Tyler Bohnet of Tualatin, OR who won the Winston LTX Fly Rod
at the Winston Days Drawing at The Fly Fishing Shop, July 21.
River fly fishing bums.... The common
theory is that steelhead do very little feeding after they have
returned to fresh water. Most popular steelhead flies are
attractor patterns or flies that mimic organisms that live in salt
water. However, there is little doubt that some steelhead do not
loose their need to feed
when they return to their home river. On a recent float down the
Deschutes River, my partner Patty Barnes
a fat hatchery steelhead that we killed for the
When ever I butcher a fish I always open the stomach to see if it has
been feeding, and what
it has been feeding on. When the stomach of this fish was
opened, I was amazed to find that it contained an abundance of juvenile
green caddis, both larva and pupa. Unfortunately as I slit the
stomach a wave washed some of the contents away so I wasn't able to
get an exact count, but there were over a dozen insects
involved. This fish was actively
feeding like a trout.
steelhead act like trout and sometimes trout act like steelhead.
We fished Wooly Buggers on sinking tip lines during the day. And
although our target was steelhead, we caught dozens of trout. Who
knows why a Deschutes Redside will take a Purple Wooly Bugger, but on
some days they will. We had high wind in the evenings, but decided
to trout fish one evening
anyway. The caddis and Water Moth
hatches at dark created some outstanding rises.
We did this with traditional 5-weight rods. Deschutes Redsides
pull hard on this size tackle. We are very lucky to have this
fishery so close to home.
trip Patty and I took the opportunity to field test a couple of new spey
rods. ("I Know, its dirty, dangerous
work. But, someone has to do it"). We tested
Sage's new Graphite IV/IIIe, 7136-4 and 7141-4. The 7136-4 (13' 6"
- #7) has a traditional "spey" action and is no doubt the
premier floating line rod for Deschutes size summer steelhead. We
teamed it up with a Ross Canyon #5 reel and a RIO Windcutter 6/7/8
line. We found that the new version of this rod, unlike the older version,
strong wind easily. It is easy to load and has a forgiving nature.
The 7147-4 (14' 1" - #7) is what Sage calls their fast European
action, which is stiffened in the butt. Last February I got a call
Cook our Sage Rep. He said, "You gotta' try this rod cause it
bombs!" Patty and I ordered two of them that same day for
testing. The next week we floated the Sandy with Aaron
Alexander. The river was high and so was the wind. The new
rod was radically different from what I had been using and the
conditions were tough. I struggled and cussed. To make
things worse Aaron borrowed the rod and immediately threw a couple of
bullets to 90'. It was humiliating to the point that I had to hook
the only two fish of the trip. Course he Bogarted that spot for
the rest of the season. I put the rod away for months. I could see
that it would take would take more attention than I had time to give
it. The next time I even picked it up was on a trip with Aaron and
Mike Senatra a week ago on the McKenzie. The river is a manageable
size and the weather conditions were mellow. I teamed the 7141-4
up with a RIO Windcutter 7/8/9 w/tips. The type 6 sinking tip was
attached and a short leader and weighted Wooly Bugger were added.
The rod fished smooth and powerful. It proved to be the perfect
equipment for the task at hand. However no steelhead were
encountered. This last week during howling up-stream gale, as only
the Deschutes can deliver, I was able to shoot bullets across and down
stream with the Windcutter line and clear intermediate tip. A very
fat thirty incher was hooked and lost at a range unattainable with any
other rod I own. Once again the 7141-4 was the best rod for the
task. I am still learning about the capabilities of this
model. One thing I know, when you are in good form, this thing will
chuck some fly line! It also casts close fairly comfortably. At
normal fishing distances it can become a surgical instrument. I
believe in the short period that I have used it, it has enabled me to be
a more effective angler. This goes beyond just building more line
speed. Because of its unforgiving nature it has forced me to be a
more precise caster. Continuing success as a fly fisher, is a
matter of focus and attention to detail, the execution of which starts
with a perfect cast. The best rod for the job is one heck of an
edge. The 7141-4 may go down as one of the "Classic
Designs" if there are enough talented angler to cast it.
Sage offers 11 models of two
hand fly rods. You can buy everyone on-line from
us. The hot new rod for summer fishing is the 7141-4. It is
a 14' 1" rod that balances well with a Windcutter 7/8/9 fly line. It fishes
floating and sinking tip lines equally well and may be the new standard
for the Deschutes.
escape the "trout madness" crowds in Central Oregon?
Try the "COOL" side of the mountain.
The days are warm and
sunny. The evenings are soft and cool. Streams in the
upper basin are low summer low flows. The trout
are growing fat on an endless procession of hatches. They are
wary though and will make you earn them. Fish small dry flies,
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