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 river 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.