Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy St Patty's Day

See you all in the Emergency Room this weekend :)! Be safe!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Skagit Master 4, Midwest Steelheading

Tom Larimer's project on Trout, I mean steelhead fishing in the Midwest and Great Lakes region. One of these days I will have to see it for myself, after all, the Great Lakes actually have fish.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cheaper Option for Coneheads on Tube Flies

I have been tying tube flies since I heard about them many years ago. HMH and now Pro Tubes innovative designs have really made it easy for fly tiers to really apply their skills and design. The only beef I have had with tying tubes over the years has been dealing with the high cost of cone heads. Being that I hate using dumbell eyes, it has has really become a pain in the ass. Being that I work in a hospital, and have tubing of all kinds of diameters made of different materials, I have really experimented but never really found the answer. What I did come up with become more simple.

With the use of a pair of fine scissors (of razor blade), vice, bodkin, lighter, standard fly tying coneheads and small HMH 3/32" tubing I solved my problem. Though you can use larger diameter tubing as well.

With scissors, cut a small slit in the tubing. It does not really matter what the length is, though you do not want it to be too long due to the stability of the tubing. You can experiment with what you have and each brand of coneheads are different. By cutting a small slit into the tubing, then trimming it, you can fill it to the diameter of the entryway of the tube.

You will find with experimenting how much you need to cut in order to pull the conehead to a seated location on the tube. There may be a small gap present after it is seated around the rim, but this will only leave a small cosmetic flaw. At this point, you can fix some glue to the conehead as well, but found it is not needed if there is enough tubing pulled through the conehead.

Now that you have the cone seated to the location you have found, you can lightly heat the end with a lighter. By doing so you can smooth out the edges and trap the cone at the end of the tubing. This step is very easy. You can then take a bodkin, while the tubing is still warm at the end smooth out the inner edges of the tubing entryway. You now have a fixed cone on your tube ready for tying. You can do this after tying your fly, but would recommend doing so after you get a hang of the process and know how much tubing you need to feed through the cone. Simple and easy way to save some coin.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo

Come check out this years Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo Friday and Saturday in Albany, Oregon. Classes, gear, tyers, shops and plenty of gear to check out. That is of course if your not fishing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fishing With a Northwest Legend

Trey Combs working the bucket. 

Many Years ago, I read in this book a story about two guys fishing together. The author was fishing with Randall Kaufman, former owner of Kaufman Streamborn and a well known tyer here in the Pacific Northwest. They were fishing on a river in the Olympic Peninsula and despite conditions, Randall was able to swing a beautiful chrome bright twelve pound native steelhead. So last week, standing only a half mile or so above this location, I could not help but think of that while I stood next to the author of Steelhead Fly Fishing, Trey Combs.

Jack Mitchell on the sticks. 

I was very fortunate to get invited to fish with friend Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch Fly Shop and Trey Combs last week, and despite my work schedule, was able to make it out one day on the water. When I got to his place, early in the AM, he suggested a change of venue and we ended up on one of my favorite pieces of water. With rain coming down all morning on the drive up, I had no idea what we were in for,  but a day on the river, especially with a Northwest Steelhead Legend, was worth the cold wet downpour.

Trey with a chrome buck. Photo: Jack Mitchell

All morning, Trey kept on mentioning it was going to be a wet day. And he was right, the rain was relentless and though never dumped on us, maintained a least a gentle mist all day. Despite the rain and raising river level, we were able to cover some water.  Jack told him to say when if he wanted to get out and swing, and Trey called his shot floating down the river. Minutes later he proved to all of us why he's the guy who written some of the most well known books on the sport of steelhead fly fishing.

Trey and a fan. Photo: Jack Mitchell

Trey is one of those guys who you have a hard time not listening to when he speaks. While driving to the river, Jack had problems keeping the rig on the road because he was leaning over listening to Trey talk about fishing around the world. Hearing the history behind what is now the Atlantic Salmon Reserve and what happened when the Soviet Union fell was a great history lesson. Stories of 40 pound dry fly salmon and steelhead up and down the West Coast and the guys he has fished with over the years kept us asking more questions.

Fishing with Trey and Jack was a blast. It is amazing how much I learn from Trey ever time I get a chance to talk to him. Though I have chatted with him a few times, this was the first time I could spend some time on the water with him. I am glad to see and hear about him fishing again. After a hiatus spending time with his family, it is really nice to see this legend out on the water again. We have learned a lot over the years reading Trey's words and hope to learn more in the future.

My consolation prize for the day. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

River of Kings

Two videos from the Saving the Ocean series with Carl Safina, titled River of Kings describing the history and current issues involved in restoration of chinook salmon in the Nisqually river in West Central Washington. Though I do not agree with everything in the videos, especially the use of residualized chinook that are offspring of hatchery prodigy, the Nisqually Tribe and the State of Washington are working hard to restore habitat in both the river system and estuary to aide in the comeback and make this ecosystem a salmon friendly place. If all chinook salmon of hatchery prodigy, then many issues can occur, but at the same time the native run of chinook are extinct, so they are working with the prodigy of fish that have naturally produced. I guess it is better then nothing at this point and we are indeed working with scraps.

The work and study of Eel Grass and the environment that juvenile salmonids use in the estuary is also very interesting. By studying this environment, it will help us understand why these fish have a hard time getting from the estuary into the Pacific Ocean. It will also help us learn what they are eating while getting used to the saline environment in the estuary. This important data will surly help us in the understanding of why Puget Sound is not seeing healthy returns of salmon and steelhead and can be used as a model for other estuary enhancements.
Watch River of Kings, Part 1 on PBS. See more from Saving the Ocean.

Watch River of Kings, Part 2 on PBS. See more from Saving the Ocean.