PROfile: Matt Mendes

PROfile: Matt Mendes
For fly fishermen, knowledge of a river is a deeply nuanced understanding. "Knowing" a river can make the difference between a day spent hooking Rainbows and one spent getting skunked. When it comes to the Deschutes, you'd be hard pressed to get closer to the source than Matt Mendes. Calling the Warm Springs Reservation in central Oregon home, he spends 200 days a year on the water here.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you're from.

My name's Matt Mendes, I am a fly fishing guide on the Deschutes River. We specialize in two handed casting instruction and swing flies for trout and steelhead. This year marks my 16th season on the river as a CTWS fly fishing guide. Our family has been in business since 1996 as enrolled Warm Springs tribal members and fly fishing guides.

Matt Mendes surveys a section of river

What is it like growing up on the reservation and how did you end up becoming a guide?
I was very blessed to be able to grow up on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, fly fishing at a young age & hunting elk and deer (big game), etc.

I started hunting upland birds in my late 20s as well, and man, I really enjoy it when I’m not on the water.

Matt's dog, Magic, patrols the shore while Matt fishes midriver

What is so special about fishing on the reservation? 
Fly fishing on the reservation is one of the best fly fishing experiences in the world. From the solitude, the runs, the tail outs and riffles. Not to mention, the inch per inch power of the wild trout we have to offer. Summer steelhead season and casting spey rods keeps me engaged year after year.

Sage fly reel on the tailgate of a truck

What are the best times of year to book a trip with you?

Best times to book with us are:
May/June/July for Redsides and September/October/November for summer steelhead.

Matt ties a fly onto his line

What should a client expect on a day during peak season?
You can expect many fish per day dryfly situations, casting spey rigs on absolutely mental pieces of water and ample nymphing opportunities.

Matt catches a nice trout

Outside of fishing what do you do in your spare time?
When I am not on the river I bow hunt elk in September and rifle hunt deer in October. We also have several other opportunities to hunt big game off reservation on ceded land in the surrounding areas in November. Most of the winter I chase chukars and huns on and off reservation in eastern Oregon.

Matt keeps his gear organized in the DECKED Drawer System

What DECKED products do you use?
I have the DECKED Drawer System installed on my Ram 2500 6.7l Turbo Diesel and the Tool Box/ladder system installed as well. The rig has storage boxes installed and the Piecekeeper inserts for rifles and shotguns, which is my favorite insert in the system.

Matt uses his truck tailgate as a work station

How do they make life as a fly fishing guide easier?
The Drawer System and cargo boxes make guiding more simplified as I know where everything is and am much more organized. I can grab what I’m looking for quickly and equipment is stowed away neatly.

Matt grabs a D-Box from his DECKED crossover Tool Box

What's your favorite accessory and why?

Piecekeepers are my fav as I’m always ready for a hunt or my next outdoor adventure.

Matt's Drawer System is decorated with tons of stickers

If someone's new to fly fishing, what's a good tip to help them get started?
If you’re new to fly fishing the best mindset you can have is enjoy being in it! Waving a stick and don’t focus so much on the numbers. Enjoy getting your boots wet.

Matt hooks up on a fish in the Deschutes River

Cleanup is as easy as rinsing the bed with a hose

Dog kennel strapped on top of Matt's Drawer System


Matt casts while wading midriver

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