Fly Fishing Small Streams

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Fly Fishing Small Streams

Fly Line Loops
First Fly Fishing Adventure
Spey Clave 2007
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Fly Fishing Small Streams

Small stream fly fishing in Oregon is overshadowed by river, lake, and ocean fishing.  There are a number of reasons why.  The biggest one is that for the most part, small streams in Oregon pretty much have the reputation of being fished-out. In many cases this has been true for the last 40-years on the west side of the Cascades. In earlier days unenforced bag limits were high.  As transportation into the wilderness expanded, wild fish stocks were devastated with the encroachment of modern man.  Hatcheries not lower bag limits were deemed the answer. Wild fish stocks were then under even more pressure.  Then came the "Endangered Species Act".  Assessments were made and about 10-years ago fishery managers in our region decided to quit stocking hatchery trout in most of our streams; thus trying to resurrect our wild fish populations.  For a long time nothing seemed to change.  These streams seemed nearly empty. It has taken a long, but there is evidence that things are finally starting to turn around.  Upper basin tributaries of the Clackamas, Sandy and Hood Rivers are finally producing a few larger resident trout. Some specimens over eighteen inches have been encountered. Hey don't get me wrong.  You will have to work for them.  Populations are still very much scattered.  .  The only way this kind of fishery will survive and prosper is with minimum angling mortality.  Using only small barbless hooks will help. 

The only reason I would write about these fisheries at all, is because there is good evidence they are getting poached.  Having a few more dedicated "catch & release fly anglers out and about might just keep the bad guys from scoring so easy.  The major poaching happens early in the season when the fish are naive.  The survivors don't stay dumb for very long.  If you are the first angler through a good pool on opening day, the fish can be pretty easy after a long winter's rest.  However, if you are fishing that same pool in mid-summer after the fish have seen a few anglers, they can be very difficult.  The attractor type dry flies that worked early in the season are ignored as the fish will only feed very selectively on what is hatching from the stream.  Midges, caddis, stoneflies and mayflies are sipped quietly.  Your fly better match the hatch and the presentation must be drag free.  During the ever lowering flows of summer these same fish might abandon pools and find refuge in the pocket water where a drag free drift is nearly impossible. It's a high stakes game for the highly skilled angler, but many parts are within reach of the less skilled who are willing

to work.  The working environment is spectacular.  Our streams are are surrounded by giant moss covered trees.  Wildlife and birdlife abounds.  Solitude is rampant.  There is something to be said about working through a run, knowing that you can rest it and go through it again without the intrusion of another angler.  The fish, when you do find them are like fine

jewelry. Graceful lines and glowing colors are impossible describe, with with the written word, paints and film all falling short.

Rio Fly Line Loops
The loops on the forward end of select Rio fly lines are very practical for several reasons.

Modern fly lines float because they are lighter than water.  They are filled with tiny air cells.  Essentially they are filled with plastic foam which can soak up water if allowed to do so.  To prevent this from happening, each fly line has a tough, waterproof polymer skin.  This covers all of the foam except at each end where the fly line has been separated from the production line.  Here in most fly lines, the air cells are exposed directly to water.  Often water travels up through the end of the hollow core of the fly fly line and saturates the foam fairly quickly.  That is the reason why when you started your fishing day, the tip of your fly line floated, and several hours later it didn't.  It had become waterlogged.  To make matters even worse, the water can get in fairly easily, but has a hard time getting out.  It might take several days to dry out.  In the meantime your floating line is now a sinking tip line.  Rio solved this problem by sealing the end of some of their fly lines by adding a built in loop.  This loop also adds more floatation right at the tip of the line.  The loop makes it easy to attach a leader if it also has a loop on the butt end.  Simply place the fly line loop through leader loop and then pass the leader through the fly line loop, tip first.  The leader is now connected to the fly line.  Reverse this procedure to disconnect the leader from the fly line.  This makes changing leaders very quick and easy. 
Rio lines with built-in loops: Rio Grand    Nymph Line

First Fly Fishing Adventure
By: Billie Jean Bachmann

It was a perfect beautiful day with blue sky and white clouds. You might wonder what made it perfect? The weather was only part of it; the main reason was my grandfather, Mark Bachmann, had invited me to go out on the Salmon River with him, for my first fly fishing trip.  He picked me up at the shop and off we went in his huge Ford Excursion.  Shortly we arrived at the river, gathered up our gear and crossed a bridge.  A strong breeze ruffled my newly shortened hair.  It was as we began our assent down a semi-hidden, boulder-strewn

trail that I discovered my brand new wading shoes were really stiff and cumbersome.  Being unsure of my footing,  I struggled to keep up with my grandfather who is more accustomed to walking along a river in wading boots.  To make matters worse he had given me a very expensive camera to pack and I knew I had better not drop it or even worse dunk it in the river.  Finally we arrived at our first destination down stream from the bridge.  The air was soft, warm and clean.   My grandfather instructed me on how to take pictures while he demonstrated how to fish this pool.  He waded out into the river then showed me how to cast upstream and strip line back at the right speed, so that the fly got a drag free drift.  After watching and taking pictures for a long while it was my turn to fish. I carefully waded out into the river and I was quite surprised at how strong the current was.  My grandfather had loaned me one of his shiny dark green Winston rods to use. It was complete with an Abel reel.  I was delighted to find that this rod was much easier to cast than the one I normally used at the shop for practice.  I was also surprised and happy to find that the water temperature didnít bother me.  I was wearing my brand new Patagonia waders. The sun was bright in the middle of the day and only a couple of small fish had risen to my grandfathers fly.  None came to mine. We left the pool and hiked upstream a fair distance.  As we reached our second spot, I noticed a large amount of butterflies.  Quite interested, I momentarily forgot about fishing and set about taking pictures of them.  Then I remembered why I was at the river and set about to casting once again.  The trout remained uninterested as we fished back downstream toward the car.  Finally we reached the car and went to a new spot.  It was at this new location, I became distracted by some ducks as I waded out into the river.  Down I went.  It would be a total of four times that I would fall in.  Thank goodness, I had given grandfather back his camera before it happened.  It was at this last location that I finally caught my first little trout. By this time a hatch was coming off.  Grandfather said they were caddis flies. He changed the fly on the end of my

 leader and told me where to stand and where to cast.  I had several fish take my fly, but missed them when setting the hook.  The wind was blowing my leader around and making my fly drag across the surface.  Even though there were trout rising consistently, I couldn't get very many bights.  But I finally got one. He was so tiny that I didnít even realize that he was on there.  It wasnít until I pulled my line in to see why I couldnít cast that I saw him waiting there at the end of my line. Grandfather said when he unhooked my fish, "Everything starts with one."

All in all I got my fly stuck in a tree only twice, but only lost one fly.  It did indeed turn out to be a perfect first fishing day. 

Sandy River Spey Clave May 5-6, 2007
2007 Clave Will Be The Biggest Ever
Spey Rod Party in the Western Hemisphere !!!
May 5 - 6, 2007     At: Oxbow Park      On: The Sandy River   How to get there.
Some Of What Will Happen: 1  2  3  4  5  6
What Happened Last Two Years: 05/15/05     05/22/05      05/14/06.

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes


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