It’s fair to say that for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, the city of Bend should be on your radar screen. Once known as a logging town on the Deschutes River, it is now hailed as premier destination for anyone that likes mountain biking, hiking, skiing, camping, white-water rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, golfing and of course, fly fishing! Lumberjacks may now be hard to find here, but adventure tourists and outdoor sports lovers are in great abundance.
One look at what the city has to offer and it’s easy to understand why Bend is a magnet for athletes and rugged sports enthusiasts. Among many other events, the city has hosted 2 USA Winter Triathlon National Championships, several national cycling competitions, 2 XTERRA National Trail Running Championships and is home to a men’s division 3 Rugby club, a women’s flat track team and a West Coast Collegiate Baseball team.
Not far from town, is the 1.8 million-acre Deschutes National Forest that contains parts of 5 designated wilderness areas – Mount Jefferson, Mount Thielsen, Mount Washington, Three Sisters and Diamond Peak as well as six National Wild and Scenic Rivers. Great waters to trout fish near Bend include the Crooked River, the Fall River, the Metolius River and the Deschutes River that runs through town. The town also boasts the Old Mill Casting Course, the first and only, 18 station fly casting course where anglers can hone their fishing skills.
If you like to grab a cold one after fishing, Bend has over a dozen microbreweries and offers beer seekers bus tours, horse-drawn carriage tours and bike to beer trails. It even has a “find a beer” phone app. In keeping with other historical tourist towns, Bend has several museums, shopping areas, art galleries, live entertainment, and a wide range of restaurant and lodging choices.
There are several options for traveling to Bend, including:
- Fly into Portland International Airport and drive for approximately 3 hours
- Fly into Eugene, Oregon Airport and drive for approximately 2 ½ hours
- Fly into Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport and drive for approximately 5 ½ hours
- Fly into Boise’s BOI Airport and drive for approximately 5 ½ hours
- Float trip through the extraordinary protected Wild and Scenic River corridor
- Fly Fish for steelhead from the comfort and class of our beautiful McKenzie River drift boats
- Cozy riverside lodges provide comfortable accommodations and home cooked meals each night
- Breathtaking scenery of lush forests and vibrant fall foliage
Floating and fishing the "Wild and Scenic" Rogue River Canyon is considered one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular river experiences. Enjoy this stunning canyon ... morefrom the classy comfortable ride of a beautiful wooden drift boat and spend your evenings in unique riverside lodges. Spend four days floating the 43 miles of protected waters while fly fishing for half-pounder and adult steelhead fresh out of the ocean. Legendary for its combination of dramatic rapids and tranquil pools, fishing on the Rogue River has been popular with guests of the Helfrich family since 1931 when Prince Helfrich first explored the canyon.
His legacy continues as newcomers enjoy the same majestic old-growth forests of Douglas fir and twisted Madrone along the riverbanks. Picturesque grassy pastures, wildflowers and wildlife are all part of this unspoiled wilderness. Deer, otter, black bear, blue herons, osprey and bald eagles call this paradise home.
And then, there are the fish! With two fishermen and one guide in each drift boat, you’ll have a unique opportunity to catch fall run Steelhead and Salmon on lures and flies. Even the most experienced fishermen will be challenged by the great sport of landing these fighters on light tackle. This is a world-class fishing river and our guides serve as skilled fishing instructors and experienced boatmen. Their knowledge of the river and the maneuverability of the drift boats allow them to easily access the placid pools and rich holes where the fishing is best.
Our trips begin at Argo Riffle and for four days and 43 miles we will travel west in McKenzie River drift boats through the Coastal Range to Hog Eddie at Agness. You’ll get a firsthand look at Rainie Falls, Zane Grey’s cabin, Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar rapid.
Each night you will enjoy the comfort of three different rustic wilderness lodges. Shore lunch stops along the river allow time to relax and explore the area. We often barbecue or pan-fry any freshly caught steelhead or salmon. Delicious! No one goes away hungry.
The combination of unforgettable fishing experiences and drift boating through exciting whitewater make this outing on the Rogue River's "Wild and Scenic" section Helfrich River Outfitter's most sought after and desired fishing adventures.
Nights are spent in comfortable wilderness lodges with private sleeping accommodations for couples or singles. All of the breakfasts and dinners are served family-style by the guides and lodge staff. Each remote lodge offers its own distinct character, which adds a memorable element to the trip that few ever experience, as they are only accessible by river or hiking trail and are run on generator power.
- Experienced guide
- Lunch includes riverside fish fry of the morning's catch along with salad, snacks, and cookies. If you choose to not eat fish, the lunch will include an alternative main dish. Special diets and food allergies can be accommodated with prior notice.
Located just east of Eugene, Oregon, the McKenzie River is a lively, crystal clear mountain stream; flowing out of the Cascade Mountains, through stretches of lush old ... moregrowth and bright, new growth forests. The McKenzie is legendary for its breathtaking scenery and top-notch fly-fishing opportunities. This river is the perfect place to go fishing for anglers of any skill level, from beginner to veteran. Spend your day with Helfrich River Outfitters in front of a deluxe McKenzie River Drift Boat and experience what has made this locale so famous in comfort and style.
Your guide’s knowledge of casting and entomology will enhance your ability to catch more fish, while their familiarity with the river will put you at ease. Trips are available any time, from April through October, every year. Each drift boats will be fully stocked with all the necessary fishing and safety gear. The McKenzie River is renowned for its amazing blue waters, verdant green surroundings and fun fishing for Rainbow Trout. One of the largest spring-fed rivers in the world, the McKenzie receives a constant flow of fresh water from underground aquifers full of cold clear rain and snowmelt. It is the purity of the water and the fertile green river banks which make this river such a premier home for trout.
Join us on the McKenzie for a day of fishing or, even better, a few days in a row. Each boat holds two guests and your guide along with all the requisite equipment for a successful day on the water. Access to the river is simple with boat launches conveniently located along the entire stretch. Each trip is tailored to your unique skill level and desired experience. Your guide will determine the best segment of the river for you given these factors, as well as current fishing conditions and where you are traveling from.
The McKenzie River is a great place to fish for trout, especially from one of our aptly named McKenzie River Drift Boats. The drift boat was originally designed along the McKenzie River to be a perfect fit to the type of fishing and whitewater you’ll find on this river. These drift boats are the ‘Cadillacs’ of the river offering a comfortable and mostly dry ride, while also providing a stable platform to catch fish from. No need to wade, these boats are very maneuverable and tailor-made to access the best fishing spots. Beautiful Day on the McKenzie RiverEach section of the McKenzie has a slightly different type of beauty to offer, with varying elevation drop and increasing volume of water as you move down stream. The entire river,from top to bottom, offers the awe-inspiring green beauty of Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars, Maples and Alders, intermixed with wild flowers and other forest plants.
Groups of ay size can be accommodated in several boats, meeting up for lunch complete with a fish fry along the riverbank. The riverside lunch provides the perfect opportunity to relax and exchange stories of the mornings catch.
If you are an expert fisherman and are looking for an all dry-fly fishing experience, you may also be interested in a Helfrich River Trip on the Upper McKenzie River. These trips are limited to one guest per boat due to the more technical fishing and whitewater. This trip is the ultimate challenge for dry-fly fisherman, picking small pockets of water with precision casting in search of all native rainbow trout. This section of the McKenzie is a fly fishing only, wild, catch and release fishery.
During your trip on the McKenzie you will enjoy a nice relaxing lunch on the riverbank. Each lunch site is set up with comfortable chairs for you to relax in while watching the river flow by. Drink coolers with cold drinks are available in each boat and at lunch. Guests are encouraged to bring any preferred beverages and snacks with them. Guests can choose to bring their own lunch or Helfrich Outfitters can provide one for an extra fee of $20 per boat. We offer every group the opportunity to experience fresh cooked trout, caught by you that morning. Riverside lunches including a fish fry, salads, bread and other choice items. When you book your trip, please notify what you wish to have for lunch.
Starting at Little Lava Lake in central Oregon, this 252 mile, southward flowing River, takes a turn at the Wikiup Reservoir, defies gravity and flows north until it empties into the ... moreColumbia River. Archaeologists will tell that for eons, the Deschutes was an important route for Native Americans as they traveled to and from the Columbia. Later, in the 19th century, Historians will tell you that the river was an important marker for pioneers, eventually becoming part of the famous Oregon Trail.
Today the river is considered an important part of our national heritage due to its extraordinary beauty and bountiful fisheries. Over 145 miles of the river have been designated as a National Recreational River while another 30 miles are crowned with National Wild and Scenic River distinction. Typically thought of in three sections – upper, middle and lower - the river passes through high arid country, flower filled meadows, and steep canyons.
As an official “blue ribbon” river, the Deschutes is perhaps most famous for its Columbia River redband trout, known locally as redsides. These trout have an unusual, bright red stripe that covers the bottom half of their bodies; the spots on the upper body are darker than other wild rainbow. Depending on where you are on the river, there can be as many as 1,700 redbands per mile, ranging from 8 – 16 inches.
Warm Springs to Macks Canyon is the preferred stretch for catching redbands. There is good redband fishing along Warm Springs Tribal Land but special permits are required. The section from Pelton Dam to the River’s mouth has high concentrations of wild trout, including summer steelhead. The entire river is managed as a wild trout fishery.
Less than an hour northwest of Bend, Oregon, the Metolius River, secreted away in the Deschutes National Forest, is little known since professional guides are not permitted and the ... moreriver is not advertised. The river begins at Metolius Springs, near the base of Black Butte, and is fed from cold spring water that keeps the river at an even flow and a near constant 48 degrees – ideal trout habitat. The river ends at Lake Billy Chinook.
While only 29 miles long, the Metolius is large in what it has to offer. Nearly half of the river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River while another 12 mile run is a National Recreational River. In the estimation of many naturalists and conservationists, the lower 17 miles of river that run along the warm Springs Indian Reservation, are among the most gorgeous to be found in the lower 48. To maintain the pristine quality of the river, legislation was passed in 1990 and again in 2009 to limit development within 86,000 acres of the Metolius water basin.
Not just beautiful, this river is full of rainbow, bull and brown trout. Rainbow and brown can easily measure up to 24 inches, while bulls 15 pounds and over have been pulled from these waters. In the fall Kokanee can be seen in the river, ready to spawn. The upper Metolius is limited to fly fishing, catch and release and barbless hooks. This is a great choice for anglers seeking an authentic fishing experience, but be sure to pack your waders - fishing from boats is prohibited.
If you’re traveling with people interested in other activities, camping, rafting, skiing and horseback riding are widely available.
River or Stream? In the eyes of many anglers, the Fall River is viewed as a crystal clear, beautiful, big stream. Like the Metolius, the Fall is a stream-fed tributary of the Deschutes. ... moreIt runs through tall stands of pine in the federally protected Deschutes National Forest with banks surrounded by tall grasses and willow trees.
Within its small, 8-mile long run, it’s possible to find wild brown, wild brook and stocked rainbow trout. The wild brook trout tend to be small, averaging around 6 inches. By contrast, the wild brown trout grow large, ranging from 8 to 15 inches. The rainbows average about 10 inches, but 20 inchers have certainly been found. The water is also stocked from the Crane Prairie Reservoir, with fish known as Crane-bows.
The river provides a safe haven for brown and other species that swim in from the Deschutes and find excellent winter habitat. Above Fall River Falls, the river is open throughout the year. Below the Falls, there are seasonal closures to assist spawning fish. It’s possible to access the Fall River at the fish hatchery or on National Forest land. Fishing is excellent from its headwaters to the falls, and good news to Yobi readers – it’s fly fishing, barbless hooks only.
A short journey, just a 1-hour drive east of Bend, will take you to a very special place – the Crooked River tailwater. Beginning at the meeting of the South Fork Crooked River and ... moreBeaver Creek, the river flows beneath the shadows of the Ochoco Mountains and Ochoco National Forest, flows into the Prineville Reservoir then turns north gathering several small tributaries before emptying into Lake Billy Chinook.
Like other rivers in this area, 18 miles of the Crooked are designated as a National Recreational River. Once home to migrating anadromous Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and Pacific lamprey, the combined forces of dams, irrigation and low water caused those populations to disappear. Today the non-migratory, redband trout is the only remaining native species left in the Crooked. That said, they appear to be thriving and sections of this river are considered by veteran anglers to have the best redband fishing in all of Oregon.
Most anglers consider the 7-mile area below Bowman Dam and the outlet of the Prineville Reservoir, the top place to fish and one of the most productive trout waters in the state. Cool water releases from the dam keep the water at about 50 degrees year round, and fish counts range from 1,000 to 8,000 per mile.
The river, open year round, is managed as a wild trout fishery with catch and release restrictions. The Prineville Reservoir however, supports large populations of rainbow, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and crayfish and can be fished by boat. Further downstream at the Crooked River Gorge good fishing can also be found but access is limited.