Best Spey Reel

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Best Spey Reel
Under water or above water a Nautilus Reels are smooth. Photo by: Josh Linn
Roger, Josh and I were kicking-back after closing time at the shop. A six pack of cold Alaskans sat in the middle of the new granite topped round table. The subjects ran the gambit, this customer and that sale, inventory needs, the latest tackle rep crisis, and local fishing reports. The nitty-gritty of supply and demand and the flow of capital were touched upon. When the subject came up as to what was our single best investment in Spey Reels, we agreed unanimously that it was Nautilus, and that the original model 12 was the best Spey Reel ever made. It balances with nearly every rod from 12 1/2'  to 14' feel long. The waterproof drag system is the best available for anadromous fish. Winter or summer, the Nautilus 12 is the best single choice.
Mark Bachmann on the Skagit River...
Click For Disc Drag Information.

   Nautilus 12 Reels & Spools

The Nautilus 12 was designed to satisfy the needs of both saltwater fly fishermen and Spey casters. It has become the top selling Spey Reel at The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon. The reasons are easy to comprehend. A Nautilus 12 is the right size and weight. It delivers total reliability in an environment that is notably hard on reels. That is because the frame and spool are constructed from high tensile strength aircraft aluminum, which is finished with the most corrosion resistant anodizing available. The drag system and bearings are enclosed in a

Totally reliable...

waterproof housing. Keeping water out of the drag discs enables the reel to deliver consistent tension on the out-going line. Steelhead fishing is hard on many brands of reels.  Deep wading with a reel often submerged may be harder on a reel than fishing for big ocean fish, which is usually done from a boat where the reel stays dry.  At any rate keeping water off the drag surfaces has to be a plus for smooth operation. Nautilus CCF are the top selling steelhead reels at our shop.
Our relationship with Nautilus started this way: Kevin Thompson, the Nautilus rep, stopped by the shop one afternoon with a bag full of shiny new reels.  He said, "These are the greatest fly fishing reels in the world, bar none."  Well of course he said that. He's a rep. It's his job.
I said, "I already have a house full of reels and I don't need more inventory to keep track of.  The reels we have are selling fine."  He said, "These Nautilus Reels have a completely sealed waterproof drag system."  I said, "I have heard that song and dance before."  He said, "What does it take to convince you?"  I said, "Score me a big spey reel and then come back and see me next year." So he did.
Here is the rest of the story:  A year passed and the Nautilus #12 he gave me landed many steelhead without the slightest malfunction. Of course we became Nautilus dealers.
Now the second, third and fourth years have passed: Clients are still using my original reel and it is still working perfectly. We have tested Nautilus reels on all manner of fresh water fish and found none of them were a challenge to any Nautilus.

12Model Line Backing Weight   To Top
12-Reel WF12 300 yd. #30 9.6 oz. Choose winding hand.
Stock Number Description Price  
CCF12R-B Nautilus 12 Reel, Color Black $525 SALE ENDED
CCF12S-B Nautilus 12 Spool, Color Black $195 SALE ENDED
CCF12R-S Nautilus 12 Reel, Color Silver $525 SALE ENDED
CCF12S-S Nautilus 12 Spool, Color Silver $195 SALE ENDED

Fly Tying Tools and Materials...Everything for the dedicated fly tier.
The Fly Fishing Shop offers a unique selection of hand picked materials for the dedicated fly tier.

Fly Tying Tools Fly Patterns
Fly Tying Materials Hooks
Fly Tying Kit  
A successful fly tied by your own hand is a thing of beauty.

Alec Jackson Steelhead Irons
Alec Jackson, born an Englishman, is without doubt the best known American hook designer.  His Standard Weight Spey hooks are very traditional looking.  They are copies of hooks that had been popular, but become unobtainable in the British Isles.  Alec took these proven designs to Japan where legendary steel has been made for 3,000 years.  These new hooks called "Spey Hooks" became exceedingly popular with northwest steelheaders, but it became obvious that hooks made from heavier wire would help get flies deeper in the water and would be more durable.  A line of heavier wire spey hooks were developed and also became very popular.  Then local guides asked Alec for a shorter version of the heavy wire hook.  The result is the "Steelhead Iron" series.  This shorter, curved shank series of hooks feature incredible holding power for landing the strongest fish. The slightly dropped needle points are chemically sharpened.

Alec's flies have a character all of their own.  Intricately spun herl bodies combined with soft flowing seductive materials are a trade mark of his flies.  

Many of the most popular Pacific Northwest steelhead guides tie many of their "special" flies on Alec Jackson hooks.  That tells us they are the best available to serve many purposes.

Alec Jackson spent several years in New Zealand as a timber management expert.
Alec Jackson in New Zealand with a couple of big rainbows that were originally California steelhead stock.

Brian Silvey, one of the Northwest's most popular steelhead guides is also a noted fly tier.
Brian Silvey shown here tying his magic steelhead
flies in camp, uses many Steelhead Irons.
Golden Demon flies tied by Josh Linn ave accounted for many steelhead landed by Mark's clients.
A Golden Demon fly tied on a gold finished Steelhead Iron tied by Josh Linn.
These flies were tied in steelhead camp on the Deschutes River.
A collection of Steelhead Irons dressed by Brian Silvey & Mark Bachmann

Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron, Black
This shorter shank, heavier wire design is gaining popularity amongst Pacific Northwest steelhead guides.

Item Description Size Price To Top
SI-3-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Black 3 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED
SI-5-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Black 5 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED
SI-7-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Black 7 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED

Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron, Nickel

Steelhead Irons are very rigid and tend to "hang-onto" fish after they are hooked.

Item Description Size Price To Top
NSI-3-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Nickel 3 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED
NSI-5-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Nickel 5 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED
NSI-7-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Nickel 7 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED

Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Gold

Steelhead Irons come in a full range of sizes to tie summer flies and up to medium size winter flies.

Item Description Size Price To Top
GSI-3-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Gold 3 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED
GSI-5-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Gold 5 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED
GSI-7-25 Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron Hook, Gold 7 25 for $15.30 SALE ENDED

Rocky Ridge Ranch...still great fishing !!!
Spent my 65th birthday at Rocky Ridge Ranch. We stayed at Pine Cabin and fished an evening and the next day. It was late by the time we got moved in and we only caught a couple of trout before it became too dark to see. Got up early the next morning and watched the sun come up over Wild Rose Lake from the front porch of the cabin. There were trout rising in the dark. It took a while to figure out that they were eating Damsel Fly nymphs. After that, fishing a Damsel Fly nymph with a floating line and long leader with a slow twitchy retrieve would get a strike nearly every cast for the next couple of hours. After lunch we switched to Mules Ear Lake where the trout were actively pursuing adult Damsel Flies. We spent the next three hours enjoying some great dry fly fishing. The water was warm enough, we didn't need waders in the afternoon. The fish were fat and healthy and appeared to recover quickly when released. They averaged 15" to 20". 
Got up early and had an increadable sunreise over the lake in front of the cabin.
Sunrise on Wild Rose Lake
Birthday trout... one of many.
Damsel nymphs were migrating and the trout were suckin' 'em up.
They took Damsel Nymphs all morning.
Trout with Damsel Nymph
They took Damsel Dries all afternoon.
Trout with Damsel Dry
Patty and Mark caught lots of trout.
Patty hooked up again...

Fly Fishing: “SPEY” Casting / Beginning – Intermediate
Josh Linn teaching on the Sandy River 

Spey casting can be learned quite easily with the assistance of a professional instructor. This class starts with the most basic fundamentals so that you will have a solid foundation on which to build your "Spey Casting Skill Set". Our approach allows you to easily understand the scientific principles of how a rod and line work together to propel your fly to the target.
This crash course starts in a nice warm class room where the necessity of acquiring good casting skills becomes apparent. Here rod and line theories are discussed in detail so that before you get to the water, you have an understanding of the principals you are going to use. Then you will ride to the river with your instructors. There your instructors will demonstrate the theories you have already explored. Then you will take a rod into your own hands and be able to practice what you have learned. You will be amazed at how easy it is. All the major Spey Casts will be explored. Both floating and sinking tip lines will be learned. This class is centered on developing casting skills that will make you a better fisherman.

Time: 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch is provided).

Meet at: The Fly Fishing Shop - Instructors: Josh Linn and Cullen Wisenhunt

Cost (8 hrs.): $150.
You will need the following equipment:  Waders, boots, rain coat, hat and polarized glasses. You may bring your own rod and reel if you want to. Properly balanced Spey Outfits will be provided.
(6) Students total.
First come, first served.
Deposits are payments in full.
Deposits are non-refundable unless water/weather conditions prohibit class.        

Item Description Price To Top
SPEY-CL-082909 Spey Casting Class, Saturday, August 29, 2009 $150 SALE ENDED
Where Anglers Stay in Welches, Oregon
The Cabins at Creekside Where Anglers Stay in Welches, Oregon Beat the heat and enjoy your stay in our community while learning the finer points of Spey Casting and Steelhead Fishing. For your convenience, The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon can now integrate your lodging with your fly fishing school or guided trip fee. Late August brings warm days and cool nights. After your Spey Casting School you might want to relax with a massage before you check out the local restaurants. If given enough advance notice we can arrange for your massage and make
recommendations and reservations for your evening meal.

Single Occupancy or Couple (one queen size bed).
Summer Rates until October 1.
All rates listed include county and state lodging taxes of 7%.
Please include your dates in the Comments section of the order form.
Dates will be confirmed by email.

Item Description Nights Price To Top
CABINS-01S Stay at The Cabins Creekside in Welches, Summer Rates 1 Base: $109
with tax: $116.63
CABINS-02S Stay at The Cabins Creekside in Welches, Summer Rates 2 Base: $218
with tax: $233.26

Deschutes Steelhead
Deschutes Steelhead
This information and discussion started in the July 19th "Insider" Newsletter:
The Deschutes is world famous as a steelhead fly fishing river. This is because its steelhead will actively come to the surface for a fly. Steelhead start entering the river in late June and bright fish can still be caught in late November. The run is made up of three distinct races: the hatchery run, and two distinct wild races called the "A" and "B" runs. The hatchery run can start in late June during high water years and as late as August during low water years. It is comprised of fish which have spent from 22 to 30 months in the Ocean and average 6 to 12 pounds. The "A" run enters the river in July and August and is made up of fish that have spent 14 to 22 months in the Ocean and average from 3 ˝ to 6 pounds. The "B" run enters the river from September through November and is comprised of fish which have spent 24 to 36 months in the Ocean and weigh from 10 to 16 pounds. Larger fish can be encountered any time.  Since this was published July 19th, I have recieved a call from ODFW Biologist Robert Hooton. He gave me a substancial list of reasons why my preception of  Deschutes River steelhead biology needed to be up-dated. He forwarded the documents below which were authored by the NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service, a Federal Agency who state as their goals: "Promotes sustainable fisheries, recovery of protected species, and the health of coastal marine habitats in the USA." These documents arrived as PDF files and were converted to html.
Inland Steelhead ESUs 13) Middle Columbia River—This ESU occupies the Columbia River Basin from above the Wind River in Washington and the Hood River in Oregon upstream to include the Yakima River, Washington. Steelhead of the Snake River Basin are not included. This ESU includes the only populations of winter inland steelhead in the United States, in the Klickitat River and Fifteenmile Creek. Some uncertainty exists about the exact boundary between coastal and inland steelhead, and the western margin of this ESU reflects currently available genetic data. There is good genetic and meristic evidence to separate this ESU from steelhead of the Snake River Basin. The boundary upstream of the Yakima River is based on limited genetic information and environmental differences including physiographic regions, climate, topography, and vegetation. All BRT members felt special concern for the status of this ESU, particularly Yakima River and winter steelhead stocks. Total steelhead abundance in the ESU appears to have been increasing recently, but the majority of natural stocks for which we have data within this ESU have been declining, including those in the John Day River, which is the largest producer of wild, natural steelhead. There is widespread production of hatchery steelhead within this ESU, but it is largely based on within-basin stocks. Habitat degradation due to grazing and water diversions has been documented throughout the range of the ESU.

14) Upper Columbia River—This ESU occupies the Columbia River Basin

upstream from the Yakima River. All upper Columbia River steelhead are summer steelhead. The streams of this region that are utilized by steelhead primarily drain the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Streamflow is supplied by snowmelt, groundwater, and glacial runoff, often resulting in extremely cold water temperatures that retard the growth and maturation of steelhead juveniles, causing some of the oldest smolt ages reported for steelhead and residualization of juvenile steelhead that fail to smolt. All anadromous fish in this region were affected by the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project (1939 through 1943), wherein anadromous fish returning to spawn in the upper Columbia River were trapped at Rock Island Dam, downstream of the Wenatchee River. Some of these fish were then released to spawn in river basins above Rock Island Dam, while others were spawned in hatcheries and the offspring were released into various upper Columbia River tributaries; in both cases, no attempt was made to return these fish to their natal streams, resulting in an undetermined level of stock mixing within the upper Columbia River fish. While total abundance of populations within this ESU has been relatively stable or increasing, this appears to be true only because of major hatchery supplementation programs. Estimates of the proportion of hatchery fish in spawning escapement are 65% (Wenatchee River) and 81% (Methow and Okanogan Rivers). The major concern for this ESU is the clear failure of natural stocks to replace themselves. The BRT also had a strong concern about problems of genetic homogenization due to hatchery supplementation within the ESU. There was also concern about the apparent high harvest rates on steelhead smolts in rainbow trout fisheries and the degradation of freshwater habitats within the region, especially the effects of grazing, irrigation diversions, and hydroelectric dams.

15) Snake River Basin—This ESU occupies the Snake River Basin of southeast

Washington, northeast Oregon, and Idaho. This region is ecologically complex and supports a diversity of steelhead populations; however, genetic and meristic data suggest that these populations are more similar to each other than they are to steelhead populations occurring outside of the Snake River Basin. Snake River Basin steelhead spawning areas are well isolated from other populations and include the highest elevations for spawning (up to 2,000 m) as well as the longest migration distance from the ocean (up to 1,500 km). Snake River steelhead are often classified into two groups, A- and B-run, based on migration timing, ocean age, and adult size. While total (hatchery + natural) run size for Snake River steelhead has increased since the mid-1970s, the increase has resulted from increased production of hatchery fish, and there has been a severe recent decline in natural run size. The majority of natural stocks for which we have data within this ESU have been declining. Parr densities in natural production areas have been substantially below estimated capacity in recent years. Downward trends and low parr densities indicate a particularly severe problem for B-run steelhead, the loss of which would substantially reduce life history diversity within this ESU. The BRT had a strong concern about the pervasive opportunity for genetic introgression from hatchery stocks within the ESU. There was also concern about the degradation of freshwater habitats within the region, especially the effects of grazing, irrigation diversions, and hydroelectric dams.

Bob goes on to say, "Even NOAA doesn't have it completely correct, because they state A-Run are predominately 1-salt, and B-Run are predominately 2-salt.  A-Run races have a significant 2-salt component on some years, and B-Runs have 3-salt components."
We are waiting for another more up-dated document to be put into a format that can be circulated on the internet. Hopefully when it arrives, we can get not only ourselves, and also NOAA brought up to-date.
We will keep you posted.

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty