Apr 23, 2018

Sage X - 7 weight - Fly Rod Review

As a streamer angler, my 7 weight rods are my best friends. There's something about the 7 weight size that seems to inhabit that magic space between strength and finesse. Light and comfortable yet strong and willing. To compliment the 7 weight size comes a wide assortment of lines for all purposes. Floating, shooting, sinking, long and short tapers. Whatever you need you can find in a 7 weight.

I remember several years ago writing in some blog post about the Sage ONE 790-4. It was voted hands down the favorite rod in the whole quiver from that years saltwater trip. It's hard to even make a statement such as, "that's still a great rod today" as if it's in the distant past.

But to be able to say that about a rod from the past could only be "justified" if in fact we have a better replacement for it today. This article wouldn't make much sense if I didn't feel like I have a better tool to talk about. My latest fly rod quiver has once again produced a magic wand! And guess what...It's a 7 weight!

Meet Sage X 790-4

As I stood on the riverbank casting across stream, I looked up to watch my fly line unroll tight loops. I know my own casting ability and that tight loop was not all coming from me. And let me just state for the record...I wasn't casting no dry fly. The fly on the end of my leader is called a headbanger for a reason.

One thing I noticed while casting this rod is I needed to re-train myself a bit. I kept wanting to push harder than necessary when all I needed to do was relax and trust the rod to deliver the cast I asked for. Trust it and it will deliver! And it did cast after cast.

Light in hand, I scale weighted my Sage X 790-4 fly rod at 3.4 oz. Besides being light on the static weight it also has a very light feeling swing weight. To compliment the package I went with a Lamson Litespeed Micra 5 #3 fly reel.

At this time I've worked with two different lines on my 7 weight X. The RIO Intouch Streamer Tip, intermediate version and Scientific Anglers Amplitude Anadro. The streamer tip is a short shooting head line that functions great out of a boat. It makes easy work of one shot casts and carries a streamer very well. Anadro is a long taper line which gives the angler a lot of line control on the water with situations such as roll casting and cross stream mends. Beauty of the Sage X 7 weight is the line choice didn't effect the rods performance at all. Short casts were easily performed, mid length casts are completely dialed and long casts are absolutely achievable.

Final Statement...

Streamer anglers put high demands on fly rods. The difference between success and failure is a tight tolerance which demands precision. We as anglers need to hone our craft with unwavering dedication. But I warn you, do not handicap yourself with tools that don't utilize your full potential. I found a magic wand, I hope you find one too.

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Apr 22, 2018

Rep Your Water - New Hats for 2018

Just in!
Left to right - Florida Tarpon Hat - Oregon Wild Steel in Green and Grey - Redband Trout

Rep Your Water Hats look great and also help support a cause. Florida Tarpon Hat helps to support Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. Oregon Wild Steel helps support Wild Steelhead Coalition. Redband Trout supports The Western Native Trout Initiative.

Find More Rep Your Water Gear at "The Gorge"

"The Gorge"

Gorge Fly Shop Team - 541.386.6977
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Apr 21, 2018

Spring Emergence

Every year I get a few opportunities to travel up to one of my favorite parts of the state, Wallowa Lake. My family decided that we would be spending a week up there for Easter. My mind instantly wandered to my fly boxes and I began running myself through different scenarios. ‘Do I have flies for this hatch?’, ‘What if they want chironomids?’ ‘Is it going to be a streamer game?’, etc. I went and bought a smorgis board of flies to replicate anything hatching, swimming, or flying in the watershed. My dad and I loaded up the boat with everything we possibly needed and set out on the 7 hour drive.

My goal for our trip was to find some larger fish, and in years past, I knew a few hotspots of where they’d be living. The upper river poured into the lake near the main campground and almost formed a sandy delta of about 5 or 6 separate creeks that gave the lake a little bit of current for about 30-50 yards each. During the hotter months later in the summer, these would be stacked shoulder to shoulder with smaller, less hardy stocked trout, and 30-50 8 inch to 14 inch fish days were not uncommon. They had not begun stocking the lake yet and I had never fished those creeks so early in the year before, and as it turned out, this was a whole different game.

We had gotten to our cabin and unloaded our gear around 4. Being too late to in the day to launch the boat, my dad elected to sit down for a beer and I elected to go throw on my waders and try to find some fish. The lake’s average depth is 161 feet and the max depth is 312, so to have a small little flat with an average of 2-3 feet is pretty special. In the earlier spring months, those shallow flats are the first areas to “warm” up. It may only be a 5 degrees difference, but that could be what makes or breaks a hatch. When I got down to the beach, I took a minute to just watch and listen the area, which to me, is the first step to catching. Within 30 seconds fish began showing themselves. They were sipping just under the surface, so all I could see were boils. The size of the fish was still a mystery, but I knew generally what they were eating, and where they were sitting. Being a streamer junkie, my first idea was to see if any of the fish would be opportunistic enough to take a big chunk of meat. After about 20 casts I had to accept the fact that it just wasn’t gonna happen with the conditions I had. I quickly swapped over to a dry line and sz. 18 soft hackle to see what would happen. I casted across the current and fed some line out in the slack water to create a belly and swing the small emerger pattern.

I carried a slip loop because in the past, any leader lighter than 5x(I was using 6x at the time) disagreed with me and I had lost many a fly to big fish on the hookset. On my first swing I was met with a grab and my loop had left my pinched fingers before I could blink. The water temperature was a crisp 35-40 degrees and the fish had plenty of lobedo to show off. I was taken on an about 30 yard run by the fish and by the time I turned his head i had maybe 6 or 7 wraps of fly line left on my reel, which is astounding for a trout to do, in my experience. When I got the fish to hand I quickly realized what I was dealing with.

Wallowa lake has a small population or naturally reproducing rainbows, but the majority of the rainbow trout in the lake are stocked fish, some of these being cutthroat/rainbow hybrids, also known as cutbows. Cutbows tend to grow faster, acclimate to natural food faster, and also tend to be a lot more aggressive. The first fish of the night happened to be one of them.

I fished on into the evening and returned to the cabin that night with high hopes and high spirits. The next morning our family had made some plans for a brunch but I wasn’t too upset about not being able to fish until the afternoon. When it comes to spring time hatches, the sun is your best friend (with some exceptions). Nymphs in cold water could be waiting for that magical temperature before hatching and you’ll usually find that happening later in the day after the sun has been on the water for a bit. Fish in colder water will of course still move to intersect food heading their way, but they may not be actively searching throughout the water column like they will later in the day after a small rise in temperature. If you’re not a morning person, this time of year is definitely for you.

When it comes to lake gear, I’m typically packing a 9’5wt for dries and smaller streamers like damsels and leeches, but when it comes to indicator rigs and larger streamers or throwing sink tips, I’m using a 4wt switch. For as many flies as I like to carry on me, I like to have at least 3 boxes with me to organize all my patterns. For smaller flies, the Umpqua UPG LT Fly Box, as well as the Midge version, are great, they hold more than enough flies and are slim enough to keep 3 or 4 in a sling pack comfortably. The lines I’m currently using are a RIO Intouch Perception for dry flies and emergers, and an RIO Intouch Outbound Short for streamers and indicators.  When it comes to rods we have plenty of makes and models for any situation you’re going into, give us a call or email for recommendations.

Jacob Noteboom | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 20, 2018

C.F. Burkheimer Trout and Trout DAL Action Fly Rods

C.F. Burkheimer Trout Rods are available in two distinct actions: the "Standard" and "Deep Action Load". Each has a distinct action and feel to match your specific fishing style and conditions. The Burkheimer Trout Action Fly Rods are slightly quicker and more tip loading rods. They will handle big brawling western rivers and the conditions they entail. They are also handle big flies with ease. This action fits the angler that tends to push his cast. The Trout Deep Action Load rods have fast become our number one selling rods. Their deeper loading feel should not be confused with slow action The Burkheimer Deep Action Load (DAL) series of rods were designed for angler’s who prefer a more relaxed stroke. These rods offer full flexing blanks, firm tips and fast recovery. You want a light presentation with a #18 PMD? This rod series will do it. How about deep nymphing with a stonefly or ripping a streamer through a log jam? These rods will do that too. DALs are highly versatile with a forgiving flex that still provides strong performance. Designed to fish, not the parking lot shoot out! 

Choose the build - 
Burkheimer trout rods are available in three distinct build styles, the only difference is hardware and cosmetics. Whether you choose a Vintage, Presentation, or Classic, they all feature the same solid Burkheimer action. It starts with the blank and we build from there.

Classic - 

  • Reel Seat: Bright Nickel w/Maple 
  • Guides: Chrome Nanolite stripper with hard chrome snakes 
  • Blank Color: Deep cedar green 
  • Winding check: Nickel Silver 
  • Cork Inlay: Three layer 
  • Handle: Half wells select Flor grade cork 
Presentation - 

  • Reel Seat: Bright Nickel w/Redwood Burl 
  • Guides: Chrome Nanolite stripper with Snake Brand snakes 
  • Blank Color: Cobalt Blue 
  • Winding Check: Cork wrap 
  • Cork Inlay: Five layer 
  • Handle: Half wells x-select Flor grade cork 
Vintage - 

  • Reel Seat: Smoked Nickel w/California Buckeye 
  • Guides: Smoked Nanolite Stripper and Snakes 
  • Blank Color: Translucent Black 
  • Winding check: Cork wrap 
  • Cork Inlay: Five layer 
  • Handle: Half wells x-select Flor grade cork

Be sure to check our Burkheimer "IN STOCK" Inventory here...

"The Gorge"

Gorge Fly Shop Team - 541.386.6977
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"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 19, 2018

WaterWorks Lamson Litespeed Micra 5 Fly Reel Review

It's not: Adorned with customized colored anodizing and graphics
It's not: The most powerful and most sealed drag system on the market
It's not: The most beautiful looking reel you can find. (or is it!)

What It is:
The Lamson Litespeed is a workhorse of a reel in a lightweight, modern package with durable finish, reliable drag and most likely is what you need ninety plus percent of the time. I don't think the Litespeed is meant to be the best of everything a reel can be but instead just be a great fly fishing reel. Mission achieved beyond any reasonable doubt!

So if my first three statements are true than why buy a Lamson Litespeed!?
Personally I like that it is finished in a hard, non-flashy, durable Micralox anodize. It amazes me after a year of hard use when I finally get around to washing the dirt off I still can't hardly find a scratch.

Secondly I've never encountered a drag issue in any of my Litespeed fly reels. They always work smooth and consistent. Yeah, it's not the reel I'm going to take tarpon fishing but how often do we do that. If you need that super tough reel with mega drag then take a look at Waterworks Lamson's new Cobalt Saltwater Reels. For ninety plus percent of my fishing needs the Litespeed drag is perfect.

And lastly I personally think the Litespeed is a great looking reel. I like that it's not flashy. I like when buying that I don't have to chose a color. I like that it doesn't have unnecessary clutter. Take for example the lack of counterbalance which instead balance is achieved by leaving a larger mass of aluminum on the spool rim opposite of the reel handle. Also take a look at the triangle shape cutouts near the reel foot that not only reduces weight but serves as a built in fly hooker.

But why a Litespeed
In addition to all those great features I just mentioned the real reason I own several litespeed's is performance. Performance comes in a few different forms.

First is the large arbor design. Litespeeds' possess great retrieve rates from a narrow spool, large arbor design.

Second is capacity. Take the Litespeed LS2 for example. While the #2 is designated as a 4/5/6 size reel it has a capacity of 100 yards backing even with a 6 weight line yet is as lightweight if not even lighter then most 4 weight reels available today.

Here's another example...I always find it difficult to match a reel to my 7 and 8 weight freshwater rods that I use for brown trout, bass and carp. Most 7/8 size reels are sized for saltwater use. Lamson has 2 different size reels in this range. The LS3 is perfect for freshwater stuff and if you need the greater backing capacity for marathon running saltwater species like bonefish then the LS3.5 is your answer.

Litespeed Micra 5 Specs
ModelDiameterWidthWeightRod SizeLineBacking
LS - 1.53.38″0.95″3.72 oz3,4,5WF 4100 yds 20#
LS - 23.63″0.98″4.19 oz4,5,6WF6100 yds 20#
LS - 33.88″1.11″5.08 oz6,7,8WF8225 yds 20#
LS - 3.54 .13″1.15″5.72 oz8,9WF9250 yds 20#
LS - 44 .63″1.30″8.06 oz10,11WF10250 yds 30#

Which brings me to my third reason and that is overall weight. It's hard to beat a Litespeed in the weight department. The modern lightweight rods today take full advantage of this lite weight reel design. I've never secured a Litespeed reel to a rod and said that's too heavy. It just doesn't happen. If you need lighter than a Litespeed you'll have to look at another WaterWorks Lamson reel known as Force SL Series II Fly Reels.

I could go on with even more features like "Enhance 3D milling for better material distribution, Concave spool for increased capacity and Integrated Drag Housing which not only helps reduce weight but increases structural integrity. And the list goes on...

So instead of looking at what the Litespeed "Is Not", I prefer to look at what "It Is". It is a Fly reel worthy of ninety plus percent of the fishing I do!

Did I mention that Gorge Fly Shop includes a Free Fly Line with every Litespeed Reel Purchase. See this listing for details.

Greg Darling 

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Apr 18, 2018

The Fly Tying Learning Curve

When everyone thinks fly tying, they think artsy dry flies or classic atlantic salmon patterns with crazy color schemes and exotic materials, but it doesn’t have to be as complex as it looks. This post is for the people that are intimidated to get into fly tying or have tried it and gotten too frustrated to continue, from one novice to another.

There is nothing wrong with fishing a ‘bad tie’. If you think a fly you tied might be subpar with what you would consider fishing, don’t count it out. When it comes to trout, we like to think they have a reflex when it comes to feeding. A good buddy of mine told me a great analogy for how he thinks trout feed most of the time. Say you’re walking in your home, and you look down to see something black with legs, about the size of a quarter. You immediately think “oh crap that’s a spider, I better smash it!”, but at a closer look you realize it was just a piece of lint. Now put yourself into the mind of a trout in a feeding lane, you’re posted up on a juicy seam and you look up to see something black with legs, about the size of a quarter. You immediately think “oh crap, that’s food, I better go eat it!”. Next thing you know some guy in a backwards hat and cargo shorts is taking pictures of you with his fly in your mouth for instagram. ‘Presentation over representation’ is something that I try to remind myself religiously. To put it simply, when it comes to a majority of trout, presenting your fly matters a lot more than what’s on the end of your leader(although in some situations, flies really matter). In short, you flies don’t have to be picture worthy to be fish worthy.

When I first started tying, one of my biggest problems was material organization and paying attention to following steps to certain patterns. One thing that has helped me a lot as a novice is separating my materials into categories, i.e. Maribou and chenille in their own bags, hooks and beads in the others. When I first started tying, all my stuff was piled into one bag. Whenever I went to grab something I needed it ended up with me picking everything up off of the floor due to the bag exploding. It took me a very short time to figure out a better way to store things. I evolved from one bag to multiple bags, to finally, a container system.

It used to take me forever to tie the simplest of flies, because I never prepped any of my materials.Say I want to tie a few wooly buggers, nowadays I have separate piles of hooks and beads, maribou and chenille, that way I can just grab and go, step by step and not have to fumble with materials while I knockout a tie.

Getting creative with your fly tying doesn’t mean you have to come up with something innovative or next level (props to you if you do though). Being creative can be as simple as using a different color hackle on a small dry fly, or throwing rubber legs on a plain jane wooly bugger. Thinking out of the box is what makes fly tying so awesome. There’s no set rules on how you have to tie something, no one is going to bust your door down and tell you “you can’t use that on that fly!”. Some people will go as far as to judge you on your flies.They may tell you “there’s not enough of this,” or “there’s too much of that.” instead of paying attention to negative criticism, surround yourself with friends that tell you “I’d eat it!”, more often than not these people will help teach you and push you to become a better tier, compared to those who will judge and dissect everything that leaves your vice.

In the end, the fish themselves are the ultimate judges of your creation. Pay attention to fish behavior when fishing a home tie. There’s 3 basic answers a fish will give you. 1, The preferred answer: An aggressive take. Looks like your fly worked, soak it all in. 2: The fish will ignore it completely, meaning it might not want the style of fly you’re throwing, be it nymph vs. dry vs. streamer etc… The 3rd and anything from final answer is an outright refusal. Most of the time you will only witness this when throwing a dry fly or a streamer in clear water. Refusals can be for a hundred different reasons, be it color, size of fly or other reasons such as leader size or a sloppy cast. Alast, fish can’t talk (with the exceptions of jack crevalle and drum.) so you don’t really know what they’re thinking until they eat, but that’s for another story. In short, don’t get intimidated, be it by your fly vice, other tiers, or fish. Keep your friends that like your flies close and the fish that like your flies closer.

Jacob Noteboom | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 17, 2018

Hatch Custom Shop Fly Reels - Cyan/Silver - Arriving Soon

Expected about May 1st is our shipment of Hatch Custom Shop Fly Reels in Cyan/Silver. In this shipment we have 5 Plus, 7 Plus, 9 Plus and 11 Plus size reels coming in Cyan/Silver. These are brand new Finatic's with the latest Generation 2 features.

All special ordered Hatch Custom Shop reels are available for pre-sale to be delivered as soon as they arrive to us. This is our last shipment for the season. Get em before their gone!

All colors and sizes are available to pre-order now

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 16, 2018

Umpqua UPG LT Standard Fly Boxes

These new sharp looking boxes from Umpqua are designed to provide ergonomic operation and minimal sizing to maximize fly containment. They are made thin to save space in your pocket or pack. Also, they utilize magnetic closures for ease of access. The clear housing lets you see what flies are in that box. The UPG LT Standard comes in three colors that will help you find the flies you're looking for by associating box color to fly choice when you have multiple boxes.

Find Fly Boxes at "The Gorge"

"The Gorge"

Gorge Fly Shop Team - 541.386.6977
GorgeFlyShop.com Join our TeamContact Us

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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