Sunday, November 30, 2008

My run opened up... for a day or two

I finaly got so sick of waiting for the best run on the river to lose its ice, I decided to give it a hand. I spent the better part of an hour stomping, jumping and butt-bumping a massive ice shelf, until I had knocked out a sheet of ice that was 60 feet wide by 150yds long. I gave the ice some time to break out and head down river, longer than you would think as the run is very slow.

Well, once the ice was out, it was almost dark, so I jumped in the run and ended up hooking two fish. I was a little pumped.

The next morning I hit the run again with Tom, I hooked a fish while tom was getting ready and he came down to help me land it. Then he got the hot hand and hooked 4 fish in the next hour, and then two more yesterday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Browns

In the last two days I have caught more browns, 4 of them and lost two others. All four fish have been pretty good sized, in the 8-10 pound range, and as unusual as it seems they have been fighting hard.

The run I have been fishing has been so consistant that it has allowed me to try some new flies and presentations and they have really paid off. I have learned alot about not only where ther fish are sitting, but also how they respond to fly presentation.

There are alot of ice shelves on the river right now and it seems that in certain areas the fish will hold right on the edge of them.
Recycled photo: sorry, I haven't been taking my camera

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cold Weather

Things got really cold here. Friday, was butt ass cold and by the afternoon the same run that had been so generous only a day before was covered with ice. Fishing, was limited to some pretty lame water and I got nothing.

Saturday was the opening of deer hunting, so I was out with my dad hunting. I am not a big hunter,really I only hunt one day a season, but I feel it is important for me to take the respondsiblity of actually killing a bit of the food I eat, some I can understand and appreciate where the meat I eat comes from and the sacrifice of life that is required. With that said, I got a doe.

Since Saturday was also really cold, The rivers were still really frozen on Sunday, but I went anyway. I fished with Tom and even though fishing was lame we had a good time I tried a Nextcast 75' head line that Tom got on Speypages and it was amazing on his 15'7/8 Meiser and on my Sage 7141-4. But no fish on Sunday.

Now yesterday, I got fish. The weather started to warm and the O produced with two lake run browns, One was about 5lbs and the other was nearly ten, and that one came of my favorite run along with two red-horse, which was random. Hopefully the fishing is just picking up for the thanksgiving week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Really cold, but really fishy

Yesterday, despite the freezing temps, I headed out to try the northern locals, the O and the Me. The Me looked perfect, the siren run was in full force for the first time this year. Unfortunatly, The DNR was just finishing up with shocking the river,, this turns the river off for several days.

So I headed to the O and fished a run that has been very productive for browns over the last couple years but is ridiculously slow to swing. I was hoping that the strong WNW wind would help speed the swing, and it did, alittle. It is sad when you are counting on wind to make swinging a fly bearable. Well it was better than bearable, I landed 4 browns, all over 10lbs and none looked wretched.

It was butt-ass cold so got off the river early.

Out again today, we will see if 20F is more than I can cope with.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Spey Rod Rundown

This is a run down of two-handed fly rods that I either use or have used and the lines I have tried with them. I will mention whether I liked the rod or not and any info that I can think of.
Rod: Burkheimer 7133-3: Maybe the best all around rod ever!
Fly Lines:
Rio Skagit 550 w/6'-10' T14
Airflo Compact Skagit 540 w/ 6'-10' T14
Airflo Scandi Head 8/9 500grn w/ 10' polyleaders
Windcutter 7/8/9
Note: This has become my just about evrything rod. I have fished it on tight coastal rivers in the spring, where a compact Skagit was the only fly line that might get it out there, to big open rivers like the Clearwater, using scandinavian heads. I have fished this rod on the Grande Ronde for small fish and coastal rivers & the clearwater where really big fish can happen. The largest fish I have caught on this is an 18lb Atlantic Salmon. It is how ever a little bigger than you need if you are on the grande ronde and the fish all seem to be around 4-6lbs, but it is not bad either. This is not a rod I would use long bellies, I like a faster rod for that.
Rod: Burkheimer 8133-3: Very good rod
Fly Lines:
Airflo Scandi Head 10/11 600grn w/ 10' polyleaders
Rio 9/10/11 Windcutter
Delta 9/10
SA Skagit 600grn w/ 6'-10' T14
Rod: Burkheimer "Salmon King" 13' 9/10/11: Not for me
Fly Lines:
Skagit 750grn w/ 10' T17
windcutter 9/10/11
Scandi 10/11 600grn w/ 15' polyleaders
Very Fast rod and very strong. This is the perfect rod for fishing for B.C. and Alaska King Salmon with a sksgit line and big flies. It is also ideal for fishing scandinavian heads for really strong fish, like in Norway for Atlantic Salmon or on the Thompson in B.C. I jusy never really got into it.
Rod: Burkheimer 15'3" 9/10/11: OK
Fly Lines:
Carron 85' 10/11
Rod: G Loomis Grease Line 15' 7/8 : Awesome!
Fly Lines:
Airflo Delta 9/10 (680)
Airflo Delta Long 8/9 (640grn)
Hardy MachII 9wt (640grn)
NextCast 75' 8/9 (726grn) : *Best Floating
NextCast Winter Authority : *Best w/ tips
SA XLT 8wt (710 @ 80')
Rio GrandSpey (800grn @ 80') Heavy

Rod: Thomas & Thomas 15' 9wt 3pc : Great specialty rod
Fly Lines:
NextCast 95' 9/10 (880grn) : *Best Floating
NextCast Winter Authority 70 (850grn) : *Best w/ tips

Wulff Triangle Taper Spey 80' 10/11wt
Rio GrandSpey (800grn @ 80') good
Airflo Northwest Skagit 35' (650grn) w/ 8-15' tips

Rod: Thomas & Thomas 14' 9wt 5pc : Great travel rod for larger fish
Fly Lines:
NextCast 95' 9/10 (880grn) : *Best Floating
NextCast Winter Authority 70 (850grn) : *Best w/ tips
Wulff Triangle Taper Spey 80' 10/11wt
Rio GrandSpey (800grn @ 80') good w/ tips
Airflo Northwest Skagit 35' (650grn) w/ 8-15' tips
Rod: Sage 6126-3 (xp colors): Love it
Rio Windcutters 6/7/8 or 9/10/11 w/out mid-section
Rio Scandinavian Head 6/7 with 5' or 10' polyleaders
Rio Skagit 450grn w/ 4-6' T14
Airflo Scandinavian Head
Airflo Compact Skagit 510 w/ 4-8' T14 (favorite)

I love this rod so much I don't know where to start. It is great for fishing big flies, it is great for fighting small and big(within reason) fish.
Rod: Sage 7141-4: Great rod
Hardy MachII 8wt (570grns)
Nextcast 75 8/9 (726grns)
Rio Powerspey 7/8 (550grns)
Airflo Scandinavian Head 8/9 500grn w/ 10'-15' polyleaders
This is a very fast rod. A lot of people refer to this rod as a true 8wt or maybe even a 9wt, but what I have found so far is that this rod can handle a truly wide range of line weights. So far I have only tried lighter lines on it, but it handles light lines very well and is great for fishing longer belly lines.
Rod: Sage 6110-4: Great little stick, especially for travel
Airflo Compact Scandi
Airflo Compact Skagit 510grn / 5-7' T14
Vision Ace 380 grn w/ 10' polyleaders
Rio Scandi 6/7 w/ 5' or 10' polyleaders

Rod: Sage 8110-4: Good rod
Windcutter 6/7/8
Airflo Compact Skagit 510grn / 5-7' T14
Vision Ace 380 grn w/ 10' polyleaders
Rio Scandi 6/7 w/ 5' or 10' polyleaders
This rod has it's apllications, I am thinking the small Coastal Rivers of Oregon where things can get really tight and the length of 11' is an asset to the closeness, the power of the 8wt is good for the fly size and fish size. Other than that I guess I would usually use the 6126-3 in most cases as it has a longer front handle, which I like, and it is more fun for smaller fish.
Rod: Sage 9140-4 (old Brown): great
Windcutter 9/10/11
Delta 9/10
SA 600grn Skagit Head
Rio Skagit 650grn cut back to 22.5' w/ 10' T14
Airflo Scandinavian Head
I fished this rod for several year and caught quite a few fish on it. It is great for big fish. It is very soft, so not a good long belly rod but with the above lines. Good all around rod for bigger rivers i.e. Sandy, Skagit, Thompson, Clearwater
Rod: Scott 15' 9wt Arc : good
9/10 Midspey
9/10 Delta
9/10/11 Wincutter
650grn Northwest Skagit by Airflo w/ 10' T14
9/10 PowerSpey
9/10 Delta long
10/11 Carron 85'
8/9 Grandspey
I have tried several lines with this rod. It is soft in the tip which makes it poor for super long belly casting, like the XLT's are not great on this rod. But this rod fishes a powerspey (65') line really awesome on big rivers, especially in calmer conditions, or a windcutter in tougher conditions. It is fun in a fight with even a smaller fish and the soft tip protects light tippets. I like this rod alot for rivers like the Clearwater, Thompson, and Snake.
Rod: Winston LT 12' 7wt : Really soft tip, but fun.
Rio Windcutter 6/7/8
Vision Ace 380grn with 5' poly leader
This rod is listed as a 7wt, but it is more like a 5 or 6wt two handers by other manufacturers. I have caught many steelhead on this rod, several over ten pounds and it handled them fine. The tip is so soft that you end up fighting larger fish with the butt of the rod and the tip absords the slack. It would a fun rod for a river like the Grande Ronde or the Sheboygan.
Rod: Winston LT 13' 8wt : Not the Best
WindCutter 8/9/10
Airflo Scandi 8/9 500grn with 10' polyleader
I caught my first steelhead on a two-handed rod on this rod. It worked great for me for a long time, but the design was not great, it was very soft and noodly. There are so many better 13' 8wt out there this would not be high on list of good rods. I gave this rod to a guide in Canada last summer and we tested it with the above airflo scandi and it cast really great. I heard he was able to put it some clients hands and they caught some nice Atlantics on it.


I had to travel to Iowa this week, so on my way down I stopped by and fished the Mil. I only got one run in on the way down, but it was a good chance to try to try the Hardy MachII 65' line on my 7141-4 Sage, and with my Spey Company reel to balance the Outfit, it was great.

On the way back I was able to Stay at BR's house and get a few runs in on Thursday morning and it paid off with another brown. That is three for the year, which is down on my last two years around this time, I think. I could be that this will not be the best year I have had for fish numbers. I am worried that I will not have the enough time before the rivers freeze.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November angling improves...a little

This morning I fished the Me. There were snow flurries on my way north, and due to the cloud cover it took longer than usual for the sky to lighten up enough to fish. I fished Bonfire first and got a nice brown pretty quick. I didn't get another fish but boiled one on the run across from Bonfire.

The rivers are still low, and that has really slowed down the push of steelhead and browns so far. Two fish in a week (four outings) is not good, but it is an improvement over the last few weeks. I think I will be heading south next, and then I will be on the road for a while.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Browns on Top

Why wouldn't a Lake run brown trout eat a fly at the surface, Atlantic Salmon are their closest genetic relative, heck they are Sea Trout and anglers catch sea trout on dries all the time in Europe. Earlier this summer while I was in Canada fishing Atlantincs, I was thinking about this very thing, and I came to the conclusion that browns would come up if only we fished for them, but before I ever really tried. Local angler Matty had a similiar idea and caught our areas first top water brown that I know of, using a foam body waker.

Well, Matty didn't just do it once, he did it again and the second fish ended up on youtube.

What a fish!! The reel sounded awesome.

Well, a few days later, only the day after I arrived back from out west, I went out to have a spey clave with four friends on the Oconto. Unfortunately, There was almost no water in the river. Well I ended up fishing J with Nate and I figured A "dry" (wiggle minnow) sounded like a good fly to use and since Nate wasn't going to fish one I ask if I could borrow a Black foam wiggle minnow.

I fished J all the way down and, at the very bottom, I saw a fish roll right where the fly was waing on the surface. I could tell it was a brown before I lifted the rod, I could see the golden sides as he rolled. The fight was O.K., but the take was see a great lakes fish, brown or otherwise, come to and out of the surface to take a fly was awe inspiring.

I have tried a few more times this week to raise another fish to a more traditional steelhead type dry, i.e. the gurgler. and I did boil a fish but I have not yet gotten a fish to eat a non-wiggle minnow.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Home from Nez Perce Country

BR and I just spent 5 and 1/2 days on the Clearwater, The Grandee Ronde, and the Snake. Most of our time was spent on the Clearwater, the other came as after thoughts. It was our goal to get Steelhead on the Clearwater.

We spent the first 4 days of our trip on the Clearwater and fishing was tough, but with the help of our friend Tom and Billy's pioneering of new runs we were able to go 1 for 2. The 1 was about average size (for the Grand Ronde), 5-6 pounds. A fish is a fish however, and I was happy to land it. It ate a black G.P. tied on a size 1 hook. The fish that got away was larger and it a purple G.P. tied on a size 6 double hook.

One note on the fish that got away: I borrowed a rod from The Red Shed Fly Shop, well actually it was from Tracy who is a local guide and lives by the shop. The rod was a 15' 7/8 weight Loomis Greaseliner, I tried it with a Hardy Mach II 8wt line (I think it was an 8), I threw the line on my new Speyco Symmetry reel and took it to the river. BR and I fished a run we pioneered and as I was testing how far the rod could cast, I hooked a nice fish, which fought like crap, but it was a fish. I was really happy with how the setup preformed, in short it rocked.

The clear water is such a special river. Near it mouth it has that same type of desert feel that I get on the Deschutes, but as you head up stream the arid environment gives way to evergreens as the elevation increases. BR and I van-camped each night and stayed in the area between Cherry Lane and Peck, we ended up finding a great camp that was well hidden from the road, and a great spot for a tent, should we ever use one.

The flows on the Clearwater fluctuated greatly when we started fishing the river was flowing around 3500cfs and by the afternoon of the second full day it was nearly 8000cfs, and the change took place in only a couple hours. It was the fluctuating flows that ultimately led to us leaving the Clearwater and heading for the Grande Ronde.

The Grande Ronde was as fun and beautiful as I remembered it from last year. We were only there for a very short time, only an afeternoon and a morning, not enough time. We got sevral grabs on the Ronde, I had several pulls that took the whole loop and even gave a yank, but we never got even fight a fish. That's how it goes sometimes.

From the Ronde we headed for the Snake River above Asotin, WA and below the mouth of the Grande Ronde at Hellar's Bar. We fish one run on the Snake on our way up the river, then I fished Black Rock on the ronde while BR hit Hellar's bar. It was a cloudy day so we were able to fish all afetrnoon, which was good as it was our last day. Neither BR or I got any grabs so we headed back down the Snake. BR pulled off at the fist major tailout below Hellars bar, BR took the low end and I went in about 200yds above him, I was still fishing my 11' 8wt from the Ronde, which is a tiny little stick for the Snake which is probably the biggest Steelhead river there is to fish, until we pioneer the Columbia. Any way I ended up getting a steelhead that was about 6 lbs, maybe, a hatchery fish, but still cool.

We were now starting to lose light and barely had time to hit another run, we hit two. The first was a nice but non-descript run. The second run was one we had fished on an evening two years earlier, in early October of 2006, on that night BR took a nice wild steelhead in the tail out above the run. Br knew the tailout looked right that night and I put my faith into the riffle below, that night in 2006 BR was right. One this night in 2008 it was the riffle that paid out. On about my second cast I hooked a nice steelhead on a #5 Purple Green-Butt, and after some drama with tangled line, I was able to fight out and land(just about) the fish. BR fish a waker on the tail out and boiled two fish, but no hook ups.

And that was it, we drove to spokane from there, trip over.