The Role of Chinooks
Spey Rod Selection

Fly Tying
Fly Rod Test Drive
Sandy Watershed

FREE! Beginning Fly Tying Class Dec. 3  Click For Details 

Picture compliments of: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Bonito-     
In the family of Scombridae which includes Mackerels and Tunas. These are high speed fish which run down their prey in the open Ocean.  They are beautifully streamlined and very hard.  Bonito 
have tremendous pulling power.  Ten weight gear doesn't over-power them.  They eat smaller fish such as Anchovies and Sardines which average 1 1/2" to 4" long.    During certain times of the year they will eat chum or chunked bait and strike drifting flies.  Most of the time they will only eat small live fish.  During these periods they can be very selective to streamers which mimic this bait very closely. BONITOS PULL HARD FOR THEIR SIZE.
BONITOS ARE HARD AND VERY HYDRODYNAMICALY SHAPED. The trick is to move the fly very quickly.  Bonito loose interest in a slow moving fly.  For this reason it is very difficult to run up on a feeding school and then cast.  Even with the boat out of gear it will still coast toward the school.  It is nearly impossible to strip the fly fast enough to pull out the increasing slack in the line let alone move the fly.  It is better to let the boat coast past the school so that the momentum of the boat pulls the slack
from the line and increases retrieval speed.  A fly rod record can only be obtained when a fish is hooked while the boat is not in gear.  The world record Atlantic Bonito is 18 pounds, 4 ounces.  If you are not interested in world records, these fish are very easy to hook while trolling the fly.   More Bonito Pictures.                                     To Top


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(continued from 11/20 The Fly Fishing Shop Insider)
Are They More Than Grist For The Mill?  (final installment)
To protect and anchor their eggs in the river bottom, female Chinooks dig depressions in the riverbed with their tails. These depressions are created by the tail being used as a shovel and also by the hydraulics being created by the oscillations of the tail in the water. The eggs are deposited with milt from the male Chinook in the bottom and trailing edge of the depression. The depression is filled and the trailing edge is mounded over with a layer of silt free gravel. This site is called a redd.
Chinook redds are often tipped up into the current. The rear interior wall of the redd is usually composed of sand and silt that has collected down stream from the digging. In a large excavation this can form a mound that is three feet higher than the bottom of the depression. The mound often assumes a shape that is flattened or slightly cupped in the front and fan shaped at the rear. This mound my be called a sand dune. 
These dunes are most prominent in rivers, which carry heavy loads of volcanic sand, such as the main stem Sandy, Zig Zag and Deschutes below the mouth of White River. This is because of the availability of building material. These kinds of rivers have plenty of sand to build mounds. However this type of structure is also most efficient at keeping the redd from plugging with sand and destroying the water flow which oxygenates the buried eggs.                                                                         To Top
A layer of course rock is deposited on the tilted upstream side of this silt mound. The gravel is chosen so that it builds a strata that is devoid of silt and water passes trough it easily. This porous strata is also designed to catch the eggs and milt as they flow from the spawning fish. This will become the interior of the redd. This is where the eggs will incubate.  

Over this nursery is deposited a shield consisting of lager and larger stones. This layer also allows water to pass through it with little restriction. The heavy rock keeps the redd from eroding.

Water flows through the front wall of the redd and is deflected by the rear wall of silt. The water flows into the redd from the bottom and out the top. This keeps silt from collecting inside the redd and thus insures the complete oxygenation of the eggs. If the eggs were deposited in a depression below the level of the riverbed, they would quickly become buried in sand and smother.

Spawning pairs of Chinooks often join redds side by side in rows. The upstream edge of these elongated dunes often rises steeply from the riverbed. The upstream face of the dune is composed of course gravel and the backside is sand and silt. In areas where many Chinooks spawn together these dunes may form rows which run perpendicular to the current flow. Between these dunes are trenches filled with soft flows. This wash board contour slows the water flowing along the bottom of the river. These are favored resting areas for several species of fish including trout, steelhead and whitefish.                                                                                                            To Top

The digging and shaping of Chinook redds creates gravel deposits which can later be used by smaller fish. Since Chinooks are early fall spawners the gravel deposits that they create are already prepared for later spawning species such as steelhead, coho and trout.  

Spring Chinook dunes in the Salmon River trap smaller gravel along the edge of the river. In the spring this gravel is actively sought out by spawning pairs of winter steelhead. In the lower Sandy River steelhead spawn in the leading top edge of fall Chinook dunes. The hydraulics created by the dune also keeps their eggs free from slit.

Since the Chinook redd is designed to allow water to flow through it, there are a lot of holes between the rocks which have built it. These holes are prime habitat for many species of insects such as mayflies, stone flies and caddis. Chinook spawning areas are very rich in insect life. Leaches and sculpins are also very prominent in Chinook redds. These organisms are food for various sizes of larger fish.                       To Top

Historic records of hatchery egg takes show that the size of returning adult Chinooks has changed very little over the years. Sandy River basin adult Chinooks average fourteen to twenty five pounds, with some specimens up to forty pounds. The average steelhead is seven to eleven pounds. The average coho is five to eight pounds.

Chinooks are the largest salmonids that spawn in our watershed. Their larger size means that they can exploit larger gravel than smaller fish. Big Chinooks are powerful enough to move grapefruit size rocks around. This is a different part of the streambed than is utilized by steelhead, which prefer golf ball size gravel. Resident trout are only large enough to move marble size stones.

Chinooks spawn during the lowest flows of the season. This means that they utilize the center of the streambed. Their fry tend to stay in the middle, deeper parts of the river. They don't compete for food or space with other species, which spawn later in the season when river flows are higher.

Steelhead, trout and coho spawn in small tributaries or along the margins of rivers. Often they spawn in places, which didn't have enough water when the Chinooks were spawning. Each specie is designed to exploit a different size of gravel and therefore has different spawning habitat requirements. Their fry are also genetically designed to exploit this environment. They usually rear close to the redd through early development. In this way the fry of different species tend to remain separated through infancy and don't compete with each other.  

As trout and steelhead get larger they require more individual space. As they grow they seek deeper and deeper water. Older fish will often find holds in the middle of the river. Some of the best holding water is in the drop-off behind a series of Chinook redds. These areas are often very rich in insect life. Here there is depth for cover and soft flows which make living secure and easy. This is also the prime area for intercepting emerging Chinook fry. Trout and juvenile steelhead migrate to these areas and there is often enough food and space to support large numbers. The larger fish rigorously defend the prime spots. Smaller fish patrol the margins.  

Chinooks are big strong fish that are a challenge to catch and are good to eat. But, the importance of healthy Chinook runs go beyond just being grist for the human mill. They are an indicator specie for the health of entire watersheds.                         To Top

There is a WIDE Selection of Spey Rods in stock at: 

SAGE               9140-4         14' #9     =  $700
SAGE               9150-4         15' #9     =  $725
ST. CROIX       14010        14' #9/10   =  $240
ST. CROIX       15011       15' #10/11  =  $260
REDINGTON     RF1308/9    13' #8/9   =  $250
SCOTT              ARC 1308/3     13' #8  =  $685
SCOTT              ARC 1409/4     14' #9  =  $745
SCOTT              ARC 1509/4     15' #9  =  $745
SCOTT              SAS  1409/3    14' #9  =  $420
REDINGTON       RF1409/10  14' #9/10 =  $250

We've got the widest selection of spey lines too!
From RIO, Scientific Anglers, Cortland & Wulff.
Custom lines by special order.

A full selection of large and standard arbor spey reels by: Abel, Bauer, Ross, Lamson, Teton, Redington, Scientific Anglers & Tibor.  

Private four hour spey casting class = $150.  By appointment.  Rod/Reel Outfit provided.

***  The Universal Minnow

HOOK:  Mustad 34011 or TMC 777sp, #1/0 - #6

THREAD: white 3/0 Uni
BODY: pearl Lite-bright
BACK: rabbit Zonker strip in white, yellow, pink,
chartreuse, blue black, olive, gray.
This is a very simple, thus expendable bait fish fly.  It ties quick.  This pattern is also very good when tied on a 1 1/2" plastic tube.   Flies tied like this have accounted for most fresh and saltwater species of game fish.                                                                                                           To Top           

If you would like to read a  detailed Deschutes River Fishing Report, click here.


Fly Rod Test Drive - Sage 1090-5 RPLXi 
(Field Test - Florida Keys Bonito -11/11/00)   Don't kid yourself.  More ferrules doesn't mean less casting performance or durability.  Sage's new 5 piece 10 weight travel rod is awesome to cast and will take all of heavy fish lifting you can give it.  From my perspective the 1090-5 RPLXi out performs Sage's 2 and 3 piece models. The 5 piece configuration really cuts down on the length of the travel luggage.  
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*  Sandy River Fishery Information Bank

Daily Fishing Report
Watershed Over-view
Sandy River Book
Biology Etc. 
Watershed Council Web Site
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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty

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