muddy waters

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Muddy Waters
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Smallmouth Bass
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What To Do When The River Goes Out
...or...Pabst isn't just for breakfast anymore...
Paul Franklin at Mecca Islan with a nice Redside...
Dick, Paul & I met at the shop Thursday morning for our annual salmon fly hatch float trip with Jon Belozer. Predictions were perfect; lots of bugs hatched out and an improving weather pattern. However, when we crossed Trout Creek our reality changed. It was high and nearly thick enough to plow. Thunder storms in the Ochoco Mountains had precipitated a flood on this normally small stream. Shortly after crossing the creek we met John Belozer coming back from the boat launch.
Big stones all over everything... Dick Bushnell pounding his favorite salmonfly beat...
There were nine anglers in our party. The other six cancelled on the spot. We elected to put in at Warm Springs where the water was clear and drift and fish nine miles while we waited for Trout Creek to drop and clear, which we figured would only take a few hours. Our first camp would be set up downstream from Trout Creek and we would arrive there in the evening. I hooked a couple of trout at our first spot. Paul got a dandy while fishing Mecca Island. Dick who was suffering from a torn rotator cuff cheered us on. At the next stop I Stone flies on my Tilley hat...
Survival kit for a muddy river... stuck a couple more trout. And so it went until we got back down the river to Trout Creek. Nothing had changed during the day. The creek was still flowing mud. Oh well, we reasoned, it would clear overnight. We floated to camp, two miles below the mouth of Trout Creek. The next morning, very little had changed. The river was still out. And so it was the following day also. Thanks to the company of a great guide, Dave McCann, and my friends Dick and Paul, my camera gear, which is entertaining, even when
the fish aren't biting, and a never ending supply of Pabst, it was a great trip anyway.

Women's Fly Casting Clinic
Since 2003 the Stonefly Maidens fly fishing club has put on annual casting clinics for women at Blue Lake Park. The clinics are free to any woman who wants to learn to cast or improve their cast. The clinics are led by Katherine Hart, a Masters level FFF-certified fly casting instructor, with assistance from club members.
Women's instructor class in session.
This year the clinic will be on Saturday, June 21st. They invite the participants to come fishing with them on Sunday the 22nd.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tips
by Marty Sheppard
Marty Sheppard guides for John Day River Bass.
Bass fishing On the John Day River is a lot of fun. Catching 75-100 fish per day is not uncommon. Most of them average between 8"-12". Every day we catch a fair number in the 13"-16" range. Trophy 18"-22" smallmouth bass will come to the fly, but only with the right approach.  These older, more experienced fish have given me a challenge.  I am committed to the art of landing more of these monsters.  Here is a list of flies
and techniques that have proven most effective for trophy smallmouth bass.  First of all bass have pecking order, especially in the morning, and prime feeding stations can produce the big ones. We will strip a popper or a diver at the top of a back eddy or a foam line...often with good results. Size 4 and 6 have proven effective in a variety of colors.
When the sun comes up these large fish seem to disappear. This is the time
to go to the sink tip and fish a wooly bugger deep and slow. Letting the
fly sink to or near the bottom. Strips should be short and aggressive with
long (5-8 seconds) stalls between. These mid-day big bass sulk deep and save
their energy for easy prey....usually the small bass that get comfortable mingling around this predator while he acts uninterested in chasing them, thus fooling them into becoming a meal.
One of the most productive methods for big bass comes in the late afternoon. Find the
basalt walls that protrude into deep slow moving pools. With shade on the water these giant smallmouths will cruse along these walls. I have found Chernobyl Ants and Hoppinators to be most effective. The technique is to cast inches from the wall and give the fly very small twitches. The secret here is to not move the fly far and be patient. Leave the fly on the water for as long as you can stand it. Heavy fish are slow movers and are not interested in the chase. 
These methods are my best secrets to solving the mystery of taking the
bigger fish on the John Day. The biggest problem comes from the smaller bass
getting to your fly ahead of the 20 incher. Not a problem though because smallmouths of all sizes are all great fighters. Sometimes as that 8-incher is tiring from battling your rod, it will get swallowed up by some bass that could easily be the next state record.
More Information on Catching John Day River Smallmouth Bass.

Flies For Smallmouth Bass 
It's never too early to plan your next smallmouth expedition.

Mega-Whammy Olive Bugger Peacock Chernobyl
ChewyPop Peacock Bugger


  Full Set  
Frog Mega-Wammy is a natural colored popper that simulates a number of bass foods such as frogs, sunfish & salamanders to name a few.
These popper heads are Epoxy coated for shine and extreme durability!
Item Description Size Price To Top
99614-06 Mega-Whammy Bass Popper, Frog 6 3 for $10.85 SALE ENDED
99614-08 Mega-Whammy Bass Popper, Frog 8 3 for $10.85 SALE ENDED

Black ChewyPop with rubber legs, marabou and silver Flashabou is a winning combination over the widest range of conditions.  This popper is especially effective in low light conditions.  Chuck this popper up against the bank or into holes in the weeds on a full moon night and see what happens.  Use a short, stout leader.
Item Description Size Price To Top
CHEWYBL6 Chewy-Pop Bass Popper, Black 6 3 for $7.95 SALE ENDED

Flash-A-Bugger, Olive
A wise man once said that if you want to catch trout from alkaline lakes your best fly would be inch long & green.  In some lakes and rivers inch and a half long and green is an even better option.  This is a must have fly no mater where you fish in fresh water.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11888-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 4 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11888-06 Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

Flash-A-Bugger, Peacock
This is a very good early season fly for many lakes which contain trout or large mouth bass.  Troll it slowly across the bottom.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11899-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Peacock 4 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11899-06 Flash-A-Bugger, Peacock 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

Peacock Chernobyl
Why do you think that big John Day bass position themselves tight to steep rock walls?  No doubt there is the shade factor during certain parts of the day.  Also the cliff faces often funnel and trap food.  Terrestrial insects such as crickets, beetles, ants and bees that get trapped anywhere in the currents will eventually wind up sliding along some rock wall.  Stone flies crawl from the river one rock walls. Some John Day River cliffs are plastered with stone fly shucks.
Item Description Size Price To Top
00116-08 Peacock Chernobyl 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Hoppinator, Brown/Yellow
Smallmouth Bass are a lot like trout in that they will station-up under over hanging grass and wait for grass hoppers to fall into the water.
Item Description Size Price To Top
00106-06 Hoppinator, Brown/Yellow 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Marty's Smallmouth Bass Fly Collection
Item Description Price To Top
JDSMALL-2 (3) Mega-Whammy Popper, Frog #6
(3) Mega-Whammy Popper, Frog #8
(3) Chewy-Pop Bass Popper, Black #6, 
(3) Flash-A-Bugger, Olive #4, 
(3) Flash-A-Bugger, Olive #6, 
(3) Flash-A-Bugger, Peacock #4, 
(3) Flash-A-Bugger, Peacock #6  , 
(3) Peacock Chernobyl #8, 
(3) Hoppinator, Brown/Yellow #6,

Bass like cover. How To Select Your Next Bass Rod
Bass are ambush fish.  Productive bass fishing demands pin-point casting accuracy.  Bass often live surrounded by dense cover.  Usually the angler is targeting small openings in this cover.   

Placing the fly where it is most vulnerable or irritating to a bass is very important if you want to catch it.   If the fly lands in exactly the right spot the first cast, it will often get an instant strike. A presentation that takes several casts to get the fly into play is less effective.    

A fly rod is the perfect weapon for bass sight fishing.  It can be a rapid fire instrument rendering pin-point accuracy. Selecting a rod and line combination that performs smoothly in all your normal casting ranges is important.  Few casts of over 40' are required. Super fast rods are not an asset. They give a herky-jerky presentation that destroys accuracy.  

Bass flies are larger than most trout flies.  Casting bulky poppers and hair bugs takes practice.  It also takes the right rod and line combination to enable you to perform at your best.  Often loading your rod with a heavier fly line can be useful.  A heavier line will slow your rod down and provide the energy needed to launch larger, bulkier flies.

Bass come in a wide variety of sizes.  Most  Oregon bass are 1 to 3 pounds.  These small to medium size bass seem to prefer poppers and hair bugs in the size #6 and #8 range.  A #5 to #6 fly rod is ideal for fish of this size.  

A #7,  #8 or even #9 rod is appropriate where 4 & 8 pound bass might be encountered.  Bigger bass often respond quicker to bigger flies.  A heavier rod is more comfortable for casting really large flies and might be needed to pull larger fish out of heavy cover.    

It is always handy to have two rods rigged.  One rod should be equipped with a floating line and the other should be equipped with a sinking line.  That way bass can be fished at a variety of depths without restringing your rod. 

Favorite (9' 6-weight) Bass Rods
Sage 290 G BASS
4-piece, extension butt, medium action, comes with matching fly line
Price: $350
Sage 691-4 Z-AXIS
4-piece, extension butt, moderate-fast action, very high performace
Price: $675
G. Loomis StreamDance FR1086-4 GLX
4-piece, extension butt, fast action,
Price: $630
Winston 690-4 Vapor
4-piece, no extension butt, fast action,
Price: $295
Winston 690-4 Boron II X
4-piece, no extension butt, moderate-fast action,
Price: $625
TFO 06 90 4P
4-piece, no extension butt, moderate-fast action,
Price: $139.95

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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