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Over Night Fly Junkie
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went out this morning and did a little exploration on the Deschutes. Fond a place where I could by pass a lot of private property to get on it and spent a few hours throwing some flies. On the way out after no luck I stoped by a bridge at the intersection of Waldrick and Stedman road. Lying under the bridge in the water was a large native steelhead at about 10lbs that had been cut poached and cut up. This being my first time out to that river I was just wondering if their is any numbers in their that would make in worth putting a lot of time into chasing them on a regular basis on it.
 

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The Deschutes River you're talking about does not have a run of native steelhead. Even a wild, naturally produced steelhead from hatchery steelhead that spawned in the river is a long shot. Possible, but not very likely. The Deschutes is stocked with a small number of hatchery steelhead smolts (~ 20,000), but the survival and return rate on them is extremely low. So low that hardly anyone bothers to fish for returning adults because other rivers are a better use of one's fishing time. The Deschutes River is heavily infested with Nanophytes, a parisite, and non-native trout like steelhead and even coho salmon do not do well in this river because of that.

Are you certain of what you saw? Is it possible that the fish you saw was a hatchery steelhead that died after spawning and has begun to decompose? Alternatively, I suppose someone could have caught the fish after the end of steelhead season and cut a fillet off it only to find that it wasn't fit to be eaten.

As for the D being worth putting in the time to fish for steelhead, here's my take. I fish for steelhead year round. I've lived 5 minutes from the D for the last 18 years. I haven't spent one minute fishing it for steelhead. It's worth driving one or two hours to another river that actually has a steelhead run in it.

Sg
 

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Over Night Fly Junkie
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Im very certain of what I saw this morning so certain in fact that Im going to head out their and take some pictures. I probably should have done it this morning though since I did have my camera on me. The fish was very fresh and it had been killed very recently the meat that was left on it was very fresh looking. Ill throw some pics up when I get back.
 

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Wetfeet,

There is a fish ladder at Tumwater Falls (mid 1950s). WDFW can leave the upper end open so fish can migrate on upriver or divert them to adult fish holding facilities at the site. You're correct that only the trout are native to the river though. Hatchery chinook coho, and steelhead have all been introduced. There is little to no natural production of coho or steelhead, and maybe not chinook either, but I don't think successful natural reproduction of the chinook has been determined yet.

Sg
 
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