Justensen Ranch Lakes Fishing Report

Last weekend I was able to fish the Justensen Ranch Lakes with my good friend Dick Law.

Mostly these are small 2 to 3 acre lakes but a couple are larger. They were created about 50 years ago to control flash flooding on Buck Hollow and Shaniko Creeks, which are the major steelhead spawning tributaries of the Deschutes and John Day Rivers.

The trout are fat and healthy and can get pretty big, typically running 14 to 20 inches long but there are some real trophy’s swimming around so it’s always good to use a heavier tippet. I like 8lb fluorocarbon.

The shoreline cattails require you use a float tube. The lakes are fairly shallow so a floating line is all that’s needed to get your fly in the strike zone. This trip the hot fly patterns were Carey Specials, Marabou Damsels and Chironomid Pupa patterns like the Frostbite with red, black & purple working the best.

October 1st Fish-A-Long

This months Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday October 1st on the Deschutes River in Maupin.

The plan: meet at Paul Brewer’s place in Maupin between 8am and 9am. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided. We can meet at the Rainbow or the Riverside in Maupin for lunch later.

Please email Dave@kbi-ins.com if you plan to attend so we can get you a map to Paul’s place and also so we can get a head count.

Gear: 4 to 6wt rods with matching reel & floating lines. Indicator nymphing rigs with small glo- bugs and/or standard nymphs like Pheasant Tails and Hair’s ears. Swinging for steelhead is a possibility too but reports indicate steelhead fishing has been really slow. Waders with felt or cleated boots and layered clothing (can be cool in the morning).

Lunch: We can meet at the Rainbow or the Riverside in Maupin for lunch around 1pm.

This is a great time to fish the Deschutes River for trout as they will be concentrated below schools of spawning salmon and fishing can be excellent!

Questions: E-mail Dave@kbi-ins.com


CFF Raffle News for September

Our sponsor for tonight’s Raffle is Cabela’s.  Tonight we will Raffle:

* Cabela’s RLS+Fly Combo. 9′ 8wt 4pc rod with large arbor reel, WF8F line and backing.  A good stick for a single-hander to chase steelhead or other meaty monsters.

*Cabela’s Catch All Gear Bag with some useful tools.

And for the fly tying crew:
* Carson Magnify LED desk magnifier.

In addition, EVERYONE in attendance will get a Cabela’s couupon worth $20 off any purchase of $150!

Fly Tying: September, 2016

The Pom Skater


Although my days out on the rivers and lakes have been sparse, hopefully you have been able to get out and wet a line over these summer months. And after a summer hiatus from our monthly fly tying nights, it is time to get back at it. October’s Fish-A-Long is scheduled to be in the Maupin area and it is hoped that with the cooling of temperatures the steelhead action will be picking up on the Deschutes. The thrill of catching a steelhead on a fly is what draws us to The D in late summer and fall. And to see a chrome and crimson beauty swirling onto a fly on the surface is enough to cause a fisherman’s heart to go out of rhythm. I recall it happening to me a few years back. A steelie caught me by surprise, taking a whack at my fly as it waked across the surface. After regathering my wits I put the fly back in the same area and the fish came back again, this time rewarding me with a good battle before I eventually released it. Whatever it is that makes a steelhead that aggressive, it is what steelheaders dream about. Since that memorable morning, if the conditions are right, I have tried to make it a practice to try a skating pattern when first swinging a fly through a good looking run.

Here is a link to some video footage on the North Umpqua showing some great spey casting as well as some aggressive steelhead coming to the surface for a skating/waking fly. Enjoy.

For Fly Tying Night this month we are going to be tying a popular high-floating pattern called The Pom Skater. In inquiring about the name, Pom is apparently short for pompadour, in reference to the shape of the head of the fly resembling the pompadour hairstyle which is characterized by the hair being swept upwards from the face and worn high over the forehead. Think Elvis Presley in the 1950’s. (A little history here… the pompadour hairdo is named after Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV.)

In researching this month’s fly I found that there is no single answer about the difference between “skating” and “waking” flies. On one hand, I have been told that they are essentially the same thing. And, on the other hand, I have been told that there is a distinct difference between the two groups of flies. In both cases the information was shared to me by people much more knowledgeable than I. So, to simplify things, for our purpose we will assume that the terms skaters and wakers refer to essentially the same thing… dry flies that are fished under tension as they as swung downstream, creating a disturbance on the surface of the water.

The Pom Skater is tied with thick sealed-cell foam that makes it virtually unsinkable. In the family of skating/waking flies the Pom Skater is one of the less complicated examples for us to tie. As with all skaters/wakers it is generally fished down and across under tension, creating a V-shaped commotion in the water, thus making it easy to see as it tracks across the water. The wake created by the fly is believed to be possibly more important to attracting an interested steelhead than is the specific pattern that you choose. These flies tend to fish better when tied on with a loop knot, resulting in the flies being able to move more freely, responding to subtle changes in the current.

The Riffle Hitch
In this discussion it would be appropriate to include some information about the “riffle hitch”, a simple knot that can be added to a streamer or classic wet fly, causing it to wake across the surface. The knot causes the fly to turn more perpendicular to the current, creating more tension and drawing it to the surface, where it will create a wake.
History of the Riffle Hitch:
Although Lee Wulff is often credited with inventing it, he really was apparently just the first to describe the use of the Riffle Hitch (or the Riffling Hitch, or the Portland Hitch) in his book The Atlantic Salmon. Wulff himself states that no one really knows who invented the hitch. One of the commonly told stories is that sailors from British ships anchored off Newfoundland and came ashore to fish with gut-eyed salmon flies. They gave the old used flies away to local anglers on Portland Creek. The locals, learning that the gut eyes were becoming old and brittle, added a couple of half hitches behind the eye for added insurance, trying to extend the life of the flies. This caused the flies to skate or wake and the local Portland Creek anglers started using the hitched flies almost exclusively as they found it more effective than fishing the flies wet.

(For those that want to learn more:  in the fly tying tradition of less minutiae not being enough, believe it or not, there is a whole 120 page book on just the Riffle Hitch! It was written in 1998 by the well-known fly fisherman and tyer Art Lee and is called “Tying and Fishing the Riffling Hitch”.)

How to Tie The Riffle Hitch:
1. Tie the fly on using your usual favorite knot.
2. Make an overhand loop in the tippet in front of the eye. Slide the loop down over the eye, forming a half-hitch knot behind the head of the fly.
3. Make a second overhand loop and form a second half-hitch in front of the first one.
4. Adjust your half hitches so that the tippet is coming out of the side of the fly that is facing you in the current. (The half hitches would need to come out of the other side of the fly if you were fishing from the other side of the river.)

Here is a link demonstrating the riffle hitch:

All steelheaders should have a skater/waker fly that they have confidence in, especially in the summer and fall months. We’ll be meeting for our monthly Fly Tying Night on Wednesday, September 28 at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn at 6 pm. We will be tying up some Pom Skaters and also learning to add a riffle hitch to a fly to turn it in to a skater/waker. Bringing your own Super Glue or Zap-A-Gap would be helpful. Hope you can join us!


President’s Message September 2016





Wow, the month off went really fast and it is time to get back into the swing of things. Hope you all had a chance to get out on a river or lake in the last few months.  We should have some good opportunities for Steelhead, Salmon and Trout in the coming weeks so all is not lost. Now on to what is coming up this month

Our speaker is Cherlynn McGuinnis of the Clackamas River Basin Council who will share with us developments on the Clackamas and neighboring streams. It is our home water and should be an interesting presentation.

Our fish-a-long this month is in the works and hopefully will be pretty close to home. For a change we would like to target Coho, but we will need to work out some logistics. More to come.

Fly tying will be on again on Wednesday 9/28/16 at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop. Our pattern this month will be a Steelhead skating fly.  This will support our planned Steelhead fish-a-long on the Deschutes in October.

Remember our sponsors by visiting their shops when you are in their area. Stop in and purchase something, book a trip, or just say hello and thank them for their support.

Gil Henderson




September CFF Sponsor

Our sponsor for the September meeting is Cabela’s in Tualatin. I probably don’t need to remind you how much we appreciate the support of all our sponsors and that we encourage our members and their families to shop there, especially this month at Cabela’s!