Two Fly Set Up

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Two Fly Set Up
Marmot Dam Is Gone
TFO Dear Creek Spey
Fall Chinooks
Purple Angel
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Two Fly Set Up
Greg Corrado with a 9-pounder.

I watched Greg Corrado hammer out long cast after long cast as he worked his way down the broad run on the Deschutes River.  Three steelhead were stuck in less than an hour.  The first came off before the net could be slipped under it.  It was clearly hooked on the dropper fly.  The second fish came unpinned with about a hundred yards of backing out.  No telling which of Greg's two flies it had eaten.  The third fish, a beautiful native hen was netted and gently released after the dropper fly was removed from the corner of her mouth.  Both flies were proven

producers.  The point fly was a Signal Light, a black winged fly with about every color in the rainbow.  The dropper fly was a Purple Angel Tail Gunner, a white winged fly.  It had also been responsible for the fish that Greg had landed the evening before; the small hatchery steelhead we saved for camp meat.  Then it landed another fish, the morning after. Why steelhead prefer one fly rater than some other is a mystery.  Some anglers contend that the fly pattern is of little importance, that steelhead strike out of territorialism or curiosity and will strike any fly that comes into their territory at the right speed.  While presentation is always of great importance, the events illustrated above might conclude that steelhead can have a preference for a certain color or size of fly.  An angler fishing two flies per cast doubles his chances of having the right fly to match the steelhead's mood.  There are several ways to rig a two fly set up.

Tail Gunners

Tail Gunners
A Tail Gunner has a loop where the tail should be so you can attach your tippet to it.  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%.

Tube Flies

Tube Fly Dropper
Angling with (2) flies on the same cast is common on all of the rivers east of the Cascades.  Tube flies offer a unique variation on this theme.  A traditional way to add a second fly in a hand tied leader made from hard Maxima, is to join the 10-pound section to the 12-pound section with a blood knot and leave the tag end of the 12-pound section about 6" long for a dropper.  The final length of the dropper will be 4" when the fly is tied on to it.   The fly swings free on the end of the dropper and rarely tangles.  A Tube Fly can be tied on in same way.  It can also be attached by running both the tippet and the dropper through the head end of the tube.  The Tube Fly now runs in perfect alignment with the point fly, which can be another tube fly or conventional fly.

Dropper Fly

Blood Knot Dropper Using Maxima
Maxima Chameleon and Maxima Clear are the only to leader materials that are proven for "blood knot dropper" set-ups.  I once asked a famous Deschutes fly fishing guide what he liked for a leader. He said his leaders were simply twenty five and twenty pound maxima and the tag end of the twenty five pound became his dropper.  He said one leader would last all season and that he rarely lost flies in the trees.  We be he didn't.  His contention was that Deschutes steelhead weren't leader shy.  He and his clients caught lots of steelhead, which tends to validate his position.

Marmot Dam Is Gone
Sandy River is made whole by Marmot Dam breach

(Copied from KATU web site)
It began as a trickle Friday and now water is flowing freely down the entire length of the Sandy River. The move is all part of a plan to help restore an ancient salmon run.       
The main section of the earthen Marmot Dam was breached Friday afternoon to help restore the river's natural flow. 
The concrete cover on the dam was destroyed by high explosives during the summer and crews have been clearing the debris in preparation for Friday's breach. The main body of the dam was composed of

900,000 cubic yards of earth.  On Friday, crews used heavy machinery to start a small stream from the lake behind the dam, and within minutes, the trickle was a torrent. 
Two hours later, the lake was memory and the river was flowing normally again for the first time in decades.  The rest of the dam material will be removed and nature is expected to restore the area the dam occupied over the years.

TFO Deer Creek Report
Jim Sulin, TFO VP of Marketing with a Deschutes steelhead

Had the pleasure of sharing my camp with Rick Pope and Jim Shulin of Temple Fork Outfitters last week. Evidently Deschutes steelhead have something against Texans because they decided to go into a slump.  Jim finally landed a hatchery steelhead his last morning on the river using a 12 1/2' 5/6 weight Deer Creek rod.  Jim used a CND Gravity Point line.  I had tried the outfit earlier and wasn't very impressed with its performance.  When they left camp, they gave me the rod.  That afternoon I looked through my gear and the lightest line with me was a 460 grain Rio AFS Scandi shooting head set-up on a Ross CLA 5 reel.  The line had a 10' intermediate PolyLeader attached to it.  The set up proved to be useable but uncomfortable.  Thirty casts later the PolyLeader was replaced with a nine foot hand tied leader made from four sections of Maxima.  The change in casting performance was immediate and astounding.  The run I was fishing doesn't require long

camp meat...

casts, but pin point accuracy is essential and there is little room for your D-loop. The little rod and short shooting head proved to be the perfect combination. Two steelhead were stuck in quick succession.  The next morning I fished the camp water where longer casts are needed.  To my surprise the rod/line combination was up to the task and another steelhead was landed.  This rod/line combination is very easy to cast and will appeal to anglers of all casting skills.  The outfit rigged this way is very lightweight, but has the butt strength to play most sizes of steelhead.

TF 5/6 126 4 DC

Length: 12' 6"       Sections: 4       Line Weight in Grains: 350-550
TF 5/6 126 4 DC

For trout or summer steelhead.  This rod handles the full range of both floating and sinking tip lines for the angler who enjoys the lightweight touch.
Comes with Cordura covered hard case & sock.
Rod Weight: 7.6 ounces

Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
TF 5/6 126 4 DC Deer Creek 5/6 Med Deer Creek $329.95


Fly Fishing for Fall Chinook
By: Dean Finnerty   (Part 2 of a 3 part series)
Don Roberts

In last weeks installment we covered the “where to go” part of the puzzle in creating the factors necessary to be successful in fly fishing for fall Chinook salmon.  This week we’ll cover the “when” and various tackle considerations needed to successfully go after a fish that may weigh more than 70 pounds!
As we previously discussed, fly rods and lines are ideally suited to present fly patterns in moderate current speeds at depths to ten feet or less.  Salmon have incredibly keen eye sight as well as a fantastic ability locating prey by sounds

picked up by their lateral lines.  I believe that a lot of work in fly design needs to be done to take full advantage of a salmon’s ability to find prey by sound.

When presenting flies to salmon in the fall when pacific northwest weather patterns can produce such huge diversity in water conditions, anglers need to take into account water visibility that can vary between raging, muddy torrents to “gin clear”, ultra-low water flows and everything in between.  Obviously, fly fishermen prefer the moderate to lower flows that accentuate their tackle choice.  Another factor that can play heavily in your success is the daily ebb and flow of the tides.  Salmon prefer to feed and become VERY active an

Baitfish fly...

hour or two prior, throughout and after a low (ebb) or high (flood) tide.  This means reviewing tide prediction tables for the dates you plan to fish is important to be consistently successful salmon fly fisherman.  On literally hundreds of occasions over the years, I’ve witnessed extremely inactive salmon go absolutely berserk, jumping and cavorting all over a bay or tide water pool when the tide hit a low or high slack.   These slack tide periods almost always provide the best window of opportunity to find salmon willing to feed.

Spey rod Chinook...

On some waters the fall Chinook begin showing up as early as mid-July.  An example of this is the lower Umpqua near Reedsport, Oregon where I guide.  A run of Chinook always shows up, albeit in fairly small numbers around the 4th of July weekend and a few eager souls can be found searching for these early salmon.  The run continues to build, reaching its peak from mid-September though mid-October.  Other river systems don’t even begin their salmon runs until after the big fall rains blow out sand bars deposited at the rivers mouth during the summer.  This typically occurs each year around the 1st or 2nd week of November.  The Elk and Sixes rivers are very good examples.  These fish seem genetically pre-dispositioned to arrive later in the year than most other runs.  Fishing will hold up very well through the holiday season, giving anglers a very unique fishing opportunity to catch chrome bright “hogs” for Christmas!

The vast majority of time, a 9 or 10 foot, single handed rod capable of casting a nine or ten weight line is ideal for fall Chinook.  Often times your sharing a pool with other fly anglers making it difficult to swing the longer 14’ spey rods.  When you have the room, spey rods are great for swinging flies for fall salmon.  Most of the time, particularly on the lower stretches of most river systems, the presentation ends with a strip retrieve which also favors the single handed rod for preparing for the next cast.

Reels have to have smooth disk drags, preferably with large arbors and the capacity to carry at least two hundred yards of 30 pound micron backing.     90% of the time, I use shooting head systems where I attach my shooting head of choice to 150’ of floating running line.  The most often used head for my clients and I is a clear intermediate sinking “slime line”.  Next most often used head is a type IV for heavier water or deeper presentations.  Leaders are kept short, normally four or five foot of straight 15lb. or 20 lb. maxima.  If we’re using our spey rods, I really enjoy casting a “Skagit” line with a variety of sink tips, ranging from a ten foot length of intermediate “slime line” all the way up to a custom cut 300 grain type 11 tip for really deeply swung patterns. 

Some anglers prefer using a stripping basket to manage their shooting-running lines.  I’ve learned to manage the line with a few (usually less than four) fairly large loops of line held either in my mouth or fingertips.

In the next installment of this series we’ll cover all the techniques you’ll need to present your patterns to these salmon as well as the patterns that the fish love to eat!

Anyone with questions or comments or who may be interested in booking a trip with Dean are encouraged to contact him via his website located at 

Purple Angel
Kathy Wallace with a steelhead she caught with a Purple Angel
Purple Angel
Bob Strobel is credited with this pattern and is it was first tied for Washington rivers.  It has become a standby pattern for the Deschutes and is especially productive from early in the summer season to late in the fall.  Skinny sparse dressed flies might be in vogue, but fat fuzzy flies like the Purple Angel often put more fish on the beach.  Not only do they provide a highly visible target, but they also disturb more water to be more easily detected by a fish's sensitive lateral line.  Before they strike they got to find it.

Purple Angel

Item Description Size Price To Top
21250-04 Purple Angel 4 3 for $5.95

21250-06 Purple Angel 6 3 for $5.95


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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty

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