Deschutes River Oregon Fly Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Deschutes River

The beautiful Deschutes River, which boasts some of the best fly fishing and whitewater rafting in the entire Pacific Northwest, flows right through the heart of Bend

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  • One of the most popular fly fishing rivers in the country.
  • Over 250 miles long, the beautiful Deschutes River flows right through the heart of Bend.
  • Renowned for some of the best whitewater rafting in Oregon, the Deschutes River has everything from mild Class I to treacherous Class VI rapids.


The 250 mile Deschutes River in Oregon is considered by many to be a river of contrasts. Known for some of the best whitewater rapids in Oregon, the Deschutes River offers rafters and kayakers Class I to Class V rapids, as well as several stretches of treacherous Class VI rapids. Early 18th century French fur traders called it the “Riviere aux Chutes” which means “river of falls”. One of the mighty Columbia River’s major tributaries in Oregon, Deschutes River was once used by Native Americans to go back and forth from the Columbia. This beautiful river is also a renowned fly fishing destination.

Location & Information

The Deschutes River, OR, winds through Central Oregon. It originates 90 miles south of Bend at Little Lava Lake and flows through Bend, making its way to the Oregon-Washington border, where it converges with the Columbia River.

Contact information

Deschutes National Forest, 1001 SW Emkay Drive, Bend, OR 97702 Phone: 541-383-5300


Fly Fishing – The Deschutes River is a popular destination for fly fishing. A unique strain of rainbow trout that is found only in Central Oregon resides in the river. Locals call these trout with the bright red band “redsides”.

Whitewater Rafting – The Deschutes River, Oregon, attracts whitewater enthusiasts from all over the country. The stretch of water between Bend and Wickiup Dam is 53 miles long and offers a range of rapids, including several in the expert-only Class 5 category. Milder Class I rapids comprise most of the river’s lower 100 miles, where it winds through scenic canyons up to 2,200 feet deep.

Fun Facts

  • Unlike most U.S. rivers, the Deschutes River flows north.
  • Special fishing permits are required to fish the Deschutes from the Warm Springs Reservation.
  • At Benham Falls, about 19 miles from Bend, the river varies between Class IV rapids to Class VI waterfalls.

Other Deschutes River Resources

Idaho Salmon River

Like the Deschutes, the Salmon River in Idaho is famous for fishing and rafting.