First Signs Of Spring, Stone Flies Nymphs, RIO Indicator II Lines, Umpqua Czech Nymph Leaders, Summer Spey Schools

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The First Signs of Spring
By: Matt Sherman

The familiar sound of the train coming down the tracks is as sure a sign that the seasons have shifted as the warm spring sunshine that beat down on the two of us. The morning air is crisp, and the anticipation of noses breaking the surface to gulp tiny dry flies was the topic of conversation as we made our way upriver. It was quiet, the crowds that this fishery is infamous for had not yet arrived making this time of year one of my favorite to explore new water with old friends. After rigging up we enter a familiar riffle. Before beginning to fish I must say I looked around, felt the sun on my face, listened to that tell tale sound of noisy steel rolling down the tracks, and exclaimed “it’s good to be back.”
          The Deschutes is just one of those enchanting rivers, to be away from it for any length of time only heightens the anticipation of going back. One cannot return to the river with just a thought, you have to physically be there to realize the full splendor of this place. I am lucky enough to spend much of my summer and fall there every year, but, today I had a friend along who was seeing and experiencing it all for the first time in quite some time. Our newest member of the team here at The Fly Fishing Shop, John Christensen (JC), was along for the day and I was excited to show him around a bit. JC has been a friend of mine for quite awhile now, we guided together in Idaho and I knew he was no stranger to a trout stream, whether it be the Aniak in Alaska or the Bigwood in Idaho. He has several years of guiding under his belt, is a steward of the sport, and a great fishing companion on any day. In short, he was an obvious choice to join the team here at the Fly Fishing Shop and brings knowledge and experience in tow.

The first riffle produced several fish. We were lucky enough to have a few really cool new toys at our disposal that day. The Sage One 590-4 loaded, and unloaded effortlessly, with a skilled hand directing its every movement. JC cast upstream with a dry/dropper combination and picked off a couple of hungry redsides, who took the dropper with plenty of enthusiasm. Like the scenery and serenity of the river itself, the fish who roam beneath the foam and surface chop are hard to stay away from for any length of time. Colorful, aerial, acrobatic, the list of adjectives with which I could describe these Deschutes redsides may be longer than this article itself. The smile on JC’s face was unmistakable, having lived in both Oregon and Idaho in his adult life, it was pretty clear to me that he had made his way back home. Catching wild trout under the sunshine of an Oregon spring day is hard to beat, and I could tell with the first few casts that we were in for a fun day.

We were doing a bit of “work” that day as well, if you could call it that. Mark was nice enough to put his G. Loomis NRX 1085-4 in my hand for the day so JC and I traded off between that and the Sage One throughout the day, comparing notes as the afternoon wore on. Let’s be honest, they are both high performance pieces of equipment with little to no negative aspects of any kind. There are some comparisons and contrasts, but even the most discerning trout angler would be happy to have either. In a perfect world, maybe one would own both! They both have a high propensity to create line speed. Light in hand is an understatement, both rods combine modern technologies to form the lightest, yet strongest rods found on the market today. Sage’s konnetic technology helps to direct the fly line in the exact direction in which the rod tip travels. Watching JC cast with exact precision made this apparent, whether a skilled angler or a novice this is truly a development of modern technology that will improve even the best fly caster’s game.
          On to the NRX, whether roll casting a double nymph rig under an indicator or zipping tight loops under the dense Deschutes vegetation that lines the river’s most productive banks, there is nothing this rod won’t do. I do prefer the faster action rods of today much more so than what I started with at the wee age of twelve years old. My guiding career has given me access to all the latest and greatest, but for me the NRX takes the proverbial cake. It’s not far off from the aforementioned Sage One but I guess at the end of the day it becomes a personal preference. With exquisite cork work and recoil guides it comes with everything a high performance rod should. The fast recovery time in the tip allows for high line speed and tight loops with minimal effort. Although cosmetic, I think the blue wraps against the matte gray blank look pretty sharp as well. Like I said before, they are both fantastic pieces of equipment but in the end the guys at Loomis are making the best rods on the market today. Be it the two hand Spey rods or the single hand rods I am simply a Loomis guy. Every angler should have one in their quiver and experience the epitome of fly rod technology.          

Well, after “working” so much on comparing fly rods while catching trout in the Oregon sunshine we moved on to what would likely be the last piece of water before departing for the day. The blue Montana prince probed its way through the greenish water with the CDC pheasant tail closely in tow. We had success with golden stone nymphs and some looks at the March Brown dry that suspended JC’s pheasant tail throughout the day, but the blue Montana prince was the proven go to bug. The river was up that day and seemed to have displaced some of the fish from their usual haunts, so, nymphing was the name of the game. About five feet below my indicator, I could imagine the pair of flies working their way through every inch of the riffle.
 As I roll cast and walked my way up the river I thought to myself, “come on, there has got to be one more in here, just one last fish.” As it often happens, about the time you start to think about calling it a day, your thoughts are interrupted by one last fish. The indicator dove beneath the surface almost immediately after the flies hit the water. The tell tale sign of an indicator moving swiftly upstream means just one thing, fish! I raised the rod tip and came tight to one of those feisty redside trout. I’ve fished trout for a long time, in a lot of different places. These fish though, hold a special place in my heart. Nowhere that I have ever fished have I found a strain of trout like them. Pound for pound they are the hardest pulling trout I have ever fished for. When a fifteen or sixteen inch fish takes you directly to the backing it is a bit surprising. I was a bit taken aback as the fish made a feverish run down stream. This is nothing new after a long winter steelhead season where backing shows itself more than in any other season. However, what never ceases to amaze me, is when I reel in an entire fly line after a blistering battle, and stare into the eyes of a fish not much larger than the cork handle on the NRX five weight I have in my hand. The legend of these redsides is as great as the river in which they swim.

I’ve written articles in the past concerning many of the great species we chase in the great state of Oregon. Often times they are focused on that ocean going leviathan that encompasses our thoughts and free time for much of the year. On this particular Monday afternoon, JC and I were quickly reminded of our backgrounds and fishing lives up until now. Listening to the trains go by, watching mule deer roam the hillsides and sitting amongst the tall green grass that grows along the banks of this legendary body of water, I felt at peace. I felt ready, excited, and most of all I felt like the luckiest person on earth looking forward to yet another summer on the river. Sometimes in life it is hard to sit back and realize just how lucky we are, today was not one of those examples. Today, my heart was full of joy, I felt alive.

Stonefly Nymphs
FFS Stone Nymph, Brown Little Black Sloan
FFS Stone Nymph, Golden Jimmy Legs
Double Bead Peacock Stone Kaufmann Stone, Golden
Double Bead  Black Stone NEW! Speculator, Brown
NEW! Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Black NEW! Speculator, Golden
NEW! Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Golden Yellow Sally
Stoneflies are a small, but diverse family of insects that are adapted to well oxygenated streams and rivers. Stonefly nymphs have fixed gills that can only extract oxygen in moving water. If trapped in still water they die quickly. Most stoneflies crawl out of the water to hatch. The normal procedure is for nymphs to migrate to shore to hatch.

Real and fake Golden Stonefly Nymphs
This migration activity is attractive to trout, grayling and whitefish. Some smaller species do hatch mid river at the waters surface much like mayflies do. Nymphs of several giant stone flies live in our rivers for up to three years before they hatch into winged adults. They are available to trout in several sizes, nearly year round. As the nymphs grow they must take ever larger territory.

A giant Salmonfly Nymph is about ready to hatch. Note that the orange adult is showing through the exoskeleton of the nymph.
  The redistribution of territory usually happens in mass with many insects changing territory at the same time. This is called a behavioral drift.  The largest behavioral drift cycles of these stone fly nymphs occur mid-September through May. These mass movements of insects occur during the twilight of early morning and late evening. During these periods nymphs move down stream. Many are exposed to the currents and swept along out of control. Trout key on these vulnerable morsels. You should carry patterns in several different weights to cover different water depths and speeds. The flies listed below will cover all of the subsurface "giant stone fly" nymph activity. There are patterns such as the Little Golden Stone which cover many smaller species as well.

Several weeks before the hatch, nymphs of most species of stone flies, including the giant ones such as salmon flies and golden stones will start to migrate to staging areas along the banks. No other occurrence in our rivers produces a feeding frenzy like a migration of big stone fly nymphs. Even the largest trout find it hard to refuse a big stone fly nymph fished deep along the bottom. The peak of this activity is the last two weeks before the hatch

If you want to know more about how to be successful with stone fly nymphs, read "Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods" by Dave Whitlock.  (Click here to BUY)
starts and the first week after the hatch begins.
Illustration above copied from:
Guide To Aquatic Trout Food by Dave Whitlock, which is one of the most authoritative guides to stream entomology.

Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Black

These flies are so realistic you might think that they would crawl out of your hand. the trout love them too.


Item Description Size Price To Top
02-0530-04 Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Black 4 3 for $7.50
02-0530-06 Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Black 6 3 for $7.50

Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Golden

This is a very realistic Golden Stonefly Nymph pattern that represents a wide variety of stonefly species. You can fish this fly year around.


Item Description Size Price To Top
02-0540-08 Improved Rubber Leg Stone, Golden 8 3 for $7.50

Speculator, Brown
This is a deadly fly, especially when the water is off-color during spring run-off. The long, slim rubber legs crawl and swim in the currents. The reflective mylar back alternately flashes to disclose the fly's presence and then camouflages it by reflecting the colors of the surroundings, making this fly a real tease.
Item Description Size Price To Top
NSF045 Speculator, Brown 6 3 for $7.50

Speculator, Golden
This fly has proven to be very effective under a wide range of conditions. It is both a fly that represents living insects, and a flashy lure that attracts strike by being different than other anglers presentation. Speculators are lightly weighted. Some knowledgeable anglers fish a speculator as a dropper fly under a a floating dry stonefly pattern. In this mode, the Speculator can represent a nymph crawling to the bank or a drowned adult.

Item Description Size Price To Top
NSF047 Speculator, Golden 8 3 for $7.50

FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown
After reading "Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout" by Charlie Brooks we decided to try some heavy weighted Stone Fly Nymphs tied in-the-round. This method makes the nymph look the same whether up side down or right side up. This fly has been a success since 1975. Heavy weighted.
FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown
Item Description Size Price To Top
11000-02 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 2 3 for $5.85
11000-04 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 4 3 for $5.85
11000-06 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 6 3 for $5.85
11000-08 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 8 3 for $5.85
11000-10 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 10 3 for $5.85

Kyle's Bead Head Yellow Sally
Donít let the name fool you. This is a Yellow Sally nymph that is hard to beat in May, June and July. The bonus plan is that Kyleís B.H. Yellow Sally works great all spring, summer and fall as a micro Golden Stone nymph.
Item Description Size Price To Top
02002012 Kyle's Bead Head Yellow Sally Nymph 12 3 for $5.85
02002014 Kyle's Bead Head Yellow Sally Nymph 14 3 for $5.85

FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden
Like all other insects stoneflies must shed their exoskeletons in order to grow. Some species of stoneflies turn from dappled brown shades to gold color for a period after this process. This brightly colored nymph pattern is very effective during high water periods when newly transformed nymphs are being washed from the gravel. Heavy weighted.
FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden
Item Description Size Price To Top
11500-06 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden 6 3 for $5.85
11500-08 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden 8 3 for $5.85
11500-10 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden 10 3 for $5.85

Speckle Leg Double Bead Peacock Stonefly Nymph
Speckle Leg Double Bead Peacock Stone
If you fish the Deschutes River, nearly any time of year, this is a must have fly. Resides like it and so do steelhead.
Item Description Size Price To Top
02-0125-04 Speckle Leg Double Bead Peacock Stonefly Nymph 4 3 for $7.50
02-0125-06 Speckle Leg Double Bead Peacock Stonefly Nymph 6 3 for $7.50
02-0125-08 Speckle Leg Double Bead Peacock Stonefly Nymph 8 3 for $7.50

Speckle Leg Double Bead Stonefly Nymph, Black
Speckle Leg Double Bead Stonefly Nymph, Black
Giant Salmon flies are normally a three year life cycle. During most of their lives these insects crawl around on the bottom of the river devouring vegetable matter. They are black in color with few markings of other colors. However, years ago, some anglers noted that the addition of white legs made large black nymphs more effective. That is how the Girdle Bug fly became famous. In certain colors of water the striped legs probably show up better and are easier for trout to see.
Item Description Size Price To Top
02-0110-04 Speckle Leg Double Bead Stonefly Nymph, Black 4 3 for $7.50
02-0110-06 Speckle Leg Double Bead Stonefly Nymph, Black 6 3 for $7.50

Double Bead Pearl-Back Stonefly Nymph
Double Bead Pearl-Back Stonefly Nymph
This is a deadly fly, especially when used in high, off colored water.
Item Description Size Price To Top
03165-06 Double Bead Pearl-Back Stonefly Nymph 6 3 for $8.85

Jimmy Legs Stonefly Nymph, Brown
The longer Salmonflies remain in the same skin, the more algae grows on the outside of them, giving them an olive cast.
Item Description Size Price To Top
NSF0089 Jimmy Legs Stonefly Nymph, Brown 4 3 for $7.50

Kaufmann Stone, Golden
Golden stoneflies hatch during the latter part of spring run-off in most watersheds. They are an important food source for trout during much of the year, but are most important Just before and during the hatch. Golden stonefly nymphs are usually dirty brownish gold in color. These flies are very heavy weighted.
Kaufmann Stone, Golden
Item Description Size Price To Top
14270 Kaufmann Stone, Golden 8 3 for $7.00

Little Black Sloan
This winter stonefly nymph pattern was designed by David Sloan. It represents the small species of winter emerging stoneflies and also the smaller instars of a salmonfly nymph, which may take more than one season to reach full size. This makes the Little Black Sloan a good bet any time of year during low light conditions, when stonefly nymphs are likely to be mixed into the behavioral drift cycles.

Item Description Size Price To Top
19192 Little Black Sloan 14 3 for $6.75
19193 Little Black Sloan 16 3 for $6.75

The key to success is "understanding".  You can never know enough.
Understanding the organisms that trout feed on is one of the keys to catching trout.
DAVE WHITLOCK'S GUIDE TO AQUATIC TROUT FOOD
is great reference material for the trout fisher.
Check out our special deal.

RIO Indicator II Line
The Indicator II line has been designed to cast indicator rigs with ease – whether for trout or steelhead. The thick diameter, high floating easy viz tip and short front taper easily turns over the largest of indicators, while the ultra long head is easy to mend and control the fly at long range. RIO’s acclaimed DualTone load locating system makes it simple for anglers to find the ideal casting area of the fly line. It is the perfect line for fishing indicator rigs.
  • Aggressive front taper to throw indicators and large flies
  • Unique, highly visible tip for spotting takes
  • Extra long head for ultimate fly control
  • Item Description Size Price To Top
    6-20205 RIO Indicator II Fly Line WF4F $74.95
    6-20206 RIO Indicator II Fly Line WF5F $74.95
    6-20207 RIO Indicator II Fly Line WF6F $74.95
    6-20208 RIO Indicator II Fly Line WF7F $74.95
    6-20209 RIO Indicator II Fly Line WF8F $74.95

    Andy Burk's Czech Nymph Leader
    By: Umpqua
    Developed by Andy Burk, the Umpqua Czech Nymph leaders makes Czech Nymph rigging easy. This three fly leader with two droppers will have you fishing multiple weighted nymphs easily and effectively. Hand tied Power Pro Leader with a larva lace loop and stainless steel tippet ring rigged with two droppers for fishing a three fly cast.
    The incredibly strong Power Pro main line reduces water drag and also loss of flies.
    This leader is not a gimmick. In many ways it is revolutionary.

    Item Description Size Price To Top
    58760 Andy Burk's Czech Nymph Leader
    By: Umpqua
    8.5' - 4X $12.99

    Travis Johnson Wins Big At Spey-O-Rama
    The Jimmy Green Spey-O-Rama World Championship is the most prestigious event in the world of Spey Distance Casting. Travis Johnson took command early by breaking his own world record (187') during the Qualification Event on Saturday, April 12. The new record in the 15'2" rod class is 198'. Then Travis went on to crush the competition on Sunday, April 13 with a score of 698, beating the nearest score by 50 points. Travis, who works at The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Oregon, is an expert in fishing flies, a steelhead/salmon/trout guide and a rod and fly line designer. Travis designed the rod and line he won with.
    Finals - Sunday, April 13
    Caster Left side Right side
    Left Snake Left Single Right Snake Right Single Total Longest
      Travis Johnson 176 178 168 176 698 178
      James Chalmers 161 159 158 170 648 170
      Tommy Aarkvisla 159 140 184 162 645 184
      Sergey Kluev 155 161 160 153 629 161
      Geir Hansen 146 153 154 173 626 173
      Gerard Downey 140 156 155 164 615 164
      Brian Styskal 152 165 148 148 613 165
      Tim Arsenault 156 150 155 151 612 156
      Vasily Olshannikov 125 140 149 153 567 153
      Vadim Utrobin 118 134 134 144 530 144

    Qualification - April 12
    Caster Left side Right side
    Left Snake Left Single Right Snake Right Single Total Longest
      Travis Johnson 176 198 173 174 721 198
      Gerard Downey 173 154 173 176 676 176
      Brian Styskal 169 177 152 175 673 177
      Tommy Aarkvisla 153 168 175 171 667 175
      Sergey Kluev 149 168 170 179 666 179
      Vasily Olshannikov 168 168 150 151 637 168
      Geir Hansen 142 147 170 178 637 178
      James Chalmers 143 165 169 155 632 169
      Vadim Utrobin 152 148 172 160 632 172
      Tim Arsenault 150 145 171 162 628 171
      Gregory Bencivenga 162 139 169 152 622 169

     

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    We have been in business since April 21, 1981.

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