Oregon Summer Steelhead Flies

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Oregon Flies
Evidence of Success
Water Tower Restoration
Sage 7126-4 TCX
Steelhead School
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Oregon Summer Steelhead Flies For The Late Fall Season
Here are nine proven patterns for steelhead river east of the Cascades. A record run in the Columbia River has over a half a million steelhead headed to rivers such as the Klickitat, Deschutes, John Day, Grand Rhonde, Clear Water, Salmon and Methow Rivers.
Fly du Jour Green Butt Skunk Mack's Canyon
Freight Train Joe Gert Purple Angel
Golden Demon Limit Lander Signal Light

 Pacific Redband Steelhead. Photo by Josh Linn

Steelhead evolved in the rivers that drain the Pacific Rim. And when one dreams of perfect steelhead rivers, you just naturally have to think about Oregon.  The Rogue, Umpqua, Deschutes, John Day and Grand Rhonde are some of the better known steelhead rivers in the world. Other rivers such as the Sandy, Clackamas and North Santiam may be nearly as good in their rights.  Because of it's geographic placement, many Oregon rivers fish nearly year round.  This makes Oregon a prime laboratory for developing steelhead fly fishing techniques and fly patterns.  All of the flies listed below were developed in Oregon or modified by local tiers for use on Oregon Rivers.  

Fly du Jour
Hook: TMC 7999
Thread: Red 8/0
Tag: Flat Silver Tinsel
Butt: Fluorescent Pink Edge Bright
Purple Synthetic Dubbing
Rib: Flat Silver Mylar

Hackle: Purple Saddle
Wing:  White Calf Tail,
            Pearl Pink Krystal Flash
Head:  Red
Common Sizes: This fly is most often used in sizes four and six in rivers like The 

Fly du Jour

Deschutes, John Day, Grand Rhonde and Clear Water. The "Fly du Jour" is proven on all sizes of rivers and a wide range of water temperatures and conditions.  It is one of the have-to-have flies no matter where you fish steelhead along the Pacific Rim. The Fly du Jour may be the best of all Deschutes summer steelhead flies for floating line fishing the majority of the season.  Ninety percent of the season it is my point fly of choice.  Just another purple and pink fly?  Maybe.  There are many.  Purple and pink is a popular theme on the Deschutes with such patterns as Rick's Revenge and the Freight Train being the most popular examples.  The Fly du Jour is different because it uses a revolutionary material called Edge Bright for the pink butt.  Edge Bright is a material that gathers light through its broad side and magnifies it through its narrow edge. It is wrapped on the fly so that the rear edge of every wrap is exposed.  Viewed from the rear this butt literally glows.  The effect is further enhanced with the butt surrounded by a halo of dark purple materials.  The pattern was an instant success when it was introduced in 1990.  In the space of a couple of weeks two different groups of clients that didn't know each other called it the Fly du Jour (fly of the day), and that is how it got it's name.

Item Description Size Price To Top
20575-02 Fly du Jour 2 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
20575-04 Fly du Jour 4 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
20575-06 Fly du Jour 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Freight Train
Another very popular Randall Kaufmann Deschutes River fly. If you only had one fly with which to fish steelhead from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, this may be the one.
Freight Train
Item Description Size Price To Top
20588-04 Freight Train 4 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
20588-04 Freight Train 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Golden Demon
This fly came from New Zealand in about 1933 and was modified by Fred Peet for Atlantic Salmon on the Cains River in New Brunswick.  It was brought to the West Coast where it was again modified by C. Jim Pray of Eureka, California.  It became popular in Southern Washington and Northern Oregon around 1950 and has stayed reasonably popular ever since. 
Golden Demon
Item Description Size Price To Top
20610-06 Golden Demon 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Green Butt Skunk
Paul Franklin with a large steelhead caught on a Green Butt Skunk
This fly was originated by Dan Callahan on the North Umpqua River.  However the "Green Butt" is proven on all sizes of rivers and a wide range of water temperatures and conditions. It is one of
 the have-to-have flies no matter where you fish steelhead along the Pacific Rim. We have modernized this classic fly by having it tied with the latest materials on gold colored Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron hooks. Don't worry, this version is thoroughly proven.  We've been using Green Butt Skunks on various colors of hooks for years. The ones tied on gold hooks just seem to catch more fish, so we're passing the secret on to you. These flies are Super Premium Quality! Green Butt Skunk
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST270-03 Green Butt Skunk 3 3 for $8.55 SALE ENDED
ST270-05 Green Butt Skunk 5 3 for $8.55 SALE ENDED
ST270-07 Green Butt Skunk 7 3 for $8.55 SALE ENDED

Joe Gert
A deadly revolutionary rubber wing fly.

This nice, wild Deschutes steelhead fell for a Joe Gert fly for angler, Dr. Peter Watson after it had been fished over with a couple of other patterns.  Sometimes changing to a completely different pattern will turn the trick.  It pays to carry several different styles and colors of flies.  The Joe Gert
was first tied by Mike Duley for Joe The Barber while camping at Gert Canyon on the Deschutes River. The Joe Gert is the first fly to our knowledge to use silicone plastic round rubber leg material for the wing and tail of a conventional steelhead wet fly. The motion of the rubber wing & tails swims and crawls through the water with life mimicking movement.  The Joe Gert has spawned a whole series

of rubber wing flies in green, pink, orange, purple and red colors.  No one has come up with a classification of the rubber winged flies.  We just call them Gerts.  You got any Gerts?
Item Description Size Price To Top
06277 Joe Gert 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Signal Light
This Randall Kaufman pattern is named after a famous steelhead run on the Deschutes River..
Signal Light
Item Description Size Price To Top
21460-04 Signal Light 4 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
21460-06 Signal Light 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Limit Lander, Krystal Flash
The original Limit Lander was tied with a hair wing in the 1980's by Ed Leech for the Deschutes. Our version incorporates Krystal Flash for the wings and tail.  This pattern sparkles in the water and has proven to be one of the best "bright light time" floating line wet flies.
Limit Lander
Item Description Size Price To Top
21075-04 Limit Lander 4 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
21075-06 Limit Lander 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Mack's Canyon
This beautiful fly is the creation of Doug Stewart. This fly is especially good during the late season when October Caddis are out and about.
Mack's Canyon
Item Description Size Price To Top
21085-04 Mack's Canyon 4 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
21085-06 Mack's Canyon 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Purple Angel
Bob Strobel is credited with this pattern and it was first tied for Washington rivers.  It has become a standby pattern for the Deschutes and is especially productive late in the summer season. 
Purple Angel
Item Description Size Price To Top
21250-04 Purple Angel 4 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED
21250-06 Purple Angel 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Evidence of Repeated Success
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a fish story without pictures is just another fish story. Every client in the last nine-night camp caught multiple steelhead, even though the water in the lower Deschutes was a little less than perfect because of White River silt. Steelhead are now passing over Sherars Falls in good numbers every day. Fishing is good the entire 100-miles from the mouth of the river to Pelton Dam. The upper river is really coming alive in the Maupin Town-water and Deschutes Club waters. There are also good numbers of fish at Warm Springs. Expect this part of the river to be good until Christmas. The fishing is so good, we may extend our guide season into November this year. Call to make arrangements: 1-800-266-3971

Jack Henderson switched to the reliable old Fly du Jour and got grabbed on the second cast.

Joachim Vondeling took his own picture with a camera set on a rock in the river.

Bob Byles has a habit of making his guide look smart.

Dr. Craig Stemmer brought this steelhead back to three different flies.

Dave Bennett's third steelhead of the morning from three different places.

Steve Lane loves to catch steelhead on flies he has tied himself.

Dr. Richard Steinberg's first spey rod steelhead is certainly not his last.

Steve Kovach had several hot multi steelhead sessions.

Doug Robertson's release is always so tender.

Deschutes Water Tower Restoration Project
Help Restore the Historic Water Tower on the Deschutes River!
The historic Harris Canyon water tower viewed from the river. The water tower viewed from above.

The Historic Rail Road Water Tower at the mouth of Harris Canyon on the Deschutes River is 100 years old this year and it needs some badly needed repairs to last another 100 years. The tower is one of the last remaining remnants of the railroad line that was built on the East side of the river between 1909 & 1911. The tower stands on property in Sherman County and is owned by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). In October of this year, the water tower is being restored by some volunteer efforts, but additional funds are needed. This restoration project will be a collaborative effort between ODFW, Sherman Co. Historical Society, Northwest  Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society, SD Deacon Corp. of Portland, Jerry Tanquistand Ron Walp.
ODFW which owns the land and water tower, will be providing some financial and administrative support.

The Sherman Co. Historical Society will handle financial contributions through a 501(C)(3) nonprofit.

SD Deacon Corp. of Portland, under the direction of Doug Campbell, is volunteering the labor for the restoration.

Funds to pay for the rental and erection of scaffolding, construction materials and historical signage seem to be the big items at this point.

If you would like to support this restoration project, please send your contribution in check form made out to the Sherman Co. Historical Society/Harris Canyon Water Tower Project. P.O. Box 173, Moro, Or. 97039.

Project Committee: Keith Kohl, ODFW: Sherry Kaseberg, SCHS: Cal McDermid, SCHS: Doug Campbell, SD Deacon Corp: Jerry Tanquist, Wasco and Sherman Co. Railroad Historian: Ron Walp, long time Deschutes River user.  For additional information contact Jerry Tanquist at betsyjer@skyride.net or 541- 296-6919 or Ron Walp at ronwalp@aol.com or 623-680-9724.

A Report on Sage's New 7126-4 TCX SuperSpey
By: Simon Gawesworth
Simon Gawesworth and Dr. Craig Stemmer at Summer Steelhead Ph.D 2009
Simon Gawesworth instructs Dr. Craig Stemmer in the art of performing the V-loop.

For a few months during the summer of 2009 there were whispers in the wind of a new #7 weight spey rod from Sage. Rumors spread out from the North West of something special, something unlike any #7 spey rod that Sage had built in the past. Various reps, casting instructors and Sage staff would make reference to the impending release of this weapon, and would back up this claim with sly smiles and “just wait until you try it” comments.

Much as I love the lighter spey rods, particularly in the #7 & #8 sizes, I treated this with some skepticism. After all, I have tried numerous #7 rods that had been lauded and heralded by many of the same people that just were not what I liked in a rod. I like fast, responsive, light and most of the other #7 rods I have used have been soft, deeper flexing and just to “blah” for me. My yard stick has always been the Thomas and Thomas 13 ft #7, 3 piece rod and time and time again new rods have failed to match up to the action of this rod for me – and I have used this rod for more than 10 years.

I finally got the chance to fish this new Sage rod on a 4 day camping trip to the Deschutes in September 2009 with the folks out of The Fly Fishing Shop in Oregon. The trip was a mix of spey school and fishing school for a small group of passionate and would-be-passionate steelheaders.

The rod is part of Sage’s TCX series and is 12’ 6” long, rated for a #7. Like the rest of the TCX series, this is one powerful rod, with plenty of guts in the middle sections and a fast, responsive tip. I played with the rod during the day time casting sessions with an assortment of Skagit Flight shooting heads (new lines from RIO for 2010) and then took it off one morning for a serious trial with WindCutter lines and AFS heads.

This rod takes a surprisingly large range of line weights. I cast and fished this with WindCutter lines from 6/7/8 to 8/9/10 and it works well with all of them. For European style casters the 6/7/8 would feel nice, the 7/8/9 feels lovely to me, yet the 8/9/10 loaded the rod deeply and made for easy casting and would certainly be a great choice for a novice caster, trying to find the feel of this rod. Similarly, the 7/8 AFS was a stonking good line on this rod, but the 8/9 loaded it up beautifully and, again, would be a better call for someone who likes to feel the rod load. The 6/7 was a touch light on the rod, especially for the winds we had on some of the days, but I know many casters that would find the 6/7 the line of choice here. 

As far as Skagit lines go, the real winner was the Skagit Flight 525. Oh boy! This combination was about as sweet a thing as I can ever remember casting, and I am not the biggest Skagit fan. I used a 15ft intermediate #8 tip for my fishing, but also cast a 15ft, #8 type 6 and type 8 tip, and all these things launched. The balance with this outfit and the power, loop formation and distance achieved was extraordinary. I also tried the 500 grain Flight and found this to load the rod nicely, and would again be a better choice for the European caster. For the truer Skagit caster, and someone that really likes the rod to load, and that has slow D-loop strokes, the 550 or even the 575 Skagit Flight would be sublime.

At the end of the trip I can tell you that I left as a firm believer. I have finally found a #7 rod that can rival the best ever made. True, it is more of a #7/8, than a perfect #7, but then so is the T&T 1307 I have always loved. This TCX is absolutely marvelous! I love casting with it, I love the lightness of the rod and the balance it has in my head, I love the tip speed it generates and the tight, effortless loops it forms. I love the power in the middle sections of the rod that will allow a caster to handle long belly lines if required, but also that is excellent for bullying a good fish in a tough current. This IS my new best friend, the one rod that I will take anywhere I can, and will certainly use as much as possible.


A short, light and powerful #7 spey rod – superb for grilse, silvers, summer run steelhead, large trout and would be a great rod from the beach, overhead casting to stripers or whatever. Not your cup of tea if you like the slower, more traditional action fly rods, but for someone who enjoys light, fast and responsive rods, it is an absolute “must have”.


Action: 6 out of 6

Cosmetics: 6 out of 6

Overall: 10 out of 10

Line Rating: WindCutter A: 7/8/9, B: 8/9/10 PowerSpey: 7/8, Skagit: Flight 525, AFS: 7/8

Best Line: Skagit Flight 525 or AFS 7/8

7126-4 TCX

Length: 12' 6"     Line: 7     Pieces: 4

9140-4 TCX

Termed by George Cook, "The death star of spey rods." George has already taken some massive Alaskan Kings, and big bobos with it, as well as several Dean River steelhead. Mark Bachmann fished this rod for five sessions on the Deschutes and says, "If you are into generating line speed, you will love this lightweight rod."
Rod weight: 7 5/8 oz.
NEW !!! In stock at The Fly Fishing Shop NOW!

The Fly Fishing Shop Line Matches:
Rio WindCutter 7/8/9
Rio Skagit 500, New Rio Skagit Flight 500 or 525, Airflo Skagit 510 Compact + 15’ #9 tips.
Rio AFS 460 grain, Airflo Compact Scandi 480

Line Wt
Action Handle Price To Top
7126-4 TCX 7 Fast G $865 SALE ENDED

Two Day Summer Steelhead Fly Fishing School, October 17-18, 2009

I will be glad to net your fish...  Photo by: Dean Finnerty

Take a jet boat ride on the Deschutes River with: 
Mark Bachmann
This crash course in summer steelhead fishing will cover a lot of water
and fishing knowledge in two days. We will be camped on premium steelhead warter.
Summer Steelhead will bite any time of day on the Deschutes River, 
however odds go way up during the low light hours of morning and evening.  
That is why we are starting early and are staying late.  
I want to give you maximum advantage 
by having as many fish hooked during these classes as possible.  
Nothing teaches you more about fishing than being where 
fish are being hooked and landed.
Emphasis will be on floating line fishing, 
but will also cover sinking tip fishing during mid-day periods. 
Emphasis will be on two-hand fly rod casting and fishing.
Learn how to locate steelhead water and how to approach it. 
Watch an expert guide as he fishes and discloses the secrets
 and proven methods that put fish on the beach.  
Get a lot of hands on help so that you too can be productive.
Save yourself five years of experimenting on your own. 
Bring your own waders & rain gear.  Dress for cold mornings & evenings.
Bring your own tackle.
Price includes Deschutes Boaters Pass.
Meet at Mack's Canyon at 8:00am arrive back at 5:30pm.
How to get to Mack's Canyon
4 students per class only!
Dinner and brunch will be served. 
Be sure to bring a sleeping bag, change of clothes & camp shoes.
Tents, cots with pads and full accommodations will be provided.

First come, first served.

Item Description Price To Top
ST-BACH-1017-18 2-day steelhead class with Mark Bachmann, Stay overnight and fish both days October 17-18, cost $695 per student $695
per student

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

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty