Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Swing the Fly 2.2

Don't miss this issue some great reading on  the history of spey casting, finding a mentor and swinging for trout.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hello October Steelhead

Made in Montana, hooked in Oregon. Photo by Jess Gibson
With the lack of time to tie flies, I'm thrilled when friends gives me a few of their patterns to fish, especially when the flies are tyed by the person that cuts my waders. A few weeks ago I was gifted this red and black fly by Clay Krull, perfect for Deschutes summer steelhead and it paid off.   Clay is Simms' lead fabric cutter, he lays out Locke's blueprints on his 16-yard-long cutting table. Wearing a metal mesh glove, he guides a fabric saw through various thicknesses of the fabric, cutting along razor-thin lines all designed to minimize waste.
Simms-Made in the USA
photo by Brian Grossenbacher’s

"I think I've cut the patterns for 99.9 percent of the waders we've made over the last seven years," Krull says.

The patterns that Locke prints out and Krull cuts are filled with lines that come within a fraction of an inch of each other. Any waste, which is generally thin strips of fabric, is collected for recycling in a bin simply marked "Gore."  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wondering about Deschutes Water Temperatures

If you fish the Deschutes you've noticed changes in  the summer water temperatures, the presence of brown algae, unreliable Macroinvertebrates hatches and steelhead runs are later. Like me, you wonder what is going on and what is being done. Deschutes River Alliance (DRA) has been collaboratively working using, science-based solutions to address basin-wide threats that may adversely affect the health and function of the lower Deschutes River and tributaries.  I've asked Dave Moskowitz of Deschutes River Alliance a few questions. 

Can you  tell me the current status of water releasing and how this is effecting steelhead?  
No data has been released from the Pelton fisheries workshops that were held in March.  Our understanding is that results are very poor. What is available are the trapdata at Pelton, and returning numbers are really poor as well for adults.  I'm talking about reintroduction returns for the arts of the river above Pelton-Round Butte. 

 It seems there is more green and brown algae that I would relate to warm water, is this true? What kind of algae is it?  
The green plants you see in many runs are not algae but a plant.  There is the elodea which is dark green, and then there is a bright green plant that grows in many places as well.  Those are not algae.

The primary algae in the lower river are two species of nuisance algae that are more golden brown or dull beige-green.  These are not invasive but are considered nuisance because they are inedible by bugs and snails. Algae is the base of the food chain but not the primary species we are seeing in the lower river.

The algae is not primarily here because of the temperatures.  The flow regime for the lower river begins in January and there is primarily a top release from Lake Billy Chinook (LBC) and it continues through the spring and early summer.  The warm water may help the algae bloom earlier but the top releases are of nutrient laden waters and they are the principle risk to the lower river.
Have the hatches been effected ? Later or earlier hatches? 
The bug hatches are continuing to be affected.  Few if any March browns.  Very sporadic PMD and PED hatches with some amazing hatches followed by nothing.  Same with caddies.  Blizzard hatches one day, nothing the next.  No crane flies.  Huge midge hatches.  Timing and density appear to be very variable.  Trout guides cannot count on dry fly fishing and often are nymphing to find fish.

Rick Hafele has over 100 observations loaded on our bug hatch app that is being used by guides up and down the River.  We are excited about a second year of reports.  His report from 2013 is available here.

DRA also helped ODFW with a trout survey this spring - their first trout study since 2001 - and that report will be out this fall. 

 What is Deschutes River Alliance doing ? 
We have been doing things that really require expertise on water quality monitoring (we had 14 people in the field for our water quality tests).  We have been limiting the hatch observations to very skilled anglers who know the difference between caddies species, for instance.  

Water temp data can be gleaned from the USGS sites at Madras and Moody.  We have helped PGE place and retrieve water temp devices for two years and have not been given the results.  

We did our own temp profile of the entire lower 100 miles this summer.  Also took pictures of the algae growth from the air.  We will have a bunch of info by late October.

 DRA is trying to use our money wisely so we do not print up color stuff much. Check the website for more info on what we are doing. 

We will be doing more scientific work in 2015 but we will likely be on to much more.  We are in strategic planning mode right now.  
 How can people help?
" Please visit our website and get informed about the issues as we have a ton of information about the Deschutes and what we have learned.  The Hafele Hatch Report is a good place to start.  Stay informed, sign up to receive email and alerts and if you love the Deschutes, please make a contribution of any size!"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Last Chance to tell the EPA to Protect Bristol Bay

Your voice counts! - click here to take action.
Photo courtesy of Maeva and Allison - Bristol Bay Fisherman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Look Snazzy

For a limited time, Simms will contribute 50% of all Ebbtide LS Shirt sales to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, an organization devoted to guaranteeing Americans quality places to hunt and fish bu influencing federal policy. 
Purchase Here

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good Morning...

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Parents and Still Fishing

The best way to get your kids into fishing, start'em early!

In the Ditch from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I was standing there dreaming and the reel started SCREAMING. The line burned my fingers it was going out so fast and I was in to the running line in seconds. I can still see the fish come out of the water, cartwheel and spit the hook, drops of water flying off it, lit by the morning sun. 

That kind of grab.

-a spey bro

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gualala River Petition

The native, ESA-listed salmon and steelhead of the drought-stricken Gualala River, in California, need your help. Thanks in large part to the pressure that we put on the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) a year ago, the CDFW is finally taking action to fix the critically flawed low-flow closure system on the North Central-Coast of California.
Currently, the North Central-Coast Low-Flow Closure is triggered by a gauge on the Russian River, whose flows are highly regulated by dams. The last three years have each had extended droughts in the middle of the winter steelhead season. Each year, the coastal streams have dropped down to mere trickles, yet have remained open to fishing because dam releases keep the Russian up above the low-flow trigger. The ESA-listed fish are forced to congregate into a handful of shrinking holes below restricted passage areas, and then subject to increased angling pressure. It also makes poaching enforcement more difficult when the fish are most vulnerable.
CDFW is preparing regulatory changes to move the trigger for North Central-Coast streams to one or more gauges on rivers that are more representative of the region’s small, undammed coastal streams, like the Gualala. Key issues will be which gauge(s) and low-flow triggers to use, how often CDFW will update its closure status.
The brief comment period ends August 7, 2014, so now is the time to voice our support for an appropriate low-flow closure trigger to protect these ESA-listed winter steelhead and coho from increased angling pressure (and poaching) during the extreme low-water conditions that have become the norm in this part of the state.

Sign the petition now!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Two Hands

Marty, Tegan and I are happy to be a part of this great project. An examination of fisher-people in pursuit of Salmonids with a swung fly and their collective desire to ensure the species survival. Check it out. More to come!

Our Two Hands Kickstarter Campaign Teaser from BLOODKNOTS on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What Steelheading Taught Me About House Hunting in a Sellers Market

The last three months Marty and I have been looking for a house to buy,  every free moment is spent  on the computer looking at the same places over and over; waiting for something new to pop up. We have limited ourselves to the little town of Corbett because we transferred Tegan to Corbett Grade School after spring break. The school is ranked 2nd in Oregon, for good reason, every student participates in music, art and the style of teaching is a continuous progress model .(Not to create more competition) the Corbett school district is  incredible and the location is very desirable,, the Sandy River is minutes away and Portland is a 30 minute drive. This is not a buyers market so we have started looking else where.

We have heard of houses selling that never hit the RLMS and never had a chance to look at. We've looked at crack houses listed for 185,00 and fixers for 325,000. We've made offers on two places; outbid once and the second is pending (found out the septic was bad but still put in an offer for 20,000 less) discouraged .. yes...and...

This house hunting is cutting into our fishing time. 

In the quest to buy and keep my sanity I started thinking about the strategies of house hunting and how similar they are to hunting steelhead.

This is the conclusion:

* When inventory is low (or steelhead numbers) don't get discouraged... keep searching there's one out there. 

* If a house comes on the market be the first one there, get yourself in position to make the first offer...  Watch dam counts (for summer steelhead) watch for a dropping river and when you see the opportunity, be ready and be the first one out there to grab the prime spot. 

* Don't force it, if it's meant to be it will happen. Some people say a steelhead picks you. 

We're ready, anytime...    Do you have any house hunting tips?

Monday, June 2, 2014

National Fishing and Boating Week

Marty stays cool and calm in a full boat. 

This is National Fishing and Boating week. In a perfect world we would all get the week off to de-stress, promote conservation and go fishing.  Take a day and get on the water this week with family and friends or participate in a local activity that promotes fishing, conservation and having fun.

This is a week to:

  • De-stress: Boating is ranked as one of the top 3 of all stress-relieving activities
  • Connect with Nature: 90% of Americans live within an hour of navigable water
  • Help Conserve: The funds from your fishing licenses and boat registrations go towards the conservation of our natural aquatic areas

 Oregon it's Free Fishing Weekend June 7th-8th. Check out whats going on in your state HERE.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


You will be missed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fun With Little Creek Outfitters!

We have opportunities for you! 
June on the John Day River is right around the corner. Bass trips are for the angler looking for serious fun! We have an opening for your group no matter how small or large. 

August-October we have a Deschutes steelhead trip ready to plan with you. Jet boat or drift boat to accommodate your desire. Lets do this!  

In November we have the much sought after John Day Steelhead. These trips fill fast and we happen to have a few openings. We don't want you to miss out on this!

(503) 819-4035

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bizarro world

In the Bizarro world of "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! 

This is where we went fishing last week.
Bizarro World. 
Our guides instructions where opposite of our understanding and we went along with it to amazing success. As a guide you realize the importance to following instructions. We are fascinated by steelhead and how each strain, river, and behaviour is different for every basin. In guiding many different rivers in Oregon it is amazing to observe the subtle and not so sly differences. 

One particular river we fished last week held very large steelhead. They were grabby fish too. It was epic. Each and every great looking bucket, run, pool, hold, pocket had little to mostly no fish. Thats right, empty! And we did quite well. Basically we fished all the water that looked void, empty, and featureless. What? 

Welcome to bizarro world, where winter steelhead eat skaters, presentation matters not, and 20lb steelhead hold behind a rock the size of a baseball.

Even so bizarre, Brian Silvey smiled...Once.

 So bizarre, these dark bucks had sea lice!

The not so bizarre:
The fish fought hard, we worked for every one, and as usual had tons of fun!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fly Fishing Collaborative

 Fly Fishing Collaborative, a group of dedicated anglers using their fly fishing skills to inspire social change and a humanitarian approach to fishing, by helping children affected by human trafficking.

fly fishing collaborative from Ian Pratt on Vimeo.

Monday, April 14, 2014

SOR and Casting for Recovery Update

Teresa, Me and Rebecca
Wonderful time at SOR this year, with great food and spirits, super company and amazing casting from the men and women, it’s impressive to see records being broken (Travis Johnson making a 198 foot cast) and the women making cast over 140.  The limits keep getting pushed, the casters keep progressing and new competitors enter each year .

Happy to raise funds again for the Northern California and Northern Oregon CFR retreats based on my longest cast.  (Made a 142 and still have the current record for longest cast!)  Congrats to all the women for kicking ass this year!

CasterLeft sideRight side
Left SnakeLeft SingleRight SnakeRight SingleTotalLongest
  Whitney Gould129132138135534138
  Mia Sheppard130142124129525142
  Marcy Stone116123132130501132
  Kara Knight116105117135473135
  Donna O’Sullivan122110109128469128
  Adrienne Comeau111111110125457125

Much gratitude for all the support and a big thanks to Rebecca Blair, Teresa LaBlanc for keeping me on track. GaryAnderson , Joe and Deloris Saracione and Simon Heish (Nextcast Products)  and Simms Fishing and Costa Sunglasses for the awesome gear, Franny Krieger for the hosting Tegan and I (Tegan really enjoyed her time with you) Travis Johnson for always talking me into competing and big hugs to Marty for putting up with me.   Special thanks to all that donated: Whitney Gould (Congrats on 1st!) Doug Morgan, Rebecca Blair, Will Johnson, Chris Wilson, Scott Humphreys, Bill Swindell, Judith O’keeph, Tim Purvis, Emily Untalan, Henry Carlile, Ken Johnson, Larry Lessard, Jeffery Howard, Doug Morgan, Doug Ballinger, Paul Ridgeway, Eric Adema, Mark Heath, Anne Vitalie, Steve Egge, Teresa LeBlanc, Larry Friedman, Debbie Mathis, Joann Martinez, Paul Gatti,  August Abellar, Anthony Conte, Ingrid Medina, Steve Gomes, Marke Estis, Byron Jones, Kenji Muro, Fanny Krieger, Ken Morando, and many more that signed up at the ponds, sorry I don't have everyones names at this moment.  

My longest cast was 142 and Doug Morgan was the closest guessed 144.5, call me, let’s get a date on the calendar!   Mark Heath wins the Gary Anderson rod.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Casting For Recovery

Update April 12th- Gary Anderson just donated a 6126 double hand rod. Make a donation and have a chance at winning this rod!

Spey-O-Rama is right around the corner and yes, I’m participating again, Marty thinks I’m nuts but I love it!  On April 11-13 you will have the opportunity to watch some world class spey casters compete at the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club ponds-- and to help raise money for a wonderful cause – Casting for Recovery CFR.    Once again, and as part of that effort, I will be sponsoring a CFR pledge drive.  

Casting for Recovery is a national non-profit support and educational program for women of all ages and in all stages of breast cancer. The funds raised this year  will directly benefit CFR retreat participants in Northern Oregon and Northern California.  For more information on CFR, please refer to the website.

To make a donation, please click on the following link to download a form.   : http://form.jotform.com/form/10195517743

This year, make a donation and take a guess at the distance of my longest cast and win a guided trip on the Sandy River. If there are more than two people that get it right then the names will go in a hat.  Write  what you think will be my longest cast in the comment box on the form.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sponsor a Protester!

Must say this is cleaver! 

With Sandy river hatchery plants cut by half, stray rates below 10%, wild broodstock programs suspended and a precedent setting federal court ruling, the Three Rivers Sportman’s Alliance (a pro-hatchery “political action committee”) is planning to protest the NFS upcoming Annual Benefit Banquet and Auction April 11th.  

In response, Native Fish Society supporters and members have asked to provide an opportunity to raise additional support for wild fish by donating per protester. 

If you'd like to sponsor a protester please email tracy@nativefishsociety.org with your name, the amount you would like to donate per protester and your phone number. Thank you for all your support for wild, native fish!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cast and Blast at Sunwolf

Cast & Blast April 4th-6th is a FREE event geared towards bringing unity, education, fellowship and fun into our community of Steelheaders. It is the perfect event to introduce new anglers to the pastime that we love so much. All of the educational events are completely free and are open to anyone.  There will be demos on casting, fly-tying and fishing or try the fly mini golf coarse.  Be sure to get your tickets for the Steelheaders’ Dinner April 7th to benefit the Steelhead Society of British Columbia, a fantastic organization that works hard to protect wild Steelhead and the habitat that they depend on. Get involved, sign up for the Ironfly tying contest and take part in our Fly Cast Mini Golf casting tournament.

The venues for the Cast & Blast is at the Mamquam Bar and the Sunwolf Conference Centre.

SUNDAY APRIL 6th sign up for the Western Canada Speycasting Championship at  Alice Lake Provinicial Park

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Steelheaders Passage

Words By: Asher Koles of Bloodknots Fly Fishing Photos by:Asher Koles and Bryan Roller

The water we fish is a part of us. We are protective, secretive, but  willing to open the lines of communication with people from all sides of the spectrum without spoiling the sense of discovery one receives as a steelheader . It’s not because we don’t want other anglers and guides to catch fish. It has much more to do with the process, experience and body of knowledge we have built through grinding out days in high water, low water, and prim-o conditions. Through hooking fish, farming fish, falling apart mid-run, scouting water, loosing flies, having banner days and heart crushing dry spells. Revealing the conclusions from those experiences would spoil one's passage as a steelheadders. We don’t want to diminish the discovery but be willing to guide anglers to the steelhead passage and educate on respecting the resources .

Mia and Marty’s devotion to the steelhead is apparent upon first meeting them. Their fervor for swinging flies, guiding, and protecting these fish has inserted itself into every aspect of their lives. Their daily routine is dictated by the ebb and flow of their home waters. They play an integral role in the community of fisher people, guides, industry folks and conservationists in their region that are all connected to these fish. Their livelihood is based on the health and sustainability of the river systems and the return of wild steelhead. It was very apparent that they would give up that part of their lives to ensure the health and longevity of wild steelhead.

Our foray into this community was intimidating at first. Our experience with people that swing flies, was that they were generally vague, covert, elusive and purposely baffling about their practices. Bring a camera into the room and things get quiet quick. We are as guilty of this behavior to anyone outside our circles as much as the next guy. From our first introduction to Mia, Marty, Brian and their friends we got the feeling that this tight knit culture was in turmoil. Not only the steelhead, but the anglers and organizations that are involved in one way or another were at odds concerning the best way to manage the future of the fish, river-ways, and economic opportunities that beckon. 

What keeps coming to mind in all of these different aspects of protecting and managing steelhead is the simplicity of the fish. The fish has few goals: be at the top of the food chain, and pass on the best genes to the next generation to ensure biological succession. The goals of anglers and interest groups are convoluted and anthropocentric at their core. We want to catch fish. Some of us want to catch and release wild fish, some want to harvest fish. We want to do it a certain way. We think some ways are better than others. What we all have in common is the connection to the fish and the rivers.

When explaining the passion we have for steelhead, we are commonly asked, “Well if you care so much about this fish, why do you potentially threaten their well being by catching them?”. Before spending time around the Sheppards and their friends, that was a hard question to answer. The anglers are the reason these fish have any protection. Without the stewardship of the angling community, the fisheries and natural resources that are connected would continue to be mismanaged by politicians and government entities that have no tactile interactions with the ecosystems. We are the voice of the fish. It’s a double edged sword in many ways because of the multitude of the connections people have to these fish, but at the end of the day we as anglers, guides, scientists, politicians and conservationists must come to common ground on deciding the future of wild steelhead. The fish will keep running, spawning, doing their part. Let’s ensure that they are in a position to do so for both species sake.

Project Background:
Bloodknots is in the process of crafting a documentary on the connections the steelhead angling community, scientists and conservationists have to these fish. What drives both these species (human, salmonid) to go to such lengths to make the connection (swung flies and drive to the home waters)? Investigating what the primary threats are to the fish, what is making their journey harder than ever, and what are the passionate anglers, conservationists and scientists doing to restore sustainable conditions and populations?

Stay tuned on the film’s progress on our website, www.bloodknots.com and our blog, http://bloodknots.tumblr.com

Friday, March 21, 2014

Little Fish, Big Deal

The return of smelt to the Sandy River over the last few weeks brings back memories of my childhood; dip netting for the herring sized fish with ease with my family in the late 70's.. It also reminds me of the rich and diverse ocean food web that is so crucial to steelhead survival. Salmon and steelhead spend 3 or 4 years feeding in the ocean and rely on an abundance of oily, protein-rich forage fish like smelt to survive their long journey back to their spawning grounds.

A healthy ocean ecosystem is important to anyone who fishes the many salmon bearing streams and rivers in Oregon. Unfortunately, we are not always aware of what’s happening outside of the river system. Forage fish are dynamic species and many factors affect their abundance including water temperature, fishing pressure, and shoreside development.

The smelt have been noticeably absent over the past few years and were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2010. It’s not uncommon for these fish to disappear for years and then return in huge numbers. This year’s run looks to be at least 20-miles-long containing millions of smelt. Many anglers are reporting partially digested smelt in the stomachs of spring Chinook and Marty witnessed  sturgeon in the Sandy mowing down on the smelt buffet this week  as well as bald eagles and other birds of prey. It is one of the most incredible sights to see.

It’s ironic to witness this considering we just signed a petition last week to protect these small bait fish.

The Pew Charitable Trusts works with the Pacific Fishery Management Council to protect forage species in the ocean to help ensure that they are accounted for as an important part of the ecosystem and a critical food source for predatory fish such as salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and tuna. The Council will be looking at how to manage these critical species at their meeting in Vancouver, Washington on April 10th and they need to hear from anglers like you. To learn more about their work and take action to protect this vital food source for our steelhead, click here. 

By Mia Sheppard and Tara Brock - contact Tara- Campaign Associate for Forage Fish for additional info 503-221-7922 x 224

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Get your March Madness on with a Spey Clinic

Free Spey Casting Clinic

with Brian Silvey, Marty, and Mia Sheppard
Come try out rods and lines by Rajeff Sports and Gary Anderson

At Oxbow Park On Saturday March 22nd from 1pm-3pm at the Boat Ramp. 

Bring your waders and Gear!