Frank and Jeanne Moore were guests of Chris Daughters and the Caddis Fly over the weekend, and Frank graciously spoke with friends about the North Umpqua, summer and winter steelhead, seven pound sea-run cutthroat, King salmon, conservation, and oh yes, about Loomis Fly rods too. This was an opportunity for the Nicholas family to visit with Frank and Jeanne, and plan our next trip down to stay with them this spring.
Frank spoke from the heart about his support for the Loomis NRX fly rods, and Frank is a man who can perceive subtle differences in fly rod performance. The line of Loomis rods provided by Loomis Rep Chad Normoyle pretty much mirrored the rods inventoried at the Shop, but they looked so very pretty all dressed up with shiny reels and lines on a black table, that it was a sight to make everyone around oooooh and ahhhhhh.
Frank’s favorite fly rods for steelhead and salmon, to this day, are single-hand rods of 10′ in the 8 or 9 wt. class. Having fished a Loomis GLX 9 wt, 10′ side-by-side with Frank on the North Umpqua and Elk, I can tell you that these are exceptional rods, and the NRX is the latest generation of Loomis excellence.
Regarding the North Umpqua, here are a few of Frank’s observations. The Dam at Soda Springs is not good for the river’s health. Algae blooms. Less gravel migrating downriver. Fewer spawning bars as a consequence of less gravel flow. The stonefly hatch was once spectacular, but is now a tiny fraction of its former glory. The daily river fluctuations to peak power are not good for the river’s productivity.
Regarding flies for the North Umpqua: Frank’s favorite fly is a muddler, all year long. The rougher the better. Not neat and trim, just scraggly as possible. Frank also likes very small flies if he follows another angler through a run in the summer. The Skunk was and remains a very productive fly. He had the opportunity to watch the reaction of pods of summer steelhead, completely undisturbed, to a wide variety of flies. On some days, at some hours, any fly could be fished through groups of steelhead without a fin being twitched in response. In other days or times of a specific day, many fish in the group would show interest in one or more flies. The Skunk, yes, the plain old black and white fly, elicited some sort of interest on the steelhead’s part more often than other flies did.
Frank once saw a sea-run cutthroat in the 7 Lb. size slot captured at the Winchester Fish ladder, back in about 1958. Frank hooked and released a sea-run cutthroat in the 6 Lb. range in about 1959. Back in those days, it was customary to intercept sea-runs in July downriver near Tyee Riffle, catching fish almost too easily, and then follow them upriver into the North Umpqua in August.
Frank and Jeanne’s visit and mini-seminar at the Shop was followed by a trip to the park nearby where folks had a chance to put hands-on a wide variety of Loomis rods and receive a little coaching from Frank and Chad.