Monday, May 26, 2014

The Chironomid Game

Yesterday a friend and i made the trip outside town to a small private lake.

We arrived around 7:45 and launched the boat and headed straight for a spot that produced all of my fish on the previous trip. At the drop of the anchor we got our lines in the water set to 13 ft in 14 ft of water. After 15 minutes of trying it became apparent the fish had moved, which wasn't anticipated though it has been a month since my last trip here.

after no action at all and barely any surface activity we decided it was best to pull anchor and troll until we found concentrations of fish before anchoring and fishing chironomids again.We trolled near the edge of  the weed beds and ended up catching two fish, but spread out unfortunately. Early in the day i had observed fish rising in the upper end of the lake, but i thought that  they had to be warm water fish, because the upper end of the lake (near the inlet) is shallow, but upon getting closer we realized they were trout eating damsels and chironomids.

After realizing there were a lot of trout surrounding us we anchored in 6ft of water to the west of the creek channel and threw bloodworm/pupa combos about half a foot off the bottom, and within minutes we were in to some rainbows in the shallows! steadily for the next few hours we caught fat fish gorging on chironomids anywhere from 14 to 21 inches and length, all were fat and eating very well.we totaled 30 fish exactly between us for the day and did hook a few of the larger fish in the lake, but were not able to land them, A few fish even made it to the backing! it wasn't uncommon for a fish to jump 4 ft out of the water after a blazing run.

Water clarity was still sub par at about 2-2 1/2 ft, but the fish didn't seem to care like last time.Water temp only reached around 61 mid day and didn't stay high for long. Once it reached around 3:30 we pulled anchor and caught a few trolling buggers before  taking out and heading to taco bell for a much needed greasy meal.

it was a great day and was a good stress reliever at the end of the school year.

Friday, May 9, 2014

How to pass time & new url update

The one sucky part about planning a fishing trip in advance? the wait. Coping with the wait ,especially when a week or longer, can kill me. So i decided to make it productive. The trip planned is a stillwater trip with friends for next weekend.A lot of preparation goes into these trips because of the complexity of the rigs used for chironomid fishing. Though simplified, they still aren't your run of the mill tapered 9ft leader and dry fly rig, or anything near that.

Today i spent my time with a tape measure and leader materials making sections for leaders specific lengths, for specific lakes and depths. Though i am not near an expert stillwater angler the experience i do have lets me narrow down leader section lengths, so i don't have to spend my time guessing what lengths i should make out of what size leader.

Still have a mess to clean up from that but now on to putting my strike indicators together and re organizing my fly box. Ive spent quite a bit of time filling the box in the past few days as well trying to help pass the time.

Here are some recent ties, recipes will be available shortly.  On another note, the url of this blog has been changed to be more fitting, i realize this has been an inconvenience for thsoe who commonly view the blog, but strings should all be worked out shortly.Obviously if you are viewing this psot you have already found out, but for future reference  the new url for pacific northwest fly fishing is  linked below

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring in Central Oregon

     Early this week a good friend and i made the first trip over the mountain to the central Oregon lakes.With high hopes and not knowing what to expect we started the week off at diamond lake.Diamond being a premier stillwater in oregon always gets me excited as i know the possibilities of not only large fish, but great numbers as well.

We started off in the usual depths where fish are usually found, and right off the bat it was bobber (indicator) down! the fish was a year old 12 incher, and a fat one. After that things never really picked up, and we moved a lot covering water only to find a few more fish either chironomid fishing, or trolling with our sink lines from spot to spot.After 6 hours of hard fishing we had only a total of 8 fish, the biggest being the 19 incher my friend landed. After the disappointment of a slow day at diamond we packed up and headed for hosmer, only to find that the road was still snowed over good about 1/8 mile in.

Leaving hosmer we headed for lava lake, and decided to spend our next 2 days there if the fishing was good, and good it was.After my friend located the drop off's on the shoals he hammered the rainbows fishing chironomids, as did i from time to time.During the first day the chironomid fishing was solid for hours until the evening arrived when fish would move shallow, at that time we would pull anchor, and strip flies on sink lines for the aggressive bows'!

On the second day (half day) i got a late start and caught up to my friend on a new area we hand't fished since being there, and it turned out to be the mother load. Anchored up in one spot without moving from about 10:00 to 2:00 the bite was so good all of our rods would get bit within 5 seconds of eachother! my friend would often hook one fish, then another on his second rod! it was such an incredible bite while it lasted you couldn't help but laugh.The fish were all very well conditioned, some even fat, and full of fight,especially on our 4wt rods.

It was an excellent start to the season, and though it will be a low water year, i think fishing will be excellent on some of our lakes.

waiting for a plunge

Can't beat the scenery!



Fish on!

A healthy  lava lake rainbow taken on a maroon leech pattern

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Dope On a Rope" (Leech On a Leader)

This spring while fishing a few new to me stillwaters attractor patterns have been the bread and butter when it comes to locating fish.This pattern hasn't only accounted for finding the fish, but catching quite large, and aggressive trout as well.The fly is tied sparse to look lively in the water, and has lead wraps on the front 1/3 of the body to give the fly a distinct leach like "swim"  the bead and dubbing catch light and adds some attraction as well.I also tie this pattern on a curved shank hook in smaller sizes for indicator fishing and it can be just as effective.Also works in olive/orange, and maroon with the same red bead (my favorite). If you are looking for a pattern to use when searching for trout this fly will get the job done, and because it is some simple to tie, and is durable, can be a time saving alternative to tying woolly bugger type patterns with hackle and all of the extras.

Black/red Simi seal leech

Hook: TFS 5263 sizes 8-12
Thread: utc 70, wine
Bead: red silverlined glass
Tail: black marabou (sparse)
Body: Black/red arizona simi seal
Rib (optional) small red ultra wire
Weight: small lead wire (wrap front 1/3 of shank for good action)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Stillwater Sunday

       On Sunday, Sam and i were invited to fish a private trout lake in the hills outside of town. The lake,formerly a bass/panfish fishery, was stocked with trout  last year.It is a healthy body of water with all of the components needed to sustain a trout fishery, but knowing large bass inhabit the lake made me question the lakes potential.We arrived a little before 9 and started fishing from float tubes.Water was murky with 2-3 ft visibility and a muddy tint, surface temp in the mid 50's.Fishing a new lake can always be frustrating because you never know what the fish are eating, and where they are at in the lake.Luckily there was a map showing how deep the lake was, making it easier to find feeding fish.

I started out with a clear intermediate sinking line and a size 10 black/red simi seal leech and worked the shoal area to the east of the channel that runs down the middle of the lake, side by side with jay and his wife slowly trolling our patterns. Not long into the morning we began to hook into some fish but not a ton,action was consistent.After about half an hour of bites and jay still hooking good amounts of fish, i narrowed down an area that seemed to have lots of fish.I anchored in 14ft of water to the side of the channel, and rigged up with a two fly chironomid rig, with a maroon pupa on the point, and a small red bloodworm on the dropper. Almost immediately after my patterns sunk it was bobber (indicator) down! it pretty much remained the same way on and off for the next few hours, with the bite picking up then dropping off for a bit here and there. Depth really seemed to matter, as the fish were cruising a narrow water column about  1-2ft off the bottom.I stayed in the same general area the whole trip with good success, and after lunch sam and jay both joined me for some chironomid fishing and the action continued until we had to call it quits. The day ended with several large rainbows to net for us all. What an excellent day on the water, and more to come as the lakes over eat open up soon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Filling The Box

       Starting to fill my box as a lot of lakes and streams open in a few weeks like i mentioned before. With school daily ive had to split my tying time up into two segments, but ive been able to get a good amount tied.I am heavily focusing on chironomids for stillwater fishing at this time and will be for the next few days, though nymphs for the favorite stream will have to be a focus because it opens soon as well.Lots of time at the bench ahead preparing for a low water year here in oregon. 18 days and counting

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stillwater Mode Activated

Spring has arrived and along with it a whole host of opportunities.Lakes are icing off, and hatches are starting.Music to the ears of any avid stillwater trout angler as he knows the time has come.Flies are being tied by the hundreds, and unfortunately the local fly shops run short of materials often (haha) ive been fortunate enough to fish two awesome lakes in the past week, and had the chance to catch 6 different kinds of trout.It was a very long week of riding in the trucks, tying leaders, and fortunately, hooking lots and lots of fish, having my personal best day on the favorite late winter lake with two good friends.

After that trip sam and i headed east to a desert lake and spent our time in windy conditions stripping leeches for lahontan cutthroat, which was an incredible experience.  in 4 days of fishing last week i only broke off two fish (both lahontans while stripping flies) but none while chironomid fishing in the other lake. My hook up to land ratio has been incredible and i can only hope it continues.With a few weeks of hard school work on my plate it is time to take a break from the water and tie flies, before the central Oregon lakes open up and begin to fish well. Full fly boxes and tight lines ahead.

Photo credit: Sam Brost-Turner

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gear Review: Cabela's Three Forks Outfit

      Being a student on a budget i am somewhat "limited" when buying gear- especially rods,reels, and line.In January i planned to start my winter steelhead season but i didn't have a rod, and i had 80 bucks to work with.I was very doubtful i would find a rod that works even halfway decent for that price.Reluctantly i picked up the 9 ft 8 wt 4 pc cabelas three forks rod,with a prestige plus reel  and a prestige plus floating line. The setup was on sale, and i figured  "this sucks but it's what i have to work with" not being able to rely on the usual echo or redington which i am accustomed to fishing had me down a bit.The reel, to me was the best part of the setup at first sight.

    The rod actually looked halfway decent aesthetically, but the real test was a trip to the north oregon coast for some wild steelhead.Big heavy water absorbent nymphs ,giant thingamambobbers, and fast water nymphing. Very challenging technical fishing and can really ask a lot from both rod and angler. Overall i was very impressed with the rod, it was a little on the stiff side, but it was actually a good thing for the application, allowing for long hauls with heavy flies. It loaded well on roll casts and double halls far better than expected, though not "up to par" with similar rods by both echo and redington, it preforms well for the price.The reel is the high point of the setup being very well put together, durable, smooth, and okay looking as well. THe first trip with the setup i ended up hooking a strong wild fish, that unfortunately came off.

The line was not up to par at all, and was the most dissatisfying part of the outfit. It commonly sunk mid drift even in soft water, and caught dirt and grim quicker than most fly lines ive used, which is common of scientific anglers fly lines in my experience (cabela's line are made by scientific anglers) i would have to say, it impressed me for sure, but i would consider it a good backup setup or beginners setup at best. If you have the money get a better setup, go for it. if not, this setup  will save you until you can get one.I feel the smaller sizes of this outfit preform better for their respective purposes, like the 4 and 5wt models, which in my opinion would be great back up rods, or a second to bring with rigged up with a different fly.  In general they are a good value, but not too good to pass up.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Apologies & updates (IMPORTANT)

       Hey all, as you have noticed i have been on and off for the past several months, barely posting and what not. Through the whole time, i wasn't able to access the blogs email account, and sadly, not reply to any mail. I offer my sincere apologies to anyone who sent us mail over that course of time, emails are currently being sent though months behind. School has been rough and my time was more focused on it than anything in life.

    So please, feel free to email us with any questions and or comments with confidence from now on, as the problem is taken care of.  Pacific Northwest Fly Fishing is back full time, and with a bang. Fly tying videos, some more short films by the one and only Sam  Brost-Turner, and some much needed gear reviews. In addition for 2014 we hope to add links and reviews to local guides and outfitters to help find you the best of the best for your next fly fishing trip.

     A big thanks to those who have stuck around, as my time has freed up, spring is here, and fishing time has arrived. With a mild snow pack this winter many lakes east of the cascades are beginning to ice off or the snow has melted on access roads. It sure gives me a case of the jitters as the central Oregon fishing season is about under way.

A few short float tube trips to the favorite mountain lake have held us over until c-o turns on for the spring,

Here are some pictures, and once again, thanks for hanging in there folks, it was a long vacation!!!

Brandon Hill

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring break rules

After a pretty slow winter steelhead  season for sam and myself we decided to hang up the 8wts and go after trout to start our spring break. Luckily there are few waters open this time of year, though it requires a drive. We fished two days with slower than normal action but did manage some nice fish and of course the non fishing campire activities were just as fun. But when you do have a slow few days on the water and you can see the trout, and know they are feeding, you are left to wonder what you did wrong. Though fishing was slow were had a great time and ill take it over sitting at home any day. There really is nothing better than hooking some beautiful wild trout with a good friend.

Wild rainbow trout

This trip reminds me we are close to the snow and ice melting off lakes up in the cascades and good fishing is in the near future.With a low snow pack things are sure to be difficult this year, but there will be no lack of fish and bent rods. With that in the future, all i can do is tie some flies and play the waiting game

Friday, January 31, 2014

Far Too Long

       It has been far too long of an absence for me, this blog is something that i considered a top priority while not on the water or at school,but not having a computer for months hasn't helped much , thank goodness tax time is here and i see a replacement laptop in the near future. Being a full time student and searching for jobs i haven't had much time to even think about making a long,picture loaded post yet here i am typing away.Anyways, enough with the talk of a boring young adult's personal life..on to the fishing! After all, that is what this blog is about, isn't it?

    this past summer and fall i got out of my normal routine. I got a job at a far, so fishing wasn't an option as usual, but after the farming season was over fall came and brought a heavy dose of fall salmon, along with a lot of schoolwork. Lots of salmon came to hand including some chum salmon on the fly, which happen to be quite the aggressive drag burning fish. pretty much toss any bright,heavy fly under an indicator and you will see what i mean.
Oregon Coast Chum Salmon Caught Indicator Fishing

     After salmon season wrapped up Rose and i headed to the metolius river, a first for me and a real test for any fly angler, let alone a 19 year old kid who has only been flinging a bug wand for  3 1/2 years. We fished all day long in the gin clear water, and just when we were about to give up i managed to hook up with a very healthy rainbow, and one whitefish in need of a serious diet. It was quite satisfying knowing i was able to trick some fish from one of the toughest rivers the west has to offer!

A late evening Metolius rainbow that fell for a golden stone nymph
A chunky metolius whitefish that ate a pheasant tail swung in a tailout

Through november i spent a lot of time chasing wild cutties at my favorite lake, and as usual i was rewarded with several days of a dozen or more large wild coastal cutthroat that pushed my 4wt rod to the limit. FIsh were caught on many flies and techniques, including  fishing leeches under an indicator(bobber) stripping soft hackles, dry flies, and more. The fish were all so aggressive sometimes your 6lb fluoro leader would snap like nothing just from a fish grabbing your fly.

A Fine Specimen Caught on a full intermediate line and a soft hackle pattern
Winter steelhead season was started late for sam and i this year, but  i have hooked and lost 2 fish on both trips so far this season. Fishing has been tough, but hopefully with this rain the fishing will improve.
A North Oregon Coast steelhead stream. photo credit : Sam Brost-Turner