Not a bad haul for the start of the season—2.5 pounds of ’em. It’s more complicated to hike through the woods and bend down to cut mushrooms with a baby on your back, but it was a great time with my family. I made some delicious Chanterelle Risotto (a specialty of mine—learned from a friend) that Emily and I just couldn’t stop eating. Can’t wait to fry up some Risotto patties for lunch tomorrow!

Lost Lake in Clatsop State Forest

So if you read an earlier post on Lost Lake in Clatsop State Forest (in the Nehalem watershed) and you were wondering where it was I thought this might help: Google Map.

My recommendation would be to turn off highway 26 onto Lower Nehalem Rd and then go about 5 miles and make the left turn on Lost Lake Road just before the Spruce Run Campground. The Lake will be a few miles up the steep road on the right. You can always try going the way the ODFW tells you to go (on Quartz Creek Road) but there are no signs anywhere and you have to make four turns on logging roads that are in active use right now (and have been for the last year).

The lake is about 15-acres and the maximum depth runs about 20 feet. It is full of downed trees to snag on so keep the flies light. The lake is stocked several times a year and there is carry over. It is best in the early and mid spring then again in late summer. I sit in my pontoon and cast towards objects near the banks for best results. There is not a lot of room on the banks to cast inwards unless you like standing on floating logs in the water like I do. In spring I have done well with a Green Caddis Pupa (like this) and have even caught a few on Elk Hair Caddis under overhangs. Most fish run smaller but can hit 14 to 18 by the end of the season.

This is a typical spring fish:

And a photo of me on the lake (using my chair to kneel on):

You can camp at Spruce Run Campground for $10 or so but you can also do dispersed camping anywhere in the Clatsop State Forest. There are a few sites down river from the campground that are right on the river and have rings and picnic tables but are considered dispersed so they are free.

There is also a trail from Spruce Run campground that heads about two miles east to Spruce Run Lake which has some small cutthroat in it. It’s not an easy hike.

Tying a Mercury Pheasant Tail

So until I get time to make a video I thought I would post up a few photos of how to tie a Mercury Pheasant Tail. You will need:

Hook: TMC 101 or Dai-Riki 310 #18-24
Bead: Extra small silver-lined glass bead
Thread: Uni 8/0 Black
Tail/abdomen: 4 Strands Pheasant Tail fibers (I use natural or red mostly)
Wing case: LargePearl Mylar Tinsel
Rib: Fine gold wire

1: Put silver-lined bead on hook and place a jam knot behind it. Run thread back to the start the curve in the hook. Take four strands of Pheasant Tail and tie in at the back with the tips of the feather making the tail and hanging two-thirds the distance of the shank off the back. I also tie in the piece of fine gold wire now.

2: Advance the four threads of Pheasant Tail forward toward the bead. Reverse rib the wire forward. Tie both down with two wraps.

3: Move the thread back a little bit and tie on the Mylar Tinsel .

4: Tie on a small amount of Peacock Herl or Peacock Eye and advance it forward a few wraps. Pull the Mylar Tinsel over the top of the Peacock and tie it down then trim the ends. Separate the legs of the Peacock into two legs on one side and two on the other. Pull two legs on one side back and do two wraps then pull the two legs on the other side back and do two wraps. Whip finish. Trim legs back about half way down the shank.

Finished side view:

Finished top view:

Remember that a good Pheasant Tail should be sparse so keep any extra bulk to a minimum.

BTW: When I was buying materials for this fly one time a guy told me to use the red Pheasant Tail when the sun was low as the wavelengths are longer and it makes the red Pheasant Tail glow. I have not tried that myself but seems reasonable.

Mini Leech

I found a video for this great little Mini Leech pattern on the same Daichi 1150 hook that I used for the Chrionomid Pupa in my other post. It was fun to have all the pieces laying around to make a random fly and not have to go buy anything. In the Caddis Fly Shop tying video he recommends fishing with the leech on the top and the Chironomid on the bottom. Sounds like a plan. This looks like it might work well in Texas also—you know who you are.

Hook: Daichi 1150 size 10
Bead:1/8″ Gold
Thread: Black Uni 6/0
Tail: Black Marabou
Body: Synthetic Peacock Dubbing, Black
Rib: Silver Wire

Chironomid Pupa

I just got done with this little guy and hoping to get out this weekend and give it a try in some still water. These little Chironomid fish well in the lakes around Oregon. Now to tie it smaller. I know I have some size 14 around somewhere.

Hook: Size 10-16 Daichi 1150
Thread: Uni-thread black 6/0
Bead: 1/8″ silver
Body: Ultra Tube or Midge-bodi Burgundy
Rib: Silver wire
Tail: Olive Sparkle Emerger Yarn or Z-lon
Wing: Cream Sparkle Emergr Yarn or Z-lon
Collar: Synthetic peacock dubbing

Check out this video for tying it from Caddis Fly Shop.

Mercury Pheasant Tail

Been tying these little puppies on size #20. I have been doing both the red and natural. I will have to see how well they work, but they sure are fun to tie and look promising.

Dorsey’s Mercury Pheasant Tail
Hook: TMC 101 #18-24
Bead: Extra small silver-lined glass bead
Thread: Uni 8/0 Black
Tail/abdomen: 4 Strands Pheasant Tail fibers
Wing case: Pearl Mylar Tinsel
Rib: Fine gold wire

You can buy them from Blue Quill Angler if you are not keen on tying them.

The rain has started

While it’s September and the rain has started here in the NW. At the end of last week we got an inch or two of rain and so my wife, daughter, and I went out to see what was happening around us. First we stopped at my favorite Chantrelle patch on the way to the coast and I ran in the woods 200 feet or so and found a few small Chantelles here and there (looks like it should be a good season). Then we headed down to Alex’s Lobster mushroom patch on the coast and found six large mushrooms. After a lunch at Mo’s in Cannon Beach (yeah, I know it’s a tourist trap) we headed down to Ghirabaldi to check out a spot near the Miami for Chantrelles. Even though it was closer to the coast where there is a lot more moisture there were no Chantelles around. So we headed back up to the lower Nehalem where I got in a little fishing and got to scope out lots of the river. And I caught this Cutthroat beauty.

Weird sign

The other day I went to the Wilson to hike up a section of the river I had not been on. I found lots of great holes and bends in the river that I will be going back to soon when the larger Cuttthroat come up. Caught a lot of little guys on nymphs and dries but couldn’t seem to find the big ones. The one nice one I did get into I wasn’t even paying attention and he ran off with my line and then slipped off when I tried to get some tension on. Geez, newbie. There was one larger one cruising in barely moving water about 12 feet down—he was just there to taunt me.

So with my great collection of plastic and glass bottles that I had found I headed back to the car (btw – don’t pick up beer cans in the woods in Oregon as slugs love beer but it kills them and they stew in the sun and the beer and it makes a REALLY awful smell). On the way out I found a great ocean blue marble with a cream and red band running through it. The marble even seems like it is handmade as its not 100% round and has the little bump where it would have been on a glass makers stick. Odd the stuff you find. Speaking of odd check out this sign I saw at the gas station.

I actually started looking at all the bugs that are constantly accumulating on my windows to see if I could make any matches. Now they just need to put BWOs and PMDs on the sign.