Rising on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains south of La Pine, the Deschutes River flows northward through Bend. It is dammed just below its confluence with the Metolius River, forming Lake Billy Chinook. Continuing northward, it flows through the town of Maupin and eventually reaches the confluence with the Columbia River east of The Dalles. The lower 100 miles of Deschutes rafting, from Pelton Dam to the Columbia River is divided in to 2 sections. The upper section down to Sherars Falls is about 58 miles. The lower section from Sherars to the Columbia River is 42 miles. Deschutes whitewater rafting in both sections is very exciting and challenging. The rapid classifications on the Deschutes River range from class I to class IV.
In the early 1800s, the Deschutes River was known by French fur traders as the “Riviere des Chutes” or “Riviere aux Chutes” – the “river of falls.” Aside from it’s beautiful scenery, the Deschutes River is famous for whitewater rafting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.
With 300 days of sunshine, clear starry nights and hot summer days, Deschutes whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing and camping along the Deschutes River are great fun during spring, summer and fall!
Ospreys thrive on the Deschutes’ excellent trout population.
Water in this relatively dry forest area (8-25 inches annual precipitation) attracts a variety of wildlife. Bald & golden eagles and osprey fly up and down the river, diving ferociously into the water as they snag fish. Both species are widely seen in the summer. Great blue herons inhabit the riverbanks, usually hunting frogs, crayfish and small fish. Many other types of birds make their home in the Deschutes River canyon. You will find chukar, pheasant, quail, and magpie just to name a few.
The common merganser is often seen diving for fish or crayfish; the mallard feeding on underwater plants; the belted kingfisher, recognized by its unique call, diving straight downward into the river, catching small fish. Beaver, river otter, mule deer, an occasional Roosevelt elk, black bear, garter snakes, and numerous lizards. frogs and toads can all be seen inhabiting the wild river banks.
Fisherman travel from all over the world to test their skills against the elusive steelhead trout.
Fish include rainbow trout, brown trout, and mountain whitefish. There are two runs of salmon that come into the Deschutes to spawn, one in the spring and the other in the fall. There is also a run of steelhead that come in during the late fall, steelhead is a rainbow trout that goes out to the ocean for two years then returns to spawn in the river they we hatched from. Common insects associated with aquatic environment include mayflies, stoneflies, and the caddis fly – all important food sources for fish. Water striders. whirligig beetles, midges, and mosquitoes are abundant along the river all summer. Areas near water are important to all wildlife.
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