If you could ever imagine a blue ribbon brown trout fishery on the surface of Mars, it would be the Owyhee River. Nestled in a high-dessert red-rock canyon just over the border in Oregon, its blue-green waters meander slowly along willow-lined banks.
Throughout the summer months, the air is dry and the daytime temperatures are extreme. It’s not uncommon for the mercury to rise over 100 degrees from mid-July throughout the end of August. However, the crisp bottom-fed flows provide a welcoming contrast to the summer heat.
In typical years, the best fishing picks up in mid-May with the arrival of the Caddis and PMDs and continues throughout the end of October closing with Mahoganies and Baetis. Of course, you can always fish late and early in the year with midges, but the best fishing opportunities are by far in the heat of the summer and early fall.
Nymphing throughout the day will always produce, but most anglers focus their attention on the Owyhee’s epic hatches and top water action that becomes a boiling feeding frenzy.
The river boasts a healthy population of large brown trout – between 16 and 24 inches on average – but also offers a small population of rainbows in the upper stretches. Regardless of circumstance, fishing the Owyhee in its prime is truly an experience of a lifetime.