Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Here is a article written from a good friend Jakob Lund who wrote a sweet piece sharing his take on fishing the Deschutes River's Salmonfly/Stonefly Hatch. Thanks Jakob for the awesome material that you are willing to share with the fly fishing community!
Jakob Lund wrote this article on his outlook/prediction for the 2016 Season for the Deschutes River Salmonfly/Stonefly Hatch. He also shares his approach and bugs he like to fish with during the hatch. Tight lines!!

Timing for 2016: Water temps reached 53 degrees on May 2nd, 2014. Water temps reached 53 degrees on April 30th 2015. Water temps reached 53 degrees on April 8th 2016. (Readings river mile 99). See the trend? If you thought the hatch was early the last five years, this year will be even earlier.

Salmonflies are already out in the lower section (River temperatures reach an astounding 61 degrees on April 21st) of the river and will be out in force at Max Canyon come next week. Good numbers of adult Giant Salmonflies (Goldens a few days later) will be seen flying in Maupin by may 2nd. Come Early-Mid-May, the hatch(s) should be in full effect from Dant all the way up to South Junction maybe even Trout Creek!

May 11th ~ 22nd should be your target dates for floating TC to Maupin. Way too many anglers still float this stretch of water in June which is on the tail-end if not over of the hatch in this area. Remember, the Big Bug hatch on the Deschutes starts about two-three weeks earlier now (since 2010) due to the warmer water temps stemming from the water blending tower on LBC, and again with record water temps so far this year, expect an even earlier hatch.

The Warm Springs area will have great numbers of bugs flying around May 15th. The crowds at Mecca Flats and Trout Creek are usually thin(ner) mid-week before Memorial Day Weekend (May 24~26). Come Memorial Day Weekend, Mecca Flats Campground will be packed with hopeful anglers (and rafters) from all four corners of the world with fishing holding up until June 5th. The last batch of bugs to appear will be right below Pelton Dam between May 27th~7th. No access unless with tribal guide or have legal east bank access.
Again, here is a quick recap with:
Max Canyon to Maupin: April 28 through May 12
Maupin to North Junction: May 2nd through May 20
North Junction to Trout Creek: May 12 through May 22
Trout Creek to Warm Springs: May 15 through June 5th.
These “predictable dates” (caugh, caugh) is a humble but educated guess based on 20 years fishing and guiding this hatch! In some years this famed hatch will nicely progress 1-3 miles upriver every day. Other years, bugs (both kinds) are everywhere from North Junction to Pelton Dam within a day or two. Keep in mind, adult stones can live up to over two weeks during the mating period making the bug available to trout after the transformation.... aka, these big dogs' ain't may flies, and trout will feed well after the actual hatch has taken place
Remember the water temperature is the key to this hatch. Optimal water temps for the transformation from nymph to the adult winged stage of the insect is at 55-56-57 degrees. Water temps on the Madras Gauge as of today April 24th is 54 degrees.
Folk & Fairy Tales:
A) “The Golden Stone hatch starts two weeks after the Giant Salmonfly”. My observation is no more than 2-5 days.
B) I read an online fishing report a few years ago calling for; "6X tippet when the fish has been pounded on and getting leader shy!" That is highly irresponsible advice unless using a two weight glass rod. Using leaders and tippet less than 3X is rarely needed. If anything, lengthen your leader with a couple or three feet of tippet. That glow-in-the-dark-neon-green-fly line you use might just be the “scare factor” here, not 0.205 mm clear mono! This ain’t Silver Creek!
C)“Skate your adult stone against the current!"  Please don’t do that! This is not October using two-handed spey rods, plus... it doesn't really work! You will put more fish down than you do hooking that lonely "suicide trout" or that 11 inch hatchery smolt! Subtle twitching however can be very affective.
D) “Concentrate your fishing close and tight to the bank!". Well, this is true if you can’t cast far! In other words, don’t be afraid to toss one way TF (The Fudge) out, if the water reads well! Just ask Horatio Knailknot and Bart "The Jeweler" Mills!
E) “The trout prefer the slightly smaller Golden Stone's over the Salmonflies when both bugs are present!". Well, this is "semi-true", but far from an exact science! Scale down your size of the artificial if getting "fin'ed"( aka ; middle fingered). An arsenal of both Goldens and Giants artificial flies in different sizes are always needed to be successful.
Jakob providing the best egg sac stonefly photo you could ever imagine!
Fly Patterns: First, leave all your gaudy Montana and Colorado flies at home! I've "confiscated" some weird things out of clients fly boxes in the past! (See the last picture in the slide show!)
The patterns below are front line soldiers and should not be left behind. These flies are proven winners imitating the adult stones of the Lower Deschutes River.
Chubby Chernobyl, yellow# 6(8).
Make sure it’s goldish-yellow bodied and not metalic gold, green, blue, etc. Also, the Chubby Norm and the Pteronarcys Chubby fish really well but not as good as the one below. See picture in the slide show on how to improve your Chubby with the help of a pair of small sharp scissors and a black marker. Also, make sure both wings are always spread/combed-out, and lay flat to the body. Gel style floatant works best, but make sure the wings don’t clump up.
Jakob likes to spread the two wings out for a good silhouette
Jakob suggests you "Doctor" up the Chubby Chernobyl like this....
Umpqua’s (Parashoot) RL Rogue’s Foam, yellow#8, orange#6,8. There are lots of “Rogue Foams” from lots of fly manufacturers, but Umpqua’s are clearly much better using soft thin round foam. The parashoot style really rides nice and low. A black or brown sharpie can easily darken up the underside of the body, which can be key to your success. Gel floatant works best for this bug.
Jakob digs the slim round foam that Umpqua uses on their stones.
Rubber Leg Norm Wood, #6,8.
An original Deschutes pattern. The commercial tied version is a bit different than Norm’s original tie, but it’s still deadly. I’m a big fan of this bug with rubberlegs. The apricot colored calf tail wing is the secret ingredient to this fly. The calf tail is soft and the trout seem to hang onto to this bug much longer which result in more tight lines. Powder Shake Floatant is a 100% must for this fly. Yes, you will have to “babysit” this fly a bit being waterlogged, but again, a few shakes with powder floatant with silicon beads make this fly dry as a bone.
Lee Clark’s “Clark Stone”, Orange and Yellow #6,8,10. 
Another Deschutes original. Very light and easy to cast. Both gel floatant and powder shake floatant work on this bug. Again, comb and spread out the poly yarn.
Clark's Stone is a great fly to have on the Deschutes
Syndicated’ “Stone Sac”, black or brown #14.
In the middle of the hatch when the Redsides are stuffed, they will often refuse your 4 inch long dry fly that “split second” before “the take”. It’s a boil without the actual take! Instead of throwing your entire flybox back at the fish, try an egg sac dropper! When the female stones are ovipositing, the egg sac releases from the female soon after the bug touches the water. The egg sac sinks quickly, and starts to disintegrate 4-20 inches below the surface film. This dropper should be tied to the hook bend 8-24 inches below your dry. See the picture in the slide. 
 Jakob's Syndicated "Stone Sac"
Hook: TMC 206BL #14

Thread: Black

Crazy Glue Tip Pen (Michael's Craft Store)

Black 5mm Pom-poms (Michael's Craft Store)

Black Tungsten beads 2.1mm 

Black or dark green Krystal Flash. 
The materials to create Jakob's Syndicated "Stone Sac"
After you slide on your tungstean bead on to the hook and secure it with the tying thread, tie in a few strands of crystal flash imitating the eggs seperating from the sac. Then simply slide on the black pom-pom just like pautzke eggs... ;) Secure it with a small dab of super glue. Too easy! 
The materials to assemble Jakob's Syndicated "Stone Sac"
Other Players
Green Drake #10/12. Should you be so lucky and have a GD hatch, trout will turn of the stones for 45-60 minutes or so, and completely key in on the Drakes. My buddy Jim Gallagher told me the reason trout prefer mayflies over stones is; they taste sweet! He tried it, so he claims! I’ll take his word for it. Sofa Pillows and Stimulators are also worthy options. A yellow size 12 Kaufmann's Stimi' makes for a perfect match for a Yellow Sally, the much smaller cousin of the larger Golden and Giant.
Stimulators are overlooked and work well according to Jakob
Flows and water clarity is not a huge factor. This hatch is a very important source of food for the trout being that the bugs are loaded with protein. The trout will simply eat come hell or high water. Some years ago however, thunderstorms blew out Trout Creek which milked up the river below the confluence. Fishing turned off instantly, but was back on the next day. With all that said, prime flows on the Madras gauge is between 4100 ~ 5100 CFS.
Access Reminders: Be aware that the river access at South Junction is no longer available since crossing the rail road tracks is considered trespassing. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Police over the past two years has been issuing tickets in the amounts at up to $ 1000. BLM is using ODOT as an agency for trying to find a solution by applying for a legal public crossing to be installed at the South Junction Campground site. A tunnel under the tracks has been proposed. Meanwhile the campground itself is open. Again, you just cannot access and fish around South Junction unless you are floating in, or using a private/legal crossing. Refer to Scott Richmond book "Fishing In Oregon's Deschutes River" for walk-in acces in the Warm Springs area, Mecca Flats, Dry Creek, and Trout Creek. NOTE: It's very important to remember not to fish or step foot on the Reservation side of the river, except for the access granted with an Indian permit "Area 2" between Dry Creek and Trout Creek. Permits can be purchased at many fly shops and directly online at www.tribalpermit.com

Worthless Bugs According to Jakob - Stay away from these on the Deschutes!


Thanks Again for a great article Jakob!!!
















Monday, February 8, 2016

Winter Steelhead Pics

Here are some pics from several adventures I have gone on this winter steelhead season. Enjoy!

This cute chrome hatchery hen made for some wonderful table-fare.
This handsome wild buck gave quite the tussle, and was back off after a snapshot to continue his upward journey.

Gorgeous scenery typically lines up with good winter steelhead water.
Textbook "Steelhead Green".....
Probing into some probable underwater boulders......
A gorgeous winter steelhead run spills in from the lush Pacific Northwest scene.
Fishing the "fishy water" on the far side below a piece of heavy water....
When people ask where/what is good steelhead water? Well look for this an one type of example......
A man and his dog enjoying a day on the water searching for winter chrome
Swinging through a gorgeous run......
Moss and loops......
Anchor releasing & the point where the D-loop has turned over, and is forming into a tight looped delivery cast
More moss and loops....
D-Loop time means it is loaded & ready to deliver the goods.....
You can see the anchor releasing (on time) as the photo has captured the fly coming out of the water.
Fishing above a long heavy set of rapids.
A hen that is past her prime, but gave a fun battle with some line peeling runs.
In close and personal with some winter steelhead chaos
Navigating to a safe spot to better deal with a winter steelhead
I always love how steelhead can make your fly line resemble a clothes line at times.
Finalizing the deal...I just want to take the hook out and let you off.....
Buttoning up before the next spot....
Rather choice winter steelhead weather to play in!
Nice shoulders Mr. Buck!
Sending it through some highly probable winter steelhead water
This perfect specimen wild buck winter steelhead really put on a serious battle.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Get Your Fly Fishing Film Tour Tickets At Orvis Portland

2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour 

This is a fun time that you need to check out if you haven't experienced this, and for those of you who have seen this event, you know how pumped it gets you to hit the water. Stop by Orvis Portland to pick up some tickets for a fun Friday evening/night without having to think about what to do, and where to go.

When: Friday February 12th, 2016
Showtimes: Doors 5pm / Show 6pm 
                   Doors 8pm / Show 9pm
Tickets: $14 for sale at Orvis Portland

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Short Film Clip of Chinook Salmon in the Surf Zone

Here is a short video clip from when Nikki and I were lucky enough to have a magical Chinook Salmon fishing session. This fish literally kicked my butt for a very long time, but I did manage to land it about 100 yards away from where I am in this video. Enjoy watching this huge fish burn line back out into the ocean, after I nearly "thought" had it landed. 

Click Here to Watch Video

Fall Chinook Salmon Fishing Trip

Every year a good friend Ethan Nickel, who is also an excellent guide (Ethan Nickel Outfitters), and I attempt to go on a fall salmon fishing trip. The challenge is lining up our busy schedules with river levels and fish running. Typically we get into fish whenever we go, but this year we roped them hard for an entire day. We had such hot action where we just fished away, and barely were able to stop to eat our lunch and have a drink. Here are a few pics from the day, when we stopped to take a break from the action.....
Ethan hooked up with fish on his first two casts of the day. Not a bad way to start the day!
Admiring this hatchery hen and battle she gave before removing her from the gene pool.......
A Great Egret was fishing away.....
This handsome buck took the Clouser Minnow on a down and across swing.
This hatchery hen will make some amazing smoked salmon to enjoy over the winter.
Ethan and I started early and ended late for an awesome day of fishing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Surf Fly Fishing For Chinook Salmon

Sounds like some whacked out hoax.....It was, but my wife Nikki and I were there to experience it. I can honestly admit that it was the most insane fly fishing moment ever in my life, and I can tell it was Nikki's too.
This fish was hooked about 10 feet away from the shoreline, and it took me way into the backing.
We were about to leave for the day from a rivermouth spot (don't ask where - this is social media time and too many people see these posts and can crowd up an already too crowded fishery), and a man came up to me and said he kept on seeing fish surfing in the waves way down the beach from the river mouth. I was inquisitive, and decided to go check it out, but it seemed far-fetched.
Fish were zooming around all over as you can see with the surface disturbance a few feet off the beach.
When I got there, there was not much happening, and I was feeling like he saw something that was probably a thing of the past. Just when I was about to give up, I saw a tail slash out in the froth of the surf, and then some bumpy nervous water with fish surging about. I gained interest again. I noticed the fish were trying to get up the river, but they were taking a path along where the surf met the sand because there was a trough of water that was up to two to three feet deep, while sandbars that were inches deep created barriers to get into the river. In essence the river was cutting along the shoreline before it went out to sea, but the rivermouth was too shallow for the fish to actually be able to enter the river. The fish were sitting off the rivermouth in the shallow channel down the beach eating the last baitfish before making the entry to their natal waters on the next high tide. All of this was going on with several seals nearby looking for easy pickings.
Not your typical looking place to be fishing for Chinook Salmon.....
 I positioned myself into several different angles to the spot and stripped and swung my Clouser Minnow into the nervous water as it would periodically come by me. Nothing was happening, and it was annoying seeing it all go down, and not being able to feel one of these fish on the end of my line. I was watching my baitfish fly come through perfectly, and there were no fish chomping it down. I then looked into my fly box and put on a heavy dressed Clouser that I would consider the higher water or cloudier water version. I assumed that maybe they were not seeing the smaller ones I was fishing with in the surf with all of the froth, chop, and suspended sand. It turns out that that theory seemed to be the case because the first cast resulted in a 43" beast of a salmon. It gave me a battle I have not felt before on any fish so far in my angling experience.
This mean Chinook Salmon just tore me up for a very long time in the surf zone.
After that, I hooked another one on the next cast in the next batch of nervous water swimming by me. That fish was any bit as large, but I broke it off landing it in the surf after a long battle, and that the fish totally beat me up. It starting turning into a totally insane fishing session, where you would see a bunch of fish moving by and displacing water, and you would cast across and in front of it, and we would hook up with a salmon at will more or less. Nikki hooked up many times after I called it quits for the day, and I was super stoked watching her fighting mean vigorous salmon all on her own with no other anglers around. Then Nikki got into a fish that more or less took her for a ride with the backing seen several times. She had it in close only to have it rip off 100 yards plus of line and backing again. After she finally got the fish to budge and she pulled it back all the way to landing mode. The fish was almost broken of its will, and Nikki was forcing it into the last few feet of water before the sand meets the ocean, and then she yelled in frustration as the the hook pulled free. I could have reached down and tailed it for a second or two, but I was holding our nicest camera, and it isn't waterproof. Too much multitasking trying to hold a camera above the water and tailing a huge Chinook. It's better for the fish that it got away without a closer look, but not for Nikki being able to check out her catch up close and personal.
Fighting Chinook Salmon in the surf is without a doubt the most intense way to experience their power.
After that we couldn't muster up any more physical energy to think of tussling with another Chinook; so we watched the most beautiful sunset on a November day that was calm and warm. Life is good......
This fish really whooped me hard with a long battle with several long runs into the backing.
Oh yeah, and one thing of advice for anyone ever getting to experience this sort of a thing. You should probably have a 12wt for this, and I say this because normal heavy Chinook Salmon fly fishing gear of 9wt or 10wt rods is not enough for what these fish did to us while we tried to fight them in the surf. It is too painful in a good way.