President’s Message October 2019

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It seems this year we can only dream of catching a nice bright Steelhead, but a few are out there even if the run in the Deschutes is not up to past years. Anyway the Trout are still about and we can enjoy the fall days stalking them.

The club has been moving right along with interesting speakers and fun outings to some new venues. Things will keep on being fun as we begin the fall of 2019.

The speaker in September was Garth Wyatt, PGE biologist, who recapped the efforts to restore the Chinook, Coho, and Steelhead runs to the Clackamas River basin. Good progress has been made which will bode well for the fishery in the future.

Next we have John Wall from Portland Fly Fishing Shop to discuss local fishing opportunities. Join us to listen to this guides thoughts.

The fish-a-long this month will be on the Deschutes where we can pursue Steelhead and Trout. Of course good food and company included. Stay tuned for more information. Also, the fish-a-long for November will be on the Kilchis River for Chum Salmon. This is an annual event and is usually a lot of fun, but is also weather dependent. Again more information to follow.

As you saw on the site we have a joint meeting with the Fly Fishing Club of Oregon. The speaker location is downtown so leave early to avoid traffic. It will be well worth the trip.

Remember our sponsors are 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 outing with them.

Gil Henderson

Third Annual Fly Fishing Symposium & Taco Bar

Royal Treatment Fly Fishing will be hosting it’s Third Annual Fly Fishing Symposium and Taco Bar at Willamette Park in West Linn, on Sunday, September 29th from 10:00 to 6:00.

If you made it to this party last year you know how much fun we had. Well, this year we’re kicking it up a notch. Oh sure, we’ll have all of the Fly Fishing Rockstars you know and love sharing their talents and expertise, plus casting instruction for kids and beginning anglers, kayak test drives, free clinics, and a multitude of other outdoor related activities.

Make plans to join us for a full day of fly fishing fun!

  • Where: Willamette Park in West Linn, OR
  • When: Sunday, September 29th, from 10 to 6
  • What: Free Casting demos, Wading clinics, Tying demos, entomology displays, kids’ casting and fly tying, Spey clinics and more. 
  • Free Kids’ Fly Casting and Fly Tying Sessions all day (for the young and young at heart)
  • Kayak test drives and clinics with eNRG Kayak 
  • Meet factory reps and test cast the latest rods from Sage, Winston, CF Burkhiemer, Scott, G.Loomis and Echo.
  • Learn about fly lines and test the latest offerings from Airflo, Rio and Scientific Anglers.
  • Hang out at the Bug Boat and learn about bugs with Rick Hafele and the Deschutes River Alliance.
  • Contests and prizes
  • Overland Vehicles on display
  • Electric Bikes from Lakeside Bicycle 
  • Other Outdoor Related Gear and Clinics
  • Simms Taco Bag Taco Bar offering free tacos to the first 400 guests (pick up your tickets at the Simms booth)

Click here to register so they know how many taco’s they’ll need: http://www.royaltreatmentflyfishing.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=165672

Round Lake Fish A Long Report

This year’s Round Lake Fish a long was very well attended and a lot of fun. A big Thank You for everyone who made the long drive to make this event a success.

Several of us decided to drive over Friday afternoon and camp and it was a lot of fun. John Warren’s wife Linda made a pot of beef stew and everyone else pitched in for a tasty pot-luck dinner. The weather was clear and Dave brought his spotting scope and we were able to check out Jupiter’s Moons in the southern sky.

On Saturday everyone rolled in between 8 and 9am and we enjoyed a light breakfast of hot coffee, donuts and lemon bars before hitting the lake.

Fishing at the lake was tougher than expected. One big surprise was a couple of otters had taken up residence. Otters are great fun to watch but if you’re a fisherman it’s both a good and bad sign; they know the fishing is good but they put a big dent in the fish population!

David Mullins was one of the first anglers on the lake and did well for a while on Simi-Seal Leeches that he tied at Jim Adam’s fly tying class in March. Green and brown were his best colors.

Another thing that made the fishing a little tough was the usually plentiful Callebaetis hatch wasn’t really happening. However, there were still enough of these bugs around to fake you out; they were like a small “decoy hatch” and lots of trout were jumping but it was hard to figure out what they were taking.

The most successful dry fly was discovered by Kevin Rodgers, who had good success along the far shaded shoreline by casting a Black Flying Ant close to sunken logs close to the bank and the overhanging fir trees. There were also lots of Blue Damsels flying and a few club members had some action fishing those, plus its fun to watch trout jumping a foot or more out of the water trying to snag one!

Round Lake is one of the few high lakes that have brown trout along with the usually more plentiful brook trout. One this day, most of the catch were brown trout about 12” long and we only caught a couple brook trout. Usually, it’s the other way around.

Cheryl Kilhefner put together a tasty deli sandwich style lunch and Paul Brewer helped her pack it up to the lake, where we all enjoyed good food and good company on this very fine day.

Royal Treatment Kids Day Report

This years Kids Day was very well attended. Thank you to everyone that donated their time to make this a fun event.

Kudos to CFF’s Greg O’Brien for tirelessly manning the kids fly tying table all morning, to World Casting Champion Maxine McCormack for helping all the kids with their casting and to the Joel and the Royal Treatment staff for putting on a great Kids Day this year!

Royal Treatment Kids Day Saturday July 13th

Royal Treatment Fly Shop is hosting their annual Kids Day on Saturday  July 13th.

We have been on hand to help serve lunch, assist in casting instruction, and fly tying. Volunteers are always welcome and needed to help with the event.

This years special guest is fly casting champion Maxin McCormick. She will be on hand from 10:00 to 1:00 to help get younsters excited about fly casting and fishing.

Please contact the shop at 503-850-4397 so they can get an idea how many folks will be on hand. The hours are 10am to 3pm and you don’t have to commit to being there the whole time.

Fly Tying: May, 2019

The Ice Cream Cone

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Early in my time with Clackamas Fly Fishers I got invited by a group of members to join them on their annual outing to the Owyhee River.  (I’ve got to give a huge shout-out to Ron Bouchard for organizing these trips. The fishing was at times amazing, but the trips getting there were equally memorable. I imagine Ron is still having flashbacks of the lady pulling alongside on the road and informing him that his trailer was on fire!)  

On the second annual trip for me in 2011 we had to change plans because of poor water conditions on the Owyhee and the destination was moved to Diamond Lake.  Pulling in to the parking area, near the area where we ended up camping, we saw huge clouds of mosquitoes in every direction and thought that there was no way that we could survive stepping out of Ron’s pickup, or at the very least we would be needing blood transfusions.  As we set up camp we discovered that what we thought were mosquitoes were actually midges, relatives to mosquitoes, but not of the blood sucking variety. 

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Swarms of Adult Midges

Adult midges are often mistaken for mosquitoes, so if you see a bug that you think is a mosquito, but it is not biting you, it is probably a midge.

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Adult Midge– It’s easy to see how they are mistaken for mosquitoes.

 

It was on this trip that I got my introduction to Ice Cream Cone chironomid patterns.  They were by far the most effective fly for me on the trip. If I had known more about chironomids and how to fish them I would undoubtedly have done even better. The midge hatches were of monumental proportions.  On the second day I was forced to head to shore with my pontoon boat to answer a call of nature. As I approached the shoreline I saw a layer of scum on the water that started about eight feet from the beach.  Upon close examination I could see that the scum was made up of insect shucks, the vast majority of which were chironomids. We were on the windward shore of the lake and the prevailing winds had piled the insect shucks onto the beach to a depth of about four inches. I had experienced some prodigious insect hatches before but nothing like this.

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A mass of chironomid shucks found lining the shoreline of Diamond Lake.

(As an aside… the midge hatch that we experienced at Diamond Lake, although memorable, was apparently minor compared to what happens annually in some areas of the country. In June of 2018, Cleveland had epic midge swarms that were so thick and vast that they were showing up on doppler radar and were described daily on the local TV weather reports!)

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Chironomid Background Info

Midges are small insects with two pair of wings in the order Diptera, along with house flies, mosquitoes, crane flies, and others.  The midges are generally non biters, although a small group of them are called biting midges, another name for the extremely annoying no-see-ums.  Midges go through a complete metamorphosis during their life cycle, that is, from egg to larva to pupa to adult. Fish will also feed on the larva (blood worms) and adults, but for this article we are going to focus on the pupa stage of midges, commonly referred to as chironomids.

 In stillwaters the chironomid pupae are one of the few insects that attract a trout’s attention by moving, not horizontally, but vertically through the water.  However, the movement is not a swimming motion. The pupae slowly rise to the surface as gases form underneath their body segment covering.

Chironomid naturals showing size and color variations.

As it reaches the surface, each pupa will break out of its shuck and work its way through the surface film of the water, emerging as an adult midge.  Getting through the surface tension of stillwater is no small feat for an emerging insect. At times the surface of the water acts like a stretched elastic membrane that provides a real challenge to an emerging insect. Cooler temperatures and windless days seems to enhance the surface tension of water, therefore making it even more difficult for emerging insects, and thus making them more vulnerable to foraging trout. Many anglers report that midge hatches seem to occur during the warmer parts of the day during the winter months, and conversely during the warmer months they occur most often during the cooler parts of the day.

Chironomids are generally curved in shape, so using scud-style hooks, sizes 8 -18, is a good way to imitate them. The bigger sizes would be effective in some alkaline lakes where the midges are famously large, but for most stillwaters you seldom would need anything larger than a size 14.  In streams the chironomids tend to be smaller so some anglers tie their pupa down to size 22 or even smaller, which is tough for those of us that are visually challenged. 

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Using a stomach pump is a good way to figure out what size and color of chironomids to use.

 

 

Chironomids come in a wide range of colors, including black, olive, red, maroon, brown, silver, and others. Nearly all color variations can have some red in them due to some residual hemoglobin that shows through the skin. The body is segmented, with some tyers insisting on having seven segments in the chironomid patterns they tie.  But are the fish really counting? At the head end of the pupa there will be some protruding gill filaments, that can be simulated in artificial fly patterns using any number of white materials like ostrich herl, antron. or poly yarn.

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A chironomid showing very evident wing pads developing and highly visible gill filaments.

The question often comes up about why bother fishing chironomid patterns at all.  Well, midges are available year round. They are arguably the most available food for feeding trout.  What they lack in size is made up for by the sheer numbers that are available. It is estimated that they make up at least 50 percent of the trout’s diet in stillwater habitats. 

Brian Chan, noted stillwater fishing guru, has written extensively on chironomid strategies.  Check out this link for some great advice about fishing chironomids in lakes and ponds:

10 Tips For Success With Stillwater Chironomids by Brian Chan 6/09/2015  on Rio Website

https://www.rioproducts.com/learn/10-tips-for-success-with-stillwater-chironomids

When fishing your chironomids at depths greater than the length of your rod, landing your fish will be made a lot easier by using a “slip strike indicator”.  Here is a helpful short video from In The Riffle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2cbPXxvxRI

The Ice Cream Cone

If you do some searching on the internet you will find all kinds of chironomid pupa patterns.  And, surely, they all will work. But, as always, simple is a good place to start for a fly tyer. I have found the Ice Cream Cone, also known as the Snow Cone or Sno-Cone, to be both effective and easy to tie. The history of fly patterns is often up for debate, but credit for coming up with the Ice Cream Cone seems to go to Kamloops, B.C. guide Kelly Davidson back in 1992.  There are lots of variations, but the one common identifying feature of an Ice Cream Cone is a white beadhead. Using a white bead, either metal or glass, seems to be acceptable to trout in representing the white gill filaments.

  The body of the flies are often wrapped with thread or super floss, sometimes incorporating other flashy materials like flashabou, frostbite, or krystal flash for some added pop. The amount shine in the pupa body corresponds to gas that builds up in the pupa as it slowly rises through the water column.  At times the chironomids will appear to have an almost chrome-like segmented appearance due to the accumulation of gases.  One of Phil Rowley’s well known chironomid patterns is in fact called the Chromie.

Coating the whole fly with super glue or UV resin, though not essential, will greatly increase its durability and extend the life of the fly. You can fish Ice Cream Cones under an indicator or let them sink near the bottom and then patiently simulate the pupa slowly rising to the surface by using a slower than slow hand-twist retrieve.  When fish appear to be feeding just sub-surface, club member Lane Hoffman likes to grease all of his leader except the last six inches or so, thus leaving the  chironomid pupa pattern suspended just under the surface.  And don’t forget to try midge pupa patterns in streams, too.  Dead drifting them tied off the bend of a larger nymph can be deadly.  When the trout are feeding near the surface of streams, fishing them in a dry-dropper combination can be lots of fun.

Join us at our next CFF Fly Tying Night on Wednesday, May, 29th to tie up some Ice Cream Cones.  They will become an effective addition to your stillwater fishing patterns.  We will be meeting at the Royal Treatment fly Fishing shop in West Linn.  As always, we get underway at 6:00 pm.  Hope to see you there!

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