Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swinging Rogue Ugly-The fly of many faces!

The Rogue River has such a abundant run of summer steelhead that it gives you a ton of time to experiment. The old Ugly Bug, or Carpet Bagger, as Neil would call it, has became the go to fly for most Rogue River Guides, but what about the guys that like to swing also. Or better yet what about the guys that employ a dead drift until the fly gets to a place to swing. I have found this method to be deadly, as a  rising fly induces some elicit instinct that will bring savage strikes. I found this method by accident, when I was a kid. I had tossed my nymph upstream and mended it the whole way down. Somehow I had created a huge knot in my fly line, so I just let my rig swing across below me, as I tried to untie it. As tension on the line made the fly ascend, a massive strike about jerked the rod out from under my arm. I started employing this method with all of my fishing. Its easy to do, but you have learn how to fish the dead drift without a indicator--something we did before indicators were used a lot. Then, one day I thought why not add some movement to a pattern that already has proven itself and just like that the Rogue Swinging Ugly was born. Since then, this method and the fly it birthed, has saved the day on the river. Its an easy fly to tie, here is the recipe. Swing On...Nate
Weighted For Deep Pools

Add The Chenille of your choice, but if its for the Rogue River It better have Black  in it. 

Add the rubber legs you like ( I tie all sorts, for different taste)

Add a nice webby hen hackle.

And wa la, you have a fly as versatile as a switch rod.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

You Know I love to Swing but.......

There are times when the fish just wont move, so you have to take your offering to them. There is no easier way to do this then with a nymph and bobber (oops I meant "indicator") set up. You have to start with a line that has enough forward mass to turn the whole mess over and with enough body that you can mend it for long drifts. On most nymph rigs for the Rogue River you will find a good ole double taper, but I have found that Airflo's Speydicator works better for my switch rods and the Clients find it less fatiguing at the end of the day. Know, I know  what your hard core swingers are thinking, Spedicator blasphemous!  I felt the same way to , but it didn't take long for me to see the benefits in deploying such tactics. First it has opened up the sport to potential future swingers. Once you catch your first steelhead you'll be hooked, and like all of us the natural progression through methods finally ends in the purity of winter fish on the swing, but everyone has to start somewhere, and the more people that love these fish the better they will be taken care of. I no longer look at nymph fishing as the dark side, but rather an introduction to a sport that I love--and after all we aren't throwing worms.
It kinda seems weird feeling like I have to defend nymph steelhead fishing but i think its one of those things in the double handed world that people haven't really sat and thought about it. The advent of the switch rod has brought this form of fishing to a whole different level. with the added length and casting styles we can achieve drifts on seams that seemed impossible years ago. The ease, and lack of false casting' is what led me to outfitting my boat with these miniature spey rods. Even the greenest of clients can become proficient enough to fish well with about 5 minutes of instruction--not to mention water born cast save me ear piercings.
 The way I set up the rig isn't that much different then your average trout rig--just longer and heaver. Speydecatiors come prelooped so all I do is add a but section of 25 lb HARD mono, like Maxim Chameleon due to its abrasion resistance, then add a mid section of 0x fluorocarbon, finishing it off with 2x fluorocarbon for tippet. All sections are cut 40" in order to get 36" sections after knots are ties. I loop both ends of the rear section, one loop for the line to butt connection and another loop that to the forward two sections. This allows me to change the front section out without having to change my indicator position. I can control depth with the pre-tied front section and flies. You have to run heavy line in the rear and check it constantly as casting indicators are hard on it. the forward two sections are linked by a surgeons knot. This setup gives you 9' to your first fly under the indicator--a set up that will fish 90% of the Upper Rogue. If you are in a shallower run just loop on a shorter forward section. I ALWAYS run two flies. the first fly is tied through the eye to the tippet with a improved clinch, and the dropper is tied to the shank with the same knot. Dropper length is something you'll have to play with for your conditions, but 24" is a good place to start. Remember use the lightest line you can get away with so that dropper fly will swim right. One note to point out here, the more slkack you have in your leader system, the longer it takes to indicate a strike, so make your leader match your run. I have picked up fish behind people who probably had strikes in the hole but didnt know it because their leaders were way to long and the fish probably spit the fly way before the indicator took up the slack of the leader to tell the fisherman their fly had stopped. If your having a hard time hooking fish, shorten your leader.

Speydicator works wonders!

What you Need
Keeping it local
Loop to Loop

The Whole Shebang!

Total Blasphemy, well not really. 

This is a highly effective way to catch Steelhead and has introduced many to the sport we love, so the next time your on the river give it a try--if you have some one you want to introduce to fly fishing for Steelhead, give it a shot, and don't worry they will look forward to the day of of that tug only the swing can produce. Nate


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do you see your quarry like this--you should?

If your like me there is more to fishing than fishing. I feel connected with something that's real. there is something deep within us that knows we belong immersed with the truths that the river brings. A wise man once said, "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you." There is so much we can learn about ourselves as we ponder the creation--that is why I have grown to love the Art that celebrates it! That is why Derek DeYoung's stuff hits me so hard... Check it out!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Its On!!!!

The river was beautiful tonight, Gage my Son,  and I swung for summer steel. He managed to conjure up a nice little Cutt on a Kerry Special. we admired it for a moment and got back at it. I finally tied on my steelhead prince and swung it as deep as I could. I couldn't move down from where I had to fish from,  so I worked in a foot of line about every three cast so I could cover the whole pool. About 20 cast in, it happened...the Tug we are all after. I was taken completely buy surprise, so much so I didn't even set the hook well. My line shot out of the water fallowed by a beautiful chrome summer steelhead. Oh how I've missed this Ran through my mind, then sure panic, fight him you twit!!! I jerked the rod, but all I could see was my fly dislodge itself out of the corner of the chrome rocket's mouth. My line went limp, I realized that I had a permagrin that I knew wouldn't go away for a while. They Are Here! Its On! oh how I love the Rogue's Summer Steelhead.

I got back to the house and found out from a friend of mine,  that works at the hatchery, that there are over 500 fish up there already...Its On Indeed!!!

The Permagrin

Nate's Steelhead Prince

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We may have came up with the ultimate Trout swinging line.

Swinging flies has to be one of the most exhilarating ways to catch Fish, and Double handers are the best tool for such a job, especially on rivers where fish become boat shy. I have found the I can reach out, way past the disturbance of my boat and oar strokes, with a switch rod, but a floating line with tips didn't provide the right angle to present the fly properly to fish holding mid depth. Guide's wouldn't be caught dead without their clear, or camo intermediate lines for these situations, but they don't cast well as a spey line. This is where I ran into problems, There are no Clear Spey type lines out there. I had tried throwing Skagits with clear Polly Leaders but I pulled the anchor and had a hard time trying to get the high floating thick Skagit to fish right. Sure they work great for the wide swings that steelhead like, but for the Williamson, and Wood River trout's preferred narrow swing they were nearly impossible. Thanks to Steve Godshall, I think we have overcame some of the obstacles that kept us from using our switch rods on these waters.  The line Steve built is a complete intermediate, with the first 19' a clear mono-core head that's subtle enough to lay on still waters without spooking fish, yet large enough to turn over large water soaked leaches. This head is driven by a short, Skagit style head that provides enough power to easily shoot line 70' or 80', which provides plenty of distance to get away from the boat. The line does take a little getting use to as its a complete 27 foot intermediate head on a 11'  4wt  rod but once you adjust its easy. The line is 295 grains and loads the rod well. As good as it cast, it fishes even better, exactly what I was looking for! Although we only had a couple hours to fish we managed to swing up a few fish--something that would have been hard to do just fishing tips. I love this line and can't wait to have one built for my 6wt. Steve Godshall is the Einstein of fly lines. After a some brainstorming we came up with a line that swings for weary Fish in some of the hardest places, Steve made my ultimate line come true--thanks Steve.

The Line Loads Well

On the Swing

Little guy

That's more like it

Best Place on Earth

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mabye, Just Mabye!

I think Steve Godshall thought I was a bit touched in the head when I pitched my idea for the "Ultimate Wood River Line," to him, but after a few questions he agreed to put one together for the Wood. Tomorrow I will put it through its Paces...Thanks Steve for entertaining my need for exploration. Stay posted folks, I'll report back tomorrow...Swing Em...Nate
The Super Stealthy, Steve Godshall Wood River line

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Ultimate Line

As I have stated before, swinging flies for Rogue River Steelhead and Trophy Redband Trout is my passion. Swinging, and two handed rods go hand in hand, but there is a huge lack of good switch lines when it comes swinging for trout. I love the castability of the Skagit, but don't care for the way it floats so high, and the hinging effect of when swinging with tips, a presentation that in my opinion lacks, the fishy movement that Williamson, and Wood River RedBands like. The other side of the coin is the fishy, slick, CLEAR, intermediate weight forward lines that is a super stealthy necessity when we are talking the Basin, but they detract from the long cast and fishiness of the best swinging tool known to Man--the Switch rod.  If I could design the perfect tool for trout swinging it would be a clear intermediate Skagit head with intermediate running line. Such a head would combine the best of both worlds. You could still get the supper swimming effect of a intermediate, that would allow you to cast to fish that are beyond the average single hander. Come on someone come out with a clear intermediate Skagit. Until then Ill just have to keep using the ole floating Skagit.

Wood River--Two Hands!

The Tug!
The Hecklers
Slick Line Scores

They eat Swung Flies!

Intermediate D loops just aren't the same!

The perfect line would bring more of these!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is this thing we call Skagit?

As Steelhead season is just around the corner here on the Rogue River, and with the Williamson and Wood fishing well , I thought it might be fitting to introduce you to the swing. Those of you who know me, know that I love to fish the swing with the fly rod. For large rivers there is no better rod than the doublehander for this purpose. If your new to this form of flyfishing I have found a video that will help you understand the systems used, Enjoy...Nate

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Big fish aren't all there is!

As a guide it seems like I am always after the real toads, and rightfully so, but sometimes it is great just to get back to the basics and wade a solitary, high mountain stream. The Upper, Upper Rogue is that stream for me. During my fourth of July camping trip, I was able to sneak out with my small glass rod for a couple hours of fishing. Here are some pictures to remind you about the basics of our sport. For me, it was the place where I was introduced to my first trout lie. Its places like this,  that will always bring me back to the simple style of life that my father introduced to me so many years ago. Its places like this,  that I'll always gravitate back to, to recharge. What a Blessing! Enjoy!

Awesome River

Gotta get down

Love Swinging

Swinging the ledge

Wet wading just like when I was a kid

A Trophy, for this section of river!

Bending the Glass Rod

Love this Place

Going Back In--Thanks For the Fight--pure blessing!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Klamath Lake is off the Hook!

The Klamath is off the hook right now! A good friend of mine, T.J.  had a great weekend over there! The fish are moving to cooler water as the lake warms, if you know where to go, you can catch these fish on the move. Use all your classic patterns and presentations. Please, remember if you get a real sluggish fish break him off or land him fast as he is probably heat stressed, then move—heck most of the good fish are in the cold water anyhow. If you have never fished the Klamath you need to. Check out T.J’s face book page at
T.J. Red Band

More Color

Clean Fish

Lake fishing is hard work!