Metolius, Crooked, Deschutes 3-dayer

Last weekend, Diehard and I made the long drive down to central Oregon to fish a few rivers; mainly for the bulls of the Metolius, but we also threw in two other stops that we hadn't had much experience with. It was snowing at 12:00 when we pulled up to a campground about 4 or 5 miles below wizard falls. Luckily, it warmed up quite a bit and the next day was pretty frickin nice. We started early of course (had to make the most of the first "all fishing weekend" in a while), and got up just before sunrise. It was probably in the low 40's for most of the day, and mostly cloudy. The water was very clear, with probably 15 to 20 feet of visibility, but I'm sure it always is fairly clear. We ended up catching 11 total for the day, all bulls, and all on white bunny streamers. I saw a few rainbows up above the falls, and put on nymphs for a few minutes but couldn't get any takers. The bulls ranged from probably 15 inches long to around 23-25 inches or so and probably 8-10 lbs for the last two we caught. Funny that we both caught the big bruisers right in the last 3 hours and in the same 100 ft stretch of water. There were a few really cool events that took place that day. One was the first time I actually had the chance to sight fish a bull trout. I was a ways downstream from Justin as he fished a flat sandy bottomed stretch for a bit. Standing on the bank, I thought I could see 2 bulls holding along a strip of debris, probably 20-30 feet out. Justin was busy fishing his area, so although I thought it would have been pretty cool to spot for him, I couldn't stand waiting any more. I waded out a bit and made a cast, swung my fly right into the area I thought the fish were in, and started twitching the big streamer. The line stopped in the typical "is this the bottom or is it a bull trout" manner, and one of the 2 fish was on! I was pretty stoked to have hooked one on my first cast at them. Another really awesome event later that day was when Justin hooked into his big one. I had just landed my biggest of the day, so I decided to stand up on the steep bank a ways downstream and watch Justin's fly as he fished it. He was making long casts downstream and across and stripping his fly back through water that was laiden with boulders and pretty deep at probably 10 feet or so. Looked like pretty good holding water, and as it turned out, it was. As I was watching his fly, I kept seeing fish following it. I'm fairly sure that most of these were trout, but they would just swim up to the fly and then turn away, and I just kept saying, "oh, here comes a fish", and then "nevermind, it's gone". Then, after a few casts, I watched him pull the fly over top of a large fully submerged boulder. Out from behind the boulder came a dark shape...a trout, but something else as well following that. More brown and a lot bigger than any of the trout we'd seen, it was a large bull. I watched the whole thing as it came up and almost lazily grabbed Justin's fly. It was awesome! After a long fight in some deep, fast water, Justin landed a fish that was almost identical to the one I had just landed, only quite a bit fatter. Looked like it had just swallowed one of those 14 inch trout I was watching before. I must admit, the Metolius is a pretty cool river.

The next day we headed over to the Crooked river. Totally different story. We had a lot of trouble hooking up with anything in this river for most of the day. The water was pretty cloudy with only about a foot of visibility, however, we had heard that it's often that way and it doesn't really affect the fishing. We must just suck then, cause we only landed a few fish all day, and other than 3 I picked up out of one small run in the evening, they were all 8-10 inchers. We tried everything. Egg flies, nymphs, streamers, dries (which actually worked ok for some smaller fish during a small bwo hatch), and scuds. Not much was working. We did get checked for licenses by a game warden though, which was a pleasant surprise. Doesn't happen nearly enough. We left that river, hoping to make up for our luck on the Deschutes the next day.

Sorry to say, we didn't make up for too much. We spent the majority of the day targeting steelhead. Neither of us have much experience with this, so not catching anything isn't so very embarrassing in this case. Justin actually hooked into 2 fish that neither of us ever saw, and they were of pretty good size. The first one didn't really fight too hard, just got into some strong current and took out some line before coming off. The second one however, tore out a bunch of line right away and then got off. He was using his 8 weight, so it very well could have been a steely. He hooked both of those on nymphs. I managed to get a pretty nice trout on a crystal bugger and hooked one other nice fish on a big stonefly/lightning bug setup, but lost him after 15 seconds or so. Probably a big squawfish or something since he took the nymph as it rose and began to drag at the end of my drift. There were quite a few bugs around, including caddis of various sizes and some bwo's, but nothing materialized enough to catch the interest of the trout in the river. A beautiful day though if nothing else. Also, we saw a big turkey, muskrat, deer, and it was a true bonding experience with mother nature. It only took us 5 hours or so to get back to Seattle from Maupin that night. No traffic whatsoever, which, after the drive down there, was most agreeable. Oh, and check out the some photos of Diehard and a couple of his bulls in my gallery. I'll try and post them to this report later tonight. :thumb:
I am gonna be making the same trip next weekend.

Sounds like a good day on the Met!! I have yet to catch a damn thing on that friggin river. It is always that clear. It makes for such great scenery. The only thing that would make it better is a bunch of half naked chicks in french maid outfits:eek: ;)
Wow that is alot of bull trout.

It is a shame about the crooked. I had the same results only worse last year. That water always looks like dirty dishwater. It has somthing to do since it is coming from a dam or somthing I think :confused: . Around April, this is a great stretch of water. You have to beat the white fish off your lines with a stick. I gave Diehard a tip on the hot fly (it has been for me any ways), did you guys try any of those???

Glad you guys had fun,

Yep, it was a sweet trip. I attached some photos.

The Met was great. Crystal clear water, great surroundings and huge Bulls. We talked to one guy who sounded like he fishes there a lot and he told us about he 42"er he got in last year. :eek:
It seemed like the Kokes were pretty much done spawning, we only saw a few dead ones floating around, so we never tried any egg flies. The big streamers are more fun anyway.
Oh, also in one hole I hooked into something that felt huge, but wasn't doing a whole lot. I got it in closer and it was big bull that I had somehow snagged from the middle of the river. I got him in as quickly as I could and noticed that the poor guy had another fly still in his side from another snagging! Man, he can't get a break! I quickly removed both flies without taking him out of the water, and sent him on his way. I felt bad that I had snagged him, but atleast I was able to get the other fly out. Bulls are tough fish.

Like he said, the Crooked was pretty slow. Maybe it was because they had just increased the flows, sunny warm weather or because of a full moon :rolleyes: , who knows. One guy I talked to said he was doing well on scuds, but no one else seemed to be catching much. I think I ended up landing like 5 or 6 fish (none bigger than 12"). The scenery was nice though...
tythetier - yeah, we tried it and had some luck, not a ton though.

I was totally determined to catch a Steelhead at the Deschutes, so I never fished for trout. The two fish I had on were big, but I never saw them, so I will never know. (I hate that!)

We saw some cool wildlife too: a wild turkey, muskrat, weasel, turkey vultures, a bald eagle, and lots of deer.

All in all, it was good. But looking back on it, I wish we would have fished the Met again instead of the Crooked.


Great photos guys, those big guys are pigs! I haven't fished down there much, but sounds (and looks) like a great time. Thanks for sharing!
Great job guys! I wish I could have been there. All three rivers can be great, however they do not always give up fish. I am going to need to try and get over to the Met before the winter really hits. It has been too long.
Great report! I was down there in September and I wish that I would have tried for Bulls. Next time I will definitely have to give that a shot. I didn't have a lot of luck, but I hooked onto a nice bow which was about 16" maybe bigger. I lost him after he took me deep and got me wrapped around something. He was one of the hardest fighting fish that I have had on for a long time. It is just too bad that I didn't land him.

My dad and I also were skunked on the Crooked for some reason. The last time I fished it I was catching fish all day long, but on this particular day the only fish caught was a 4" and those don't count in my book.

The next time you go down there try the Fall river. I have read some posts that say it is not worth fishing, but I caught fish all day in the 10-14" range and pulled out a brown that was at least 19".

Nice report. Looks like you got into some real toads on the Met! If there's a more scenic place that has bigger fish, I'd like to know about it. (The Fall river has the scenery, but I've never heard of 30-inch fish over there.)

Seems like the Crooked is hitting some hard times. I've fished it plenty of times in the past and it was just about as easy as it gets; some afternoons would produce 20+ rainbows in the 12-16" range in an hour or two. But I spent a day pounding it in October with nothing over 6" to show for it.

Thanks for the report and the pics.


Should be fishing right now
Glad someone had some luck with the bulls, last time I was there I was determined to get one, even spotted more than usual, but no dice. At least the rainbows were cooperative, I also caught a brown, which I had not seen before.