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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't Do This

This is why you do not fish a five weight with a click pawl reel in steelhead water. FYI, a Skater, small fly, big fly and tip went through that spot before. Click it or tick it fellas!

Photos: Brian Chou

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Umpqua Fish Watcher

We all need to thank this brother and take a peek at Steamboat Creek. Freaking awesome!

Check out Oregon Public Broadcasting's Oregon Field Guide Blog. The nerd in me come out whenever I get a chance to watch these programs. There is some great stuff for all us outdoor enthusiasts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We Have All Seen it Happen

I want this job and for some reason I want to fish a ten weight for steelhead.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lucky Find on the Trout Stream

The next time you are out with the local stream restoration crew, make sure you check out more then the best looking holding spots for fish. You may find something else like a dinosaur tooth. Workers in Wisconsin find a mastodon tooth in a trout stream. Mastodon's were dinosaur's similar to wooley mammouths. Check it out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Epic Hotcase

Back in the day, when fishing at night was legal on a certain river, before guides and their clients pissed off land owners causing a change in regs, the crew used to drop by Toads on the way back for some epic hotcase. Now I know there are a bunch of health freaks out there and many of new cool yuppie steelheaders wouldn't understand, but hotcase is the steelheaders best friend. Hell it is the fisherman's best friend.

Now I won't go into detail about the friend crispy treats behind the glass wall that await you before, after or during a fishing outing at your favorite truck stop, but I will tell you I have some fond memories of eating a gut bomb after a good day of fishing.

In regards to fishing that evening that led us to Toads, well here are a few pics to let you know where we ended up:

I think this is one of those mayfly things that trout eat.
FYI, Filipino boat 6 fish, Owens boat 1 bat.

Letter From Andy

So my boy Andy just dropped me a letter. The kid is working his second season up at Unalakleet River Lodge. Unalakleet River Lodge is located 400 miles Northwest of Anchorage, Alaska in the Northern portion of the Bering Sea. The Unalakleet River System hold four species of Pacific Salmon as well as dolly varden, arctic char, grayling and though a rarity, sheefish.

Andy has been working his butt of to pay for college. Well in reality it is probably for booze and a drift boat for the upcoming season of steelheading on Idaho's Clearwater River, but still he is working 6-7 days a in God's country. The poor bastard finally got a chance to get out and swing the two hander for some kings and found great success. While fishing the North River with fellow guides and badass photogpahers Matt Jones and Carter Simcoe, Andy was able to tangle with a few of these chrome brutes. The fish numbers and size of fish are way up this season, I wish I could have made it up there.

Here is some scenery from up North

Andy's first swung king up there. It took a blue and green intruder he tied earlier during his lunch break. Can you believe the poor bastard had to actually tie flies at lunch. That must suck! Photo: Carter Simcoe

Sea lice and king salmon. You freaking beat that! Photo: Matt Jones

One of hundred of chrome chum they have been catching. Photo: Matt Jones

Andy, you are not casting a long belly line, quit pushing :). Photo: Matt Jones

If you want to check out more phtography and see what's up, check out Matt Jones journal, Somthins Fishy. Keep up the good work up there fellas and enjoy the mosquitos.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lower Columbia River Netting

It is amazing that some stupid asshat has not decided to fly every bomber the US and UN have over Afghanistan and bomb and napalm every square inch of the country trying to destroy Al Qaeda. That same fucked up thinking is what the commercial fishermen are doing in the Lower Columbia River. In this day of endangered species and dwindling runs of anadromous fish in the Columbia River basin, these fishermen are killing fish indiscriminately. Changes in mesh net size is horse shit. Steelhead, sturgeon, and four species of salmon that run the Columbia River are getting injured and killed in the process. These fish which stop eating, climb native and man made obstacles, burn energy stores in order to get back to their native streams to spawn, are getting raped on their way up river. Many of these fish that do escape from these nets are injured and most likely will not live to spawn. This is especially so for native steelhead that spawns in the late winter and spring of the following year.

Now as a fisherman, I may be a hypocrite to a certain extent, but my impact is ridiculously marginal in comparison to the Lower Columbia fishing fleet. I feel bad for these fishermen that are loosing their jobs because of the restrictions that they face in order to fish as much as I do for my friends and family that are out of work due to the fall of our economy from the Bush administration. Regardless something needs to be done to prevent this from happening. Decades ago their were twenty and thirty pound spring and fall steelhead that swam that got netted with spring and fall chinook salmon. It makes you think doesn’t it?

Now there are many reasons why our native fish have disappeared and it is not solely because of the gill net fishery, but this is one thing that we can stop now! We are not talking about tribal fisheries here either.

Sorry for the rant. I used up all of my political correctness at work this week.

This summer steelhead if native would not have lived through the winter to spawn in the spring. Fishing in the Lower Columbia is currently for summer chinook, fish much larger then summer steelhead.

These gashes could have come from a sea lion after or while dealing with the net. Regardless, the fish would have had a better chance fleeing a predator if it was not beat up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009


One of my favorite things in the world, especially during the summer is to hike into a run, step into the water and swing a fly while the sun appears over the tree line. Now if I just did not have to wake up at 3am, that would be another story. I caught one of my largest summer steelhead ever in the run pictured above on the Fourth of July a few years ago. Have a great day celebrating our independence from the George W. and by blowing shit up! Long live Sarah Palin's resignation and stupidity.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fergus Skater

Here is one Brad Smith caught from So There I Was.

The Fergus Skater or Strung Out Tanya Harding is a wicked fly. This fly rides high and skates with the perfect V. A pink variation can even be stripped to estuary salmon and I know for a fact that it is a very effective fly on a swung tip. This is a great fly to swing on a light tip in boulder gardens. The spun hair helps to bring the fly up in the water column and in the current will mimic a sculpin moving up and over rocks. You can pick up this fly at your local fly shop or from 20 Sub 3. Get one!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lost in Wyoming

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of joining a few of the boys on a little road trip to see our friend Scott Sadill release his new book Lost in Wyoming. Scott Sadill is a local steelheader, fly fishing guru that lives in Hood River, Oregon. Scott has released two other books, Cast From the Edge: Tales of an Uncommon Fisher and Angling Baja: One Man’s Fly Fishing Journey Through the Salt. Other notable writings from Scott can be read in many current fly fishing periodicals such as Gray’s Sporting Journal and The Drake.

Scott’s new book is a collection of twelve stories that bring both the life and culture of fly fishing and the struggles they face in life and fishing together. It is a wonderful read for both the fisherman and the everyday outdoor enthusiast.

“These stories about life and fishing-about life intertwined with fishing-are beautifully written and contain all of those moments of surprise and victory and loss and joy and anguish that we all know are elements of life and to fishing, and the two when they’re combined.”
-Dave Hughes