Steamboat Creek

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Steamboat Creek
Hybrid Spey Lines
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Steamboat Creek
Photo Of The Week by: Marty Sheppard
No trick photography or computer program manipulations are involved in the composition of this digital photograph, nor is this a fish hatchery pond.  These are wild summer steelhead that are presently ganged up in the largest staging pool of Steamboat Creek. Each year hundreds of steelhead come to this pool to rest and reach sexual maturity.  During higher flows of winter, they will spawn throughout this creek. Steamboat Creek is the most productive tributary of the North Umpqua River. During the summer months these fish are extremely vulnerable to poaching. A caretaker lives on the sight and  keeps a constant vigil over these valuable fish.

The following was copied from

Steamboat Creek

Steamboat Creek is a short tributary of the North Umpqua River in southwestern Oregon in the United States. Approximately 15 miles (24 km) long, the creek is located on a remote part of the upper North Umpqua in the Calapooia Mountains west of the Cascade Range. It rises in southeastern Lane County and flows southwest to join the North Umpqua from the north at Steamboat.

The North Umpqua and its tributaries renowned for its prolific runs of summer steelhead, including a high percentage of native fish. Steamboat Creek has been closed to fishing since 1932.

The watershed of the creek was extensively clearcut during the late 1950s and 1960s until forestry practices were changed. The recovery of the river, including the anadromous fish population is closely monitored as a test case for riparian habitat management.

NOAA: Status Review Umpqua Basin

Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service For Steamboat Creek

Stages For Steamboat Creek


Hybrid Lines for Two Handers

Skagit, Scandi, Long Belly, Short Belly, Shooting Head...., comes down to it there isn't a perfect spey line that will fit every fishing situation encountered on every river.  Even if there were such a thing, given what human nature amounts too, it wouldn't fit everyone's personality.  There will always be room for experimentation.  It is fun to take pieces from different fly lines and put them together just to see what effects you can get.  Most often, you will find that factory lines are well thought out and will out perform the

average fly caster in most situations.  However lines can be tuned to fit special rods for use in special situations, and sometime you just get lucky.  Where I camped the last ten days, gusts of over 30+ mph buffeted us from every direction 6 of the10 evenings.  Short heads and fine running lines give an edge over any other configuration of line during howling winds.  The first two evenings I used a Rio Skagit Floating Spey Line on my Winston B2X78133.  It was good enough to allow me to stick five steelies in the two sessions. This line has a 45' head that weighs 600 grains.  I found if I fished a double fly rig with a Tail Gunner in the middle of my leader, I cast better.  The extra fly gave me more grab in the anchor to store energy to throw against the wind.  Later in the week I switched to a Airflo Northwest Skagit Head fastened to the end of some GuideLine Shooter hollow mono shooting line.  To the business end of this head was attached the prescribed 9-feet of Super-Extra-Fast Sinking Airflo sinking line.   The Shooter was straightened in yard sections as it came off the reel. It became remarkably trouble free in a short while. Various flies were fished at depth. The water was covered with both broadside and quartering downstream casts.  The water available ranged from 4 to 8-feet and was more than 100-feet wide.  I came to the conclusion that a longer tip was need, about the same time as my two fishing partners ran out of gas.  No fish were hooked, and I was only moderately  impressed with the performance of the line I had used and had the feeling that if we had stayed, I could have come up with something that would have produced fish.  That evening the wind returned.  A Rio AquaLux tip from an 8/9/10 WindCutter replaced the 9' sinking tip.  This resulted in a 47' head of 595 grains. A hand tied 6' leader and single size-4 fly completed the terminal tackle.  The effect was astonishing.  The Airflo line is denser than the head on the Rio line, therefore it rides lower in the water than the Rio.  The extra density aides line velocity.  The dense AquaLux tip turns over steadily, but not as quickly as the short sinking tip.  When cast, this combination of densities and tapers stays in the loop for a long distance before straightening out and losing energy.  This enables the head to stay in a very compact package longer to optimize long distance casting.   This concentrated mass also slips through the wind more easily than lines that turn over quicker.  Coupled to the tangle-free GuideLine Shooter, this head allowed me to fish at distances unobtainable with any other fly tackle I have ever used.  It got me three hook-ups one morning. However, because of the turn-over characteristics of the head, this line is an unremarkable performer at close distances.
There is an ever increasing tendency to mix and match parts of lines made by different companies.  This is particularly true of the more sophisticated professional spey rod guides.  The spey fishing community is made up with a high percentage of "fly line experimenters".  It's easier now than ever to create your own special line because there are so many sections fly lines that have loops in strategic places.  All you have to do is loop pieces together.  If you don't like the results, just un-loop the pieces and replace them with something else.  From my perspective, the greatest improvements are needed in building shooting lines that avoid tangles.  Nothing is more discouraging that executing the perfect cast, only to have the shooting line ball-up and jam into the first stripping guide.  There have been two huge improvements in shooting lines recently.  They are the aforementioned GuideLine shooter and Airflo's Miracle Braid.  They are both so good, I haven't been able to figure out which is the best.  Rio's Cheaters and Tips are indispensable for customizing spey lines.  Cheaters are five and ten foot sections of line that are looped at each end.  They are designed to adjust the belly length of  Rio WindCutter and Skagit Spey lines. Because they come as a set with two different lengths and two different densities, Cheaters allow you to easily change the length and overall density of any line easily.  Rio's density-compensated, color-coded, looped, 15-foot, Sinking Tips come in seven sizes and four sink rates as ready to go items.  If that is not enough there is also T-14 that can be cut to any length.


Spey Lines

Delta Spey Line Miracle Braid Shooting Line
Delta Multi Tip Spey Line About Airflo Spey Lines
Skagit Head When to add a PolyLeader

Only Airflo lines are made from UV resistant, super-tough polyurethane. There are no liquids used in the manufacture of Airflo lines and therefore they last longer than PVC lines. With its dry lubricant in the outer coating Airflo Spey Lines stay cleaner than other lines, and don’t require as much care as PVC lines. Airflo Spey Lines are super-slick.  As with all fly lines, regular cleaning will ensure that they stay that way.  By cleaning your line, you help it float, and keep friction in the rod guides from degrading line smoothness.  Airflo lines are hardly affected by DEET and other chemicals that would normally ruin a fly line. You don’t have to worry about getting insect repellant on Airflo fly lines.
Airflo Delta and Northwest Skagit lines feel harder and denser than lines from the competition.  This gives them exceptional casting properties.  Airflo spey lines are sold at the Fly Fishing Shop because of customer demand.

Delta Spey Line
Completely redesigned in 2006.  All that remains is the original Delta Spey taper created by Tim Rajeff and Dec Hogan. Delta Spey now features the Power Core technology for improved control over the Spey cast, this combined with a new supple outer coating makes for less memory in cold conditions.
Produced as a one part line, the Delta Spey features new improved low diameter running lines for unrivalled casting performance. Our testers have hailed the new Delta Spey as the ultimate all-round line for Spey, switch and overhead casts.

Head lengths vary from 50½ feet to 57 feet and head weights conform to the new Spey Standard. Exclusive Delta Spey Taper for powerful turnover. Power Core ultra low stretch for ultimate casting performance, hook set, and minimal memoryTwo tone Mint Green for easy loading.
Item Description Size Price To Top
  Airflow Delta Spey Line 6/7 $69.95

  Airflow Delta Spey Line 7/8 $69.95

  Airflow Delta Spey Line 8/9 $69.95

  Airflow Delta Spey Line 9/10 $69.95


Delta Multi Tip Spey Line
This extremely versatile system has been grasped by two hand casters the world over, being perfect for those trips when you just don’t know what the gods will throw at you. Delta lines come with a range of 4 tips all 15’ long – floating, sink 2, sink 5 and the incredible sink 8 ( 8” per sec).
Each loop features our new improved sleeved weld for incredible strength and durability. All spare tip sections are now looped tip and butt, making this the first Multi Tip line with tip loops.
Powerful Delta Spey tapers give superb turnover - individually balanced tip sections to avoid

hinging- tips 13’ - 15’.  Power Core has ultra-low stretch for ultimate casting performance, hook set, and minimal memory.  New Ultra Supple PolyFuse XT cold weather coating – ultra supple inner layer for low memory and Teflon loaded outer layer for slick casting performance.
Two tone Mint Green.
Item Description Size Price To Top
  Airflo Delta Multi-Tip Spey Line 6/7 $139.95

  Airflo Delta Multi-Tip Spey Line 7/8 $139.95

  Airflo Delta Multi-Tip Spey Line 8/9 $139.95

  Airflo Delta Multi-Tip Spey Line 9/10 $139.95


Skagit Head Spey Line
In the rivers of the Pacific NW of the United States a style of fishing has developed using easy casting multi tip shooting heads.  Heads can be easier to cast than regular weight forward lines.  Heavy sink tips are used to get big flies to the bottom of big rivers.  Shorter, interchangeable shooting heads can do this easier than longer belly lines.  Previously available only in custom made versions by fly nerds, the new NW 2 Hand Shooting Heads now allows people who fish sink tips to catch medium to large sized steelhead and salmon in rivers around the world.  Powerful front tapers are designed for turnover with wind resistant flies and heavy tips.  Floating-multi filament

braided nylon core for low memory.  PolyFuse XT dual layer system- supple inner layer for low memory and a hard highly lubricated outer layer for slick casting performance. 
Tired of cutting up lines trying to make easy casting shooting heads for big heavy flies?  Airflo has created a series of Skagit heads that bring the performance of custom lines to everyone who owns a two-hand rod. These Skagit lines do not require special rods but can be cast with rods that have moderate actions and power commonly used to cast shorter lines like Airflo Delta Spey lines. The goal was to create a line that easily casts the largest / heaviest flies using an interchangeable sink tip system. Running line needs vary with conditions therefore Airflo has chosen to listen to the hard core fishermen and created their NW 2-Hand Skagit lines in a shooting head configuration.
Float- Peach.
Item Description Size Price To Top
  Airflo Skagit Spey Head 6/7 $74.95

  Airflo Skagit Spey Head 7/8 $74.95

  Airflo Skagit Spey Head 8/9 $74.95

  Airflo Skagit Spey Head 9/10 $74.95

Technical Information About Airflo NW Skagit Spey Lines
Size Floating portion weight Front taper length of floating belly Belly length Rear taper length Length of Floating w/o tip Total line length including sink tip Total head weight gr. Average rod length Rod / head length ratio
6/7 440 14 13 3 30 38 520 12.5 3.0
7/8 470 15 14 3 32 41 560 13 3.2
 8/9 530 15.5 15 3 33.5 43.5 630 13.5 3.2
9/10 650 16 16 3 35 45 750 14 3.2

Non-Stretch Miracle Shooting Braid

Marcy Stone fires a line across the North Umpqua using Miracle Braid shooting line.

Possibly the best overall shooting/running line for coldwater use with spey shooting heads is Airflo MiracleBraid. It's incredibly light so it shoots a long way, has NO memory, floats, and doesn't tangle very often.  Because it has no stretch, even on those dainty takes where the fish merely "stops" the fly can be felt. The feel is immediate and very pronounced. This is a great line to use in combination with Skagit and Scandinavian heads.  Some anglers are even cutting the stock shooting lines from mid-length heads and replacing them with Miracle Braid because it gives superior performance.

Item Description Size Price To Top
MBRATDNS Airflo Non-Stretch Miracle Shooting Braid, 40-yard spool 35-pound test $24.95


About Airflo Spey Lines
Made by an exclusive process from Polyurethane, Airflo Spey Lines are slick and tough. 
They are well known to shoot with less effort than their competition. 
How About Adding An Airflo PolyLeader?
It is well known that PolyLeaders carry the flow of energy longer and smoother than regular nylon leaders.  Adding a PolyLeader to your fly line will enable you to cast further and smoother.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Sheppard !!!

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

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes


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