Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spey Nations, Catskills and East Coast Flavor

Tight Lines Fly Shop and "Spey"
Amidst a busy summer with Marty running bass trips in 105 heat and low water and me working for TRCP, I dropped Tegan off at my sisters on Whidbey Island, Washington and flew to Newark, New Jersey for a quick tour starting at Tight Lines FlyShop and ending my trip on the Salmon River in Altmar, New York for SpeyNations. My mother was born and raised in New York. Despite still having relatives out East, I haven’t visited since I was a kid.  What I remember was the lights of the big city.  This time I would land in Newark, by pass New York City and head North to where the Catskills meet the Adirondacks.   My uncle told me that this is where my mother fell in love with the outdoors and I see why.

My flight arrives in Newark midnight, E.T. .  Nancy and Andrew Moy from Tight Lines ( a full service shop with a fantastic tying selection, spey rods and “Spey” the shop dog.  Half hour from New York, this is the place to go if you need material and equipment. )  arranged a shuttle to pick me up. I’m greeted by Mike, born and raised in New Jersey; he’s full of questions about the West coast. He speaks with pride about being an East coaster, we compare the cost of living and he tells me his from central New Jersey.  
If you’re from South Jersey, you don’t ever want anyone to ask if you’re from North Jersey, which you think is basically New York. If you’re from North Jersey, you don’t ever want anyone to ask if you live in South Jersey, which you think is basically Philadelphia, or worse, Delaware. If you’re from Central Jersey, doesn’t ever ask if Central Jersey really exist. It does.
Catskills Museum
The next morning I meet the Moy’s, full of energy and fun, this is going to be a great week! Heading north we stop at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum that is working to protect and promote fly -fishing. Engulfed by a history that dates back to the early mid 1800’s with bamboo rods on display by H.L Leonard to a collection of art by Lee and Joan Wolf and more. I discover this is where fly-fishing in the U.S. really got its start and is the birth of the “Catskills Style.”  
In 1890, sporting magazine columnist Theodore Gordon wrote to the renowned English fly fishing author, Fredrick Halford, complaining of the selective nature of the brown trout's feeding habits, and soliciting suggestions on fly selection for Gordon's Catskill waters. Halford sent back a cache of flies that were productive on the placid English chalk streams of Kent (on display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum, in Livingston Manor, NY today). Gordon recognized the flies needed to change to  imitate the local hatches, so he tweaked the design of Halford's flies to created the high-floating Quill Gordon dry fly, the first of the iconic "Catskill style" of dry fly.   
Andrew and Collin on the Beaverkill
After an hour in the museum and becoming members, Andrew and I continue our journey to the Beaverkill River, a tributary to the East Branch Delaware.  At the Moy cabin we wader up for an evening fish.  Swinging isonychia nymphs  and drifting isonychia dries, trout smack our flies under a gray sky against the lush green “tropical” forest.  As dusk approaches, the sky lights up with Fireflies.  I’m as giddy as a child remembering catching fireflies as a kid in Tennessee. Nancy and I chase the flies trying to catch one, she manages to seize one and I let it crawl on me, watching it illuminate green, it flies away.    
Patrick shares his secret flies 

The next day we meet our sports to hone in their spey casting skills and fish the evening hatch. PJ and I miss the evening fish and head to Altmar.  She’s from Canada and new to the sport, is on a sole mission to  submerge herself in the Spey culture and what a better way than a full day lesson and off to Spey Nations for the weekend.
Malinda - Malinda's Fly Shop
Hand Crafted Fly Box by Adelcio Chavez
Get your Dunkin Donuts at the Simms Booth
We arrive at  Tailwater Lodge on the Salmon River.  Greeted with laughter’s and hugs by Patrick Ross and his friends as well as West coast locals Travis Johnston and James Shaughnessy, we’re happy to be there and eat  crab fitters and best burgers I've had hands down!  Patrick’s , a  long time angler who owns the Anglers Lodge where the first Spey Nations took place,  he has been hosting West Coasters since.  It's great to have local knowledge and a down to earth host.  Saturday morning arrives and PJ and I head to the Spey Nations location on the Salmon River. 

Spey Nations started as a format to share the passion for Atlantic Salmon, raise awareness for a fishery that people love and the two handed culture.  With coffee in hand we are greeted with hand shacks and hospitality.  The lot is lined with industry booths and people hustling to say hi to old friends and make new ones. The vibe is about having a good time and sharing the fervor we all have for preserving the fish we love and promoting the sport we are nuts about.   The evening ends with beers, BBQ and laughs and preparing for a class the next day with a group of awesome women that are avid anglers and the token guy (just kidding Ron).
Sunday’s class is a blast teaching single speys and snake rolls and working on casting with the non dominant hand up. We laugh, talk about fishing and flies.  I’ve made new friends and this is what our sport is about! 
Spey Army
After the class Patrick, Travis , Captin Jamie and I  head out for  a Northern Pike mission near Lake Ontario. This is my first time seeing Lake Ontario and I feel like I’m standing in the Kodiak harbor. Seagulls fly over head and sport boats line the docks.  What feels like a sea breeze chills the air. We launch “Team Water Spyder” and shoot up an estuary. Rods are rigged and 30 pound mono is tied on. We cast towards grassy banks and strip.  Patrick’s fly lands, a head turns and the speed of the Pike leaves a boil the size of Old Faithful.   We fish till we can’t see any more missing some great takes and landing a couple juveniles.  What a great way to end an East Coast trip.
Caption Jamie leads the way! 
Little but strong !

Lily's on the water

Rushing back to the West coast to pick up Tegan and hightail it back to Maupin for work and preparing for a session with Ron Wyden on the Oregon Economy and Recreation. I’m thrown back to the hustle of our life and grateful to have the opportunity to visit the East Coast and make new friends!  Thanks to all the good folks that made my trip possible and all the new friends I made, too many to list. Thank you Geoff and the Spey Nations Crew, Patrick Ross, Andrew and Nanacy Moy, Tailwater Lodge, Melinda’s Fly and Tackle Shop, Jamie Perry, Travis Johnston, Joe and Delores Saracione, Simms Fishing, Rajeffs Sports and  Costa Del Mar.  . An extra big thanks to my sister and brother in law for watching Tegan!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Swing the Fly - Summer 2015

Swing the Fly - Click Here

Everything Spey - Altantic Salmon, lab's and pointers,  steelhead, trout from Quebec to the where the rivers meet the ocean on the west coast.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Childs Perspective

Bison in Lamar Valley
Fountain Geysers
Wolf at the Gizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone

Tegan and Alice, Riverside Anglers land a trout

Mountain Goats

Missed the Salmon Fly hatch by a week but Tegan had a blast inspecting the nymphs.  
New friends!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary

Big Bend Pool - Steamboat Creek photo by Mia

Frank Moore's footprint in the state of Oregon and in the fly-fishing community is enormous.  For starters, in 1957 he and his wife Jeanne started the renowned Steamboat Inn so anglers could rest after a day of fishing the North Umpqua. He and a core group of anglers started the Steamboaters to help preserve the natural resource of the Umpqua River in 1966.  He also had influence on the North Umpqua becoming a fly only regulation. He is also a renowned steelhead angler that prefers a waked fly over a wet one and still fishes with his single hand rod today. 
In the 1960s, Frank became concerned about logging's negative effects on watersheds. He collaborated with two friends, Hal Riney and Dick Snyder, to make the landmark film "Pass Creek." Then, flew his own plane all over the country to show it to the Forest Service, BLM, Congress, timber people, and conservation groups. The film had such an impact that major changes to logging practices were enacted.
Frank Moore's passion and dedication to wild steelhead and conservation is a model for all. In the few conversations I've had with him he's become a mentor and a friend. 
We applauded SenatorsRon Wyden and Jeff Merkley for introducing legislation, S.1448 , The "Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary."  The bill will designate approximately 104,000 acres of Forest Service land as a steelhead sanctuary.  The Oregon senators named their legislation in honor of Frank Moore because of his outstanding accomplishments starting in World War II and then continuing for nearly two decades of conservation efforts along the North Umpqua River. 

Throughout his life, Moore has shared his passion for fishing, the river, and the outdoors with visitors from all over the world. 

The area identified is the North Umpqua River around Steamboat Creek. As a steelheader, I consider this place sacred, its one of the most important tributaries for North Umpqua steelhead.  There's a reason that Frank Moore and steelheaders such as Lee Spencer, Dan Callaghan and many more have dedicated their lives to the preservation of this watershed.  

Let your senators know you support the "Frank Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary" by signing the TU petition here

Track the bill here.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Spey Nations - East Coast Spey Gathering

 Spey Nation is a celebration of the 2-handed rod culture in the Great Lakes Fishery offering the unique opportunity for enthusiasts and manufacturers to gather in a streamside setting in Altmar, New York on the Salmon River.

Spey Nation features a full BBQ, raffles, “On the water” demonstrations, and interaction with professionals from the East and West Coasts. Mixing styles, knowledge, and backgrounds, Great Lakes anglers finally have the opportunity to learn Traditional Spey, Scandinavian, and Skagit techniques from the experts, try specialized equipment on the water and talk with other fishermen in an atmosphere dedicated exclusively to 2-handed casting while enjoying a burger and a brew. 

Admission is free. The BBQ is free; Spey Nation is funded completely by generous donations to our raffles. All “Profit” is donated to grass roots Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead conservation projects in our watershed.

I'll thrilled to be attending and presenting along with Will Turek, Michael Mauri, Andrew Moy, Jay Peck, Lee Davison, Walt Geryk and Travis Johnson

Additional Spey Casting class with Andrew Moy at Tight Lines North and me , June 26th. A great opportunity for beginners or experienced casters if your looking to take spey casting to the next level! Call me for more details or check out Tight Lines Fly Shop . 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deschutes Redsides

Home water. 

Surface slab.

Red side.

Mia captured this lift off.

It's been a fun few weeks over here!

Get some April and May 2016 with us.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The BIGGEST Spey Clave on the West Coast

Check Out one of the Biggest gatherings of anglers interested in two handed rods on the West Coast May 15-17th in Sandy Oregon , sponsored by The Fly Fishing Shop !

Three reasons to go. Talk about steelhead fishing and rods all day! Free lunch by the best El Burro Loco . Free evening entertainment. Bring the Family!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fly Fishing Book Of Revelation

A book by Jay W. Nicholas

In Review:

What is this book titled “Fly Fishing Book Of Revelation”?  Is this heading like the last chapter in the Bible, predicting the end times of our sport, or is this the mania meanings of words revealed to Jay through his fly-fishing life? If you flip through the pages, open up anyplace, and start to read it sheds some light on the flair and derisive nature Jay has in this book of fly fishing correlated terms and phrases.  Read on and you get a cross between definition and wit. Imagine the entertainment if Ken Kesey wrote the American Dictionary. Well my friends, Jay wrote this for us fly fishing fools! Get it and read it. You’ll be glad you did!

All of Jays books can be found here:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Echo Glass




With so many manufacturers barking the benefits of increasingly faster actions, it's not surprising that veteran rod designer Tim Rajeff would ask "why follow the flock"? 

All-new for 2015, Echo introduces the first major production run of fiberglass Spey and Switch rods in the industry. Why fiberglass? Good question. Fiberglass recovers more smoothly than graphite, giving the caster a better sensation of how the line is loading the rod. Improved feedback through the casting cycle results in a fun, effortless, bug launching. 

Echo Glass Spey and Switch rods feature sensitive tips to protect tippet when slinging surface patterns on a dry line, and plenty of "sneaky power" to catapult long, heavy sink tips with ultimate ease. Steelheaders looking to increase their "hook-to-hand" ratio will be impressed with the way these rods absorb the energy of active, unpredictable fish. 

The Echo Glass Switch and Spey series is available now in the following weights/lengths:



Rods are in-stock and ready to ship. To order, give us a ring at 360.694.2900 

For more information, visit:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Steamboaters

Bend Pool By Rob Elam
Marty and I first fished the Umqua River together in 2004, it was my first time on the Umpqua and I fell in love with the solitude and beauty of the river.  In 2006 after getting hitched on the Deschutes, we drove to the Umpqua for our honeymoon at the Steamboat Inn. 

Ironically, Marty had booked a guide trip for us with Bob Burruss.  Bob was a retired high school football coach that had the enthusiasm and fire or a football coach. We met him early in the morning to secure our first run. As we waited for dawn, we drank coffee and talked fishing. When it was time to rig the rods he noticed I had a double hand and asked, wouldn't you rather cast a single hand. I declined saying "I was much better at casting a two handed rod." Bob was filled with information about exactly where to stand and on what rock. He was also full Umpqua stories and rapid-fire advice to help build confidence and that's what you need to catch an Umpqua River summer steelhead.  

At the end of that first fishless day, Bob suggested a good place for us to start the next morning and wished us well. This is just one of the many great experience we have had over the years fishing the Umpqua. The river produces passionate souls that have a profound commitment to preserving the culture of the fly-water and the wild steelhead. 
Mark swings a fly by Marty Sheppard

If you've fished the North Umpqua then you should know about the Steamboaters. 

"The Steamboaters, organized in 1966. Don Haines suggested the idea for a group "to preserve the natural resources of the North Umpqua" to Colonel Jim Hayden as they traveled together to the Federation of Fly Fishers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Knouses and Andersons seconded the idea at a gathering the next day and Stan Knouse suggested the name Steamboaters "because of its association with the inn where many of its members stay and because of the significance of Steamboat Creek, which enters the North Umpqua at the Station Hole." 

Clarence Gordon was made an honorary member of the Steamboaters, as was Roderick Haig-Brown, the eminent writer from Campbell River, British Columbia. Although he fished the river only once, Haig-Brown later wrote:
“The North Umpqua remains one of the best and most beautiful of summer steelhead streams, and it has the tremendous asset of several miles of water restricted to 'fly only.' The strong flow of bright water is broken up by ledge rock outcrops,the pools are deep and long and hold fish well, and the fish themselves are usually responsive and in excellent shape.”

The Steamboaters are pleased to announce their annual winter social on Saturday April 4, 2015. 

I'm honored to be the guest speaker, presenting on  “Community, Conservation and the Next Generation.”  Educating the next generation of fly anglers and conservationists through mentor ship and community involvement. 

The event will be held, once again, at the Southern Oregon Wine Institute on the campus of Umpqua Community College. The doors will open at 5:00 with appetizers and a wine and beer cash bar, dinner will start at 6:30, and the program will begin at 7:30. Find out more here. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Keep'em Wet

Keepemwet started by Bryan Huskey 5 years ago when he was asked by a local fly club to give a presentation about his trout photography. He outlined anglers' responsibility to be good stewards of the resource and to handle catch & release fish with exceptional care, especially when additional time is taken to photograph fish. He called this portion of his presentation "Keep 'em Wet" that has transended into the hashtag #keepemwet. 

This winter, Native Fish Society  launched the “Keep ‘Em Wet” campaign to increase angler awareness about the negative effects of air exposure to wild fish.

"Don’t take us wrong,  I'm not saying we are purest, we’ve all taken fish out of the water to snap a photo, Native Fish Society staff members included.  But the more we learn about  handling fish we love the more healthy wild fish there will be to catch. 

As an outfitters Marty and I have have practised catch and release techniques from early on, teaching sports how to properly handle fish and how to minimize air exposure when taking photos.   

Even when anglers are taking precautionary measures, like crushing the barb, prolonged air exposure can make it difficult for fish to recover and there are delayed negative effects that may not be apparent even if the fish seems fine when it swims away.

Studies have shown that the longer a fish is exposed to air after exhausting exercise the higher their mortality rates are (Ferguson and Tufts, 1992; Gale et al, 2011).  Even 30 seconds of air exposure reduces a trout’s ability to recover and can provide a significant additional stress even when catch and release fishing (Ferguson and Tufts, 1992).

So, let’s get creative with the way we photograph our wild fish by keeping them wet and in the water.  Here's a few recommendations.  Till May 31st 2015, NFS will be holding a photo contest for the best picture of a wild, native fish from the Pacific Northwest with at minimum its gills in the water."

1. Keep the mouth, gill plates in the water cradling the backside of the fish or hand right under the pectoral fin, not squeezing the fish and  hold the tail with the other hand firmly. 
Wild 2013 photo by Marty Sheppard

2. Hold the tail firmly and lay the fish flat covering the gill plate. 
Winter Buck 2011 by Mia Sheppard

3. If you do feel inclined to take a photo of the fish out the water, quickly lift  for a second or two and then submerge the fish back. If you see there is no water dripping off the fish or its mouth is wide open gasping for air, it's been out of the water way to long. 

How to Enter the Photo Contest

To enter, email your photograph to and we will post it to our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts with the hashtag #keepemwet. The top three photos with the most likes combined will win prizes!

Prizes for the Top Three Finalists
The first place winner will receive a brand new Gary Anderson Custom 12’0” 7wt Spey Rod donated by NFS Board Treasurer Peter Tronquet.  Our two runners up will get to choose between a day of steelhead fishing with Washougal River Steward Steve Lent on the Sandy River and a day of trout fishing with Willamette Valley Regional Coordinator Kyle Smith on the McKenzie River.

The three winning photographs will be published in the Summer 2015 issue of Strong Runs. Let the contest begin, good luck, and Keep Em’ Wet!
- See more at:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Kick Plastic

 I drink out of plastic bottles, forget to bring in my canvas shopping bag when at the grocery story and we provide plastic bottles of water to clients, its a matter of convenience.  With a conscious effort we can all cut back our intake of plastic consummation and change our habits. 

 1 in 10 Plastic bottles will end up in our oceans, and they kill 1 million sea birds each year. Costa is taking the lead and addressing the plastic toxicity .Learn how you can help. 

-          Each year humans produce over 200 Billion Plastic Bottles, 35 Billion in the US alone.
-          After a few minutes of use these bottles last for a thousand years, 10% of them end up in our oceans.
-          They kill 1 Million sea birds each year.
-          In the Pacific Ocean there is a “garbage patch” twice the size of Texas, this is just one of five in our oceans.
-          Over 2/3 of our fish now test positive for plastics.
-          If we work together, we can turn the tides on plastic.
-          The first step is to reduce what we use.
-          Carry a re-usable water bottle and bag.
-          And please recycle what you do use.
-          Because none of us want to live in a plastic sea.
-          Learn more at