Targeting "Big" redbands on the Deschutes?

Travis Bille

Active Member
The only time I hooked a fish on the D that I think could have gone 20' was during the salmonfly hatch. I had my switch rod and I was just trying to get as close to the middle of the river as I could, away from all the highly pressured fish. It worked, I got a grab and set the hook and a pretty damn big RB went airborn a few times and came unpinned. But that's the only truly big RB I've seen at the D. Usually I'm just getting my hooked straightened by 12-14" fish
 

Shack

Active Member
I have definitely caught deschutes fish with that kind of dusky color, but yeah, no black spot disease on that one.
Do they all have black spot down farther than mecca? I’ve mainly only fished mecca and the split seems to be about 60/40 with obvious black spot and without for the redband...100% of the bulls I’ve caught have it tho. Even caught a bull/brook hybrid last year, I’m honestly all for more black spot if it keeps the invasives out of the mainstem
 

PhilR

WFF Supporter
Do they all have black spot down farther than mecca? I’ve mainly only fished mecca and the split seems to be about 60/40 with obvious black spot and without for the redband...100% of the bulls I’ve caught have it tho. Even caught a bull/brook hybrid last year, I’m honestly all for more black spot if it keeps the invasives out of the mainstem

Yep, plenty of black spot near Maupin.
 

DerekWhipple

Active Member
Do they all have black spot down farther than mecca? I’ve mainly only fished mecca and the split seems to be about 60/40 with obvious black spot and without for the redband...100% of the bulls I’ve caught have it tho. Even caught a bull/brook hybrid last year, I’m honestly all for more black spot if it keeps the invasives out of the mainstem
I'll try and pay more attention next time I go out, but I fish around Maupin and black spot is the rule, not the exception. I always see at least a few.
 

Robert Engleheart

Robert
WFF Supporter
That does not look like a typical deschutes fish, is it from somewhere else?
That looks very typical to what I‘ve caught there. From 1967-‘72 I fished the D from Gateway to mouth of the White River, always on the side opposite the access road where possible. In those days we used nightcrawlers or crawdads, tails or small soft-shelled ones when we could get them. Dad made 9-11 spinning rods from fly rod blanks, pencil lead and on the bottom. I landed and killed, shame to say, a 23” fish that was built like a SM bass. Lost a bigger one, Dad got a couple well over 20” and Buddy got a 24”; all measured with a tape. Not proud that we killed them, but we released 90% of what we caught.
Stopped by in 2011 and fished some old haunts for a day swinging for steel in late August, caught a nice 18” redband on a Blue Charm, looked just like Mike 22’s pictures.
 

Shack

Active Member
That looks very typical to what I‘ve caught there. From 1967-‘72 I fished the D from Gateway to mouth of the White River, always on the side opposite the access road where possible. In those days we used nightcrawlers or crawdads, tails or small soft-shelled ones when we could get them. Dad made 9-11 spinning rods from fly rod blanks, pencil lead and on the bottom. I landed and killed, shame to say, a 23” fish that was built like a SM bass. Lost a bigger one, Dad got a couple well over 20” and Buddy got a 24”; all measured with a tape. Not proud that we killed them, but we released 90% of what we caught.
Stopped by in 2011 and fished some old haunts for a day swinging for steel in late August, caught a nice 18” redband on a Blue Charm, looked just like Mike 22’s pictures.
I just meant cause it wasn’t deep bodied. I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to be derogatory towards the fish or anything cause it’s a nice fish just doesn’t look thick like the gluttons on the lower d haha
 

teerex

Member
I have seen monsters sipping midges with minnows in microeddies.

The biggest deschutes redside I landed was at last light in maybe 6 inches of water. I thought it was a sockeye headed to that leaning tower of pizza fish tower at Lake Simtustus. Just a 23 inch redside, on a very sparse micro-steelhead fly.

Speaking of the tower, I no longer fish the D in July and most of August due to the higher water temps. No need to increase fish mortality. 70 is too warm for rainbows, and the river is slippery and full of snot.
 

Ian Horning

Powerbait Entomologist
Conehead baitfish or sculpin patterns, fish the fast water and put action on yer fly. Key word- fast in both regards. Look for big substrate and a choppy surface. A 20" trout is super happy in 2 feet of water if it's got the right structure. If there's a dropoff or deeper water closeby, even better. Big rainbows typically are associated with a good broken current and some sort of river structure- a ledge, a pile of rocks, a plunge pool... etc. And work your streamers. Prey doesn't slowly meander in front of a predator, it runs from one.

And boats often drift right over where the largest fish in the river hang. You'd be surprised how gnarly looking of water a rainbow will call home. Fish it and they'll come ;)
 

Clarkman

Huge Fly Guy
WFF Supporter
And work your streamers. Prey doesn't slowly meander in front of a predator, it runs from one.

This is one thing that many fail to do. To them, streamer fishing means swing, step, swing, step, swing, step....rinse and repeat.

It really pays to have many different techniques (streamer specific) in your arsenal.

One of my favorite techniques actually casting upstream along a deep seam, and ripping it back downstream along that seam. gotta have either 15 or 20lb because the takes are often so violent.
 

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