Whychus Creek is a tributary to the Deschutes, but it’s origins begin up in the Cascades south of town. The Creek tumbles from the 3 Sisters Wilderness area down to Sisters and often doesn’t fish well until mid summer when the snow melt run-off finally slows down. Around Whychus Creek Falls there is plenty of access to the stream and it’s eager fish. Most fish here are 4 to 9 inches but are all Wild Trout. As you get a little closer to town there is limited access due to homes and ranches but there is still some great water to fish. Much of the creek is diverted to irrigtion water about 3 miles south of Sisters. This is a blessing and a curse. Early in the season we can find fishable water below the diversion, but by mid-Summer it might be too low to fish.
Past town the Creek flows through the Land Trust property and other private areas and is mostly off limits. Once it gets down to the Crooked River National Grasslands area you’ll find trails from the Alder Springs area back to the Creek. This is rough country for hiking and we recommend not trying this alone! Fom Alder Springs to the confluence with the Deschutes is a nice piece of water with some good trout. Regulations show the stream is open between the last weekend in May to October 31st, which is the same time we recommend to concentrate on this creek.
Tumalo Creek is another tributary to the Deschutes. It is just one drainige East of the Whychus drainage. Tumalo Creek is a neat little Fishery in the Summer months through the Fall.
Over the Winter, it is blanketed by deep snow and during the Spring is usually too swollen to really fish well. From Bend, the drive up to the Tumalo Falls takes you up Skyliner road. Skyliner area is now a place with a few homes and an OMSI camp, but at one time was the local Ski hill before Mt Bachelor was developed. Once you reach the end of the pavement and cross the bridge to the gravel road that takes you to the Falls you have reached the good fishing water. Anywhere from the Bridge upstream to the falls is good water. We find mostly small fish here but usually eager to take a nice high floating dry fly.
Another place to fish Tumalo Creek is through the Shevlin Park area. There are many good access points through the park, and if you are willing to hike up or down from the park you’ll find some very lightly fished water. I can remember fishing upstream from the park on the 4th of July one year and having to make careful casts to some very “spooky” trout. It was a blast! In that clear water you could see everything. Without 7x tippet and some nicely tied black ants I’d have left without success. That was a low water year and every year is a little different. I’ve also had times on the creek where a good cast to a likely looking holding spot would raise fish 100% of the time.
The Blitzen is a ways away from the Sisters Country (about 4 1/2 hours) but is one of our favorite small streams in the state. In the Spring fishing leech patterns down through the Malheur Preserve is a great way to start the season. By Summer and into the Fall, the areas around Paige Springs Campground and Blitzen Crossing offer awesome fishing with Hoppers, Renegades, Royal Wulff’s, Parachute Adams, Stimulators and small Bead Heads like Pheasant Tails, Prince, Bat Man, Copper John and others.
The Upper McKenzie is a gem of a small stream and is one of our hot guiding spots in the Summer. Good access for small water is upstream of McKenzie Bridge. From here you’ll find campgrounds, parks, side roads and trails that lead to good spots. Be careful with the currents here, this is a fast moving stream and going with a guide is recommended. The Upper McKenzie is perfect for a Dry-Dropper rig. This is a great caddis stream but we see plenty of #12 Yellow Mayflies (epeorus) all summer and even some Drakes. Attractor dries are great on the McKenzie.
The South Fork of the McKenzie is another good bet for a small stream angler. About 1 hour West of Sisters this stream is best fished in the area below Cougar Reservoir.
Horse Creek is a tributary to the McKenzie that offers fair to good dry fishing when conditions are good in the summer.
Upper North Fork of The Santiam
The Upper North Fork of the Santiam is a neat little stream we fish. From the upper reaches down to Whitewater Creek this stream has a good mix of Wild Rainbow and West Slope Cutthroat and is stocked with Rainbow trout on a regular basis from the Marion Forks hatchery. Fishing a bright little bead head nymph in the runs is an excellent way to catch fish here. Often an attractor dry will produce well too. Can’t decide? Try both…run the nymph behind the attractor as a tandem rig. In the evening you usually get decent hatches of caddis and mayflies and right before dark can offer fun fishing with a Rusty Spinner on the flats.