Last weekends Sandy River Fish-A-Long was well attended. Thank you to everyone that attended plus an EXTRA BIG thank you to Cheryl Kilhefner for her excellent cooking & hospitality and to Ron Lauzon for his superior casting instruction. It was obvious that on the whole our clubs spey casting was much better this year than last year. Great job!
Given the possibility of very wet winter weather the covered area was the perfect spot. Luckily the weather was much better than forcast and while it was cloudy, cool and felt damp, it didn’t rain. The water conditions were also very good, the river running a nice green color with about about 4 feet of visibility. On the “Sandy River at Bull Run” guage the water height was 12 feet, flowing at 6,600 cfs. I forgot the water thermometer but would guess it was in the low 40’s which is conducive to swinging up a steelhead.
We met at 8am, had hot coffee and watched a few deer graze before getting down to business, fishing until around 11:30 then breaking for lunch. In the morning hours the river was pretty busy with both bank and boat fishing pressure. After lunch this totally changed and the river was deserted; everyone had pushed downstream. We didn’t see any steelhead caught but there were a couple unverified reports of fish hooked. Dave caught a San Diego Steelhead (a sucker) swinging his old favorite Blue/Black Metal Detector fly behind a 9 foot tip of T-14.
In addition to extra rods, Ron Lauzon brought along some extra lines to cast. A particular favorite was the Airflow FIST Skagit Head, which casts & fishes as advertised (link below). I want one!
This month’s Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday, January 20th on the Sandy River at Oxbow Park. The location is shelter where the Sandy River Spey Clave is held. The wading here is easy and fish have been caught.
What- Winter Steelhead
Where- Sandy River
When- 8am until lunchtime, Saturday, January 20th
Spey or Switch Rod
Skagit Line & sink tip(s)
15lb tippet material
flies, bright patterns and dark patterns
waders & wading staff
warm, layered clothing
Directions- go to Oxbow Park—the address is 3010 Southeast Oxbow Parkway, Gresham, OR 97080; there is a $5 fee to enter the park. Drive approximately 2 miles past the park entrance and look for “Group Picnic Area A” which has a large covered area and an open field on your left.
In the morning we will have coffee and donuts. A hot lunch will also be provided. This fish a long will focus on spey casting and swung fly presentations. We will have a couple of “loaner” spey rods to try out. Ron Lauzon and Dave Kilhefner will be available for Spey Casting Instruction. Questions; email or call Paul Brewer or Dave Kilhefner. Hope to see you there!
This year’s new Fly Fishing Challenge is to Catch and Release three (3) different fish-types on a flyrod (using a wet or dry fly) of any local variety of a salmonid species
Complete the Y’17 Fly Fishing Challenge; Catch and release a salmonid from a river, a lake, and a creek.
Terms and conditions: No hold-over fish count from Y’17 and if you completed this last year you need to select the new 2018 FFC.
Certificate Award for the Fly Fishing Challenge, a Fly Fishing Challenge Patch for the first-time completion or a new recognition pin or patch for 2nd time completion.
End of year drawing for a $25 gift certificate for those who complete a Fly Fishing Challenge in 2018.
Rise to the Challenge! Come to the Jan. 16th CFF meeting to sign-up!
Nick Rowell of Anadromous Anglers will be CFF’s guest speaker Tuesday, January 16th.
Nick guides for Steelhead on our own Clackamas River and is the Clackamas River Steward for the Native Fish Society. He is also a master fly tier and is regularly featured at both Royal Treatment and The Fly Fishing Shop. His presentation will be on Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing. It will be a great presentation you won’t want to miss!
If the turnout at last month’s fly tying night is any indication, there seems to be a good amount of interest in winter steelhead fishing. As we move into the season it makes sense to continue our focus on winter steelhead patterns. But this month we will vary it up a bit by tying a tube fly.
Famed steelheader Lani Waller has become a a big promoter of fishing with tube flies. Waller was not the originator of using tube flies for steelhead and he freely admits that the system he uses is a result of experimentation and refinement by himself and others over a number of years. Waller has been fly fishing for over fifty years and his name became synonymous with fly fishing for steelhead when he came out with a set of three videos on the topic for Scientific Anglers 3M back in 1984. His evolution in steelhead angling made a quantum leap in 1997 when he was fishing with guide Bob Clay on the Kispiox River, a tributary of the famous Skeena River in British Columbia. Waller was reluctant to try the tube flies that Clay offered for fear that the small hooks on the tube flies would not hold up to the strong 20 plus pound Skeena system steelhead. But during a week of fishing Clay landed one hundred percent of the fish he hooked while Lani landed sixty percent of his hooked fish. That certainly turned Waller into a believer. When I first read that story I figured that if tube flies got Lani Waller’s attention they were definitely worth looking into.
So what is a tube fly, anyway? Well, tube flies differ from traditional flies in that they are tied on some kind of tube material instead of being tied on the shank of a metal hook. Tubes today are often made of different kinds of plastic or metal onto which are fastened the usual array of thread, feathers, hair and flash materials that normally go into the tying of a fly. The angler then ties a short shank hook onto the tippet material which has been threaded through the tube. The hook can then be pulled into a soft plastic junction tube that has been attached onto the back of the tube fly.
And who came up with this revolutionary idea? Well, that depends on who you talk to or where you look. The vast majority of sources that I came across give credit for the first tube flies to Minnie Morawski, a fly dresser who tied flies for the Charles Playfair Company in Aberdeen, Scotland back in 1945. Minnie was apparently using the hollow quills of bird feathers for her tubes. But then I found references to a British angler named Alexander Wanless who actually published a book with colored drawings of some tube flies in 1932. It is possible that Wanless is less often credited for the earliest tube flies because he was mostly a spin fisherman and the idea caught on later with the fishermen that really embraced the tube fly…the fly anglers. In the USA, tube flies were first used in patterns that were trolled behind boats. Although it undoubtedly happened earlier, the first documented use of tube flies in this country for casting for salmon or steelhead was in the Puget Sound area in 1985 (Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon by Ferguson, Johnson, and Trotter). Traditional flies tied on hooks surely remain the most common type of artificial fly, but tube flies are now used worldwide for nearly all species of fish that are sought by fly anglers.
Tube Flies (the two flies on the left) from the 1932 book by Alexander Wanless
You may wonder why would anyone bother with tube flies in the first place. Well, there is a definite upside to tube flies due to a number of advantages that are often quoted in a variety of resources:
1. More fish landed— The short shank hook results in less leverage for a fish to throw a hook (see the example above of Lani Waller on the Kispiox)
2. More hook-ups— The positioning of the hook in the junction tube toward the rear of the fly can help eliminate short strikes by fish nipping the tail of the fly
3. Longer fly life— A strike by a fish will often cause the hook to be pulled free of the tube, causing the fly to slide up the leader away from the jaws of the fish
4. Easy to change out hooks— If a hook becomes dull or damaged it is easy to swap it out for a brand new laser sharp hook right out of the package
5. Easy storage of flies— Without the hooks on, it is easy to store a bundle of tube flies together without them getting all tangled up
Don’t be intimidated about tying tube flies. If you have tied a traditional fly before, you can tie a tube fly. The same basic skills are used to tie materials onto a plastic tube instead of tying onto the shank of a metal hook. Join us for our next Fly Tying Night and give tube flies a try. We will be meeting at The Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 6 pm. Hope to see you there!
Happy New Year !!!! We are off and running for a new year with great programs, fish-a-longs and raffles. We encourage everyone to get involved and participate as much as you can as it makes the club much more fun.
The December meeting was fun for all as Phil was in great form handing out gifts to many members. The speaker was interesting with a presentation on kayak fishing. Of course we had no fish-a-long last month nor fly tying because of the holidays.
Not so this month as we start the year with our speaker Nick Rowell, a local guide, who will share some techniques about winter Steelhead fishing. We are right in the heart of that season so his remarks should be very helpful.
The fish-a-long will be chasing Steelhead on the Sandy River at Oxbow park. Ron Lauzon, a new member and certified fly casting instructor, will be on hand to give some pointers on single hand and double hand casting. Members can range up and down the park to find spots to chase Steelhead and polish their skills. Lunch will be served.
Remember Fly Tying on the fourth Wednesday of the month. More information to follow.
Check on the Fly Fishing Shop (Gold Founding Sponsor) flyfishusa.com(events) for information on the Three Days of Modern Spey Fly Investigation involving winter Steelhead flies and Trout flies. In short Mark Bachmann will quarterback a field of guides and tiers to instruct everyone on tying some the most effective patterns. The dates are 1/13/18, 2/10/18 and 3/17/18. A great way to spend a Saturday.
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.