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November 19 2011

Tri Ash Husker

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This is one of my favorite patterns.. The steelhead seem to love it and the sea run cutthroat and smaller smolts won’t leave it alone. I have to take it off sometimes to keep the smaller fish from bugging me…

It has flashabou for the upper wing and the rubber legs for animation. In clear water on a bright sunny day, I can see the fly even 40-50 feet away, it really attracts the light.

A design by Pacific Fly out of Mill Creek, WA.

September 3 2011

Olympic Peninsula, Forks, Washington

Travelled to Forks for a fishing trip on the Olympic Peninsula.  There are 5 great rivers around Forks, all famous for their steelhead, salmon, and searun cutthroat trout. Took a couple of friends with me and planned on spending 5 days up there.  Travelled on Thursday and fished the Hoh that afternoon after getting he camper all situated.

The Hoh was running pretty cloudy because of rains earlier in the week and warm days. It melts the glacier and adds a lot of silt to the river. But we were camped at the Hoh River Resort, right next to the river, so it was convenient and we needed the casting practice anyway.

On Friday we fished the Sol Duc, no hookups.  Saw a few fish as we worked up and down the river, some in a group of 8, but none wanted what we had, except a bunch of small trout. Moved to the Dickey and Quilyute, but no hookups there either. Did miss a couple of pretty good strikes. Saw a bunch of river otters working and catching some good size fish, but none for me…

Saturday we were joined by Gordon and decided to start out on the Hoh.

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This stuff is not all mine, although my wife thinks I have way too much fishing stuff.  It’s a combination of all our stuff. Below is Lloyd on the Hoh.

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So travelled up the the Upper Hoh, close to the National Park boundary to try our luck.  Got a couple of small trout, but no big hits.  Couple of guide boats passed, so I guess the Hoh is fishable even when cloudy. I had broken my rod tip the day before and tried to repair it that evening, but the old tip would not fit well and broke again as I caught a small trout.  So we went into Forks to the Yellow Dog Outfitters to get it repaired. While there, he told us about a place some friends of his had caught fish the day before, so we were off for that spot..

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We went to the Rearing Ponds, that is on the Boachiel River, with a secondary one on the Calawah River.  The mouth of the Calawah is about a mile downstream of the ponds and drains into the Bogachiel.  We beat the brush down a fisherman’s trail along the Boggie to the river junction.

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Fished the Boggie for a little bit, then Godon when downstream, Lloyd stayed on the Boggie and I went upstream on the Calawah.  As I moved upstream, I saw a group of about 4-5 fish holding at the top of the ripple. I moved upstream and swung a fly past them.  One pulled out of the group and hammered it…It was a really nice wild steelhead and I finally landed  and released it.  Went right back into the same spot, one cast, got another on.  This time it was a wild coho salmon.  Great fight, landed and released.

During all this I have been trying to reach my fishing mates via cell, but both of them left their cells in the car. So just kept fishing.  I wanted someone to take some photos of the fish, can’t take wild fish out of water, so I couldn’t get them into a position to take a picture, oh and I wanted them to catch to some too…

Moved up to the top of the run and started working my way back down. Got a really nice one, he came right at me, jumped really high, then headed up the river.  Ran almost all my backing off and I panicked and tried to palm the reel to slow it down, as soon as I did, got too much friction and he broke the 10 lb tippet.

Rerigged and kept moving down that run.  Got another wild coho.  This is unreal, 3 fish landed and all wild, what’s up with that.  Ratio should be heavy to hatchery and not a bunch of wild fish… Anyway, kept moving down..

Got another solid fish, she made a couple of solid runs, but my rig was handling it well, so I just let it work.  Had learned my lesson with the one I lost.  Had my drag set properly and It was a nice hatchery hen, 28 inches, about 8-10 lbs.  Got her close and saw it wasn’t wild one, so beached her, didn’t have a net and don’t trust myself to tail one. Once I had her out and killed, took a picture with my phone camera…

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The rod is an Angler’s Roost Enterprises (ARE) 12 foot 5/6 weight spey rod, Allen 7/8 Alpha reel, and SGS custom shooting head line from Steve Godschall.  A great combo, worked well all day. The handle is 16” long, so that is good indication of the fish size.

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The above is a little better shot, I think. A nice fish, a great day, haven’t caught so many large fish in awhile, not since Alaska in the 70’s. Measured at 28 inches, didn’t have a scale, but estimate 8-10 pounds. Went home and ordered another ARE, this time a 7/8, 13’, 4 piece, line from SGS, ready to go back for some more… First ones on the 5/6 spey rod.  I will be back to Forks, soon.

June 30 2011

Green Machine (10’ 4” 3/4 Switch – 4 Piece)

I built this rod from a Roger Penrose single handed 10’ 3/4 weight blank. I extended the length by 4 inches and added a 2 handed grip. The guides are single foot with ceramic inserts from Angler’s Roost and the reel seat is from Utmost.  The reel seat has a green graphite inlay and the rod is a dark green.  I used Evergreen thread with some silver accents.

Grips are custom made and oversize.  I like the larger size for 2 handed work, but not sure about when I use it for singlehanded casting.  Will just have to use it more and then decide if I want to reduce the grip diameter.

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Shown here with a Pfleuger 1495 1/2 classic reel.  I have also used an Albright Bugati 7/8 large arbor reel with this rod.  I tried various lines, including making some custom shooting heads, but finally settled on the Wulf Triangle Taper Ambush 4 weight line. It works beautifully on this rod for both 2 hand casting (spey) and for nymph casting.  It is 195 grain line with o a 20’ front taper, making it really nice for working in the rivers here where you have so little back cast room.

Recently got to give this rod a work out on the Naches River in Washington state.  The Naches flows down the eastern slope of Mount Rainier and is fed my many high mountain rivers and spring fed streams. No big ones, but got plenty of smaller cutthroat and rainbow trout.  So at least now the “skunk” is off the rod.

June 30 2011

Baby Spey (Albright 1078 Converted to Switch)

This rod started as an Albright 1078, 10 foot 7/8 weight single handed rod with a fighting butt.  I have the fighting butt converted to a 5 inch spey grip to make it a 10’5”, 7 weight switch. While the front grip is a little shorter than most 2 handed rods, I do not find it distracting.

Before modification, I was throwing a Sage 8 weight Indicator line on this rod (320 grain), but after modification I now throw a Rio AFS 6/7 scandi and a 450 grain compact skagit.  They both work great.  I also have a modified SA Headstart 10 weight single handed line that woks really nice on this rod. I has the head chopped at 15 feet and sink tips made to replace the 15 feet of floating head.  I still use the 15 feet floating head the most, but it makes a versatile line…

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I call it the Baby Spey because I have a Albright 13 foot 8/9 weight spey rod.  After modification, this rod look almost exactly like a miniature version of the big guy…

June 30 2011

Rusty Nail (10’ 10” 6 Weight Switch–2 piece)

I built this rod from a 10’ 6” 7 weight single handed blank I got from Utmost on closeout.  I think it is a Pac-Bay blank but not sure. This was my first rod build and I probably got a little ambitious with it.  I know I made some cosmetic mistakes, but after reading on the rodbuilding forum, I think they are correctable and I will give that a go later this summer. For now, I am too busy using it to start a project that will restrict its use.  It is a great throwing rod.

I added a reel seat that would allow a removable butt for this rod.  I now have three different butts, although I mainly stick with the 4 inch one shown installed. The rod is a plum color and I got some purple and some fuscia thread to use, but did not like either so I settle for some black. Guides are single foot, ceramic insert guides from Angler’s roost.

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After finishing this rod and doing the weight test, it came out to be between 6 and 7 weight.  I started out trying a bunch of 7 weight spey line, but they were too heavy, or at least for me.  I have finally settled on a Rio AFS 5/6 scandi line and a 325 grain Skagit short line for this rod.  They both work beautifully. 80 foot casts are not a problem and if I push, 100 foot are relatively easy.

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I have since updated to Airflo Compact Scandi 390 grains at 31 feet and a Rio Northwest Skagit 450 grains at 27 feet.  They both work really well on this rod.  I still use the AFS 5/6 if I want a more delicate presentation, but eh 390 is my go to string for this stick.

I was using the 6 inch grip for 2 handed, but it just was comfortable, so I built the 4 inch grip above and enjoy it more. View of other grips…

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June 30 2011

Das Boat (Colorado XT Pontoon)

Just a few shots of my pontoon boat. This is a 10 foot pontoon boat I got from Costco in 2008.  It was $300 including shipping to my door, so the price was right.  I have added a 36 lb thrust Mincota, 36 inch shaft electric motor, better anchor system, and rod holders for my 2 handed rods.

First shot is from one of the first river trips.  We floated the Yakima in Sept 2008 and the boat did great.  Discovered the need for a better anchor system, so now I have a lot of chain, attached to a very large muffler clamp (for semi or large truck) with 50 feet of anchor line.  I can let the anchor drag on the bottom and regulate drift speed in a river this way.  Can add or remove sections of chain to adjust anchor weigh depending on river speed.

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This is a shot of the rod holders.  A normal fly rod holder will not work for 2 handers since they have a longer bottom grip.  So I took some 2 inch PVC pipe, my Dremel tool, and made a set that will hold the longer rods. Since this photo, I have added a foam liner to protect the rod even more.  But they work great. Keeps the rod down low and pointing to the rear out of the way of the oars.  I have one on each side, as I usually carry more than one rod rigged and ready to go.  They work for 1 or 2 handers.

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Next was how to transport it to the lake or river.  I pull an RV trailer so pulling a small trailer as an option is out.  I deflate the pontoon and carry it in the back of the pickup between home and the RV park or campsite.  Then I get it out, inflate it, and put it on the roof of the truck.  No luggage rack, just strap it down to the fender wells. Works great for running down to the river or lake, or to other lakes.  Don’t like to get it out on the highway much, if I can help it, but it rides fine, its just my preference.

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June 30 2011

Pink Panther (7’6” 3/4 weight – 2 piece)

I built this rod for my granddaughter.  Got the blank from Roger Penrose on e-bay, used metallic purple thread, guides are single foot, ceramic inserts from Angler’s Roost, reel seat is from Mudhole. This was the third rod I had built, so it came out pretty good.  I found a reel (Okuma 3/4) one day at Goodwill, very lucky, it was almost brand new. Had some DT4F line that worked perfectly, so she is now outfitter very well.

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March 1 2011

Rodbuilding

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I decided to try my hand at building a fly rod this year.  Did a lot of reading on the web and purchased a couple of used books off Amazon.  Plus some advise from a professional rod builder while in AZ.

I got 2 blanks from Roger Penrose off eBay and a third blank from a close out with Utmost .  I started with the blank from Utmost.  It was a 10’6” 7 weight single-handed blank, but I wanted to use it to build a two handed switch rod.  I tried a technique for the grip that used a commercial grip (7 inch) and sliced in some fancy cork to extend it to 10 inches. I added a reel seat that allowed me to put on detachable fighting buts, one is 1.5 inches the other is 5 inches.The extended fore grip moved the flex point forward and after completion, doing a measurement to see what weight the rod worked best at indicated it now was best at 6 weight. So I have a 10’6” 6 weight SH rod, with long fighting butt, it is a 11’ 6 weight switch rod.  Made some mistakes during wrap and it nothing fancy, but it very functional and I love the action.

The second rod I attempted was one for my grand daughter.  It is on a 7’6” 3/4 weight 2 piece pink blank.  I got this from Roger Penrose off eBay.  I used metallic purple thread, with silver metallic accents and put a feather art segment on it.  I used a commercial pre-made grip and black reel seat, with rosewood insert and black guides.  I took my time with all the wraps and it came out very nice.  I found a new Okuma reel at Goodwill and now she not only has a rod, but a nice 3/4 reel to match.  It cast a DT4F line very nicely. I didn’t have any other 4 weight lines to try, but am very happy with the way this rod works.

The last of he rods for this winter is a light trout switch rod.  I used a 4 piece, 3/4 weight, 10’ blank from Roger Penrose.  Evergreen thread with silver accents for the wraps, black reel seat and guides.  I added a 3” extension to the blank, and with a 10 inch fore grip and 3 inch aft grip, it makes a nice rod.  I custom build the grips and left them oversize, in making golf clubs, I learned that larger grips reduce hand fatigue, and it seems to work on this rod also. This rod is a true 3/4, I will probably use Wulff Ambush Taper in 4 weight on it, but haven’t tested that yet.  I cast the DT4F perfectly in SH mode.  I have tried a few custom lines I constructed, but haven’t got it tuned in yet.  Using a WF6F for spey work now, but think the Wulff will do best, once I have it.

October 2 2008

Deschutes River, Maupin, OR

September 2008 – Deschutes River Information – We fished the Deschutes for two days in late Septmber.  One day was self guided, the second was guided by Deschutes Angler, our guide for that trip was Amy Hazel.  We stayed at the Maupin City RV Park and fished the river around the town on Monday.  In the mornng we tried our luck upstream of Maupin, then took a break for lunch and fished below Maupin in the evening.  I had no luck in the morning, but caught 3 whitefish off dry flies in the evening. Results of the guided trip are provided in the discussion of that day.

The Deschutes is a beautiful river.  The area around Maupin is all canyons, so the banks are relatively steep, but there is a road on one side and a railroad track on the other, so walking and wade fishing is possible. While the river is most famous for its steelhead, called redsides, we tried our luck at trout fishing on Monday. If you know what to expect and talk to any of the fly shops in Maupin, you should be able to catch some fish there.  We were told that the best trout time was later afternoon and evening and that they were hitting close to the bank on small dry flies.  I got my 3 doing exactly that.

The reason we went to the Deshutes was to steelhead fish and specifically to steelhead fish with Spey rods.  Deschutes Angler is the Spey headquarters, so we wanted to learn from the best.  In my option, Amy Hael was just that, the best.  Her ability to teach us not only to Spey cast, but how to correctly fish the swinging fly made for an enjoyable day.

So in addition to wonderful scenery, fast, deep, cold water, and beautiful weather, we learned a lot of new casting techniques for the Deschutes and other Nortwest steelhead rivers.

Monday – Self Guided – Around Maupin

On Monday, we visited the Deschutes Angler Fly Shop, this shop is out of place in Maupin, its a high end fly shop and would fit perfectly in any upscale mall in any large city. we talked with John Hazel about the Tuesday guide service and he informed us that Amy would be our guide.  He also informed us we better be ready to fish, that Amy was a no nonsense guide and would keep us on our toes. we got some trout information and of course had to buy the latest and hotest flies prior to heading out to the river.

Maupin is located on the canyon walls with the river running through it.  There is a BLM access road that runs both up and down river, with BLM campgrounds in both directions.  Most of the campgrounds can handle 1-4 campers, with most having some limited RV space.  No hook-ups, just a place to park.  But they are all along side the river. The road is paved for a few miles out of Maupin, but rough gravel after that.  There is a large campground at the pavement end going up river and a large campground at roads end going down river.  The two large campgrounds each hold 15-20 sites. On weekends, especially in the summer, Maupin is rafter heaven, so the campgrounds fill fast. My advice if you can is go mid-week to avoid the crowds.  We stayed at the Maupin City Park, which has RV sites with full hookups.  Read my review under RV and Camping.

So on Monday, we took the upriver BLM road to the very end.  There is a locked gate to stop vehicle traffic, but you can walk from there.  We walked up river for another mile or so and fished our way back down to the truck.  We mostly nymph fished, that side of the river is steep and deep, so we figured nymphing would work best. I did try a dry fly combo and got one hit on the smaller trailing fly (x-caddis #16).  So about 1:30 or 2 we headed back to the trailer.

After a break and some food, we drove down river and tried our luck at dry flies.  I fished a salmon fly #6 with an x-caddis #16 trailing.  The salmon fly was a bad idea, the season was long over for them, but I did catch 3 whitefish on the x-caddis.  Fish were jumping all around me, but the bigger trout didn’t care much for my flies. But the whitefish were fun to catch, so I just stayed stubborn and kept fishing the same setup until dark.

Tuesday – Lower River above Mac’s Canyon – Guide: Amy Hazel

Tuesday came early, we met Amy at the fly shop at 5:30 AM, waders and boots on ready to go. We had gotten our instructions the day prior, be there ready to leave at 5:30, be ready to fish, boots waders and vests on, bring a complete change of clothes, including undergarments and socks, the Deshutes is not too forgiving of unsteady waders. Our guide was Amy Hazel, she has been guiding for over 8 years, her husband John and her own the Deschutes Angler Fly Shop and both guide as well.

We departed the fly shop at 5:30 AM, just as planned.  Drove to a launch south of town and put the boat in while still dark.  Amy started rowing toward the first spot long before there was light.  Luckily she knew the river very well and could determine her location by the sound of the water.  We went a short way down the river and pulled into our first run to learn how to fish with a Spey rod.  Rather than go into great detail about what a Spey rod is, just check out this article on two-handed-flyrods. My brief summary is, the Spey rod is a two handed fly rod between 12-15 feet long.  Its claim to fame is the ease with which it casts a long line with minimum backcast.  On the Deschutes, it is very difficult to find any space to have an adequate back cast, required by an overhead cast technique.  The Spey cast is a highly modified roll-cast and can get 60-70 feet of line on the water with a minimum of space behind you. In addition to the casting lessons, Amy taught us how to fish each run, and a short speech on how to hook a steelhead, which obviously didn’t take on me, as I proceeded to violate it on my first 2 grabs.

As the day went on we fished various runs and Amy continued to provide coaching and tips.  We were fishing with Echo 12’6″ #6 rods, Vision Shooting Tip floating line, and Galvan R-10 reels, a great setup for a summer steelhead outfit. Amy also provided a 13′ #7 outfit to let us see the difference.  The #7 is better suited to casting both floating and sinking tip lines, thus a better all around outfit. The two handed rods were much easier to cast than a #9-10 one handed rod and less tiring as the day worn on.

You can’t fish from a boat on the Deschutes, so we used it for transportation between runs.  Wading the Deschutes can be difficult, the reason for the change of clothes.  I almost went under on my second run, but managed to stay up.  Thought I had learned my lesson, but did stumble and go down later in the day.  Luckily, it was a warm sunny day, so I just air dried, but even that was cold.  We were wearing breathable chest high waders, wading stick (mandatory), and wader belt (mandatory), but the river is swift and the rocks large, round, and slick, so a tumble is not uncommon.

We fished numerous great looking runs before lunch.  At lunch there is a break of a couple of hours.  The steelhead don’t like the sun at noon, so they stay down.  The guides take a short break and we could either nap, practice casting, or trout fish.  We had our #5 fly rods, so we opted for trout fishing.  But no luck there.  Amy had put us in the best place for lunch, it was the first place to get shade in the afternoon, so by 3:00 we were back fishing. The first run after lunch is were I lost footing and got baptized by the Deschutes.  My boating partner lost it on the same run, so at least I didn’t have to put up with a bunch of razzing.

I had 2 or 3 “grabs” during the day, but instinctly raised my rod tip to set the hook, not the way to hook steelhead. You have to release line and let them hook themselves.  On my last run of the day, I finally got the hang of it.  I was fishing down to the boat when a large hatchery steelhead took the fly, I relaxed, and she set the hook in her jaw, perfect! She was a beauty, she immediately took a long run with an aerial exhibition at the end of it.  I tried to gain back some line, but she immediately took another long run and went airborne again, beautiful! By this time Amy was back with me and giving me plenty of coaching.  The two handed rod is great for casting, but it doesn’t provide the same leverage as a stout one handed, the fish definitely has the advantage, but it just makes the fight better.

The fish got down into a deep pool and just wallowed around, I kept the pressure on an tried to get back more line.  The reel had a 15′ leader, 35′ of shooting tip, 150′ of running line, and 200 yards of backing.  I was way down into the backing.  I wasn’t concerned until Amy got concerned, she even took a photo of the reel and backing, so we started walking down river to the fish, after falling once already, I must say I wasn’t too confident that it was a good idea. But after some walking, another run by the fish, and continued pressure, we were able to recover the line back to the running line. Amy had decided the net as too small, so she would tail the fish and as I got it closer gave some good instructions on how to get it positioned for her. So after a great fight and about 20 minutes of tugging on a long rod, I got her in position for Amy to tail.

Amy estimated she was 10-12lb, all during the fight we figured she was a wild fish, but once landed we saw she was a hatchery fish.  I could have kept her, but after such a great fight, letting her go was the best option. Amy’s philosophy is that the hatchery fish that are the most aggressive, get caught and removed from the gene pool, so releasing a great fighting fish will enable her to go up river, spawn, and provde eggs for fry with that aggressive gene.  Five years from now, we’ll be back fishing for one of those aggressive and great fighting off spring.

We continued down river to the take-out.  Got the boat out of the water about 7:15PM and back to the fly shop about 8:00 PM, so it was a long day for all of us, but especially for Amy who did all the hard work.

Summary

Two days fishing in Maupin, Oregon.  Stayed at the Maupin City RV Park, fished up and down river.  First day self guided, #7 rod, nymph and dry fly.  3 whitefish late in the evening on dries.  Day 2, Guided trip with Deschutes Angler Fly Shop, Amy Hazel guide.  Fished lower river below Shearer Falls, drift boat, wading various runs.  Caught 1 10-12 lb steelhead.  13-14 hours on the river, mostly fishing, very little down time, John was right when he said Amy took her guiding serious, I am confident she put us on fish all day.   Either they didn’ bite, or we missed them, but she worked hard to make sure we had the opportunity to catch one. So Amy, here’s to you.

I fell in love with the Deschutes and will definitely be back.  Even before I caught the fish, I was thinking about when I could work a return trip in.

October 2 2008

Yakima River, Ellensburg, WA

Friday – Farmlands River Section – Guides: Joe Rotter, Johnny Boitano.

This was my first time experience with a guide. Joe told me it would spoil me and he was right.  There were 4 in our party, me, John (my son-in-law), Pat, and Steve.  We had a wide range of fly fishing experience, Steve had never fly fished, John had done a little, I hadn’t really fly fished for about 10-12 years, prior to that I did a lot in Alaska and other places during my military career, Pat had been fly fishing all of his life.

The guides met us at a access point near were we were camped, they discussed the options with us and then we drove to the boat ramp up the river to get started. John and I went with Joe and Pat and Steve went with Johnny.  The guides furnished all the flies and leaders and did all the tying and untangling throughout the day.  They also provided lots of instruction and teaching tips.  I have never nymphed so the morning was spent nymphing and learning how to do that properly.  The guides chose the farmlands because there was a lot of blown down trees in the river, that kept most of the drift boats out of that area.  They figured with 2 guides they could help each other push the boats over the logs, so it would be the less crowded part of the river. They were right and the fishing was great.

On the Yakima, you can fish from the boat and it’s probably more productive than wade fishing, due to the amount of water you can cover. We fished the holes around submerged rocks and logs and started catching fish within the first 15 minutes.  While we got a lot of takes, we probably only hooked half of them and netted only a third of those, as I say, they fight hard.

Its a peaceful river, nice floating, other that all the blow down across the river. The farmlands section is appropriately named.  The river flows through a lot of low farmland in the Ellensburg area and through the city limits.  We passed the city park as one of the landmarks. It was surprising that people were not fishing the easy access points along the bank, but we only encountered one other boat and no wade fishermen.

Steve caught his first trout on a fly rod. This was his first experience fly fishing and he took to it like a natural. I think he describes it best..

“I had a great time fishing. Aside from the obvious pleasure of just being out in the country I loved the grace of the casting (well I imagine that with practice the grace would come), the rewards from paying close attention to the subtle clues from the fishes’ world, and the precision and beauty of the flies and gear.”

Pat has been fly fishing most of his life and set up the trip for us.  He arranged the guides, I brought the RV and coordinated food, so it worked out well. Pat landed a lot of fish and we both caught a 16 incher on dry flies later in the day.  Pat needs to learn how to hold a fish for the camera, we’re going to razz him a lot about his technique.

Summary: We got a one day guided service from Red’s Fly Shop, average cost $400-$500 for two.  we met the guides at 9:00 AM at an access point, then went up the river to launch the boat.  Fished 5 and 6 weight fly rods, nymph in morning.  Two flies below an indicator, 16-18 nymphs, the WD40 caught the most fish. the guides furnish flies and leaders and definitely put you on the fish, the catching is up to you.  The guides furnished lunch, our menu was grilled steak, pasta salad, and fruit.

Fished dry flies in the afternoon, the stone flies were hatching so we used #6 and #8 stone flys, with an x-caddis (16-18) trailing behind it.  Caught an equal number on either. We did catch larger fish in the afternoon after switching to dry.  But we were also farther down the river and into larger fish population. Floated about 11 miles of water, took out at Ringers Loop.  We were staying at Yakima River RV which is about a 1/2 mile from the Ringer Loop boat access. Got back to the trailer about 6:30 PM.

Hats off to Joe and Johnny, they had a really mixed crew and they did a great job.  Put us on lots of fish, gave great advise and tips, didn’t get frustrated with us, and made the trip a really memorable experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to guide fishing.

Saturday – Canyon Section – Self Guided

On Saturday we decided to float the Canyon section in our pontoon boats.  We didn’t feel comfortable going over the same water we fished on Friday due to the number of downed trees, log jams, and sweepers we would have to navigate.  While the pontoons are very stable, they aren’t the most maneuverable boats out there.  We launched from Red’s after talking to Joe about where to fish and what flies might work best.  Our plan was to fish down to the Big Pine Recreation area, known as the Slab.

This part of the river is much different that what we floated on Friday.  Its runs through canyon country and is also more popular for drift boat owners.  Since it was a weekend and the water was perfect, the boat launch at Red’s was crowded, so was the river below Red’s. We only stopped for a short time to wade fish and make pontoon adjustments before heading on down the river. Beautiful scenry and once past the first mile the traffic thinnned out.  We nymphed for awhile, then switched to dry flies.

It was difficult to fish from the pontoon while moving, difficult to fish with one hand and control the boat using a single oar.  Would have been better to drop anchor, but I had some anchor issues.  Mine was designed as a nylon mesh bag you fill with rocks.  Worked OK for slow water, but in fast water it drug behind, nice to slow me down and allow fishing, but if wore the bottom out of the bag and I lost all my rocks.  So, no anchor, from that point on it was use the one oar method.

As a result we didn’t do as well on Saturday.  Had a few on dry flies, Pat caught a couple of white fish, but it was mostly just a nice float through scenic country. Once we got to the Slab, where my son-in-law was waiting, we decided to go on down to the dam.  The water after the dam wasn’t great fishing water, so I don’t recommend that float, except for the scenery.  Anyway, 5 miles of river makes for a nice one day pontoon float.