The Salmon Fly Hatch

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The Salmon Fly Hatch
Salmon Fly Rope
Fly Fishing Festival
About Our Waters
Thirsty Trout
Dream Come True Umpqua Shad All pictures are Mouse-over.

The Salmon Fly Hatch
My friend Dick Bushnell invited me to join him and a group of friends on a two night float on the Deschutes River with outfitter Jon Belozer.  We put in at Trout Creek Camp Ground on May 31 and took out at Harpham Flats about noon June 2. Angling pressure was pretty heavy, but we got plenty of spots to fish. Riding with guide Dave McCann, I didn't have to pull an oar. The weather, boat rides & camps were perfect.  The fishing started a little slow but picked up as the trip went on.  The afternoon of the second day was awesome and so was the last morning.
Putting in at Trout Creek boat launch on the Deschutes River...
It was a zoo when we put in at Trout Creek boat launch. However, everyone worked together and it went easy.
Mating cluster of Golden Stonflies...
There were mating clusters of golden stoneflies everywhere and they were the primary trout food for the next three days.
Dick Bushnell with a jumping redside...
Dick Bushnell worked a tree-line the first day and drew several strikes from under the trees.  The first day the fish were very picky.
Camp at North Junction...
The first night we camped at North Junction and I really appreciated not having to do any work except roll out my sleeping bag on a cot.
Paul Franklin plays one of many redsides he caught on this trip...
The fish were much more aggressive the second day and everyone in the group had great fishing.
Long time friend Mike McLucas owned the Oasis in Maupin for many years...
Mike McLucas has guided the river for many years and his experience is very evident.
A bright red, back-eddy redside trout...
My friends Dick and Paul put me in the position as "designated fisher" for the last morning, a job I thoroughly enjoyed.
this trout ate a Norm Wood's special...
The giant stone fly hatch is an event every fly fisher should put on every year's calendar. Deschutes Redsides are the prize.

Salmon Fly Rope and a finished fly...

Salmon Fly Rope
In 1981 Ed Henry (who at the time was a guide on the Deschutes River) showed us a unique salmon fly pattern. Up to that point all the Salmon Fly patterns we had seen had bodies of yarn or dubbing wrapped directly on the hook shank.  This one had a body that was separated from the hook; being only attached at the front of the fly. This gave the fly a very life-like appearance. However, these flies were very time consuming to tie because the extended body was constructed from poly-yarn braided on a needle.  Patty Barnes had been building some plant-hangers for our shop from orange polypropylene macramé cord. It was the same color and diameter as Ed's fly. I burnt the end of the rope with a cigarette lighter. The rope instantly fused together.  When trimmed to length we had a Salmon Fly body.  It was much faster than braiding a body on a needle.  The original flies and the copies made

from rope were bright orange, and they caught a lot of fish.  A couple of years later, we found that a fly tied with a burnt orange body caught more fish because it more closely matched the color of the real insects.

Item Description Color Price To Top
123456 Salmon Fly Rope, 3-feet Burnt Orange $1.00



Bullet Head Salmon Fly
Around 1990 Dick Bushnell showed us the current version of the Bullet Head Salmon Fly.  He and his buddies had been playing around with, and improving our Bullet Head Salmon fly. Dick leased the cabin, directly below the Rereg dam on the Deschutes River; a place loaded with very large Redsides. The pool in front of the cabin probably provides the best Slamon Fly hatch fishing in the world.  That gave Dick lots of time to study how fish reacted to a variety of Salmon

Fly patterns.  Their fly sported black rubber legs and strands of orange Krystal Flash in the wing.  We copied the improvements and the fly has remained about the same ever since.  It is still very productive.

Item Description Size Price To Top
6055-04 Bullet Head Salmon Fly 4 3 for $5.85

6055-06 Bullet Head Salmon Fly 6 3 for $5.85


Oregon Fly Fishing Festival
June 16, 2007 - 9:00am – 5:00 pm
Presented By: The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches Oregon.
We are at the foot of Mt. Hood, 45 minutes from Portland on Hwy 26.
100 miles of Class-1 streams are within 10 miles of this event.
The Topics Covered Are Uniquely Oregon!
Judge Mike Perusse watches closely as a contestant cast for a chance at a G. Loomis rod.
Trafic jam,...traffic jam...

About Our Waters Section As A Source Of Information
Spring Chinook...

We are located half way between the North Pole and the equator.  This gives us the perfect climate for trout, salmon and steelhead fly fishing every month of the year. Here is incredible diversity. Within a 100-mile radius, the landscape is divided by the Cascade Mountains.  The west half is rain forest.  The east half is desert.  Elevations reach from sea level to above the tree line.  There are lakes, rivers and streams in all the divergent climate zones.    And all are play grounds for fly fishers. The mighty Columbia is to

our west.  The world famous Deschutes is an easy drive east. Lesser-known rivers such as the Clackamas, Hood, Klickitat, Wind and our own home water the Sandy River offer solitude and prolific runs of salmon and steelhead.  Within the Villages of Mt. Hood itself is nearly 100 miles of small mountain streams that offer wild trout fishing to fly fishers of all experience levels.  Many of our streams lie within areas of true ancient rain forests.  Most are in pristine ecological condition and have good populations

Summer steelhead...

of both rainbow and cutthroat trout.  These wild fish are protected by catch and release regulations. There are also many lakes and reservoirs in our region that are regularly stocked with hatchery trout from 8” to 12-pounds that you can keep. The big draw for fly fishers in our area is steelhead fishing.  We are in lower Columbia River basin.  No other region in the world offers the diversity of steelhead runs that ours does. 
Welches, Oregon and surrounding villages contain the amenities that make fishing in this region comfortable: great shops, professional fishing guides, unique dining, quiet rooms
and a myriad of camping opportunities.  Here are links to pages that will help you enjoy our region.

WE LOVE OUR WATERS! Pacific Northwest DAILY River Flows
Deschutes Jet Boat Days
The Deschutes River
The Sandy River and Tributaries
Local Angling Regulations
Wee Burn Creek Restoration 

Up-to-Date DAILY Fishing Reports

Cascade Streamwatch

Recent Pictures of Our Waters

Sandy River Spey Clave 2008

Moon Phase

Columbia River DAILY Fish Counts

Oregon Fly Fishing Lakes

Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

The Fly Fishing Shop is open 6:00 A.M. - 6 P.M.  
7 days a week to serve you.

Simms Thirsty Trout Bottle Opener

Simms Thirsty Trout Bottle Openers...
What more could an avid angler ask for? Get one for your boat, your vest, and your fishing buddy!
Item Description Price To Top
ABO4002 Simms Thirst Trout Bottle Opener, Green $5.95

ABO4071 Simms Thirst Trout Bottle Opener, Gray $5.95

ABO4078 Simms Thirst Trout Bottle Opener, Blue $5.95

ABO4080 Simms Thirst Trout Bottle Opener, Orange $5.95


William Joseph Infrared Thermometer

Just point it at the water and click the button.  The temperature is instantly revealed to nearest 1/10 of a degree.  This thermometer is also handy for other important duties, such as measuring the temperature of boat trailer hubs, which if they are 30-degrees warmer than the ambient air temperature may reveal a bearing problem.  This instrument can also tell you the perfect beer temperature, which is usually regarded as 38-40 degrees.

This instrument can also tell you the perfect beer temperature, which is usually regarded as 38-40 degrees.
It can tell you the temperature of anything...
Item Description Price To Top
319786 William Joseph Infrared Thermometer $38.95


Dream Come True
22' Alumaweld Intruder jet boat...
22' Alumaweld Intruder jet boat, inside...

Last week Patty and I picked up our new 22' Alumaweld Intruder jet boat from Steven's Marine in Gladstone, Oregon. After planning for 6-months and waiting 8-weeks for it to be custom built, it came out exactly the way we had planned.  This boat is 3-feet longer and a foot wider than the Duckworth boat I had used for the last three years. Inside it seems like it has twice as much room.  It also has 115 more horse power and a larger jet turbine propulsion unit for carrying people more safely.  This boat handles

both the Columbia and Deschutes rivers with ease. I has all the amenities: full interior lighting, heaters, padded seats, navigation electronics and a top that is high enough that a large man can stand straight up underneath it.  Is it ready to take you fishing? Yes, but there is some fine tuning to be done here and there.  By the time steelhead get in the Deschutes, we will be ready for them. In the meantime there will be a lot of water time.  Getting used to the way the new boat handles, which is a lot different than the old one.  Hey, someone's gotta do it.

Patty in our boat...

Fly Rods and Umpqua Shad
By: Dean Finnerty

Dean Finnerty & sons...

Each year beginning around Mothers Day and lasting well into July, a tremendous run of American Shad enters the lower Umpqua River.  The run size is estimated at around ¾ of a million fish and while this isn’t nearly as large a run as the mighty Columbia receives, it’s not bad for a river the size of the Umpqua. 

The fishery begins near the town of Elkton and continues at various locations all the way upriver to “The Forks” park located near Roseburg.  A very popular spot is located about ten miles down river from Elkton along Hwy. 38, at Sawyers Rapids RV Park.  This is a fee access area where drift boats can be launched for $5.00 and bank-bound anglers are charged a few dollars to access this section of river.  During low water years tens of thousands of Shad stack up in the plunge pool at the base of the rapids along the south shore.  I’ve had “two hundred” fish days at this location with four anglers swinging flies along the prominent rock ledge found on the southern bank.  A boat is necessary to access the best Shad holding water here.  

Another very popular location to catch Shad on the Umpqua is located upriver from the town of Elkton near the Yellow Creek boat launch.  Simply travel southeast along Hwy. 138 from Elkton, heading towards Sutherlin, Oregon.  Downstream from the boat launch you’ll likely find a number of vehicles parked above the pool.  Negotiate the steep trail to the waters edge and get cozy with the numerous other anglers working the “Shad hole” as its known by locals. 

A knowledgeable guide with a drift boat is invaluable for the fly angler wanting a little solitude and access to some less pressured water, which the Umpqua has plenty of.   You just need to know where it’s located.  Private water at the Big K guest ranch has some of the best Shad fly fishing opportunities anywhere on the river. 

These fish are incredible fighters on light tackle.  I prefer 9 foot 5 or 6 weight rods with a reel that balances nicely with the rod.  Backing will sometimes leave the guides, but its not necessary to have any more than 50 yards of 20 lb. Dacron spooled up under your favorite weight forward sink-tip fly line.  Nothing too fancy, just something to help get the fly down a few feet beneath the surface.  

Rigging is simple and straightforward.   I simply loop-knot a five-foot section of 6 or 8 pound Maxima leader material to the end of my fly line.  Attach your favorite, bright pink or chartreuse colored, size 4 to 8 Shad fly and you’re in business.  

Presentation is also ridiculously simple.  A dead-drift presentation followed with a wet-fly swing and ending with a “hang-down”.  Adding a few twitches of the fly for good measure will likely result in a hook-up.  The Shad can pick-up the fly anytime during the drift.  Many days they simply inhale the fly and spit it back out just as fast.  So any indication that the fly has stopped needs quick attention from the angler.  You’ll also find many times where the Shad will gently peck at the fly during the swing or hang-down portion of the drift.   Again, being ready to set up on these light biters will result in more fish at the end of the day. 

Shad run in schools, from a dozen or so fish, all the way up to several thousand.  The schools also tend to mill about in a particular section of river.  They are here one minute and then over there a few minutes later.  Being patient and waiting for the school to return to your portion of the pool is often helpful.  Another phenomenon unique to Shad is their penchant for having particular tastes in fly color one minute, and then quickly losing interest in that color and switching to another color.  If your not consistently hooking fishing or getting bit, don’t hesitate to change flies.  During a single outing, I may change fly size or colors or variations of colors more than a dozen times.  I often times fish a “cast” of flies, sometimes having as many as three different colored flies on at a time.  This gives me an opportunity to determine color preference right away.   If I had only two colors of flies to choose from though, it would definitely be a light pink colored fly and a chartreuse colored fly.  Day in and day out, these two colors account for 90 percent of my clients' Shad. 

Umpqua Shad are a blast on fly gear.  Often times called the “poor man’s tarpon” they provide terrific action for anglers of all skill levels.  I also like them for their sheer numbers and when your wanting to hone skills for an upcoming summer steelhead season, Shad on fly rods are second only to the actual thing in getting you dialed in for summer steelhead.

Anyone interested in participating in this fabulous fishery is encouraged to contact me at
(541) 942-2535 or (541) 731-9649.  A visit to my website located at may also be helpful to readers.   Anyone with questions or comments are welcome to call me anytime or e-mail me at

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

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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