Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Two and a half years later...

The question is, should we blog again? Let us know by commenting.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Tale of Three Steelhead

To bad we have lost a cool water refuge in July, August, September that could ultimately help steelhead in neighboring creeks that need a cool place, such as the steelhead from Fifteen Mile Creek. The efforts going into bringing salmon back above Pelton Dam is doing more harm then good. Just my opinion .

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hand, Heart and Soul - The Wader Makers

Throwback to 2004 fishing in Alaska, wearing Simms!
Marty and I have worn Simms waders forever, durability and quality have always been a necessity and Simms provides just that. Over the years, it’s become more than that, we’ve fished, drank beer and shared fishing stories with the great people committed to the quality and innovation. These are the wader makers, product developers, repair department and managers. Here’s the full story behind the great people that make Simms waders the best ! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Your Public Access Being Taken Away - Starvation Lane

No decision was officially made but the talk was that the boat ramp should exist and the proper arrangements need to be made, to do so.  

Overwhelming input from the public (also private land owners) was in favor of keeping this road and ramp open. The Sheriff was great and advocated keeping open. Vowing to respond to any legal issues. The local ranchers were great (they like to fish too). The judge was understanding. State Park agreed to work with Sherman County to plan a legal boat ramp.   There was zero input from the other side. No one spoke in favor of closing the county road to the public river. 

Yesterday was a victory, but a process is ahead to make sure everything stays on course.

If you are passionate about recreation and public land opportunities, you must be informed of what is happening right now on the John Day River. A locked gate has been implemented at an important access point to launch a boat, or take a boat out, on the lower John Day River, managed by the BLM. This is unacceptable and we need your support to not lose this critical and strategic access point. This locked gate takes away the ability to do a day trip in the lower river. It takes away public access and guiding opportunity. Having negative economical effects, on local, rural communities. I have been guiding this stretch of rivers for over 10 years and have regular clients that have grown to love and expect this particular float. In fact, I have trips booked for Friday and Saturday on this now, suddenly, closed section of river. What am I to do? 

The Sherman County court is having a special meeting regarding the issue. Please attend or call in your grievance. Please ask them not to close this public boat ramp!

Special Meeting Wednesday 9am to 11am at the Sherman County Courthouse. Directions here

Call State Parks  541-394-0002 or email: here

Call Sherman County Courthouse 541-565-3606 or email: here

General Advisory From Oregon State Parks:

05/28/2016 to 05/31/2017 
Boaters launching at Cottonwood Bridge (J.S. Burres) will need to take-out at Rock Creek or McDonald Crossing as there is no road access to the river at Starvation Lane. For more information please call the park at 541-394-0002

From the BLM boaters pass website:

Notice: Boaters launching at Cottonwood Bridge (J.S. Burres) will need to take-out at Rock Creek or McDonald Crossing as there is no road access to the river at Starvation Lane.

Taken from the Sherman County Court minutes 5/04/2016:

"Motion by Commissioner Smith, second by Commissioner McCoy, to approve Judge Thomson contacting Oregon State Parks not to install a gate at the river at this time, to not put up a fence on the south side, to use existing fence to allow for large enough turn around, and to recommend State Parks mow the grass down."

Read from the link below starting on page 6 to see how the county got into this predicament in the first place:

 A couple years ago we guided Governor Ted Kulongoskion this stretch of river, he was instrumental in signing the initiative, "park a year" which paved the way for Cottonwood Canyon and opened the boat ramp at Starvation Lane. 

Western Rivers Conservancy conveyed the sale (acquired in 2008) to the State of Oregon, leading to the opening of Cottonwood Canyon State Park in September, 2013.  What a shame it would be, to spend millions of dollars that essentially takes away recreational opportunity. Why? Evidently one landowner complained about county zoning codes, trespassers, illegal campers, and too many people. Interestingly enough, the landowner is new and the old land owner never had a complaint. Also, there is law enforcement to deal with any illegal activity and three separate agencies (BLM, State Police, and County Sheriff) could have been called . They were never contacted! Instead the  court house was contacted to close the road . It seems Mr. Landowner wants all the fun to himself at the expense of us taxpayers and public land owners, us!  The County Road and State Park at Starvation lane are now locked. Bullshit I say! What about you?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Steelhead

Now Booking Summer Steelhead!
Grand Ronde
John Day
Our all inclusively camp trips for Fall Steelhead are very limited and this is your opportunity to get in on one of these amazing multi day adventures for Steelhead. Come see what you have been missing! Groups of 2-4 anglers for 3 to 5 days fully guided on these Wild and Scenic Rivers. Spoil yourself!
Deschutes River

August 22-24
September 1-3

Grande Ronde River

October 22-25

John Day River

November 3-7

These trips are truly awesome. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Little Creek Outfitters, PO BOX 343, Maupin, OR 97037

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cooler, Cleaner Water for the Deschutes River

We appalled the actions DRA has taken to support cooler, cleaner water for the lower Deschutes River .
On May 13, 2016, the Deschutes River Alliance (DRA) sent notification to Portland General Electric (PGE) of DRA’s intent to file suit for violations of PGE’s Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification for the Pelton-Round Butte Hydroelectric Complex.
The Section 401 Certification sets out water quality requirements agreed to by PGE during the dam licensing process and embodied in a document titled “Water Quality Management and Monitoring Plan” (WQMMP). The Section 401 Certification is a required component of the Pelton-Round Butte Complex’s operating license (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission License No. 2030).
PGE’s own water quality reports provide evidence of violations of temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH requirements at the Pelton-Round Butte Hydroelectric Project. The DRA has catalogued over 1,200 specific violations of the 401 Certification that have occurred since operations began at the Selective Water Withdrawal (SWW) Tower at Round Butte Dam on December 31, 2009.

Read more about it here: 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Going the Distance for Casting for Recovery

About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime; this is a startling statistic. Last year I found a way to help women dealing with breast cancer as a volunteer for the Casting for Recovery (CFR) retreat in my home state of Oregon. CFR is a national non-profit support and educational program for women of all ages and in all stages of breast cancer. It provides retreats at no cost to participants, which allow women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to gather in a beautiful, natural setting and learn to fly fish.

At the retreat I witnessed a program that brought hope, gratitude, peace, inspiration, encouragement, and strength to women recovering from breast cancer.  I walked away inspired and fired up to once again use my spey casting skills to raise money for Casting for Recovery and team up with past Spey-O-Rama champion,Whitney Gould .

At the SOR finals, a wind advisor was in effect that day. Gust of 20-35 WNW winds made it far from ideal conditions. Swirling, blustery weather would blow a cast 20 feet back and slam the line on the water. With just 6 minutes to complete 12 casts, it was challenging to have the patience and wait for the “right wind.” It was one of the most interesting competitions to watch.  Despite gusty conditions, both the men and woman made some big cast. Whitney and my combined distance was 265 feet. Based on that, with your pledges we raised over $7000.00 for the CFR Nor Cal and Northern Oregon Retreats. 

 I would like to thank all you that contributed and made this possible. 
Simms, Echo, Gary Anderson Custom Rod, Nautilus Reel, Boggs Trail ButterOwl Creek Flies , Sage Products  Little Creek Outfitters , Royal Treatment Fly Shop, Fanny Krieger, Judith O'keefe, Rebecca Blair,  The Drake , Gink and Gasoline , Deneki , Roger Grummel, Cynthia Ervin, Eunice Higgens, Chris Deleone, George Olmsted, Stephanie Gould, Blue Ribbon Sales, Mark Seligman, Dylan Rose, Doug Morgan, Judith Brown, Paul Ridgway, Mary and Jim Bast, Glen Foster, Nanaette Rich, Paul Nicodemus, Karen Gould, Richard Harrington, Jeff Howard, Genevieve Long, Douglas Jett, Mike Williams, Darryl Gould, Linda Slater, Andrea Warner, Swing the Fly, Anne Vitale, Rob Perkins, Nick English, Catherine Slaugh, Phil Renner, Sharon Gould, Mark Huber, Cheryl Bell, Scott Humphrey, Suzanne Gulick, Steve Egge, Rob Sims, Clay Krull, James Reid, Lee Lashway, Ram Reagan, Rob Stuart, Kate Taylor, Hal Leavell, Poppy Cummins, Lindsay Vincent, Kristen Kinsman, Summer Run Guide Service, Carla  Lessard, William Swindell, Raging River Sales, Saracione, David Beaudry, Glen McCormick , James Reid, Gene Weber ,Ian Reeves and Robin Wright, Denise Bulwinkel ,Diane Moreel ,Sandi Kushnei ,Joanne Winship

Congrats to Steve Egge who won the fishing trip and Andrea Warner who won the casting lesson.
The raffle items went to:
Simms Backpack - Anne Vitale
Sage Rod - Carla Lessard
Nautilus Reel - Mark Huber
Echo Rod - Mike Williams
Gary Anderson Rod - Glenn Foster
Boggs Trail Butter – Summer Run Guide Service
Owl Creek Flies -  Glen

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Public Land your Playground

"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land." Aldo Leopold

Public lands are my play ground and if you hunt or fish in the west, it’s probably your playground too. 
If you have an adventurous spirit; at your fingertips you can walk for miles in solitude and grace, finding rocks unturned and spectacular views. 
Places wild and free, without judgment.  
It's up to us to give this land the highest standard deserved for fish and wildlife.
It's up to us to protect these special places so our kids can experience wild places like we do.

Cedar on high ground
Find the chukar!

Get involved to protect your Public Lands! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Winter Steelhead - Secrets to Success

Winter Steelhead Secrets by Marty Sheppard
 Is the choose to be jack of all rivers and master of none or to truly master a river. 

 I choose to have complete confidence in each day, based on thorough knowledge of my surroundings. Conditions are everything, on the west slope of the Cascades Mountains they change each day. So many rivers within a day drive and I have no desire to explore new haunts.  The goal, for me, is to know every water level, each rock, and the subtle changes to the greatest extent. For the entire winter I am faithful to one river. This bleeds confidence and this assurance hemorrhages success.

These are my secrets to success.

When the river is high and has good clarity you should be there, as the fish will be holding in prime lies.  Often in 2-5 of water right in the middle of your swing! Low, cold, and clear river and the fish like 10-20 feet of water. This is when you need to focus on the deep seams and get down.

Early in the morning, late in the day, and especially in periods of high flows the tactic or temptation of fishing heavy sink tips and weighted flies is completely detrimental to success on my chosen waterway. Fishing a tight line through soft flows in 4 to 5 feet of water with un-weighted fly and light sink-tips compensates for most of the steelhead landed throughout a season. Put on ten feet of t-14 and a weighted fly results in being hung so bad right out in the sweet spot that you almost pull the earth off axis trying to free it up, usually breaking it off, with the whole ordeal spooking any fish in the area.

Take the opportunity during those low flows to learn the river. Often the best fishing is at higher flows and the chance to learn rocks, depressions or drop offs, and subtle channels are right under or behind you as you fish these lows flows. Take note. It’s important for next week when the river doubles in size and you can recall what features exist in that soft run. Low and clear is also the queue to fish deep. Time to get down.

Joe Saracione lands a winter hen.
Some simple points for winter steelhead success:

·         Start short and high in the run. Especially in water you cannot see into. Too many people walk out into the top of a run and strip out the head plus 10 feet of running line and completely miss those chrome creatures tucked into the head of the run and laying 5 feet in front of you.

·         Be consistent and turn over your casts. A predictable fly on the swing gets crushed. I believe the cast that gets the fish to eat is not the cast that created this chance. I believe your last 5 casts are the reason that fish ate! The steelhead saw the pattern of your swings and this primed this critters attitude. When you get that hard grab it is because this fish anticipated the swing. It knew where it would land, how fast the swing would be, and the predictability of it all contributed to the fish knowing it was going to be able to crush your fly! Fish through a run erratically and it is tough to convince the fish to grab let alone hang around. It is much more important to fish at a shorter distance unswervingly than huck out bomber casts that result in Helter Skelter crazy swings.

·         Sharp hooks stick fish. Keep them sticky. Touch a rock? Check your hook. Dull hook? Change or sharpen. It’s a sin to fish so hard all day and finally after all that dedication get grabbed only to come up empty because of a super dull hook that has been ticking bottom on each hang down.

·         Fish hard and fish long. One fish in a day will make it a great day. It only takes one cast to get it done. It could be your first or last cast. Keep positive knowing each one could be the one. If you think your not going to catch a winter steelhead, you likely wont. If you think you are going to catch one you likely will!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Support Veterans with your Next Wader at Simms

Simms is excited to announce a new wader and support an organization helping veterans heal through fly-fishing.Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation (WQW) helps reintegrate traumatically combat-wounded veterans from recent wars into society through fly fishing. 

The employee and ambassadors at Simms are proud about this release and greatly appreciate you helping us reach our goal of raising $100,000 for WQW, these soldiers are well worth it. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Swing the Fly - Going to Print

Marty lands one. photo by Mia
Swing the Fly Going to Print - Only 1 week left to take advantage of the Pre-Sale Pricing!

Our big pre-sale will expire November 1. We need you to subscribe now so we can handle the lofty costs of printing the 1st issue. In doing so, you get the absolute best pricing on the magazine and it is guaranteed for the life of your subscription! 

One more time HERE is where to subscribe.

Here's a few common questions with Zach's answers about the magazine. 

What is happening to the E-Mag?

At this time, we are sorry but we will no longer able to offer the E-Magazine for free. It will absolutely continue to be available but will cost $4.99 per issue. A short preview of each issue and our sponsors will be available before you must pay to view the full issue. Of course, we would prefer you subscribe to the very green, 100% recycled print magazine instead!

If you have trouble subscribing through the software, don't worry. 

To be perfectly honest, the subscription software isn't the most user friendly as we have found out the last couple weeks but it is what we have at the moment. I can tell you it is 100% safe and powered by Stripe which is used by many major companies. If you have a problem, email me (you can respond to this email here!) and I will absolutely take care of it!

If you don't recieve a confirmation email of your subscription, did it go through? 

Please email me here using the email you used to subscribe and your full name and I will verify it for you.

Just how sweet is Swing the Fly in Print going to be?!
Really Sweet! I am so excited to share all this great content in print with all of you!


If anyone has any questions or trouble subscribing please reply here or email me at

I will personally get back to each and everyone of you as soon as possible.

One more time HERE is where to subscribe.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gun Fitting - Becoming a better Wingshooter

Add caption
With the bird season in full swing, it's not to late to have your gun tuned and dream about chukar flying over head and harvesting a couple.  Chukars are fast flyer's. The straighter you shoot the more success you will have.  A gun that mounts properly and fits your swing will increase your success in the field.

My first gun was a classic semi-auto Remington 1100, 12 gauge in the late 90's.  Purchased for $200.00, it was indestructible and a great first gun but eventually the weight and length became cumbersome. I needed a smaller gun.   My next purchase was a kids, Benelli, Nova, 20 gauge.  When I purchased the Nova, I was told to place the butt of the gun on the crook of my elbow and see if the first knuckle of my trigger finger wrapped around the trigger. Then the gun fit.  That was it; I didn’t realize there were other factors involved in helping me shoot straighter.  

A few years ago, I picked up a Hugo CZ, 20 gauge for $400.00. This gun could take a beating on rim rock, basalt hills but I was missing more chukar then I wanted to. I started looking into a professional gun fitting. I wanted to be a better shooter. I could hit clay pigeons but chukar were giving me a fit. 

Close to home, I found, Dennis Earl Smith, the Stock Doctor a custom stock builder for 30 years. A true craftsmen and gunsmith, he also has years of experience fitting guns.   

If you’re buying a gun from a store, shooters usually don’t have an opportunity to choose stock configuration. Because there is no standardization for action size with gun manufactures.  “Every gun manufacture has a unique size, shape and weight of action. You can’t be fit for one type of gun and think that will be the fit for all guns.  Once you have been fitted by a competent fitter you have a starting point to be fitted for different types of action guns.” explains Dennis.    

Dennis in the office
Dennis used two methods to determine the fit of my gun. He wanted to see if where I was shooting was where I was looking. “Shooting is an extension of the hand and eye coordination.  Not something you force and make happen.” speaks Dennis.  Having a gun fit, will help with accuracy and critical for becoming a better wingshooter.

Method 1: Verify that the gun is unloaded. With the gun held in a ready position, pick out a target on a wall, focus on it; close your eyes, mount the shotgun as if you where shooting and reopen your eyes. You should be centered on the target. Your gun should come to the cheek first and then contact to the shoulder. Your dominant eye should be looking down the barrel and you should be squarely on the target every time. Do this several times. If the gun fits you, it will come almost effortlessly to the same position every time as you repeat the process. If the gun is off line or hangs up as you repeat the mount, the stock needs work. 

Method 2: Testing eye position tells the fitter if you need cast on or cast off and drop of the comb.  “The terms 'cast-off' and 'cast-on' are used to describe stock configuration. They refer to the deviation of the butt away from the center line of the gun. A gun with no cast is straight. A line down the center of the barrel will continue straight down the center of the butt stock. With cast-off, the center of the butt is moved in the direction of the shoulder of the shooter. The opposite is true of cast-on, the butt deviating toward the center of the shooter's chest. Either cast-off or cast-on are commonly built into guns. The purpose of both is simply to make it easier to align the eye with the sights.” Bob Spencer, the Fit of a Gun 
My trusted CZ
 Have someone stand in front of you to look down the muzzle as you aim at their nose. They should see that your dominant eye should be at rib level and not off to one side or the other. If they cannot see the pupil of your eye because your eye is to the left of center, this is cast on. If your pupil is to the right of center, it is cast off. If you eye is below the rib, the comb of the stock is too low. If they see the pupil well above the rib, it is very likely that the stock needs more drop at the comb.” 

That day, I discovered, my gun didn’t fit and I hadn't shot straight for 14 years but compensated for it.   The butt needed to be cut almost three inches and the stock was way “cast-off” and needed to be bent to the left.

Most guns on the shelf have a standard size that fit the average person but everyone has a different physical shape and will benefit from getting your gun fit. A professional gun fitting by an experienced fitter is like a shooting lesson. You will learn a lot about your style and how you shoot. Fitting a gun by a traditional fitter can cost from $300 to $1000 and modifications of the stock are generally additional charges. Because I went to a professional stock builder, Dennis didn’t charge for the fitting.  To have the stock modified was about $250.00. 

Other tips:
·         For those that wish to have a tell all about gun fitting check out Mike Yardley – Gunfitting: The Quest for Perfection for Shotguns and Rifles
·         The best place to find a gun fitter near you is to talk to serious shooters or go to your local gun club and ask for recommendations.
Always best to bring the gun you want to be fitted in, no two guns are alike.   "A BMW and Fiat both get you to the same point but they are different animals." chuckles Dennis

I’m not a professional shooter but a bird hunter that wants to hit more birds. If you want to step up your game, shoot straighter and become a better wingshooter; it’s a great idea to have your gun fitted.

Monday, October 5, 2015

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  Find out how Casting For Recovery helps women recover and find hope and how Simms Fishing Products is bringing awareness in October and you can support that effort. 

My grandmother had breast cancer, a good friend lost her life to cancer 5 years ago after numerous treatments and my mother at the age of 60, pasted away from pancreatic cancer 10 years.  Its heartbreaking to see women I love, loss their life's at such as early age. 

Cancer is a disease that can't be ignored.  Casting for Recovery is a non profit that provides hope, at no cost retreat to participants, which allow women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to gather in a beautiful, natural setting and learn to fly fish. The retreats incorporate counseling, educational services and the sport of fly fishing to promote mental and physical healing. CFR currently has 45 retreats in 35 states scheduled for 2011.

Each Casting for Recovery retreat accommodates 14 women, who apply and are selected through a random lottery, and immerses them in the world of fly fishing for two-and-a-half days.

Volunteers share their love of the sport by teaching participants casting, tie the basic knots and all about the bugs . . . “What Fish Eat”. They attend a medical session to learn about and share the latest medical treatments available. Participants also attend an evening gathering to share their emotions and feelings about breast cancer with an experienced Psychosocial Facilitator. On the last day of the retreat, the women are in the water practicing catch and release fishing assisted by CFR staff and men and women “riverhelpers” from local fly fishing clubs. Many of the participants have never picked up a rod in their life but go on to become active in the sport or become volunteers for the Casting for Recovery program.

Ways you can support CFR. Support your local retreat  

Purchase one of these Simms products

Volunteer at CFR

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Come One Come All to the Clearwater Clave

Boy, how they grow up fast! 2009 Clearwater Clave

Don't Miss it! 
DATE: SEPT.26, 2015

World traveling Atlantic salmon guide, Loop two hand casting jedi, spey casting tackle 
designer, principle in the Clearwater Steelhead Syndicate.
"Scandi Casting"

Women's distance champion 2014 Spey-O-Rama, two handed casting instructor, Pacific 
coast steelhead/salmon guide, and Anderson Custom Rods prostaff.
"The Single Spey"

Columbia River spey guide, tackle innovator, member of Gaelforce distance casting team.
"Long Bellies"

Long time PNW steelhead chaser, rod and line design advisor for Sage and SA, head jedi 
for the FFF THCI program, heavy participation in developing the spey line standards for 
the AFTMA.
"Getting a grip on Your Anchor"

Owner of Sagebrush Fly Fishing, CCI, THCI, member of Nextcast distance team, chief 
expediter at Nextcast.
"He didn't tell me, but it will be good"  

THCI, world class distance caster, spey line designer, owner of Ballistic spey lines.
"Mastering the Snake Roll"

Mrs. RedShed and crew. Burgers, hot dogs, beans, macaroni salad, and cookies

Owner PNW Spey Guides, founder/editor of Swing the Fly e-mag, two hand casting 
instructor, spey tackle designer.
"Leave No Stone Unturned"

National sales manager @ Fish G. Loomis, product developement and design @ Airflo 
USA, ambassador @ Simms Fishing Products.
"Understanding the Anchor"

Brian is a world class distance caster, steelhead spey fishing guide, CF Burkheimer 
prostaff. Britta manages Avid Angler Fly Shop. She guides on Washington rivers and the 
beaches of Washington's coast.
" Tools to improve your fishing and casting with short heads and long lines"

FFF CI and THCI, long tine Alaska spey caster, IFFF casting certification board of 
governors, Winston Rods & Ballistic Spey Lines prostaff.
"The Rhythm and Rhyme of Spey Casting"

Mia is a Spey-O-Rama champion, PNW steelhead guide, casting instructor, Simms Guide 
Ambassador, owner of Little Creek Outfitters with husband Marty and Tegan's Mom. 
Tegan is a sweet little gal that's spent a good part of her life around some of the best 
steelhead rivers and steelhead fishermen in the PNW. She loves the outdoors and always 
seems to keep thing interesting where ever she is.
"Fish Handling"