Maupin off-season

Alex and I headed up to the mighty Deschutes for a little spey practice. I say practice since neither of us found a Steelhead. This post would have definitely had a different title if we did. We stopped in at Deschutes Angler and picked up some intruder style flies and proceeded to two step our way down many a run. I got into one really gorgeous Deschutes Redside Trout in the 20 to 22 inch range. Once I coaxed the fish out of his hole and away from the fast current I got him right up to me and the second before I went to take a photo of the beauty it slipped my grasp. Guess it was camera shy. Oh well, Alex wasn’t camera shy—or if he was he was to intent on finding a Steelhead to notice me.

Decisions, decisions, decisions:

Shuttle weave fun

This is one heck of a indestructible pattern for a fly. It’s a little confusing to tie in the beginning but once you get a used to the shuttle weave (also known as polish weave) they come off the vise pretty quick. I was using two strands of brassie size wire on each braid but medium wire would have worked better. This seems like a solid alternative to the harder versions of caddis flies that I have been tying. Those were the OH MY GOD! I LOST ONE! S**T! type of flies and when you are nymphing hard for trout and loose several flies in a day that is probably not the best type of flies to be tying. I am going to tie some of these in larger sizes to use as stoneflies also—maybe a nice golden stone, hmmmm. Just need to run to the fly shop for larger wire first.

It photographs terrible but in real life it look great. The Mylar tinsel under the wire really makes it shimmer. You could also under coat the body with Ice Dub and that could be really cool.

Shuttle Weave Nymph
Hook: Daichi 1150 size 6-18
Bead: Gold (sized to hook)
Thread: Uni 6/0 (use one of the body colors, I used olive for this fly)
Body: Two contrasting strands of Ultra Wire
Under body: Mylar Tinsel, Large and a few wraps of Lead Wire
Thorax: Dubbing (I used Ice Dub)

There is a good photo tutorial here and a video here:

Skunked

Well it finally happened, I got skunked. I always try to trout fish so late into the season and it was bound to happen sooner or later. I did have a great time driving to all the spots I had been meaning to explore around the McKenzie and I am really excited to try them out come next spring.

Now I am going to have to start heading west from Portland and trying to find some of those elusive north coast Steelhead. I have a few holes around the Nehalem, Trask, and Wilson that are calling me.

Kids and mushrooms

It’s almost time to get back to fishing. Fall in the NW hits and I can never seem to get outside enough days to do all the amazing things that are happening with the start of the rain. Huge trout feeding like crazy for winter, Coho, Chinook, and Chanterelles. I got out several times this fall for some amazing trout fishing on the McKenzie and tried to find some salmon on the North Coast rivers (with no luck since there are so few this year). But when the cold air starts to move it’s way in I always start to get worried about my reserve of Chanterelle mushrooms for the year. I have a 5 Liter (1.3 Gallons) glass jar with a hinge lock glass lid that I store them all in once they are dehydrated and if the jar isn’t full come the freezing weather, that kills the mushrooms, then I know I will definitely run out by next Chanterelle season (Oct–Nov).

In the past I have had no issue filling the jar and several gallon zip-lock bags with the dried mushrooms but this year I have a little something on my back slowing me down:


(Chloe & Me — Alex & Lorenzo. Not sure why I look so short as I am the same size as Alex.)

What a work out climbing up a 45 degree hill, over and under fallen trees, and trying to spot small morsels of happiness (the Chanterelles) mixed in with all the other similarly colored leaves scattered around. Not to mention that when you do find one you get to do a power squat with 20 or so pounds on your back. Now repeat for two hours and dozens of mushrooms. Wheeeeee.

I did get to run down to my favorite area, which is about 30 minuets from my house, solo on Monday. I was out during one of those rain storms that the TV loves to jump on “FIRST FLOODING OF THE SEASON – TONIGHT ON CHANNEL 12”. Lucky for me I don’t watch TV so I didn’t know that the hard rain was supposed to be the first large storm of the season or I would have known and gone anyway. I hiked around at full speed with my dog and proceeded to find one Chanterelle in 20 minuets. But then as I hiked further up the hill I spotted one that was trying to hide in a large patch of Oregon Grape. As I got closer I noticed that there were tons of them all in this one area. I went home happy and the jar is sure to be filled as soon as they are all dry. Now back to fishing.

Unibobbers

I just got six free 1/4 ” Unibobbers from Caddis Fly Shop so that I could enter a fly pattern for their contest. If anyone out there has an idea for a fly that is in dire need of a small bobber being attached to it for extra float drop me a line or leave a comment.

By the way, Hareline (maker of the unibobber), you really should market these as a UniFloats. I think lots of fly fisherman are just turned off of them because they have bobber in the name. Just like fly fishers don’t want to use a San Juan Worm because it has the name worm in it.

Fly fisherman Christmas list

I thought I would throw together a quick list for all those out there who are looking for gear for the fly fisher in the family this holiday season. Some of these products I own and some are items I would like to own, but all win the Fishkamp seal of approval.

C&F Design – Waterproof Boxes – around $50

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These boxes are amazing. There are small grooves that you can slide the bend of the hook back into so you aren’t poking holes into foam every time you remove or replace a fly. My less expensive boxes that you poke the sharp part of the hook into are fine but after a year or so there are so many holes in the foam that several flies fall out while I am walking and then when I am on the river I see the loose flies fall out and drift off. The Large size box with 12-rows seems a good fit for Oregon as it is made to hold size 8-14 flies. Someday I will replace my Scientific Angler fly boxes (which are not waterproof despite what they say)

with C&F boxes but for now I will have to do with my streamer C&F box.

45096_660Patagonia – Men’s Active Classic Boxers – $32

That’s right underwear. Nothing says comfy like gettin water over the top of your waders and having your underwear dry out so your legs don’t get chafed on the four mile hike out of the Descutes River. And guys, don’t forget your ladies. No women likes to wear hot cotton boxers when she hikes with you in the rain for 12 miles in and 12 miles out—just ask my wife.

P7150006Sage – VT2 Series Rod – around $475
Bauer – MacKenzie SuperLite – around $300

I have a 3 weight 8’6″ Sage VT2 that I have paired with a Bauer MacKenzie SuperLite M1SL and it is great. The rod has a great light touch for gentle presentations of the smallest dry fly. The reel is perfect for the 3 weight line and I mostly just palm it instead of using the drag. This set up is a great for smaller fish. If you want to step it up the Sage TXL is a really great rod also, I just got a killer deal on the VT2 or I probably would have stepped up to the TXL.

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Patagonia – Guidewater Jacket – $400

I have one of these and man is it comfy. I put it through it’s paces recently on some of our rainy days here in Oregon and it shines. The pockets are plentiful and large enough for several fly boxes and my camera. There is a D-ring on the back for connecting your net and a small area up high on the chest for attaching a zinger and your forceps. Plus there is a flip out rod holder so you can stick both hands in the up-high fleece lined pockets on those cold days. There is also a ladies version.

96GTL6SFOrvis – Safe Passage Reel and Gear Case – $59

This falls into the category of not being necessary but sure being handy. I would love to have all my reels and boxes organized like in the picture instead of just thrown into my Patagonia Guidewater Duffel (which I love). There are more expensive versions out there from Patagonia, Sage, and Simms but they are mostly for use in a boat and since I don’t have a boat I will settle for the $59 version.

Picture 3Clackacraft – 16′ Low Profile Fly Pod – A lot

Since I am on the idea of a boat I will take one of these also. Santa can just stick it in my garage—or better yet just hook it up to my vehicle and I will take it out bright and early the next morning. It can’t hurt to dream big, right?

yhst-17105658520519_2078_151669136-1Tiemco – Ceramic Bobbin – $19

Only $19 and I still put up with my bobbins. Ahhh, a new ceramic bobbin. Makes fly tying me happy.

Olympus – Stylus Tough 8000 – $379

1448_overviewI actually have last years version of this camera, called a 1030 SW, and I love it. Slim enough to use every day but having the BIG plus of being waterproof. Almost all the photos you see on this blog are taken with this camera. The only downer is that it is slow between taking one photo and the next. Maybe they fixed that in the newer version. There is also a less expensive  6000 version that slips in $100 less.

Teach your children well

I found this image from a few months back that I thought I had lost. I was tying flies with my daughter and my wife snapped this quick photo of us. The whole time I was tying with her I had Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in my head, not that I understand the lyrics of the song, the title just seemed to fit and I filled in the rest with some humming. She is now a few months older and would never sit still enough to let me tie a whole fly with her. Maybe she will grow up to have a mean hand whip finish like her dad.

Go with the snow

Alex and I got away on Sunday and as we drove into Washington in search of mushrooms realized that the awesome weather we get here in the NW during fall is quickly coming to a close. We headed up into the hills and started to see a dusting of snow around, nothing to worry about. But then we started seeing the cars coming down that had inches of snow on the roofs, ummm. While when we got to the mushroom gathering area I was singing that Christmas song about riding in a wonder land of snow because it looked like this:

Ugghhh. I hate snow. Only thing it’s good for is staying in the mountains, away from me, and melting so I have water in my rivers. While we got out anyway and to our surprise we actually found some white chanterelles in the white snow. A whole basket of them in 30 minuets.  Alex was wearing all bright orange and I was all in black. Guess which of us is going to get shot by a hunter first. I had a hunter tell me one time that I must be “stupid to run around in huntin’ woods dressed like that” (not really what he said but close) so I bought a reflective vest I just forgot it this trip.

We had enough of the snow and headed back down the hill to the warmer weather. As we got near Bonneville Dam we thought we would just stop and see what was going on at the mouth of Eagle Creek. There were not the vast amounts of salmon stacked there but there were a lot. Some fresher fish were interspersed with the ones on there last leg. If only I could have got some of the fresh ones. While this fish fought hard and he deserves his photo anyway:

We cast farther down along the bank but no luck. I will never end up there at the “right” time because I don’t want to stand around with the 100 or so people that were combat fishing there at the “right” time. I will stick to my spots where I am alone and will go catch my fresh salmon in Alaska (or Costco, they carry fresh wild salmon at the one near me).

Alex got this photo of me. Ahh moody Oregon…