Buggers For Steelhead

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Buggers For Steelhead
Dr. Keith Hansen
White River Effects
New Skagit Coming
Custom Steelhead Flies
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Buggers For Steelhead
Dr. Galt Allee lands a Deschutes steelhead with a Wooly Bugger

     Probably the neither the guy who invented the Wooly Bugger, nor the tier who added the flash to the Flash-A-bugger, had any intention of using them to catch steelhead. Evidence suggests that bass were the main targets. Later, trout fishermen found that these flies were deadly on trout, both in rivers and streams. It was in the early eighties that we started using Flash-A-Buggers during the bright light hours for steelhead on the Deschutes River. First they were dead drifted with long leaders and floating lines. Often two buggers were used in tandem. We used bright colors and dark colors. It soon became apparent the this river's steelhead liked purple buggers in size #4. We found that with a 200-grain Teeny Line we could cover more water, and get the flies down in the deep spots than with a floating line. Our mid-day catch really took a jump. A color that produced in the brightest light was olive. In the late1980's we found that even flashier files tied with Krystal chenille were extremely effective in both bright and cloud-cover conditions. These flies are called Bead Head Black Krystal Buggers.
    Our mid-day catch took another leap when we started using two-hand rods and sinking tip Spey lines. This tackle allowed us to cover much more water than with any single-hander. The normal approach is similar to the conventional wet-fly-swing used when fishing a floating line, except the cast is often more straight across the current, with a bigger upstream mend in the line to allow the fly to sink before it comes under tension. Our most effective rig has been a seven weight rod with a 500-gran Skagit head and 9-weight type-6 tip.
     Why do steelhead eat buggers....probably because they can.

Flash-A-Bugger, Black
It is also a very good option for summer steelhead, especially during low water periods. Works best in low light. Black can be the most visible color in turbid water conditions. Some times the smaller size is better.

Flash-A-Bugger, Black

Item Description Size Price To Top
11800-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Black 4 3 for $5.25
11800-06 Flash-A-Bugger, Black 6 3 for $5.25

Flash-A-Bugger, Black/Olive
Another low light or dark water pattern.  This earthy tone is the color of many fresh water organisms.

Flash-A-Bugger, Black/Olive

Item Description Size Price To Top
11802-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Black/Olive 4 3 for $5.25

Flash-A-Bugger, Olive
One of the mid-day steelhead flies for bright light/clear water conditions.

Flash-A-Bugger, Olive

Item Description Size Price To Top
11888-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 4 3 for $5.25
11888-06 Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 6 3 for $5.25

Flash-A-Bugger, Purple
Possibly the single most effective summer steelhead fly on either side of the Cascades is the Purple Flash-a-Bugger.  It is best when fished deep with a sinking tip line.

Flash-A-Bugger, Purple

Item Description Size Price To Top
11900-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Purple 4 3 for $5.25
11900-06 Flash-A-Bugger, Purple 6 3 for $5.25

Flash-A-Bugger, Root Beer
This color is very productive day light pattern for summer steelhead.

Flash-A-Bugger, Root Beer

Item Description Size Price To Top
11905-04 Flash-A-Bugger, Root Beer 4 3 for $5.25
11905-06 Flash-A-Bugger, Root Beer 6 3 for $5.25

Bead Head Krystal Buggers also catch Deschutes steelhead. Bead Head Krystal Buggers are universal flies that have caught salmon, steelhead, trout and bass. They work equally well in lakes and streams. They have even caught surf perch and other small saltwater fishes. Krystal Buggers don't imitate anything specific that we know of, but they have lots of wiggle and flash when wet,  that approximates leeches and small fish. To anadromous fish, such as salmon & steelhead, Krystal Buggers might look like the shrimp, krill, and small squid that nourished them in the ocean
Black Pink Purple Red

Bead Head Black Krystal Bugger
The Bead Head Black Krystal Bugger is a deadly pattern for steelhead all times of the year, but is especially good for late summer fish in the upper Columbia River tributaries.  Fish this fly deep with a sinking tip line.

B.H. Krystal Bugger, Black

Item Description Size Price To Top
20165-04 Bead Head Black Krystal Bugger 4 3 for $5.95

Bead Head Pink Krystal Bugger
The Bead Head Pink Krystal Bugger is a proven fly for Chums, Chinooks, Cohos, Sockeyes, Humpies and Steelhead.  Fish this fly dead drift with a floating line or deep on the swing with a sinking tip line.

B.H. Krystal Bugger, Pink

Item Description Size Price To Top
20164-04 Bead Head Pink Krystal Bugger 4 3 for $5.95

Bead Head Purple Krystal Bugger
The Bead Head Purple Krystal Bugger is a potent pattern for both Coho and Steelhead in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.  Fish this fly deep with a sinking tip line.

B.H. Krystal Bugger, Purple

Item Description Size Price To Top
20169-04 Bead Head Purple Krystal Bugger 4 3 for $5.95

Bead Head Red Krystal Bugger
The Bead Head Red Krystal Bugger is a deadly steelhead fly both winter and summer.  It is proven on steelhead from Alaska to California and is equally effective on coastal rivers and inland rivers.

B.H. Krystal Bugger, Red

Item Description Size Price To Top
20166-04 Bead Head Red Krystal Bugger 4 3 for $5.95

In Remembrance of Dr. Keith Hansen
Dr. Keith Hansen 02/28/03. Photo: Mark Bachmann.
Our good friend Dr. Keith Hansen drowned August 13, while fishing the Dean River in British Columbia. Keith was a tireless benefactor for Oregon's fresh water fisheries. He served as president of  the Flyfishers' Club of Oregon in 2000 and there after as conservation committee chair. His efforts helped improve fisheries in our local rivers such as the Deschutes and Sandy. He was a great companion on the water. We hope his new river in the sky is filled with eager wild steelhead, for he surely deserves them. Steelhead Rivers are better for Keith having loved them. We are all better for having shared them with him. We'll miss you buddy!

White River Effects
We are often asked why the lower Deschutes River unexpectedly turns muddy when the summer weather is hot or unstable. Usually the culprit is White River, which flows off the south side of Mt. Hood and into the Deschutes about two miles upstream of Shearar's Falls (about 42 miles up stream from the Columbia R.). Water color problems start when White River Glacier melts and releases rock floor into the White River. Water volume can increase with excessive melt-off.

White River Glacier viewed from Road 48, summer's quickest, most scenic route between Portland and the lower Deschutes.

White River crosses Hwy 35, slightly east of Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort. The water pictured here 08/23/09 is the consistency of liquid concrete. Most of the rock particles are very fine in diameter and stay in suspension in fast flowing water for a very long period of time.

The nights are becoming cooler and the potency of White River is diminishing and the Deschutes is starting to clear a day after it went out. It's just another wild card in the steelhead game...one of mamma natures little tricks to keep us aware she is boss.

 New Skagit Coming From Rio
A sneak peek at the new Skagit from Rio.
We are testing a totally new Skagit head from Rio. Rest assured it will make every caster a better fisherman by extending casting distance and accuracy. It is coming in a hot new color. Get ready to be awed. We have caught over a dozen steelhead with this new line and will have the first batch available for sale.

Custom Steelhead Flies
Bill Wiley with a steelhead caught with a Chartreuse Ant.
We've brought out two proven Deschutes steelhead fly patterns and they are beautiful. The Green Ant has been a super productive pattern for the past several seasons. We also have brought back the classic Surgeon General. Both patterns come in the right sizes, with the right amount of dressing.  All these new flies are tied on Alec Jackson Steelhead Irons, which are the most preferred hook with the best Deschutes guides. No matter who else is crowing, we have had the best stock of Deschutes steelhead flies for the past 28 years, and we still have.

Green Ant

This somber fly has proven itself as a top producer of Deschutes steelhead for at least the past fifteen seasons. It is extremely effective on early season A-run fish and always a good bet for a come-back fly after you've moved a steelhead with a brighter fly. We have modernized this classic fly by having it tied with the latest materials on Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron hooks. Green Ant
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST00205 Green Ant 5 3 for $8.55
ST00207 Green Ant 7 3 for $8.55

Surgeon General
Listed as Surgeon General Dark in Trey Combs book, "Steelhead Fly fishing and Flies", this pattern has caught Deschutes steelhead for us for at least 30-years. It is believed to be originated by Dr. Robert P. Terrill of Gleneden Beach, in Oregon in honor of Dr. Herbert Bently, a highly regarded neurosurgeon. There are three other Surgeon General patterns in this series that were listed

in this book, that have disappeared from most fly boxes. This pattern was listed in Trey's book as one of the hottest new flies in 1976. It has stood the test of time by being one of the most reliable steelhead wet flies ever tied. We have modernized this classic fly by having it tied with the latest materials on Alec Jackson Steelhead Iron hooks. Don't worry, this version is thoroughly proven.
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST00105 Surgeon General 5 3 for $8.55
ST00107 Surgeon General 7 3 for $8.55

As of 08/25 0ver 443,000 summer steelhead had passed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. By the end of the season the summer steelhead run will have topped half a million. These fish will flow into local tributaries such as the Wind, Klickitat, Hood River, Deschutes and John Day Rivers. Ever notice how many more new fresh steelhead pictures our web site contains than sites from shops in the big cities. Must be because we are living with these fish nearly every day. Might be harder to get pictures if you live in down town L.A., St. Louis, Redding or  Frisco. It might also tell you how much more we know about steelhead gear than they do. We will be there for you.

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty