Why Do Anglers Love Salmonflies?

Western Fishermen love the Salmonfly, and for good reason. The nymphs, or immature flies, are actually quite large. In fact, they can sometimes be the largest organism in the water, besides fish of course. This makes them perfect bait for trout anglers, and every spring when there’s a hatch, fishermen and fish celebrate at the same time.

Salmonflies are Selective with Their Habitat

You will not be able to see salmonflies on every river in the West.  As a matter of fact, the Deschutes River System is the only river in Oregon that the salmonfly calls home.  Why? They are very tempermental about the water temperature.  Salmonflies prefer a medium-temperature river; not too hot, not too cold.  The Deschutes has a very constant water temperature and falls within their comfort zone.  This is critical as the salmonfly lives in the river for several years.

About the Salmonfly

The scientific name of the salmonfly is Pteronarcys Californica and nymphs can grow to as big as 50 mm before molting and becoming an adult fly. They live in the river where the current is moderate to fast and where they can latch on to boulders. However, as they grow, they can lose their grip in the current to become a tasty snack for the waiting trout or to be scooped up by fishermen for bait.

The nymphs live in the water for three long years. Once they mature, they crawl to shore. This is called their migration and is often when they get knocked loose by the current. Most of the flies migrate during dawn or dusk, trying to find tree trunks, reeds, or exposed rocks, anything that pops up out of the river and gives them a bit of high ground. At 2 and a half inches long, the flies break out their two pairs of wings and take their orange and black bodies into flight.

Using the Salmonfly as Fish Bait

Once they have the ability to travel around out of the water, they search for a mate. Females develop egg sacs that attach to the rear of their abdomen. They then fly over the river, land on the surface, and deposit their eggs. This makes them easy pickings for trout. This is one of the only times of year that you can depend on seeing larger, 15-18″ trout, rise to the surface from the river depths.  They know there are large, easy to nab insects on the surface and these large trout are not going to miss an easy meal.

Many anglers will use one of two tactics for catching trout.  “Nymph fishing” is where you imitate a nymph and fish under the water surface, near rocks and boulders where trout are feeding.  “Dry fly fishing” is imitating the current insect hatch with an imitation fly at the water’s surface.  During the salmonfly hatch, dry fly fishing is a bit easier than at other times of the year.  You can use an actual salmonfly for bait instead of an imitation fly and those large trout are at the surface looking for an easy meal.  In the trout fishing world, “It’s the most bang for your buck!”

Salmonflies may not be beautiful or graceful during their lifecycle, but they keep our Deschutes River fish population strong. Maupin area fishermen call them a favorite bait, especially come April and May when the insects hatch and trout fishing season is in full swing.

3 Excuses to Go on a Large Group Rafting Trip

Have you been rafting before and loved it?  That’s what happens when people come to Imperial River Company in Maupin. They get a thrilling whitewater rafting trip and all the riverside perks they need to round out their trip. Once you get the rafting bug though, it’s hard to resist going back for another trip. If you need an excuse to go rafting again, consider putting together a large group and make it an event.

Well-Deserved Corporate Retreat

If your company or work place is looking for an employee outing, you should tell your boss about the large group rafting opportunities at Imperial River Company. You can reserve several rafts, or even the entire facility, for the day. This is perfect for giving hard working employees a break and a treat. It is also a great team-building fun outside the work environment. No matter what your reason for a corporate rafting retreat, it will go a long way towards improving office morale.

Large-Scale Family Reunion

If your boss doesn’t want to put up the funds for an office retreat, you may have to go to your family. Rafting is the perfect activity for all ages, and if you have a large family, you can rent out the indoor or outdoor space at Imperial River Company. Imagine rafting whitewater rapids in the morning, barbecuing riverside at noon, and then visiting and playing with family into the evening. With dining, rafting, and lodging all in one facility, Imperial River Company makes the perfect spot for your next family reunion.

Long Overdue Class Reunion

Maybe your family isn’t exactly the outdoorsy type. Don’t worry, you still have options. Remember all those people you used to recreate with back in the day? Why not invite them over to Maupin for a whitewater rafting trip? Instead of hosting your next class reunion in a gym in which everyone simply chats and drinks, turn it into an active outdoor event at Imperial River Company. You can set up food and drink on the patio, mingle on the lawn next to the Deschutes River, and split into your old friend groups for one big rafting trip.

It really doesn’t matter which group you bring to Maupin. All that matters is that Imperial River Company has space for everyone you want to bring on your group Deschutes River whitewater adventure.

Oregon Rafting Trips are for Everyone

Oregon River Rafting

Because extreme adventurers love whitewater rafting, it often gets misrepresented as an extreme sport. When you go on a guided rafting trip though, this is not the case. Everyone is in life jackets, the guide is experienced, and the river is frequented by rafters of all ages and abilities on a daily basis. Whether you enjoy extreme sports or not, whitewater rafting is something in which everyone can participate.

Adults Enjoy the Challenge

Most whitewater rafters are adults. This is simply because they have the means and the transportation to get to popular rafting destinations like Imperial River Company in Maupin. If they’re beginners, they can appreciate the expertise of their guide to get them through safely. If they’re experts, they probably look forward to the challenge that the Class IV rapids of the Deschutes River offer.

Teens Love the Rush

When it’s time to lounge and sunbathe, teens enjoy a good river float, but when the waters are raging, they equally enjoy the rush of whitewater rafting. Rafting Class III and IV rapids with friends is great as both a social event and as a rigorous activity. Teens find it easy to paddle with the group, “ride the bull” and look to their charming river guides to lead them down river.

Senior Citizens Enjoy the Interaction

Although Class V and VI rapids are a little extreme for most senior citizens, the Class III and IV rapids on the lower Deschutes River are just their style. They have enough whitewater to give everyone a thrill, but aren’t too challenging for a senior citizen to participate. Plus, they’ll love the time and interaction a family rafting trip provides.

Children Love the Excitement

Just like senior citizens, many people think they can’t bring their kids along on a whitewater rafting trip near Maupin, but that simply isn’t the case. If the child can  fit into a youth life jacket (must be 50lbs.) then they can raft! Children love to see the wildlife along the way, and they’ll talk about their brave ride through the rapids for months to come.

No matter which category you fit in, whitewater rafting can be your recreational sport. Whether you’re an experienced rafter or a budding beginner, Imperial River Company has a rafting trip for you. We have short 5-mile sprint trips that are great for first-timers and overnight camp and raft trips for dedicated adventurers. Book your Oregon rafting trip today, so you can take on the rapids tomorrow!

When Is the Best Time to Go Whitewater Rafting in Oregon?

If you’ve been thinking about taking a whitewater rafting trip in Oregon this year, you might wonder about the timing. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your entire rafting team is available at the same time, whether that be your friends or family, but there are a few other things to consider as well.

Water Levels are Perfect Year Round

In some areas, the water level of the river is of concern, especially during dry summers coming after mild winters. However, for the Deschutes River, this is not the case. Because the source of the Deschutes River is a spring and not a glacier, the water flow remains fairly consistent. That means, if you’re up for it, you could potentially raft the Deschutes any time of year. Of course, because of comfortable air temperatures, you should probably wait for our unofficial rafting season which runs from late spring to early fall.

The Deschutes is Wide Open during Spring and Fall

If you don’t mind the cooler weather, you might want to consider going on your rafting trip during late Spring or early Fall. This can be a great time to go whitewater rafting near Maupin simply because you can avoid the crowds. If you prefer to immerse yourself in nature without having to navigate the crowds, then book your rafting trip sometime in May or early June before schools end for the year or in September right after school starts up again.

Maupin Weather is Best during the Summer

Unlike some northwest cities in Oregon, Maupin is known for having mostly sunny days, year round. That means you usually won’t have to worry about timing your trip around rain storms. However, if you want the splash of the Deschutes River water to be refreshing instead of freezing, then you’ll want to go rafting in the heat of the summer. A lot of other people will have the same idea, but as long as you book in advance you’ll be just fine.  Mid-week trips are the guides favorite times to go, simply because the crowds are less.

If you’re ready to book your whitewater rafting trip, we at Imperial River Company invite you to check out our available trips. We offer short sprints and overnight trips and can accommodate groups both large and small no matter the season.

Get the Full Imperial Whitewater Rafting Experience

Because of our great river guides and exciting rapids, the Imperial River Company has become known for whitewater rafting. When you book an adventure with us though, you get a lot more than that. We encourage you to head out to the Maupin, Oregon area to discover for yourself exactly what the Imperial Experience offers. Want to know more? Here’s a preview of just one possible Central Oregon adventure at Imperial.

Start with an All-Day Rafting Trip

You’ll start on the lawns of the Imperial River Company at 9:30am. The day will be just starting to warm up, and by the time you get moving on some rapids, the water temperature will feel perfect for cooling down. You’ll spend the next few hours shooting rapids like Surf City, Oak Springs, and the Elevators. There will be a few chances to take it easy though, and during these portions, we encourage you to take in the views of the Deschutes River Canyon and the wildlife that calls it home. You might see an osprey, deer, or even otters.

Avoid the River Traffic on a Unique Deschutes River Trip

Enjoy the portage around Sherar’s Falls, then, you’ll be on your way again at Buck Hollow. This stretch of the Deschutes is not often rafted.  You’ll float through the Narrows, take on the Wreck Rapids and pass under two railroad trestles. All that paddling is sure to make you hungry though, so the group will take out at Pine Tree, ride the bus back to the lodge for a peaceful lunch.  You’ll be amazed at how many rafts you will see on the river as you head in for lunch.  You’ve avoided the river traffic on this reverse-order trip.

Kick Back at our Maupin Lodge

After your bbq lunch on the lush green Imperial lawn, you’ll get back on the water and travel through five more miles of rapids, arguably some of the best rapids on the Deschutes. Eventually, you’ll pull off at the Imperial docks and dry off on their riverside lawns. After such an exciting rafting trip, you’ll likely be exhausted, so it’s a good idea to book a room at the Imperial lodge. You can get a meal at the riverside restaurant, stop by the bar for a few drinks, and then sleep comfortably in a charming room that overlooks the Deschutes River. Trust us, with the river burbling by and the adventure you have had that day, you’ll definitely get some great sleep!

When you’re ready to explore all the outdoor recreation that Central Oregon has to offer, stop in at Imperial River Company in Maupin. We’d love to share an adventure with you!

Important Oregon Rafting Terms

Whitewater Rafting, Maupin, Oregon

When you’re traveling through whitewater rapids on a raging river, you don’t have time to wonder what your river guide means when he says, “Watch out for that hole!” At Imperial River Company, our friendly guides will make sure you know these rafting terms before you push off, but it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the class. Before you take off on your first Deschutes River rafting trip, familiarize yourself with the key phrases you’ll need to know.

Visual Hand Signals

Because intense whitewater is often loud, most river guides use hand signals along with their voice commands to direct the rafting team safely through the water. These include:

  • Pointing Positive: Every now and then someone finds themselves dumped overboard. In these cases, your river guide will attempt to point you in the right direction, so you can swim to safety. In order to make sure nobody gets confused, they never point negative. For example, they would never point at a rock in the river and say, “Watch out for that rock!” because you might not be able to hear them and interpret their pointing as where you should go. The rule on the river is to always point positive, which means point in the direction you want the person or team to go.
  • Are you OK? Yes, I’m OK: If the current is gentle enough, many rafters like to take a dip along the way. In these cases, it’s important to reassure passing guides that you aren’t in any danger. To check, they’ll lightly tap the top of their head. To respond, swimmers should tap the top of their head as well. These hand signals translate simply as, “Are you OK?” and “Yes, I’m OK.” Therefore signaling to those in the area that you’re not in any danger.

Important River Terminology

During your pre-trip training and throughout the rafting trip, your guide will be using terms specific to rivers and the sport of rafting. You’ll catch on quicker if you know some of the most important river terminology, like:

  • CFS: River guides need to pay attention to what the water is doing all the time. This helps them prepare their team to take each rapid in the best possible way. One aspect they watch for is how fast the river is moving. They measure this in cubic feet per second, or CFS for short.
  • Eddy: If you’re on the Deschutes River, then you can enjoy a lot of great rapids, but there are plenty of places to take a break along the way if needed. You can take this kind of respite in an eddy, which is a place along the side of the river or behind a boulder where the current flows upstream.
  • Hole: While paddling with your rafting team, you’ll need to be on the lookout for water hazards like holes. A hole is created when water flows over a shelf or rock and recirculates within that pocket. If a raft were to venture into one of these, they could get stuck or flip.
  • Line: Your guide is in charge of finding and leading you through the best possible route down the river. When they spot a path like this, it’s called a line.
  • Wave Train: The rapids of the lower Deschutes River are as diverse as they are exciting. Some are short and quick while others keep your adrenaline pumping for a few minutes. When there are 3 or more waves in a row within a set of rapids, they’re called a wave train. These are fun spots where rafters feel like they’re on a roller coaster.

Now that you know the lingo, why not learn the sport for yourself. Head on out to Maupin and book a whitewater rafting trip on the Deschutes River. The guides at Imperial River Company will be impressed with your river term repertoire!