The Bend and Sunriver areas see a massive influx of tourists between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year. Many of these travelers are from cities nearby along the I-5 corridor and even the coast. With dozens of daily flights into Redmond Airport, tourism is growing as well from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Why? Because the Deschutes National Forest is home to incredible outdoor activities!
The Pacific NW is known for Salmon and Steelhead fishing. The reality is, around the Country, Trout are the most sought-after game fish! And, with nearly 45,000 Trout to be stocked in the Lakes, Reservoirs and Streams the Bend/Sunriver area offers best access to these bodies of water, all within an hour drive!
Rainbow, Brook, Brown and Bull Trout are targeted by many Anglers during the summer months using both fly and conventional tackle. High Mountain lakes filled with Kokanee and state record Mackinaw swim in several of the deeper lakes as well! For those that like to chase Warmwater species, several lakes are excellent options for chasing Largemouth Bass! With the many options available, where does one start?
First, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Regulation booklet will help anglers understand which bodies of water are open throughout the year, what gear is allowed, if bait/scent can be used and the limits imposed on each species of Fish for each Lake. Next, is the Trout Stocking Schedule posted on ODFW’s website here: https://myodfw.com/fishing/species/trout/stocking-schedule
Once you have determined where you would like to go, technique is the next hurdle to finding success! Because these are high-altitude areas, the water temperature remains cooler than valley or coastal fisheries. In the middle of Summer, when it is 80 degrees or more outside, the water temperatures can be found to still be in that sweet spot for trout in the Mid 50’s! This creates aggressive biters for anglers to target!
The most commonly used technique is with a size 10 Corky, size 10 treble hook and any flavor of dough bait. This technique can be done from shore or while anchored from a boat! When there are many anglers out on the water or the sun is high in the sky, try adding any Trout flavored gel scents to the Corky to give your offering a little extra for the fish to key in on! Casting Rooster Tail spinners can help an angler locate fish. By walking or slowly motoring your boat along the shoreline and casting, you can cover water quickly to find where fish are grouped together! Once you find an area the fish are biting, continue to throw Rooster Tails until the bite slows and then switch back to the Dough Baits! Like the Corky’s, you can add scent to your spinner as well! However, spinners with feathers around the hook as an attractant need a special type of scent. Water Soluble scents like the “Rooster Tail Scent Spray” are designed to be absorbed by the feathers, slowly leach out while in the water and most importantly, not damage your lucky lure!
By focusing on these two simple techniques, anglers will find success at many of the lakes, Reservoirs and Rivers all within a short drive of Bend and Sunriver! Hikers can pack light as they traverse the mountainous trails up to untouched waters and day use anglers can learn the waters quickly to find success during their always too brief vacation!