Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here is a greeting card I got from Mark Yuhina. Mark is a biologist, fiberglass fly rod freak and great artist. Check out his wonderful water colors at Yuhina Illustrated. Mark's work is amazing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sea Lice

Other then four wheeling to work a couple of times, all I have been doing is tying flies, kicking back with the family, shoveling snow and freezing my ass off over the last week. This has given me a lot of time to think about many random things. One of them was sea lice.

As fishermen, we love sea lice. Sea lice on some chrome fish indicate one thing; the fish is fresher then an eighteen year old freshman on her first day of college. Fresh chrome fish full of piss and vinegar are what we dream about everyday. But shoveling snow and thinking about it for longer then the normal person should, I could not help to think about how messed up that really is. How would you like it if you had a tick sucking your life line from you everyday? But that is not even the bad part. The bad part is they are attached right next to your junk. Now how would you like a tick sucking you dry next to your nutz and give you a possibly lethal STD?

Sea Lice or Lepeophtheirus salmonis are a marine parasite that consumes blood, mucous and skin. They carry disease and can kill juvenile and adult salmonids. The biggest problem in today’s world is that sea lice are found in large quantities in fish farms and because of strays from net pens in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, populations of these lice can spread and infect in large proportions the native fish migrating through those areas. They can live up to 200 days in salt water and up to 21 days in freshwater. The lack of salinity in freshwater are what causes them to fall off when our salmonids swim back to their native streams.

So the next time you catch a dime bright fish, I want you to think about those little parasites sucking your fish dry. Your fish is not as fresh as you think it should be............

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rivers of a Lost Coast has a new Blog

Here you can check out pictures and clips from the upcoming film. Rivers of a Lost Coast is a story about our origins in fly fishing for steelhead and I cannot wait to see it. You can keep yourself updated on what is going on their new blog.

Oregon River Rights for 2009

Oregon's Senator Bates and Senator Atkinson are currently working on a Bill that covers the rights of the public citizen and landowner. In order for us to all protect our water rights, we need to take part of this process and requesting public review of the Bill. Common Waters of Oregon has been fighting for our river rights for years, but they need our help. Please take a few moments and get involved. You can read more here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ice Baby

Ice Ice Baby

All right stop, Collaborate and listen
Mike is back with my brand new addition
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Then I flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will the steelhead ever stop? Yo - I don't know
He turns on the lights and the steelhead goes
To the extreme I rock the fly like a vandal
Light up a stage and wax the guides with a candle.

Dance, Bum rush the fly rod goes booms
The cold just killed my Echo like a poisonous mushroom
Deadly, when I play a dope steelhead
Anything less than the best is a felony
Love it or leave it, You better not get way
You better hit bull's eye, This kid don't play
If there is a steelie, Yo, I'll catch it
Check out the hook while my Big Game revolves it

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby

Now that the steelhead is jumping
With the cold kicked in, the fly rod pumpin'
Quick to the point, to the point no faking
This steelhead is hot like a pound of bacon
Burning me, he’s quick and nimble
He goes crazy when I hear a cymbal
And a high jump with a souped up tempo
I'm on a roll and it's time to go solo
Rollin' with my 909
With my beanie on top so my head does not get cold
The moldy silvers on standby, Waving just to say Hi
Did you stop? No - I just swung by
Kept on pursuing to the next stop
I busted a left and I'm heading to the next block
That river was dead

Yo - so I continued to riverfront Ave.
It was so cold the girls were wearing more than bikinis
Steelhead lovers driving less than Lamborghinis
Jealous 'cause I'm out getting mine
Andy with a eight and me with a nine
Reading for the chumps on the wall
The chumps acting ill because they're so full of "Eight Ball"
Gunshots ranged out like a bell
I grabbed my nine - All I heard were shells
Falling on the ice real fast
Jumped in my car, slammed on the gas
Bumper to bumper the avenue's packed
I'm trying to get away before the snow comes back
Fish and Game on the scene, You know what I mean
They passed me up, confronted all the snagging fiends
If there was a steelhead, You, I'll catch it
Check out the hook while my Big Game revolves it

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby

Take heed, 'cause I'm copying a lyrical poet
Andy Simons on the scene just in case you didn't know it
My river, that created all the reel sounds
Enough to shake and kick holes in the ground
'Cause my style's like a chemical spill
Feasible rhymes that you can vision and feel
Conducted and formed, This is a stupid concept
We make it hype and you want to step with this
Andy plays with the blade, slices the steelhead like a ninja
Cut like a razor blade so fast, Other say, "damn"
If the tug is a drug, I'd sell it by the gram
Keep my composure when it's time to get loose
Magnetized by the steel while it kick in the juice
If there is a steelhead, Yo - I'll catch it!
Check out the hook while the Big Game revolves it.

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby

Yo man - Let's get out of here! Word to Andy’s hot mother!

Ice Ice Baby Too cold, Ice Ice Baby Too cold Too cold

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Garbage Patrol

I did it, I feel dirty, I feel ashamed, yet I feel Damn Good about nymphing up my first winter fish of the season. The spey is going to stay home until our natives start showing in numbers. Hell, I might need to even find a centerpin.

RIP Big Ben

Had to toast a PBR and cast some flies for my homie Ben Kapp today. Ben, the founder of the Southwest Washington's Early Morning Fishing Pimps, a friend of mine and everyone he met on the river, passed away on this day back in 2005. This cowboy was a true character and I am a better fisherman and person for knowing him. I miss you, homie.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Best Fly Reels EVER!

Photo: Brian Chou

Are drags really necessary for steelhead? This is one of the many questions that steelheaders argue about from time to time. In all honesty for the most part I doubt it, click pawl reels and some good palming have worked for decades. On the other hand checking out beautiful reels and fly rods are something all fly fishers do from time to time and many collect and fish them regularly. I have had the privilege to fish from time to time one of the best functional and constructed reels ever made. Charlton Signature Fly Reels are bar none the best fly reel ever created. You cannot beat the type III anodization, carbon sealed drag and precision aerospace machining. They are truly the Lamborghini of fly reels. Check out a recent interview of Jack Charlton brought to you by Fly Reels R Us and his new Mako Series Reels.

Fishing a Charlton Singature 8550 C Tarpon reel.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Osprey News

For the last 21 years the Federation of Fly Fishers has written in their Osprey Newsletter accounts of the decline of steelhead and salmon fisheries, as well as their aquatic ecosystems. Their research reports from the past and bulletins regarding current management issues, science and the politics surrounding our fisheries can be found here. Please take a look and see what is going on.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What would you do.....

...if you woke up early in the morning, drove out to your favorite swinging water only to find a hot fly fisher already swinging through your run?

Rogue Angel, Dawn Fischer Chou fishing Cherry Lane on the Deschutes on a cold November morning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Call to all Homies and Steelheaders

There are few places anywhere in this world and very few in the lower 48 that have self-sustaining populations of steelhead. One of them is the Umpqua system, and despite the decline nationwide, there are still people who want to harvest them. Their thinking is that meeting native escapement goals is a credible reason why it should be permitted. It is important that we all try and preserve this native run of winter steelhead and make sure they will be around for generations to come. Please help Scott Howell, Matt Klara, Frank Moore and the rest of us steelheaders that want to keep this gem for generations to come.

Currently, the retention of native steelhead is prohibited on the Umpqua, but there are many locals that are fighting to overturn that law. Please sign the petition to support the current regulations that require the release of all native steelhead on the Umpqua system. I am proud to be 1083 on the petition.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holy Shitballs Batman!

This is no joke fellas. Fall chinook have nothing on this bad boy. Sam Sickles a now modern day legend from Hood River, caught this fish recently on a Columbia River Gorge River. Swinging a 117 RB Meiser (5/6/7 11'7"), with a Rio Skagit 450, 7' t14, 8 pound test and a Hickman Party Boy, Sam hooked this fish parted the ........... River with his hands and walked out fifty feet into the now dry river bed and grabbed the fish before the river filled up. A divine feat in itself! This fish measured 42'x25' and a true thirty pound specimen. YOU ROCK BROTHER!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Skeena Quality Waters Strategy

The Canadian Ministry of Environment is trying to figure out how to manage their resources on the Skeena watershed. Their current plan includes limiting the amount of days spend on Skeena tributaries as well as a lottery system for those non-residents that want to fish in the Skeena Holy Waters. This means if one tributary blows out after rain, you cannot move to another in hopes of finding fishable water.

The Skeena is the Holy Grail of all steelhead waters. Please get involved and sign the petition for the current angling management plan for 2010. Click here to learn more about the British Columbia's Ministry of Environment Skeena Waters Strategy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rivers of a Lost Coast

Rivers of a Lost Coast

Growing up in Northern California I never really knew anything about steelhead and salmon, except from the stories I heard of what it once was. River of the Lost Coast is a documentary about a culture of fly fishermen that fished the Northern California Coast for steelhead and salmon during its heyday, and describes in their eyes the decline of the fishery and the revolutionary obsessive steelheaders of its time.

Great Lakes Pinner Style

Although not fly fishing, guys who nymph exclusively can learn a lot from Center Pinners. These boys from the Canadian Great Lakes region do it right. Check out November Rains. Bryant and the boys enjoy the sickness too and the fish porn and scenery is hard to beat.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well here I am sitting on my ass on a boring friday night at 11:30pm. I got another eight hours in my shift and all I can think about is all of the reports that I have been getting from friends the last couple of days. I have been getting hits from friends in Canada, Idaho, Eastern Washington, North Central Oregon and the Coast. Winter steelhead are showing up here and there and Dr So and so even got one close to home. So much to choose from and yet too many more days of work ahead of me to think about it. The rivers are in shape too. WTF..................

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Catch and Release Sign

I found this by a Washington River. I wish I saw them next to all of them!

November Flies of the Month

Joe Gert

Named after Gert Canyon on the Deschutes. This classic rubber wing fly was tied as a joke by Mike Duley while he was on a multiple day float down the Deschutes. The rubber legs mimic movement and the contrast of colors can make it deadly. This fly is very effective.

Redwing Blackbird

I first saw this fly years ago in one of Lani Waller's steelhead videos. The Redwing Blackbird is a great traditional hairwing for water that is slightly off color. The red wing over black and gold give it a bright appearance that makes it stand out when you need to get some attention.

Bulot Breiten

A Brian Chou variation of the traditional Breiten. This is a deadly fly that works wonders on steelhead East of Bonneville Dam. It carries a slightly larger profile then traditional hairwings and the peacock sword is a great contrast with the purple body.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guy Jacobson

Many years ago I met Guy Jacobson. As an avid fly fishermen and steelheader, we ended up fishing one of his favorite steelhead spots in Oregon. Guy and I kept in touch for a while but due to a family illness, he fell off the planet for a while. Some time past and then Guy appeared again. I got an email from him after him seeing a picture of a Clackamas River steelhead I took last month that was posted on Washington Fly Fishing. He wanted to use my picture for an art reference and I gladly accepted. Little did I know Guy was an true artist. I am very happy to know he is doing well, drawing again and of course fishing.

Check out his work other work at Riffle Mist Studio.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Rain

I think the river came up.

Friday, October 31, 2008

October Flies of the Month


A gift from the Kalama shoreline, this fly casts like a dream on a long belly line. Skate it, cast it with shot, tips or even a level wind. This fly hands down catches fish :)!

Mother of All Leeches (MOAL)

This fly has succeeded in ruining my life. Although steelhead will take just about anything when they are in the right mood, I believe from hours upon hours of research that MOALs with take stupid hatchery fish when they won’t take traditional flies. Derek Fergus, a local fly tier from Salem Oregon designed this fly. He uses coneheads to help weigh down the bunny on them because of they buoyancy. I have found that fishing them without a cone can be beneficial when fishing pocket water and rock gardens in the summer. Overall it is a great summer and winter fly and the off set SSW/Octopus hooks stick.

Steelhead Coachman

This is a variation of a traditional hairwing. It is a great fly in the summer because it mimics baitfish, stoneflies, October caddis and whatever a steelhead wants to eat at that time. I tie them with yellow, orange and purple to add a little more color. Fished on a dry line or tips, it gets the job done. It is also a simple tie and has a classy look to it. From what I hear from the old timers, classy flies work the best anyway.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dry Side Vs. Wet Side

Early Morning on the Kalama

October is my favorite time of the year and I always try and take at least a week off every year to do a lot of fishing and spend as much time outdoors as possible. Over the years my wife has come to except this as my time to slack off more then I usually do (which is a lot anyway). One of the dilemmas that I go through every year is where the hell do I go to fish. Living basically in the Portland Metro area, there are a lot of rivers within two hours to fish.

Early Morning Clackamas

This time of year salmon, steelhead and even sea run cutthroat are in many of the local rivers. I gave up targeting salmon here for the most part because of the meat hungry anglers that want to kill everything and the many things meat fishermen bring out. I have however learned that steelhead fishing can be really good because the salmon push steelhead into certain lies as well as a lot of anglers are targeting salmon. I have had many great days swinging egg sucking MOALS and caballeros this time of year.

Casting on the Clackamas Photo: Brad Smith

Despite my yearly trip, I have a hard time trying to figure out what river to fish when I get a day off. The Klickitat, Deschutes, Wind, Cowlitz, Lewis, Clackamas are only a few of my options. When it comes down to beauty, both have their charms. The rainforest have the dark green background mixed with the changing colors of maple and alder. The vibrant colors of mixed leaves and mist on the water are something to see. There are salmon on the spawn and although the stench of death may be I the air, there is also a sense of rejuvenation and passing.

Snake River Morning

The Dry Side offers dark rich colors in brown and red mixed with smell of sage, red sumac and tumble weeds. The cold days have brought the rattlesnakes and tics away and the mist on the river in the morning with this stunning background is hard to be beat. The steelhead on the Dry Side are well known takers. Traditional hairwing or featherwing work great versus the gaudy stuff that I find to be more successful on the Wet-Side.

Grande Ronde Afternoon


I have no doubt in my mind that fall is the most badass season of the year. There are so many options for the fly fisher. My favorite part about it is that there is other distraction out there that sometimes takes people away from the river or at least the rivers I like to fish. Hunting season is in full swing by October and then there is always college and NFL football distracting people. Even among fishermen on the Wet-side of the state, many of them are targeting coho, chinook and chum salmon.

Brian Chou swinging the Grain Elevator on the Snake

The past four years I have made an annual week long trip to fish. After a killer week last year on the Lower Ronde and Snake, I could not resist to make it out there again. The Snake above and below Hellers Bar is filled with sweeping runs and boulder fields that hold both Snake river fish as well as Ronde and Salmon River fish. The Lower Ronde has a no kill zone in the lower river and for the most part just fly fishermen with good etiquette and serious anglers.

Every year there are a group of hard core anglers in their golden age that are lucky enough to be retired and be able to spend the entire season in this area. Most of them come every year and know each other very well. I envy them and have been able to learn a lot from a few of them. My favorite character out there is a guy named Bob Evans. We call Bob, Dry Fly Bob because he only fishes a dry line. He spends his summer on the Henrys Fork and then shows up on the Ronde in September. He is a rough around the edges, chain smoker vet who talks mad shit about nymphers and tip fishermen. You got to love him because he is mostly kidding, but he shocks the shit out of people who do not know him.

This trip I got to fish a lot of friends at different times of the week and at times it seemed like a Washington Fly Fishing convention and for both weekends the Montana Metal Militia kept me company. The most amazing part of the week came after a shuttled a few guys from Seattle to Hellers Bar after they floated Bogans to the Mouth. They guys invited me to dinner and after scallops and steak, I knew I was in for it. The next couple of days I shared gourmet meals and fishing with them. Ode, Ed, Jeff and Rick, I owe you many beers.

One of the larger fish I caught this year. Photo: g_smolt

Now back to the fishing, the steelhead were a lot bigger this season then in the past and I was able to land a few brutes. This area is blessed with far more native steelhead then in my local waters and after fighting a few fish you knew after the hookup what was hatchery and what was native. Native steelhead are just full of piss and vinegar and makes their hatchery counterparts look like mere trout. I caught a lot of fish and lost a lot of fish, but overall the fishing was great and I learned a lot from both water time as well as picking Bob’s brain.

Brian working a Clearwater fish.

Although I nymphed a little, especially when my friend Mark aka g_smolt from Neil Creek Chronicle fame showed up from AK, I kept to the long rod and picked up way more fish on the swing this year. The highlights of the trip being Chou landing a Clearwater fish on a day trip to Idaho, landing a couple double digit fish, watching g_smolt show why switch rods are effective, having my boy Bove pick my pocket three times on a day he landed eight and kicking back a few beers with the boys.

Mark Bove with one of three fish he picked from my pocket one day on the Ronde.

Next year BC!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holy Dough.......nuts Batman!

You guys and gals needing to feed the munchies after a long day boarding on Mt Hood or Sandy Steelheaders needing to feed your belly and soul with black coffee in the morning, Joe's is freaking badass. I do not know the owners, but what I do know as a donut freak is their pasties are the best I have had in the Northwest. They just so happen to be on the way to the Upper Sandy River for me. I love me some donuts!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Give this guy some MORPHINE!


This well loved copy of Steelhead Fly Fishing spend at least a year in my work bag getting read many times in the middle of the night. I can't tell you how many nights it saved me from boredom in this hospital. Trey takes you on a journey through many of the most fabled rivers here in the Northwest and gives you the history and heritage surrounding the beginning of steelhead fly fishing in this region. It introduces you to many of the pioneers in the sport and the flies and techniques that have worked over the years. One of my favorite parts of this book is knowing I have fished some of the very spots that are mentioned in the book and am going to in the near future fish more of them. This is a must read for every steelheader and at the very least some good reading material for the shitter.