Introducing Aqua Flies, The Deschutes River Salmonfly Hatch, Six Weight Rods, Dry Fly Floatants

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Introducing Aqua Flies

I have personally inspected in detail the shipment of flies that we just got from Aqua Flies. They are superb in design and workmanship. I’ve been in the fly fishing business for over 40 years and have not seen anything to compare to it. These flies are different from all other brands of comparable flies in complexity and detail, therefore they look and move differently than any of the competition. Because they arrived in pristine condition (unlike most flies that are thrown in a box), we are going to sell them packaged and carded, so that they are in pristine condition when you buy them rather than having been mauled while on display. Yes, they cost a little more, but anglers who want the very best will easily see the difference and so will the fish. MB

Brett's Klamath Intruder Klamath Skater Stu's Chinook Intruder Stu's Rhea Intruder
Brett's Obie Skater Mini-Intruder Stu's Barred Ostrich Intruder  
       
 
The Deschutes River Salmonfly Hatch
The water conditions on the Deschutes River for the salmonfly hatch are the best in years, and the hatch is also predicted to be the best in recent memory. The river is clear and the flow is 4,000-4,400 cfs. This is unheard of conditions for this time of year. The whole lower 100-miles of the river has salmonflies. The fish are just beginning to look up for floating adults. Salmonfly nymphs are still effective in most parts of the river.
In our region, stone flies hatch from January through August. There are at least two dozen species which are important in the adult stage to the trout angler. These range between the tiny Winter Blacks (3/8") to the giant Salmon Fly (over 2").  The salmonfly hatch on Oregon's Deschutes in May/June, is arguably the best dry fly fishing the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Historically, the hatch started at the mouth of the river in the first week of May, and by May 25th there were usually a few salmonflies at Warm Springs. Since 2012, PGE has changed the water flow regime in their hydro electric facilities at Pelton Dam and warmed the river a few degrees during the winter. This has moved the hatch ahead at least two, possibly three weeks. Used to be that the first week in June was peak for the best fifty miles, between Maupin and Warm Springs. Now the hatch may be over by June 1. Or it may trickle off through June as always. No one knows for sure. There may still be some salmonflies around Pelton Dam until the first of July.
The so-called hatch occurs when the nymphs crawl out of the water. It is during this migration from deeper water to the shores that nymphs are most exposed, and nymph fishing is most productive. Certain shorelines provide the best conditions for hatching, and nymphs tend to concentrate in those areas. The trout, of course are aware of these places and also congregate there. The nymphs will usually seek out tree trunks or other vegetation or any solid but porous structure where the claws of the nymphal feet will stay fastened securely so emergence of the adult insect can progress with out interruption. Since this hatch happens on land, it is of small importance to fishing in comparison to mayfly or caddis hatches that happen at the surface of water.  Most of the actual "hatching" happens at night or early in the morning. It can continue in daylight hours on cloud cover days or in deeply shaded areas.
It is after the insects have hatched and have become active adults that they become important as trout food.  During the night adult salmonflies become inactive. Their favorite places to rest or mate is in the stream-side vegetation. Much of this vegetation overhangs the water.  In the mid to late morning as the air temperatures rise, the adults become active and start crawling and flying around. They are clumsy and some will inevitably land in the water. It is at the river's edge that the best dry fly action usually occurs. Since the majority of the salmonflies are concentrated around the water, the trout will take up stations under overhanging trees and grass. Casting your salmonfly imitation up stream under the over hanging
trees has always been one of the secrets to successfully fishing the hatch. During the warm part of the day there will be a fairly constant rain of fluttering and flopping bugs onto the water.
Pin-point casting accuracy is much more important than delicate presentations. Real salmonflies are heavy and hit the water hard. The perfect set-up is a medium fast action six weight rod, and a 6'-7' long leader tapered down to 3X.
You need to be able to poke the fly under low hanging branches and through holes in the brush. In many ways, fishing the salmonfly hatch has more in common with bass bugging than classic dry fly fishing. 

CDC Salmonfly

Yummy Mummy

Foam Stone, Golden

Rogue Stone, Orange

Stimulator, Orange

CDC Golden Stone

Chew Toy, Golden

Foam Stone Salmonfly

Clark Stone, Orange

Stimulator, Yellow

Chubby Norm

Chew Toy, Salmonfly

Rogue Stone, Giant Black

Clark Stone, Golden

True Salmonfly

Egg Layer

Chubby Chernobyl

Rogue Stone, Golden

Norm Wood Special

True Golden Stone

Golden Stones, Olive Stones and Yellow Sally Stones are important before, during and after the salmonfly hatch. Little Olive Stones tend to precede the salmonfly hatch by a week or two. They remain available to fish throughout most of the "big" hatch and disappear about the same time as the salmonflies. Golden Stones usually linger on for a while. They are replaced by Yellow Sallies which are bright yellow and are sizes #14 to #16.


Consider A Six Weight Rod For The Salmonfly Hatch
Salmonfly patterns are some of the largest dry flies used for trout. The trout that eat salmonflies live under low hanging trees and shrubs, in rivers that often have windy conditions. The trout encountered during the salmonfly hatch are often the largest of the year. For these reasons, larger fly line mass is handy for throwing these large flies accurately, and heavier leaders and rods with enough spine to haul large fish from challenging terrain is handy. A nine foot, six weight rod is the preferred tool for the job. The rods offered below are the ones our guides and customers see as the stand-outs. Each has a unique set of attributes. Some have raw power, others exhibit outstanding balance or accuracy, and still other, economy of money spent. All are available for delivery.
Sage 690-4 ONE Echo 690-4 Echo3 G. Loomis 1083-4 FLY NRX Loop 690-4 Xact
Sage 690-4 Approach Echo 690-4 Boost G. Loomis 1086-4 Pro4X TFO BVK TF 06 90 4 B
Beulah 690-4 GSII Echo 690-4 Base Loop 690-4 CROSS S1 TFO 690-4 Mangrove
       
Sage 690-4 ONE G. Loomis 1086-4 FLY NRX
Why to buy: Possibly the perfect rod for poking big flies up under the overhanging brush during the salmonfly hatch. Sage ONE is arguably the most accurate rod series avaialable, due to Konnetic Technology. This is probably the best all around dry fly trout rod where the trout average 2-6 pounds.
Rod weight: 2 7/8 ounces.
Why to buy: A very precise, lightweight trout rod designed for casting small dries and nymphs on large freestone creeks and small rivers where long casts are a factor, but where accuracy is the key. NRX makes it as light as the proverbial feather, allowing you to cast all day long and hardly notice the rod in your hand. Whether it's lake fishing or stream fishing... trout or panfish, this may be the lightest, most technical 3-weight on the market. Also in Green.
FREE RIO GOLD FLY LINE INCLUDED
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
690-4ONE Sage ONE Series 9-foot, 6-weight, Include metal rod case.
$795.00
12031-01 G. Loomis NRX Series 9-foot, 6-weight, includes graphite rod case.
$730.00
Sage 690-4 Approach G. Loomis 1086-4 Pro4X
Why to buy: A popular size for larger trout.  Most popular size for throwing bass bugs. This rod is a great value. Made in USA by Sage, it costs less than half as much as a Sage ONE. A great entry or back-up rod for the travelling angler.
Rod weight: 3 9/16 Ounces.
Why to buy: This rod is the best choice for fishing windy conditions. It's slightly more powerful than it's 5-weight counterpart and that makes it a good choice for fishing streamers, large dries and bigger nymphs. It has enough power to handle large fish and provides positive line control at all distances.
FREE RIO GOLD FLY LINE INCLUDED
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
690APP Sage Approach Series 9-foot, 6-weight, Includes rod case.
$295.00
12000-01 G.loomis Pro4X Series 9-foot, 6-weight, Includes rod case.
$360.00
Beulah 690-4 GSII Loop 690-4 CROSS S1
Why to buy: Looks expensive, but economically priced. Big trout rivers in Alaska, and fishing streamers in Montana, as well as chucking poppers for Oregon bass, shad or carp is what this rod is all about. This is a perfect rod for fishing big lakes and reservoirs from a float tube, or fishing the salmonfly hatch.
Rod Weight in Ounces: 3.7
Why to buy: An incredibly accurate rod made with nano-resin technology. Lightweight, tough as a boot, responsive and precise.This 9ft 6-weight is perfect for casting streamers to big trout, chucking salmonflies in tight quarters, or tossing flies to skittish bonefish in skinny water.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
690-4 GSII Beulah GSII Series 9-foot, 6-weight, Includes rod case.
$295.00
CRO690-4MF Loop CROSS S1 Series 9-foot, 6-weight, Includes rod case.
$795.00
Echo 690-4 Echo3 Loop 690-4 Xact
Why to buy: These rods are pure joy to fish with. A blend of high modulus graphite and a superb action gives you a feel of what is going on as if the rod were an extension of your arm. Pin-point accuracy makes this the perfect salmonfly hatch rod at a fair price. Why to buy: Need something for the next trip for big trout and don't want to break the bank? The 9ft 6-weight Xact fly rod is perfect for casting streamers or large dry flies. Super fast graphite and a fast taper produces tight loops. The Xact is made to last with a grip made from rubberized cork.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
E3690 Echo3 Rod, 9-foot, Line Weight-6, 4-piece, complete with rod case
$349.99
XACT2-690-4 MF Loop Xact Rod, 9-foot, Line Weight-6, 4-piece, complete with rod case
$395.00
Echo 690-4 Boost TFO BVK TF 06 90 4 B
Why to buy: You've got to love the cosmetics on this one - what a racey looking rod. Boosts are lightweight, fast action "fishing" rods made for young (or older) aggressive anglers. This is precisely the kind of rod you need for fishing the salmonfly hatch. Why to buy: Who knows more about fly fishing than Lefty Kreh? Nobody! This is a very good salmonfly hatch rod. This may become one of your favorite Alaska trout rods. It also shines as a bass rod for both surface and subsurface work.
Rod weight: 3.0 ounces.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
BL-690 Echo Boost Rod, 9-foot, Line Weight-6, 4-piece, complete with rod case
$229.99
TF 06 90 4 B TFO BVK Rod, 9-foot, Line Weight-6, 4-piece, complete with rod sock
$259.95
Echo 690-4 Base TFO 690-4 Mangrove
Why to buy: A perfect rod where 2 to 6 pound fish are to be expected. Will work as a lake rod where fish might be as large as 15 pounds. The 690 is the all around bass rod for the Pacific Northwest. This is also a great size rod to have when encountering bonefish in places like Belize during calm weather periods. And this one is less than $90. Why to buy: Designed by Flip Pallot. This rod was designed for the angler who loves to pursue small bonefish, snappers, lady fish or sea run cutthroats in the salt. This is a great rod for humpy salmon and small stream steelhead fishing as well. It can't tell the diffence between small snook and redsides, or alders and mangroves. Distinctive cork spacers in handle denote line size needed.
Rod weight: 4.2 ounces.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
BASE-690 Echo Base Rod, Length 9-feet, for line weight 6, 4-piece, complete with case
$89.99
TF 06 90 4 M TFO Mangrove Rod, 9-foot, Line Weight-6, 4-piece, complete with rod sock
$279.95
 
Dry Fly Floatants
By Frank Day
I remember when I was a young fly fisher, a ripe 9 years of age ready to raise my first hungry trout to my dry fly. The only problem, within a few casts my now water soaked fly would sink beneath the surface and out of view. As I’m sure older anglers with failing vision can attest, it’s a bit difficult to successfully detect and hook up to a strike if you have no idea where your fly is. Because of this, every few casts my fishing would be interrupted to dry my saturated fly, a very complex and delicate process of repeatedly mashing my flies into my cotton t-shirts in hopes that the material would absorb just enough water to allow my fly to continue floating for a few more casts. Shortly after, I made my first visit to a fly shop and was enlightened to the existence of floatant, an almost magical product whose sole purpose was to keep a fly from sucking up water!

Historically, floatant came into play at the end of the 18th century. Until that point most fly fishing was done with shorter lines with the fly being no greater than 20’ from the rod tip. The longer braided silk lines that became popular created drag and when fished would suck water dragging the fly and fly line below the surface. Because of this, all kinds of techniques were used in keeping the lines afloat. One of the first floatants used was red deer fat. When applied to a cloth and rubbed into the line, the grease created the floatation that anglers desired. The great downside to this was that very few people had any interest in carrying around a rag soaked with rancid animal fat. This also was not as applicable to smaller dry flies. Everything was tied from organic materials and so cork and straw body flies were popular and had excellent flotation but were bulky and hard to cast. Paraffin was used next. Paraffin was a natural choice as anglers watched various species of water birds shed water from their feathers with their natural oils produced by their uropygial glands. From here, other petroleum based floatants were developed, and eventually modern silicone based floatants. Modern advances in silica gels and other water absorbing crystalline products naturally led to desiccants which we will discuss next.

Desiccants and floatants are similar in outcome but function very differently. Floatant as described in its evolution above, is typically a viscous paste, liquid, or gel designed to keep the fly from absorbing water, and is applied directly to the fly. There is a downside to floatants in that they can be applied too heavily. When applied in excessive amounts, floatant can reduce a fly’s ability to fish properly. The hackles may be stuck together keeping the fly from sitting on the surface tension, or when applied to an entire hook can cause a fly to ride on its side. When it comes to most rub on floatants, less truly is more.

Desiccants are powders used to pull water out of a saturated fly. The soaked fly is placed in the container with the desiccant, shaken briefly, and then taken out. Any excess powder can be shaken off. From here floatant is sometimes re-applied, although certain desiccants have water resistant powders mixed in so they both remove water and re-apply a water shedding coating at the same time. Loon Top Ride is an excellent example of this. Certain materials also do better with desiccant as opposed to liquid floatants. A good example is the cul de canard feathers found in many dry flies. It is a very small wispy feather and a powder is much more suitable than a liquid floatant because of the finer delicate nature of the fibers. Liquid floatant, no matter how sparingly applied, typically over saturate CDC feathers.

Hopefully this takes some of the confusion out of what to use, how, where, and when regarding the use of various dry fly floatants. Now get out there and raise a few!

Umpqua Bug Flote
Bug Flote is an excellent gel to keep your dry flies looking natural and floating on top of the water. It also works great on line, yarn strike indicators, and leaders. It's long lasting, and is easy to use in normal fishing temperatures. Works well on all sizes of flies, and is especially good on large dry flies. Originally produced by Dave Whitlock. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle with snap top.
Item Description Size Price To Top
30295 Umpqua Bug Flote, Fly Floatant 1/2 oz. $6.49
Gehrke's Gink
A very popular long lasting silicone gel fly floatant. Just squeeze a drop onto your forefinger and liquefy by rubbing against your thumb. Wipe the liquefied floatant onto the hackles, tail and wings or even the body of your fly. Best when used sparingly. Can darken some colors slightly if used too heavily. This can be used to your advantage when matching some hatches. Temperature sensitive. Works best at body temperature. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle with snap top.
Item Description Size Price To Top
GINK1 Gehrke's Gink Dry Fly Floatant 1/2 oz. $5.00
Loon Aquel
A lightweight, non temperature sensitive silicone gel fly floatant. Doesn't change fly material colors unless applied too heavily. Contains pheromones, which mask human odors. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle with snap top.
Item Description Size Price To Top
F0005 Loon Aquel Dry Fly Floatant 1/2 oz. $5.50
Loon Top Ride
Top Ride combines silica powder desiccant drying agents with a powdered floatant. In one step, Top Ride dries flies completely and coats them with water-resistant floatant. Immerse the fly in the convenient, deep container and shake - no mess, no waste. Loon Top Ride is excellent for CDC emergers and dries. Bring saturated flies back to life.
Item Description Size Price To Top
F0025 Loon Top Ride 1 1/2 oz. $8.95
 

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Welches, Oregon 97067, USA
Voice: (503) 622-4607 or 1(800) 266-3971 FAX: (503) 622-5490
flyfish@flyfishusa.com

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We have been in business since April 21, 1981.

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