Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This rain is getting old

Time to wet one of these soon.........hopefully.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

A few Intruders

Continuing the intruder theme, I thought I'd share a few tied by my brother. I thought I had a favorite, but they all look dang fishy to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still a few fish around

Simon and I decided to stay close to home this weekend instead of chasing a chance at an early winter fish. Lots of rain had come down, levels were not good, and temps were cold. My mind was telling me if we got 1 fish to move to the swung fly in 40 degree water, our day was complete. As per usual, I was wrong.

We both hooked up with fish early and confidence was high. Around the corner was one of the river's "known" steelhead runs. Most of the time during the summer, drift fisherman are parked there, making it difficult to work a swung fly.

Well, being November 27th, the gear dudes weren't there. I started up top and Simon took the bottom. I hook and land a fish about 5 casts in. I go back, work out my line to the same spot and I get grabbed again. Fish to the beach again. Simon has seen enough. He wants my spot. I gladly switch places with him. The homeowner with the riverfront property makes his way down to river and starts chatting with me. Yep, I hook up again, but lose the fish mid battle. The homeowner is frustrated with me losing the fish. We share a laugh, I keep casting and the line comes under tension again. This time I put the fish on the beach. The homeowner looks at me like a begging puppy. I barely finished asking him if he wanted the fish before he responded. I tagged the fish and handed it over to him. He had the thing cleaned out and on the smoker before we left the run! Simon also learned his lesson about switching spots.

We both ended up getting another fish and our day was complete. Simon cleared his schedule to go back for round 2 this morning. Fishing was solid again.

On a funny note: As we took out today at the ramp, another boat was dropping off their trailer. They asked how we did and responded with "we got a few". They wanted to know what was working and we went with "swinging leech patterns". This prompted the long stare and this comment: "Huh, so you were like flossing them then?"

Yeah pal, we were flossing them....................

This small fish was bright and spunky.

Getting the mojo warmed up for winter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A few nice winter fly links

As we get closer to winter, I start to think about the flies I want to fish this year. Color combo's, sink rates, materials, tube's vs. shanks, etc.

There is some really good info out there on tying different stuff. One of my favorites was put together by Rob Russell for the Caddis Blog.


If you've met Rob, you know he's passionate about wild fish. He also a fine fisherman and detail oriented fly tyer. Rob cracks me up ever time I cross paths with him down at the Caddisfly.

For a quicker, no-nonsense look at the intruder, Scott Howell's YouTube video from the upcoming Skagit Master 2 is worth a look.


Another good piece of information can be found via Tom Larimer's outfitter website. He gives a good rundown on a reverse marabou tied on a tube. Very nice.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best Time to be Sick

I went out fishing 9 days ago and I haven't been back since. I was attacked by a severe cold/flu that left me with no desire to fish for steelhead. Co-workers, friends, and family all knew it was serious, because I missed 2 wide open chances to be on the river(Veteran's Day/Saturday).

I'm turning it into a positive, however, as the best time to be sick is in between steelhead seasons. The summer fish are getting weak and the winters have yet to arrive on our coastal streams.

The last fish landed before the sickness hit.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sometimes I'm lucky

I've been trying to use the single spey exclusively from both sides of the river lately. The single my favorite cast when done right. Of course, I don't hit it all the time, and I guess it doesn't always matter. As I stepped into the run, my 5th cast lost power and my fly sloppily fell upstream and short of the end of my scandi head. I stripped back in my running line and picked up the line with the rod for another cast. My line suddenly stuck in the water and the unmistakable steelhead boil appeared on the surface.

Unreal. I landed the thing and just laughed to myself. My fly couldn't have been in the water for more than 3-4 seconds. Sometimes you just win some.

I ended up getting another a bit later on the 3rd strip in. Not exactly a textbook way of taking steelhead, but I won't complain.

Love this dude's cheek and bottom jaw.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The excitement builds for Winter

I'd prefer to fish for summer steelhead on a dry line, but there is something exciting about catching a fresh wild winter that gets me going as well.

Winter steelheading is crazy by itself. Add in the fly rod and the fact that you won't be nymphing, it appears futile. That is part of what makes winter steelhead so great. The chance to feel that large wild winter on the other end of the line is what brings me back every time. Even if that "chance" almost never materializes.

Being a NW Winter Steelheader seperates you from a regular resident is many ways. Here's a few I've thought about:

- You don't complain about cloud cover and a little rain
- You don't mind 2 1/2 hour drives on a wet Saturday to get skunked
- Your "river levels" internet page is the first and last thing you check every day
- A missed grab from a fish will haunt you for at least a month
- Holidays are perfect for getting away from river crowds as opposed to spending time with family
- Your idea of a great winter weekend is spending time in the most rundown, depressing coastal towns the state has to offer. You might even consider a night in the local motel if the fishing is good.

In about a month, it will be time to let go of the floater and pick up the tip. Let's hope that big winter pull happens a lot this year.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Head fakes from local steel on Halloween

It's getting to that time of year where the takes get soft and the bites get sneaky. I landed 4 fish yesterday afternoon and everyone of them took my fly ever so slightly. The last fish I hooked came back to 4 different swings......on the last one I said "screw it" and just set the hook.

It is on to November. I'm sticking with the floating line until steelhead tell me different.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I had a small window of time after work to go try and raise a steelhead. I went up top with a waker for the first two runs and was shown no love. I decided to fish a tailout that I normally just pass on by. I was rewarded for my efforts. Orange has been killing it for the past few weeks.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I think I might get addicted

I've been shy about fishing a waker. Like a lot of people, I'll say to myself: "Well, once I hook a few fish, I'll put one on." We all know how that goes. No matter how many fish you hook, its hard to pull away from a tactic that is having success.

The last few times out fishing, I decided to commit to fishing it. The local skamania fish seemed to be aggressive and it was no or never. I rose 2 fish yesterday and loved every minute of it.

After the storm blew through yesterday, I strung up the rod and gave it another go. I started in shallow water and had the leader plus about 10 feet of line out when it happened. A fish swirled on the surface and my fly was gone. For a second I though it was a trout until line peeled off my Hardy Salmon 1 faster than I'd ever imagined it could. The confimed steelhead jumped twice as it tore downstream. The line came off my reel so fast that I had to compete with some serious backlash. My reel was stuck and I played the fish to hand using the strip and chase technique.

I'm not ready to go to dry flies all the time, but I sure understand guys who do!

Be local, get steel

Simon and shoved off early Saturday in hopes to avoid the rain and find some steelhead. Well, we managed to do both. We had multiple hook ups and I rose 2 fish to a dry. The conditions held and we got off the water and were back home by noon. Thank you God for the local steelhead!

Bernie with a nice fish

First light and complete with an adipose fin. It could be a missed clip, but the dorsal appears in tact. Who knows?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Game Day Steel

Bright Sun, straight to my backing, duck victory: Great Day

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Part II

The fishing was slow, the scenery was awesome, and the experience was worth it.

Check out the mirror


Camp for bad asses only

Fishing Big Water

Hatchery nook boot


Uh, no, not gonna run that.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Waker on the Willy

Went out for an hour or so after work on Wednesday. Todd came with me fully equipped with his usual dry fly set up. I got to the run first and made my way through with a wet. I had a brief encounter with a fish on the strip, but that was it. Todd set up behind me and 20 minutes in, he hooked up. The guy picked my pocket with a waker! He is the man!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Local Brats

At least some of the local fish are willing to grab on.

More Bad Timing

I suck at scheduling fishing trips this year. First the Rogue, now the Deschutes. We put in on a Tuesday. The flows from the Dam spiked on Monday. No worries we thought, we'll have good fishing by late Wednesday. Try again. The White River blew on Wednesday, just as we got to our desired camp water. The river was gone by Thursday. Floated out and enjoyed the weekend. I'm giving it one more try in a week or so.

The sheep(one standing on the cliff, others bedded down) were the highlight of the trip.

The blowness

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bad Timing

Chad and I headed down to the Rogue with high hopes of Salmon, Steelhead, and many half pounders. The reports we got were promising and anticipation was at an all time high. Last year all 3 species were caught including 2 jack salmon on my 6 wt.

Well....................sometimes things just don't work out. We saw the rain coming, but we were blinded by the fish. I convinced Chad it wouldn't be a big deal even though I had no real evidence to attach it to. We arrived on Friday night and the fishing was reported to be "great" that day. As we jetted upriver, the salmon were rolling, the river was fine, and all was well. The rain that pelted our winshield on the way down had subsided. We woke up in the morning with excitement only to have that dashed within hours.

The rains came down, the river came up, the fish were gone. I think Chad tallied 5 half pounders and I landed 3. No salmon, no steelhead, no jacks, no dry clothing. Oh well, there is always next year. And the Deschutes soon..........

Pretty much a typical scene. Rain and more rain.

The highlights of the trip were Chad letting me drive the jet and the mini spey clave we had. Here's Chad throwing a Vector line on his 7141 Burkie.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hood River Weekend

I spent the weekend in HR to celebrate my 4th Anniversary. My wife was kind enough to float along while we got rained on and I got skunked on. No worries, we had a great time and got off the river in time to avoid the blowout and major T-storm.

I thought a grab was comin'

This is right before I got low-holed by a bobber n' jig dude.

The storm was brewing

A little wine tasting

Gotta stop at Bonne to get a glimpse of some fish

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fly brands = Car brands

After my parked car was hit in my office parking lot, I've had the pleasure of driving a sweet rental car. The car, a Kia Spectra, is an absolute piece of crap to drive and/or look at. Car companies also have equivalents in the fly fishing industry. Here's my list:

Sage=BMW: Most people recognize the quality and engineering. A luxury brand with a recognized namesake. Overall, great products, but too generic for the super high end buyer.

Orvis=Mercedes Benz: High end price tag with a reputation to disappoint. Folks driving Benzo's and wearing Orvis gear paid a lot for their brand, but don't realize most others are laughing at them. An easternly following.

CF Burkheimer=Ferrari: Maintains an exclusive following with a high end price tag. This ride is for the folks that have BMW's already, but need some more horsepower. Fit, finish, and performance, these two brands get it done.

Echo=Toyota: A large loyal fanbase supports these imports. Both brands have proven reliability and performace at a working man's price. Let's just hope the DECHO's don't start driving themselves.

GLoomis=Ford: American brands with a diverse lineup. Loomis has both a gear and fly following. Ford has the Taurus, the Exploder, and the F150. A brand you can go cheap or expensive with.

Beulah=Subaru: Mid range price point known for versatility and quality. Both brands have buyers that own these in multiples.

There's more I can add later as they come to me. I couldn't find a car brand to match up with Winston or Scott yet.

My sweet rental car looks like this one but uglier.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to the Canyon

Starting it off


Simon got his pocket picked!

This guy came after us!

Pink and Purp strikes again

Last morning

Simon and I had picked the hottest weekend of the summer to be on the Deschutes. We launched on Saturday and took out Tuesday. Mid day temps ranged from mid 90's to 105. We fished our way down the first night and I was able to pick up a couple along the way to get our confidence going. The second fish toyed with my pink butt purple midway through the swing. I immediately took 2 steps back and switch flies to a drab green butted fly that Potter has knicknamed "the greyhound". On the 2nd cast, back in the original spot, the fly was railed on and I was quickly put into my backing. After a nice tussel, the little 5lb native hen came to hand. Just awesome!

The comeback fly seemed to be the theme for me. I was able to get 4 fish to come back to a smaller and more drab patter after tickling the original. In my mind, getting a fish to come back is one of the sweetest experiences in steelheading.

On the 2nd day, Simon and I were hoping to get a certain camp. We came around the corner and sure enough, there was a DB set up there. I pulled over quickly to go run down and ask if they were staying the night. I woke up the poor fella from his siesta to inquire about his plans. He was indeed staying the night but invited us to camp with him. So, we got to meet and hang out with Larry! Larry had been on the river for about 5 days and was enjoying the retired life. I think he welcomed the company and we had a good time in camp even if we got aced out of our water by 4 spinner dudes.

Overall, another great trip. Highlights included:
- Larry
- Having a fish throw a visible wake to come get my fly
- Making use of the outhouses instead of buckets
- Surviving the rapids
- More natives caught than hatchery pukes
- Watching Simon pound 3 brats and a cheeseburger in 1 meal
- Backing flying through the guides
- Shade during the day
- Rattlesnakes swimming
- Double digit hookups

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Mid Summer Valley Steel Lull

It's upon us. This is the time of year where I head to other rivers with fish more willing to come to the fly. The McKenzie and Willamette just don't seem to produce real well in late July and August. I found one last week, but fished Saturday morning with not even a tug.

If all lines up at work, I'll be on some different rivers very soon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A few shots from the Canyon II

We caught a few dimes


Colorado from inside the boat. This is the standing wave up close.