Small Stream Fly Fishing in Central Oregon


Whychus Creek

Whychus Creek is a tributary to the Deschutes, but it's origins begin up in the Cascades south of town. The Creek tumbles from the 3 Sisters Wilderness area down to Sisters and often doesn't fish well until mid summer when the snow melt run-off finally slows down. Around  Whychus Creek Falls there is plenty of  access to the stream and it's eager fish. Most fish here are 4 to 9 inches but are all Wild Trout.  As you get a little closer to town there is  limited access due to homes and ranches but there is still some great water to fish. Much of the creek is diverted to irrigtion water about 3 miles south of Sisters. This is a blessing and a curse. Early in the season we can find fishable water below the diversion, but by mid-Summer it might be too low to fish. 

Past town the Creek flows through the Land Trust property and other private areas and is mostly off limits. Once it gets down to the Crooked River National Grasslands area you'll find trails from the Alder Springs area back to the Creek. This is rough country for hiking and we recommend not trying this alone! Fom Alder Springs to the confluence with the Deschutes is a nice piece of water with some good trout.  Regulations show the stream is open between the last weekend in May to October 31st, which is the same time we recommend to concentrate on this creek.


Tumalo Creek

Tumalo Creek is another tributary to the Deschutes. It is just one drainige East of the Whychus drainage. Tumalo Creek is a neat little Fishery in the Summer months  through the Fall. 

Over the Winter, it is blanketed by deep snow and during the Spring is usually too swollen to really fish well. From Bend, the drive up to the Tumalo Falls takes you up Skyliner road. Skyliner area is now a place with a few homes and an OMSI camp, but at one time was the local Ski hill before Mt Bachelor was developed. Once you reach the end of the pavement and cross the bridge to the gravel road that takes you to the Falls you have reached the good fishing water. Anywhere from the Bridge upstream to the falls is good water. We find mostly small fish here but usually eager to take a nice high floating dry fly.

Another place to fish Tumalo Creek is through the Shevlin Park area. There are many good access points through the park, and if you are willing to hike up or down from the park you'll find some very lightly fished water. I can remember fishing upstream from the park on the 4th of July one year and having to make careful casts to some very "spooky" trout. It was a blast!  In that clear water you could see everything. Without  7x tippet  and some nicely tied black ants  I'd have left without success. That was a low water year and every year is a little different. I've also had times on the creek where a good cast to a likely looking holding spot would raise fish 100% of the time.


The Blitzen

The Blitzen is a ways away from the Sisters Country (about 4 1/2 hours) but is one of our favorite small streams in the state. In the Spring fishing leech patterns down through the Malheur Preserve is a great way to start the season. By Summer and into the Fall, the areas around Paige Springs Campground and Blitzen Crossing offer awesome fishing with Hoppers, Renegades, Royal Wulff's, Parachute Adams, Stimulators and small Bead Heads like Pheasant Tails, Prince, Bat Man, Copper John and others.


Upper McKenzie

The Upper McKenzie is a gem of a small stream and is one of our hot guiding spots in the Summer.  Good access for small water is upstream of McKenzie Bridge. From here you'll find campgrounds, parks, side roads and trails that lead to good spots. Be careful with the currents here, this is a fast moving stream and going with a guide is recommended. The Upper McKenzie is perfect for a Dry-Dropper rig. This is a great caddis stream but we see plenty of  #12 Yellow Mayflies (epeorus) all summer and even some Drakes. Attractor dries are great on the McKenzie.

 The South Fork of the McKenzie is another good bet for a small stream angler. About 1 hour West of Sisters this stream is best fished in the area below Cougar Reservoir. 

Horse Creek is a tributary to the McKenzie that offers fair to good dry fishing when conditions are good in the summer.

Guided Trips on The Upper McKenzie
Trip NameInformation
#34 – Upper McKenzie

Upper North Fork of The Santiam

The Upper North Fork of the Santiam is a neat little stream we fish. From the upper reaches down to Whitewater Creek this stream has a good mix of Wild Rainbow and West Slope Cutthroat and is stocked with Rainbow trout on a regular basis from the Marion Forks hatchery. Fishing a bright little bead head nymph in the runs is an excellent way to catch fish here. Often an attractor dry will produce well too.  Can't decide? Try both...run the nymph behind the attractor as a tandem rig. In the evening you usually get decent hatches of caddis and mayflies and right before dark can offer fun fishing with a Rusty Spinner on the flats.

Guided Trips on The Upper North Fork of The Santiam
Trip NameInformation
#33 – Upper North Fork of The Santiam
Whychus Creek

Plenty of small little trout being caught. More of a locals spot than a destination but a blast to fish with a Tenkara rod and a dry fly.

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Tumalo Creek

A fun little small stream with tiny wild trout that are usually willing to smack a dry. Fishing is good, try ants, upright rusty spinners, renegades, parachute adams, hippie stomper (red) and small stimulators.

Best access is up by Skyliners to the Falls but Shevlin area is good too upstream of the park.

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Tumalo Creek

Nice dry fly action up high below the falls. They will eat most anything, but a stimulator with an ant dropper is a killer rig.

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Tumalo Creek

We've been hitting them on attractors and terrestrials up below the falls. 

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Upper McKenzie

FUN! Attractors with a nymph dropper. What could be better?

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Upper McKenzie

Super fun right now with the hatches, the fish are really looking up. Green Drakes, Caddis and Epeorus Mayflies plus attractors like the Trude, Parachute Adams and Hippie Stompers.

A Dry/Dropper is a great rig if you want to add a nymph to the rig. Small Copper Johns and Prince Nymphs are favorites now.

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Upper North Fork of The Santiam

Good dry fly action from the Marion Forks area down to Pamelia Creek. We've been getting a lot of fish on Drakes and PMD's but caddis and stimulators are needed too, especially in the evening.

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Upper North Fork of The Santiam

There are some good hatches, including a few drakes. Mostly caddis and cream mayflies from #14-16. Attractors are working really well too, and it's fun to run a little nymph off the back of the dry.

No-See-Um's are bad in the evening so bring repellent.

 

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Upper North Fork of The Santiam

Water and fishing conditions are great up by Marion Forks area.

We've been hitting them mostly with attractors so far, but drakes are beginning to show up too and will go until July.

Lots of caddis and yellow mayflies hatching now.

A great combo is a yellow Stimulator with a copper john dropper.

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