First a BIG THANKS to the Oregon Fishing Club for letting us fish the Rainier Lakes this weekend!
We met at 8am in the Tualatin Cabela’s parking lot then convoyed to the lakes, which took about 90 minutes. We had some heavy rain during the drive and it was starting to look like more of the rain gear test than a fishing trip. Fortunately when we arrived at the lake the rain had tapered off and we could see fish rising as we geared up—a good sign for sure!
This year the lake had been stocked with a good number of large size Albino Rainbow Trout. They really show up in the water, making for some interesting sight fishing. But, these albino trout are very finicky. Even when you do everything right they mostly just follow your fly without taking, but it really gets your heart racing.
Everyone caught fish today and one club member caught his biggest rainbow ever! Most of the trout we caught were healthy rainbows in the 14 to 20+ inch range.
The hot flies were dark colored Chironomid patterns in size 12 & 14. Both indicator and sink & slow retrieve presentations worked. Later in the day the Chironomid bite died and the trout started hitting woolly buggers with green patterns being the most successful.
We had intervals of rain, sun, wind throughout the day; it was typical crazy spring weather!
The water temperature of the lake was 52 degrees. The water had a nice green tint with about 4 feet of visibility.
This was another fun Fish-A-Long. Thanks to everyone for coming!
Ris Bradshaw and myself were the lucky winners of the float trip on the Sandy River donated by the FLY FISHING SHOP in Welches. The trip was guided by Mark Bachmann and he put together a enjoyable trip that took us from Dodge Park to Dabney Park. The river was in good shape and surprisingly with little pressure. Mark put us on some great water, had brimming hot coffee , hot lunch prepared by his wife Patty Barnes, as well as sharing his intimate knowledge of the Sandy River and of course Steelhead fishing.
To top it all off Ris landed two nice Steelhead and I had one on for a few shakes before it waived goodbye. The weather was mixed but all in all very comfortable with the right equipment. No one fell in and we fished hard until late in the afternoon. It was certainly a memorable trip for all of us.
Again, thanks to Mark for donating the trip and for being such a consistently strong supporter of Clackamas Fly Fishers.
This 2017 season the club is sponsoring a new program (Fly Fishing Challenge) to promote Pacific Northwest fisheries and to encourage membership participation in the many fly fishing opportunities this region offers. Every club member is eligible to register at no cost for the Challenge to catch any salmonoid species from (1) a lake, (2) a river, and (3) a stream during the 2017 fishing season, and to notate the catch on a card (received at registration) for submission to the club once the challenge has been fulfilled. Pictures are encouraged if taken without harm to the catch. Participants successfully completing the Challenge will be awarded a Certificate of Achievement and a patch for their vest at the next membership meeting. (More information will be available at the April club meeting.)
This month’s Fish-A-Long will be at the Oregon Fishing Club’s Rainer Lakes. They consist of 5 lakes holding trophy sized Rainbow trout, Bass & Panfish. These lakes are perfect for float tubes & pontoon boats, but there is ample bank access available.
When- 8am Saturday April 22. Meet at Cabela’s parking lot in Tualatin and carpool to the lakes.
Where- Rainer Lakes, Oregon Fishing Club Cost- $25 dollars per rod, these are private lakes. Equipment – 4 to 6wt rods with matching reel – floating & intermediate sinking fly lines – float tube or pontoon boat – waders – rain gear, layered clothing, it’s spring time in Oregon – lake flies, I’ll have extra
The plan: we’ll meet Saturday morning at the car pool location. Maps will be provided for those who would like one. The menu is Coffee & donuts for breakfast and Deli Sandwiches for lunch. Email Dave@kbi-ins.com with questions or catch me at the April 18th meeting.
John Smeraglio will be the CFF’s guest speaker Tuesday, April 18th. John has owned and operated the Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop since 1985. A long time guide and speaker, John’s presentation is always entertaining and informative!
We will also have a couple short presentations; one from Jim Coulthurst telling how the club was formed about 25 years ago and another by Brad Jonasson and Tom Flannery on a new program our club is sponsoring called the Fly Fishing Challenge.
It will be a great meeting you won’t want to miss!
This is the April edition of the auction we started last month. It’s the same situation: You will be bidding on one (1) seat of four on a 2 day, 2 night jet boat trip on the Lower Deschutes River in late October 2017 with host/guide Mark Bachmann! This trip is sponsored by The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches. Each seat is valued at $1000. The other seats will be auctioned 1 per month until gone.
Here’s a description:
Bidding is open only to CFF members. MIMINUM BID $400. BUY IT NOW FOR $1000.
To say that this month we are going to be tying The Soft Hackle Fly would be a bit misleading because the term “soft hackle” refers not to a single fly pattern but to a whole family of flies. Soft hackles have many forms and variations but they tend to have a few common characteristics, employing a minimum of materials. In fact, a recipe for tying a soft hackle fly in its most basic form would look something like this…
thread: 6/0, 8/0 ; color of your choice
hook: style of your choice, #12-18
body: thread or floss
That’s it! Of course, if you search the internet you can find lots of innovative variations of the basic soft hackle with added bells and whistles because, as fly tyers, that’s what we do.
The history of soft hackle flies goes back at least 500 years to the earliest recorded history of fly fishing. If you want to really get into the details of these flies you can refer to many of the books that are specifically dedicated to soft hackles. Sylvester Nemes is often credited with reintroducing soft hackle flies to the modern world of fly fishing after these flies had lost their popularity over the years. One of his books, not surprisingly named The Soft-Hackled Fly (1975), is considered a classic. Dave Hughes has written two versions of a book titled Wet Flies: Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackles, Flymphs, Winged Wets, and All-Fur Wet Flies (2015).
Partridge and Orange
Soft hackle flies get their name from the soft hackle feathers that are used in place of the stiff rooster hackles that are seen in traditional dry flies. Partridge is a favorite, but tyers also commonly use grouse, hen saddle, starling, and others. As the soft hackle fly hits the water and begins its descent the hackle fibers fold over the body of the fly and tend to trap air bubbles, simulating an adult insect’s wings,legs, and antennae emerging from the transparent shuck. Many soft hackle patterns employ a dubbing ball right behind the hackle that helps to keep the hackle barbules from completely flattening against the body, thus aiding in trapping the air bubbles. Most patterns are tied without weight but some tyers like to lightly weight their soft hackles to help the flies break through the surface film. Traditional soft hackle flies are generally tied without tails, while adding a tail changes the name to “flymph” or “soft hackle nymph”.
There is hardly a wrong way to fish a soft hackle. Perhaps the technique most often used is the classic wet-fly swing where you cast down and across, letting the water move the fly, usually just under the surface, across the current until it is hanging down below you. I recently saw a video of Simon Gawesworth where he mentioned that, because of its simplicity, swinging soft hackles was his favorite way to introduce a beginner to fly fishing. More advanced presentations would involve controlling the speed of the fly by using upstream or downstream mends, according to the action of the current, in an effort to keep your fly in obvious feeding lanes. And imparting a light twitch or a lifting motion to the fly has been known to be irresistible to fish during a hatch where emerging insects are struggling to get to the surface. Fishing the soft hackle fly as a dropper below a dry fly can be very productive, especially during caddis hatches. Although soft hackles are considered wet flies, many anglers report that applying floatant and then fishing the fly in the surface film is definitely worth a try. Apparently it gives a pretty good representation of an emerger or a cripple that didn’t make it off the surface of the water. Good results can also be achieved with soft hackles in still waters. Cast out and strip your line back, varying your retrieves until you find what works best on a given day.
I will have to admit that I have generally been a creature of habit in my trout fishing, concentrating either on dries or nymphs and emergers fished under indicators, while ignoring the wet fly option. In researching the soft hackle fly I have come across testimonials from fly fishermen/fly tyers who state “ this is my favorite fly”, or “If I could only fish with one fly for the rest of my life…”. I suggest you click on the following link for an article called “Lessons From A Simple Fly” in the online Fly Fisherman (July, 2016) magazine to read the words of Yvon Chouinard, the outdoorsman extraordinaire and founder of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company.
Chouinard tried to simplify his fly fishing by fishing for a year with only one fly pattern, a pheasant tail soft hackle. In using a range of sizes of just that one pattern he was able to land an amazing variety of fish, including salmon, trout, atlantic salmon, steelhead (up to 37 inches), as well as bonefish and many other saltwater species. Despite all of the fishermen that swear by soft hackle flies, and fish them religiously, there seems to be many more anglers that rarely, if ever, use them. So, even though we have countless modern materials and fly patterns that we have at our disposal today, you would think that we could find a place in our fly tying arsenal for a simple pattern that has withstood the test of time for half a millennium. Perhaps you can join me in setting a goal for this season to stop ignoring those soft hackles in your fly box, and to start experimenting with different presentations in order to discover why these flies have been so successful for hundreds of years.
Join us at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn on Wednesday, April 26 to tie up some soft hackle flies. These are flies that are suitable for tyers of all levels of experience. Our friends at the Royal Treatment have some equipment to loan you for the evening, so come even if you don’t have your own vise and tools yet. We’ll be getting started at 6:00 pm. Hope to see you there!
The 2017 Sandy River Spey Clave will be here quickly and if you have any interest In Spey fishing then this a must go to event. It is brought to us each year by the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, who is also a long term premiere sponsor of our club. The event will be on Friday 5/12/17 and Saturday 5/13/17 at the Oxbow Park on the Sandy River. It has a large display of rods and reels as well as representatives from the manufacturers who are happy to answer questions and even let you try it on the river. In addition on Friday 5/12/17 expert Spey casters will be giving lessons to set number of people for only $10. What an opportunity if you want to learn to cast or to improve your casting. Do not wait to sign up as participation is limited.
You can find all the details and the schedule of speakers at