Mar 23, 2018

A Newbie’s Introduction to Trout Spey

By Certified ‘New Guy at The Shop’ Jacob Noteboom

If you’ve fished anywhere on the Deschutes in the past year or you’re a big streamer guy, you’ve probably seen guys with odd looking two-handed rods or single-hand rods with thin running lines and big fat head systems. This is the somewhat new (to our area) and a very effective tactic that involves aggressive grabs from aggressive fish. Here’s how I got into it-

I started fishing the Deschutes like many other people start out, fishing Mecca Flats with some sort of stonefly looking bug with rubber legs on it. Sure it caught a few fish here and there but after a while I started questioning myself, “why am I wasting my time roll casting and splashing a big fat bobber at fish I can’t reach?”. I expanded my tactics, used dries whenever I could and experimented with smaller mayfly and caddis nymphs. My fish numbers went up the more I explored my options and tried new flies. Fishing to moderately pressured trout definitely helped me refine my fly box a bit and get some patterns figured out... Though none of the stuff I learned over the last couple years on the Deschutes mattered when I picked up a OPST Commando head for my 5wt and chucked a sculpin for the first time.

It was fall of 2017 and to say that the redbands were putting the feed on would be an understatement. My buddy and I were on our way home from a long day of hike-in fishing on a tributary to the middle Deschutes. We’d put quite a few miles under our boots that day but we decided we weren’t done fishing. Warm Springs just so happened to be on our way home, and there was about a half-mile of water to fish right off of the highway. By the time we got on the water, the sun was just starting to creep back behind the canyon and the fall mix of smaller caddis and their larger October cousins were starting to pop off. I let my buddy cover the bobber and pupa side of things and I decided to fish a sculpin pattern in the faster water.

My buddy set up on the backside of a large seam and instantly landed a couple 16 inch fish, this is all while I was right next to him rigging up and picking a sink tip. I waded down to some choppy quick moving water determined to swing up a big one. The only thing I knew about my Commando head setup was how to cast it, but I had never really had the chance to use it though. I had no idea how I was going to retrieve my fly or how it would feel in the current, so I did what every good fisherman does when they don’t know what they’re doing- Wing it.

I made my first cast as far as I could and my head landed flat across the river at a 90 degrees angle. The current immediately made a belly in my line and my fly began hauling ass toward my side of the bank. I can only guess it looked like my sculpin was getting ran down by another fish; and in theory, an opportunistic trout would come trucking over to steal that food for himself. Whatever my fly was doing in the water, the fish liked it and wasted no time proving that to me. I was slammed by a fish on my first good swing, and it turned out to be a hot one. I got 6 or 7 jumps out of the pissed off hen before I got her to hand. It was my first trout on the swing, and also my biggest Deschutes redband to date, taping at 19 inches. At about the 3rd jump my buddy decided to wade down to me to see what all the fuss was about.

In the next 10 casts, I broke 20 inches...twice. My first night swinging for trout I had caught a 19, 20, and last but not least a 21 inch brute pushing 6 pounds. I decided I’d be okay with never using anything else for trout ever again. It’s been quite a winter since then, and I’ve acquainted myself with two handed rods. Chasing winter steelhead has given me a greater appreciation of the swing, and the spey rods that make swinging possible. I started loving spey casting so much I thought to myself, “If I’m using a spey rod to cast large flies easier than my single hander,why wouldn’t I just get a smaller sized trout spey and make my favorite tactic easier for myself?”. So I did just that.

Being that I’m a beginner spey caster with less than a year of experience, I went ahead and picked the Redington Hydrogen Trout Spey in the 11 foot 6 inch 4wt. The longer heavier rod makes casting a little bit more user friendly. The longer length allows for the caster to set and sustain an anchor with ease. Don’t get discouraged from the lighter rods though, they are almost more fun but require a little refined timing while casting. The two-handers just make fishing so much easier, and in turn making it more fun. I don’t have to worry about getting hung up in the trees behind me or if I’ll be able to reach the fish way out in the middle of the run. Two-handed rods take all the worrying out of fishing and put you at a strange state of ease of mind. A “trance” would be a good way to put it.

If you love streamer fishing for big aggressive fish on a tight line, trout spey might just be the thing for you. We’ve got a broad selection of great quality rods for trout spey in all price points, be it Sage, G. Loomis, Winston or Redington. When buying a reel, it’s a general rule of thumb that spey rods are 2 wts heavier than their single hand cousins, think 3wt trout spey=5wt trout rod, so it’s a good idea to buy a reel 2-3 sizes up from the weight of your spey rod. When the topic of lines get brought up, think about lighter shooting head or integrated head systems to help turn over those bigger, heavier flies.
If you’re on a smaller freestone river such as one in Montana where streamer fishing from boats is king, try swinging soft hackles on standard dry lines! In summary, grab yourself a two hander, relax, and go catch some big fish. If you have any questions or want some more info, give us a buzz at the shop: 541-386-6977

Jacob Noteboom | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Mar 22, 2018

Fly Rod "Feel" or "Function"

Forty foot cast with 30mph downriver winds
I recently encountered a situation where one day I fished a fly rod with great feel and the next day I fished a fly rod that provided excellent function. My question to all of us is...Do we buy rods to feel good or to get a job done?

In the realm of fly fishing "easy" I don't even feel this is a question to ask. If the casting is easy and we are getting it done with a rod that feels good than great! Go with that. But as we push the limits of fly casting, fly size and casting situations, is "feel good" going to get the job done?!

On the day I fished the "feel good" rod we had wind, long casts, water load casts, and long mends to contend with. The rod I chose performed these task quite well, especially tight looped, long casting. It certainly didn't fail with water load cast and long mends and had I not fished a more stout rod the next day I'm not sure I would have known any different. This feel good rod is one you would pick up and swing and say "oh yes, it feels good." It's also a rod you would take to the pond and really enjoy casting.

The next day, I was handed a rod that even at first feel seemed clubby. One false swing and the quick label would be "broomstick." For fair comparison I used the same line and reel from the feel good rod. Keeping an open mind, my guide and I went to work.

This particular outing for both rod test days was an endless array of casting situations in which it demanded everything but the standard, off your strong shoulder, trout casting. It was back hand casting, steeple casting, reach casting, roll casting, throwing mends at cast and water load casting. Currents were strong and pockets were small. The species was brown trout and let's call their size "Predator."

The rod I quickly labeled "broomstick" proved to have some qualities which made my day easier. Water loaded casting proved to be much easier with ample reserve power to lift line and a weighted fly from the water. On short, heavy fly upstream flip casts I noticed the rod tip did not quiver which really helped to keep the cast on target and provided quick connection to the fly once landed. Across stream mends were also easier which I can't say I fully understand as to why.

Late in the day a beast was hooked. Once again the "broomstick" proved to have the upper hand. This beast of a fish grabbed the fly on a downstream swing and immediately turned into the raging current. It was a situation were you either put the wood to him and trust the tippet or helplessly watch him defeat you on a downstream run. While the outcome could have gone either way, the "broomstick" turned him and kept him under my control. The tippet held and after a hard battle of give and take the beast came to net.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Anadro, Lamson Litespeed, and for now the rod remains a mystery

Greg Darling - @bassprogreg

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

Mar 21, 2018

Airflo Super-Dri Bomber Fly Lines

Airflo Super-Dri Bomber Fly Lines were developed specifically for dry fly atlantic salmon and steelhead applications. If features a front loaded taper to turn over long leaders with wind resistant flies. Super-Dri technology enables the line to be extremely buoyant for high floatation and Ridge Technology helps line shoot for distance.

Two Tone Mint Green / Sandy Tan identifies optimum loading point for exceptional precise casting. Micro Looped on both ends. Power Core provides strength and strong hook sets.

Specs -
Line SizeColorHead WeightHead LengthSink RateTotal Length
WF7FMint Green/Sandy Tan310gr46ftFloat90ft
WF8FMint Green/Sandy Tan360gr46ftFloat90ft
WF9FMint Green/Sandy Tan400gr46ftFloat90ft

Find Bomber and all Airflo Fly Lines at...
"The Gorge"

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Mar 20, 2018

Simms Challenger Pull-on Boots - New for 2018

New for 2018, Simms introduces two pull-on style boat boots.

The Simms Challenger Pull-On 14" Boot is insulated with grid-fleece lining for cold and wet weather conditions.

The Simms Challenger Pull-On 9" Boot is outfitted with an Airmesh Lining for breathable moisture control.

Both boots feature non-marking sipped rubber outsoles for maximum grip on wet decks and docks. Also featured is Simms Right Angle footbed designed to promote good foot alignment and relaxed posture for all day comfort.

Find Simms Wading Boots at...
"The Gorge"

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Mar 19, 2018

Fishpond Grand Teton Rolling Luggage

Best of Show - IFTD 2017
It's unfair to call this luggage...This is an anglers travel system! Fishpond Grand Teton Rolling Luggage

The clamshell design smartly puts your rods, waders, boots and a net stowed deep and ventilated while the upper portion separates your clothes. at 35" it'll have no problem securing your fly rods in their supplied tubes or in a Fishpond 32" Jackalope Rod Tube.

Features -
  • 35” tall Rolling bag fits 6 standard length rod tubes in the protected compression molded base with rod tube cradles.
  • Also compatible with the fishpond 32” Jackalope Rod Tube Case
  • Clamshell zippered opening
  • 420D Cyclepond Fishpond Fabric with ballistic fabric accents on high abrasion areas
  • Compression molded bottom laminated with ballistic fabric
  • Neoprene edges on interior zipper pockets for stretch and durability on the internal zippers
  • PU and DWR coated base compartment keeps damp waders and dirty boots from getting your other belongs wet or dirty.
  • Ventilated mesh on main body interior pocket
  • Main body interior pocket can be accessed from the interior clamshell opening for easy packing, or from the exterior for easier access while travelling.
  • Exterior organization pocket
  • Four exterior compression straps
  • Rope haul handle on top and front panel
  • Retractable handle
  • 125L (7,627 cu. in.)
  • 35" x 16" x 11"
  • 11.35lbs
Note: Shipping of this item is restricted to the Continental United States.

Hey International friends: It's pretty much next to impossible to ship an item of this size to you. Even if it fits within a size restriction the cost would be enough to make you say "forget it." Here's an idea for you...Plan a trip to the U.S. While you're here buy it, pack it up with gear and fly it home with you. Call ahead and we'll make sure to have one waiting for you. Stop in the Shop and meet the good people who get you the gear you want. We can also ship it to your hotel.

Find Bags and Luggage at...
"The Gorge"

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Mar 18, 2018

Airflo Sixth Sense Camo Intermediate Fly Line

Stillwater fishing for trout can be extremely fun. Some great catches come from lakes. But if the fish aren't rising to dry's you have to adjust your game. The next logical step is going sub-surface. A camo line can really improve your odds. Airflo Sixth Sense Camo Intermediate is a great choice.

Key features that make this line work include: Smooth casting Delta taper design, Camo Mono Core and Clear supple feel.

Find All Airflo Fly Lines at...

"The Gorge"

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Mar 17, 2018

Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Backpack - New for 2018

Packed with great features and waterproof, The Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Backpack is river ready.

A couple really cool features I like about this pack. The hip belt is adjustable and removable. That's a nice feature when you're just using the pack as a flight travel pack. Next it incorporates an accessory strap on the hip belt which is perfect for attaching belt accessories such as fishing pliers. I also like the Compatibility to modulate with Fishpond Chest Packs like the Savage Creek Chest Pack pictured below.

Shown with add-on Savage Creek Chest Pack (Pack not included) - Accessory Strap securing pliers. (Pliers not included)
Find more Fishpond Gear at...
"The Gorge"

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Mar 16, 2018

Rep Your Water - Cascadia Hat - New for 2018

Rep Your Water apparel is becoming super popular in our store so much so that we've decided to offer a few hats and t-shirts online.

New for 2018 is the Cascadia Hat

Features -

  • White mesh back
  • Forest cotton twill front
  • *NEW Standard Fit
  • Medium structure
  • Adjustable snap-back
  • Bill comes slightly curved, easily bent more to preference
  • 10% goes to the Wild Steelhead Coalition

Rep Your Water Hat Fit Guide

Find Rep Your Water Gear at Gorge Fly Shop
"The Gorge"

The Gorge Fly Shop Team


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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