Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No Dice!

I snuck out of camp knowing the low tide was going to be a good one at -5. I knew that if I had the slightest chance of catching bottom fish on flies this was it. After a death march through the Greased rocks I found a little cove that matched the Ling Cod habitat that I had seen in the underwater aquarium many times. I really didn’t have a hatch to match so I tied on something I thought the toothy fish might find yummy. The onshore wind made my skagit head look like a limp noodle as I tried to punch it in the air—no dice—Pacific Ocean wind shames any river wind that I have ever dealt with.  With a ton of flailing, and four letter thoughts I finally got the head to pull some shooting line. Timing the cast took German precision that, this two left footed caster, couldn’t quite nail, so I had to settle with the clup like presentation the surf forced on me. I tried to console my lack luster performance by telling myself that the clump of line was needed to get the fly down. After an hour of “swinging” the fly through the current, hooking kelp and nothing else, I decided to hang it up. Not a single fish, but at least I was able to experiment—and isn’t that what Fly Fishing is all about?

Nice little bay.

I thoroughly washed all the salt out of the gear once I was done.

Low Tide!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Battle Lines Have Been Drawn

The winter steelhead run was less than great this year, but the Springer run looks to be awesome. The problem is, as most of you know, it’s real Hard to get your fly in position, and stay there long enough to aggravate them. I have been busting my butt trying to figure out how to do this. Well I think I have it part of the way figured out. I took my 8wt spey rod, lined it with a skagit and a t12 tip casted the whole glob ,  up stream and mend my way through. This is kinda like hi-stick nymhping only treating your tip as a leader. I made three passes this way then I felt a little strike, I made a half hearted jerk, thinking I might clear the smolt off the fly, only to feel the full weight of a submersed freight train! It has been several years since I have been Chinook fishing, as I usually turn to trout this time of year to avoid the crowds. The fish took to the air dragging the skagit head and heavy tip out of the water like it was dental floss! It made a run towards the frog water up stream of me, giving me the false sense that I might actually land this brute. Then he swapped ends again, took to the Air, gave me the middle fin, and dashed down river combining all of his muscle and the mighty Rogue in its fight against me. The clicks of my reel became screams which drew the attention of the whole river bar, people were pointing, and laughing at the noise, until the mighty brute decided to make himself present in their lives also. Not, 20' off the bar the salmon took to the air only to return to the water with a crash that would put any cannonball to shame. People screamed, mothers gathered their children, and a Pit bull whimpered, stuck its tail between its legs, and ran under the nearest pickup.  People became silent; some even started to pray as they realized that I, standing in the middle of the river, was connected to that Monster. Coil, after coil departed from the reel taking with it any feeling of control that I might have ever had until I started to see the bare arbor and the tiny knot that would have to take the brunt of this frontal attack. I knew there was no way the small dacron knot could hold up, so I bowed the tip of the rod, in surrender, and held fast on the spool. The brute didn't even give me the satisfaction of seeing him when he turned my heavy forged hook into a strait pin. The line when limp, I breathed a sigh of disgust mixed with relief, ok mostly relief as I knew I had no control over this fish. People left the river bank as if they had just watched a movie with a bad ending.  Others, laughed, whispered something among themselves, and pointed in my direction. My dog, ya that’s right my dog, left my side and found a tree to hide under. I had been schooled by the River King—telling me to head to my usual sissy haunts on some small brook trout stream and leave his subjects alone.  Laughing rose from the emerald depths provoking me to shake my fist in a vow to return and declare battle once more. Mighty Rogue King, you may have won this battle but, I WILL WIN THE WAR!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rogue River Special a part of Rogue River History!

Willie's Boats are Great Boats, but they are trimed wrong inline fishing. When I put someone in the back it would plow and became a whale. I have always been partial to the flatter Rogue River Special, but I lost hope of ever owning one as I had heard Alumaweld quit building them. Then I met Brett, he had Rogue Marine Bulid my new boat to Jerry Briggs classic Rogue River Special standard. This boat was adapted from both Glen Woodridge's, and Bob Pritchet's designs. Unlike most drift boats you see on the river nowadays, mostly McKenzie style, the Rogue has a flatter, wider bottom at the stern, making it a great boat to motor. The greater surface area also provides more lift when held, making it a more stable platform to fly fish out of for the person in the back. This is the main reason for me to change boats. My Willies was cramped and rode bow high with someone in the back.  One of the other advantage of this boat is that it holds its line better, but if your use to pivioting on a dime like a McKenzie, the Rogue will take some getting use to. I am proud to be stepping in the guiding shoes of the greats here on the Rogue, rowing their water with their design. Here's to the good Ole Rogue River Special, may she never die! This is the boat Born out of the river I love, I shouldn't be rowing anything else. 
She Is Special

17' 48" Rogue River, My willies would have been bow high with just Max in the back

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Hooked a King today and found out a 8WT was way to light for a bright chromer! I casted upstream and would work my line perpendicular the rod--a kind of slow drift/swing. The Chinook hammered it and made three runs, jumping all the way. He just about spooled me.

Best Hole on the River! you can acess it from the butte creek side of deanmen.

Its Hard to see, but I was keeping my line perpendicular to the rod tip, just enough tension to to feel a hit, but not so much to pull the flies off the bottom.

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This is what your flies should look like if you get the modified swing right, I only could achieve it about half the time.

Fish On! right after this Picture he dang near spooled me. Last I saw of him, was almost to the rocks at the hole below me, there was nothing I could do!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nate's Wired Worm

There are flies that just work regardless of rather you think they should or not. The Brassie is one of those flies, but good isn't good enough when you can improve on a design. This flies success is most likely due to its diving ability-the thing sinks better than a rock. It flows through the current like a real bug, but what if it had arms to match the drift, well that's where my wired worm comes in!

I always start with a heavy hook for Steelhead nymphs 

Add a bead (I super glue them on) and add a couple of rubber tails (they suggest several different bugs) 

Tie in the color of UNI Wire you like (I tie this is several colors)

Wrap the wire forward making a abdomen, tie in your favorite chenille give it a couple wraps to make a wing case.   

Add hackle 

Wrap hackle forming the beckoning moving legs that a Upper Rogue Steelhead  cant  resist.

I fish this fly dead drift until it reaches quartering down downstream then I will swing it to dangle. Try it on your rivers!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Holy Waters - Rogue River

Had a great time with the Trail Outdoors Fellowship group. There were a ton of people who learned how to cast, mend, and became fly fishing addicts last night. The fish weren't cooperating, but we did manage one on a swung Muddler Minnow. Trail Outdoor Fellowship is a group that meets at Trail Christian Fellowship, they have been spending the last couple months learning how to fly fish, and I have been honored to be able to be a part of that. It was awesome to see the culmination of all their hard work come into fruition last night.

Nice little trout that came to a swung Muddler Minnow.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing People To Rogue River Steelhead Is The Best

It doesn't matter if its the first or last, there is something about coaxing mighty missiles out of  the deep.  I get just as excited as my clients(or sons) do when we finally get a drag ripping screamer to the boat. There isn't a better feeling then knowing that you're the one that introduces people to a wild world that transcends our made up version. The feel of the ancient water rushing past your feet, the might of pure steel muscle at the end of your line, or the subtle kiss of a leave as it lands on your favorite fall tail-out, are all part of this magical world, and I get to share that with people--what a humbling experience--I thank every one of you that have allowed me to share those experiences with you, and I look forward to those of you I haven't met yet. Best Fishes Nate
Gage's First Fly Caught Rogue River Steelhead March 2013      
John's first Fly caught Rogue River Steelhead from"Last Chance"Hole. April 2013 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nate's Steelhead Prince!


If you could create the perfect fly, what would it entail? Well for one it would have to be built off a foundational pattern that has proven itself, on the water you fish, time and again. It would have to hold up to the abuse of the proper presentation, and it would have to be easy and fast to tie. These patterns don't just come togather by themselves, they take time to develop as you design the pattern to work the way you want. That is they way my series of flies have came about. These are designs that have came through combining what works. I hope they help in the progression of your own patterns.

The foundation of every fly is the hook. All of my steelhead nymphs start with a heavy wire sharp hook. I have straitened to many regular nymph hooks to use them anymore. I love the hooks from Trout Beads.
I add weight to all of my nymphs as it gets them down fast, and keeps them down if you want to swing them at the end of the drift.

I have learned to use rubber tails on my nymphs as they last longer than natural fibers and provide more movement. I love the fish-catching abilitie of natural peacock, but it isn't near durable enough-so you notice I use immitation peacock.

Once agian I I replaced the goose quill of the orgional prince pattern with some rubber leggs, and I tie in a oversive webby hackle to add movement when I decide to swing this pattern.

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And there you have it! Nate's Steelhead Prince. It fishes well dead drifted and swung. Its easy to tie and durable.

The Result!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I love that drift boats came from Oregon. As a fifth generation Oregonian I am proud that I have became a white water dory oarsman.

I hope you enjoy this!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

When the two words Klamath and Fly Fishing meet you usually think of the Hex hatch on the Williamson, or Dragging leaches on the lake. Maybe you would think of the grasshoppers that fall to gorging trout on the Wood River, or the super spooky trout of Crystal Creek, but you probably would never think of the Sprague River. Why is that? Is it because there aren't any fish? Nope. It's a fine fishery. The reason you don't hear much about it is because it has very few access points and there is a ton of private ground surrounding it, but if you know where your going and what your doing the Sprague will give up its treasure.

Beautiful, Relaxing, River

The Wind made me get out my switch rod.
Love this River

Not bad for a half hour! This little trout thought he was a steelhead making a couple of good runs.  There are much bigger Fish in there!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

If your not tumbeling big black rubber legged bugs your not fishing for winter steelhead on the Rogue -- at least that's what they say. As a guide you figure out what works fast, or you wont guide for long. When Fish are concentrating on Big Stonefly Nymphs, I have found that this simple fly works, is durable, and gets the head first sinking action of the natural. I like to add a little flash to all my nymphs-- if you watch a natural under water they all trap little glisening gas bubbles, often gold. So here it is Nate's Southern Stone.

I like to give the fly shape by bending the size 4 hook.

Add .030 lead and a cone to give it the front end weight

Tie in black rubber tails, then wrap black stone fly dubbing up body, then rib
with black uniwire.



Tie in peacock sparkle yarn wingcase and the rest of the black rubber legs.

Wrap clear to the head with dubbing.

Fold wingcase over and tie off.

And there you have it--scrumptious





Silver has hit the Upper Rogue. With water temps on the rise it might be time to dust off the Spey Rods! Good Job on your first fly caught Rogue Chromer Wayne.