Scenic USA - Oregon

Wild and Scenic Metolius River

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Wild and Scenic Metolius River - Jefferson County, Oregon

Photos by Denny Barnes
Denny Barnes Photography

     Starting as a slow trickle on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, the Metolius River builds with a number of tiny tributaries and two clusters of springs on its way toward Lake Billy Chinook. Fly Fishing - Metolius River, Camp Sherman, Oregon Adding about 50,000 gallons per minute, this group of natural springs creates one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the country. Passing through the outer reaches of the Deschutes National Forest, the Wild and Scenic Metolius flows down through an old growth forest of ponderosa pine, larch, fir, and cedar. Here on the eastern slopes of Oregon's Cascades, often referred as the dry side, the land is overshadowed by 10,000 foot jagged mountain peaks. High above the tree line, the snow capped peaks of the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Broken Top break into the skyline.
     The Metolius headwaters begin on the dark stratovolcano called Black Butte, about five miles south of Camp Sherman. Mule Deer Crossing - Metolius River, Camp Sherman, Oregon The Metolius Recreation Area provides access to 4,600 acres of outdoor fun on the dry side of the Cascades. The Metolius quickly tests its anglers, with a few suggesting the stream is the most challenging in the entire northwest. Rainbows, Dolly Varden, brown trout, whitefish and Kokanee salmon hang on the edges of small pools, just waiting to be enticed to bite. This spring fed oasis, with water temps in the 40s, eventually joins the Deschutes River at Lake Billy Chinook. Along with its National Scenic River designation, the area offers a preserve large enough for camping, boating, biking, hiking, rafting and kayaking.

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