chinook.

While only 29 miles long, the Metolius is large in what it has to offer. Nearly half of the river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River while another 12 mile run is a National Recreational River. In the estimation of many naturalists and conservationists, the lower 17 miles of river that run along the warm Springs Indian Reservation, are among the most gorgeous to be found in the lower 48. To maintain the pristine quality of the river, legislation was passed in 1990 and again in 2009 to limit development within 86,000 acres of the Metolius water basin.

Not just beautiful, this river is full of rainbow, bull and brown trout. Rainbow and brown can easily measure up to 24 inches, while bulls 15 pounds and over have been pulled from these waters. In the fall Kokanee can be seen in the river, ready to spawn. The upper Metolius is limited to fly fishing, catch and release and barbless hooks. This is a great choice for anglers seeking an authentic fishing experience, but be sure to pack your waders - fishing from boats is prohibited.

If you’re traveling with people interested in other activities, camping, rafting, skiing and horseback riding are widely available.
Game Fish Opportunities:
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River or Stream? In the eyes of many anglers, the Fall River is viewed as a crystal clear, beautiful, big stream. Like the Metolius, the Fall is a stream-fed tributary of the Deschutes. ... moreIt runs through tall stands of pine in the federally protected Deschutes National Forest with banks surrounded by tall grasses and willow trees. 

Within its small, 8-mile long run, it’s possible to find wild brown, wild brook and stocked rainbow trout. The wild brook trout tend to be small, averaging around 6 inches. By contrast, the wild brown trout grow large, ranging from 8 to 15 inches. The rainbows average about 10 inches, but 20 inchers have certainly been found. The water is also stocked from the Crane Prairie Reservoir, with fish known as Crane-bows.

The river provides a safe haven for brown and other species that swim in from the Deschutes and find excellent winter habitat. Above Fall River Falls, the river is open throughout the year. Below the Falls, there are seasonal closures to assist spawning fish. It’s possible to access the Fall River at the fish hatchery or on National Forest land. Fishing is excellent from its headwaters to the falls, and good news to Yobi readers – it’s fly fishing, barbless hooks only.
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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.
One of the region's most popular rivers for white water rafting and float boating, the McKenzie also offers easy access to world class trout and steelhead fishing. At this site, just ... more30 minutes east of Springfield on Highway 126, don't be suprised if you find yourself sharing the water with osprey, great blue herons, and bald eagles. These and other species are featured at the accessible Silver Creek Watchable Wildlife Site near Vida.
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Top Fly Fishing Towns
Rated as one of the top trout fishing towns in the US byBob Mallard, author of 25 Best Towns - Fly Fishing for Trout
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