Information About the Deschutes River

The Deschutes River is designated a wild and scenic river. It begins at Little Lava Lake located in the Cascade Mountain range. It ends approximately 250 miles north, emptying into the Columbia River. The river’s flow is unique in that it seldom varies. It is a spring-fed system that historically has very stable flows. It may experience higher water in the Spring, but the Summer and Fall flow remains relatively steady.

“As opposed to river systems that are dominated by surface run off, a spring-fed river like the Deschutes has an incredibly stable hydrologic regime in which natural daily, monthly and even annual fluctuations in water flows are minimal.” Via Upper Deschutes Watershed Council.

The Deschutes does not experience drought conditions – it can be rafted all summer long!

Rapids on the Deschutes

You will find Class I, II, III and IV rapids, as well as calmer water on any section. So, plenty of time for relaxing on the water, fishing, hiking and sightseeing between the thrills of the whitewater rapids. View the gorgeous scenery and the various wildlife that call the canyon their home. Rapids you’ll encounter on the Warm Springs to Sandy Beach run include Whitehorse, Four Chutes, Buckskin Mary, Wapinitia, Box Car, Elevators and Oak Springs. Rapids from Buck Hollow to Heritage Landing include Wreck Rapids, Washout, Moody, Rattlesnake and Colorado Rapids. Several of these rapids are Class IV so scouting before tackling a larger rapid is advised. The lower section has fewer intense rapids and is often rafted for its awesome fishing. Jet boats are allowed on part of this section every other weekend, so it might be something you would want to check out before booking your dates. A schedule of jet boat days is available on the boater pass website

Great fun, great fishing and beautiful scenery await you on any section of the Deschutes as it winds its way thru the canyon.

Fishing the Deschutes

Fishing is allowed on the Deschutes year round and is nationally known for its awesome trout as well as steelhead and salmon (in-season only). The Deschutes is most often fished during the May-June salmon fly hatch when trout are ‘hungry’ for anything that looks like a salmon fly! However, fisherman are out Spring, Summer and Fall! Spring and Fall Chinook in-season is popular fishing on the lower section of river, as well as Steelhead. Fly fishing for trout can be done on all sections of river with success. Check Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife for regulations and seasons of the various species.