What have the Silvers been eating lately?


Many folks have enjoyed some great fishing for slivers this summer in the ocean offshore Oregon. The season in which hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) coho may be harvest by recreational anglers is over, but there will be another period of harvest permitted soon, and fishing should be great so if you can make plans to go, I encourage you to do so. This next short season will allow us to retain any fin-clipped and non-clipped coho, but it is important to check regulations regarding seasons, daily limits, and hook regulations.

The fly fishing in the ocean has been awesome to, say the least, and the fish have been relatively large this season and this indicates that they have been feeding very well indeed. As a biologist/angler, I am always curious about what these fish have been eating from day to day. The ocean near Pacific City last year seemed to be teeming with baitfish, mostly anchovies, but we have not been seeing big concentrations of bait fish this season. What has been common, at least on the days I have been on the ocean, is what my commercial buddy refers to as “crab spawn”.


This is actually the first year I have been out often enough, and conditions were just right, that I was able to see the elusive “crab spawn” floating around near the surface of the ocean.

On some days, the crab spawn (juvenile crabs) have been concentrated in current rips and the silvers have really been chowing down on them. A few of the photos here are common examples of stuffed to the gills conditions we have observed in the fish we have killed.

One might wonder (all my friends have) if we should have been fishing flies imitating these little crabs, instead of the 3-4 inch long bucktails we have been using. Nah, I say – the larger bucktail flies give the coho something to notice better than they would if we were fishing a fly less than the size of a dime, floating around among ten thousand other little crabs. The big bucktail and the motion we impart gets the salmon’s attention right quick, and they have a strong genetic impulse to eat baitfish even if there aren’t many in the water on any given day or hour.

Oh well, the crab are obviously providing great food for the salmon.

Have fun out there and fish safe.

Jay Nicholas, August 2014

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

Saltwater Albacore Baitfish Fly Tying Video using Steve Farrar’s Blend and Cure goo

Preface: I am posting this video today, as I am getting my tuna tackle ready to fish either tomorrow or Friday -ocean conditions permitting. I am super excited about the possibility of launching a Dory (most likely The Fly Guy) on the beach in the pre-dawn surf, and making a long run looking for Albacore. My host knows his stuff and if we can get to the tuna, they will probably cooperate enough to leave us all in a melt-down. Wish us luck, and expect a report if all goes well. JN

Now for the regular fly post!

Steve Farrar’s Blend is an excellent material – I was new to the saltwater fly tying game and this synthetic winging material a year ago. Not now. I can tell you that different colors of the SF Blend product line exhibit different textures. The vast majority of the Steve Farrar’s blend colors are easy to tie with but a few are in my opinion a little more difficult to work with. The only colors I use that are in the hard-to-work category are the Electric Yellow and Bucktail White.

The Electric Yellow is a base material that is too straight and glassy for my tastes, but it has the ultra-bright yellow-chartreuse color I insist on in some flies. The Bucktail White Blend is too crinkled for my tastes, but it incorporates just the right amount of flash and a stark white color just like natural Bucktail (only more durable), so I live with the crinkles.

And speaking of 5” – this is a very effective length for a saltwater Pacific albacore fly, although I am quite sure that a smaller fly is more effective when Tuna are keying in on little bait. Really.

Jay Nicholas

Saltwater Albacore Baitfish
Overall Length = 5” – 5.5”
Thread: Fine Mono
Hook: Mustad #3/0 Gamakatsu SC 15
Belly: Fishient Flash N Slinky – White
Under Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend – Bleeding Gray
Lateral Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend – UV Mackerel Blend
Over Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend -Midnight Blitz
Eyes: Cure Goo 10mm Lava
Cure Goo: Thick and Hydro

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

Handling Running Line Using the 50% Rule While Spey Casting

Northwest sales representative for Sage, Rio, and Redington, George Cook demonstrates how to manage running line when spey casting. The 50% rule is a good guideline to help you manage your running line of any type.

Posted in Oregon Fly Fishing Tips, Summer Steelhead | Leave a comment

Beulah Aero Head Mid Belly Spey Review

The new Beulah Aero Head is a modern mid-belly spey head designed to reestablish the presence of mid belly lines in the modern spey world.  Traditional mid belly lines accommodated longer spey rods that were commonplace years ago; however, as the sport has evolved we now use rods between 12′-13.5′. This mid-belly taper is designed to be fished with the spey rods we find ourselves fishing with today.  Similar to a Scandi head, the weight is in the back of this shooting head, and I found it casts and turns over very comparably to one.  As you move toward the front of the head, it tapers down and becomes narrower and lighter–an “old-fashioned” line style with a modern taper.  It is also different from traditional mid and long belly fly lines in that it is not an integrated full line but rather a shooting head, allowing anglers to continue to fish and experiment with new and improved running lines as well.

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Lines-Zoom_AERO

I cast the 510 grain weight 7/8 Aero Head on a Beulah Platinum 7132-4.  This particular head is 47 feet long (they range from 44-62 feet depending on the rod you put it on/grain weight).  I was casting it with a 13 foot monofilament leader with a small traditional wet fly, which is fished very effectively with a mid-belly line.  Heavy flies and sink tips are not what this line was designed for.  In my opinion, this is the line you want to fish during shade sessions when you are swinging flies on or near the surface for steelhead.  What I noticed immediately about the line is its awesome mending capabilities.  Due to its longer length, I also found it convenient not having to strip in large amounts of running line between casts like you have to with scandi and skagit heads. After adjusting my swivel speed and the size of my D loop I found myself seamlessly shooting line and carrying a nice, tight loop across the pool I was fishing.  Honestly, it felt to me like a Scandinavian head that was simply twice as long as usual and because it felt like a scandi head, I treated it like one, using a similar casting stroke and primarily employing single speys as my main cast.

The Aero Head's debut on the Town Run

If you enjoy fishing Scandi heads with traditional wet flies or dry flies for steelhead in the Summer, I highly recommend you give this line a shot.  But even if your experience is limited, this is a great line to fish because it allows you to cast immense distances and turn over flies well.  It also bridges the gap between older spey techniques and modern equipment and spey fishing styles.  Available in grain weights that accommodate 6-11 weight spey rods, this line retails $69 and is available in all sizes both online and in the shop.




Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | 2 Comments

DamNaton Film Event in Roseburg August 24th

You are cordially invited to the first exclusive local DamNation film event, 6pm Sunday 8-24-14, at Splitz on 2400 NE Diamond Lake Blvd in Roseburg. It’s dinner and a movie — pizza and salad buffet for only $9 – cosponsored by three local groups as an affordable, entertaining, and educational event. The film explores the historical role of dams and the more recent role of dam removal in river management and restoration.

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

Surface Action Fly Fishing for Black Seabass at Pacific City

Hey all you saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts out there – I think that I mentioned recently a day when we found the sea bass on the surface for an extended period of time and had loads of fun casting to them. Well, I did NOT have a GoPro set up, but at one point it was so crazy that I held my iPhone in my right hand and tried to roll cast 15 ft with my left hand. My casting was terrible and awkward so It took a few casts but even at such close range, the sea bass came to the fly quite nicely.

This short video is but a tiny glimpse into the wild action that day, the BEST I have experienced in the last several years. Although this video does not show it, the bass sometimes jumped out of the water and came back down to crush the fly as they re-entered! I’m not sure if it shows in this video but I get very excited at times like this.

And don’t count on the fishing being like this all the time, because the last five days I fished, the sea bass were totally stuffed with little shrimp and other unidentifiable matter and we had a very difficult time catching a few of these fine fish on our bait-fish fly imitations. Such is often the case fly fishing the ocean, and easy-catching one day can transition into VERY challenging fishing the next.

Have fun and get out there if you can.

Jay Nicholas, August 2014

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

Sage Introduces the ACCEL Series of Spey and Switch Rods

I spent a recent afternoon with George Cook, the Northwest sales representative of Farbank (Sage-Rio-Redington). After he showed me all the new gear in the shop, we headed out to the river for some “on the water time” testing out the new rods and lines. George is a dedicated two handed caster and angler. His enthusiasm for casting and fishing is evident and his “Cookisms” have become part of the fly fishing industry vernacular. It’s always a pleasure spending time and money with him!

I filmed several videos based specifically on product for Caddisflyshop.com that are in this post. We also filmed videos on “handling running line”, “the turn out method”, and managing your hang down” that I will post later.

ACCEL ROD OVERVIEW



SAGE ACCEL 6126-4 SPEY ROD

SAGE ACCEL 8136-4 SPEY ROD

SAGE ACCEL SWITCH RODS



SAGE DOMAIN FLY REEL

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | 1 Comment

Of Toyotas, Takodas & Thunderstorms: Deschutes, Metolius, & Crane Prairie Reports

Last Monday I left Eugene with a mission: buy a used Toyota Tacoma and get some fishing in. Thankfully I did both, but with a few hiccups. First I learned I had to wait a week before I could get my truck from the Toyota service center, and second, thunder and lightning threatened to stall any afternoon/evening fishing in central Oregon. Betting against the weather my mom, dad, and I took a Tuesday-Wednesday Deschutes float trip from Warm Springs to Trout Creek. Thursday and Friday I headed to the Metolius, and Sunday I explored the murky bottom of Crane Prairie Reservoir in a less-than-comfortable raft.

My parents at the Warm Springs put in.

X-Caddis proved to still be effective on the Warm Springs-Trout Creek stretch of the Deschutes, as did Pheasant Tails and Sparkle Pupas. At the risk of sounding like a broken record dry fly fishing was good early and late, while nymphs floated deep under an indicator worked well all day. It was a bit slower this time than previous trips, but there were still hundreds of bugs about with eager trout looking for an easy meal.

Thankfully the promised thunderstorms held off until we were on our way home. Still, we had to take refuge in the Takodas Restaurant in Sisters while thunder cracked and hail smacked the streets and cars outside. Now here’s a selfless plug for Takodas’ Buffalo Burger with a side of onion rings. It’s the best thing ever after a few days on the river!
Rain, hail, and lightning, mid-storm on our way home from the Trout Creek take out.
Thursday I learned the entire fly fishing only section of the Metolius was open after fire crews contained most of the Bridge 99 Fire. With next to zero surface activity it took a while to learn what the fish were eating. I tried Yellow Sally nymphs, but quickly switched over to a size 22 WD-40 micro mayfly nymph. After a few casts I had on a sizable whitefish. Whitefish were the name of the game and bit actively while the redsides seemed not to want to come out to play. Still I managed one bite from a large trout that took me for a few runs before breaking me off in strong current. The next day was a similar story. Zero surface activity, but active subsurface feeding on micro mayfly nymphs.

Big reservoir, little raft, at the put in at Quinn River Campground.

With my recently purchased Toyota Tacoma still locked up in the service department I decided to make a trip to Crane Prairie on Sunday. Since this was a solo trip I couldn’t bring my pontoon, so I was stuck toting my mom’s inflatable raft, which she lovingly refers to as her “rubber ducky.” It’s a three-person raft that hardly fits one and gear with next to no legroom. Still, it was fun cruising around Quinn River area. Even though the fishing was slow and after several fly changes I finally hooked into a famous cranebow only to have him run around a snag and shake off. After eight hours my leg cramps had me paddling towards shore, but it was still fun exploring a new place, and I’ll definitely be back but this time in my pontoon or a proper boat!

Summary:

Deschutes: X-Caddis, Pheasant Tails, and Sparkle Pupas. Downsized tippet also helped, 5X & 6X for dries, 4X for nymphs was okay, but fluorocarbon seemed to work better than mono.

Metolius: Micro Mayfly Emergers like the WD-40 in sizes 20-22. If you nymph the Met at all you know fluorocarbon is the only way to fool fish. 4X for end of leader and 6X for droppers worked well, and go deep!

Crane Prairie: I tried everything from Chironbombers to leech patterns, but had my only bite on a #16 Pheasant Tail on a slow retrieve at about twelve feet.

Bryan T. Robinson

Posted in Central Oregon Fishing Report, Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Summer Fly Patterns 3: Fishmadman Steelhead Dry Flies

Summer fly favorites

Summer steelhead fishing is heating up around the state and it’s a great time to catch a steelhead on a dry fly. The Willamette, North Umpqua and Deschutes rivers are great places to skate or wake a fly. Fishmadman steelhead and salmon waking/skating/dead drift dry flies are the coolest series of surface patterns we have come across. Check out their website at: http://www.fishmadman.com/ for some fantastic information on how to fish and tie these patterns.

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Fishmadman flies are tied on tubes making them light and easy to cast. They weigh less than larger “hooked” waking fly patterns. They wake or dead drift in all water types. You are able use and swap out your favorite hook, or even change the hooks position to optimize hook sets. Because you are typically using a shorter shanked hook and the hook is independent of the fly you eliminate problems related to leverage on longer hook shanks, thus you land more fish.

We are stocking seven of these super cool fly patterns, five of them offer a unique rigging option that forces the fly to the surface keeping it waking in all water types. The Riffling Hitch Tube forces the fly to the surface like a kite string tied to the center of a kite.

wake-fly-system

The other two patterns patterns are “bomber stlye” flies that are designed to fish dead drift or skated.

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Give these tube skaters a shot on your next steelhead trip!
Skaopper Tube Fly
Steelhead Beetle Tube Skater
Greaseliner Tube Skater
Quigley’s Dragon Gurgler Tube Fly
Grantham Sedge Tube
Tube Bomber Blue
Rusty Brown Bomber Tube

Posted in Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing Gear Review | Leave a comment

Early Deschutes Steelhead

When the month of August comes around, I get tunnel vision. This is the time of year when big numbers of summer steelhead start moving into the Lower Deschutes, and these early fish are some of the hottest, most quality fish of the Summer, in my opinion. All I can think about is when I am going to hit the river next.

I spent three days with two great fishing buddies in the stretch between Pine Tree and Macks Canyon last week. This was my first steelhead trip down there this season, and trust me, there will be many more. While floating Macks to the Mouth this time of year can produce some epic days due to large numbers of fish in the lowest 7 miles of the river, I enjoy fishing a bit higher this time of year. Crowds seem a little thinner, and I honestly believe that a big percentage of the fish that enter the river this early bolt upstream in search of cooler water temperatures.

We fished with dry flies and traditional wet flies in the mornings and evenings, and used sink tips (T-8 and T-11) with heavier articulated flies in the middle of the day. Overall, the fishing was decent for this time of year. We hooked a few fish, got a few rises, and a handful of grabs, which is all you can really ask for.

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The fishing is only going to get better from here on out. Day by day, fish are moving into the river and chances of hooking up increase that much more. If you go down there, I recommend fishing hard during the shade sessions-morning and evening. During the middle of the day, slow down a bit; drink a beer (or two), take a nap and go for a swim. Don’t get me wrong, sink-tip fish some spots along the way, but make sure you’re not about to collapse from exhaustion in the evening after a 14 hour-long fishing binge spent in a furnace. You want to be ready when the sun starts getting low and its game time again. The days down there are long this time of year-waking up at 445 and fishing until past 9, Im 21 years old and I can barely hang with that schedule after a few days!

I would say another important part of fishing down there this time of year is setting yourself up with productive camp water. Ensuring you have a quality piece of water to fish during an evening/morning session around camp is the key to success I feel. Also, keep your eyes out for rattlesnakes, they are down there in full force!

Caddis flies around camp

From now until late Fall steelhead will be in the river waiting for your fly to swing past them. Get out there and show ‘em no mercy.

Enjoy.

Posted in Central Oregon Fishing Report | Leave a comment

New Caddis Fly Shop T-Shirts are in!

We’ve got some awesome new shop T-shirts in brown and dark blue colors. We’ve also got the new Oregon Trout shirts as well in Green and Blue in a variety of sizes. T-shirts are $25 each. Trust me, these Tees are all the rage in Europe right now.

Oregon Trout

Shop Tees

Get them while they’re here and represent your local fly shop!

Posted in Shop Sales and Specials | 2 Comments

TU August Chapter Meeting — Date and Location Changes

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Monday, August 11th, Rogue Ales Public House (lower level), 844 Olive St, Eugene.

The Redsides Chapter meetings will now take place on the second Monday of each month. The board meeting is at 6:00PM and all members are welcome to attend. The general meeting starts at 7:00PM.

There is a parking garage in the 900 block of Charnelton that is free after 6:00PM. It’s an easy 2-block walk to Rogue.

This month’s presentation will be given by Abel Kloster, project manager for the Coast Fork Watershed Council.

Don’t forget, if you’re planning on attending the picnic (Sunday, 1:00PM at Hendricks Bridge County Park), please let us know by replying to this email so we have an idea of food needs. It’s a pot luck, but we’ll provide hot dogs and burgers and some drinks.

Thanks,

Jack Wheeler
Secretary, The Redsides, TU Chapter 678

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

Silvers Tripple on Bucktails at Pacific City

Once in a while, if we are really lucky, it all comes together.  Today was one of those miracle days. I’m too tired to write much, and that’s probably a relief for a lot of our readers.  Just imagine what goes on when three guys hook up on hot ocean silvers within about fifteen seconds.  I’ll let these photos speak for the action, and simply say that it was hot fun.

Ok, details.

The water was 48.

The rods we fished included ECHO ION, ECHO PRIME, and SAGE ONE; equipped with RIO Outbound, RIO Striper, and AIRFLO Sniper lines; loaded on ECHO ION, Hatch, and Nautilus reels; with leaders tipped with tube bucktails and clousers trolled behind the dory.

Most of the fish were hooked on the troll, but several were hooked as follows –  after one guy hooked up,  we cut the motor,  and the other guys retrieved, hooking fish on an erratic retrieve to the boat.  We have also been hooking a few fish letting the dory drift with the wind and current,  casting and strip-retrieving when we think there are fish around.

Nap time.  If you have a chance to get out in the ocean with a fly rod, you never know what you may discover, but i doubt that you could be disappointed unless your expectations are set too high.  On several of our trips this season we never touched a silver; on another trip we only brought one fish to net, so don’t expect this sort of multi-salmon theatrics every time out – but when it happens, it’s pay-off for the searching and patience.

Jay Nicholas, August 5 2014

PS:  always check the regulations before you go.

Posted in Fishing Porn, Fishing Reports, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 1 Comment

Summer Fishing Reports August 2014

A bit open in terms of a loop but he is learning

Despite continued hot weather throughout the state of Oregon, fishing opportunities abound.

We have been focusing our guided trips on the upper most section of the Mckenzie River a bit more this season. The upper river is colder and has been fishing best from early a.m to around 2pm, then in the evening from 7pm until dark. Our best fly patterns remain hopper dropper rigs, Chubby Chernobyl’s with Jigged Possie Buggers and Jigged Prince Nymphs below them. On the rare day when you do get a few clouds in the a.m Parachute Adams, Parachute Purple Rooster, and small Elk Hair Caddis in brown or tan have been effective on the surface.

fly fishing for wild trout on the mckenzie river

The Willamette River from Dexter Dam down to “town” continues to produce steelhead. The steelhead numbers are good this year, eclipsing last years run considerably. Despite pretty hot weather mornings have been best. Smaller patterns with 8lbs tippet and a clear intermediate sink tip are a good place to start in terms of tactics. It’s a great time to try skating a dry fly as well.

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Other highlights around the state include the Umpqua River system. The main-stem Umpqua has been great for smallmouth bass and the North Umpqua has been decent for Summer Steelhead. For bass best patterns have been crayfish imitations, heavy rubber legged nymphs and crystal buggers in brown. For the North Umpqua skating dry flies has been good when a burst of fish moves through the system.

umpqua-smallmouth-bass-fly-fishing

The upper reaches of the McKenzie and Willamette drainage’s are good calls for “beat the heat” wet wading afternoons. It’s hopper season on the upper Middle Fork of the Willamette above Hills Creek Reservoir. Foam Parachute Hoppers, Dave’s Hoppers and Half-down Golden Stones are good patterns. The South Fork of the McKenzie above Cougar is another fun drainage to explore. Beautiful wild rainbows and the occasional Bull Trout attack can be a blast.

Enjoy Your Summer Fishing!

Posted in Fishing Reports | 2 Comments

Native Fish Society: S. Fork McKenzie Snorkeling, Gualala Action Alert

Native Fish Society is hosting snorkel outings for River Stewards throughout the summer in Oregon. River snorkeling opens participants up to an underwater world that few have fully imagined. Swimming along from pool to pool is a terrific way to experience a river like a fish and personally understand the cold, clean water and habitats essential to the survival of wild, native fish.

River Snorkeling from Native Fish Society on Vimeo.

NFS’s next snorkel is going to be on the South Fork McKenzie on Saturday, August 16. Email Kyle for details: kms2159@gmail.com

ACTION ALERT

The native, ESA-listed salmon and steelhead of the drought-stricken Gualala River, in California, need your help. Thanks in large part to the pressure that we put on the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) a year ago, the CDFW is finally taking action to fix the critically flawed low-flow closure system on the North Central-Coast of California.

Currently, the North Central-Coast Low-Flow Closure is triggered by a gauge on the Russian River, whose flows are highly regulated by dams. The last three years have each had extended droughts in the middle of the winter steelhead season. Each year, the coastal streams have dropped down to mere trickles, yet have remained open to fishing because dam releases keep the Russian up above the low-flow trigger. The ESA-listed fish are forced to congregate into a handful of shrinking holes below restricted passage areas, and then subject to increased angling pressure. It also makes poaching enforcement more difficult when the fish are most vulnerable.

CDFW is preparing regulatory changes to move the trigger for North Central-Coast streams to one or more gauges on rivers that are more representative of the region’s small, undammed coastal streams, like the Gualala. Key issues will be which gauge(s) and low-flow triggers to use, how often CDFW will update its closure status.

The brief comment period ends August 7, 2014, so now is the time to voice our support for an appropriate low-flow closure trigger to protect these ESA-listed winter steelhead and coho from increased angling pressure (and poaching) during the extreme low-water conditions that have become the norm in this part of the state.

Send your message here
.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment