McCloud River, California

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McCloud River
Keys Report
Pheasant Spey
Trout Class
Steelhead Tune-Up
All pictures are Mouse-over.

McCloud River, California
By: Eric Gunter
Eric Gunter on the McCloud River. The McCloud River in Northern California is one of those places I yearn to return to every year.  It offers an angling experience that rates quite high on my list.  My trip this year was marked by the sighting of a pair of bald eagles.  The river flows south from Mt. Shasta and, characteristic of the volcanic terrain; it is fed by numerous springs.  This section of the river is a tailwater that flows from a small lake (formed by the only dam on the river) just outside of the town of McCloud.  From the town, the river flows into Lake Shasta. 
The water is cold, 50 degrees when I measured it and reportedly about 48 degrees as it leaves the dam.  It flows clear through a deep canyon that is thick with conifers and numerous other 

trees, shrubs, wild flowers and poison oak.  The McCloud consists of deep pools, runs and pocket water.  Large boulders, smaller rocks and gravel make up the bottom of the river while large boulders, steep cliffs and alder trees line the banks along the sides of the river.  There are numerous insects in the river system:

In May there are good hatches of Golden Stone and Salmon Flies along with PMD, Baetis and Caddis throughout the summer months.  The fall season brings out the October Caddis and brown trout begin to migrate out of Lake Shasta to spawn in the river.
The river is host to common Coastal rainbow and the McCloud redband trout as well as resident brown trout.  The McCloud redband is of particular 

An angler casting for trout in the wild canyon.

importance; in the late 1800’s, eggs were collected from this drainage as well as from California’s Russian River and sent to pioneering fish culturist Seth Green.  The

Beauty abounds.

resulting fish were distributed worldwide.  Notably, rainbow trout in Argentina, New Zealand and the British Isles share genetic ancestry with McCloud River trout. The river is accessible for nearly 8 miles from the town of McCloud.  There are two public access points along the first five mile stretch of the river:  Ash Camp and a Forest Service campground called Ah-Di-Nah.  2 fish under 14” may be kept.  The McCloud Preserve of the Nature Conservancy has 3 miles limited to 10

rods per day and is strictly catch and  release.  Only artificial lures and flies with barbless hooks may be used. The lure of large brown and rainbow trout are only a small part of the attraction of the McCloud River; its remote, deep canyon, cold, clear water and rugged beauty keep me coming back. 

Wild McCloud River Rainbow.


Winston Day, June 25, at The Fly Fishing Shop


Report From Marathon, FL
Big tarpon will test you. Tarpon are running strong in the Keys right now and we all are looking forward to the Palolo worm hatch which is and incredible event where marine worms emerge from the sediment and swim towards the open ocean. The tarpon and all other fish gobble them up with reckless abandon. All of the action takes place on the surface so its an  incredible site.  Flies tied to imitate the worms are used and bonefish, tarpon and permit can and are taken on these patterns.  The hatch is
somewhat predictable with tides and moon phases.  If you are lucky enough to witness and fish a Palolo worm hatch in the Keys you will never forget it.
In the meantime tarpon are the main draw while bones and permit are numerous in the backcountry of the lower and middle Keys from the Marathon area on to Key West. The full and new moon tides really trigger this activity.
This is Capt. Chris Morrison in Marathon FL Keys saying come on down and see me.
I still have dates open in July and this fall.
Tel (305)743-6948
www.captchris.com

Using Blue Eared Pheasant Rump For Hackling Spey & Dee Flies
By: Peter Gadd

A Spey Fly example tied by Peter Gadd.

Traditional Spey and Dee fly hackles are some what of a mystery since you can't obtain any spey cock feathers.  They went extinct around the turn of the century.  Herons and eagles are protected by Federal law. The long fibered feathers from all three kinds of birds were commonly used in the past for tying salmon flies.  So, this is a brief overview of materials and styles used in our era and a  semi modern approach to hackling.

Spey flies were traditionally tied with what is now known as spey cock.  This particular fowl was from the Speyside Valley in Northern Scotland.  It had all of the attributes one looks for in wet fly hackle feathers;  pliable stems, and long barbules that when wet flowed with the currents.  This domesticated chicken was in fact bred for its feathers as it was said to be rather tasteless on the table.  Spey Cock  feathers allowed the hackle to be tied in at the bend of the hook due to their long

A Dee fly example tied by Peter Gadd.

The Blue Eared Pheasant rump feather is folded and tied in at the 1/3rd point of the body.

nature.  They were often cross wrapped with double tinsels to make a very durable flies.  Schlappen (side of tail) feathers from modern chickens make a respectable substitute.   But, you must really sort through each packet to find a few really good ones.  Schlappen isn't very expensive, but the process is time consuming.  Whiting hackle has marketed feathers similar to spey cock as of late that can be tied in any manner with excellent .

results; only problem is that it doesn't have long enough fiber length for the longest of hooks, at least not yet anyways.  Blue Heron was an other plumage in wide use at the time.  These birds feathers have all of the attributes that one could look for; slender quills and large hackles this feather can do it all. You can tie either from the rear of the shank or were ever you would like.  The problem is, it illegal to have.  Eared pheasants come in three varietals. White, brown and blue eared; the first two being under Federal protection.  Blue eared pheasants on the other hand .

Dub the rest of the body and rib the whole body from the rear to the front.  Then wind the hackle forward and tie it off.  Pull the fibers down.

Pluck or trim the pheasant fibers that do not conform.  Apply two or three turns of teal in front of the pheasant hackle.

are under no restrictions and are farm raised.   Lucky for us because they have superb quality feathers for fly tying. The feathers are plucked from anesthetized live birds.  The rump feathers have very long barbules that can be bleached, then dyed in many different colors. Blue eared rump is sold in different sizes ranging from small to large, and in whole skins.  This offers a wide spectrum in sizes from size sixes to your largest long shanked Dee's.  Luckily the bulk of the feathers are perfect for our steelhead size fly from 6-3/0 size flies.

To work with these feathers one must either find exceptionally long quills to hackle from the rear of the hook, or use two feathers or start approximately 2/3 up the shank with a single average length quill. One can  either strip one side of the hackle  for a sparse fly.  They usually very well this way.  Or you can fold the hackle as per the photo. Eric Tavener wrote, "I have discarded the old method of stripping heron from one side because some excellent fibers were thereby lost and the weak lower fibers as well as the

Tie in a Mallard flank wing, dressed low.

Finish the fly with a small head.

quill were retained. Its far better  to keep the strong dark fibers near the top, double the feather and wind it with the quill next to the body, so that every fiber stands out from the body."  To work with these feathers one must either find exceptionally long quills to hackle from the rear of the hook, or use two feathers or start approximately 2/3 up the shank with a single average length quill. One can  either strip one side of the hackle  for a sparse fly.  They usually very well this way.  Or you can fold the hackle as per the photo.

In his classic book, Salmon Fishing, published in 1931, Eric Tavener wrote, "I have discarded the old method of stripping heron from one side because some excellent fibers were thereby lost and the weak lower fibers as well as the quill were retained. Its far better  to keep the strong dark fibers near the top, double the feather and wind it with the quill next to the body, so that every fiber stands out from the body."  In this case heron was used but it still holds true for the eared pheasant feathers. Remember that you may apply the feather either way depending on the look you want to achieve. The fly shown here was tied without a secondary rib that is tied in at the other side of the shank and crossed over the hackle.  This is just another option that could be used. What ever way the hackling is done eared pheasant lends itself perfectly to steelhead speys and traditional salmon tying.   (All the pictures above are mouse-over).


Black Spey
Hook: Alec Jackson Spey Hook, Gold, (Size 1.5 pictured here).
Thread: 8/0 Black Uni Thread
Tag: Flat Silver, size 14
Rib: Flat Silver, size 14
Body: Black SLF
Pheasant Rump Hackle: Black, with fibers 1 1/2 to 2 times as long as the hook
Front Hackle: Teal, with fibers 1/2 the length of the hook
Wing: Strips of bronze mallard flank to reach the rear of the hook
HEAD: small black


LEARN TO FLY  FISH A RIVER FOR TROUT  /  6 HR. CLASS
Ron Lauzon  Leroy Teeple.
      For those fly fishers who have a basic knowledge of casting, knots and flies, desiring to further acquire the skills needed to fish for and catch trout in moving water.
    With our guidance, you will learn how, and gain the experience to: fish a dry fly, wet fly and nymph; with the equipment needed, rigging and presentations for each; and how knowledge of the rivers aquatic life will help you select the flies needed to match the trout's feeding habits.
    To properly manage your fly line in moving water with mending, and acquire the skills needed for a drag free drift; than how to       feed the line into the drift to fully fish the fly.
    Learn how to approach and safely wade the river you are about to fish - (so not to spook the fish).
    How to hook and play a trout for catch and release.
    Your instructors will be Leroy Teeple and Ron Lauzon, both FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructors, and Guides.
    Your 6 hrs. will be split up into preparation, as well as time on the Salmon River, just minutes for The Fly Fishing Shop, to apply your newly learned skills.
AN EARLY DINNER WILL BE PROVIDED.
    COST: $140 with book (Fly Fishing Basics, by Dave 
Hughes), or $125 without book.
    CLASS SIZE:  Limited to 6 students. (first come first served).
    EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
        Rod, reel, line, leaders ;flies will be provided.  Must have own wading gear, including boots and waders, (wading staff -optional); Oregon fishing license.
    AGENDAS FOR EACH DATE:
    TIME: 12:30pm. to 7:30pm.
        Tentative Schedule:
            12:30 - 3:30 Class time and preparation
              3:30 - 4:30 Early dinner and set-up for river
              4:30 - 7:30 On the Salmon River
 
    Come early and let the experienced staff at The Fly Fishing Shop help you with the equipment and gear you need for this class.
Item Description Price To Top
R-TROUT1-062505   Learn to fly fish a river for trout class, June 25, 05, 12:30pm. to 7:30pm. With book (Fly Fishing Basics, by Dave Hughes) $140

R-TROUT2-062505 Learn to fly fish a river for trout class, June 25, 05, 12:30pm. to 7:30pm. $125

R-TROUT1-072305   Learn to fly fish a river for trout class, July 23, 05, 12:30pm. to 7:30pm. With book (Fly Fishing Basics, by Dave Hughes) $140

R-TROUT2-072305 Learn to fly fish a river for trout class, July 23, 05, 12:30pm. to 7:30pm. $125

R-TROUT1-082005   Learn to fly fish a river for trout class, August 20, 05, 12:30pm. to 7:30pm. With book (Fly Fishing Basics, by Dave Hughes) $140

R-TROUT1-082005 Learn to fly fish a river for trout class, August 20, 05, 12:30pm. to 7:30pm. $125


SUMMER STEELHEAD TUNE-UP CLASS: 

A happy angler.

"Presentation" with floating line for dry & wet flies. / one-and two handed rods
 With: Ron Lauzon & Leroy Teeple

Clackamas River, (6 hr.class). 
Meet at The Fly Fishing Shop at 8:00am.
Class held 9:00am-3:00pm, (6 hr.class) (lunch break included-bring your own). 
6 students maximum, (4 students minimum).
       Class includes how to be successful in your pursuit of catching summer steelhead on a fly, with a tune-up in casting skills, on the water fishing presentations / tricks, equipment, rigging your lines and flies. (Some equipment will be available if needed).

Item Description Price To Top
TUNE1-061805 Summer Steelhead Tune-Up Class - June 18, 2005 - 9:00am to 3:00pm. $125


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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes

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