CFF February Fish-A-Long

This month’s Fish-A-Long will be held Saturday, February 24th 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 24th


  • 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, cinnamon rolls and a hot lunch. This fish a long will focus on spey casting and swung fly presentations. Questions; email or call Paul Brewer or Dave Kilhefner. Hope to see you there!

February 20th Speaker: Mark Bachmann

Mark Bachmann of The Fly Fishing Shop will be CFF’s guest speaker Tuesday, February 20th.

Mark’s presentation will be on growing trend of Trout Spey Fishing: Learn about the flies, tackle and techniques used in Spey Rod fishing for Western Trout. It will be a great presentation you won’t want to miss!

Meeting details:

The Fly Fishing Shop

President’s Message February 2018


We have a great month coming up with a well known speaker and a fun fish-a-long.  Notwithstanding that we just finished a great fish-a-long on the Sandy River with at least 12 people attending.

First, I would like to Thank our member Ron Lauzon for arranging the site and then assisting further by sharing his casting expertise with members. Also, a Thank You Dave Kilhefner and his wife were gracious  hosts providing a delicious lunch for the attendees.  Everyone who attended it complimented the event.

Last month our speaker was Nick Rowell who spoke to us on winter Steelhead fishing. Nick had a great presentation with many practical ideas about how to you be a success in catching these wily creatures.

This month it is exciting to welcome our one and only Founding Gold Sponsor, Mark Bachmann, owner of the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches Oregon. In addition Mark is an accomplished guide, fly tyer, and author who will be sharing with us a new topic.  He will be speaking on Trout Spey Fishing which should be of interest to about everyone who enjoys Trout fishing. It will be interesting to be exposed to another way to fish for them successfully.  Do not miss this presentation.

As it is now Steelhead season our major door prize will be a seat on Mark’s drift boat for a float trip on the Sandy River. This always a fun trip and some lucky person will join the winner of our online auction on the trip.  Good Luck!!!

A couple of events that are coming up shortly. First the Fly Fishing Film tour will be at the Aladdin Theater on 2/10/18. Tickets are available at Royal Treatment Fly Shop and Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters as well as online at the Fly Fishing Film Tour.  We also have a fly tying event at the Fly Fishing Shop on Saturday 2/10/18 where they will be concentrating on tying Streamer patterns. Next the Sportmen’s Show on 2/7-11/18 at the Portland Expo Center which does have some fly fishing exhibits and programs. Finally, the N W Fly Tyer & Fishing Expo will be coming up on March/9-10/18 in Albany Oregon. It hosts a large number of fly tyers as well as equipment vendors, instructors for casting and techniques.

Remember our sponsors as they allow us to bring you our activities and speakers.  Drop in a say hi, better yet buy something or book a trip with them as they appreciate our support.


Gil Henderson


Sandy River Trip Guided by Mark Bachmann on 3/22/18


The trip is scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2018.  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.  This auction ends Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.

The other seat will be raffled off at the February CFF meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20.  So… you can take your chances then OR ensure your seat by winning this auction!


Fly Tying: February, 2018

The Muddler Minnow


Back in October the guest speaker at our club’s meeting was Kevin Erickson who gave us a fine presentation that centered on his new book, “Feather Craft: The Amazing Birds and Feathers Used In Classic Salmon Flies”. It was readily apparent to most of us that we have neither the skills nor the patience to produce the quality of flies that Kevin is crafting.  Amazing stuff! (I clearly remember him saying that the completion of a Jock Scott fly required 32 different materials. Whew!) At the conclusion of his talk Kevin graciously offered to come to one of our Fly Tying Nights to lend us a hand in improving our fly tying skills. After explaining to Kevin that our tyers are not quite ready for classic salmon flies, we decided to focus on the Muddler Minnow as a fly that would teach us some new skills that haven’t yet been emphasized in our monthly fly tying sessions.


Although perhaps not as in favor as it once was, the Muddler Minnow, or Muddler as it is commonly called, is still the“go to” fly of some flyfishers and the Muddler should occupy a spot in your fly box. I have come across a few testimonials to the effectiveness of  the Muddler. At a fly shop I met a gentleman that has had terrific success fishing only Muddlers, in various colors, for steelhead on the Deschutes. And famed flyfisher and author Gary Lafontaine is said to have only fished Muddlers in a variety of forms and sizes for one year and reported that he had landed as many fish as if he had fished his usual array of patterns. And the historical importance of the fly to the tradition of fly fishing in this country was emphasized in 1991 when the US Postal Service included the Muddler Minnow as one of only five flies in its fly fishing stamp series.


The Muddler Minnow has played an important part in my fly tying history as it was the first fly that I ever watched being tied. My dad, brother Steve, and I were fishing at Diamond Lake when I was probably 10 and my brother was 8 years of age. A hot tip told us that a couple of fly patterns were very productive late in the day. We wandered over to the resort and found an elderly gentleman outside tying flies and selling them as fast as he could tie them.  We were both fascinated watching the man fashion Muddler Minnows and another pattern from miscellaneous materials sitting on his fly tying bench. We purchased a few and had great success fishing the flies on a very slow troll far behind the boat on unweighted monofilament line using spinning rods, with the fishing getting better and better the darker it got late in the evening. (Fishing flies in this manner was a welcome relief after trolling Ford Fender flashers around all day.) I guess there is reason to think that the same success could be had at Diamond and other lakes, using a flyrod and a Muddler Minnow some 60 years later. At least it ought to be worth a try.


The Muddler Minnow was first tied by Don Gapen of Anoka, Minnesota back in 1937 for use in pursuing brook trout on the Nipigon River in Ontario. Gapen’s family ran a couple of fishing resorts and Don later started the Gapen tackle company that is still a family owned business today. Their online catalog shows that they still carry the Muddler Minnow but they also have some lure offerings with intriguing names such as the Ugly-Bug, the Bait-Walker, and the Walk-N-Lizard. It looks like a lot of their products are aimed at the pike and muskie fishers in their area.

When you look at the original Muddler Minnows you will notice that they are kind of scraggly, almost messy looking, compared to what we commonly see in fly boxes today. The heads of Don Gapen’s Muddlers were largely left untrimmed as is seen in the photos below.

It is interesting to note that the Gapen family today still sells Muddler flies that resemble the original version and have testimonials that state that they fish just fine. One reviewer says, “Just like movies, the original is usually the best. I tie and fish both original and modern muddlers and found the original out performed the modern on many occasions.” A lot of us that tie flies today like them to look nice and neat in our fly boxes. Maybe we are trying to tie for ourselves and not for the fish.

Credit for the appearance of today’s Muddlers generally goes to famed Montana tyer and flyfisher Dan Bailey. The dense and neat heads that he developed back in the 1950’s require a process of spinning and packing the deer hair, followed by a trimming done with scissors or a razor blade. Muddlers today typically employ mottled turkey quill segments for the tail and wings and gold or silver mylar for the body. Often there is an underwing of squirrel hair and a collar of deer hair. The variations and colors of Muddlers today is limited only by the tyer’s imagination, but the one thing that all Muddlers will have in common is a head of spun deer hair. A densely packed head provides plenty of flotation but the flies can be tied weighted or unweighted according to the targeted species and water conditions.

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Some Variations of Muddler Minnows

From its name the Muddler Minnow will mimic a variety of small “minnow” fish like shiners, chubs, and dace. Weighted and fished along the bottom the muddler is a great sculpin or tadpole imitation. But the Muddler is a versatile fly that is said to mimic a variety of other life forms like grasshopper and crickets. Tied in a variety of sizes, Dan Bailey often used the Muddler as a late summer grasshopper imitation on his favorite Montana rivers.


A Muddler Minnow Variation Called A “Spuddler”

Nothing can be ruled out when deciding what is the proper way to fish a Muddler. Quick and irregular strips may be effective at times, but on some days and for some fish a simple down and across swing may be just the ticket. Gary Lafontaine reported that while a retrieve using rapid wild strips was effective for bass, a smooth strip with less action was much more effective for trout. Unweighted Muddlers can be very effective as a waking fly for steelhead while a weighted pattern fished at or near the bottom using rests between short strips can be a fine sculpin imitation. So it sounds like anything goes when fishing a Muddler. Good advice is probably “If what you are doing is not working, try something different.”


Take advantage of having Kevin Erickson on hand for our next Fly Tying Night. Join us at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop in West Linn on Wednesday, Feb. 28th for an evening of hair spinning, packing and trimming. As always we will be getting started at 6:00 pm sharp.
Hope to see you there!


Sandy River Fish A Long Report

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!

CFF January 20th Fish-A-Long

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
  • rain gear
  • 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!

2018 Fly Fishing Challenge

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
– or-
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.

Awards Presented:

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!


January 16th Speaker: Nick Rowell

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!

Meeting details:

Nick’s website:

Fly Tying: January, 2018

Winter Steelhead Tube Fly


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!