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.