Crooked River National Grassland
Crooked River Oregon
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Crooked River In
The Crooked River is located in Central Oregon
and is one of the state's top rivers for rainbow trout.
The tailwater flows from the Bowman Dam at the
Prineville Reservoir through a deep canyon to
Prineville, Oregon.

From Prineville, the Crooked River flows north
through Smith Rock State Park. It eventually joins
two other famous Oregon rivers, the Deschutes at
Lake Billy Chinook, and the Metolious, a spring fed

The river boast a population of 3000 trout per mile.
It is normal for anglers to be able to catch dozens
of trout. Its also a great place for beginners to learn
to fly fish for trout.

The famous "redside" trout inhabit the river. These
trout probably average only eight to twelve inches
but they get larger. They are also known for taking
dry flies readily and this provides for some exciting
fly fishing. It has large hatches of mayflies and
caddisflies. It also has a large number of scuds and

The best part of the river is the first nine miles
below Bowman dam. This water holds the largest
concentration of redsides or rainbow trout. It's
typical pocket water with long riffles and runs.

Something quite different about the river than most
others is that it is often best to wade down the
center of the river and fish the weed beds and
banks on both sides. The Crooked River also has
some good stretches of pocket water. Most anglers
prefer nymph fishing. One reason is that much of
the trout's food comes from scuds and freshwater

The fish tend to feed on the bottom far more than
the surface on hatching insects. Don't be surprised
if you catch a mountain whitefish. The river also has
plenty of these gamefish.

To sum it up, Oregon's Crooked River Oregon has
some of the best fly fishing in the central part of the
state. It has a very high population of  trout (not
that  they are extremely to catch) that provides
plenty of fly fishing opportunities for anyone willing
to use a little caution, select good imitations of the
naturals, and get good drifts. Smooth water is
always more difficult to fish that faster moving water
and this tailwater has plenty of both.  
Crooked River Oregon
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Photo Courtesy of
Dennis McCarthy
Photo Courtesy of
Dennis McCarthy
The season runs year-round.
Winter is one of the best times to catch
trout. Trout are mostly caught on
midge imitations.
Spring is a good time to experience the
Crooked River's hatches.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Crooked
Fly fishing the Crooked River in Oregon is
mostly pocket water fishing. The Crooked
River is considered by many to be as good
of a trout stream as Oregon has to offer. It
forms in the Ochoco Mountains and runs
through the Oregon High Desert country to
the Deschutes River. The stream has
plenty of aquatic insects that hatch just
about every month of the year as well as
plenty of scuds for the trout to eat. It
produces some round, healthy, redband
rainbows that fight as hard as any. The
average size is about eight to twelve inches
but there are as many as 3000 fish per mile
of water in some areas of the tailwater.

The six or seven mile stretch of the river
below Bowman Dam is considered the best
water. The tailwater comes from Prineville
Reservoir. The best fishing is in the Fall
and Winter. From the first of January on to
the forth Friday in May, this section of the
river is catch and release only and files and
lures only. November 1 to December 31 is
also catch and release only.
Guide, continued:
Highway #27 follows along the river for
about a seven mile stretch below Bowman
Dam. It provides easy access. The river
can become quite busy with anglers
especially on he weekends. There are
usually less anglers during the winter
months which is yet another good reason
to fish during the winter. The fishing often
requires fishing with hook size 20 and 22
midge imitations and not all anglers enjoy
this type of fishing. It is rather exciting to
hook a good size redside on a 7X tippet.

Not all the fishing is done on midges,
nymphs and scud imitations. There's also
plenty of aquatic insect hatches and
times you can catch plenty of trout on a
dry fly. You will need to follow the hatches
and not waste a lot of time fishing a dry
fly when there isn't a hatch underway.
Specific imitations work much better than
the generics and attractors on this stream.
Crooked River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Crooked River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call.  We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.

The first mayfly that hatches at the
beginning of a new Year on the Crooked
River is the Blue-winged Olives. These are
baetis species. These hatches take
place in January, February, March, April
and Mayl. These mayflies also hatch late in
the year during September, October,
November and December.

Trout can be taken on imitations of midges
throughout the year but are more popular
during the times the water is cold and few
other aquatic insects are hatching. Have
plenty of larvae, pupae and adult imitations
for the winter season.

Brown stoneflies also begin to hatch in
February and March. Little Short-horned
Sedges or caddisflies hatch from the last of
April into the first of August,depending on
the section of the river your fishing.

Little Yellow Stoneflies also start hatching
in June and last through July. Many anglers
call these Yellow Sallies.

PMDs or Pale Morning Duns start hatching
around the first of June. These little
mayflies hatch up until mid July. Green
Sedges or caddisflies will hatch in April.
This hatch last until about the first of June.
The larvae of these caddisflies, imitated by
the Green Rock Worm, will take trout all
Hatches, continued:
Streamers are very important flies to
have with you anytime of the year. Those
that imitate sculpin are usually very
effective. Others should imitate baitfish
and minnows. These will come in very
handy anytime the water is stained from
rain. It runs clear most all the time,

Scuds and freshwater shrimp are very
important food for the trout In Crooked
River. Don't forget to have plenty of
imitations of them.

Craneflies are also abundant on the
Crooked River. They are most plentiful in
August and September.

Large October Caddis start hatching in
mid September and last through most of
November. Be sure to have imitations of
the pupae and the adults.

We recommend our own "Perfect Flies",
of course, but not because they are ours.
Its because they are the best flies you
can buy. They imitate specifics insects at
all the stages of their life trout feed on.
They are highly effective when used
properly. If you haven't already tried
them, we suggest you do. You won't be

Spotted Sedges, or caddisflies, hatch
from May through the month of
September. These are the largest of the
caddisfly hatches and consist of several
species that are almost identical.

Mahogany Duns hatch in May (Blue
Quills) and again in September and

Don't overlook the terrestrial insects.
They can be very important during the
summer and early fall months of the year.
Imitations of grass hoppers, ants, and
beetles all catch trout. The terrestrial
season starts in June and last through
the month of September.
The river can get a little too warm to fish
in many areas of during the Summer
Fall is probably the best time of the year
to fish the Crooked River.
Crooked River Oregon
Crooked River Oregon
Thumbnail Images: Click to enlarge
Headlines: The river is running at
normal levels and this is the best
time of the year for trout. Midges
work very well and work well when
rigged in tsndem.
Keep track of the
latest information on our Crooked
River fishing report linked above.
Map of Crooked River
Type of Stream

Rainbow Trout


Central Oregon

Nearest Towns

Open to fly fishing year-round

Fair to great, depending on the location

Non-Resident License
State of Oregon

National Weather Service

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout

Stream Flow Data:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders of less than $100 are sent
regular first class mail. Orders of $100 or
more are shipped via Priority Mail.