Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Says Chinook Salmon Won't Take Flies?

My apologies to everyone of you who follows my blog for my lack of entries recently. I have been working way too much, building my new watercraft, and fishing when I have the moment to get out. Fishing has been pretty good lately; while everyone is complaining of having no water flowing in the rivers. We have had the lowest December flows since 1977, but the fish still have to make their runs no matter what. Crowds are down, and fishers using conventional tackle are not catching fish using their standard practices; while stealthy fly presentations can really shine during times like this.
A Chrome Bright Chinook Salmon Fresh From the Salt
Two weeks ago, I had a few days to fish for fun with a couple of good friends. We fished for Chinook Salmon, and conditions for getting into fresh "tide-runner" salmon were just right. We were using 10wt single handed rods with heavy duty reels matched up with very serious drag systems. The fly lines we had on were shooting heads with intermediate running lines, and the shooting heads we used were either a Clear Intermediate or a Type II (both 28' long). We had on leaders that were 12' long made of fluorocarbon with a tippet strength of 20 pounds. You have to be ready to put the screws to these fish; since they want to charge directly for any woody structure in the pools; so heavy duty equipment is a must.
Black & Chartreuse Size 6 Clouser Minnow in the Grill
The rivers have been so low; to the point where the salmon coming in have nowhere to go but the deepest "pond-like" holes. You have to present your fly in the fish's holding depth in those holes, and you have to have your fly down and parallel to the bottom during the entire retrieve or swing. The fish are not on the bottom, and they are more likely to be about 1/3 from the bottom according to the depth of the water (they are 4' off the bottom in 12' deep water). In the pools with little or no current, you must retrieve your fly, but not like stripping flies for brown trout. The strip is very slowwwwww and steady, with really long gradual pulls on the line. You are more or less causing the fly to swing; since the current can be so slow, where your fly will sink to the bottom unless you keep tension on it. Think of your presentation as soaking the fly, and not stripping it back in a jerky motion, but pulling it back to you over a long slow retrieval.
The Name "Spot Backs" is very appropriate for Chinook
Most of the grabs I had were in between strips when the fly was simply sitting out there soaking in front of a willing Chinook's face. The grabs were rather awesome; as you would feel a mushy hard pull that instantly converted into throbbing big head shakes. There was no doubt when you got into one, and then it was game on for a while. The 10wts folded over like a steelhead on a 4wt; which is something every fly angler has to feel. The drags on the reels are set where it is painful on your hands to strip the line out of the reel; yet when you have one of these salmon run, your reel peels line out like a drag racing car. Serious POWER!!!
This fish was abused by Sea Lions while crossing the bar......
It was slightly painful watching the guys dunking bait off of their bobbers staring at us hopelessly while our tackle was being battle tested. Not one bobber dunk either day for any of them. Our equipment is relatively simple, and the things that the fish are biting on are even more simple. A #6 fly at the end of a fly line is much more simple than a 6" bobber off of a slider, with swivels, shrimp cocktails, lots of lead weight, and level line reels. Two days in a row, we were the "Top Boat" coming into the takeout. The guys using conventional tackle were not catching anything; while we experienced some of the best Chinook Salmon fly fishing possible.
Size 6 Chartreuse & White Clouser Minnow in this Chinook's mouth
The best highlight of the two day trip was Alia's first Chinook Salmon that she ever wrestled with. She fought the fish as Ethan and I coached her frantically. She had an agonizing battle, and was abused by this beastly tide runner, but eventually the fish yielded. She was so stoked on the fish, as we all celebrated with yells of joy and stoked feelings. Ethan and I took lots of great trophy shots of her beastly fish, before rowing back into the honey hole to get into some more fish.
Picture Perfect first fly caught Chinook Salmon - What a Catch!!!
We had a truly amazing time out there, and times like that remind me of how fortunate we are to live at such a special place called Oregon. Most people travel and spend a ton of money to fish for salmon in Alaska; while there are times when places in Oregon can offer the best fly fishing for salmon possible.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quick Trout Report 12-3-11

Cold & foggy, but tight to a winter trout
 Yesterday I took out two regular clients of mine for some winter trout action. The weather was cold, foggy, and I think it never breached 40 degrees. We caught trout throughout the day, but it was not a fast paced day of catching. We caught fish here and there, but there were times when we did not see action, and just when we were about to lose hope, the indicator would plunge down.
Golden stone nymph in rainbow's mouth
 Fish were taken nymphing and we did not fish dries at all. We saw a few rises on blue winged olive mayflies, but nothing to get the fish going on the surface consistently. One fish was taken on a swung softhackle, but fishing with a beadhead nymph was the most productive way to take fish out there. The Possie Bugger, a large rubber legged prince, and golden stone were the best producers out there. At day's end, both Rose and Dave were happy about the results of the fishing and being out on the river. Catching trout in the winter is much better than sitting on the couch!
Possie Bugger took this winter trout

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Winter Steelhead Time - Officially!

There have been catches of winter steelhead for about two weeks, but as of now it is the time where you can go out and target them. Many of the rivers towards the coast are falling into shape, and should fish well for the next several days. My friend went to a coastal river west of Portland today, and the river was in perfect shape (steelhead green), and there were several fish that were taken from bank fisherman. My friend hooked up with a fresh winter chromer before it gave itself a long distance release. At least he felt some power on the end of his fly line! There was also a chrome bright Chinook that he witnessed someone battling before the person with them messed it up attempting to net it.

From here on out you can officially call it winter steelhead season, and that will remain the scenario until the end of March. Winter steelhead season is a time where you can get out and enjoy the outdoors; while most Oregonians seem to suffer from "Cabin Fever". Even on the days where you do not connect with a fish; you are still out in the dreamy Oregon mossy laden forests taking it all in. When you have a day to get out, go for it, because more often than not, you will find yourself gaining more knowledge about the fisheries, and that leads to more success in your steelheading.

Get yourself out there!!!
A Typical Oregon Coastal Winter Steelhead Stream

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Trout Fly Fishing Class

Winter Trout Fly Fishing Class
Brian Marz Guided Fly Fishing will be offering a winter trout fly fishing class on January 7th. Come and join the opportunity to get off the couch and learn how to catch trout in the winter months. The class will be held on January 7th, 2012, and it will be on the McKenzie or Willamette River (whichever has better water conditions at that time) close to Eugene/Springfield. Both rivers are a short drive from the Portland Metro area (1 1/2 - 2 hours), and there are no mountain passes involved; just the I-5 corridor, and we'll have the class about 15 minutes from highway I-5. 

    The class will be from 10am to 4pm, and it will be an "On the Water" Class, but it will not be about catching fish. It is a class; so the focus is on instruction, and fish hopefully will be caught while doing demonstrations, but that is not the point of the class. It is not a guided fishing trip on the river; it is a class! This class is about showing the participants how to decipher winter trout conditions, how you'll want to fish out there, what flies to use, along with how to rig them. A lot of anglers are not aware of the year round trout fisheries in Oregon, and how winter can provide some very rewarding angling opportunities. 

Four anglers will be in the class, and the cost will be $125 per person. Payments must be made in full to be in the class, and if the class is cancelled due to adverse conditions you will receive a full refund. This is a winter trout class; so don't expect nice weather out there, but the class will only be conducted if there are viable conditions to run the class for what you would typically encounter for winter trout fishing. Refunds on individual cancellations entered into the class must be made 10 days prior to the class, in order to ensure someone else being able to sign up for the vacant spot in the class. Flies will be provided for the class, and rod/reel tackle brought to the class also for participants to try out if you do not have a trout rod.

What You Will Need:
-waders, wading boots (studded preferred), 5 or 6 wt fly rod (preferred) w/matching reel & line, Strike Indicators (Thingamabobbers), 3X-5X tippet along with a tapered leader on rod of 3X or 4X, raincoat, polarized glasses, warm clothing for the elements
-A Positive Learning Attitude!!! We are going to have fun out there learning how to fish for trout in the winter months!!

Gorgeous McKenzie River Redside caught in the winter
Fall River Winter Fly Fishing for trout

Fall River Rainbow Trout Caught in winter weather conditions
If you are interested in signing up, email me at, or call me at (541)232-6360.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lots of Water to Bring In Fresh New Winter Steelhead

With all of the bountiful rain we have had, winter steelhead will be traveling up the rivers in pursuits of their natal waters. During the downtime when you are bummed out about the weather, just think to yourself how the fish are running up your favorite steelhead stream stacking up in numbers.
When waters are on the rise you can make the assumption that the fish are in travel mode. When you see the hydrographs signifying falling water levels, you can bet that it is time to be fishing. The trick is to know what river to be fishing for what water levels work best at a given fishery. Many systems will be flowing like a jet wash, and the fish can only be hugging the banks, while the next river over is smaller and quicker to get in shape. The steelhead will run in every system from a creek sized Gnat Creek to a mainstem Umpqua River or Nehalem. You can assume the smaller creeks will be clear and low much faster than the larger rivers.
Being at the right place at the right time often results in this.....
NW Chrome Bright Winter Steelhead

Sunday, November 20, 2011

First Confirmed Winter Steelhead Catches - Time To Go Coastal

This time of the year is when you are itching for some fresh new steelhead to come into the systems. Yes, you can go to the John Day, Deschutes, McKenzie, Willamette, etc to catch some old summer runs that look like rainbow trout, or you can go coastal for a fish like this.......
Wilson River Chrome Bright Steelhead Caught Last Winter
Typically the first winter run steelhead come into the systems about the time of Thanksgiving, and that is right around the corner. It turns out that I have heard of confirmed steelhead caught from three different coastal rivers west of Portland; so it is time to put your angling efforts towards winter steelhead now. With three systems having put out 2011 early winter steelhead, you can bet that fish are present in many more of them. Typically the early winter steelhead hatchery runs are what dominates the rivers, and places like the Nestucca River, North Fork of the Nehalem River, Necanicum River, Gnat Creek, Big Creek, and the Wilson are all great bets. The biggest hurdle is to fish where the steelhead are, and to get the flies into their zone. Otherwise, they will take your flies if your presentation is in their zone. There are some wild fish to be caught also; so always make sure what the fish is that you are landing in order to make sure that the wild fish remain as unharmed as possible.
Early Wild Winter Steelhead Caught on North Fork Nehalem River Caught In 2010
The hottest early season winter steelhead fishing is starting up; so get yourself out there. If you are interested in a guided trip to show you how to get into winter steelhead, then email me at or call me at (541)-232-6360.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Fly Fishing Recap

Lately, my life has been a bit too busy for being able to keep up with the blog postings like I would like. My apologies for you followers, but I will try to be more on it in the future. Recently, I have been doing mostly fall salmon, and it has been fair for my report. Some years, the rains seem to hit just right where the fish are coming in fresh, and they are biting hard. Other years lack the rains that raise the rivers up, and the fish tick tack in, and darken up in the tidewater reaches. This year seems to be an amplified version of the latter, and the rains finally have made some of the coastal rivers rise up to a status that would let good fish passage through.
The fishing should get good with this blast of rain, and all of the fish that have been showing up later, will be jetting up the rivers. If you have not tried to catch a chinook on your 10wt, then I highly recommend you try it.
Huge dark mature salmon that ran well over 40 pounds & battled this angler's daylights out
Some of the days we were picking up fish at a slow rate of one every few hours; while one day recently we saw fish everywhere, and the best and brightest fish were hanging out in the deepest holes. Coho just seemed to really show up in large numbers at one of the systems, and they are stirring up the pools with catapulting airs and lots of rolling around in the larger smooth pools. They can take your fly incidentally while Chinook fishing, and they can offer a great battle with lots of airs and line ripping runs.

Chrome Coho Salmon Fresh the Salt
Some days there can be so many Coho salmon around, and it can make for a tough time trying to get through them to get to the target species the Chinook. Funny problem to have where you are catching a lot of fish, but they are not what you are looking for when you are fishing. I remember many years back; having a day where my friends and I were breaking off Cohos left and right on purpose because we wanted Chinooks, and we could not get past the thick running Cohos. This year that has not really been a problem, but the last time I was out, the Cohos were thick.
Gorgeous Chrome Bright Wild Coho Salmon Caught on a Oregon Coastal River
Soon the south coast systems will be in shape for the famous Chinook fishing, and rivers south of the Umpqua along the coast can be totally amazing if you line them up with the right conditions. It can be the best Chinook salmon fly fishing on the planet at times, and you can catch chrome bright kings with sea lice on them. Often you can be fighting a fish that is bleeding from a sea lion bight; while you see your size 8 Orange Comet pinned in the corner of its mouth. Crazy!!! Get yourself out there and experience the intense power of a fall chinook. It is like fight a dump truck with attitude, and it is something every fly angler needs to experience.
Sixes River Chinook Salmon (taken several years back)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steelhead Fishing the McKenzie River With Dec Hogan

On Sunday October 16th I took out Dec Hogan and his wife Amy on the McKenzie for some fall fly fishing for summer run steelhead. They were coming through from Portland while Dec was visiting his mother, and they were on the way to the Redwoods in Northern California. Amy told me in the boat how she has always wanted to see the Redwoods; so they decided to go for it and they planned some fishing in the mix. While driving down they planned on fishing with me on the McKenzie, and then off to the Trinity River to fish down there for steelhead the next day. What a fun sounding trip, and I was involved in Dec and Amy's game plan (how cool!). The fishing was red hot on the McKenzie the week before, but fishing fell down to "fair to good" status with hanging high pressure weather and low summer levels flowing in the river. Well you can't catch them unless your fly probing in the water for a likely steelhead, and fall is the best time for aggressive fish.

Dec Hogan Fishing a Steelhead Spot Below a heavy set of whitewater - McKenzie River
We started out early in the morning, and we were all alone for the first couple of hours on the water. It was a Sunday morning, and there were not any other anglers out, and my only assumption is that the night game between the Ducks and the Sun Devils caused everyone to put am fishing for steelhead on low priority. That was a plus for us; since we got to fish several spots before anyone was out. The only landed fish of the day came from a spot that we fished before anyone else got to it. It was a nice fish that took a swing egg sucking leech on a floating line. 
Dec Hogan Casting Through A Run On Oregon's McKenzie River for Steelhead
What I was really wanted was to see Dec stick several steelhead, but I had the vibe that it was the kind of steelheading day where you will have to work for each fish. It was not going to be a day where they came to your line, and by day's end you were talking about how "all time" it was. Luckily Dec has done lots of steelheading, and he certainly knows what the sport is all about. He seemed most concerned with Amy getting into a steelhead, and that was going to make his day if she was tight to a chromer.
The One Steelhead of the Day That Stuck on the Hook Long Enough For a Picture
We fished pretty thoroughly, but the fishing session had to be semi short; since they had to head south towards Nor Cal for some Trinity River steelheading, and also to see those giant Redwoods. I was stoked to see the spey casts bombing with grace across the lies of the McKenzie, but I really wanted to see one of their lines yank tight. We fished and fished, and the only sign of success on Dec's part was a fish that boiled on his dry fly. He then switched to a wet fly and went back through the fish's holding area. The fish "snarfed" the fly as Dec stated, but then it long distance released itself back into the river's currents. He was fired up on that take though, and his spark fired me up too. I was fishing hard after the two of them went through the river's probable holding lies.
Dec Hogan & Wife Amy on Oregon's McKenzie River Swinging Through a Probable Steelhead Run
While fishing one of the runs, I approached a ledge of a drop off shelf in a run, and when my fly swung through it, I felt some solid head shakes. Right when I was about to announce the life on the end of my line, it went limp again. Oh well..... Some fish get you only excited enough to keep on fishing even harder for the next tug. I felt another bit of life on two casts later; only to have to fish push enough slack into the line to free itself before feeling its lips getting penetrated by the bronze. It was a day where the fish wanted to play a little bit, but not hard enough to have it come easy. We knew we just needed one to commit a little bit more, and covering the water effectively creates the inevitable probability of a fish striking the fly on the end of your line. We were due for some goodness from the chromers......
Tight looped Cast Unfolding from D-Loop on Snap T Cast - McKenzie River
Time was running down for our outing, and we were in the last spot for the session. It was even at the point where I asked Dec and Amy if they needed to take off on their journey to Northern California, and Dec said we'll fish the spot quickly before bailing south. He asked Amy, and she seemed semi indifferent about fishing more, but then she had a spark to get out and swing the run. It turns out that when I walked upstream to start fishing, I noticed Dec running up to Amy, and I thought to myself how Dec really fished to spot fast. I then noticed Amy's rod stapled to the water with a hard bend in it.
Dec Hogan Patiently Swings Through A Gorgeous Run on Oregon's McKenzie River
She had a fish on, and it seemed like a good one. I was about to run down when I noticed the line ripping off her reel, and a chromer catapulting into the air. It was a large bright steelhead rattling in the air several feet off the surface of the water. When the fish landed back into the drink, the line went slack, as the fish ripped to hook out of it's set position. The fish swam off to its new found freedom, and we all looked at each other with wonder and amazement. Dec ran up to Amy and gave her a sweet hug of stoked appreciation. He was totally fired up, and Amy was really charged up too. We all talked about how awesome that fish was, and how amazing of an aerial it did.

Beautiful tight looped two-handed "Snap T" spey cast - McKenzie River
We decided to then call it a day, and pushed the boat to the take out boat ramp. Dec was stoked on the McKenzie River and its steelhead fishery. He stated how they wanted to come back to fish it again when they had more time. He said how he enjoyed the McKenzie's fishing, and how it was a great day in his opinion; since we all had some steelhead action. I landed a nice fish, and almost could have has another one if it stuck. Dec had one on, but it never quite stuck on the end of the line, and Amy had one hot rocket of a steelhead on also. If everything had stayed on; we all could have went into the boat ramp having landed a steelhead, but that is not the way that fishing goes. That is why it is nice to have people like Dec and Amy that appreciate the fishing and not the catching. I was telling them how much better it can get out there, but they made sure to let me know that they had an amazing time out there; regardless of landing the steelhead that wanted to play.
The Prized Reward from Swinging Wet Flies - McKenzie River in Oregon
Dec Hogan has a line of wonderful spey rods made by Rajeff Sports called Echo Dec Hogan Spey Rods. He has also written an amazing book called A Passion for Steelhead. He had contributed so many wonderful fly patterns and teaches two handed seminars all around. He is one of the main innovative contributors to modern North American two handed spey casting, and he loves to share every ounce of that with anyone who is interested in it. You need to read his stuff and try out his rods!

When I first met Dec Hogan back last spring, he really came off as an amazing person that everyone should have to meet. He is one of those people that is super nice, full of positive energy, and simply wants to help everyone out with anything he possibly can. He also has some really cool fly fishing philosophies, and his steelheading philosophy is totally awesome. He feels that you can fish on your terms, and if the fish wants to come to play on your terms, then that connection is made, and that is what it is all about. That is at least my interpretation of his steelheading philosophy, and when I saw how stoked he was on fishing that Sunday morning; I realized it was totally authentic. We fished on our terms all morning, and we connected with several fish, and only one came to hand. We succeeded since we got some fish to pursue our flies on the lines we chose to fish with. If you think of how awesome it is to have a fish that is not actively eating to gain interest in what you are presenting to it, and then to leave it's holding lie to then eat your fly. That is the hardest part of the task without a doubt! Fishing with Dec and Amy was totally awesome, and I hope to be able to fish with them again sometime soon. Tight Lines!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Fine Day of Trout Fishing With Steelhead Bonus!

As of yesterday, it was the 4th consecutive trout trip in a row with a steelhead incidentally caught on it. The difference of this trip was that we got the fish on within 100+ yards of the boat ramp, and it was Bruce's first fish of the day. Another funny thing about the fish was that he was fishing with a 7'6" 3wt for fun, and we joked at the boat ramp about what would happen if a steelhead decided to eat one of the wet flies on the 3wt. Well it happened to occur right away and we got that task out of the way. Bruce ended up fighting and landing the fish about as long as it would have taken on an appropriate steelhead rod.
Summer Steelhead on 3wt Rod taken on swung October Caddis Pupa Wet Fly

Rather Large Fish For Echo 3wt Fly Rod (approximate 8# Steelhead)
We hooked up with another steelhead for a couple of head shakes while actually steelheading a spot, and the fish took a purple motion prawn. We also hooked up with another steelhead fishing a 5wt rigged with a dry and dropper and the fish took the nymph (possie bugger). It was a brief encounter before the fish popped the 4X tippet and swam off with the beadhead in its possession. Trout fishing was the focus of this trip, but we brought a couple of steelhead rods for a few spots.
Foggy Morning Fly Fishing - Willamette River
The day started out cold and foggy, but bugs were abound and feeding fish were showing themselves on the surface. We saw blue winged olives, smaller caddis, pale morning duns, and some October Caddis. The big bugs were not too frequent on this day compared to the last several times I was out, and I speculated the cold weather was holding them back.
Possie Bugger Nymph in this Cutthroat Trout's Grill
We got into some nice cutthroats throughout the day, and many of the larger ones were taking the dry and dropper presentations. The wet flies got a lot of attention throughout the day, and the fish were paying attention to everything we threw to them from blue winged olive softhackles, yellow softhackles, October Caddis pupa patterns, and some other softhackles too. We had moments where the fish were really into what you threw to them, and some lulls in action also. The weather went from cold and windy to cold and windier.
Trout Splashing Down - Willamette River
We did have times where the wind would calm down, and we would feel a bit warmer, and the trout action would keep us entertained. A lot of fish on the ends of the fly lines, and they were fighting very well. We expected a afternoon bug hatch with fish all over the surface, but it never seemed to pan out. We saw some bugs come off and fish started to look up, but then it ceased when you thought it would get going.
Trout on! Oregon's Willamette River
We fished until the evening started to set in, and then we called it a day. Plenty of fish caught, and plenty of consistent action throughout the day. Fall fishing remains hot with plenty of trout and steelhead action. Who knows how long the weather will hold out until the winter rains crush our fall fun. I know I have certainly been enjoying the fun fall fishing we have been having. I hope you are getting out there too!
October Caddis Pupa Wet Fly
Standard Nice Willamette River Cutthroat Trout

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Trout Fishing Was Totally On Fire!!! - Along with Steelhead Bonus!

Yesterday I ran a fall trout trip for two regulars, and we completely got into them BIG TIME! The fishing was off the hook, and I mean the best day you could possibly have out there. We even lucked out with an incidentally caught steelhead on a 8.5' five weight rod on a #10 orange softhackle. We almost had a huge steelhead eat a 9" fat rainbow when Rose was about to land it. I saw the fish slash at the trout like a shark, and Dave and I yelled to leave the trout hanging out there to see if the fish would wolf it down. It slashed on the surface with a toilet flushing boil, but it never quite committed to the swirling trout. I even had Dave swing a leech to the fish, and it slashed at the offering two times before disappearing out of the picture. That is the third time in my life that I have witnessed a steelhead trying to go after a fish being reeled in. At first I thought bull trout, and then you can see the colors of a large male steelhead. Craziness!
Bald Eagle Perched Above Willamette River
The first hot line ripping fin clipped "half pounder" like steelhead of the day
Besides catching lots and lots of rainbows and cutthroats, we had several fish that were hot as a rocket with airs and line ripping runs. They turned out to be immature steelhead that were fin-clipped and they had an ocean freshness look about them. I decided to clean one, and gutted it to see that it had orange sea run flesh to it. We'll see how it tastes tonight when I try it out. How strange that the Willamette River has a little surge of strange little "half pounder" steelhead that have come up it. We happened to hooked into about four or five of them, and they were hot fish that perplexed me for why they were there. Just shows what you see when you are out there all of the time.....
This Fall Caddis Pupa Pattern Swung Down & Across Was A Hot Ticket
Swinging wet flies was super productive, and we took fish on a #18 blue winged olive softhackle, a #14 yellow softhackle, a #10 orange softhackle, and a #10 October Caddis Pupa. Never had to change the flies all day from what I had showed up with from the start of the trip.
 Admiring the Hot Powerful Willamette River Immature Half Pounder Type Steelhead
  Fishing with a foam bodied fall caddis dry fly with a possie bugger nymph in a #10 was also super productive. We caught fish all day long on that set up from the start to the end, and the fish were eating the nymph with a little bit more frequency throughout the day, but the dry fly had plenty of attention, and some of the biggest trout of the day were on the dry fly.
One of Several Doubles Where Two Fish Took Each of the Two Flies
Doubles happened several times, and they seemed to occur when the "bite" was really on fire. It would be so good where I would have them bringing the lines back in to go on to the next spot, and a double would happen when trying to have that be the "last cast" in the spot. Then we would get another double on the next "last cast". It was like you practically couldn't keep them off the end of your line.
Rose Showing Off Another Fine Willamette River Double Catch on One Cast
Just when you thought things couldn't get any better; then whammo!    Steelhead On!! The fish was hot as a rocket, with so many line ripping runs on the 5wt. We had it in a great spot to fight it, and Rose battled the fish until it yielded to the net. We were all so STOKED!! What a day to have experienced!
This Willamette River Steelhead Was Taken on a #10 Orange Softhackle on a 8.5' 5wt Fly Rod
How can you beat being all alone on a river, with fish biting on everything you are giving to them throughout the entire day from start to finish. All sizes of trout from small to as nice as they come on the Willamette River, and filled with Cutthroats, Rainbows, and a Steelhead to put the icing on the cake. Fall is so awesome!!
One of the Many Gorgeous Coastal Cutthroats - Willamette River
As long as the weather holds up, we will have wonderful fishing opportunities abound. Don't miss the best fishing of the 2011 calender year. This fall is proving to have the best fishing of the year!!
Dave checking out another fin-clipped half pounder type immature steelhead

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Trout Fishing Report - More Bows and Cutts

This past Friday, I ran a trip for two wonderful clients for trout on the McKenzie River. Last year they did a fall steelhead trip; so they decided to try out some fall trout action. Unfortunately, the fish were not wanting to feed with reckless gluttony, but we worked at it with persistence. By day's end, we managed to rack up enough trout with significant shoulders to rate it a good day of fall trout fishing. We did not even get any fish on dries; with the exception of one fish that was a legitimate "cuttbow". It had red fins with white tips like a rainbow trout, but it had a cutthroat paint job, and had the scales of a cutty also. The fish fought with a rainbow's attitude, but crushed the fly like a silly cutthroat. It was a very unique looking specimen for that part of the river.
October Caddis Dry Fly Took This Beautiful Cuttbow Trout - Rainbow/Cutthroat Hybrid
We fished with a dry and dropper nymph, and the nymph took some nice fish here and there. The most productive method was swinging softhackled wet flies on a 45 degree down and across swing. We caught fish on size 18 blue winged olive softhackles, size 14 yellow softhackles, size 10 orange softhackles, and surface october caddis pupas. The smaller softhackles took most of the fish, but the larger ones worked well at times.
McKenzie River Rainbow Trout - Taken on Possie Bugger Nymph
We managed to hook up with a steelhead on a size 14 yellow softhackle, but the 4X tippet was no match for the fish. The powerful fish was on briefly before it decided to pop the tippet like it was a spider web. That was the second consecutive trout trip with an incidental steelhead hooked up. Makes you wonder how many fish are still headed up the Willamette Valley tributaries....

As long as the weather holds up, the fishing will remain good!