April 2021 Presidents Message

After everything that happened in February one thought that keeps bubbling to the surface is “wasn’t March nice?” I think it was! 

The fish a long at Wilder Lake was a big success so we’re going to go there again for the May 22nd Fish A Long. I’ll email the details this month. 

Over spring break I was finally able to bring a winter steelhead to hand. Getting a steelhead on the fly has been a long haul this winter, so it was pretty dang satisfying when it finally came together. The steelhead took a Black & Blue Metal Detector and if you’ve ever steelhead fished with me you know I fish with that fly about 90% of the time. It’s good to have a favorite fly.

Our first Zoom meeting went very well. If you missed it, Garrett Lesko gave us the basics & beyond of Euro Nymphing with plenty good info thrown on tying flies & good sources of tungsten beads, which as you you know are not cheap. It got me excited to give this method another try and so I took some of my own advice and bought a new Euro Nymphing rod from our sponsor The Fly Fishing Shop then gave it a pretty good workout over on the Crooked River.

We’ll have another Zoom presentation April 20th on Fly Fishing in the Blue Mountains by Dennis Dauble. 

Last month Kevin Brooks, CFF’s previous webmaster, contacted me about CFF’s old newsletters. He had them stored on an old hard drive and was cleaning house, so we have our old newsletters back: 126 of them dated from April 2001 until August 2013. They are fun and interesting to read. Anyone who wants to see them let me know and I’ll email you a link. 

In April trout fishing starts to heat up. Locally, the OFC ponds are fishing well. Further away the Deschutes and Crooked rivers are good too. Remember that good fishing on these rivers will depend on consistent water flows and irrigation season is just getting ready to start, so check the water flows before you head out. 

John Bartlett is posting Columbia River Carp Fishing Pictures, so that’s starting to happen. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. 

Winter Steelhead are still available thru April and Summer Steelhead start to show. Spring Chinook are coming too, but that’s a whole new level of fly fishing insanity.  

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a fun way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. Type “April” or “May” and you’ll get all the past reports for that month. 

Please remember our sponsors, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip.  

Good fishing! 

Dave Kilhefner 

March 2021 Presidents Message

Just when we felt it was safe to breathe a sigh of relief that 2020 was really over, 2021 says “hold my beer” and throws a mega ice storm at us. For the second month in a row we had to cancel our fish-a-long, but on a positive note we are for sure going to have our March 20th fish-a-long at Wilder Lake.

I’ve updated the 2021 Fish-a-long calendar. Check it out and mark the dates on your calendar.

Besides having a fish a long, here’s more good news: High Rocks Pub is open! I drive by it on my way home from work and for the first time all winter noticed cars in the parking lot and the open sign was on. Cheryl and I stopped in for dinner and enjoyed a nice meal. Unfortunately the meeting room is not open yet but having High Rocks open again is a big step in the right direction!

This March marks my one year anniversary as club President and it’s been a challenging year. The last actual meeting we were able to have was over a year ago in February 2020, when Mark Bachmann gave a presentation on the Sandy River. Since we haven’t been able to have meetings, I’ve focused on Fish-a-longs and keeping the website updated, mostly by posting monthly fishing reports. Since it looks like we won’t be able to have meetings for at least several more months I’d like to try a few Zoom meetings. People with good info to share have expressed interest in giving our club some presentations with a local flair. I’ll get a survey email sent out soon, please be on the lookout for it.

While the crazy weather put a damper on fishing last month there were lots of opportunities to help friends and neighbors with storm cleanup, which builds good karma. Last weekend Cheryl and I went out to fellow CFF member Rhona Dallison’s place to help cut up both large and small tree limbs knocked down by the heavy ice. We also cleared her river access trail and hopefully we’ll have some good steelhead reports from there in the near future. It was the fun day. The weather was great and Rhona & Kelly put on a top notch work party with plenty of food & refreshments that wrapped up around a big bonfire. Good times!

March signals the beginning of spring and many local fisheries begin to wake up and turn on. Trout in our local lakes will begin to get active as water temperatures rise from the low 40’s to the high 40’s. The Deschutes will have good fishing if water levels are stable. Last but not least, March is the best month for trophy steelhead so don’t hang up your spey rod just yet, even though I readily admit it’s temping with the slow year we’ve had so far.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a fun way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. Type “March” or “April” and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

Please remember our sponsors this, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip. Good fishing!

Dave Kilhefner

February 2021 Presidents Message

It’s no secret that steelhead numbers are down this year, but there have been some OK reports from the coast. One of the consolations during these slow years is most of the fish you do see caught are bigger than average, so when you do get out there beef up those tippets with at least 12lb Maxima or 15 Fluorocarbon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at the fly shop and heard sad stories of big steelhead lost to light tippets.

This may sound strange, but when the numbers of steelhead are below average I would rather fly fish for them. The reason for this is when I’m fly fishing, I expect to work for every fish and this holds true no matter how good the fishing might be. This mindset helps me settle in for the long haul and enjoy more time on the water, which is what it’s all about. On the other hand, when I’m gear fishing I expect to hook a fish or two every time out and when I don’t, I tend to get discouraged, find something else to do and don’t get my river time.

I wanted to have a fish a long last month but it didn’t work out so we’ll try again this month on Saturday, February 20th. There are a couple options and I’ll be sending a survey email out soon to see what sounds best to those that want to participate.

This is a good place to mention to sign up for the Fly Fishing Challenge; going forward members must be signed up beforehand to participate in the Challenge program

Our March 20th outing to Wilder Lake out by Dundee is still on. I’ll be sending an email out to get a head count for this fish a long soon.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a good way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. I’ve tested it out; type the word February or March in the search box and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

Speaking of the search function, one thing you may notice is the last meeting we were able to have was last year in February, when Mark Bachmann gave a presentation on the Sandy River.

Please remember our sponsors this, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip. Good fishing!

Dave Kilhefner

Presidents Message January 2021

Happy New Year! I hope everyone was able to enjoy some festivities. If you’re like me you breathed a sigh of relief as 2020 slid into the rearview mirror.

I’m looking forward to the New Year and have a couple “fishing resolutions” to share. First, I want to put in a better effort for winter steelhead this year than I did last year. Since my casting is pretty good, the waders are patched and my flies are tied all that’s left is to get out on the water and make it happen.  The  goal is to get at least 10 days on the water between now and April 15th. The second resolution is for spring and summer fishing: Beginning in June get out chase the Northwest’s warm water trifecta of carp, bass and shad. Naturally the Columbia River is the best place to do this but the Willamette is much closer so it may get the nod this year. My trusty 6 weight rod is up to this task but the fly inventory is woefully inadequate. It will be fun to tie new patterns and fill up a new fly box. It will be fun project that I’m looking forward to.

I have been asked a few times if the club is still viable. Here’s my answer: YES! Our club has a dedicated group of core members along with solid financials. With these two things we can go on for years. It’s understood with COVID not everyone is able to participate the way they used to. No worries, whenever the world gets back to normal we will be here when you are ready.

As we all know we are not able to have meetings and who knows how long this will last, it will be at least a few months but probably longer. Because of this club is planning to focus on fish a longs for the first half of 2021. We have some good stuff lined up. For January and February we will be going to the lower Sandy River as it has excellent bank fishing opportunities for steelhead fly fishing. In March we have a special opportunity to fish a new private Lake out by Dundee called Wilder Lake. I was able to test fish this lake can assure that you will like it! Then in March and maybe April too we will head over to the Crooked River. You’ve probably noticed we’re doubling up on some locations. We are trying this because learning the water is the best way to be more successful, and it’s very difficult to learn one place when are always jumping around to new spots.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a good way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. I’ve tested it out; type the word January or February in the search box and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

January is a great month to get good deals after Christmas so get out to your local fly shop buy all the stuff that Santa forgot. Please remember our sponsors this, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip.

Dave Kilhefner

Presidents Message December 2020

I hope everyone was able to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving. With the new COVID surge our household followed the guidelines and limited social contact. For me that means another excuse to go fishing but at the same time, I understand that isolation affects us all differently. If anyone feels a little too cooped up send me an email and we can at least talk fishing or better yet, go fishing!

In case you missed this news the last 2 months Clackamas Fly Fishers has decided to extend paid memberships thru 2021; if you paid to be a member this year, it will be good for next year too. However, going forward if you email me about where to pay I’m taking your money! (as a donation to the club)

The 2020 Fly Fishing Challenge is still going on. If you’ve completed the challenge please email me.

Fishing was good in November as you’ll see when I post the November fishing reports later this month.

December is shaping up to be decent fishing month. With storms blowing in from the Pacific Ocean timing good water conditions is the key. Several coastal streams like the Necanicum and North Fork Nehalem get good early runs of steelhead. Sometimes, the Clackamas and Sandy get a good shots of early fish too. The Oregon Fishing Club ponds usually fish good for trout, especially after a warming trend. The key to all these fisheries is to be packed and ready to go when the water conditions are good. You don’t want to miss the prime fishing windows.

We don’t have a club Fish-A-Long in December but that doesn’t mean I can’t be talked into some kind of fishing trip. If anyone has any good ideas let me know and we can get a group text going and make it happen.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a good way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. I’ve tested it out; type the word December or January in the search box and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

Christmas is rapidly approaching so don’t forget to get your wish list out so you get all the stocking stuffers you want. Please remember our sponsors this fall, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip.

Dave Kilhefner

Presidents Message November 2020

After September, October was literally a breath of fresh air! Also, the fishing was very good as you’ll see when I post the October fishing reports later this month.

In case you missed this news last month Clackamas Fly Fishers has decided to extend paid memberships thru 2021; if you paid to be a member this year, it will be good for next year too.

The 2020 Fly Fishing Challenge is still going on. If you’ve completed the challenge please email me.

Last month I announced a free subscription to Fly Fisherman magazine. Darryl Huff was the first to respond and will receive a one year gift subscript. Congrats Darryl!

November is a very good fishing month as we transition from fall into winter. When the water is low like it is now I like to fish the Clackamas up at McIver for late summer steelhead but when the rains come and the river fills with leaves, I’ll quickly shift gears and hit the Oregon Fishing Club ponds for trout, which are on the bite as the water cools down. If the mountain road conditions are good, the trout and steelhead fishing on the Deschutes is another top option. An hour past the Deschutes, the John Day River is very good for steelhead. There is also Chum Salmon in the Kilchis and Miami Rivers by Tillamook.

We are shooting for Saturday November 14th for our Fish A Long. This date will be perfect for either Chum Salmon on the Kilchis River or for trout at one of the Oregon Fishing Club lakes by Salem. Depending on member response & preferences, we can do either or both of these options. The past 3 years low water conditions have prevented us from chasing Chums on the Kilchis but it doesn’t mean we will stop trying. I’ll post more about the Fish A Long early next week.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a good way to get ideas for local fly fishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. I’ve tested it out; type the word November or December in the search box and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

Please remember our sponsors this fall, they are the lifeblood of the club. It’s not too early for a little Christmas shopping or putting together your wish list. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip.

Dave Kilhefner

Dave@kbi-ins.com

Presidents Message October 2020

From last years October Fish A Long

It seems like about 20 minutes after I hit the send key for the September Presidents Message Clackamas County erupted in flames. I’ve lived here since the late 70’s and have never seen anything like the wildfires last month. Several of my friends homes were seriously threatened. Cheryl was very fearful our cabin on Mt Hood would be lost but then PGE wisely shut down the power grid for more than a week and this probably saved much of the Sandy River corridor. My daughter evacuated her home on Oregon City for a few days because the smoke was terrible.

In spite of all this, several of us still wanted to have a September Fish A Long but chose not to. With everything going on, the last thing the great outdoors needed was more non-firefighting humans poking around.

But this month on Saturday the 17th we are going to have our traditional October Fish A Long at Beavertail Campground on the Deschutes River. I’ll get the details out the week before we go. For November, we’ll likely go to an Oregon Fishing Club lake.

Because this has been such an unusual year, the board has decided to extend paid memberships thru 2021; if you paid to be a member this year, it will be good for next year too.

The 2020 Fly Fishing Challenge is still going on. If you’ve completed the challenge or need the details please email me.

If anyone wants a free subscription to Fly Fisherman magazine, I received one of those free gift subscription offers. The first club member to email me gets it.

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a good way to get ideas for local flyfishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. I’ve tested it out; type the word September or October in the search box and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

Speaking of reports, next week I’ll post the September 2020 club reports and I’m happy to report we have some good stuff.

Please remember our sponsors this fall, they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by their shops and let them know your appreciate their support. Better yet buy something or book a trip.

Dave Kilhefner Dave@kbi-ins.com

Presidents Message September 2020

In spite of all the craziness in the world right now, summer is doing what it has always done: go by too fast!

Unfortunately the COVID situation is definitely not going by fast and so we are going to have to adapt. Many folks seem to be adapting pretty well but there are a fair number of people that are sequestered. If you know someone like this I would encourage you to reach out and make contact, either by phone or email and let them know they’re not forgotten.

This summer I had a goal of fishing at three places; some new lakes on Mount Hood for trout, the upper Sandy River for salmon and the Columbia River for carp. I managed to fish two of the three. The Mt. Hood lakes fished well, as usual the upper Sandy River salmon skunked me and once again didn’t manage to get out on the Columbia for carp. I still have my Carp fishing cheat sheet notes from the John Bartlett presentation (a.k.a. John Montana) and will hopefully put them to use next summer.

Also, every summer I try to do an overnight backpacking trip. Last month I backpacked up on Mount Hood with my daughter Kelsey and her boyfriend Tim. Unfortunately Kelsey got a bad case of blisters and not wanting to turn the hike into a death march, we cut it short and did not stay overnight. We commiserated in fine style at the Brightwood Tavern with good food and libations, so it ended up being a great day plus we saw some extremely beautiful scenery.

Another personal goal this summer was to see the NEOWISE Comet with my own eyes. This seemed like it should be pretty easy to do but it took five tries; FIVE! I even made a special evening trip to Altamont Park in Happy Valley but the view of the Northwest sky was obscured by smoke from a building fire from the protests. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cheryl got tons of mosquito bites while we sat in the park waiting for it to get dark.

In July we had three new members join. Welcome to Lauren, Rhona and Jim!

Clackamas Fly Fishers has always taken the month of August off as far as meetings and fish longs go. With all the cancellations we’ve had this year I wanted to try and do an August activity such as a fish along or get together but time got away from me. My apologies!

For several years now we have been posting monthly fishing reports. Looking back on them is a good way to get ideas for current local flyfishing opportunities currently happening or coming up. Simply type the word August or September in the search box and you’ll get all the past reports for that month.

It’s been really crowded on our local waters the summer, as in extra crowded times two! This makes fishing a little more challenging but as you can see from our fishing reports are members are still getting out and making it happen. My hat is off to everyone for doing this.

As we go forward it’s not certain when we may begin having regular meetings again. People have suggested Zoom presentations. While I think this could be a good idea our local fly shops are doing a great job Zooming and Blogging. Personally, I don’t want to compete with them in this area as we need to support them, not compete with them. Going forward, at least for the next couple months, Clackamas fly fishers will focus on flyfishing activities we can either do together or at least help each other with our flyfishing goals. As always, I’m open to any ideas you may have.

On the conservation front, on August 24 it was announced the Pebble Mine has been blocked, at least for the time being. This is great news but at the same time I do not believe the fight is over yet.

Next weekend on September 12 and 13th is the annual Clackamas River down the river cleanup hosted by the Clackamas River basin Council. It is a fun and worthwhile event. Here is the link: Http://clackamasriver.org/events/down-the-river-cleanup/

Presidents Message July 2020

You’re probably thinking “funny cartoon Dave, but that could never happen!” On the other hand, with everything that is going on these days stranger things ARE happening…all the time.

The other day, I ran into my old neighbor. While catching up, he said he had been watching a lot of news and all the media hype got to him, which is no easy task. He didn’t realize how bad his personality had suffered until his adult son told him to stop biting everyone’s head off every time they tried to talk to him. To his credit he cut WAY back on watching the news and his outlook got much better. I don’t watch hardly any news myself and can say it’s a great anxiety reliever.

Of course, it’s hard to lower your of anxiety if you feel isolated and out of touch. After doing some brief research about the 1918 Pandemic I realized this thing was going to take a while; far longer than I would be able to stay isolated indoors. For my own health and peace of mind I tried to find a reasonable, logical approach and decided to use the strategy Sweden is employing. A brief paraphrase from the article; “recognize that the world is only in the first stage of dealing with a long, uncertain battle with Covid-19 so Sweden is keeping much it’s of society open while training people to observe distancing guidelines — is the only realistic way to cope in the long run.”

So far, I’m staying healthy plus spending a reasonable amount of time out of the house and on the water. To do this, I have my supplies. Some are visible and obvious like face masks and hand sanitizer. However, my most important “supply” is extra patience and lots of it! If a store is too crowded, I come back another time. If a car is driving crazy, I get out of its way. If someone is in a hurry and putting off the “human tuning fork vibe” I give them distance and let them go first.

We had some pretty good fishing in June along with lots of pictures to share. Thanks to everyone for sending these in. With the cool weather continuing, fishing conditions are looking pretty good for July. Personally, I’m hoping to hit some Mt Hood Lakes in my float tube, chase carp for the first time on the Columbia and maybe try for Spring Chinook on the upper Sandy River. This barely scratches the surface of what’s available but it’s good to have a plan plus a back up plan; if your first choice doesn’t work out you can still enjoy some time outdoors. Mainly, I’m going to stay positive and keep my fly in the water as much as possible. Fish will be caught!

Unfortunately the High Rocks Banquet Room will not be open for our meeting so we won’t have one in July. To make up for this we will get more fishing info and opportunities posted on the website, so stay tuned. Also, our Forum is a good place to share ideas and information.

Last year our July Fish A Long at Round Lake was our best attended fish a long ever (or at least for the last several years). It was a great time but as you can imagine, Fish A Longs or club initiated fishing trips will have to change for a while. It makes to most sense to travel alone or in small groups of 2 or 3 but we can still get out there!

Also, if you have any suggestions for the club or need any info, please get in touch.

Dave Kilhefner (Dave@kbi-ins.com)

Presidents Message June 2020

Greetings fellow Fly Fishers. Might as well get the bad news over with first: the June 16th meeting is cancelled. While this is unfortunate it does make some sense; Oregon has started to reopen and while this is great news my better half has informed me this has increased the number of Coronavirus cases in our state. Also, and this is the deciding factor, while High Rocks is open they are not permitted to open their banquet room yet. I learned this last week as I went in for a burger and a cold one and the owner relayed this news. 

On a more positive note, fishing has been pretty good and I’ll get the May fishing report out soon. While the summer steelhead run has been slow other fisheries have been picking up the slack, namely trout on the Deschutes, the OFC ponds plus Smallmouth and Carp on the Columbia & Willamette. Also, if you’ve seen all the boats out on the Willamette you know the Shad are in!

In spite of all the good fly fishing opportunites, COVID-19 has me hibernating a little and it’s slowed me down. If you’re feeling the same way send me an email and we’ll try to make some fishing happen. If you need some reading material for inspiration I have free Fly Fishing & Tying Journal magazines for anyone that wants one while supplies last; just send me an email and we’ll figure out how to get a copy into your hands. Also, you can take advantage of our well stocked Library.

Our local fly shops were able to open last month to walk in traffic. If you plan on going its good to call ahead to make sure they are open as business has been on the slow side so they sometimes close a little early, which is understandable. Also, please take a moment to read the rules posted on the front door and of course be courteous, maintain social distance even if you don’t believe in it and wear a mask.

We really tried to have the May 23rd Fish a Long at Timothy Lake happen but unfortunately the US Forest Service delayed the PGE parks opening. Given this, we’re going to try again this month and fishing reports are good. Be advised to be safe we will maintain social distancing so everyone will need to bring their own lunch & beverages. Stay tuned for details.

Dave Kilhefner