Oregon Establishes Wild Steelhead Sanctuaries Along the Columbia River


New Oregon Rules Protect Migrating Columbia Wild Steelhead and Salmon Within Cold Water Refugia
Statement of David A. Moskowitz, Executive Director, The Conservation Angler

The OR Fish & Wildlife Commission (OR Commission) adopted permanent angling regulations protecting migrating wild steelhead that rest in three critical cold water refugia CWR) along the Columbia River – action we applaud.

Facing warming water in the Columbia, rising above 68F each year in early July, migrating wild salmon and steelhead move into very specific cold-water areas in order to avoid the physical stresses created by warm water and conserve energy for their migration and spawning once reaching their natal rivers.

    The OR Commission’s action in establishing sanctuary areas where ESA-listed salmonids are protected from angling encounters while they take up residence in cold water refugia, will provide migratory survival benefits for wild steelhead returning to dozens of home water tributaries.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was required to review the impact of water temperatures on wild fish migration in the Columbia River as part of a legal settlement in a Clean Water Act lawsuit. The long-delayed EPA Draft CWR Report identified 191 water sources entering the Columbia mainstem between the Columbia River mouth and the Snake River. Thirty-five were warmer than the Columbia in July and August. However, EPA’s research and prioritization found twenty-three (23) significant cold water refugia areas below the Snake River confluence. Based on refined analysis on how wild salmon and steelhead used the CWR, EPA identified twelve (12) of these refugia as critical to wild salmon and steelhead migratory survival.

EPA’s research found that when the Columbia warms to 64F, salmon and steelhead begin to feel the effects of the warm water, and when the Columbia reaches 68F, every source of cooler water, regardless of size or volume, will provide refugia for migrating wild salmon and steelhead.

    Historic water temperature measurement data at Bonneville Dam indicate that the total warming of the river since the late 1930s in August (on average) is approximately 3.6F, rising from below 68F to near 71.6F.

When wild steelhead and salmon encounter water warmer than 68F, migration becomes delayed, there are significant disease risks, increased stress and energy loss, significant sockeye mortality (ala 2015) and high concentrations of wild fish using the cold water refugia which presents a vulnerability to angling encounters.

EPA found that the presence, distribution, and water temperatures in the CWR within the Columbia River provide an advantage to migrating steelhead and salmon in terms of energy savings required to complete their migration, pre- spawn staging and spawning. However, when the migration success of steelhead that used CWR versus those that did not use CWR was evaluated, that study found that migration success to spawning tributaries for those steelhead (wild and hatchery) using CWR was about 8% less than steelhead that did not use CWR. This initially suggests CWR use is not beneficial.

    However, the study also indicated that fishing pressure within CWR explained the decreased survival as wild steelhead using CWR, which must be released when caught, experienced a 4.5% decrease in survival during migration to their spawning tributaries compared to wild steelhead that did not use CWR.
    The increased mortality is likely associated with catch and release mortality as well as incidental catch of wild steelhead in tribal harvest fisheries.

The fishing pressure within CWR makes it difficult to directly measure the benefits of CWR to migrating adult salmon and steelhead.

Exceptionally low wild steelhead returns since 2016 necessitate deep evaluations of angling impacts on migrating wild steelhead using the CWR. The OR Commission action establishing no fishing sanctuaries are aimed to reduce the rate of wild steelhead encounters from fisheries (both indirect and direct) that have impacts on salmonid fitness, survival, and productivity.

    The three Thermal Angling Sanctuaries are at Eagle Creek, Herman Creek and the very lower Deschutes River and a portion of the Columbia River that is cooled by the Deschutes colder waters.

The Conservation Angler has advocated for these conservation measures along the Columbia since 2016 and supports the OR Commission’s adoption of these protective measures. The Washington Commission must take them up as well.

Specific Scientific and Policy Supporting Designation of No Fishing Sanctuaries Within CWR

I. Areas where cold or cooler waters create vitally critical thermal gradients in the concurrently managed Columbia River are well known, identifiable and recognizable to the angling public.

II. Steelhead migration is different and their reliance on thermal gradients is well documented.
a. Scientific References:
Keefer, Matthew L., Christopher A. Peery, William R. Daigle, Michael A. Jepson, Steven R. Lee, Charles T. Boggs, Kenneth R. Tolotti, and Brian J. Burke. 2005. Escapement, harvest, and unknown loss of radio tagged adult salmonids in the Columbia River – Snake River hydrosystem. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 62: 930–949. doi: 10.1139/F04-246
KEEFER, MATTHEW L., CHARLES T. BOGGS, CHRISTOPHER A. PEERY, AND CHRISTOPHER C. CAUDILL. 2008. Overwintering Distribution, Behavior, and Survival of Adult Summer Steelhead: Variability among Columbia River Populations. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 28:81–96. DOI: 10.1577/M07-011.1

III. Steelhead using thermal gradients are vulnerable to multiple fishing-related encounters based on extensive and extended residencies within cold water refugia that deplete stored energy reserves and these circumstances begin when the Columbia River reaches 68F which happens, on average, by July 10 and lasts until September 25.

a. Scientific References:
Palmer, John, et al. Environmental Protection Agency, Columbia River Cold Water Refuges Draft Plan October 2019
IV. Existing Oregon Administrative Rules already identify “sanctuaries” where commercial fishing is not permitted, and these areas are well-defined and well understood by the public. (ORS 635-042-0005).
V. Oregon does not have river-specific management regimes to accurately estimate or secure river-specific abundance for wild steelhead. There is no plan to establish goals or monitor attainment so spawning escapement and egg deposition criteria are set and met for every natal wild steelhead stream.
VI. ODFW (as well as other state and Federal agencies) must make it a Departmental Priority to work with all land and resource managers and owners to ensure that the cold water sources are managed, protected and enhanced so that the array of CWR in the Columbia River remains a critical advantage for migratory survival of returning wild salmon and steelhead. Protecting the wild fish using the CWR is only the first step in increasing migration survival in the Columbia River – protecting the sources of this cold water must happen.
VII. The OR Commission, having shown leadership in providing a measure of protection to wild steelhead during their migration to natal rivers by establishing sanctuaries from angling in areas of thermal refugia, in specifically defined areas and under certain environmental conditions in Oregon, must encourage and lead the Washington Commission to undertake the same measures in seven tributaries and in concurrent waters. These include the Kalama, Cowlitz, Lewis, Wind, Little and Big White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers.

Contact: David A. Moskowitz, The Conservation Angler @ 971-235-8953 (direct) or via theconservationangler@gmail.com

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

ODFW Fishing Regulations and Your Input


Dear Oregon Anglers,

I would like to gather ideas for positive, conservation-oriented regulation changes needed for wild fish and start working them through ODFW’s staff process starting early in 2021.

I would be grateful if anglers would share any rule changes that are needed or new rules that should be implemented on the rivers within your zone (to the coast – out to the cascades, up and down the Willamette, the Umpqua and forks, etc.).

Please leave your ideas in our “Leave a Comment” link.

Thanks very much

Chris Daughters

Posted in Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, North Umpqua River Fishing Reports, Oregon Conservation News | 9 Comments

Proposed Pebble Mine project cannot be permitted in Bristol Bay


From Trout Unlimited Article by Jenny Weis

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it found the proposed Pebble mine would cause significant degradation to the Bristol Bay region and cannot not receive its key federal permit.

“This is a good day for Bristol Bay,” said Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited. “No corner should be cut when considering a giant mine in the heart of a place this cherished and important. The Pebble Partnership put forward a half-baked plan with a litany of problems. Pebble had its opportunity to go through the process, but the project fails to meet the standards required. Kudos to the Army Corps, the Trump Administration, and other resource agencies who were critical of the mine proposal for calling Pebble out on that.” Read Trout Unlimited’s full press release here.

Over the two-year permit review process, scientists, agencies and countless individuals repeatedly raised concerns related to Pebble’s plans. Moreover, the voices of hunters and anglers across the country prove instrumental in showing the Administration that Americans cherish the Great Outdoors and places like Bristol Bay are worthy of protecting.

Thank you to each and every one of you who signed petitions, wrote letters, made calls and donated to ensure that our voices for Bristol Bay were heard loud and clear.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | 2 Comments

2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour – Virtual Tour Details


The 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour has gone digital. Check out all the trailers related to the event below and get your tickets and information at this link: FT3 Virtual Tour

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Fly Fishing Glossary, Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events, Oregon fly fishing links | Leave a comment

Win on the Willamette! – Native Fish Society Rewild the Willamette


From The Native Fish Society

Court finds Army Corps’ dam operations harm salmon and violate the Endangered Species Act
We are excited to share a big win for Oregon’s Willamette Basin and its wild fish!

Today, Chief Judge Hernandez of the District of Oregon ruled in favor of Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead, finding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) failed to take necessary steps to ensure the survival and recovery of these iconic fish in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Native Fish Society along with our partners at Northwest Environmental Defense Center and WildEarth Guardians, represented by attorneys at Advocates for the West, filed suit in 2018 asking the court to compel the Corps to make immediate operational adjustments to the federally-owned and operated dams to save these important fish. We were alarmed by the rapidly dwindling numbers of salmon and steelhead and the ongoing delays in action by the Corps. The court today ruled in favor on all of our claims.

The Court ruled favorable for us on all three of our ESA claims, holding that the Corps: 1) failed to carry out “several of the most important [required] measures” related to fish passage and water quality, 2) is jeopardizing and unlawfully taking Upper Willamette Chinook salmon and steelhead, and 3) the agency’s significant delay in reinitiating consultation was “a substantial procedural violation of the ESA.”

“The Corps has known for more than a decade what must be done to save these fish, but they have failed to act,” says Jonah Sandford, staff attorney for the Northwest Environmental Defense Center. “The Court confirmed that the Corps has simply failed to take necessary actions related to fish passage, flows, and water quality, and that these failures are causing further harm to these iconic Oregon species.”

Dams on four key tributaries of the Willamette River block between 40 to 90% of spawning habitat. The dams’ heights and large reservoirs make it nearly impossible for small fish to swim downstream and for adult fish to access critical spawning habitats upstream. Dam operations create unnatural flows, impact fish habitat, water quality and water temperature which increases mortality.

Importantly, the Court found that “Plaintiffs have shown the Corps’ operation of the [Willamette Valley Project] without completing the [required] measures is causing the species’ decline.” Further, the Court found that “it is undisputed that significant measures were never carried out, some were delayed, some have not yet occurred, and some will not occur in time to meet future deadlines. Meanwhile, [Upper Willamette River] Chinook and steelhead populations continue to decline, although both species remain listed as ‘threatened’ after a 2016 NMFS status review.”

“Over a decade ago, the Corps agreed to complete numerous actions to recover wild Chinook salmon and steelhead but since then has dodged, skipped, and delayed at every turn and squandered precious time and resources ” says Marlies Wierenga, Pacific Northwest Conservation Manager, WildEarth Guardians. “The Court confirmed what was known all along – fish passage is vital to saving Oregonians’ culturally important wild fish and the pulse of a living river.”

“It’s time to get the Willamette River and its wild fish back on the road to recovery,” says Jennifer Fairbrother, Conservation Director for the Native Fish Society. “This ruling acknowledges the federal government’s obligation to revive abundant, wild fish. We look forward to the day when we have a Willamette River that supports healthy, self-sustaining, and harvestable populations of wild salmon and steelhead”

The Court ordered the parties to submit a briefing schedule within fourteen days to determine the appropriate remedy to the violations.

Stay tuned for further details and developments!

Suit Information: Northwest Environmental Defense Center, WildEarth Guardians, and Native Fish Society v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service

Posted in McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Two-Handed Fly Rods in the Ocean – Recommendations and Tips

The questions are as predictable as the passage of the seasons.

Can I fish my two-hand rod in the ocean;  estuary; or  surf;
can I fish my long rod from the shore of a big giant big lake? The questioner might use different words to describe their tackle, but they are always referring to a rod longer than nine feet, whether it happens to be classed as a Spey rod, switch rod, or generically as a two-hander. The actions range from slow to fast, and the rod weight classification from about five to nine weight.

Jay Nicholas Two Hand Riods in the Ocean

The answer is simple but nuanced.

The simple part of the answer is this:

Yes, you can. Anyone can take any two-hand rod down to lake, beach, or boat and fly fish with it. Yes, you positively can fish anywhere there is water with a long rod.

The nuanced part of the answer can take up several thousand words. I know because I have been wrestling with describing the finer details of taking a Spey style rod from the waters these rods were originally intended to fish, and instead, fishing them far from their home waters.

After writing and reading and repeating this process over and over, I decided to highlight the whole mess and press the delete key. I decided instead to write a no-nonsense, get-to-the-point guide for the angler who is interested in stringing up their two-hander at the beach, in the boat or lakeside.

Oddly perhaps, the question almost never asked is this: “Should I take my long rod from the steelhead run to the big water” Just because it can be done doesn’t necessarily mean that it should, or that it will do

I believe that seeing is believing, experiencing is better than reading about it, and trial and error will sort out the differences between opinion and theory. While I can make suggestions here, the best way to make these decisions is by trying it and seeing what you like.

Recommendations for taking the two-hander to the ocean.

First, here are some starting recommendations that the reader may consider or ignore at their pleasure. Unless specifically excepted, these remarks relate to anyone who is fishing the surf, from a beach, in a small boat, or from any platform in a large lake.

Rod length.
• A pram of 8-10 ft is no place for a rod over 9 ft. The pram is a specialized fishing platform that is best fished with an 8-9 ft. fly rod.
• A two-hand rod of 10-ft. offers little advantage over any 9-ft. rod and is largely a waste of time.
• A two-hander of 11 ½ to 12 ft. is a great rod to fish in boats in the 14-20 ft. class.

Surf Casting.
• Where surf fishing is concerned, the best performance will be achieved from fly rods that are specifically designed for this environment. To my knowledge, only Echo and Beulah currently offer such rods. It is entirely possible that rods other manufacturers are as good or better – but I am not familiar with surf rod alternatives.
• A rod of 13 ft. or longer will work in the surf, but only if it is a tip-action rod paired with a powerful short-head fly line. If you are up to this challenge, you will reap rich rewards in casting distance. I am ill-equipped to suggest a specific rod for such purpose but I am sure that someone, somewhere, has this figured out.

Overhead versus Spey-style casting strokes.
• Forget using Spey style casting from boats in the ocean, and especially forget about fishing with Skagit-style lines from boats and beaches. Ignore this piece of wisdom if you wish, and give it a try if you must.
• My certainty in making my next point is likely based on my ignorance, but here it is: stick to overhead casting with your two-hander at the beach, lakeside, or in the boat.

Jay Nicholas Switch rod line recommendations

Adapting to the wind direction.
• Traditional Spey style casts can be modified depending on whether the wind is right to left, or left to right. The same is true with an overhead cast using a two-hander.
• A left-to-right wind is best attacked with your two-hander on your right body-side.
• A right-to-left wind is best attached with your two-hander on your left body-side.
• The left-to-right wind scenario listed above is natural for the right-handed angler.
• The right-to-left wind scenario listed above is natural for the left-handed angler.
• Both right and left-handed casters can adapt by casting off their subordinate shoulder.
• Anyone who is not confused by now is far smarter than I.
• The worst thing to do is for a right-handed caster to keep their rod on their usual right side if the wind is strong from right to left and vice-versa for the left-handed caster.
• This will often put a fly through the angler’s ear, back of neck, or shoulder.

Rod Actions.
• The two-hand rod most suitable for fishing in estuaries, lakes, and the ocean is one with a powerful butt a fast tip.

As noted in the introduction of this article, anyone can fish any two-hander in big water from lakes to the ocean, but I find the slow to moderate action rods painful to cast and worse to battle strong fish.

Here’s an example. I have fished many Spey rods with slow or moderate actions over at least thirty years. These are delightful rods to cast in rivers, to swing flies, and to battle strong steelhead, and sometimes even salmon. Take any of these rods out in the dory, allow an albacore to grab a fly dangling from a leader over the side of the boat, and it’s game-over.

The rods are utterly inadequate to battle the fish and to lift them from the depths. Can you still manage to bring the fish to-hand? Yes. Does it take forever? Yes. Is the process anything other than drudgery? No.

If you are in the neighborhood of seventy years old or are a student of fly fishing history, you will remember the “Noodle Rod.” You will remember the decade of fishing for salmon and steelhead with 2 lb. test lines and leaders. You will remember when Joe Brooks caught an Atlantic salmon on a size 32 fly. All these oddities are possible, all were promoted for a surprisingly long period of years, but all were abandoned as nonsensical.

Best Overhead Lines for Two-hand Rods.
• This is simple. Reach for a Rio Outbound, Rio QuickShooter, or Rio Quickshooter XP, load it on your reel, and go fishing. Analogs to these Rio lines are offered by Scientific Anglers, Cortland, Airflo, and Wulff. Day in and day out, however, the basic taper and head length offered in the Rio lines listed here will serve you well when fishing two-handers in big water with overhand casts.

Best Line-size for Two-hand Rods.
• If your two-hander is rated as a 7 wt., choose a fly line rated at 8wt. An 8 wt. two-hander will require a 9 wt. fly line. The rule is generally this, try a line that is rated about one weight over the rod’s rating.
• Experience will tell if this is perfect for your rods and lines, but it is the best place to start.

Recommendations for matching (freshwater) two hand fly rods to lines and fish species in the ocean.

Recommendations for matching (freshwater) two hand fly rods to lines and fish species in the ocean.

I hope this has been entertaining and informative. As always, your own experience is the best gauge of how any rod, reel, line combination will be pleasing and effective in your waters.

May your days on the water with friends be pleasant and rewarding.

Jay Nicholas, July 2020

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

Two methods for tying tails Deceiver Style Streamer Flies

In this video, Jay share’s with us his years of experience tying Deceiver Style Streamer Flies.

Here he show’s us two methods for tying this classic fly pattern.

Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 11.19.02 AM

Materials Used:
Hook: Ahrex Predator Stinger Hook
Thread: Veevus GSP 150D
Tail: Flat Wing Saddles
Glue: Loctite or Zap a Gap

Posted in Classes and Instruction, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

August Fishing Tactics for Local Waters


Let’s be honest early August is not the best time on our local waters. Hatches are generally minimal and best hours for surface activity are early and late. It’s a great time to head to the smaller waters in the region, the North Fork of the Middle Fork, Salmon Creek, Salt Creek, South fork of the Mckenzie above Cougar reservoir and the Middle Fork above Hills Creek reservoir are great bets. Take your 3wt rod and some small dries, some hoppers and small nymphs to use as droppers. Aforementioned waters are easy to wet wade and you can cover fast water as well as the deep pools easily.

For the McKenzie and Willamette main-stem rivers fish have an opportunity to take full cover and the best fish occupy the deeper runs and pools. You need to get down deep to get these fish interested. Fish a longer leader with lighter tippet 5x or even 6x. Use heavy flies like our current favorite the Sen’s 20″ and other dense jigged patterns. Consider using two nymphs in a Euro set up or two nymphs below a Chubby Chernobyl or small indicator. You want your mid to small sized flies to be dead drift near the bottom.

Have fun out there!

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing | Leave a comment

Purple & Black Golden Dorado Hollow Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jay Nicholas ties a large hollow deceiver used for fishing Golden Dorado and larger predatory fish.

If you’re new to deceiver style fly patterns, follow Jay as he breaks down each step tying these beautiful beast.

Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 9.08.43 AM

Hook: Ahrex PR320 2-4/0
Thread: Veevus GSP 150D White
Cement: Loctite or Hard as Hull
Tail: Strung Saddles (6-8) Purple & Black
Flash: Mixture Holographic Flashabou & Magnum Flashabou
First 3 Hollow Stations: White Bucktail
inishing Bucktail: Red Throat
Eyes: Pro Tab or Jungle Cock Sub
Head: Copic Marker Black, Purple, or Red

Posted in Fishing Porn, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New RIO “How To” Fly Fishing Videos July and August 2020

Check out the latest videos in the “How To” series from RIO Fly Fishing.

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Postcards from Southeast Oregon

south hart mountain

Our dear friend Col. John Weck gave us an awesome tour of southeastern Oregon.

fish on below cabin

release shot


bull frog

garter snake gerber res

garder snake gerber res #2

fence lizard cabin


small stream angling

small water release #1

drone shot of valley

hart mountain drive


Posted in Eastern Oregon, Fishing Porn | Leave a comment

FlyLords Feature Q&A with Native Fish Society


From Fly Lords Digital Media Company

For this installment of “Organization of the Month,” we sat down with Native Fish Society’s Executive Director, Mark Sherwood. Native Fish Society engages in the protection of–yes, you guessed it, native, wild fish in the Pacific Northwest, specifically. Historically, the Pacific Northwest supported breathtaking runs of salmon and steelhead. Human intervention and other activities, however, have crippled those salmon and steelhead runs. Native Fish Society works to restore and protect these once-prolific runs through advocacy, science, and volunteer support. Follow along for the full interview!


Flylords: For fly fishermen and women native fish are fundamental to our sport and, at times, drive us crazy. Can you talk about how and why Native Fish Society started?

NFS: Native Fish Society was founded in 1995 by renowned conservationist Bill Bakke and a small group of passionate advocates who celebrated the importance of naturally reproducing, locally adapted fish to the health of Pacific Northwest watersheds and communities. Before retiring from Native Fish Society in 2016, Bill worked in fish conservation for nearly 50 years as a prolific writer, authoring over 100 articles for sporting, news, and scientific journals. Bill focused Native Fish Society’s wild fish advocacy efforts on the Columbia River and its tributaries, submitting comments and testimony on fisheries management and hatchery operations. In the early days of the Native Fish Society, the Columbia River’s wild salmon and steelhead were experiencing unparalleled declines. To revive wild fish to abundance, Bill led petitions to protect Snake River Chinook Salmon, Oregon Coastal Coho Salmon and Columbia River Coho Salmon under the federal Endangered Species Act. Bill’s advocacy inspired generations of anglers and advocates to speak up for the diversity and resilience of wild fish and the importance of their backyard homewaters.

Read this Story in it’s entirety by clicking here.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Jay’s Enhanced Composite Loop Silveynator Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jay uses Loon’s D Loop Tweezer to create a beautiful dubbing loop to create a Silveynator type tube fly. With different combinations of colors, sizes, and weights this fly is effective just about anywhere steelhead may be hiding. Give it a try!


Pro Sportfisher Classic Tube
Danville 210D Orange
Senyo’s Barred Predator Wrap
Polar Flash
UV2 Diamond Bright Dubbing
Lagartun 74D Orange
Hareline’s Two-Toned Zonker Strip
Ostrich Pink
Hareline’s Dyed Over White Schlappen
Pro Sportfisher Pro Cone

Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

McKenzie and Willamette Fishing Report : Early August 2020

Hot weather and low water are pretty normal for early August. Add a full moon and quite a bit of fishing pressure and you have a recipe for some pretty tough mid day fishing on many of our local waters. It’s best to concentrate early and late in the day. If you are fishing during the high sun periods of the day look for shadows and quick holding water than fish will take cover in. If you have a Euro set up go deep mid day. Lengthen your leader and use a couple of heavy flies near the bottom in deep cool water. Evening hours are best for the limited hatches that are present. Small caddis and Parachute Adams have been the most consistent dry flies. Here is a list of our top 10 flies for early August.

Heavy Hackle Parachute Adams

The Heavy Hackle Parachute Adams is one of the best all around dry flies on the planet. We took a standard Adams and gave it two or three times the hackle and a full moose tail. This fly floats way better than a standard Parachute Adams, it can even hold up a small dropper in in sizes #12 and up. Use it for your evening dry or morning searching dry pattern when you don’t see anything specific. It’s visible, durable and it catches fish.

Rubber legged stimulator

When you need a big dry for a hopper dropper set up or just something you can see when it’s just about dark give the Rubber Legged Stimulator a shot. Local trout have been seeing Golden Stones throughout the early summer months and they still recognize this big bite. A stimulator is also a hopper imitation and is less “intrusive” than a Chubby Chernobyl is low water.

Brown Elk Hair Caddis

A small Brown Elk Hair Caddis #14 has been a solid dry fly producer throughout the day. Despite the lack of hatches it seems that there are always a few caddis “flitting” around. Keep your leader light 5x and 6x and at least 10ft long.

peacock caddis

The Peacock Caddis is another great all around dry to use during the dog days of summer. Keep in small, use #14 and #16 and long light leaders for best results.


Carlson’s Purple Haze is another superb “attractor” dry. It’s visible day and evening and the purple body Parachute works during hatches or when there is nothing apparent on the surface.

Jigged Iron Sally

Under a large dry, small indicator or when Euro nymphing the Jigged Iron Sally gets down quickly and has been an excellent summer nymph. Both the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers have good populations of Little Yellow Stones and this slender pattern does a good job of imitating them.

possie bugger nymph

The Possie Bugger catches fish all season on our local waters. Shrink the size down a bit this time of year. A #14 is deadly under a larger dry.

Rowley's May Day Nymph Pheasant Tail

Rowley’s May Day Nymph Pheasant Tail works well as a “Euro Nymph” or when using more traditional nymphing tactics. It’s dense and slender profile get down quickly and imitate a wide range of mayfly nymphs trout love.

rubber legged pheasant Tail nymph

One of the best all around nymphs to fish throughout the summer is the CDC Rubber Legged Pheasant Tail in smaller sizes. Ideal to put under a Stimulator or larger Heavy Hackle Parachute Adams.

Loren's Stud

Loren’s Stud is billed as a Euro Nymph and it catches fish using Euro Tactics. It will also work under a larger dry or more small indicator. It’s simple but visible look has been productive in lower water conditions.

Have fun out there!

Posted in Fishing Reports, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing | Leave a comment

“Sweet Juicy Steelhead Fly” Foxy Dog Variation – Jay Nicholas 2020

Join Jay NIcholas as he ties a variation of the Foxy Dog fly using OPST shanks, marble fox, hackles, and a composite loop consisting of Senyo’s Fusion dubbing and Ripple Ice dubbing.

Become a better fly tyer by simple watching Jay. His fluidity at the vice has inspired many tyers over the decades and his instruction and advice is simple, concrete, and guaranteed to make you a better fly tyer and fisher overall.


Shank: OPST Steelhead Shank 32mm.
Trailer Wire: Fire Line
Hook: OPST Swing Hook/AquaTalon Swing Hook
Thread: UTC 140D Red
Tail: Fluoro Fibre Hot Orange
Rib: Ultra Wire Brassie Red
Body: Senyo’s Fusion Dubbing Eat A Peach
Ripple Ice Dubbing Shell Pink
Saddle Hackle Orange Grizzly
Collar: Saddle Hackle or Schlappen Orange
Spey Marabou Blue
Wing: Marble Fox Orange/Arctic Fox
Helix Flash Fl. Orange
Silver Pheasant Feathers Silver Doctor Blue
Zap A Gap/Wax

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