Deschutes Redsides, Jimmy Legs Fly, Rio Gold Line

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Deschutes Redsides
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Deschutes Redsides aka Redband Trout?
Our friend, Eric. Photo by Josh Linn
The Deschutes River has a year around fishery for wild trout.
If you are an angler living in western North America, you have the good fortune to live near beautiful streams and lakes and the opportunity to fish for a variety of native trout. According to Dr. Robert Behnke, probably the best-known authority on western trout in the U.S., there are about 22 subspecies of trout native to western North America. This number includes just subspecies of cutthroat and rainbow trout and not native char (Dolly Varden and bull trout) or whitefish.  I also said “about” 22 subspecies because there is still on-going debate about the correct number. In this mix there is a particular native rainbow trout that dominates the waters of the Columbia basin that goes by the name “redband.”  If you fish streams and rivers in the Columbia basin east of the Cascade Mountains you are quite likely catching redband trout, and one of the best places to catch these wonderful trout is in the Deschutes River of central Oregon.  It’s easy to take for granted the uniqueness of these native trout and what an amazing history they have.
Deschutes Redside...
The beautiful redbands of the Deschutes River are locally called “redsides” for the red band of color along their sides.  Uniquely adapted to the conditions in the Deschutes and other Columbia basin streams, redband trout represent a special link to the past.
Redband trout of the Columbia basin go by the scientific name of Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri.  Rainbows on the west side of the Cascade Mountains are referred to as coastal rainbows and have the scientific name Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus. If you have a hard time telling these two subspecies of rainbow apart you’re in good company.  There’s been decades of debate and confusion about how to classify the different forms of rainbow trout.  In fact for a while in the early 1900’s redband trout were called silver trout and considered to be a form of cutthroat trout, a result of the fact that several characteristics of redbands are closer to cutthroat than to coastal rainbow. There’s another rainbow that gets included in this confusion, the Kamloops rainbow of the upper Fraser River basin in British Columbia.  The Kamloops rainbow has off and on been considered a unique subspecies from the Columbia redband trout.  According to the current classification, however, the Kamloops rainbow and Columbia basin redband are in fact the same, Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri. 
Young Redside...
Redband Trout only get their brilliant colors when they reach sexual maturity. This fish has never spawned.
A little geologic and evolutionary history can help put some perspective on the current distribution of trout throughout the Columbia and Snake River systems, at least before man started planting hatchery trout everywhere.  Cutthroat trout were apparently the first trout present in the Columbia/Snake Basins, finding their way up the Columbia and into the interior west more than 500,000 years ago.  This is based on fossils of cutthroat from the Lahontan basin that are over 600,000 years old.  Also, cutthroat were the only trout found above all the barrier falls in the Columbia Basin (these include falls on the Kootney, Pend Oreille, Spokane, and Snake Rivers).  The area above these falls was only accessible before the beginning of the last glacial period, which was about 64,000 years ago. Since no rainbows occurred naturally above these falls, cutthroat had to be present in the basin first and before the falls became barriers.
Kamloops & Redsides may be the same...maybe...
Another piece of the puzzle appears to be that the earliest relatives of redband trout originated quite far south in the Gulf of California, with the first redband populations living in the Sacramento-San Joaquin basin about 150 thousand years ago.  Then by 70,000 years ago redband trout found their way into the interior of eastern Oregon by way of the headwaters of the Deschutes River or across a low divide within the Klamath Basin. These populations in the interior great basin (southeast Oregon and northern California and Nevada) later become isolated and now show some unique characteristics that some say should separate them from redband trout of the Columbia basin.
** Redband trout of Oregon's SE interior basins (Klamath, Goose Lake, Chewaucan, Fort Rock, Warner and Catlow) are separately classified as Oncorhynchus mykiss newberrii. 
It is also believed that redband rainbows had established interior resident populations that included the upper Fraser River Basin (the Kamloops trout connection) before coastal rainbow spread throughout the region starting around 30,000 years ago.  Thus redband trout in the Columbia basin were present in the interior streams of the basin for thousands of years before coastal rainbows established themselves in coastal streams.  While this general picture appears to have agreement among fisheries professionals, there is still ongoing study into rainbow trout taxonomy and historical distribution patterns throughout the west and the Columbia/Snake region in particular.
The Deschutes is truly unique...
The Deschutes River has one of the best native redband trout populations of any stream in the Columbia basin.  These unique trout have been living in the Deschutes River for around 70,000 years, and still thrive today. 
Locally, Deschutes River redbands are called “redsides” due to the common bright red band along the sides of the body.  Like other redband trout, Deschutes redsides also show faint yellow or orange slashes under the lower jaw, similar to cutthroat trout.  This sometimes tricks anglers into believing they caught a cutthroat or a rainbow-cutthroat highbred, when it is actually a natural color pattern of many redbands.
For those who fish the Deschutes there is another interesting twist in trout history. The White River, a major tributary to the lower Deschutes, contains a genetically different strain of redband than the Deschutes River.  The basic theory is that sometime between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago redband migrated into the White River when it was accessible above the current barrier falls now located about two miles upstream from the Deschutes.  The redbands in the White River have now been isolated from Deschutes and other Columbia basin redbands for around 30,000 years and retain several more primitive characteristics than redbands in the rest of the Columbia basin. This again points out the complex history of native trout and why they need protection.
About 25-million years pictured...
The Deschutes Canyon took millions of years to form into the unique ecosystem it has become.
While there may still be debate about some of the details, this is clear: When you hold a native Columbia basin rainbow, i.e. redband trout, in your hands you are holding a unique species of trout that has survived in the basin for upwards of 70,000 years.  These fish represent an amazing connection to the past that we shouldn’t take for granted.
If you want a chance to find out more about these beautiful redband trout of the Deschutes River, and especially how to catch them, Rick Hafele along with Mark Bachmann of the Fly Fishing Shop have a unique 3-day, on the river class to do just that and more.  We call it the “Trout Fishing PhD Program,” and it will be held June 9-11.  Call: 1-800266-3971 to sign up.  Only 8 lucky anglers get to go!!  Click for mor info...

** "Redband trout of Oregon's SE interior basins (Klamath, Goose Lake, Chewaucan, Fort Rock, Warner and Catlow) are separately classified as Oncorhynchus mykiss newberrii."  Because the subject of Rick's latest article is scientifically complex, and contains opinions that are still under scrutiny by the scientific community, we asked ODFW biologist, Bob Hooton to edit Rick's work. Bob added the text in red. MB

Jimmy Legs Fly
This fly has really taken off on rivers such as the Sacramento, Yakima and Deschutes. It's kind of a jazzed up girdle bug, but with different material used in the construction of the legs. This fly is crawly in the water and a very good golden stone / skwala stone nymph imitation.  Jimmy Legs are weighted with .015 lead wire for a moderate sink rate. The most productive way to fish Jimmy Legs is under a strike indicator.
Click for Jimmy Legs Video...
Brown Trout snackin on the Jimmy Legs!

Jimmy Legs

Item Description Size Price To Top
NSF0089 Jimmy Legs Fly 8 3 for $5.50 SALE ENDED

Doc scores at Rocky Ridge, even when he isn't there.
Josh Linn
Josh Linn fishing the Chironomid hatch during a snow storm on Wild Rose Lake.
Last Thursday & Friday, if it wasn't blowing, it was snowing. The trout weren't very happy about it, and became extremely selective in what they ate. Our friend Doc, is a gnat specialist. He may know more about Chironomids than any other angler we've met. He got that knowledge by fly fishing on lakes for a lot of years and paying a lot of attention to what goes on around him. He gave Josh a couple of his secret Chironomids flies. (Don't worry Doc, they will remain secret). Those flies proved to be very popular with Rocky Ridge Ranch trout. It just goes to prove that a young man can never have enough older successful advisers...

RIO Gold Fly Fishing Line
Buy Rio Gold
The Ultimate Fly Line.
A revolutionary taper design allows tremendous loop stability at distance and a unique weight distribution loads a rod at close range for easy casting. The front taper delivers perfect turnover and presentation of flies between sizes #22 and #2, making this the best general purpose, all round fly line on the market.
The long back taper is excellent for mending and for roll and single handed spey casting and the color change between the head and the running line makes it easy to find the perfect load point for each cast.
Line Specifications

The lines features RIO's new Extreme Slickness Technology for an extraordinarily slick, dirt-repelling coating; in addition RIO's AgentX and Super Floatation Technologies ensure the line tip and running line remain floating high. As with all of RIO's premier trout lines a small, neat welded loop in the front end makes it easy to change leaders.

WF3F – WF5F; Length: 90 ft (27.4 m)
WF6F – WF9F; Length -100 ft (30.5 m)
Color: Moss/Gold   and   Melon/Gray Dun New for 2010 !!!

Rio Gold in two colors !!!
Item Description Size Price To Top
21227 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, COLOR Moss with Gold shooting line WF3F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21228 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, COLOR Moss with Gold shooting line WF4F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21229 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, COLOR Moss with Gold shooting line WF5F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21230 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, COLOR Moss with Gold shooting line WF6F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21231 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, COLOR Moss with Gold shooting line WF7F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21232 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, COLOR Moss with Gold shooting line WF8F $69.95 SALE ENDED
Item Description Size Price To Top
21247 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, Melon with Gray Dun shooting line WF3F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21248 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, Melon with Gray Dun shooting line WF4F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21249 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, Melon with Gray Dun shooting line WF5F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21250 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, Melon with Gray Dun shooting line WF6F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21251 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, Melon with Gray Dun shooting line WF7F $69.95 SALE ENDED
21252 Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line, Melon with Gray Dun shooting line WF8F $69.95 SALE ENDED

Rio Gold Fly Fishing Line Specifications

Line Length
Running Line
Rear Taper
Front Taper
Total Head
30 Ft
WF3F 44 0.033 19 22 0.045 5 0.5 0.034 46 164 106 90 15
WF4F 44 0.034 19 22 0.048 5 0.5 0.035 46 193 126 90 20
WF5F 43 0.035 19 23 0.05 5 0.5 0.036 47 228 146 90 20
WF6F 52.5 0.036 19 23 0.054 5.5 0.5 0.037 47.5 266 168 100 20
WF7F 51.5 0.037 19 23.5 0.057 6 0.5 0.038 48.5 312 193 100 20
WF8F 50.5 0.038 19 24 0.06 6.5 0.5 0.039 49.5 359 218 100 25

Rio MainStream Spey Line
Rio's MainStream Fly Lines are targeted to the overall needs of the average fly fisher. MainStream fly lines are are designed to optimize rod performance over a wide range of applications. This line has a mid-length head and tapers that empower the novice to make fishable casts under a wide range of fishing conditions. Lack of unnecessary parts reduces cost.

Winter steelhead...

 The MainStream spey line is a slightly shortened version of Rio's famous WindCutter line that dominated the Spey casting scene for over ten years. MainStream Lines undergo the same rigorous production processes and quality control standards as all Rio products, and are all made in Rio's factory in Idaho. The MainStream Spey line is and easy casting, interchangeable tip line with a head length of 50'. The line comes with three tips: a 15' floating tip, a 15' type-3 and 15' type-6 sinking tip.
Item Description Size Price To Top
20810 Rio MainStream VersiTip Spey Line 7/8 $99.95 SALE ENDED
20811 Rio MainStream VersiTip Spey Line 8/9 $99.95 SALE ENDED
20812 Rio MainStream VersiTip Spey Line 9/10 $99.95 SALE ENDED
20813 Rio MainStream VersiTip Spey Line 10/11 $99.95 SALE ENDED

Free Fly Tying Party
May 9 - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm Sunday Afternoon. 
"Pro Tube Tying Clinic"
Featuring Bruce Berry

The Pro Tubefly System™ incorporates injection molded fly tying tubes that have opened up a whole new world of possibilities regarding design and optimization of tube fly construction. Pro Tubes are thin fly tying tubes that fit several styles of heads and have built-in hook holders.  They come in several fishy colors. It took several expensive molds and more than 2 years of struggle to solve the technical problems to produce these tubes. This system gives the steelhead/salmon fly tier creative freedom to produce an endless array of practical, durable flies. The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon is the first U.S. dealer for Pro Tubefly System™.
The Pro Tubefly System™ Bruce Berry

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty