Aug 24, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (August 24th)

photo credit: Greg Darling

Fishing Report
Let’s get out and fish!  The Deschutes finally came into great shape this week.  While the visibility is poor right at the confluence of the White and the D, it is very fishable on the lower river.  It was 2-3’ and a nice olive color on Friday.  We fished Airflo T-10 FLO tips and Skagit lines and had a great couple of days Thursday and Friday.  It was quite windy, but that didn’t stop the fish from grabbing an articulated bunny leech.  The color at the confluence with the Columbia is also worse than a few miles upstream as the Columbia backs up the flow and gets sediment mixing more than upstream.

I talked with several anglers that saw the visibility, called it blown out and went home.  The thing is that fishing was killer and there was no one up there.  You just have to change your tactics a little.  If that same angler was on the Klickitat, he would have claimed visibility to be great and fished with sink tips with no problem.  That is because anglers are used to a certain level of expectation with the Deschutes.  Fish bite there in a few feet of visibility just like they do everywhere else.  The clarity of the river reminded me of the Kenai the other day.  Kenai fish eat tiny little beads all summer long in poor clarity, so the steelhead in the Deschutes have no problem seeing your fly.  Visibility on the Deschutes is unlikely to get much better soon, so get your sink tips out and get to the river. 

Summer Steelhead are most definitely around right now in the local rivers big time.  The Deschutes River is great.  Get out there and fish!  Use light sink tips and bigger flies as long as visibility is on the lower end.  We left the river Friday evening to nearly three feet of visibility, but of course on Saturday morning, people are coming in claiming that it is blown out again.  I do not know what, if anything caused a blowout, but I would assume that the river is in the same condition as when I left it Friday, as no rain has come through since last night…  Until further notice, assume that the conditions are good on the lower.

The Klickitat River has been a bit worse than the Deschutes, but it is still completely fishable.  Hovering about 2-3 feet lately with a little grey color to it. It is improving and we have heard good reports over the past few days.   Both the Klick and the Deschutes should be money this week; just be prepared to fish a sink tip…

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River and fair in the local haunts here.  Bass on the Columbia River have been hiding out in plain sight.  Suspending off of ledges and dropoffs and scattered all around, they are there, but harder to find in good numbers than in the spring and fall.  A good day fishing will just require lots of moving around and changing tactics to find the numbers.  The John Day remains a solid choice for an easy day of good fishing with big numbers of fish.  A small popper or grasshopper pattern will produce fish from first light to last. 

Carp fishing has been decent, but not stellar.  I have heard fish are eating bigger flies right now with less picky fish, but there are not tons of fish being aggressive.  The aggressive fish are really aggressive, so that is the bonus. 

Trout fishing has been good.  The Crooked is still pushing out some weeds and bio-debris, but fishing was good.  A hopper/dropper is the ticket right now.  The Metolius has been good, as fish seem to be more willing to take a good, sneaky presentation than usual.  The upper part of the Deschutes (above Lake Billy Chinook) has been really good with terrestrials.  The upper part of the Lower Deschutes (below Pelton Dam) has been better this last week with a hopper/dropper producing good fish.  The McKenzie River has also been good with a hopper/dropper setup.  Any small, #18 mayfly nymph works well as the dropper.  A #18 Flashback Pheasant Tail (beadhead) is a personal favorite, but copper johns, hare’s ears, lightning bugs and prince nymphs work just fine too. 

Lost Lake is still fishing very well, and trout have been coming up to the surface early and late to eat Callibaetis, Grasshoppers and Carpenter Ants, as well as just about anything else including beetles, damselflies and maybe some early caddis.  Pull a woolly bugger deep and slow on a sinking line during the day for your best shot at good numbers of fish. 

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.  541.386.6977

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Aug 20, 2015

Trout Spey Lines: DEFINED by George Cook

Blazing New Trails On A Stream Near You

Trout Spey Lines : DEFINED….Conundrum SOLVED

Trout Spey….Micro Spey…”Small Ball” has indeed arrived! The Spey Angling enthusiast of today has limitless opportunity, be it Trout, Sea Run Cutthroat, Smallmouth Bass, even the various Shad species of both coast. Trout Spey tackle which spans from the 4 and 5 weight Switch Rod Theater down thru the 2 and 3 weight true Trout Spey rods set the stage for some mighty interesting angling adventures. In these pursuits like its bigger cousin Spey Rods, lines are aplenty and with it, a given (expected) level of confusion as to just what is “best”. The line “Conundrum” is our subject today , so take 5 and unspool the mystery as we DEFINE today’s Trout Spey Lines, their selection and use. 

Skagit Max Short

Skagit Lines: several choices here and completely dependent on just what the angler’s methodology “Objective” is. On one hand, the “Swinging Streamer” enthusiast will find himself at home with RIO’s Skagit Max Short Head. Here, the 200/225 and 250 Grain Heads sit at a very manageable 17’, while the 275 Grain Head comes in at 20’. Matched up with RIO’s “Light” MOW Family Tips makes for a great SWINGING set up. An Example here would be the 225 Grain 17’ Skagit Max Short teamed up on SAGE’s NEW 2109-4 ONE Trout Spey. The NEW 3110-4 SAGE ONE Trout
Spey is killer with the 275 Skagit Max Short , a combo I recently worked Ol’ Bow Bow out with on Alaska’s Middle Kenai River. Again, it is vital to note that the Skagit Max Short will BEST SERVE the Angler looking to ply his game via the SWUNG FLY with small to moderate sized streamers .
MOW Light and even MOW Medium tips can and will apply in this “Swinging” theater. I might also note that with the Skagit Max Short the “Transition” from normal Spey rod sizes (12 ½ to 14’) to Trout Spey lengths (10’6 to 12’) is less radical in terms of casting stroke format.

Trout Max Short
Skagit Trout Max: A NEW and very Specialized Skagit style head sets the stage for the Trout and Smallmouth Angler throughout the country who has set his sights on a STRIPPED STREAMER Approach. Most Lower 48 along with Chilean and Argentine Trout (Both Bow Bow and Brown Town) are largely caught by way of a STRIPPED Streamer Method (VS Say Alaska Rainbows, Dollies and Northwest Sea Run Cuts taken on the Swing). The Skagit Trout Max head employs a very fishy 11’ Head that maximizes one’s ability to really format a Stripping Streamer methodology. Here it can be expected that one shall cast either ¼ Upstream to 90 degrees (straight out) in order to gain a quick drop followed by the classic stripping motion made famous by the legendary Joe Brooks in the 1950’s. By formatting a short 11’ head the Skagit Trout Max ensures maximum “Strip Time-Length” before your attached head to running line gently “Clicks” into your guides queuing one to fire off another one to continue the hunt ! Again, the MOW Light Series as well as the Medium MOW members will employ nicely here. I would be remiss not to mention here that while the whole of Trout/Micro Spey involves a very conscious effort on the part of the caster to “Scale Down” both his overall stroke size and speed of operation (Get SMALL as I call it) the mere 11’ of the Skagit Trout Max dictates a further reduction here, get small, stay compact and ever so smoothly execute the Spey stroke, no big moves, no hurky, no jerky !
Scandi Short Heads

Scandi Short Heads: The elegant casting choice has Trout Spey in mind with Short Scandi heads from 180 (28’), 210 (28’) and 240 (29’) grains that play super well. Working with short RIO Versi- Leaders, all types Floating thru 7.0 ips (ips=Inches per second related sink rates ) in 6’ & 10’ styles or even a 9’-12’ RIO Trout Leader straight off the looped head these classic Scandi style
heads work beautifully with Soft Hackle and other related patterns. Un-weighted streamers , classics like the Light and Dark Spruce, Muddler Minnow, Black Dace along with a host of Northwest Sea Run Cutthroat Flies will fly fast and with ease utilizing these Scandi Short style heads. As with their bigger Spey Rod cousins the Scandi game always plays at a lower Grain Weight then the Skagit Weight for the given (Same) rod. An example here would be the New SAGE Trout Spey 2109-4 ONE, while the Skagit Max SHORT (Or Skagit Trout Max) choice sets up at 225 Grains the Scandi Short selection will roll in at 180 Grains.
RIO Switch Chucker

RIO Switch Chucker Lines: The vaunted Switch Chucker has a definite home in the Trout/Micro
Spey Theater ! Now available in a NEW size #2 and #3 Chucker’s these 25’ heads make Spey Casting Transition relatively easy coming down into Trout Spey/Micro Spey Rod sizes and overall expected angling methods. Versatile enough to cover the whole gamut of Trout Spey be it Soft Hackle Swinging (get crafty and use a 10’ Floating Versi leader here!), stripping streamers or swinging meatier choices for bigger grabs the Switch Chucker will prove a most versatile choice. Indicator game will have its day in court here as well. Can be utilized with MOW Light and even
Medium MOW selections as well as a host of Versi leaders in 6’ and 10’ feet. The Chucker should be dead on line size targeted, meaning put a 2 Weight on a 2 Rod, 3 on the 3 so on and so forth. To be sure, the RIO Switch Chucker is a great all around choice here.
InTouch Single Handed Spey

NEW RIO InTouch Single Handed Spey Line: Awe…this one falls into the “Didn’t know such could work but turns out to be a fabulous choice” category. While mega good on the single hand intended usage (Both Spey and shockingly good overhead) the NEW RIO Single Handed Spey Line is a “Sleeper Choice” on Trout/Micro Spey Rods. Based on a 34’ Taper the Single Hand Spey Line on a “3 Bump Rule” works simply wonderful on these small ball Spey rods. 3 Bump Rule will show that in order to hit an “Applicable” grain window one shall select this line 3 line sizes HIGHER than the given rod line size. EXAMPLES: again the NEW SAGE 2109-4 ONE Trout Spey is a 2 weight rod, simply bump 3 sizes up (hence the WF-5-F Single Handed Spey Line) and batta bing, batta boom you have a simply KILLER match up. Just so happens that WF-5-F weighs out at around 227 grains hitting the 2 Weight Spey Grain window perfectly giving it both max propulsion along with an fully integrated fly line to boot. 9’-12’ RIO Trout Leaders will fine tune this choice into a Trout Spey machine !

So as you can see RIO has you covered on your Trout Spey Game no matter what your needs are!

George Cook
Anglers Rendezvous
Northwest Representative
Sage, Rio, Redington

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Aug 17, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (August 17th)

Fishing Report  

Well things didn’t quite go as planned last week.  I had hoped that the Klickitat and Deschutes would have stayed in shape, but hotter than expected weather along with a couple of isolated thunderstorms caused our local favorites to be much tougher than expected.  

Conditions should (hopefully) stabilize this week as no rain is expected.  Temps are looking to creep up towards triple digits mid-week, so that could keep that muddy brown in the Klickitat, but the D should be looking good soon.  

I did a little backpacking into a couple of lakes north of Mt. St Helens last week.  I brought an Echo Glass 369 and a handful of hopper patterns... I love lakes that are loaded with brook trout that rarely, if ever, see anglers.  They were jumping several feet out of the water to eat those hoppers. 

Reports from the Deschutes indicate that the Angler Access at Oak Springs Hatchery are no longer public and that there are “no trespassing” signs where the public access once was.  We will investigate further and post something when we get an update.   

Summer Steelhead are definitely around right now in the local rivers.  The Deschutes River was down to under a foot of visibility Thursday through Sunday.  The White River blew out from rains on Mt. Hood, but conditions are improving.  I’d imagine that Monday and Tuesday will be a bit rough, but get out there this week as the fish in the river now have seen little pressure and should be snappy by the end of the week, barring any oddities.  

The Klickitat River has been all over the place this last week.  Thursday was poor, Friday was mediocre with around two feet and very high winds.  As of Sunday, visibility is less than 6” throughout the entirety of the river.  Rains up high on the mountain may have caused some coloration, but the word on the street is that the Cougar Creek Fire on Mt. Adams is actually burning across the upper part of the river.  This may be sending debris, dirt, and ash into the river, giving it the very poor visibility.  It will be a “wait and see” approach for this week.   

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River.  Bass on the Columbia River have been harder to find lately as weeds are growing very high on the shorelines and the river has been up and down throughout the Gorge.  Bass do not like it when the river goes up three feet and then back down.  It tends to scatter them around and they tend to suspend off the rocky shorelines which makes them harder to find...  But the John Day has been great!  Head out to Cottonwood Canyon Park and get yourself into some smallies.   

Carp fishing has been good this past week as the rising flow in the Columbia has moved fish into some new flats that are relatively weed-free right now and holding quite a few fish.  The carp don’t mind as much when the water comes up and down, but their tolerance for spotty flows can wane and they will disappear without hesitation.  The side sloughs and impoundments have been more consistent if you can find one that is not overgrown with weeds.  

Trout fishing has been hit and miss this last week.  The Crooked filled with algae/weeds as the dam has been spilling more water from the top of the lake, which contains some pretty gross stuff.  There are still plenty of eager fish, but several anglers commented on having to deal with catching floating bio-debris.  The Metolius has been more consistent as this spring creek is more stable with flows and temperatures. Fishing on the Met is never easy, but it is always rewarding.  The upper part of the Deschutes (above Lake Billy Chinook) has been good, with plenty of eager fish that love to eat flies. The upper part of the Lower Deschutes (below Pelton Dam) has been tough, with similar reports as from the Crooked.  There is a lot of algae and weeds that are moving through the river, affecting clarity and an angler’s ability to get a clean drift (I ordered a trout, not a side salad).  Good fishing is still available, but one’s tolerance for dealing with weeds is the major factor.  The McKenzie River is still fishing well, and there are plenty of fish around that just love a #18 red copper john... 

Lost Lake is still fishing very well, and trout have been coming up to the surface early and late to eat Callibaetis, Grasshoppers and Carpenter Ants, as well as just about anything else including beetles, damselflies and maybe some early caddis.  Pull a woolly bugger deep and slow on a sinking line during the day for your best shot at good numbers of fish.  

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.   

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Aug 13, 2015

Greg's Top Picks from I-Cast / IFTD 2015

Every year more and more I look forward to IFTD. Yeah we get to preview all the new products but more than that it's a chance to actually spend some quality time with the individuals we spend countless hours on phone calls and emails working together in the common goal of delivering the products we all benefit from. I can promise you this it's still, and hopefully always will be driven by pure passion for the sport much more than just corporate sales figures. Most everyone I meet in this industry is a passionate angler and I believe nothing is ever going to change that!

Kicking off with Fly Rods

Winston - Last year I quoted "There is a way different vibe at the Winston booth and I like it!", I'm happy to report that vibe is alive and growing!

Boron III Plus
Winston BIII Plus
The BIII Plus Comes in Freshwater, Saltwater and The new Jungle configurations and replaces and BIII SX Saltwater Series. Saltwater rods today are so versatile that labeling one salt specific just doesn't completely describe increasing usefulness of these rods. From trout streamers to jungle predators like peacock bass or golden dorado and all salt species in between this new series of rods are built to perform and exceed your expectations. Much lighter than the previous SX and much livelier! The freshwater and saltwater models certainly exceeded my expectations but it was the Jungle model that set off my adrenaline. While casting I could vision myself launching big flies from a boat into the wind and delivering them to the targets were these predators lie! I am certain we will be delivering solid reviews on this new series of rods once we get them in our hands and on the water. Stay Tuned! 2 Freshwater sizes, 6 Saltwater sizes and 3 Jungle Series sizes expected to arrive in September. $855 - $895

Sage - Sage came to the show with more new rods than some rod companies have in there entire lineup. I assure you there is a new Sage rod this year that will spark your interest.

MOD - "The MOD is a Modern Interpretation of a Moderate Action"

Mod Single Hand Trout - In a world where fast action rods seem to be the norm there is an ever increasing craving to get back to roots of days gone by when fly casting was relaxing and rod actions lend themselves to the finesse nature of the sport. Meet the MOD! Built on the Konnetic platform the MOD represents what modern graphite and technology are capable of achieving. You don't grab this rod to take out in the parking lot to impress your friends but instead you take it to your favorite river and enjoy a relaxing day of fishing.
5 models 2-6 weight all 9 foot. Retail $850

Mod Two Hand - The MOD two handed spey model could easily be that rod that writes a new chapter in history. It develops its power with such ease and grace. Basically takes no effort to make great cast with the MOD. Set a good anchor point, swing into a D-loop, pull some underhand and watch your fly reach orbit, It's really that easy. Just two models of the MOD Spey...6130-4 and 7130-4. Retail $1050

Little ONE - Replaces the TXL-F line of spring creek rods. These rods are so light and crisp and the Konnetic Technology provides unparalleled accuracy. 5 sizes: 082-4, 182-4, 282-4, 382-4, 482-4
Retail $850

ONE Trout Spey - You can rest assure I will be doing a full review of this new addition to the Sage ONE family once I've have some time on the water.
Two Sizes: 2109-4 and 3110-4. Retail $1050

BOLT - Ultra Fast Generation 5 Technology. Anglers looking for long distances, fast line speeds and quick recovery will appreciate the BOLT.
5 sizes, 490-4, 590-4, 690-4, 790-4, 890-4. Retail $650

PULSE - Replaces the Response. Fast action Graphite III in a full line of single hand, switch and spey models. Fast action but still connected.
Retail Single Hand $450, Switch $550, Spey $650

G. Loomis adds several additions to the Pro4x family of rods.

Pro4x Lite Presentation - Built on the wildly popular success of the NRX Lite presentation.
Four sizes: 269-3, 376-4, 486-4, 590-4
Retail $325 - $375

More Pro4x additions include: 

  • 790-4 Salmon/Steelhead rod
  • 790-4 and a 1290-4 Saltwater
  • 4106-4, 6110-4, 8116-4 Switch rods
  • 12'6" 5/6 Spey, and 6/7 Spey
  • 7'6" 7/8 Short Stix

Echo continues their tradition of delivering uncompromising rod actions

Gecko Outfit
Echo Carbon XL and Ion XL - The big news here is "LIGHTER!" I got a chance to cast both models and found them to be excellent rods with actions that would suit a wide range of anglers and with a very forgiving price tag. 8 Models of Saltwater grade Ion's retail at $159.99 and 6 Models of Carbon freshwater rods retailing at $139.99

Echo Glass sees some additions
Sales of Echo glass rods have been off the hook and often times they are exceeding supply. Glass is back and in a big way! Three new groovy models are coming soon to fill the need of big water anglers. Included are a 486-4, 586-4 and 690-4. Retail $219.99

Echo is also adding to their Shadow II Nymph rods and additional models to the popular Base line of rods.

Echo Gecko is now going to be offered in an outfit complete with rod, reel, line and rod/reel case. Retail $169.99

Redington continues to up the bar of value and performance

Redington Hydrogen - An incredibly good trout rod! Super light weight and a great mod-fast action. This rod really impressed me as an incredible value for an import rod. It casts and looks great. Pair it with the new Redington Zero reel and be a hero! 11 New Trout sizes including three nymph models. Retail $299.95


Redington Chromer - Feature custom polymer gripping sections on the top and bottom handles. No trouble gripping mono with these grips! 3 switch rods and 5 spey rods coming in at $399.95


Nautilus X-Frame
Nautilus - The new X-Frame is super light and has all the features you know and love From Nautilus including super smooth sealed carbon fiber disc drag, Activseal and Giga Arbor. While most open frame reels appear fragile I can assure that the X-Frame displays a bold look and the X beams provide amazing strength. Lighter than ever with sizes from 3/4 to 8/9 and priced from $275 to $395. Look for it around the new year.

Ross - Lots of good news coming from Ross Reels, The best is yet to come but for the immediate future the two existing imports get a complete make-over. Look for them in November

Left-Glimpse of a future New CLA, Middle-Rapid, Right-Eddy
Ross Rapid - Replaces the aging flyrise with a new large arbor design and enclose reliable rulon disc drag. Sizes 3/4 to 7/8 and prices are $100 - $120

Ross Eddy - A New entry level reel replacing the old standby Flystart. Utilizing a strong cast design coupled with large arbor and smooth disc drag the Eddy offers value at a price that's hard to find. 3/4 to 7/8 and price $70 - $80

Galvan Grip
Galvan Grip - Galvan Unveils it's newest creation called "Grip". The Grip features a fully sealed version of Galvan's Torque MicroTune drag system known for its silky smooth startup and reliable powerful performance. Three models to handle all your bonefish to tarpon needs. G-8, G10 and G-12 with prices starting at $525 for the G-8 and topping out at $625 for the G-12. Expected around October

Hardy Ultralite CA DD 
Hardy - Ultralite series gets an entire makeover. Two new models include a CA DD (Conical Arbor Disc Drag) and a MA DD (Mid-Arbor Disc Drag). The Ultralite CA DD reel is an ultra large arbor giving it incredible line pickup and reduces drag gain on long runs. The Ultralite MA DD offers extra capacity with its mid arbor design. Both reels feature a Color coded drag knob for easy reference. Sizes and prices coming soon

Sage Click -
I've always like the Sage click reel and with the redesign it looks better than ever. It's also lighter than ever with even the largest 4/5/6 size still comes in under 2 oz. Besides cosmetic upgrades the new Click has an even larger arbor than before and more open area for palming.
3 sizes from $259 to $299

Redington Zero - Looking for a good lightweight large arbor click pawl trout reel for a reasonable price than look no farther. Redington kept the cost down on this reel by utilizing die cast construction but it doesn't have the appearance of a die cast reel. Comes in two sizes a 2/3 and 4/5 and two colors (Sand and Black) with price set at $89.95

Redington Behemoth - Like the Zero the Behemoth is also a die-cast constructed reel offering up very impressive carbon fiber drag force. It's utilizes large arbor design for fast line retrieval and a V-shaped spool for backing capacity. Behemoth comes in four sizes (5/6, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12) and two colors (Black and Gunmetal) and retails from $109.95 - $129.95

Best Accessory

Hatch Nippers - Hatch continues to expand their superior line of products with a new pair of Nippers. The Nippers feature machined aluminum bodies with super hardened carbide cutters. Also incorporated is a hook eye cleaner. Nippers include the lanyard and retail for $100. Three colors: Red, Blue and Silver

Hatch Nippers

Fly Lines

Rio Skagit Trout Max
RIO...Too many changes to list...Most of it is current lines going to ConnectCore low stretch core technology. If you have not expereinced ConnectCore do yourself a favor and try it with the next line you buy.

Skagit Trout Max - You will either love this or hate this new skagit head and here is why. It's short! Very Short! I did not like this skagit head at first but when I learned what was positive about it I ended loving it. Two key notes about this head. First is the shorter the rod the better simply meaning everyone out there that has been looking for or creating your own skagits for short switch or single hand rods, look no more, here it is! The second key feature of these short skagits is that they cast more off the tip of the rod than they do with water load. Bottom line is it makes them more versatile in many different situations than the more standard length skagits we're use to.

Single Hand Spey - More and more anglers are discovering the benefits of spey casting even with single hand rods. Armed with spey techniques you can go ahead and make a cast even if you have no backcast room behind you. Finally a line for single hand rods that really gives you the power to make these spey cast and also have a line that performs excellent overhead cast as well. This is a great choice for anglers that have always wanted to learn some spey techniques without having to invest in Specialized rods, reels and lines. Comes in #4 thru #8 weight sizes and retails for $84.95

Scientific Anglers

S/A...Just like RIO too many changes to list...I'll hit some highlights!

S/A Mastery Series news - The big news in this series is S/A has gone back to their roots and revised the lines that we all have come to know and love. Like the GPX, Expert Distance and the Bonefish taper, the very lines that has set so many standards in the industry! S/A did a re-evaluation on the mastery series and applied modern line technology to these long time favorites. We asked for it and S/A delivered...Thank you Scientific Anglers

Titan Line additions - If you casts streamers or bass bugs from foot or boat with single hand power rods than S/A's Titan series of lines might just become your new favorite. While they are a short shooting head the Titan incorporates a longer rear taper that can help in two ways. One, no need to strip all the way back to the fly line head to recast and two, better line stability on false casting. I guess you could also include better mend-ability. Titan started out as a freshwater floating line in the textured line category. Due to the overwhelming success of this taper S/A has decided to expand into clear tips, sinking tips, saltwater versions, big water tapers and even a smooth original version for those not interested in a textured line. Look for my post in the near future were I will break down the entire series of these awesome lines.

Airflo Bandit
Bandit - Australia / New Zealand line. You asked for it and here it is! The bandit is an ultra stealthy line with the first 12' broken up with two tone bands. It also features a long rear taper for line stability on long casts. 4-8 wt...$79.95

Skagit Compact G2 (Generation 2)
Since introduction in 2007 there has never been a need to improve upon the skagit head that still defines what we know as skagit today.
Supple changes are what the new G2 is all about. Leading the way is Super-DRI Technology. 

With Super-DRI the G2 now floats higher than ever which helps tracking and improves mending. Slightly shorter overall and slightly increased rear taper requires less energy to cast, produces tight precise loops and is more stable in flight. Utilizing Zone Technology, the back of the head is more buoyant for better tracking and improved mending capability meanwhile the tip features increased density to help drive the cast on layout.
Look for it in September 2015

OPST - Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics

Pure Skagit Commando Heads
Designed by Ed Ward and Jerry French,  the new Commando heads take skagit casting to the next revolution. Get a complete look at this new product in OPST - Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics - $54.95 - In Stock
Pure Skagit Lazer Line
To Complement Commando Heads OPST releases Pure Skagit Lazer Line. This new shooting line is super slick, hydrophobic and easy handling. This is a line for those of us who love to launch a cast, sit back, maybe eat a sandwich while the line rushes out of the guides and pulls line off the reel as is comes tight. $31.95 - In Stock

My pick for this years best of the best!

Tough decision...And the Winner is...In my opinion everything I put in this article is a winner! That's why it's in the article. But if you must know here is three of my immediate favorites!

Seeing that so much of my summer fishing is predator fishing I can't wait to get the New Winston Boron III Plus Jungle rod in my hands. It really felt great casting it on the pond. I can't wait to throw some big bugs on it and tame some predators.

Equally I'm just as excited to get back to swinging streamers for trout! I am really looking forward to the new Sage Little One Trout Spey and see how it compares to the Winston Boron III Microspey. That will be a great showdown!

Going along with two hand trout swinging is the new OPST Commando head and RIO's Trout Max Shooting head. In my limited experience with these new lines thus far I really believe we are looking at the next Skagit Revolution!


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Aug 12, 2015

Fishing Big Alaska Bows with Sage 3, 4 and 5 wt. Switchers

LEFT: Scott O donnell - the "O" in MOW...mccune odonnell ward = MOW4
RIGHT: Ted Larsen - AZ Cards
A week at Royal Wolf Lodge
All spring I looked forward to a return to Royal Wolf Lodge in Alaska—fly fishing for rainbows, char and grayling with dries, streamers and mice. With a lower snow pack this year and the weather gods smiling, June 26 to July 3 was shaping up to be epic. Flying out to a different river each day and fishing like a rock star would be fun and engaging.

Sage has two new “Baby Speys” a 2 and 3 weight. Both are in the Sage ONE series of Switch rods at 10’6” and 11’. They relate to singlehanded rods in the 4-6 line weight range. It was my good fortune to fish with the 3 wt prototype this week, along with my ONE 4116-4 and 5116-4. Fishing with “live ammo” like cone headed leeches, sculpins, and mice for wild trout is the best way to learn what these three rods were about.

All three rods were fished with the Rio Skagit Short heads with sinking and floating tips. The running line was the OPST Lazer line, which is made in smaller diameters that match up well with the lighter heads. (I did not have access to the new Rio Skagit Trout Max 11’ heads.) Guidelines for head weights are #3, 275-300; #4, 325-350; and #5, 375-400 grains.

Fun, Fun Fun!

These are not toys or rods for kids. They are very efficient fly rods that make effortless, precise casts. One afternoon we floated and fished mice mostly from the boat. I fished the 4 wt with ridiculous ease. With a larger trout on, like the size of summer steelhead, it was BENT, but not overpowered. To cast any of these rods, you do not need to change your casting stroke, but just listen to that little voice that says “sloooow the %&#! down”. The sheer number of fishing casts made in a broad range of water, various flies, wind, along with near constant action made for relaxed fishing with no conscious thoughts about the mechanics or the tools. After awhile I forgot what rod I was fishing. You look at a spot and it goes there.

The typical single-handed line up for Alaska trout fishing is 5, 6 and 7 weights, fished with a floater and a sink tip or two. The two types of rods complemented each other well. The Sage Circa 589-4 was by far the best and most fun dry fly rod.

Royal Wolf is one of the top fly-out lodges in Alaska. Their staff of very experienced guides, pilots and chefs make for an extraordinary week.

Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Aug 10, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (August 10th)

MP Quote

Fishing Report

Fishing has really picked up on the Deschutes and is primed for some good days on the Klickitat this week.  Get out and fish!  The 2:00 restrictions have been lifted for the Deschutes, but most others remain in place.  Please check with us, Washington or Oregon Fish and Game Departments before fishing if you are not sure about the current regulations. 

Summer Steelhead is generally the fish of choice for most of the hard-core anglers in the area and prospects for a fabulous day on the river are looking really good.  We heard fabulous reports from the Deschutes River last week and expect it to be good this week and next week too.  The White was spilling dirty water for a few days, but it did not stop the fish from snapping.  The dirty water usually just prevents anglers from getting out.  I love fishing when the clarity is 1’- 3’ because the fish tend to be in closer to shore and you can typically fish a light tip as they are sitting in the shallower water than typical. 

The Klickitat River has been fluctuating clarity from around 1’ to 3’ or so (and we love it).  It never quite got to that “steelhead green” color that everyone else likes, but it has been fishing pretty well nonetheless.  The clarity hasn’t seemed to match the temperature as much as typical.  I believe (and I am usually wrong) that the “in-river” work that has been going on is affecting clarity as some natural settling of the dirt is throwing some sediment into the river that wouldn’t be there otherwise.  The work that I am talking about is the removal of an old road above where the Little Klickitat comes in.  This work is a good thing.  Improvement of habitat and returning portions of the river that were altered back into a natural state is one thing that we should all be able to agree on, even if it causes a little extra sediment to flow down the river.  So that being said, the clarity should get better, but I love fishing with it hovering about 1.5’ because I can go wherever I want; there is no one to compete with and there are just as many fish around as when the river is clear. 

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent on the John Day River and Columbia River along with many of the impoundments along the freeway on both the WA and OR side of the Gorge.  The Columbia came up quite a bit as the powers that be have been pushing water downstream in a successful attempt to cool down the big river.  It should finally drop below 70 this week for the first time in two months.  This should get the smallies moving and opens up a bit of water as the weeds have not been able to grow up to the surface yet in a lot of spots that have otherwise been really weedy this summer. 

Carp fishing has been good this past week as the rising flow in the Columbia has moved fish into some new flats that are relatively weed-free right now and holding quite a few fish. 

Trout fishing has been great in most places this past week.  Unfortunately for you trout guys, the reports on trout fishing tend to get pretty sparse as soon as the steelhead start to show up.  As soon as one guy says “steelhead”, everyone seems to forget about the trout fishing.  I would bet that the Crooked, McKenzie, Metolius and Upper Deschutes are all fishing really well.  The upper part of the Lower Deschutes (near Warm Springs) has also been great lately with both Slate Wing Duns and a few early Mahogany Mayflies hatching that have been getting some attention as well as the evening caddis hatch just before dark. 

Lost Lake is still fishing very well, and trout have been coming up to the surface early and late to eat Callibaetis, Grasshoppers and Carpenter Ants, as well as just about anything else including beetles, damselflies and maybe some early caddis. 

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Aug 7, 2015

Search and Rescue? An Adventure like No other

Pacific City, Oregon
Over the course of the last two years, I’ve taken quite a liking to different types of water crafts. One being an inflatable pontoon boat (Stealth Pro) and second fishing kayaks. The ladder being my primary focus this year, but what’s important isn’t so much about boats but the focus for this story is the adventure. Where one thing leads to another and how important the little things tend to be.

One Sunday morning in July, my day began setting up my fishing kayak for a planned Ocean trip to Haystack rock the following weekend. This would be my first Ocean trip in a kayak and I was in a hurry to setup my trolling motor. With my kayak and gear laid out in the yard under a shaded tree the sun began to rise and the sweat began to pore, nearly 90 degrees and only 11am I was in need of refreshments, a cold one as I may say.

A few hours after lunch I was ready for a long neck, the heat and frustration drove me back inside to the sound of the air conditioner and screaming kids. My phone had been inside all day so I decided to check it. To my surprise my wife stated I should call my friend back (Let’s call him Jhun). I was concerned. Turns out he was kayak fishing near Haystack Rock in Pacific City and flipped his boat, in need of help. I called immediately, I could hear the distress in his voice as he explained… A sneaker wave surprised him and flipped him over. He was unable to flip it back over. He presumed the marine battery in the rear hit the hatch and provided a large enough gap for water to enter hull. He was safe, on the beach with no kayak. Kayak in need of a rescue I thought… You see, I have a tandem sit-on top kayak so it seemed like a good idea. I told him I was on my way, I quickly ran a list of items I might need in my head and shortly after gathering everything I was gone. For legal purposes, let’s say I drove the speed limit…

Screenshot: Pacific City Sun
Photo to the left shows his rescue. Why they weren't able to bring the boat in from this point, i'm not sure, I wasn't there... However i'm sure Jhun was happy to be on board. 

Upon arriving at the beach he explained where it was nearly 2hrs ago when he called, now pointing to where it was, almost a half mile away. Now, the first items I grabbed before leaving the house was keys, wallet and… my Smith Optics. However even with my Smiths on I was squinting trying to find this kayak… Where is it, what are you looking at? Oh right, yeah… I think I see it. We decided to talk to a few paddle boarders that had tried to help earlier in the day. We contemplated heading out at that point, but decided to climb the point to get a better visual. Note: Remember to stretch.

Upon climbing the hill, I did finally spot the kayak. A Jackson Big Rig nearly 14ft in length, 36” wide, marine battery, trolling motor, rod, gear, phone and wallet all on board. When the sun hit just right, I could see its now vertical nose bobbing a foot or two just North East of Haystack rock. Shoot, it’s going out to sea. At just past 7pm we could see a calm spot about a quarter mile wide, maybe a mile or so from the break of the rock just around the kayak, but after contemplating how long it would take us to suite up and get out there, we knew we wouldn’t have much light. The other thought in the back of our minds (due to the time), we had never kayaked a tandem together. Now I have kayaked my 5 year old son and mother around but I’m doing all the work (on a lake no less). So after staring into the sunset and contemplating all the options, we decided to call it a night just after 8pm. He mentioned he would come back in the morning to see if it washed to shore –or if he could get the help from any Dory boaters, I mentioned let me know if you need any help, said our good byes and that was the end. Over 3k in gear off to never never land.

That night, after telling the story in detail to my wife and discussing why you don’t paddle alone in the ocean at least without taking the proper precautions. We decided it was best I went along to “Search” for this kayak the following morning. We both knew, if it was my boat in the water – I would want to keep looking. At that point, our gut was saying, hey it floated all the way out to the rock, it’s going to keep floating somewhere. It’s not just going to sink. Assuming it hadn’t found a few more rocks to play on. Shortly after 11pm we decided to get up bright and early to start combing the beaches and chatting it up with the locals.

The following morning required coffee and away we went. First upon arriving we notified a few kayakers getting ready to make the voyage out, they said they would help if needed and keep an eye out. Jhun and another kayak friend hiked the point to take a better look. No luck. I spoke to the fire marshal and he just laughed in disbelief that we would find it. It’s sunk they said, it’s long gone they all said.

Sheila and Jhun: In search
A few locals said the current was headed south the night before. Mentioning Nestucca Bay and some of the surrounding road ways. We explored every access point and beach half way to Lincoln City. On one beach South of Pacific City a local said he was watching the current all afternoon, the current was heading north and recommended checking Sand Lake. Sounded plausible, north we went. After arriving at Sand Lake an employee their said he overheard on the radio of a boat being found, but was unable to provide any other information, as if it was a treasure hunt and we had to find each clue. Back to Pacific City we went, feeling a little ridiculous but hopeful, we had no luck getting in touch with Police or Fire on the non-emergency lines. We arrived back in Pacific City (PC) but once more we were disappointed to find no new leads. Our thoughts of a kayak laying along the shores were cut short with the view of Dory boats coming and going.

Devils Lake - Tandem
I think we were all disappointed at that point, but we kept truckin’ along and eventually made our way South to Lincoln City. No sign of any kayak, but damn we were hungry. Off to the buffet, Chinook Winds it is! At this point the mood was pretty grim. We spoke of alternatives for next week’s kayak trip. Jhun had another kayak (not as cool as the one he lost) so we planned for Nestucca Bay. After lunch we hit up the outlet’s and drove over to Devils Lake, Jhun and I went tandem in my kayak thinking we mind as well make the best of it.

Now a bit later in the day, we decided to go home the long-about way and head back north to PC for one last look-see. No real hope in mind but it would make a nice drive and we could end the day eating sea food with a few drinks looking out over the “Rock”. As we pulled down onto the beach this is where I would like to say we found Jhun’s kayak, but we didn’t. It was bitter sweet, no kayak in hand but the day was finally coming to a close. Jhun wanted to make one last climb up the point so I joined him so I could say my good byes to his boat. We made it to the furthest, highest point where we could get a better view of the Rock and southern shoreline, but to no surprise - no dice. Made our way around to check the north face, with view of the bluff as Jhun walked in front of me he stopped, paused… I stopped, paused… He pointed, “Mike I think I see it…”. Now hold up, stop the press, we’ve been out all day, Let me wipe the sweat off my face and put my Smith Optics back on. I thought I could hear the crack in Jhun’s voice. Was he to cry in joy, scream in excitement… I wondered. “Hold up, let’s get a closer look Jhun.” We walked, no we leaped closer. Confirmed! Still bobbing out of the water by a foot or two we had visual confirmation. Houston we are go, I repeat we are go for rescue. We hurried around the hill side towards our rigs, I called my wife… breathing heavily, load up! Start the truck! We found it! Was that a crack in my voice? Was I tearing up? No just sand, it’s cool as we skipped down the sandy hillside. We high tailed it out of their as my wife is telling me to slow down, watch for people walking. They’ll move. 10 and 2, on a mission!

Rescue in Progress?
On our way to the cliff
We thought the best course of action would be to drive around to the north side of the sand dune to access the bluff side of the rock, at least to get a better look. With hardly anyone on the beach on the north side, I’m not sure I’ve ever driven as fast on a beach in a full side pickup. Don’t tell my father, it was his truck.

The kayak was still there. Bobbing in the water almost taunting us. Feeling a little giddy but mostly things got real, really quickly. This was now a full on rescue mission. We were no longer aimlessly stumbling up and down the coast line, we had found it. However the kayak was not found lying in the sand like some beached whale in a dream, it was 40-50ft from the cliff side with a boarder of “danger zone” rocks in our way. We believed the tide was beginning to turn and start coming back in, but how would that effect the kayak in its current location. Would the kayak just repeatedly slam into the rock, or keep circling in the danger zone. We climbed around the rocks and discussed our options. With the waves much greater on the North side we thought it would be safer to launch and go around from the South, thinking the kayak might be circling and would kick back out to the south. We decided to suite up and head back around. Although in the back of my mind I wasn’t certain what way it was going to go. So we suited up. Jhun was longer going to screw around with the ocean, he hadn’t tightened his wading belt enough when he was knocked off his boat and had water in his waders upon returning to the shore

He brought a wet suit.

I had an incident in the Hood a year before so I tightened my belt along with everything else extra tight.  

Armed with:
No it's not a shark, that's the nose of the kayak
Jhun aired up his raft and I gathered all the rope I had and using carabineers to attach them to the raft. Now why aren’t we taking the tandem out? Well, the water was a little rough for our liking and thought the raft would be a little more stable. We continued to watch and wait and calculate the water. At this point it was moving north, not south and calculated it was moving about 5ft every 20 minutes. At that rate, we could almost go eat dinner before it got out of the danger zone.

I believe Jhun could tell I was a little distressed or concerned. Wife and kids where in the truck waiting, crying and had already eaten all the snacks and ticktacks one could find. He offered we go eat and come back thinking the boat would be much closer and easier to rescue. I reluctantly agreed considered it took me a bit to get suited up and I the kayak was moving our way. After a quick discussion about dinner I stayed suited up while Jhun started to load up. I made one last check and noticed the kayak was moving even quicker than before, I waved to Jhun, we realized we needed to stay. We decided to daisy chain the ropes and if lucky enough either row out to the kayak and hook on, or swim. We watched and waited some more. We began to lose light, finally it made it’s way away from the rocks, it was still moving North. At some point since we originally found the kayak, the top hatch had broken off. No longer visible but foam from the inside began to float ashore. I began to unravel the rope as Jhun and I inched closer and closer. At some point, as I’m still unraveling the rope Jhun makes the call to head towards his kayak. You could see the determination on his face. The ropes began to knot up, he grabs the nose of his kayak, and he’s yelling something, pull? Oh crap, pull!! He’s still yelling, is he yelling stop I questioned? It was hard to decipher. I continued pulling as I’m unraveling the rope in attempt to throw the other end to Sheila our other kayak friend dressed in sneakers. She eventually grabs the rope, we pull, Jhun still yelling. Is he yelling pull or stop? I ask. No clue, we continue pulling the boat to shore. It must have weighed close to a thousand pounds being full of water with 300lb’s in gear and kayak. Finally it was ashore. Upside down, dang it Jhun! The three of us attempted to lift the kayak from one end. It wouldn’t even budge. No surprise, we tried again but this time with the help of a wave. It budged. That was our ticket. We needed the power of the waves to help flip this monster over. After a few tries we did it. Paddle, Rod, Cell phone, Marine battery and some odds and ends all there. What was left of the trolling motor or hardware I should say wasn’t worth anything. However both hatches had been ripped off but all in all. We did it, kayak Searched and Rescued!    

Houston we have landing
With a high five, our job was nearly complete. My day, as long as it was, was beginning to come to a close. I was glad to be a part of this day. As tired as I was I was exhilarated of the fact we actually found this Big Rig! Over 24 hrs later. I was grateful for having gear I felt confident in, from the Korkers boots to the shades on my face. It made my day, a rescue worth remembering. If I hadn’t been confident in my gear, I wouldn’t have felt confident in how I could perform, thus hindering my ability to help.

So for all of you, stay safe, and remember the little things. Purchase the right gear for the right job and enjoy the journey.

Gorge Fly Shop Webmaster

Gorge Fly Shop Team

Aug 5, 2015

Christmas Island Trip (January 2016) - OPEN SPOTS!

The Gorge Fly Shop appreciates the use of all photos, thank you photographers!

BOOK YOUR TRIP TODAY - Before it's too late!

We have had a few spots open up on our Christmas Island trip January 12 to 19 2016. Here is your chance to join us on this great trip! Spots are very limited. 


Contact Travis at or 541-386-6977

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