Fly Tying: March, 2020

Barr’s Slumpbuster

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While on the Owyhee River last June I exchanged reports with another flyfisher. We agreed that the fishing had been challenging, but each had experienced some brown trout success on different streamer patterns we had each been using. I traded one of my Unbalanced Leeches (a Mitch Moyer pattern) for one of his Slumpbusters (a John Barr pattern) and both of us left happy with the exchange. My new acquaintance related that he had fished the Owyhee for many years and the Slumpbuster had always been a top producing pattern for him, so I felt good about adding this new fly to my arsenal.

John Barr:

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At first, the name of the gentleman that came up with the Slumpbuster didn’t register with me, but it should have. John Barr is the same guy that came up with the widely popular fly called the Copper John, along with other well-known flies like the Vis-A-Dun, the Meat Whistle, and the Barr Emerger. He is a long-time signature tyer for Umpqua Feather Merchants and currently has twenty three of his patterns listed in the Umpqua catalogue. In 2011 Fly Tyer Magazine named John Barr a recipient of their Life Time Achievement Award for his contributions to fly tying. Our club library has a book, cleverly titled “Barr Flies”, where you can learn more about John Barr and his fly patterns. It has great step-by-step instructions, both for tying and how-to-fish his patterns, along with terrific photos by Charlie Craven, another well-known fly tyer.

The Slumpbuster:

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A fisheries biologist once told John Barr that when brown trout get to be about 16 or 17 inches long their diet shifts from mainly insects to include baitfish (meaning any fish they can swallow). Of course they continue to feed on nymphs and adult insects but, when given the opportunity, large trout will prefer going after a big meal they can get while expending less time and energy. And at the same time fishermen are going to have a greater chance of catching large trout when fishing streamer patterns that mimic baitfish. 

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John Barr with a nice brown that took a black Slumpbuster that was dead drifted.

Barr designed the Slumpbuster to have a baitfish profile. It doesn’t have as much glitz or flash as some other streamer patterns. (However, you could always come up with your own variation by adding flash, legs, brighter colors, etc). But Barr’s theory is that streamers that have a lot of flash will often get follows or passes from fish that turn away at the last moment or eventually seem to lose interest, as if they sense that something is not quite right. 

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As far as streamers go, the Slumpbuster is relatively easy to tie and is quite durable. It has a type of uni-body construction with the tail, wing, and collar all tied from the same material, a narrow zonker strip of pine squirrel hide and fur. Barr found that when wet, a Slumpbuster tied with squirrel strips, had a perfect baitfish profile that he preferred over flies tied with the more commonly used rabbit zonker strips.

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Depending on the water you are fishing, the Slumpbuster could be fished on a floating line, sink-tip, intermediate sink, or full sinking lines. As always, the type of retrieve should be varied until you find what is working. Sometimes long and slow strips will work, and other times short and fast, or erratic strips may be the answer. Barr says he likes to fish two Slumpbusters at a time, with a smaller one tied off the bend of a larger one with 18 inches of tippet. (With each fly weighted at the front, that combination must be a challenge to cast!?)

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If you have ever felt like your fishing success was in a slump, perhaps you should try a Slumpbuster! Join us for our next Fly Tying Night on Wednesday, March 25th at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn. We’ll be tying up some Slumpbusters in a couple of colors. Bring your vise and tools if you have them, or we can loan you some. The fun will start at 6:00 pm and will go to about 7:30. Hope to see you there!

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CFF February Fishing Reports

Frank Day of The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches caught several bright steelhead down at the coast.

Darry Huff did well on the Lower Sandy River fishing beads. While the fish were in, so were the crowds!

Greg O’Brien and Timothy Collins hit some Oregon Fishing Club ponds and caught several large trout.

George Krumm gear fished the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers several times in February, with good success on some days.  The majority of the fish were wild; it seems the hatchery component has been weak this year.

Feb 22nd Fish a long Report

This event was lightly attended, so everyone ate VERY well. Cheryl made a delicious lunch of pulled pork & coleslaw sandwiches along with salad and fresh fruit sides.

Water conditions were ideal for swinging flies; water color was a nice emerald green & flowing at 1250 cubic ft per second. We had the river to ourselves.

Originally the weather forecast called for rain, but this Saturday we got lucky with a beautiful clear day.

Zach Epstein from Water Time Outfitters stopped by and generously donated his time & expert casting assistance. Thanks Zach!

Later that day I ran into a gear angler that I know and we talked fishing for a while. He got one earlier that day a few holes downstream from us.

There are some good fishing reports from the lower Sandy but the word is out and the weekend fishing pressure down there was intense.

In an attempt to embrace technology, I made a map with my GPS from the parking area off Hwy 26 to the river. CFF members please email me if you want a copy.

Next months Fish a Long is March 21st on the Crooked River. We have a special treat as Josh Linn from Royal Treatment will be giving his excellent on-the-water presentation on Euro Nymphing.

CFF February Fish A Long

This month’s Fish A Long will be held Saturday, February 22nd on the Sandy River. The location is Dave K’s place about halfway between Sandy and Welches.

What- Winter Steelhead

Where- Sandy River

When- 8am until lunchtime, Saturday, February 22nd

Equipment-

  • Spey or Switch Rod
  • Skagit Line & sink tip(s)
  • 15lb tippet material
  • flies, bright patterns and dark patterns
  • waders & wading staff
  • rain gear
  • warm, layered clothing

Directions- take Hwy 26 like you are going to Mt Hood. 10 miles past Sandy, turn left onto Sleepy Hollow Drive (there’s a big sign) and then take the 1st left. It’s a steep gravel driveway with a black metal gate.

We will have coffee, donuts and a hot lunch. This fish a long will focus on spey casting and swung fly presentations. Questions; email or call Dave Kilhefner. Hope to see you there!

Feb 18th Speaker: Mark Bachmann

This months speaker is Mark Bachmann from The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon. His presentation is called A Brief History of the Sandy River As Related to Fly Fishing.

The Sandy River may be the best kept urban river in the world, flowing into a population center of 1.5 million people, much of its personality is wild.

The Sandy is located half way between the North Pole and the equator, giving this region the perfect climate for trout, salmon and steelhead fly fishing every month of the year. Our Journey begins 12 million years ago as volcanic activity begins building the backbone of the present day Cascade Range!

It will be an interesting and informative presentation you won’t want to miss!

February CFF Auction – Sandy River Steelhead Trip

It’s time to announce one of our most popular annual auctions! A steelhead trip hosted by Mark Bachmann of the The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches on Oregon’s Sandy River.

You are bidding on one (1) seat on a guided steelhead trip on the Sandy River with Mark Bachmann.  The trip will be scheduled by agreement of the auction winner, the raffle winner, and The Fly Fishing Shop.  NOBODY knows the Sandy like Mark and the folks at The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches!  This is usually one of our most popular and competitive auctions of the year.

The other seat will be raffled off at the February CFF meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18.  So… you can take your chances then OR ensure your seat by winning this auction!

Click on the AUCTIONS link above. You must be a paid up member of CFF to make a bid.

DETAILS:
  • This auction is open to members of CFF only.
  • The auction closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 2/18.
  • Payment can be made through PayPal.

Good Luck!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Email me at bartschp@gmail.com.

Fly Tying: February, 2020

Phil Hager Flies

A few month’s back I sent out an email mentioning that anyone was welcome to be the guest fly tyer at one of our monthly Fly Tying Nights, with an opportunity to share a favorite fly pattern. The response was remarkably underwhelming, but club member Phil Hager did reply and he has agreed to be our guest tyer for February.

Meet CFF Club Member Phil Hager (aka “flyfishingphil”)  :

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Phil is a longtime fly fisher, having started out on bamboo rods and silk fly lines way back in 1952. His career as a firefighter was shortened when injuries forced him to retire in 1983. He then got into broadcasting and moved to central Oregon in 1986. A final retirement in 1992 allowed him to “fish 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.” After pretty much figuring out the challenge of fishing rivers and streams, Phil moved on to learning about lakes and other stillwaters in about the year 2000.

A quote from Phil that pretty much sums up his philosophy:  “Fly fishing is not so much a sport as it is a way of life.”

I had met and talked with Phil briefly before, but in gathering information for this article I have found that Phil has been active in fly fishing in so many ways that go beyond just fishing. In the past he has served as president of the Central Oregon Flyfishers as well as serving on the Oregon and International Councils of the Federation of Fly Fishers. Phil has given numerous presentations on fishing central Oregon and stillwater fishing, as well as classes on casting and the “secret” of picking the right rod.

I recently found a CD, that I forgot I had, called “The Fishing COW cd”, which I had purchased about 10 years ago during one of our club meetings. (The letters COW stand not for your favorite bovine animal, but for Central Oregon Waters.) Closer inspection showed that it was made by the evening’s speaker, none other than…Phil Hager. If you were a club member about 10 years ago you should check to see if you may still have a copy of the CD. It has a wealth of information in it , including maps and tips, about many of our favorite central Oregon fly fishing destinations.

Phil says his flies are pretty much “guide flies”, meaning quick and easy. They are so quick and easy that, during our February Fly Tying Night, Phil will be sharing not one, but two of his proven patterns, the Brick Leech and the TnMC. I have repeatedly seen the names of these two flies show up on the club blog’s monthly Fishing Reports where Phil has given an account of their effectiveness.

Phil’s Brick Leech:

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Phil came up with this pattern after helping an ODFW biologist who was doing stomach sampling to check the diet of fish at Diamond Lake. He says that it’s been “one of my prime flies for about a dozen years on lakes, rivers, streams, for anything that swims there.”

Although Phil has tied up this same leech pattern in a number of colors, he says the rust color of his Brick Leech is by far the most productive. The “leech yarn” that he uses comes in 20 different colors, some of which are shown below.

IMG_6603         IMG_6599        IMG_6601 2 Phil fishes his Rusty Leech with all types of lines, and has caught fish from just sub-surface down to 45-50 feet. A couple of years ago he lost track of the number of rainbows and kokanee that he caught in just one hour of fishing at Lava Lake.

Phil’s TnMC :

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The letters TnMC stand for “Thread and Micro Chenille”. The development of the fly happened at Hosmer Lake where Phil saw fish slurping all around him. When he finally was able to see what the fish were taking, he tied up what became the TnMC, and then he got tired of catching fish after two hours. Phil says this is one of his prime flies that he uses everywhere. Black is by far the most productive color, but at times, Phil has found other colors, such as those shown below, to be effective.

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Join us at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn for our next Fly Tying Night on Wednesday, February 26th. Phil Hager will be leading us through his tips on tying up  and fishing the Brick Leech and the TnMC. Both of these flies are easy to tie and would be suitable for tyers of all levels of experience. Plus, Phil has some interesting tips on finishing and tying off flies that he will be sharing. We start at 6:00 pm sharp. Hope to see you there!

 

President’s Message February 2020

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Here we are starting a new year and hopefully it will be a year of good fishing for all of us. The club will be off and running with new speakers, fish-a-longs and raffles. Be sure and check out the blog for the current information.

On another subject, I have served as the President of the club for ten years and have enjoyed that role. It is rewarding to have seen and been involved in it’s successes and a few struggles over those years. I notified the board last year that 2019 was my last year as the CFF President. Dave Kilhefner will now take over as CFF’s President. Thanks Dave!

Speaking of stepping up we continue to need members to participate in the board of directors. It does not take a lot of time and it a great way to meet and work with members plus have a role in the health and activities of the club. I encourage any one to let a board member know of your interest and of course your always welcome to attend a board meeting.

Again, remember to support our sponsors as they are the lifeblood of the club. Stop by and visit with them and better yet buy something or book a trip with them. Showing our appreciation is always welcome.

Gil Henderson

February Raffles

Item 1: The big item for February will be one seat on a Sandy River Steelhead trip with Mark Bachmann of the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches. This is always one of our most popular items of the year. The other seat will be auctioned off starting next week. Watch this CFF page to get in on the Auction!

If you are looking for a new pair of wading boots this second February Raffles item might be of interest. 

Item 2: CFF has a donation of a pair of size 10 Korkers Style FB3110 “Chrome” boots.  These boots retail for $125-$140. They have the interchangeable Klingon soles.  

Korkers reports Size 10 should be for men who normally wear a size 9 or maybe 9 1/2.

I will bring them to the February club meeting along with some neoprene booties for you to try on. A $5 Raffles ticket is all you need to win.

If you would like to try them on ahead of time contact me at bartschp@gmail.com or 971-235-0724 and we will work out a meet.

January 2020 Fishing Reports

From Tim Morton: Last month I was able to go on a bucket list trip to Patagonia. The Brown Trout is from the World End Lodge, and the Sea Run Trout is from Las Buitreras Lodge. The sea run trout was 13.5 lbs.  Didn’t get the weight on the Brown,

Fish a long Report: You can see from the river level screenshot that we had some higher than normal water for our Fish a long. While this didn’t impact our spey casting, it did put a damper on our Euro Nymphing as it was hard to find any decent nymphing water. On the good side, for January we had a surprisingly warm and dry day. This made it easy to set up for morning coffee plus Chef Cheryl’s delicious lunch of homemade soup, Texas toast and salad. Thank you for everyone that came out!

From Ed Rabinowe: Duck season ended and my got a new knee. I think I have a fishing rod somewhere!

From Dave Kilhefner: Got lucky on my first steelhead trip of the year with this 12lb hen; she was a jumper! The following week I fished the Oregon Fishing Club ponds and caught a nice trout dragging a Booby Fly along the bottom. Saw another angler doing OK fishing a woolly bugger under an indicator.

Brad Jonasson and David Hopkins had a good outing to the Deschutes River by Maupin.

From Greg O’Brien: My brother visits once or twice a year to go steelhead fishing and we hire a guide to get to water we normally can’t get to on foot.  We fished 2 days on the Sandy, floating from Dodge to Dabney with Travis Johnson of All Waters Angling. Monday was tough with just one solid pull & no hookup.  Tuesday was a slow morning but landed a big wild hen around noon, followed by another nice wild fish in the afternoon.  

From Darryl Huff: A nice wild steelhead caught just before New Years.

From Greg O’Brien: Hugo and I hit the Deschutes for a trout spey session and I got this nice one.  It ate the caddis emerger dropper of a swung 2 fly rig.

From Henry Muehleck: fished the north coast with Gil Muhleman.  We were gear fishing and had a great day. I hooked 8 and landed 3. Two of these were 14 to 15 pound natives. Gil is a great guide and definitely goes the extra mile to get you fish! 

From George Krumm: Fished the lower Sandy with gear. Landed a couple, a smaller hen and this nice buck. The buck went to the broodstock program.