Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Mabuhay! Make sure you dirty dogs out there are too drunk and hungover to wade because I'm fishing this weekend.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Steelhead Etiquette

By Scott Richmond

What's the right behavior when you're on the river?

If angling behavior were limited to the letter of the law, everyone's enjoyment would suffer. This is especially true when steelhead runs are strong. A strong run brings out anglers who don't normally fly fish for steelhead, and this creates a situation ripe for conflict.
I think most confrontations come from ignorance. To be sure, there are people who are going to be jerks no matter what, and there's nothing you can do except shrug your shoulders and move on. However, most people want to do what's right, if they only knew.
So here's my take on good steelhead fly fishing etiquette. If you have additional suggestions, click "contact us" below and e-mail them to me. I'll compile some of the responses and publish them in a follow-up article.

1. The best advice for behavior on and around the river is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," where "others" includes the entire ecosystem. Communicate with other river users in a positive and courteous manner. Expect people to do the right thing, and usually they will.

2. If someone is fishing near an area you want to fish, ask if you will disturb them. If they are sitting, and not fishing, they may be resting the water or waiting for the light to change. In any case, ask before you fish--and if they say "No," find another run. If someone is camped, ask permission before fishing in front of their camp; if no one is in the camp (holler around a bit before concluding this), you can regard the water as available.

3. Don't be a hole hog: don't monopolize the good water for long periods. Give someone else a chance.

4. If someone is fishing a run for with traditional tactics they are probably working their way downstream. Don't wade into the river below them, or near them on the upstream side. If you are not sure how far downstream they are going, and you want to fish the water, ask first. If you enter the water downstream, you should stay at least 150 yards from an upstream angler. This rests the water for about an hour between anglers.

5. If an angler is using indicator tactics, they could be progressing in either direction, so ask before wading in above or below them.

6. If you are floating the river in a boat, give bank anglers a wide berth. Notice where they are casting to, and give them lots of space. If you aren't sure what water they're fishing, ask them. Try to stay at least 30 feet away from the water they're fishing, and pass by quietly without splashing or making other noise that will be transmitted through the water.

7. Don't pull your boat or raft into a backeddy until you are sure no one is fishing

8. There are basic boating right-of-way rules, such as: down-river-bound traffic has the right-of-way; and boats should bear to the right when meeting. However, once a powerboat is in a rapids it cannot back down, and drift craft need to wait to enter the rapids until the power boat is clear. At the same time, a powerboat should not enter a rapids if a drift craft is already in it or is about to enter it.

9. Anglers and boaters of all persuasions should recognize the right of anglers and boaters of differing persuasions to use the river. Manners are contagious. Which kind do you want to perpetuate on the river?

10. Don't target or harass spawning fish. Recognize spawning redds and don't wade through or anchor in them.

Scott Richmond is the author of several fly fishing books for the Pacific Northwest that include: Best Fly Waters, Deschutes River (two editions), Cascade Lakes, Endless Season, The Pocket Gillie for fly anglers as well as the Rogue River and Craine Prarie: Deschutes Headwaters River Journals. You can find other writing from Scott in periodicals and on Westfly, a non profit based website with a blog and forum available to help educate the general public and advance the quality of fly fishing in the West. For those of you who want to explore the waters of the Pacific Northwest and especially the Deschutes River, this is where to do your research.

Scott's Fishing Oregon's Deschutes River is a key ingredient to success on the Deschutes River. This second edition includes way more secrets then we need to know and the 152 pages has some of the best photography ever done on the river by Brian O'Keefe and Jim Schollmeyer. For those of you who want to explore and find success on the river this is a must read, worthy for all trout and steelhead fishermen.

For those of you who are interested in hearing a recent interview Scott did with Lani Waller, you can find it here on Westfly. They cover a wide variety of topics that include etiquette, history, river stewardship as well as tips and tactics.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Get Your Orvis Balloons

From the Orvis website:

"Fly fishing strike indicators adjust to any water conditions, big or small. Attaches easily and stays afloat better. Suspends nymphs better. Reusable. Biodegradable. 10 balloons and O-rings per pack. Instructions included."

Now for some odd reason these are marked down and you should all get on it and buy them up for stocking stuffers. Damn, you wonder why Orvis gets a bad wrap, not to mention nymphers. Now I am not talking trash about Orvis or balloon chucking, though I should. But seriously, a balloon and an O-wring were previously a dollar a piece? WTF? The purpose of cheap assess using balloons was because they are cheap asses and Orvis marketing that is bright. But hey, at least they added instructions.

Strong Runs Newsletter

I highly recommend reading the Native Fish Society Fall Newsletter. All of there newsletters can be also found in their archive. This Fall newsletter covers a variety of topics including:

Conflicting goals of fish management agencies
Economics study on the cost of Mitchell Act hatchery fish
New study that documents the lethal effects on young salmon caused by sulfite egg cures
Dangers associated with raising salmon as livestock
River Steward notes and news
River Steward Program grows
Thank you to NFS membership for their support
NFS upgrades web presence

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spring Chinook for 2010

Although the Columbia River fishery managers expect the largest run of Spring Chinook in the 70 years of counting fish for 2010. I am very skeptical regarding this information. This estimate does not include Lower Columbia River stocks or Willamette basin fish. When these numbers are added to the already 470K fish that expected to cross over Bonneville Dam, the run will be huge. As a pessimistic steelheader who has watched the runs decline on all my local rivers over the last decade, I have a hard time believing this. Many of my local spring chinook fisheries were closed early last year because of poor returns. However with these numbers estimated at four times the return seen over Bonneville Dam in 2009, I hope I am wrong. Maybe the ocean conditions that brought a healthy return of summer steelhead and Coho Salmon in the Columbia River in 2009 is a sign of a new trend in ocean conditions. Then again the drastic fall in Fall Chinook on the Northern Oregon Coast and Washington Coast lead me to think otherwise.

Chinook returns are based on jack counts from the previous season. Jack salmon are two to three salt fish that return early and are not sexually mature fish. The Spring Chinook jack counts over Bonneville Dam for 2009 was over 66K in 2009 leading to believe that there is good ocean survival for this years return. However this relationship does not always carry weight as seen in the returns in 2007 and 2008 where there very large jack counts seen did not lead to large returns of fish. Lets hope the genetic alternations of hatchery fish over decades have not changed the genetic makeup of these fish and we are not seeing a new trend of mini chinook. But hey, I am not a fisheries expert and hope my pessimistic thought is wrong. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope to swing one up this spring.

Read more about the 2010 Spring Chinook returns courtesy of Oregon Live and the Columbia River Bulletin.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Later Dumbass!

Well the dipshit Mayor of Forks is out of office finally. Nedra Reed was the the mayor of Forks that opposed catch and release fishing in the Olympic Penninsula back in 2004. For some fucked up reason the Fish and Wildlife Commission altered the regulations and now what do we have? A depleted run of steelhead in the Quillayute River system. Last spring 4700 fish were counted in the entire system. This was 1200 fish below the minimum escapement. Now retention from sports harvest is obviously not the only problem, but it is the one that we can manage. Good god man, let them go. Read more about how proud Nedra was for this accomplishment from the Peninsula Daily News.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Clackamas Bull Trout

Bull trout are Rad! There is no doubt about it, Salvelinus Confluentus is an amazing species with a multitude of life histories in many different ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest and Western Slope of the Rockies. For years this species of char has been known as an indicator species for water quality and healthy ecosystems due to their need for cold, clean water for spawning and rearing. With the scourge of man and its lust to develop and rape our forests for timber, this species has been hit hard to almost the brink of extinction. Many of the rivers that once contained healthy populations of bull trout are gone and the few that have them are very vulnerable to ecosystem changes. With the listing of bull trout as a threatened species in the coterminous United States there have been many moves to help these dwindling populations.

With one of the last strongholds of bull trout in Oregon being the Metolius River system and having bull trout extinct in it's neighboring Clackamas River system, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is working to reintroduce bull trout from the Metolius System into the Clackamas River in the hopes to reestablish this species in the basin. This complex endevor will not only help to reestablish the species, but also aid in the understanding of this ecosystem that has had vast changes over the decades due to dams, timber harvest and irrigation. With most of the upper watershed being protected by federal agencies and increased laws to protect the ecosystem, there are high hopes that this population will reestablish themselves and fill the niche left from the extinct Clackamas strain of bull trout. The long term goal of an established population will help in our understanding of this fragile ecosystem and its native anadramous and non anadramous fish. Read more courtesy of The Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife News Bulletin and Oregon Live.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Time to Remember

Toasted a few with the old homies tonight for our old comrade Ben Kapp. We miss you brother and your legacy still effects us four years after you passing. .

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

News from the Snoopy Rod Challenge

News from the Snoopy Rod Challenge on the Bogachiel River in the Olympic Penninsula last friday was of a great success. Well at a hangover anyway. Check out the words of wisdom from the Graphite Samurai. The boys were a little too under the weather to get after it early in the morning, but got after it none the less. You might want to take a look at the time machine also. I venture to say that this very well might be the answer we are all looking for in regards to better fishing and less crowding. We might also be able to bring back those native returns by using those fish from decades ago. Yes, I think the great scrolls of wisdom have something here. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Summer Steelhead in the Winter

Well there is no doubt that there was a lot of steelhead in the Columbia and Snake River System this year. At over six hundred thousand total steelhead over Bonneville Dam there is no doubt there was a lot of fun had at the expense of this years return. Many anglers out there had a banner season and there is no doubt that a lot of rookie fishermen out there caught their first if not many steelhead. But we have to remember that the vast majority of these fish were not of native origin. Only one hundred and seventy-two thousand of those six hundred thousand fish were of native origin. Many of those hatchery fish are still alive and either swimming up still or holding for warmer flows to move farther up into the upper reaches of there native streams. These hatchery fish in a few months will be competing with our precious natives and thus aiding in the slow process of watering down the gene pool.

Many people stop fishing for these fish because the quality of their meat are no longer the quality of just a few months ago, not to mention the increased difficulty to swing these fish up in the current cold conditions of winter. The ethical issues of catching native fish that are getting ready to spawn, is yet another thing to take into consideration. In only a few months these fish will be on their spawning beds and any harassment of these fish should be prevented. However like mentioned before so will hatchery fish and the only way to prevent these fish from spawning together is to remove them.

Modern scientific studies have showed that the likelihood of offspring from native steelhead that have spawned with hatchery steelhead returning as adults is very low. Hell, the chances of offspring of native fish returning dealing with the harsh environment of their native streams during their adolescent development, competition with other species and hatchery fish, downstream migration through dams, predators in freshwater and salt then ocean conditions is low. This is part of the argument that we face when fighting against hatchery plants. As part of this equation we must aide our native fish by removing these hatchery adults regardless of quality of meat. In rivers such as the Methow in Washington, it is unlawful to release hatchery fish. We must carry this over to all drainages that have hatchery fish and continue to harvest these fish despite the condition of their table fare. Smoke them, freeze then for crab meat, fertilize you garden in the spring or return them to the ecosystem for biomass. By doing so, you will be aiding your ecosystem and help out our native fish. If you end up catching a native fish, please take all the necessary measures to release it without harm.

Is there a time to stop fishing for summer steelhead? Off course there is, but you must find that within your own realm of ethics and the reality that most of these fish are of hatchery origin and need to be removed. Us guys on the wet side of the state need to remember that those who fish these summer steelhead rivers in the winter are for the most part live in that neck of the woods and are removing hatchery fish from their rivers. Many rivers of which are still seeing fresh pushes of fish from the Columbia and Snake throughout the winter.

Recently I got news from my homie Mike Gamby that while trout fishing he was not only able to fight the ice and cold, but also several steelhead with his trusty Echo Carbon six weight and Vosseler DC. Apparently his Vosseler didn't freeze up in the cold. I was pleased to see he made sure to bonk his limit and I am sure they will cook up just fine. Props to a great day on the water.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spey Vato

Spey fishing and casting is addicting and adding steelhead and salmon to that and it’s downright obsessive. There is no doubt that this has taken at least the Northwest by storm over the last decade and has added a new niche in this small world of fly fishing. Some might even say that in this countries economy today, it has helped to keep many of the fly fishing manufacturers and fly shops around.

Now most fly guys who never casted a spey rod find them intriguing even if their ego tells them that they can cast as far with a single hand rod, but gear flingers it’s a different story. Well that was until a buddy ran into this vato from the valley and later introduced me. Now this wasn’t any other gear guy, but a brother who not only never casted a single hand rod and of all things was Mexican. Now I know all that stereotypical bullshit is bullshit, but just like many others that caught plenty of salmon and steelhead with gear he did not go the normal route of the single hander and an indicator, rather went from the jig to the two hander. In fact he has never casted a single hander. And seriously how many Mexicans or even Hispanics do you see spey fishing in this country?

It goes to show you how diverse this style of fishing is. After seeing a few people cast, cover water and even catch a few fish, Jiggin Jim was hooked. And it didn’t surprise me when I got the call last month when he not only swung his first winter of the season but two on an undisclosed river somewhere in the realm of your inner imagination.

This sport, obsession, hobby or whatever you call it never ceases to amaze me and it’s one of the many reason why I enjoy it. So the next time you see a Simms wearing, Nautilus reelin, Echo casting, ugly thug looking sombitch named Jaimie' on the river that doesn’t look like you, remember he didn’t steal his gear and you are no different then him. Well, you could be just as ugly……….

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fly of the Month: The Boss

Boss (Brian Chou 09)
Tail: Black Arctic Fox
Body: Peacock with gold tinsel
Hackle: Red Schlappen
Head: Gold bead chain eyes.
Hook: The secret weapon

Well this Boss looks a little different from the one that was inspired by old Virgil Sullivan back in the hay day on the Russian River in California. However that creativity that inspired Virgil to take it to Grant King for commercial success is no different then the inspiration of this slightly different version. The success of this fly over the decades for steelhead and those annoying salmon that get in the way are proof of it's merit. Check it out, it still works today.

Now find a fish and ................... his brains out!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Yeah so there aint no end in sight. Two times to see God, I a mean the surgeon this week with secondary complications due to napalm. Well at least it looks like I was hit by napalm. The good news is I can walk without the crutches and can go back to work in a week. But fishing is out of the equation for quite a while and I am getting sick of tying flies.

Reports from the rivers are descent for late summers with a few winters here and there. Spent last evening sharing tall tales with a couple of bums from around the way. Apparently BC was off the hook this year and stories of Alaskan rainbows the size of steelhead were plentiful this season. The poor economy lead to many guides fishing for themselves this Fall. Poor bastards! With luck they will bring some good reports from the Snoopy Rod Challenge in the OP this friday.

Watch the video

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Norwegians Killing the World's Fish Stocks

It is sad that once again a group of greedy few from far away get to rape and pillage the world's environment. I think we need to put a Jihad on the Norwegian Fish Farming Industry.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Red Shed

There really isn't many spey casters on the West Coast if not North America that hasn't heard of Poppy and the Red Shed. For those of you that are not familiar with Mike aka Poppy and Linda Cummins of the Red Shed Fly Shop in Peck, Idaho, well here you go. There isn't a nicer guys on that planet that is as knowledgeable about spey equipment. Walking into Poppy's shop reminds you of a spey clave all wrapped into a little red shed outside his home. His inventory of old and new spey fishing equipment, flies, books and DVD's is mind boggling. If he doesn't have it, its because someone just bought it and he is about to get some more. He is always available and willing to make a deal and ship to anywhere in the world for you.

Located on the banks of the Clearwater River in Idaho, home to famous runs of summer steelhead, some reaching upwards to twenty pounds, there is no better resource to this fishery then Poppy. This family run business and Poppy's hospitality and knowledge is the cornerstone for spey enthusiasts everywhere and a go to shop for things I cannot find. Check out the Red Shed and its experienced equipment, you won't regret it. If you are unsure about your rod or line purchase, Poppy will even send it out to you to try out first, now that is customer service. Support your local fly shop!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fishing Doesn't Hurt

My ASS! There goes my winter season, well for the most part. Last month I was bitching about the Klickitat trying to break my leg while slipping down a bank and well here is what I got.

Rectus Femorus Tendon Tear.

Repaired, sorta. With luck I will be able to swing some flies by March, otherwise I will be stuck fishing garbage patrol from the boat. At least I had a great fall and summer behind me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great News for the Mollala River

Photo Courtesy of Oregon Live.

The U.S. House passed a Bill today to protect the Molalla River as a Wild and Scenic River. The Molalla River flowing through Canby Oregon is one of the primary tributaries of the Lower Willamette River in Oregon. The river provides cold, clean waters and habitat for fish, including winter steelhead waterfowl, wading birds, deer, small mammals, reptiles amphibians and one of the largest populations of blue herons in the Willamette Valley. Read more about the Mollala's new designation from American Rivers.

Snaggerrs Versus Anglers

WTF, I found this on Piscatorial Pursuits. Someone has got a lot of times on their hands, but we can all somehow relate.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Clearwater Report

Report from Mr Matney on the Mainstem Clearwater. Two swung fish between two boats and six people over three days. Slow fishing, but good for cold low water and a 17 pound B-Run is not something to scoff at. Congrats on the tomato Rick Matney!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Skagit and Scandi Lines Simplified

Brian Chou with a Sandy River Silver, Echo 6126 TR and a matching 450 Airflo Skagit Compact. Photo: Jaimie Delgado aka Jigging Jim

With all this hype about "modern, easier to cast Spey lines", I’d like to help simplify some of the buzz words that you may come across when eavesdropping on a conversation about these life changing lines.

First, let’s start with "Skagit". Quite simply put, Skagit is a type of shooting head that is designed to throw big flies and sink tips with little to no room behind you. Now, for the readers digest version. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we are faced with many occasions when you can only wade out 5-6 feet from the bank, with your next step in being over your head! Fishing at a distance really isn’t the goal here. The idea is to just get your fly out there far enough to "swing" it into the bucket. Given a traditional head length of say, 50-75 feet, it becomes difficult to get a cast out with this little room, much less turn over a fly of substantial (4+ inches) size and weight! I have yet to find a fly that is too large for steelhead (my largest fish thus far came on a 6'' fly). You might ask, “now why would you WANT to fish such a large fly?" Well, it’s fun. It’s intriguing to think of what this beautiful 17lb native fish is thinking when it sees something that large and says to it self "get that sh!t out of my face!" or "hey! purple is my faaaavorite color" or "is that a shrimp?? I’m famished!!" So again, the Skagit head was designed to turn over these flies in what some may feel an industrial manner. But needless to say, it gets the job done well. And what is the secret? The taper. Picture a very short rear taper at roughly 5% of the total head length, followed by the thickest part of the line (the body) taking up a full 80% of the head length, and then the front taper in the remaining 15% of the head length. The sink tip and fly in front of this powerhouse has NO CHOICE but to straighten out. Whammo!

The next buzzword is "Scandi". Most of you can figure this to be short for "Scandinavian", which describes the style of line and casting stroke that we have adapted from the northern Europeans. So, where the Skagit lines are designed to throw large, heavy flies and sink tips, these lines are more designed for floating to light sink tip work with small flies. To get flies very deep, a full sinking shooting head is typically employed. Along with their intended use, another difference between these two styles of lines is the taper. So, if the Skagit taper is shaped more like a Foster’s beer can, these Scandi heads are more like of an old Coke bottle. Picture it. A short rear taper at roughly 5% of the total head length, followed the flat taper in the body taking up 35% of the total head length, and then the remaining 60% of the head length going to the front taper. So by design, this style of line doesn’t possess the power and mass to throw the chickens mentioned above, but will jump at the opportunity to propel smaller ( < 2'') flies delicately (due to the longer front taper) and with minimal back cast room. These types of shooting head lines have grown a huge following among summer steelhead anglers swinging traditional flies and skaters for these grabby fish. And, while the Skagit taper handles, say, like a Dodge Ram, these Scandis are more like that BMW M3.

Both of these lines have a purpose, with each one doing its job incredibly well. In the same way that you wouldn’t take your M3 off-roading, you wouldn’t take your Dodge to the track. Well, I suppose you could. I do remember seeing a diesel F150 smoke some sports car in a drag race on YouTube.

Fish on fellow Jedis...

Brian Chou

This article was originally written by Brian for a Matt Klara's weekly on Sexyloops. It brought a lot of attention and discussion on Washington Fly Fishing. Another article worth reading on this topic was written by Jason Hartwick from Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service in Northern California. Simplifying Spey Lines: Skagit vs. Scandinavian.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

River of a Lost Coast on DVD

Rivers of a Lost Coast is finally out on DVD. I have been looking forward to picking up a copy of this video for a while now. The viewing last Spring here in Portland I missed because of the distraction of a Spring Washougal native, so I am looking forward to getting this one in mail.

For those of you that do not know about this docmentary, here is a little summary of the steelheading pioneers from California straight from the site:

At the turn of the 20th Century, a handful of pioneers carried their fly rods into California’s remote north coast and gave birth to a culture that would revolutionize their sport. For a select few, steelhead fly fishing became an obsessive pursuit without compromise.

Leading the pack was the mythical, Bill Schaadt, an off-kilter angler famous for his ruthless pursuit to be ‘in the fish’. The new endeavor was ruled by a demanding, unspoken code, which made 'breaking in' almost as difficult as 'breaking out'.

By the early 1980s, the Golden State’s coastal fisheries found themselves caught in a spiraling decline. As California searched for its disappearing salmon and steelhead, these men foraged for their souls.

"Obsessive Pursuit without compromise," I like it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Linger Vs Hatchery Chinook Salmon?

A brothers got to eat right?

Pacifc Northwest Fly Fishing

Here is yet another great website for fly anglers here in the Pacific Northwest.
Pacific Northwest Fly Fishing is your online destination for fly fishing
techniques, videos, blogs, trip reports, beginner's resources, articles and
reviews. Brian's blog and writing cover his thoughts and ideas in all formats regarding our obsession with fly fishing here in the Northwest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Nymphing for Steelhead

Indicator nymphed with a switch rod and an Agent Orange PT using the new Airflo Speydicator. This new line will be out in stores later this winter.

Back in 2001 when 633K steelhead swam over Bonneville Dam, I was a very green steelheader. In fact I new jack shit about steelhead at that time and though I owned a 896 Sage DS2 and had a few green butt skunks in the fly box, you would have never known I was a steelheader. At that time I did not even know about the epic returns in the Columbia system and on that cold September weekday trip to South Junction on the Deschutes I was prepared more for trout with a six weight rather then steelhead. But after a few days on the water and loosing many nymphs on light tippet to steelhead, an addict was formed.

Not reading the writings of Roderick Haig-Brown, Bill McMillian, Jock Scott, Bob Arnold, Trey Combs and many more, I did not know or understand the traditions and techniques that were founded over generations before I found my first steelhead on a size #10 Zug Bug. What I discovered was that steelheading wasn’t that hard with a strike indicator and nymphs were very affective.

Now years have gone by and like most real steelheaders you go through a learning process. Filling my library, getting guided and non-guided instruction and putting in hours on the water have led to lots of thoughts and theories about steelhead, movements, techniques and flies. All of which matter and don’t matter depending upon the person you are talking to. That is one of the great things about steelhead fishermen. We all have our theories and arguments/discussions are entertaining and educational at the same time.

What I have a difficult time with is the whole nymphing versus swinging flies debate. There is nothing more rewarding in steelhead fly fishing then skating up a fish in the summer or fall or swinging a big native in the winter. The beatdown you get from working, struggling and working for your fish makes the reward more fulfilling. If you could take the Prom Queen home would you? How about he girl next door, would you like to bang her? Well what if they both want it and you have to choose, would you take the prom queen home or the girl next door? Well personally I would take them both at the same time, but if I had to choose then the prom queen will she sitting on my face in no time.

Skated on a Mini-Fergus Skater

Now I got nothing against the girl next door. Nymphing is a game you play when the conditions make it more effective like in temps in the low thirties, working over hatchery fish or in small water like that in the Great Lakes, or fishing from the boat between swinging runs, etc. On that note, nymphing through swinging water, especially without swinging through it first or nymphing only from a boat all day is for bush-leaguers, elderly or the handicapped. You guys don’t get it or refuse to get it right. That is alright if you have done both and accept that for what it is, but remember if you catch ten fish nymphing, you won’t remember which one is which, if you skated up one fish, you will remember that for the rest of your life.

Nymphed while sight fishing with a Possie Bugger.

I do not believe nymphing is the same as fishing gear. Jig fishing with a spinning reel takes little effort; nymphing takes a lot, especially when done with a switch or spey rod. Fighting fish with a single action reel makes it more personal and pleasurable to me. It is legal and fighting fish on any type of fly gear is enjoyable. As long as you are aware of your surroundings, other people swinging through the runs and courteous to other anglers, there should not be any gripe. You need to be aware that nymphing up fish is at times going to hot lip many of them and because of that they might not come to a swung fly later in the day or week.

Fishing with a centerpin is another subject, it may seem similar because you use the same approach, but you loose the casting and mending aspects of nymphing that make it challenging. We do not fly fish because it is easy, rather except the challenges and struggles in search of the same goal. The argument that casting an indicator takes away from fly fishing and gear would be easier is horseshit. If you new how to cast in the first place, then this shit would be easy. The same thing goes with swinging two flies at the same time. If you know the fundamentals of casting then it is easy.

The approach you take to steelheading should not be about numbers. If it was then you would be trout fishing or bait fishing. The success you achieve on the water is more about the process and the experience that you take home with you. Moving an aggressive fish to a fly, especially when they are not here to eat, can to all steelheaders be more rewarding then putting countless fish on the bank. However the train of thought that does not allow one to step outside the box of their norm or social/fishing standards leads to the close minded snobbery that has plagued fly fishing and separated us into a bullshit cast system. Fly fishing is fun because we can challenge ourselves in whatever way we want to catch fish. None of us are wrong in our methods unless done unethically and harmful to the precious resource we hold dear.

I will end this rant with a quote from one of the best steelheaders in the Pacific Northwest, “But, there are times/conditions/circumstances under which the viability of a swung fly approach drops below my personal standards of expectations. At such times, I have/will fish other methods/techniques on my Speyrod as long as it is legal and falls within the ideals of "fair chase (sporting)" to do so, because it is/can be FUN, and it is interesting to see what can in fact be accomplished with a Speyrod. Bobbers are great on a Speyrod when needed and shouldn't be so controversial in my opinion. Heck, what will you all think when word gets out that SOME of us actually cast/use small ultra light SPOONS on our Speyrods to catch the infamous non-fly-biting silvers of the northern Sound area (once they get in the rivers for a couple of days).” This is a quote from Riveraddict on Spey Pages. For those of you that do not know who Riveraddict is, this is Ed Ward.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kenai River Fishing

For those of you that are interested in fishing the Kenai River in Alaska and do not want to have to deal with the crowds and the large expense, check this out.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

As fishing license holders in the State of Washington, we are willing to do our part in the recovery of wild steelhead in Puget Sound. However taken alone, reductions in fishing opportunity will not recover wild steelhead. In light of recent advances in scientific understanding of the effects of hatcheries on wild populations, we believe that in any watershed where populations cannot support catch and release fishing they certainly cannot be expected to recover while large scale hatchery programs continue. We therefore believe that in watersheds where wild populations have been deemed too fragile for catch and release sport fishing the state MUST substantially reduce or eliminate hatchery supplementation to comply with federal mandates for recovery in threatened Puget Sound Steelhead.

Please take the time to read the above message and sign the petition to limit hatchery involvement in the rivers of Puget Sound and even limit the amounts of catch and release fishing in rivers with low escapement. We are at a crossroad in the management of our native fisheries and all can be lost if we do not take action now. We must fight to maintain what we have so that we can someday rebuild what we have lost. The sacrifices we make today in our obsession or hobby will benefit our future and I am willing to give it up for the hope of how it may help our native fish in the decades to come.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

McKenzie Trout

While I have not fished for trout in the McKenzie in a few years, in the past spend several days a year in the late winter fishing the March Brown Hatch for its splendid cutthroat and redside trout. It looks like the locals are rallying to help keep the gene pool clean by removing hatchery fish from its waters. Read more courtesy of the Register Guard and the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog. You might also want to check out Jeff Hickman's D report as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kind of a Big Deal

kind of a big deal from ryan peterson on Vimeo.

This video has been everywhere, but worth watching over and over and over again!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nez Perce Country

Now this fall has really kicked my ass. Now we aint talking about an on river ass kicking or anything, were talkin about a hike in, knowbody fishes spot that tried to kill me throwing me down a bank and falling on my good knee (the one without screws in it). Now if that shit wasn't bad, I had to do it on a week stretch off and a couple weeks off my annual Nez Perce Fishing Extravaganza. Sitting on my ass for several days with my mangled quad and torn up knee left a lot of the domestic duties us married guys have put to the side. Bullshit because I got this fishing trip coming up and we know the shit will hit the fan if things don't get gone.

To make a long story short, my cantaloupe sized knee held up and got better, and the wife didn't divorce me for leaving her and the youngling at home. Though she should have for more reasons then one, her stubbornness reminds me of why I married her in the first place. This is yet another story in itself.

Jarrod Black on the Snake

Driving up the magnificent Snake River on the way to camp and guys who have been on the river for days brought anticipation and a mind trip around swinging a dryline in the cold productive waters of Eastern Washington. I aint going to lie, it was good, first fish in the first pass after getting to camp then it got stupid. River temps were 40 degrees when we got there and the best fishing was had then. Fish moved in in large numbers and with the first cold snap of the trip, the fish stuck around and were grabby. The slow but productive fishing the boys had before the A-Team got there was good, but it was only getting better.

Keith Darnall with a spunky monkey.

By the end of the week the river temps rose from 40 degrees to 56 and the fish were more on the move. We had to work hard for fish compared to the first day on the water, yet still better then the good fishing had all summer. After several productive days I noticed several changes. The bitch ass subtle takes became aggressive, the surface activity increased and even the October Caddis started to come out. The larger patterns went back into the box, the heavy lines were put away and after seeing the legend Harry Lemire rise two fish to a dry in the evening, the dry line came out. The next morning led to some epic dry fly fishing and it continued for the most part for several days.

Harry Lemire giving a lession on dry fly fishing. He had a bit of a crowd watching him.

Content with the success at hand and having several days left, and not wanting to be the stereotypical steelheader who lost their family along the way, I called it quits. The fishing was getting better but thoughts of family, home and the responsibilities came calling. Though leaving several of the boys behind, priorities led me a warm bed and spoonin with the wifey.

The rise to this Steelhead Bee is still giving me wet dreams.

Oh and Lee, you are a fucking asshat! Learn how to cast!

Algea Killing Sea Birds

Over the last two decades there has been a huge increase in double-crested cormorants nesting in the Columbia River estuary. This species of sea bird and its colony on Sand Island at the Mouth of the Columbia estuary is the main predator for juvenile salmon and steelhead smolts. The once small percentage of juvenile salmonid predation has increased dramatically with the population boom. But now this colony as well as the other populations of sea birds face a predator of their own. Mother nature has provided an obstacle in an unusual algae bloom stretching from the Northern Oregon coast to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Though this new predator for double-crested cormorants brings a smile to my face, it also brings concerns regarding how this algae bloom impacts juvenile salmonids struggling to grow and adapt to the high salinity of the Pacific Ocean.

You can read more about this algae bloom through Oregon Live and via Koin Channel 6 News. For more information on the double-crested cormorants of the Columbia River estuary, read more from the Bird Research Northwest.

Monday, October 19, 2009


In honor of the best steelhead blog there ever was, we ate hearty the other night in steelhead camp. Voluntary Beatdown and some bum who wrote for it named Bacon to Fry. He's got a real name but since I never met the brother, I will just assume its that guy living in his van down by the river. You can still find him at Buster Wants to Fish.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Loop Armies Secret

Would you fish with this guy?

Well Brother Jay Johnson, aka Boogie, Jay the Pirate, Breakfast Cook and one of the founding members of the Early Morning Freestone Pimps was stolen last summer by Joe Roope of the Loop Army. This backwoods adobo eating Filipino has been seen scavenging the river in search of steelhead. Apparently Jay just did not get enough fishing for them last year with the AEG crew and now is found on Eastern Washington and Idaho rivers like the Methow, Clearwater and Grande Ronde. I guess the rainbows of the Upper Columbia have something against him also. Poor bastards didn't know a Filipino was after them.

Photo: Jeff Wilson

Guiding out of the Loop Army Base, Castaway Fly Shop in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Jay has been covering a lot of ground. If you guys are in search for the mythical steelhead on a dry, and like to shotgun beers, you found your guy. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ghost Nets on MSNBC

5 Million to save our marine life in Puget Sound!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Anglers Tonic

You all remember that dude that wrote the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and Montana? The same guy that wrote that article years ago in Fish Alaska Magazine about Anchor Point Steelhead in the Fall. Oh yeah, I remember that one. Well this cat has got something new going on. Greg's new project is an online magazine called, Anglers Tonic. Greg is working to bring the love, joy and frustration of our fly fishing lifestyles together. By covering obscure and destination waters, reviewing books, videos, articles and gear, while at the same time bringing music, culture and true stories from the river, Greg's putting it all together in this new online mag. Did I mention the pictures are badass? Go check out, you-all dig it!

Magical Fly Fishing for the Majestic Steelhead

In honor or Clay Sharp's recent return of boasting, I have added a book review that Andy Simon wrote when an ice storm stuck him at my place. Magical Fly Fishing for the Majestic Steelhead will really leave you with the question, "What did I just read and why?" If you want to learn how to catch steelhead like Clay, read some of Jim Teeny's books, after all that is how Clay is fishing. If you really want to learn how to swing flies for steelhead then read A Steelheaders Way by Lani Waller, A Passion for Steelhead by Dec Hogan or anything that Bill McMillian wrote. Clay still does not get it.

Book Review: Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead
By Clay Sharp

I recently had the pleasure of reading a book that was entirely new to me. From the first glance at the title, I was pulled in and wanted more from page one. Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead truly delivers. What it delivers however, I am still trying to figure out.

While spending some quality time at Steelie Mike's house with his dog and cats while he slaved away at work to pay for the next days fishing and my expensive bingo habit, I found one book that stood out from all the others. Magical Fly Fishing For Majestic Steelhead (MFFFMS for short) is attractively bound in a cover which I can only call a combo of dead hatchery kelt, sea foam, and crust. My excitement did not abate as I opened the front cover. Contained within these magical walls is a majestic mix of clever pros, powerful imagery, and caustic wit.

Clay Sharp started his fly fishing journey fishing the tailwater rivers of New Mexico. While he adds large trout are tough to find in these nutrient rich waters, he managed to catch a six and a half pound rainbow. Immediately after this astonishing feat of fly fishing prowess, Sharp adds to the aura of amazement by recalling his first steelhead fishing excursion. Many moons ago, Sharp was fishing a green-butted wolly worm, and with this simple tool took a very bright, above averaged size steelhead that took many runs into the backing. What’s more, he caught it on his VERY FIRST CAST EVER while steelhead fishing! Sharp adds that he managed to hook 4 and land 3 more bright, beautiful, magical steelhead that very afternoon. If this feat does not demand respect, I am not sure what does.

Breaking away from the run of the mill manuals of the day, Sharp takes a different approach to fly tying instruction. Instead of rambling on with mindless drivel about tying steps or fishing techniques, Sharp cuts right to the chase, informing you exactly how many steelhead he has caught with each fly presented in the book. After reading this section, I just had to sit down at the vise for a hot and steamy session producing each fly in the book, to catch thousands of bright, beautiful, magical steelhead myself. If you can look past the grammatical shortcomings and weak syntax, you will be left with a deep and passionate understanding of how many fish Sharp caught, from this section alone!

The heart and soul of MFFFMS does not lie in the amazing fly tying section however, it resides in the portion regarding how to find, land, and release dozens of steelhead each and every day. Once I find this section (3rd time through the book and still no luck) I will report back with great haste and a completed review.

This riveting work of erudite prowess ends in the best of ways. Sparing you once again from any boring thoughts on technique, Sharp displays his ability to take friends and kids out steelhead fishing and catch them limits every time. A true testament of raw skill, this book keeps you enthralled cover to cover, and burns quite well after a liberal soak in gasoline.

Andy Simon

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fishy Kid

Here is a cool one for all you fathers and mothers out there. If you are interested in getting your kids into the wonderful world of fly fishing and the outdoors, check out Fishy Kid. Fishy Kid was inspired by two fathers who wanted to get their children interested in fly fishing. With the collaboration of the fly fishing industry as well as artists, writers and educators, they are able to bring it to you. You should check it out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Search of the Deschutes Unicorn Or...........

The mythical Unicorn of the Deschutes has captivated the thoughts of every steelheader looking to catch their first Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest this Summer and Fall. Even more so this year with numbers approaching the epic returns of 2001 and 2002 in the Columbia River System. There will be many out there who will catch plenty of Steelhead in the tributaries of the Columbia River this year.

With a drastic change in my work schedule, the long drive, hike, bike ride or wheelin into the Deschutes as well as the arrival of salmon in our local rivers led my thoughts last tuesday from the Deschutes Unicorn to the Pegasus. The hard fighting Fall Chinook. These powerful, thrashing, jumping, bull dogging fish are great challenge for any angler and then there is always the off chance for that Lower Columbia Unicorn.

Now the morning did not actually start well. Not prepared for Fall, the rain hit me with a surprise and the six weight switch and seven weight single I had in the rig were a little bit on the small size for the fish we were hearing thrashing in the dark. You never know the fortune of the roll of the eight ball anyway and I thought what the hell, my odds are low anyway. Then at first light my good friend Keith Darnall hit the first fish. Bright and thrashing on the surface, it popped after the first burst. Filled with excitement I frantically casted and swung as quickly as I could while Keith hooked up again, bringing a small bright nook to the bank.

By this time in the morning I was expecting to see a lot of people out on the water, yet there were none. It was odd, just Keith and I with fish all around us. After a while I could tell my ten foot tip was not going to work and with the Teeny Mini Tip Keith was using, he seemed to be not only getting down to them quickly, but getting takes. I decided in haste to slice my ten foot tip down to six. I stopped snagging up and though was not touching rocks, felt as if I was getting a slightly better swing. Minutes later I found myself fishing two flies adding a larger fly in order to compensate for removing too much of the tip. Soon after I switched to two flies, I finally hooked up. This fish was a rocket and though I did not get a great look at it, I was able to see his chrome back before it came unbuttoned.

A few minutes later my second fish, a hatchery steelhead of about ten pounds was resting on the bank. Filled with excitement and still hearing and seeing fish porpoise in the river I started casting again and again. As more light showed over the horizon filtering through the overcast skies, we could see our adversary. Swimming through in waves and occasionally resting behind rocks and under the shade. Working down through the run and still not having any fishing company, Keith and I swung through the run until I saw a large fish that appeared to be a Chinook resting behind a rock. Casting slightly upstream I saw the fish dart at my fly. I immediately casted again at the fish and saw it move once again. Now with adrenaline and caffeine kicking in, I casted once more at the fish and saw it swim a foot or more over and hammer my blue MOAL.

This fish had to be a chinook, running and jumping into a large rock in the pool below the run. After slowing the fish down I released pressure to allow it to swim back upstream and away from the rock and then continued the battle. Minutes later I beached him. A large hatchery steelhead buck and not a nook. At 33 inches with a 15.75 inch girth, I fought within myself to end my morning and my day of fishing early, but with the amount of fish I had seen that morning and having it be so early, a line from Shakspeare's Henry V ran through my head. "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead."

The rest of the morning went into the history books with many more fish hooked and landed and all of them the same caliber as the first and second. My goal of catching my first Fall Chinook did not happen, but alas my name is not Salmon Mike anyway. Keith and I had a great morning and we didn't have to go far from Portland or deal with the large crowds congregating around the banks of the Deschutes. Damn good way to start my favorite season of the year.

Giving the Snake River Salmon the Freedom to Roam

These fish are that make it though the ocean, nets, sea lions and travel this far are true soldiers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Great, More Bad News for SW Washington's Chinook Fishery and Native Fish

For years I have driven by mostly and at times fished the lower stretches of the Kalama river for the ever dreaded white meat, stinking, quick to ripe and darken up Tule Chinook. This fish native to Southwest Washington and Lower Columbia River tribs get a bad wrap. Though these fish are not the quality or table fare of Spring Chinook, they are the bulk of the fishery that we have here in the part of the country and strong fighting fish. With this years escapement far exceeding the hatchery goals for the region, the powers that be want to eliminate them as soon as possible to prevent hatchery genes to spread to what little native gene pool is left. Now I understand this, probably more after reading the Araki report on the Genetic Effects of Captive Breeding, but what I also do not understand is why they want to prevent the guys paying for fishing licenses a chance to catch them.

At the same time with hatchery reform and fish hatcheries closing down on other Columbia River Tributaries, they plan on dumping more smolts in the Kalama. These smolts will compete with native salmon and steelhead in the river, thus decreasing their chances for juvenile survival. This will in theory increase the hatchery goals for future years for the Lower Columbia and ocean fishery. WTF! So not only will we loose native fish, but we also loose a vast majority of the fish for the sports anglers on the Kalama. Why don't they increase sports harvest of hatchery chinook or move the weir upstream so that more fish can be caught by sports anglers and native fish sorted out? Better yet, remove the hatchery fishery all together (will never happen on the K). This is a lose lose situation for us that want to prevent the loss of our native stocks as well as maintain this salmon fishery that our licenses help to pay for. Read more at The Daily News Online.

The irony I have is I do not specifically target Tule Chinook and the few that I have caught have been from bycatch while fishing for other species. Still this pisses me off that we are losing another fishery. Dollar signs run this fishery and we as sports fishers have little to say and a lot at stake. I am at least glad to hear that the carcasses are going to stream enhancement projects and to the local food banks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You guys want to bonk.........

........Winter Native Umpqua Steelhead? It seems there are some in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that do. Read more in the Native Fish Societies Conservation Report.

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.

I posted this last Fall and want to bring it up again for all of you that have not seen it. Please let your family and friends know and get as many of them to voice their opinion and sign the petition. Thanks you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Friend Keith Hansen

Keith Hansen with a Clackamas River Winter Steelhead.

Last week while working at my old stomping grounds at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland I was shocked to hear from several people about the death of Keith Hansen. Keith was a well loved Hematologist Oncologist and Director of Stem Cell Transplant for Northwest Cancer Specialists as well as board member for the Flyfisher's Club of Oregon. While on a recent fishing trip to the Dean River, Keith drowned while negotiating some of the treacherous waters of this fabled steelhead stream.

Keith's gift of saving lives and now sudden health has affected us all in this community whether you knew him or not. He will be sorely missed by all. Be careful out there and do not take any unnecessary risks on the water. Read more on Oregon Live.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

River Borne Outfitters

So I get this message from my boy Sam Sickles last week that he is looking to make a change from his low down dirty nine to five corporate job. Now thinking to myself, this guy took last summer off to steelhead fish and I know what he is thinking. Catching a fish of several lifetimes last Fall, Sam addiction has led him to become part owner for River Borne Outfitters. Sam with Vail Borne will be running steelhead trips on the Lower Deschutes. These guys are one of only three outfitters that are running fly fishing trips in the Lower Deschutes.

These two fishy dogs have been catching fish all summer on the D and I have had to hear about it. On top of that they will be covering the Siletz, Alsea and Nestucca on the Oregon Coast as well as Hood, Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. You can get the scoup on what's happening on the river on their blog report. Check these guys out, you will not regret it. Now I am wondering if Sam will show me where he got caught Mr Piggy?

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's D Time

For those of you loyal steelhead junkies out there, the pilgrimage to the Deschutes in the late summer is a must. The crowds will be thick, the jet boats will be annoying, the rattlers will be there, the floating lines will be out and with luck you takes will be aggressive. For those of you in the steelhead underground and in the know, you will have no problems. If you have some questions or looking for a report, drop by the Fly Shop of the Dalles and harass Jeff Cotrill or Leif Rinearson. It is good to get reports from guys who live near and on the water. Just don't ask him where I have been fishing. Support your local fly shop!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Randomness

It is amazing how many of us steelheaders, hell any fishermen have random insights, thoughts and ideas that we think are novel and maybe even money making. The reality however it's usually rain or sun soaked brain that is been out in the elements for way too long and well as we all know, random shit wanders in and out of your head when you are fishing and not catching.

Many years ago I ran into a guy on the Kalama that was fishing and walking around with a huge carabineer attached to his net. I remember asking him what it was for and he said he saw someone on the Skykomish walking around with one, using it to hold a fish. Since I find myself at Home Depot a lot because I need to repair the holes the minions of satin, aka moles are digging in my backyard, I randomly pick up things that I end up using for fishing and the carabineer is one of them. The last few years I have found this idea of a carabineer as a great one. I have used it for attaching an anchor, jury rigging a broken anchor pulley, attaching a nalgene bottle to my wading belt, holding a bag together after a zipper broke, fighting off sasquatch and off course hauling fish around without tearing up my hands or using a branch off the side of the river. I am sure I will find more uses for them and for three bucks, they are worth it.

So the other day something odd happened that has not happened too often this summer. I actually landed two of the fish I hooked and was out in the sticks. Now with my trusty carabineer I hiked out of the spot I was fishing and threw the fish in the back my truck. Now it was over ninety degrees out and I knew I had to get them on ice soon. After driving around I finally found a convenience store that might have a cooler. Off course all they had was one small non biodegradable foam styrofoam containers that will be here until the end of time. When I saw that it was cracked I had an epiphany and the ghetto cooler was born. With the help of the Asian gentleman behind the counter I was able to create what is going to make me millions. Now a fishing buddy is patent attorney and do not want any of you to copy me idea. So watch out!!!

The beer and fish lasted eight more hours in the cooler and there was still some ice left by the time I got home. Well there was a few less beers.

Holy Steelballs Batman!

I am sure glad I got to work the next six days. Dammmmmmmmmmmmit!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wildfish Studios

Last Fall I had the pleasure or meeting Miguel Morejohn at one of the Federation of Fly Fisher's fly tying events in Portland, Oregon. For years I have seen pictures of many of Miguel's creative steelhead flies on Spey Pages and after doing a little research have found that he is not only a great fly tier but also photographer, film producer and illustrator. His creative work can be seen throughout the interwebs, but primarily found at Wildfish Studio.

For those of you that enjoy the work seen in Brian O'Keffe and Tom Moen's Catch magazine, you saw Miguel in the May 2009 edition. This edition had Miguel's Phantoms of the Rainforest video. This inspiring video portrays the winter speyfisher on the Oregon Coast with the use of guides Chris O'Donell and Jeff Hickman. His Homewaters video for the Native Fish Society also shows the beauty and magnificence of the waters of the Pacific Northwest and the native fish that we fish for and fight to keep.

Miguel's inspiring portrayal of winter steelheading and the beauty of the Oregon Coast illustrate all the reasons why I and many other steelheaders spend week's often wet and freezing, fishing around beautiful scenery and for this precious resource. With the heat of summer and low water upon us, I often find my mind wandering to the thoughts of dark and dreary days of winter, smells of mold and mildew on my waders and jacket after weeks in the rain and the lush green landscape of the rainforest.

For those of you that want to check out some of Miguel's flies, you can find them at Wildfish Studios as well as in the Idylwilde catalog. For those of you who are interested in tying intruders, here is a link to an instructional video Miguel made.

Here are a couple of Miguel's flies that are effective year round. Both these flies are light weight and easy to cast. The Bantam in my eyes is a low water intruder variant. In my experience, flies with profile and movement such as this have a way of pulling the most aggressive fish in the bunch to move to a fly. It also helps when traditional patterns are not working, especially during the heat of the day and when non aggressive hatchery fish are in the equation.

Miguel showing off the success of the Bantum.

The Scorpion Stinger is a strung out hariwing pattern. This fly brings the traditional qualities of the hairwing pattern and adds a stinger hook. This stinger adds the advantage of a trailing hook that helps to eliminate short strikes and increase hookups found with traditional steelhead hooks. My favorite is the Peacock Scorpion because it looks like the all purpose and effective Steelhead Coachman.