New Fly Lines for Spring of 2014

Thinking about a little “Spring Cleaning” of your fly gear? Upgrading fly line and leader material is often the first order of business. Today’s fly line market is larger than ever and the 2014 spring season brings more options to the table.

Some may remember the days when there was a choice of two maybe three fly lines at your local fly shop. Cortland owned the market with the 444 and 444SL lines. Peach? or Green? Was often the decision one had to make when selecting a floating trout line. Some shops even offered the “Ivory” Scientific Anglers Air Cel Supreme as well. Wow do we ever have choices today. There are many many excellent options for floating fly lines within the fly fishing market today.

Fly line manufactures have adjusted tapers, coatings, specific gravities, leader connections and colors immensely since the old days when we had just a few choices. Technology in fly line manufacturing has advanced greatly, and so has the desire to match fly line type with rod action and fishing situation. When the consumer shops for a line today they have an opportunity to get very use specific. For example line manufacturers like Rio, Scientific Anglers and Airflo all have specific nymph fishing tapers. We often ask our customers what they will be fishing for? What rod are you using? And even what size flies do you fish most often? While it may seem like there are to many choices at times, in the end the choices are really good in the sense that you can optimize the performance of your fly rod, leader and fly. Having the right line does make a difference to how your rod casts, and ultimately how your fly is presented. Below you will find an overview of some of the newest fly lines available today.

We start with a completely new series of lines from Airflo.
Airflo Super Dri Lines are a series of floating lines co-engineered with Airflo and Tim Rajeff of Rajeff Sports, Echo rods, reels and more. They are the only major manufacture who uses polyurethane, most others use PVC. Airflo and Rajeff firmly believe that polyurethane is a better plastic to use for fly line manufacturing. They believe that polyurethane offers greater durability and is a more Eco-friendly material. The creation of the Super Dri series of floating lines adds to the polyurethane story. Super dry lines employ ZONE technology as explained by Rajeff below:

The idea behind Zone is simple—supple lines rock out with their socks out and have many benefits, except when it comes to the haul zone. The suppler the line is, the more resistant it is to the double haul through the guides, especially when it gets warm outside. By changing the hardness of the coating in the Zone area, compression is reduced during the haul resulting in superior line speed and greater shoot-ability across a wide temperature range.

While there are five specific lines withing the Super Dry category, Elite, Exceed, Mend, Distance Pro and River and Stream, I will discuss the three we have had the most experience with.

airflo exceed fly line sale

The Airflo Super Dry Exceed is designed for fast rods or for anglers who are looking to load their rod at a shorter distance. You can liken it a bit to the Rio Grand line, a bumped up 1/2 to a full line size in terms of grain weight. If you cast larger dries a lot and need a line to cope with wind the Exceed is excellent. We have found the Exceed to match modern rods like the Winston B3x, Sage ONE, Sage Method, Echo 3 and Scott Radian really well.

airflo elite fly line sale

The Airflo Super Dry Elite is an all around trout presentation line. You can liken it to the Rio Gold from Rio. A standard taper ideal for most rods. Experienced casters will like the Elite on fast rods as fast line speeds with superb accuracy can be achieved. Moderate action rods like the Winston B2x, Sage SLT, Winston GVX and even Sage Z-Axis are great matches for the Elite line.

airflo mend fly line sale

The Airflo Mend is the Super Dry nymph specific taper. I used this line a bunch last spring and it casts great. The Mend has a healthy running line in terms of length and diameter to facilitate mending. The slick coating on the line aids feeding line to lengthen those indicator dead drifts. The Mend is one of the brightest colored lines on the market.

Scientific Anglers has a completely new offering of floating lines as well. Sharkwave fly lines are a blend of the original Sharkskin line and Mastery Textured lines. The Sharkwave line has three different textures and three different colors within one line. The front tip is made of Sharkskin and Dry Tip for super floatation. The head of the line is made from Sharkskin as well for easy line shooting and mending. There is a small “tactile reference point” section that indicates the transition between head and and running line. The running line is made of “mastery textured” which is easier on the hands and not as “loud” through the guides compared to conventional Sharkskin lines. I really like the “SA/ID feature on the lines, the line weight and model are printed on the front section of the line so you can always identify what line weight and model is on your reel.

scientific anglers sharkwave fly line sale

I have the Sharkwave Ultimate Trout model on a Scott Radian 9ft 5wt now and it is working really well. The Sharkwave shoots and feeds line downstream as well as the original Sharkskin but so far seems to float better. The tactile section is quite short and for me hasn’t been as noticeable as expected. The front taper on the Trout Taper model of the Sharkwave is longer than most standard trout lines these days, around 50 feet. This longer front taper is nice for a longer stable presentation casts.

scientific anglers sharkwave gpx taper

The GPX Sharkwave taper is a 1/2 line size up and a shorter compact front taper. It utilizes all the three textures and three colors in the same way as the Trout Taper Sharkwave.

SA has also introduced a Saltwater Taper Sharkwave fly line. The Mastery Textured running line is going to be a huge advantage in this line as it will save your stripping fingers considerably compared to original Sharkskin lines.

Rio fly lines have largely dominated the market of late. The Rio Gold has become the “Gold” standard easy choice for consumers purchasing floating trout lines. No doubt the Rio Gold’s appeal is legit. The lines all around floating, casting and rod matching capabilities are fantastic. Rio has developed numerous lines that are holding up and performing on modern fly rod designs as well as any. Combine performance with great marketing and you can see why when you go to most fly shops the shelves are jammed with Rio lines.

rio perception fly line

The Perception fly line is the latest introduction for Rio in the trout realm. The key difference in terms of construction is the use of “Connectcore”. Connectcore and the Perception are described by Rio below:

Built with ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology, Perception lines provide groundbreaking levels of sensitivity for intuitively better cast timing, easier line lift and sharp, precise mends. Lack of stretch also means enhanced detection of subtle takes and faster reaction time when setting the hook.

The Perception is tri-colored like the SA Sharkwave, Rio calls it SureFire color system. Front taper, body and back taper, and running line are all different colors. The color delineations are nice for identifying ideal pick up points in the line. I have found the line to cast well on most rods. It’s shorter front taper 35′ on A 5wt is a realistic head length for most trout fishing situations. The no stretch core feature is great for swinging wets and when you need to set the hook at distance. I used the Perception on a Redington Butter Stick and you do notice the sensitivity in the line despite the full flexing fiberglass rod. Rio employs an EasyID (line weight and type printed on the front of the line) tag on the lines as well.

rio euro nymph line sale

Now Leon Chandler would roll over on in his grave if he was around for this one. RIO has developed a Euro Nymph specific line. The Euro Nymph is competition legal, matches lines sizes 2-5, has a low stretch core and a highly visible tip. It’s looped end is micro and the entire line is super thin. If you want to give Euro Nymphing a shot then this line is the real deal.

There are many choices out there for the angler looking for a new line the above are just the newest of the new.


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Saltwater Rockfish and Ling Cod Clouser Fly Tying Video using Steve Farrar’s blend

We all have favorites and this is my favorite un-conventional Clouser because I rarely see fellow saltwater anglers using orange and black as principle color combinations in their Clousers.

I chose these colors with juvenile rockfish in mind but I would be loathe to claim that a black Rockfish or Ling cod thinks that this fly, specifically, is that baby bottom-fish when inhaling it somewhere in the depths below the Dory where I am bracing my knees and patiently strip-retrieving.

Whatever. The fly looks beautiful and the fish eat it; what more do I need to know.

Jay Nicholas

Lingcod Clouser


Overall Length = 5”
Thread: Danville’s 210 D Green Chartreuse
Hook: #3/0 Mustad 3407
Eyes: Unpainted Lead – XL Large
Belly: Steve Farrar’s Blend – Bleeding Gray
Lateral Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend – Hot Orange
Back: Steve Farrar’s Blend – Bleeding Black
Cure Goo: Hydro and Tack Free

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

Hot Pink Saltwater Surf Candy Fly Tying Video for Pink Salmon, Coho & Rockfish with Bucktail and Cure Goo

2013 was a big run year for Pink Salmon on the Skagit River in Washington. Everyone, seemingly, who fishes for Pink Salmon touts the wonders of pink flies, baits and lures – so this Surf Candy style of fly stays true the Pink color theme.

For the Pink Salmon fly fisher, this fly may be fished on sink tip lines using cast and strip in slow flowing waters or using cast, swing, and hang-down fly delivery in riffles. Pink salmon are often found in relatively shallow water as they migrate along saltwater bay and estuary shorelines, and as they migrate upriver.

This fly sinks well, considering it is not weighted, but should still be fished on a sink tip or sinking shooting-head fly line.

Jay Nicholas

Pink Salmon Surf Candy


Overall Length = 3”
Thread: Fine mono
Hook: #2 Mustad 3407
Lower Body: Fl Pink Bucktail
Mid Body: Fl Pink FishHair
Body Topping: Fl Fuchsia Krystal Flash
Eyes: 7/32” Adhesive Holographic Super Pearl
Cure Goo: Hydro, Thick, and Tack Free

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | 2 Comments

Lower McKenzie March Brown Hatch Still Going in April

lower mckenzie river fly fishing

Despite sometimes gusty upriver winds March Browns emerged yesterday in fair numbers. The drift between Hayden Bridge and Armitage Park produced “pretty decent” fishing. Water conditions are ideal at the moment, and with a few clouds in the forecast fishing will remain good. Try the Extended Body March Brown and Spotlight March Brown Emerger shown below. Look for March Browns to be present from about 12pm-3pm. Nymphing remains consistently good with my best pattern yesterday being the Jigged Prince nymph in a size 12.

extended body march brown

march brown hatch mckenzie river

The Middle Fork of the Willamette has dropped considerably and will be worth a look as well. March Browns, Caddis, Mega Prince, and medium sized stonefly nymphs are a good bet at this time of the year.

middle fork of the willamette near oakridge

We still have a bit of room in two upcoming classes/demos.

Lou will be conducting an Introduction to fly casting course the weekend of April 25th and 26th. The course is Friday evening from 6-8 and Saturday 9-1pm. Participants do not need equipment and the cost of the class is $55.

Clay and Ty will be holding a spey demo day on the 27th of April for more info check out this link: Spey Demo.

Give us a call to book in: 541-342-7005

Posted in Fishing Reports | 1 Comment

Saltwater Clouser Fly Tying Video for Chinook Salmon and Rockfish with Steve Farrar’s Blend

This Saltwater Clouser fly fishes well in the both open ocean and estuaries. The texture of the Electric Yellow fibers are not as pleasing to my likes as most of the Steve Farrar’s Blends, but it is bright and I use in sparingly to spice up this fly.

I have tied Clousers in diverse sizes, materials, & colors, and the Clouser is among a handful of fly styles that merits the attention of most fly tyers and fly anglers. Granted, a 3” Clouser would not be my first choice when fishing over Spring Creek Trout when they are keying on # 20 Mayfly Spinners. Still, I love the Clouser. If you are familiar with the fly, you already get it. If not, I encourage you to begin working on your Clouser tying and fishing skills.

Jay Nicholas

Chinook Clouser Minnow for Open Water

Overall Length = 3.5”
Thread: Danvile’s 210 D Green Chartreuse
Hook: #2/0 Mustad 3407
Throat: Pink Gliss N Glow
Belly: Steve Farrar’s Blend – UV White
Top: Steve Farrar’s Blend Electric Yellow/Bleeding Mackerel /Bleeding Black
Lateral Line: Lateral Flash
Eyes: Hareline Painted Lead Eyes – Large Chartreuse
Cure Goo: Hydro

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

New John Gierach Book “All Fishermen are Liars” Signed Copies Available Starting April 21st

All Fishermen - cover

We have reserved at least 50 autographed copies of All Fishermen Are Liars. These hardbound copies are perfect to add to your angling library and make a fantastic gift for any angler. Click the following link to order your copy today: Buy All Fishermen are Liars Link

All Fishermen Are Liars By John Gierach

“I have to go fishing; it’s my job.” John Gierach can say that and mean it. But fishing is only part of his job. The other part is writing about his fishing adventures. And that’s the part we readers get to enjoy. In All Fishermen Are Liars, Gierach travels across North America from the Pacific Northwest to the Canadian Maritimes to seek out quintessential fishing experiences. Whether he’s fishing a busy stream or a secluded lake amid snow-capped mountains, Gierach insists that fishing is always the answer—even when it’s not clear what the question is. All Fishermen Are Liars covers fishing topics large and small: the art of fly-tying and the quest for the perfect steelhead fly; fishing in the Presidential Pools previously fished by the first President George Bush; and the importance of traveling with like-minded companions when caught in a soaking downpour. (“At this point someone is required to say, ‘You know, there are people who wouldn’t think this is fun.’”) Gierach may occasionally lose a fish, but he never loses his passion for fishing or his sense of humor. All Fishermen Are Liars proves yet again that life’s most valuable lessons—and some of its best experiences— can be found while fly-fishing. –

GierachJohn credit CD Clarke


“All Fishermen Are Liars is rich in the savvy, humor, and sidelong takes on our sport that have made all of John’s books such addictive reading.” – Paul Schullery, author of If Fish Could Scream and The Fishing Life “John Gierach remains the most consistently eloquent fly fishing writer of modern times.” – James R. Babb, Editor, Gray’s Sporting Journal

“A fisherman’s testimony to the faithful. . . . [An] Elegiac tribute to the elusive art and ineffable pleasure of fly-fishing, with plenty of information about how it’s done by true practitioners.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Perceptive and witty. . . . These lyrical essays explode with descriptions of beautiful places, big fish, and beautiful fish. . . . But Gierach can write about more than trout and salmon.” – Booklist

Posted in Oregon fly fishing links, Shop Sales and Specials | Leave a comment

Lower McKenzie Dropping, Warming and Fishing Well


The lower McKenzie River is fishing really well. Dropping water levels and rising water temperatures are a good combo. Grannom caddis and March Browns are the important surface oriented insects. Peacock Caddis in sizes 16 and 18 and March Brown Parachutes in size 12 and 14.



Monday was calm and warm with sun and a very high cloud layer, the dry fly fishing was stellar. Yesterday the wind howled up the river and the fish were not feeding with the same consistency. We were able to catch fish on the surface, but the nymphing was more effective for larger fish. Our best nymphs were the Jigged Prince in all sizes, and the ever reliable Mega Prince.

April Grannom II



The weekend weather looks fantastic, get out there and enjoy!

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | 1 Comment

Saltwater & Puget Sound Shimmer Fringe Pink Clouser Fly Tying Video for Coho and Cutthroat

Surprisingly, this little fly fishes well in the open ocean and in estuarine habitats like Puget Sound and the Frasier River in BC. The fly is small but predatory fish from sea run cutthroat to Black Rockfish know how to key in on little prey and have no problems finding these flies when they are featured on the menu.

Fishing these flies in estuaries is best done with floating and intermediate lines, using little twitches to keep the fly in the upper few inches or feet of the water. I have found that the sink rate of the fly in increased as heavier layers of Cure Goo are added, so if you plan to fish this fly in a few feet of water, like is common where Sea Run Cutthroat lurk in the spring; you want to keep the Goo layer relatively thin. When fishing Pacific Rockfish around kelp and over reefs in 20 ft of water with fast sinking fly lines, you may make the Goo layer quite thick and this makes for a more easily detectable fly that the fish will take with solid approval.

As always, experiment and vary the color combinations to suit your local conditions and personal preferences.

Jay Nicholas

Shimmer Fringe Clouser Minnow


Overall Length = 2”
Thread: Fine Mono
Hook: #4 Mustad 3407
Body: Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe Minnow Pearl Mix
Upper body: Shimmer Fringe Minnow back Hot and Shell Pink
Eyes: Hareline Pseudo Eyes – small black/chartreuse
Cure Goo: Hydro

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 2 Comments

Coastal Hatchery Steelhead still running

Yep. This is a great time of year to fish. The McKenzie is coming on strong with nymphs and dries, Spring Chinook are in the Lower Willamette just begging to be shown a fly to eat, there are many lakes stocked with hatchery trout, and in the weeks before spring chinook nose into a few coastal rivers, there are still a surprising number of nice hatchery winter steelhead willing to respond to our flies.

If you are on the prowl on coastal rivers now, make sure you check the regulations because some rivers are closed for a while, but others remain open, like the Wilson, Trask, Nestucca, and Siletz. The steelhead pictured here swooped in from the ocean late last week, and reports from the weekend indicate that more fish slid in during the last few days. These fish ranged from about five to about 12 pounds, and interestingly, all three had harbor seal marks from recent close encounters.

The first few summer steelhead have also been reported, and the first spring Chinook may be expected any day now.

Check the regulations, have fun, and make your decision about where to fish, because there are plenty of opportunities.

The Caddis Fly Shop can schedule you for a guided trip for any of the locales mentioned here, so if you would like to try your hand at anything from coastal lakes trout, McKenzie wild rainbow and cutthroat, or coastal river anadromous species, give us a call and we will gladly explore options to tailor your trip.


Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Fishing Reports | 1 Comment

Flies you Need in your Fly Box for Spring Fishing on the Mckenzie and Willamette

Here is a list of “go to” standard fly patterns for your local fishing over the next couple of weeks. Sizes may vary slightly and of course there are many other effective flies. These are your “don’t leave home without them” patterns.

Mega Prince Nymph

Mega Prince
The Mega Prince can be fished dead drift or swung and is a favorite when the water is a bit on the high side and not perfectly clear. It can be used in tandem with other nymphs or wet flies. One of the best Sprng flies around!

Double Bead Peackock Epoxy Backed Nymph

Double Bead Poxy Backed Peacock Nymph
When you need to get down quickly the Double Bead Poxy Backed Peacock Nymph will get the job done. We use this quick decent pattern along with a smaller nymph for a double nymph and indicator rig. One of the best early season Deschutes flies as well.

Jimmy Legs Nymph

Jimmy Legs
The Jimmy Legs is another highly effective nymph pattern. We have found it to fish in all colors and sizes. It’s buggy, leggy, “beadless” drift is deadly.

Pheasant Tail Nymph

Pheasant Tail/PT Flashback
Nothing surprising here the Pheasant Tail is a great all around nymph anywhere trout swim. We like it to imitate March Brown nymphs in sizes 12 and 14, then drop down to a 16 or 18 for Blue Winged Olives. Fish it in shallow riffles under a dry or with another heavy nymph for best success.

Silvey's Soft Serve march Brown Wet fly

Silvey’s Soft Serve March Brown Wet
The Soft Serve March Brown wet fly does great when swung down and across all Spring. It has a small bead tied into the body helping it get down a bit even in the fastest of tail-outs and riffles.

Yellow Lab Tungsten Bead Retriever Nymph

Tungsten Trout Retriever Yellow Lab
When you need to dredge a bit the Trout Retriever will get you to the bottom quickly. Use in with a small nymph for a double nymph rig. Highly effective as warmer days spurn golden stone emergence.

Copper John

Copper John
Density and sink rate are superb attributes to the Copper John Nymph. There is a reason why it’s been the best selling nymph in the West for years. Try the Copper John under a dry or with a heavier nymph and indicator rig.

Possie Bugger Nymph

Possie Bugger
You knew it was on the list, only a matter of time. Swing it, dead drift it, get it wet. The Possie Bugger catches fish all seasons.

March Brown Western Parachute

March Brown Parachute
Finally a dry fly on list! The March Brown Parachute is a favorite on those cloudy days when the trout push up into the riffles and feed on adult and emerging March Browns.

Peacock Caddis

Peacock Caddis
The Peacock Caddis is as good as any to imitate the Grannom Caddis blizzard that can be present on sunny days this time of year. The hatch can be frustrating at times but find a feeder on the bank or in a defined feed line and present a size 16 or 18 Peacock Caddis for good results.

Western march Brown

Western March Brown

A heavily hackle “traditional Catskills” version of the March Brown adult. We have gone back to this pattern a bit with surprising results.

Have fun out there!

Posted in Fishing Reports, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon Weekend Fishing Forecast, Proven Spring Fly Patterns | 1 Comment

Spring Guide Special Continues through April

mckenzie river fly fishing

We are extending our spring special trout trips through April.

Fishing lately has been very good, with consistent nymphing throughout the day and intermittent dry fly activity.
The recent moderate amounts of precipitation have kept the river at an optimal level for the past week, making for excellent early season conditions. There is a beautiful week of Spring weather forecasted.

fly fising the mckenzie

Each Spring we are reminded of how fortunate we are to have the lower McKenzie within such close proximity to the Eugene area. When conditions align, there is potential for exceptional trout fishing.

If you would like to experience the what the Lower River has to offer, take advantage of our half day special. The special includes 5-6 hours of fishing, and all tackle is provided. The trip runs from about 10am to about 3-4pm.

Call the shop for a reservation. 541 342 7005

Posted in Fishing Reports, Shop Sales and Specials | Leave a comment

Shop Sales Continue though April


It’s time to move our inventory from Winter to Spring. We have put most of our Winter apparel on sale. Check out the great deals on Howler Brothers, Patagonia, Korkers and much more on these pages.
Korkers Casual Shoes
Selected Simms Jackets

Our Spring fly selection is stocked up as well, Caddis, March Browns, Stonefly Nymphs it’s time to get your fly selection reloaded. The McKenzie and Willamette are fishing well now despite water levels being on the high side.


Posted in Shop Sales and Specials | 1 Comment

Sponsor a protester at NFS’s Annual Banquet

Via the Native Fish Society: With Sandy river hatchery plants cut by half, stray rates below 10%, wild broodstock programs suspended and a precedent setting federal court ruling, the Three Rivers Sportman’s Alliance (a pro-hatchery “political action committee”) is planning to protest our upcoming Annual Benefit Banquet and Auction.

FYI, there’s some amazing stuff happening on this website:

“We all agree on one thing, we need to make more fish. Hatchery programs are necessary for salmon recovery, recreation, jobs and the economic health of our State.”

In response, Native Fish Society supporters and members have asked us to provide an opportunity to raise additional support for wild fish by donating per protester.

If you’d like to sponsor a protester please email with your name, the amount you would like to donate per protester and your phone number. Thank you for all your support for wild, native fish!

Side note: Chris and Shauna Daughters have donated 1 Angler, 5 Nights / 4 Days fishing the South Island of New Zealand to the annual auction. Should be a great night, with protestor fireworks to boot! Don’t miss it.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events | Leave a comment

Free Spey Rod/Line Demo Day, April 27th

caddis fly spey demo day

The Caddis Fly Shop, Scott, Sage, Rio, Echo and Airflo have teamed up to give you the opportunity to cast a rod/line combo of your choosing.

Already have a rod, but don’t know which Scandi head to match it with? Interested in demoing a rod in a fishing environment before committing to purchase?

Sunday, April 27th at 4:30pm we will have a vast collection of rods and lines to demo for free! The Caddis fly team will be on hand to advise individuals on rod and line selection, and to answer any questions concerning spey.
Limited to first 15 applicants. Please bring waders and boots.

Call the shop at 541-342-7005 to get registered. We will let you know the meeting place prior to the event.

Posted in Classes and Instruction | Leave a comment

New Fly Fishing Gear Notes From Cedar Lodge

The past five months or so I have been able to put some gear through it’s paces, walking up many of New Zealand’s South Island rivers 5 or 6 days a week. Most of the gear is new to the market, and the rest is new to me in the sense of really getting a chance to use it day in and day out. Walking 3-7 kms a day, sometimes through thick bush, your gear needs to be comfortable and durable. Below you will find a discussion of each piece of gear.

Fishpond Black Canyon Backpack


A complete shift for me here. I have fished/guided from a drift boat most of my life and now I need to have everything at hand for the day on my back or chest. The Black Canyon Backpack has the room I need and more. I was able to carry a large lunch box, Kelly’s Kettle, (we make tea river side at lunch time), first aid kit, dry kindling, space blanket, sat phone, hydration bladder and an extra jacket or two. I had room to spare here for an extra reel or rod as well which occasionally were on added to the load.
The pack is really comfortable and light in weight. You can adjust it in all the normal spots a decent backpack allows. It’s color is very suitable in terms of trout stalking. It’s not camo but it’s not bright in anyway.

Fishpond Savage Creek Chest Pack


A key for me and the the use of the Black Canyon Backpack was the ability to add a vest or chest-pack and hydration bladder. Fishpond has really dialed this system in. I have been a chest-pack hater most of my life, thinking they got in the way of casting and were generally cumbersome. But.. The Fishpond Savage Creek Chest Pack attached easily and comfortably to the Black Canyon Backpack. I was able to carry two medium sized fly boxes, tippets, leaders, floatants, pliers, bug repellent and sunscreen.

Fishpond Geigerrig Hydration Bladder


The Fishpond Geigerrig Hydration Bladder worked great with the Black Canyon Backpack. I was able to put the bladder in last (top of the pack) and easily feed both the drink and pressure tube/bulb through the designed slot near the main zipper of the pack. No matter how crunched up or flattened the bladder was in the pack, the pressure bulb aided in emptying the water I had in the bladder each day.

Nomad Mid-Length Boat Net by Fishpond


Now the good folks at Fishpond were kind enough to ship one of these down to us at Cedar Lodge and upon arrival I was a bit concerned about the size. We fly daily to fish and all of our gear has to fit in the helicopter pod attached to the Raven 44 helicopter. Fortunately the Mid Length Boat Net fit perfectly, and despite my kiwi pals having a good chuckle about how ridiculously big this net is to carry, I love it. It’s massive hoop size spawned a nick name “the purse seiner”. After a few “wiffs” I learned that despite being light in the hand the Mid Length Boat Net is not fast in the water. It’s rubber bag and size simply don’t allow for a quick scoop of the fish. Rather you want to get completely or nearly completely under the fish and give it a two hand upward scoop. With the “upward scoop” technique I was very pleased with the net and found it very fish friendly and fly friendly. The bag is so big the fish seem to feel a bit more comfortable submerged in the net, and the rubber bag simply does not grab flies.

Simms Vapor Boots


Both myself and our pilot/guide Dion Matheson wore the Vapor Boot quite a bit towards the end of the season and while I do like the boot it simply did not hold up as well as I would have liked. You can view a more in depth discussion of the Vapor and Patagonia Ultralight Sticky here:

Simms Guard Socks


Approximately 95% of our fishing is done wet wading, this includes guides and guests. We see a lot of wet wading socks from Orvis, Simms, Cabelas and Redington. Mid-season I had a few pairs of the new Simms Guard socks sent down. What a difference! The new Simms Guard Socks are the best I ever used hands down. The other guard socks on the market are not even close. The formed foot bed is fantastic, left and right feet (keep the Simms logo on the outside) and the tough polyurethane textured outsole makes them extremely durable. The pull down and clip to to laces gravel cuff is also super tough and superbly fitted. These keep gravel out as well as any guard sock that has ever been made. I went barefoot in these all season and didn’t have a rock inside once.

Sage Method 9ft 4wt


One could argue that the 9ft 4wt Sage Method is a bit light for New Zealand fishing. In terms of delivering the fly I would argue it’s just fine. The Method 4wt excelled in lengthy casts into the wind ( we get a few norwesters ) regardless of fly size. Landing fish would be the only concern I would have for this rod being a go to New Zealand rod. Undoubtedly a 5wt Method is a better call for landing most of the 4-6+lbs fish we see. I am positive the 9ft 4wt Method will do superbly on all Western US waters with dries or hopper dropper rigs. In a pinch this rod could handle smaller nymphs and indicators as well.

Patagonia sun stretch shirt


My favorite fishing shirt on the market. The Sun Stretch has great UPF 30 fabric, fit and pocket design. It’s the perfect weight for the hottest days and with a lightweight layer underneath it was good to go on cooler mornings. This years best color for New Zealand “bush camo” is Ash Tan.

Waterworks Lamson Litespeed 4 Reel


Light in weight and good looking the newest iteration of the Litespeed reel utilizes the same maintenance free conical drag mechanism that has proven reliability. I matched the size 2 reel with a 9ft 4wt Sage Method and had a really nice light weight combination. The most significant improvement in my mind is the more user-friendly drag knob. I found it much easier to adjust.

Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid Pant


The Horizon Hybrid Pant is made from very tough and stain resistant rip stop nylon. I have been and continue to be a big fan of the Patagonia Guidewater Pant and continue to be but the Horizon Hybrid has a slimmer fit in the leg and reduced drag in the water. It worked very well by itself or over a thin insulated layer on colder mornings.

Finally a couple of key flies that were difference makers for us the lodge this year.

Mercer’s Missing Link Caddis


The Missing Link was superb on selective fish. I will be adding colors and sizes to the shop and lodges inventory. It lands upright every time and lays flat in the water emulating a struggling to emerge insect. We had few refusals with the Missing Link!

Mercer’s Micro Mayfly Nymph


The Micro May is fantastic as a dropper nymph. It’s slim profile and “large for its size” bead allow it to sink quickly without a bunch of lead. When we encountered cruising backwater browns that needed a straight nymph (no indicator) the Micro May was the fly pattern of choice.

Stay tuned for more gear notes including the Scott Radian, Winston B3x and much more.


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