Just back from my Deschutes trip last night. Thanks to the input from so many, I went far better prepared than I would have otherwise. I did stop by and visit the good folk at Deschutes Angler. Quite an impressive shop.
We fished 3 days unguided, and found the river very approachable with many access points to great water.
It rained a lot during the first day and night. By second day, the river below White River was high and muddy. We fished upriver of the White, as did a gazillion others. We saw the same drift boats that started O' Dark 30 , come right back up river an hour later.
The only low holing encountered were when people cut in below me on the run i was fishing. But they were mostly kind enough to leave me 100 yards of water. Is that still low holing? One guy seemed a bit miffed when I quickened my pace to fish behind some mid stream boulders that formed a nice long soft water before he could cut in. Felt a bit like combat fishing. Not knowing the Deschutes and being relatively new to steelhead fishing, I didnt know what to expect or how much space people should allow or expect on a long run. I guess when the river gets muddy, everyone has to crowd into whatever clean water there is. Most everyone I encountered was very friendly and I enjoyed chatting with them. I even met a formerly local guy who moved to Sacramento, near my neck of the woods.
The Deschutes is a beautiful place, lots of river miles to access, and I look forward to returning to learn the river better. One guy I met who fished the river a lot made a comment that stuck in my mind. He said he focuses a lot of time on a small stretch of river to know it really well, rather than explore all over.
Thanks again for so many helpful replies to my first post.