pH Violations in the Lower Deschutes River: Why it’s Happening, and Why it Matters

pelton dam deschutes river

From The Deschutes River Alliance

Dear Deschutes River Alliance Community,

There has been a lot of discussion these last few years about how Selective Water Withdrawal operations at the Pelton Round Butte Project have impacted temperatures in the lower Deschutes River. This is not surprising: water temperature is something that’s easy to sense and monitor, and increased spring and summer temperatures have led to some alarming changes in the lower river.

But to understand the full extent of the ecological changes occurring in the lower Deschutes River, there is another water quality criteria that is perhaps even more important: hydrogen ion concentration, better known as pH. pH levels in the lower Deschutes have increased dramatically since SWW operations began, and discharges from the Pelton Round Butte Project have routinely violated Oregon’s pH standard.

So what is pH? Why are these violations happening, and what do these elevated pH levels mean for the ecology of the lower river? And what can be done to reverse this alarming trend? Click here to read much more about this important water quality parameter.

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

Fishing on the McKenzie Remains Strong

Start of fall on the McKenzie

Water levels have come down a bit and hatches are increasing the McKenzie River. We are looking at a cool down in terms of weather that will turn the lower river on and have then entire river fishing well. Look for Gray Drakes, small tan Caddis, Mahogany Duns, and even October Caddis. We have yet to see numbers of October caddis but it’s a great time to fish the pupae.

Here are a few good patterns to have on hand at this time of the year:

Anderson’s Bird of Prey October Caddis Pupae

Morrish’s W.M.D October Caddis

Kingrey’s Better Foam Caddis

Mahogany Dun

Parachute Purple Rooster


Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | Leave a comment

The Redsides Trout Unlimited – September Meeting

Mckenzie river rainbow trout

Redsides chapter of TU

Where: Roaring rapids Pizza
When: Sept 11th 6:30

Join us to discuss the future of our chapter:

What are our conservation priorities?

What kind of presentations do you want to see?

Would you like to have fishing field trips
or other social events.

Come join the conversation.

Door Prizes will be had!

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


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued two contracts recently to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for the operation of five hatcheries and the production of salmon and steelhead to offset impacts of the Corps’ dams in Oregon.
The Corps will pay ODFW about $4.8 million to operate the Marion Forks, South Santiam, McKenzie and Willamette hatcheries in the Willamette Valley, and just over $2.1 million for operations at the Cole M. Rivers hatchery in the Rogue River Basin. The contracts went into effect Sept. 1, and include services such as fish production and release, marking and tagging of fish, and fish health services.
“ODFW will continue to provide many of the same hatchery services that they provided for decades,” said Andrew Traylor, Portland District hatchery coordinator. “The contracts outline and define the specific services to operate the hatcheries and produce the amount of fish necessary to meet our federal mitigation requirements.”
The agencies also expect to sign a contract by Nov. 1, to operate the Bonneville Fish Hatchery on the Columbia River.
“These contracts will ensure fish production will remain steady for the next few years,” said Scott Patterson, ODFW Fish Propagation Program manager.
Since the 1950s, the Corps has paid ODFW to manage hatchery operations and provide fish production services to meet mitigation requirements for impacts to fish passage and habitat caused by the Corps’ dams. Historically, ODFW has concurrently raised both Corps-funded and ODFW-funded fish at the same hatcheries. Both organizations’ fish contribute to Oregon’s recreational fisheries, an arrangement that benefits both agencies.

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

Native Fish Society Fall Garage Sale


When: Saturday, September 30th 2017 9:00am – 12:00pm

Where: Native Fish Society, 813 7th St. Suite 200A Oregon City, OR 97045

Join Native Fish Society staff on Saturday, September 30th from 9am to 12pm for our First Annual Fall Garage Sale at our office in Oregon City, OR. We’re going to be selling books, angling gear, boats, artwork, and Native Fish Society swag to support our work protecting and recovering wild, native fish. We’re also looking forward to visiting with our friends and supporters! Check back soon as we update this page with garage sale items.

Donate Your Stuff to the Garage Sale!

Do you have a few angling / river related items that you’d like to get out of your garage or closet? (Books, art, reels, rods, waders, boots, boats etc.?) Well you can donate these items to our garage sale and get a sweet little tax-deduction for doing so! Just give our office manager Tracy Buckner a call at 503.344.4218 or send her an email at

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

Loc Tite – A Superior Super Glue for Fly Tying


Echo Boost Beach Rod in action offshore Pacific City with a Pacific black rockfish tugging at the end of the line.

Echo Boost Beach Rod in action offshore Pacific City with a Pacific black rockfish tugging at the end of the line.

As a on again – off again user of various super glues, I’ve recently found a product (new to me) that I find is superior, at least for my skill level and preferred uses.

I was formerly of the opinion that all super glues were about the same, Loc Tite brand has shown me some new tricks.

I have two basic needs for super glue on my fly tying bench. The fist is when I’m making absolutely certain that my fly won’t come apart. I do this by occasional applications of a dab of glue throughout the tying process and at the end after I’ve whip-finished the fly.

The second operation that requires my use of a super glue involves the addition of eyes to my saltwater flies.

I’m a lucky person who has the opportunity to try-out many new products and compare each to the products I’m accustomed to using. I recently noted the addition of several super glues to our inventory: a series of Loc Tite products.

I was unimpressed/skeptical when I stocked my fly bench with several of these glues. After two months of steady use tying saltwater flies almost exclusively, I’ve turned my skepticism into enthusiastic endorsement.

Loc Tite super glues are my new product of choice, offering what I believe are characteristics that are super useful to me as a fly tyer.


Let’s start with the basic brush on Loc Tite. This stuff is superior for fly tying because it has a short brush that is easier to use in precise application scenarios, it has a cap that is easier to hold, and the cap snaps on with a half-twist, forming an air tight seal, with a simple to secure action. This cap is easier to use, does not get sticky, and the brush is easier to use. Hands down favorite.

Now let’s move on to the Loc Tite family of super gel.

I should first note that it took me a while to figure out how to use this product. Here is what I learned without reading the instructions.

This image shows the aplicator nozzle as it comes from the store. Note the gap. This gap indicates that an inner foil barrier is in place to keep the gel fresh  - but this must be screwed down tight before you can use the gel.

This image shows the aplicator nozzle as it comes from the store. Note the gap. This gap indicates that an inner foil barrier is in place to keep the gel fresh – but this must be screwed down tight before you can use the gel.

This image shows the applicator nozzle after it has been screwed down to pierce the inner foil barrier, making the gel available for use.

This image shows the applicator nozzle after it has been screwed down to pierce the inner foil barrier, making the gel available for use. Note that the nozzle is now tight against the bottle.

First I’ll mention four versions of Loc Tite super gel glue – and I will list these from the thickest to the thinnest. The Thick gel seems to dry a little faster than each of the successively listed gels.

Gel Control is the thickest gel in the series.

Gel Control is the thickest gel in the series.

Loc Tite Gel Control: this is the thickest gel in the family. Squeeze the blue sides of the bottle and you will extrude a thin snake of gel that looks exactly like you would imagine toothpaste extruding from a tube with a tiny little opening.

Ultragel Control is still dense, but is a little softer/thinner than Gel Control.

Ultragel Control is still dense, but is a little softer/thinner than Gel Control.

Loc Tite Ultra Gel Control is still dense and holds its shape fairly well, but is a little thinner than the Gel Control. I’m pretty sure that this one is my favorite for the application  of eyes to my saltwater flies. Not too thick, not too thin – just right!

Loc Tite Extra Time Control is a little thinner yet, compared to Gel and Ultragel control.

Loc Tite Extra Time Control is a little thinner yet, compared to Gel and Ultragel control.

Loc Tite Extra Time Control  a gel that represents crossing the line between a genuine thick gel to a liquid material. This isn’t a liquid but it is thin to the point where a drop of this material will droop significantly, rather than remaining mounded up on a surface. This material will soak into fly tying materials a little more effectively than either of the first two gel products mentioned and is likely superior if that is needed.

Loc Tite Ultra Liquid Control.

Loc Tite Ultra Liquid Control.

Loc Tite Ultra Liquid Control. This is a gel that is close to the liquid brush on but not quite that thin. It provides the maximum in terms of soaking into your materials and time until it sets and you can no longer move your fly eyes around. I find that this is a little too thin for my style in adding eyes to my saltwater flies.

Loc Tite Review:

Gel Control – thickest
Ultra Gel Control – still firm but a little less so
Extra Time Control – still a gel but barely so
Ultra Extra Time Control – I guess this is still a gel but it is close to a liquid in a squeeze dispenser

I hope this is helpful information to consider the next time you are wondering what product to order in the super glue family.

Jay Nicholas September 1, 2017

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

Postcards From Maine – August 2017

Al's box of Striper flies is largely poached from my Chinook boxes.

Al’s box of Striper flies is largely poached from my Chinook boxes.

My friend and fellow Salmon Journal Prodction team Leader, Al James, sent me a few photo images from his recent family vacation back in Maine. Fishing from Scarborough to Kettery, Al found just enough willing striped bass to make the fishing entertaining on a few days his schedule allowed a little exploration.

A typical schoolie striper.

A typical schoolie striper.

Al tells me that the school striper action has been most reliable on Chinook Clousers, with the chartreuse and pink perhaps showing a slight edge.

A low-light schoolie striper puts a bend in the rod.

A low-light schoolie striper puts a bend in the rod.

With a nice break back east to visit and introduce “baby-James” to the relatives, Al is looking forward to testing the waters in Oregon estuaries with his Chinook flies, now slightly chewed, but still in perfect fishy condition.

Thanks Al, let’s go fishing.

Jay Nicholas, September 1, 2017


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From our friend John Covich of MANGROVES & MOJITOS
The latest fishing and travel news from Cuba Fishing Outfitters


Those of you who get these blog posts might have noticed how silent I have been about Trump’s recent changes in Cuba policy, and how they would effect anglers wanting to head to the island. The truth is, we were all in the dark. There were many questions left unanswered, and both myself and the nice folks at FlyWater Travel felt like we could not go ahead in planning new trips to Cuba, putting customer deposits and plans at risk.


We have continued to ask questions, and try and get clarity and details. In the past few days, we received the most detailed news of how we could proceed, and are really excited that we can again help U.S. anglers experience Cuba. Below is a synopsis written by Dylan at FlyWater, and published yesterday in their newsletter:

We are pleased to announce that travel to Cuba is 100% legal again.

The recent announcement by President Trump made it clear that the administration would roll back the legal provision for individual travel to Cuba that anglers had been traveling under for the past two years. However, they clearly stated they would continue to permit legal travel for all groups traveling under group “people to people” licensing.


Now, through a partnership with The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust anglers looking to fish Cuba can purchase a group “people to people” licenses on the BTT web site.
The cost of the license is $250.00 per angler.



The Trump Administration recently announced changes to US policy regarding Cuba, including travel. These changes will go into effect as soon as the Departments of Treasury and Commerce have issued specific regulations, which may take up to three months. These regulations will close the door to “regular” tourism by US citizens—travel for the sole purpose of tourism—but it will leave in place the 12 categories of authorized travel, including the category that covers BTT’s license. Likewise, direct flights, cruises, and tours will continue as before. However, provisions allowing travel under the 12 categories will be strictly enforced.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has been advised that these changes will not affect our Cuba License Program, which is covered under the 12 categories of authorized travel. US citizens who made travel plans with deposits for a Cuba trip prior to the new regulations being implemented will be permitted to proceed. New travelers will be required to travel as a part of a group visiting Cuba for a specific licensed purpose, including scientific, religious, and educational, among others. BTT will continue issuing licenses to groups of travelers and anglers going to Cuba who comply with the rules set forth under the license we receive from the US government. The price of the license is $250.00, which must be paid by all participants. The proceeds from the license fee benefit flats conservation programs.

In brief, the rules are as follows:

Each group must have a designated Group Leader.
The Group Leader must be pre-designated and their name provided to BTT prior to travel.
The Group Leader must write a trip report to be submitted to BTT no later than 30 days after returning to the US. The report must include the names of all the travelers in the group and provide details of the entire trip such as where everyone stayed and what they did. It must include that the group interacted with Cubans and helped further BTT’s research initiatives in Cuba.
In compliance with the above, the Group Leader must report where travelers fished, describe the vessels they boarded, report on water conditions, fish species encountered, fish abundance at sites visited, the condition of the marine habitat, catch and release practices, personal experience with guides, and other information that will help the organization track the status of the Cuban fishery and those using the resource. As additional research projects arise, BTT may ask licensed travelers to participate in specific ways. These may include, for example, BTT tagging programs or DNA fin clip programs.

By Jon Covich on Aug 25, 2017

Posted in Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing Travel | Leave a comment

Protect the Metolius River’s Native Fish

From the Native Fish Society

Dear Members and Supporters,

The Metolius River is the crown jewel of the upper Deschutes Basin and a place of exemplary ecological value in the state of Oregon. To safeguard the health of its native fish, please join us in requesting that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife update its angling regulations for the Metolius River in 2018.


Our Metolius River Steward, Adam Bronstein, has identified three specific changes that will benefit native fish: 1) single barbless hooks, 2) no additional weight, and 3) explicit mention of catch and release for all native fish species. Please click the button above or below to head to our action alert page where you can send a message to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today – your voice matters and can make all the difference.


Deadline for comments: Friday, September 1, 2017

For wild, native fish,

Mark Sherwood, Executive Director
Adam Bronstein, Metolius River Steward

Posted in Central Oregon Fishing Report, Oregon Conservation News, Oregon fly fishing links | Leave a comment

Eastern Oregon Charm

Beginning in the foothills of the Steens Mountains and carving its way North through a stunning desert canyon, the Donner Und Blitzen River is an awesome trout fishing destination for late summer.


An area that once encapsulated the nation with its constant news coverage during the Malheur Refuge occupation has now settled back into its sleepy yet charming self. The Eastern part of the state is vast, open country; However, sprinkled throughout are some of the true gems of Oregon. The Donner Und Blitzen River is one of them.

While it is a bit of a drive if you don’t live in the Eastern part of the state, the Donner Und Blitzen is worth the trip regardless of where you reside. Simply the desert oasis setting and “big sky” scenery is what keeps me coming back.

August is terrestrial time on this small stream. While it is a healthy river in terms of bug life for most of the Spring, Summer, and Fall, the menu changes in August. Small hoppers click around the riverside vegetation constantly and flying ants make themselves delicious options for the residing rainbow trout. Since Oregon’s terrestrial fly fishing options are a bit more limited compared to some of our surrounding states, my friends and I jump at the opportunity to fish with grasshoppers whenever we can!


While there are some large and truly stunning fish in the Donner Und Blitzen, we weren’t lucky enough to come across any of the big boys on this weekend outing. However, there were plenty of eager, hungry fish to keep the four of us laughing and passing one fly rod around all day long. It really is tough to beat small stream hopper fishing.

Small foam hoppers, such as the Morrish’s Golden Hopper, were the ticket for us. A trip to the Donner Und Blitzen is a great opportunity to break out the 3 weight.

As is so often the case, the fishing itself was just a small part of an epic night out East. Spending the night out in the desert with your closest friends, playing guitar, sleeping under the stars, and watching everyone catch fish is seriously what its all about. Cheers to friends and fly fishing, what a dull life it would be without either.


Get it while the gettin’ is good!


Posted in Eastern Oregon, Fishing Reports | 1 Comment

McKenzie River Fly Fishing Report Late August 2017

McKenzie River

The McKenzie River remains our best bet locally and water conditions remain excellent. I have been seeing more and more insects over the past few days. Small tan caddis, a few Grey Drakes and Mahogany Duns have been available to the trout. Dry fly fishing was excellent today and we saw some better fish willing to sip the small dry.

Air quality was very poor today, pretty sure the smoke was like cloud cover. The fish did not seem to mind at all.

A few key patterns to have in the box at the moment are.

Parachute Purple Rooster #12-14

Parachute Caddis #14-16

Standard Elk Hair Caddis Tan #14-16

Parachute Adams #12-16

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | Leave a comment

Patagonia’s first-ever TV commercial is in defense of public lands

From Hatch Magazine’s Online Publication

Patagonia has never run a TV commercial. Not once. In 60 years. Since its earliest roots as Chouinard Equipment, a one-man operation run out of the back of Yvon Chouinard’s car, Patagonia has grown to become one of the largest apparel companies in the world with annual revenues upwards of $500 million dollars. And the company has accomplished all of this, in the competitive apparel world where marketing is half the battle, without ever running a television advertisement. Until now, that is.

Patagonia will air its first-ever television advertisement today but it won’t be in an effort to grow profits or reach more customers. Instead, the company’s first TV spot is the outgrowth of Patagonia’s corporate conscience and its longstanding activist efforts on the front lines of issues such as fair and humane working conditions, reducing the environmental impacts of manufacturing, preserving clean air and water, educating on the mounting issues surrounding climate change and, most recently, preserving America’s public lands legacy.

It is public lands that has prompted Patagonia to make the leap into the world of television with a $700,000 investment in a minute-long spot featuring Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

Despite then incoming Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stating that “our greatest treasures are public lands,” access to and the extent of America’s public lands are increasingly threatened under the current administration. Donald Trump’s executive order requesting a review of 27 of America’s national monuments has put protected lands such as Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters and more under threat of rescission or reduction.

America’s public lands have long been a target of special interests, through bill mills like the American Legislative Exchange Council and bought-and-sold politicians on the political fringe, such as Utah’s congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, as well as its governor, Gary Herbert. But, under the Trump administration, the Department of the Interior has publicly and unabashedly shifted gears to place fossil fuel extraction above all other land management priorities, bringing the degradation of America’s public lands into the mainstream.

n Patagonia’s 60-second spot, Chouinard outlines the value and threats to America’s public lands heritage and calls on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to stand by his pledge to preserve our nation’s public lands.

“Public lands are under threat now more than ever because of a few self-serving politicians who want to sell them off and make money. Behind the politicians are the energy companies and the big corporations that want to use up those national resources. It’s just greed—this belongs to us—this belongs to all of the people in America,” Chouinard states bluntly in the ad spot.

To air its first television commercial, Patagonia has purchased statewide television and radio time in Montana, the home state of Secretary Zinke. Patagonia has also purchased television and radio time in Utah, home to the the hotly debated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, as well as in radio time in Nevada, where Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments are also under threat.

In a statement, Patagonia noted that “This is not about politics or partisanship—it’s about standing up for places that belong to future generations. Patagonia wants to raise awareness of history’s lesson that when public lands are turned over to states that can’t afford to maintain them, the result is the land is often auctioned off to private companies who irrevocably damage them and deny access to them for all of us. Whether you are a hunter or a hiker, an angler or a climber, Patagonia wants you to join them in this fight to ensure access and protection for our public lands.”

Watch Patagonia’s first television commercial below.

Here is my letter to the editor published in the Register Guard last week.

Here is another great piece on getting outside and enjoying our national lands.

Another great piece that ran in the Register Guard

In 8/21/17 RG

Interior’s orders troubling for hunters, anglers

By Karl Findling

For The Register-Guard

When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was confirmed by the U.S. Senate back in March, hunters and anglers felt their interests would be well-represented by the agency responsible for managing 500 million acres of the nation’s public lands, including our national parks, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management lands.

After all, as Montana’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Zinke demonstrated that he was willing to buck members of his party in support of a critical public-lands program — the Land and Water Conservation Fund — and was a vocal opponent of the disposal of federal public lands.
However, five months later, unless we see some major shifts at Interior — and soon — it’s looking as if Zinke will go down as yet another politician who fooled the sporting community by pretending to be one of us, someone who legitimately cares about the future of wildlife habitat and public lands.
Ever since the secretary moved into his new D.C. office, hunters and anglers have watched a steady stream of antisportsmanand anti-wildlife orders flowfrom his desk. First, it was a secretarial order to eliminate the Interior Department’s mitigation policies, which are intended to offset the impacts of development on fish and wildlife populations. Mitigation is common sense and completely necessary to ensure that we continue to have healthy fish and wildlife habitat as development spreads on the landscape.

Along with hits to mitigation came a process aimed at eliminating “potential burdens” to oil and gas production. To put it into perspective, safeguards in place to conserve mule deer or bighorn sheep habitat could be perceived as “potential burdens.”
Next came a review process in which the secretary announced that the Department of the Interior was going to evaluate 27 of the nation’s national monuments covering 11.3 million acres, with an eye toward revoking or shrinking individual national monuments through executive action. These tactics are of questionable legality and could threaten the legitimacy of all monuments dating back to Devils Tower in Wyoming, which was created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
Of the 27 monuments being reviewed, 22 are open to hunting and fishing including the 100,000-acre Cascade Siskiyou National Monument in the southwestcorner of Oregon, a national treasure that provides important public recreation opportunities and habitat for big game and wild trout. Its future is now at risk.

Third, the secretary directed the Interior Department to review the national sage grouse conservation plans, which were the product of years of collaboration between public, private, local, state, and national interests to find common ground and keep the sage grouse off the threatened species list. These efforts also provided numerous benefits for big game — like mule deer and wild sheep — as well as native fisheries and other wildlife. Just the other day, Interior released a report on the sage grouse plans that could lead to a significant rollback of conservation safeguards, affecting 67 million acres of important wildlife habitat.

If these ongoing and anti-sportsman processes don’t cause alarm, maybe the fact that the secretary recently attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Denver, Colo. ALEC is known as being one of the primary proponents of disposing of America’s 640 million acres of public lands, the same lands that 72 percent of Western sportsmen depend on for hunting access.
This is also the time to renew — and increase for inflation — the 53-yearold Land and Water Conservation Fund.It utilizes offshore drilling royalties to fund land acquisitions and helps to create fluid uninterrupted wildlife corridors. The best example of this process in Oregon is the 2015 purchase of the 10,000acre Lower Deschutes River Ranch. In partnership with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and other conservation groups, the LWCF funded the purchase of a private in-holding which preserved 25,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat benefiting steelhead and bighorn sheep, and secured public access — a win-win.

I understand that there will be policy changes under a new administration. But I also expect that, as a self-identified Western sportsman and Theodore Roosevelt conservationist, Zinke would demonstrate that he cares about our community and our interests. With energy, monument and sage grouse conservation decisions looming in the coming weeks and months, the time is now for the sporting community to judge the secretary. And it’s time for Zinke to show that he cares.

Karl Findling is the owner of Oregon Pack Works in Bend. He is a member of the Steens Mountain Advisory Council and several sportsmen’s groups.


Posted in Oregon Conservation News | 2 Comments

DRA Secures Important Victory for Clean Water Advocates!

Photo _14 copy

From the Deschutes River Alliance

Dear Deschutes River Alliance Community,

We’re excited to announce a major development in the DRA’s Clean Water Act lawsuit against Portland General Electric.

For months, the DRA Legal Team has been working diligently to defend citizens’ authority to enforce water quality requirements at hydroelectric projects. This past Monday, August 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit appeared to put this critical question to rest, by siding with the DRA and refusing to hear a PGE appeal on the issue. This decision will allow the DRA’s critical Clean Water Act lawsuit to proceed, and is an important victory for clean water advocates across the country.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision has great significance for water quality in the lower Deschutes River, and for other rivers that are severely impacted by hydroelectric projects. Click here for more on the DRA’s lawsuit and the Ninth Circuit’s important decision!

Cooler, cleaner H2O for the Deschutes.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Nicholas’ Review of Gamakatsu SL 12s, SC 15 2H, SC17, and 811S fly tying hooks

Jay Nicholas Gamakatsu Hook Review

Hooks pictured above:
top row left-right 811-S_ 3/0 – 2/0
second row left-right SL 12S_ 4/0 – 2/0
third row left-right SC152H_ 3/0, SC15_ 2/0
bottom row left-right SC 17_ 3/0-2/0

I have found a few hooks that I particularly like and trust when tying very heavy estuary flies and saltwater flies. This post is my effort to share a few of my thoughts on each of these hooks.

I am absolutely confident recommending all of these hooks to anyone tying the very best flies.

Shared qualities: all of these hooks are durable, saltwater resistant, strong, and have sharp points right out of the package. All have nicely formed eyes.

Thoughts on sharpening these hooks. Compared to some estuary and saltwater anglers, my angling experience is limited. Many fellow anglers fish under more varied conditions than I do, so I expect that my remarks on sharpening these hooks is likely not the whole story. In general, however, I do not usually use a hook sharpener on any of these fly hooks. My experience with other hooks that are built of stout diameter wire is that it is difficult to sharpen them properly if they become dulled. My fly hooks become dulled so very rarely, that I just do not see the point (oops) of trying to re-craft a new sharp point. The hooks I,m reviewing here all have extrememly sharp points out of the package, and all of the points are durable and remain sharp after days of fishing in saltwater. If you will be fishing under circumstances where your hook may become dulled, I’m sure that these can be restored with use of a good hook hone or hook file.

Of the three hooks reviewed here, the 811-s is the most easily restored, because the wire is the smallest diameter. The S12-S is the next easiest to restore, and the SC-15 2H and SC 17 are the most challenging to sharpen because their wire diameters are larger. Makes sense.

Hook finish:
811-S: dull silver stainless
SL 12S: shiny saltwater resistant finish
SC 15 2h: shiny saltwater resistant finish
SC 17: black nickel shiny saltwater resistant finish

Hook wire diameter (relative):
811-S: finest
SL 12S: moderate
SC 15 2h & SC 17: heaviest

Hook shank length: in order from the longest to the shortest shank:
811-S: longest
SL 12S & SC 15 2h: miderate
SC 17: shortest

The length of the two middle hooks is practically indistinguishable, but the first and last hook listed are definitely the longest and shortest shanks.

811-S: This is my favorite fly for saltwater flies that require a long shank hook and — with the reservation that the wire on this hook is not nearly as stout/strong as the other three hooks noted in this review. I have felt felt very comfortable using this hook with #30 lb leader but I would not if I was fishing a species like tarpon with a very hard bony mouth. While the hook is super sharp, I would not feel like the wire is quite up to the task of penetrating bone. I have not seen experienced tyers recommending this hook for species like tarpon, and I would be interested in hearing what others think. This hook seems suitable for Roosters and Dorado under all but the most extreme conditions of heavy tippets and monster fish.

SL 12S: My favorite all-around hook. I use this hook for clousers, Coho Bucktails, Tube Flies, and all manner of baitfish style flies. For my tying style, this hook has the nicest combination of wire diameter, hook bend style, shank length. My largest objection is that there is no size 1 in this hook because I would love to have this hook larger then the 2 and smaller than the 1/0. Oh well. Tyers more experienced than me say that the 1/0 and 2/0 in this hook are entirely sufficient to hook tarpon on smallish sized flies, and that the hook wire is up to the task for fighting hard with #30 leaders.

SC 15 2H: This is my go-to choice for vary large clousers, and saltwater baitfish patterns, and tube flies that require super-tough hooks with a moderate-length shank.

SC 17: This is my go to hook for tying modest and large size tarpon flies, not because I’ve ever caught a tarpon, but because this is the hook recommended by the vast majority of tyer/anglers who specialize in tarpon flies. I also like this hook for tying my albacore and skipjack casting flies. This hook has the stoutest wire, shortest shank, and will track true when stripping the fly very fast on the retrieve. I would feel comfortable using this hook with the toughest fish and the stoutest leaders – that’s how strong the wire and overall hook is.

I hope you find these remarks helpful.

Jay Nicholas August, 2017

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

Cooler Temperatures and Dropping Water Make for Improved Local Fishing

mckenzie river trout

Look for trout fishing to perk up this coming week with cooler temperatures and perfect water conditions. It’s a great idea to take a look at The Middle Fork of the Willamette above and below Hills Creek Reservoir. The South Fork of the McKenzie above Cougar Reservoir and the North Forth of the Willamette near Westfir. All of these smaller waters will have excellent access and fun fishing. Go old school and use your two or three weight a shorter leader and a standard Elk Hair Caddis for good results. Bring a few grass hopper patterns and small yellow stone fly nymphs just in case you need to go subsurface.

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