Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tying a Marabou Wet Fly Streamer (Winter Steelhead Version)

Here is a simple fly tying video demonstrating how to tie a productive winter steelhead fly pattern for doing wet fly swing presentations. You can change the colors, change from a shanked hook to a tube fly, or an articulated stinger hook. You can make it sparser (with less turns of marabou) or bulkier (with more turns of marabou) depending on what you want to do with it, and you can use two or three colors to make it really interesting. Just leave enough room for more than one feather if you are seeking that "Popsicle" look, or try the famous "Winter Hope" colors to really have some fun with it.


Happy Tying!!




Materials List
Hook:  Orvis 1645 #2 (or size you prefer)
Thread: Black 3/0 (or color preferred) 
Weight: (optional): Dumbell Eyes
Tail: (optional): Blue Ostrich (or color you prefer)
Body Material: Several Strands of New Age Holo Flash
Ribbing: Medium Red Copper Wire (or color you prefer)
Flash: New Age Holo Flash and Blue Flashabou (or color you prefer)
Collar Hackle: Blue Guinea Hackle (or color you prefer)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winter Steelhead Update

Well this season we have good runs of winter steelhead in many of the coastal and inland PDX area rivers, and I have also heard that runs are looking good on rivers like the Siuslaw and Umpqua systems as well. The challenge I have had this season is lining up the river levels on my days off. So far I have only fished swollen high water and skinny clear low water, but I have not been out on a day where the conditions were "spot on" to my liking. Yet when you have a day to fish, you should go fishing because you can't catch steelhead sitting on the couch speculating when you should go.

Below is a little photo essay on some recent winter steelhead outings:

Brian Morris tight to a high water winter steelhead
Brian Morris with a colored up buck that fought rather well before yielding to his hand for a quick pic. 
Swinging a run fading into a tailout
Nikki running an egg pattern through a slot between the bedrock boulders
Swollen water and fading into steelhead green; just the conditions I like!
Stereotypical Oregon scenery
This tailout didn't produce a fish on this day, but it has pumped out winter steelhead in the past.
Admiring the rod on the moss while having a sandwich break.
One of the fish that I caught on my last outing. Luckily a guy passing asked me if I wanted a pic while I was landing it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting the Cold Shoulder on the John Day


This entry is a photo journal from a trip that Adam McNamara (store manager at Orvis Portland) recently experienced the weekend before Thanksgiving. 

I was recently joined by a bunch of friends for a trip on the John Day, probably my favorite Summer Steelhead river of all time. While the John Day can be absolutely amazing it is also notoriously fickle, and as some of our group traveled from as far away as California and Vermont quickly learned swinging for Steelhead in the Northwest is always far from a sure thing. Regardless of the outcome we had a great trip and are already planning the same for next year.
Day One
Cold and Clear
Good Morning - The view from the deck of the house. You can see the river is almost frozen over downstream of the house, it was entirely frozen over upstream.
Bit of Ice- Getting ready for the first swing of the day......
Hope spring eternal - With ice on everything and water temps at only 33 degrees you need faith to fish the swing.
Day Two
McDonald Crossing - Crossing the river at the McDonald's ferry river crossing is a bit more interesting in the ice and snow of winter
Rods on Ice - Desperate times called for desperate measures, someone put an indicator on this Spey rod; It didn't work.
Bare Necessities - Everything you need for a great day of swinging fish, regardless of the weather.
A cold Klick morning - A couple of us headed to the Klickatat one morning; it is a fairly short drive but a drastically different river. Many thanks to Jay from the Evening Hatch for the amazing day and great fishing.
Day Three
Middle of the Klick - Orvis endorsed guide and all around fishy dude Brandon Bischof gets after it on the Klickatat. Sometimes you need to wade deep to get the right swing.
Finally some Chrome - Chuck from Wildwaters Fly Fishing left excellent fishing on the Klamath to come see some new water. After a lot of work busting ice and freezing his but off, he finally gets some payoff.
Flying the fin - This beautiful hen just couldn't resist a bit of cerise and purple no matter how cold that water was.
Careful release - This little girl is about to head home none the worse for wear. I love a shot of fish in the water, it seems as close as you can get to seeing them in their world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tying a Simple Winter Steelhead Shrimp Fly

This a short fly tying video where Orvis Portland Store manager Adam McNamara demonstrates how to tie a simple winter steelhead shrimp fly. It is a versatile pattern that can be altered easily by changing the colors of the materials in the fly's recipe to customize the fly to your preference. Also don't be afraid to use something other than rabbit fur like Finn Raccoon Zonkers, but make sure you still follow the proportions of the fly in the video. Happy Tying!


Simple Winter Steelhead Shrimp Fly Recipe:
Hook (several options):
Tube (in this video)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chinook Salmon Photo Essay - Fall 2014

The first hookup took some deciphering of what shooting head (sink rate) and fly (color,size, & weight) to use. The water conditions were coming off of blown out and brown to becoming pea soup green and fishable.
It is really a special place to catch a salmon while in sight of the ocean's breaking waves.
A smaller Chinook coming in for a landing.....
Small and fat for a Chinook. This fin-clipped fish is top notch table fare.
Admiring this fine fish and its proximity to the ocean.....
A hard fighting fish that didn't want to yield after a long battle.
It looks like the Chinook was the winner this time......It managed to unpin itself moments later.
Waves crashing give the air a salty feel.....
 Sitka Spruces can have some wild shapes which make you think about what the winds can get like.
It took a little while to figure out where the exact sweet spot in the hole was, due to swollen and faster flows from the rain two days prior.
Changing the shooting head to something with a faster sink rate did the trick; resulting in a hookup with a hard fighting Chinook Salmon. I decided to change shooting heads after not having a hookup for the first two hours because I felt like my fly was not staying in the strike zone long enough. I did change my fly several times before changing the shooting head; so make sure you cover both variables when you are not hooking up, and you know you are fishing in a spot where fish are present. 
Swish swish coming in for a landing......
Yet I am trying really hard not to get landed....Swish Swish!!!
This Chinook fresh from the salt is battling hard to the last possible moment.
Tailed and subdued.....What a snow belly!
A super fine chrome bright Chinook Salmon
Thinking about how hard this fish beat me down during the battle. It was worth every moment!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Random Fly Fishing Pics

Here are some random fly fishing pics to check out......
No Subject matter for this entry, but it is just a random bunch of fly fishing pics to enjoy.

Moving from paradise to paradise....
Columbia River warm weather fishing time....
Rapids mean steelhead may need to rest and hang out in the tailout above....
Crooked River fish like the Zebra Midge
Crooked River fish love all sorts of subsurface patterns with a little flash, like lightning bugs.
Close proximity to a killer lower Deschutes steelhead spot.....
Lower Deschutes River steelhead - Fish On!!
Lower Deschutes River sunset in the canyon....
Reverting to my childhood with a crappie....Fun times!
A chunkier bluegill like this is a really strong fish on light fly tackle, & this place has lots of them like this.
McKenzie River Rainbow
Tight to a fast running McKenzie River rainbow....
Bitterroot River Rainbow fell to this Jimmy Legs
Bitterroot River Brown fell to this Royal Chubby
An awesome name for an angler's brew....
Guess where? Yes it is awesome with nice rainbows and bulls.
An O-Brown
Too classic with a CFO reel, Superfine Touch rod, and a super sweet brown trout,

My wife's playing around with the camera can produce some cool effects - Owyhee River
Crooked River - Camera special effects done by my wife Nikki
Rockfish can't help themselves from a white Clouser Minnow
It looks crowded, and it is. It gets much more busy than this, and it can be well worth it.
Springtime winter steelheading......
Some chrome where it hurts......it looks cold it is so bright!
Not a bad catching a sweet rainbow while instructing a class with predicted 100 degree weather.
Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
Nikki's first Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
After the first Yellowstone Cutt, it was one after another for Nikki.