The Big Bang

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The Big Bang

July 24, 2007 about 200 people got to watch Portland General Electric CEO, Peggy Fowler push the plunger on a detonator that set off a reported 4,000-pounds of explosives that sliced & diced Marmot Dam so that it can be completely removed from the Sandy River.  This is the largest dam removal to happen in Oregon's history.  Demolition of the Marmot Dam should take about two months. When removal is complete, wild steelhead, salmon & trout should have easier access to all parts of the river system and natural flows will be restored to 11 1/2 miles of the main stem Sandy.

PGE Biologist Doug Cramer discusses fish issues with Tom Derry & Bill Bakke of Native Fish Society.
Fishery advocates & biologists gather...
Herb Forbes has waited 38-years for the removal of Marmot Dam.
Herb Forbes helped start this movement in 1969...
PGE management helped make it happen.
PGE CEO Peggy Fowler pushes the plunger...
Over the next two months there will be five more blasts
4,000-pounds of explosives makes a big bang...
Cofferdams above & below Marmot Dam provide a dry area for demolition and maintain fish passage through the fish ladder...
The dam is fractured & ready for demolition...
More than 200 guests attended the "Big Bang".
The fishery community celebrates...
Giant truck and back-hoes are ready to go...
Four giant machines descend on the dam...
These machines can remove a lot of concrete & steel...
and start ripping it apart...
Befor evening mor than eight feet from the top of the dam had been removed...
An era comes to and end and another begins...
Portland General Electric, the biggest utility in Oregon, is spending $17 million to remove Marmot and the Little Sandy dams and other facilities comprising the Bull Run Project.  This process is in coordination with 23 environmental, governmental and civic organizations. Along with the removal of Marmot Dam a new 9,000-acre conservation corridor along the Sandy River will provide added protection for fish and wildlife.  For more up-to-date information visit PGE's web sit about Marmot Dam.

Top Guns For Summer Steelhead 2007

Picking your favorite fly rod is kind of like picking your favorite car.  The task would be much simpler if price were not a factor.  For many of us the cost of things often determines what we can buy and which tackle we can fish with.  However, for the spey rod comparison in this article, price was not used as a criteria for which rods made the list. The only factor used to compile this list was customer demand, which means how many of each model of a certain rod was sold in the last six months. The rods on this list vary quite a bit regarding length and line weight designation. This is because there is a lot of diversity in the spey casting community and summer steelhead, and the rivers they inhabit come in a wide variety of sizes.


Length: 13' 3"       Line: #7/8     Pieces: 4   

An extraordinary lightweight medium-action two-hand rod that will make effective fly presentations at all distances. This rod also handles a wide variety of line weights and configurations and may be one of the most adaptable spey rods of all time.  Most popular line "head weights" are in the 550-650 grain range. The most popular line for this model rod is a 450 Skagit with 5' Cheater and #8 tip for a total of 632-grains. Andre Scholz Scandinavian Shooting Head Recommendation: 447-478 grains. This was singularly the most popular two hand rod we sold in 2006.
Rod weight: 6 3/4 Ounces.
Item Series Line Wt Action Handle Price To Top
78133 B2X 7/8 Medium Spey $835


7136-4 Z-AXIS

Length: 13' 6"     Line: 7     Pieces: 4

Sage's new Z-AXIS series has certainly made market penetration.  First became available last December, the 7136-4 has proven to be an "all-around" contender.  We fished it a lot last winter and it handles all sizes of flies and most fly line configurations. It is a perfect summer steelhead rod that can see duty for big Alaskan rainbows and Tierra del Fuego Sea Run Browns as well.  For the Grande Rhonde, Deschutes, Rogue, Umpqua swinging or nymphing, this is the ideal Oregon rod.  Sink Tip Use: 15’ 129 grain in type 3, 6 and 150 grain in type 8.  T-14 in 9’, 11’ and 13’ lengths.  Reel Match: Tibor Riptide, Ross CLA 5, Sage 3500D.
Line Match:
Rio WindCutter 7/8/9:  Sweet, the all around choice for pure floating and sink tip work.  Tested with 15’ tip.
George Cook's pick: Rio Skagit 450 with 5’ Cheater + 15’ tip:  The line speed “performance” choice with a head weight of 632-grains.
This rod is also a great performer with a Rio Skagit 450, no Cheater and #9-15' floating or sinking tip for a total head weight of 575-grains.
Rod weight:  7 1/8 Ounces

Line Wt
Action Handle Price To Top
7136-4 Z-AXIS 7 Fast D $750


CF 8134-4

Length: 13' 4"    Line: #8     Pieces: 4


The CF8134-4 first became available late last fall.  Description:  This rod could be called a Scandinavian design and while it might have great appeal to Scandinavian salmon fishers, it is pure Burkheimer.  Crisp and powerful, this fast action rod develops tremendous line speed, but is easy to time. It is both slightly heavier in weight and has more power than the two rods listed above, and will appeal to anglers who fish on larger rivers or for larger steelhead. The 8134-4 is a good choice for anglers who want to fish the same rod year around.  For us it performs best with heads weighing 600-700 grains.  Current favorite line is 500-grain Rio Skagit, 5' Cheater and #9 tip for a total of 697-grains. To this point we have only fished this rod with sinking tip lines.
Rod weight: 8  Ounces
Item   Length Line Wt. Price To Top
CF8134-4 C.F. Burkheimer Fly Rod 13 ft. 4 in. 8 $825



Length: 13'     Line: #7/8     Pieces: 4

The ECHO 13'0" #7/8 fly rod was designed as a light all round rod for medium to larger rivers that don't require casts much over 100 feet. It is a medium stiff medium action rod for Steelhead and Atlantic salmon using any of the family of "Spey" casts. Designed to balance perfectly with the Airflo Delta 7/8. It can also be used with a sink tip or a Skagit line to get a fly down to the fish. The rod can handle a wide range of lines and feels good with a 7/8/9 WindCutter line that has a head length of 54-feet and a head weight of about 530 grains. If a Skagit type head is used the rod should be loaded with about 70 grains more than you would use with a "standard" floating line.  A 450 Skagit without a Cheater and an 8-weight sinking tip will do the job.
Line Wt
Power Rating Handle Price To Top
Classic Spey 7130-4X 7/8 7.1 6 $269.95


TFO 08 133 4P  Skagit

Length: 13' 3"       Line: #8     Pieces: 4   

Designed specifically as a Skagit casting style rod for Pacific Northwest steelhead. It has proven to be very adaptable to a wide range of lines and casting techniques.  It has become increasingly popular as an all around "guide rod" for guides who furnish gear and would be a good pick for the angler who wants one rod that will do it all. This rod is a great performer with a Rio Skagit 450, no Cheater and #9-15' floating or sinking tip for a total head weight of 575-grains.
Rod weight: 8.9 Ounces.
Item Series Line Wt Action Handle Price To Top
TFO-081334P Pro 8 Med-Fast 2†‡ $274.95


ECHO2-7124fa-4x Length: 12' 4"     Line: #7     Pieces: 4

ECHO2 12’4” #7 was designed to bring the ease of Scandinavian style Spey casting to people fishing in medium to large rivers where extreme distance is not important. It is also a great rod for overhead casting in the surf zones where heavy rods are not necessary. Like most lighter two hand rods the 7124 ECHO2 will allow a person to fish all day without tiring in the least. . It has a fast action when the “A” tip is used and has a medium fast action when the “D” tip is used. The rod is designed to throw all sizes of flies. This rod has been used extensively oh the Deschutes with both floating and intermediate tips and is a very good rod in the wind. It balances we with a Waterworks ULA 3.4 reel which gives the entire outfit a very lightweight feel.  Performance is great with the "A" tip and a Rio Skagit 450, no Cheater and #9-15' floating or sinking tip for a total head weight of 575-grains.

Series Item Line Wt. Tim's Power Rating Handle Price To Top
ECHO2 7124fa-4x 7 7.2 6 $349.95


Tail Gunner Steelhead Flies
Black Beauty     Green Butt     Purple Angel

We have proven to ourselves that two flies on a cast will hook more Deschutes steelhead than fishing with only one fly.  The reasons are obvious.  There are twice as many flies to see and twice the chance that one of them will come to the fish in exactly the right place.  If two different patterns or two different sizes are used, there is twice the chance of having the right one.  The two most common ways of attaching the second fly to a leader is with a dropper, or simply tying a leader to the second fly onto the bend of the hook of the first fly. Our favorite dropper is made

from the tag end of #12 Maxima Clear which is the section that is blood-knotted to the #10 Maxima tippet.  We have also used the "in-line" method  where the tippet section is tied to the hook bend of a fly and then a second fly is attached to the other end. Both ways have been proven with steelhead on the beach, but both methods have their flaws.  Droppers tend to tangle on bad casting days.  Certain kinds of casts such as the single spey will tangle the dropper around the leader with regularity.  The in-line method will often make the upper fly roll on its side or make it ride upside down.  This appears to be caused when the knot attached to the bend works its way down low on the hook bend.  The tippet to the point fly provides lift from the currents and flips the fly over. We have gotten more strikes and solid hooks up with the dropper method and we always figured it was because the upper fly on the in-line method wasn't riding right.  However, the flies tangle less when casting while using the "in-line" method. Three years ago I found a solution. A loop of braided monofilament was attached to the hook and a fly was tied over the top of it.  This produced an in-line fly with an attachment that allowed the fly to remain hydrodynamically stable.  Tests and refinements have lead to the three fly series shown here.  The flies won't appear to be very innovative at first glance.  They shouldn't be.  Night Dancers, Green Butt Skunk and Purple Angels have landed hundreds of steelhead. These three new "dropper-fly" patterns are called tail gunners. Each has a loop where the tail should be so you can attach your tippet.  You can attach your skinny, artsy flies to the end of your tippet and rest assured that you already have one proven winner in the water with it.  To our knowledge this is the first series of flies that have been produced specifically to be used as "second" flies.  They will of course fish as well as a "point" fly.  They can also be use as second and "third" flies where three flies are presented with each cast. 
Each extra fly might increase your chances by 30%.

Tail Gunner, Black Beauty
This fly is pattered after the idea of Frank Amato's famous Night Dancer.  It provides a very dark silhouette that shows up against the water surface as the light fades in the evening.  The Black Beauty is dressed with long flowing webby hackle to add movement.  A mixture of silver Flashabou and pearl Krystal Flash provides contrast.

Item Description Size Price To Top
06576-04 Tail Gunner, Black Beauty 4 3 for $5.95


Tail Gunner, Green Butt
The Green Butt Skunk is no doubt on of the most successful steelhead patterns of all time.  It has produced strikes in nearly every water color and light condition.  It only seems reasonable that it is also our favorite "dropper" fly pattern.
Item Description Size Price To Top
06577-04 Tail Gunner, Green Butt 4 3 for $5.95


Tail Gunner, Purple Angel
White wing flies that are mostly purple with a bright colored butt are extremely popular east of the Cascade Mountains.
Item Description Size Price To Top
06578-04 Tail Gunner, Purple Angel 4 3 for $5.95


Tail Gunner Flies, Complete Set,
(9) flies in all, (3) each of Black Beauty, Green Butt, Purple Angel
Item Description Price To Top
0657SET Tail Gunner Flies, Complete Set, 9-flies in all, 3-each of Black Beauty, Green Butt, Purple Angel $17.85


The Old Steelhead Fly Fisher
An 80 year old man went to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor was
amazed at what good shape the guy was in.

The doctor asked, "To what do you attribute your good health?"

The old timer said, "I'm a steelhead fly fisher and that's why I'm in such
good  shape. I'm up well before daylight and out chasing steelhead up and
down the Sandy River."

The doctor said, "Well, I'm sure that helps, but there's got to be more
to it. How old was your dad when he died?" The old timer said, "Who said
my dad's dead?"

The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your dad's still
alive?  How old is he?"

The old timer said, "He's 100 yrs old and, in fact, he fished steelhead
with me this morning, and that's why he's still alive... he's a steelhead fly fisher."

The doctor said, "Well, that's great, but I'm sure there's more to  it.
How about your dad's dad? How old was he when he died?"

The old timer said, "Who said my grandpa's dead?"

The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your grandfather's
still living! How old is he?"

The old timer said, "He's 118 yrs old."

The doctor was getting frustrated at this point and said, "I guess he
went steelhead fly fishing with you this morning too?"

The old timer said, "No... Grandpa couldn't go this morning because he
got married."

The Doctor said in amazement, "Got married!! Why would a 118-year-old
guy want to get married?"

The old timer said, "Who said he wanted to?"

RIO Products Intl., Inc. Introduces:
AFS (Advanced Flight Spey) shooting head.

IDAHO FALLS, July 2007 – RIO Products is pleased to announce the launch of a new range of fly lines for the spey and switch caster.

Advanced Flight Spey Shooting heads have a very unique taper design that easily loads up a spey rod either for overhead casting, or for spey, or the underhand casting style. The short body section and long, fine front taper efficiently transfers energy down the length of the head and results in great turnover and a precise presentation of the fly. Incredibly tight loops and effortless casts of easy distance are a result of this unique taper design.

Each AFS floating shooting head is two-colored with the majority of the line being a subtle green color to avoid spooking fish in low and clear water. The rear 15 ft is a visible yellow, allowing the angler to track the line and control how it fishes as it swings through the current.

Both ends of the AFS head feature a small, neat welded loop. Attach a suitable shooting line to the rear loop – either SlickShooter or one of RIO’s Powerflex core shooting lines for the best in performance – and one of RIO’s Powerflex core leaders to the front end for complete depth control. The rear loop is bar-coded for easy recognition.

The heads range in size from a 4/5 with a head of 31 ft, 300 grains (9.5m, 19 grams) to a 10/11 with a head of 42 ft, 640 grains (12.8m, 42 grams).
For more information, or to Purchase AFS Click Here.

In The Cheek
The wind was blowing across the lake hard and the two men were confined in the small space of the small wooden boat. Fishing had been tough. Suddenly a cast went wrong and the #18 fly wandered off course to be buried in the cheek of the other angler.  Yup, it was barbed.  Rather than push it through the skin and break off the point with the barb they elected to cut it off in the bend and let a doctor remove it from the flesh.  The doctor bill: $217.50.

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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