Sep 27, 2016

Trout Spey - Why Do It



Curious, being a Northwest shop in the heart of Steelhead country we can get clouded into thinking that all fly anglers are involved in two hand spey. Having spent time away in other locales I've come to realize that spey is still a very small part of the overall fly fishing scene. Outside of steelhead water even when you remove the obvious non-spey circumstances such as flats angling or boat angling, I rarely find another two hand angler.

When I'm out wading in the trout stream I still feel very alone swinging a two hand rod. It's funny to watch reactions for other anglers I encounter. Some disregard what you're doing as no big deal. A few will watch for a minute with curiosity. Most will flat out not look at you and pretend you do not even exist. I try my hardest to put on my best show. Slow down, let the line rip from the water and remember to pull with the underhand to launch a sweet tight loop. I always hope I will hook up in front of one of these anglers for no other reason than throwing affirmation their way that fish can be caught without a bobber. Rarely does the hookup happen in front of others and even on the few occasions when it does usually it's in front of the ones that won't glance your way.

Why Do It?

To be honest normal trout tactics really don't much appeal to me. Of course dry fly fishing is one exception to that statement but even then I don't much care for it if a fly gets smaller than say a sixteen. As long as the flies are patterns that I can see on the water then I'm good but midge and baetis, you can have that stuff.

Swinging the Missouri

Indi fishing is not really my thing either. I'll do it if from a guided drift boat but even then I'd rather we throw a hopper dropper setup and maybe get a fish to show himself to a chubby once in a while. Really I wish more guides would anchor the boat and get out with anglers to wade more often. For me wading really does add to the experience.

Wade nymphing just does not interest me at all. I like to cast and lobbing a cumbersome nymph indi rig over and over again just takes away from part of the reason I'm fly fishing in the first place. If I'm just going to lob a rig than I might as well have a spinning rod in my hand and even as I make that claim it isn't true either. On the occasions that I have fished a spin rod in a stream I still want to tight line fish so I won't even lob a spin rod. I guess I just prefer to tight line fish period.

Czech nymphing could be an interesting tight line technique but I have to admit at this point I have spent almost no time giving it a try.

What Was The Question? Why Do It? Why Trout Spey? Why Not!


The Cast is the first reason that comes to mind. I like to cast. Not that I will ever win any competitions at it but I cast pretty well. I notice a lot of non two hand anglers have the idea that learning is really tough. My opinion is learning to spey cast is rather easy but getting good at it takes time, patience and practice. Most anglers that start spey casting with an instructor are usually fishing within minutes of picking up a two hand rod. I don't buy into the argument that it is too hard to learn.

Tight line fishing is the second reason that comes to mind. I want to feel what's going on on the other end of the line. I'm seeking the tug. The connection to my quarry. It's real to me. The feeling of the grab indicates there is life in this stream and it wants to eat my fly!

Sink Tips...


I never enjoy casting sink tip fly lines with single hand fly rods. Let's accept some fishing facts, fish live near structure and structure is usually found in the depths and bottoms of rivers. Seams, current breaks and eddies are all created by some kind of structure. Getting your fly to these areas is not always easy. Weighted flies and sink tips on trout size fly rods can get a bit dangerous. Spey casting can remove the danger and help present a fly into these difficult areas. It removes the danger by anchoring the fly in front of you so the fly never comes flying past your body. Using two hands instead of one provides push pull mechanics to a cast that greatly increases available power to move the fly and lines (especially skagit lines) Skagit heads have greater mass to carry sink tips and weighted flies. Another benefit is you never repeatedly false cast line therefore no energy is wasted with time spent getting distance in your cast. I want to finish this paragraph with one fact for anglers that have not yet experienced spey casting, casting a sinking tip is effortless with two hand rods and you won't need shoulder surgery at the end the day.


Fishing Untapped Water...


No Backcast Space...No Problem
Another benefit I enjoy especially on heavily fished water is I often find myself fishing water that no one else wants to fish. Fast tail outs, long fast runs and seams on the opposite sides of the river that single hand casters cannot reach.

And there's the backcast space. I need very little backcast space to make a two hand cast. I seek these areas on rivers were single hand anglers cannot backcast. It's like fishing untapped water. I find that even water like this that the boats drift indi's through all day can still be very productive to the swing angler. I believe fish respond because it is a different presentation than what they are use to seeing.


Not Just For Sink Tips...

Swinging Soft Hackles

I know I talk a lot about sink tip fishing and all the benefits of two hand delivery but you don't have to fish sink tips with two hand rods. Some examples of fishing dry line techniques includes skating dries, tandem soft hackles and combinations of nymph and emergers can be deadly productive especially on heavily fished water. Somewhere along the way anglers have been convinced to fish a nymph you have to use a bobber. I'm here to tell you it's not true. I'm not writing this to dog the indicator and yes there are some pieces of water that simply won't effectively get fished without "bob" but much of the time bobs are like training wheels. They just support you while you learn. It might be time to remove the training wheels and learn to achieve connection. Just saying!

Two Hand Spey Is Not For Everyone...

While I make it obvious I endorse two hand tactics let me just clarify that two hand rods are not going to replace single hand rods and many anglers won't have a need for them at all. Two hand rods really lend themselves to river environments. Generally swinging flies is a tactic to cover water and not really ideal for target casting fisheries and stillwater fisheries. Some anglers are using switch rods for overhead shoreline and beach casting because the extra length can provide a lot of leverage for distance casting. Boat angling, flats angling and sight angling is generally better suited to single hand overhead casting for both accuracy and presentation.

Other Two Hand Opportunities...


This past summer I had an opportunity to swing flies on a bass stream. Bass and other similar rock bass species could not get enough of that swung fly. Big fish still came from a boat with target casting of course but it was a real kick getting the tug in the riffles on a swung fly. I believe if you know the river you're fishing you can set up some for some great swing water and show flies to bass and others species in a way that they have never seen before.

A Different Presentation...


In this article I've often talked of showing a different presentation. I'm convinced resident fish on highly pressured water become accustomed to standard presentations. Sure these tried and true presentations still work or anglers would quit doing them but I'm not necessarily after just numbers of fish. My most memorable days are not the days I caught 50 fish. Instead my memorable days are often associated with that one brown trout that I was lucky to get a hook in and even luckier to land it. The fished that attacked my fly so hard he nearly yanked the rod from my hands. I want to catch the fish with attitude! The one that fights till the end and splashes water in my face when I release him. I'm not suggesting that you should go to the river with a one fish expectation but ask yourself this, what do you want your experience to be?

What's In The Future...


Swung on single hand Winston 9' 5wt equipped with RIO Skagit Trout Max
200gr and 8' of T-8 swinging a conehead tube fly
Actually I believe the future is unfolding now. Many like myself are figuring out that a good moderate-fast stick in the 9-10 foot range can be a great trout spey stick with the advent of the latest extreme short skagits now available from RIO, OPST and Airflo. I'm not going to stop swinging my Sage Trout Spey and Winston Microspey and replace them with single hand sticks but I have experimented with and regularly employ single hand rods in the 8'6" to 9'6" range with amazing results. I think a door is wide open for a trout angler to line a reel with trout skagits and get a taste of trout spey with a rod already in ones arsenal. The cool aspect of this idea is carry a reel spooled with a dry line and just switch out if a hatch comes off. There's no reason to not experiment now and if trout spey hooks you then reach for a dedicated two hand stick.


But Why Do I Trout Spey...


I trout spey to bring me closer to the stream and its inhabitants. I trout spey to give me freedom to fish weighted flies and sink tips with ease. I trout spey to swing my own flies and know that the fish in that river are seeing something they have never seen before. I trout spey to utilize water others disregard. I trout spey because it helps me find peace and serenity. I trout spey in search of something real in life that will be remembered to my dying day. I trout spey for the challenge and I live for the tug. I trout spey because I choose to do things a different way.



Greg Darling
Gorge Fly Shop
Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

Read more of Greg's Post




"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 24, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report - (09/25/2016)

Fall is here and the opportunities for fishing are nearly limitless in our area.  Steelhead fishing is fair in most of the local rivers, salmon fishing has been good and trout fishing has been absolutely stellar.  

Ryan found his
doppelganger sticker
Most anglers in the area are obsessed with summer steelhead at the moment, and will continue to be obsessed until winter steelheading starts...   With steelhead numbers far below average, it is a great time to hit the Deschutes for some quality trout fishing.  We have had a couple local anglers that have been absolutely slaying nice redside rainbow trout lately.  Streamer fishing has been fantastic, and the October Caddis are hatching as well as the Mahogany Dun Mayflies.

The East Fork Hood is in good shape and the trout are hungry and fiesty.  While the fish are on the small side, they make up for it with their willingness to eat a dry fly and the fabulous colors that they display on their sides.

Lost, Laurance and Goose Lakes, as well as Timothy, Trillium and Clear Lakes are all fishing very, very well for trout.  Many of the local lakes get planted with "jumbo" trout at the end of September and you will likely have these lakes nearly to yourself.

For those that are all about the steelhead, the Klickitat and Deschutes have been pretty tough lately.  Have heard halfway decent reports from the Kalama and the Cowlitz recently, as well as one friend that was messing around on the Clackamas and hooked into a couple of steelhead one morning last week.

Fielded this call a couple of times this week:  "How many winter steelhead are in the Hood River right now?"  Answer:  "probably zero, maybe one, but probably zero".  Christmas is about as early as we ever see any.  Maybe early December on good years.  It is still September... we have two more good months of summer steelhead fishing before its time to start looking for winters.  Besides, the Hood River is really, really low right now.  There isn't much moving water for a steelhead to be hiding in.

However, in the Klickitat, there are plenty of steelhead in the system, but between the Fall Chinook all over the river, the immense number of anglers and the low/clear water, the steelhead bite has been a little rough.  Not to say that you won't catch one.  Plenty of our locals have been getting a shot or two per day, but its not "on fire" by any means.

The Deschutes has been about the same as far as catch rates.  Guys that are working hard are usually getting a couple of opportunities per day.  This is decent steelheading anywhere.  However, big returns over the last ten years have really skewed what anglers expect on the D.  One guy called this week and said that if he wasn't guaranteed to hook at least five (yes five) steelhead in a day, then it wasn't worth going out...

Back to trout fishing:  Just go.  It is really good right now.  Nymphing caddis and mahogany pupae under an indicator throughout the day should be productive.  Look for fish working BWOs in backeddies, especially if it is cold and cloudy (not looking like that this coming week).  Throw caddis and mahogany dries in the evening, or strip a sculpzilla through the riffles if that is your thing.  So many people have expressed interest in the trout speys that are available.  Now is the time to do it....

Smallies are still biting in the Columbia.  It is much easier to catch them on a drop shot rig than a fly, but they are eating poppers with gusto early and late in the day.  Not much word on the John Day bass scene, but I would imagine that it is still fabulous.

Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.  You can also check water temps here too...

Hood River:

Klickitat
USGS
NOAA

Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River
Bonneville Dam Water Temps
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.  541.386.6977




Andrew Perrault
Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist
541.386.6977


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 21, 2016

Scientific Anglers Unveils New Amplitude Fly Lines


Introducing Scientific Anglers Amplitude Fly Lines with AST Plus, the most advanced slickness technology in the world. Up to 20% SLICKER than lines with our Advanced Shooting Technology (AST) and 40% SLICKER than lines with no additive, AST Plus is slickness, down to a science.

What makes it so unique?


Our AST Plus compound actually moves within the coating. It naturally migrates to the surface of the line as the coating begins to wear. This extends the life of a fly line and provides out-of-the-box slickness long after the line leaves the fly shop.

  • Shoots Farther - 40% slicker than lines with no additive
  • Retains Slickness - Maintains that out-of-the-box feel for the life of the line
  • Last Longer - 60% more durable than the competition

When we see room for improvement, we jump at the chance. In this case, we wanted to make our lines even slicker and more durable.

Which brings us to AMPLITUDE.


The first series of lines to feature the revolutionary AST PLUS slickness additive, the Amplitude will shoot farther and last longer than any other line on the market.

S/A Amplitude MPX
WF3F thru  WF9F

Built a half-size heavy, the MPX taper starts where the GPX left off. Redesigned with more mass toward the front of the head, the MPX provides the same benefits of the GPX, with an added emphasis on presentation. The power is still there, only with an added bit of finesse. Meet your new best friend.

Features -
  • Revolutionary AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability 
  • Floating Texture on the tip section for the ultimate in flotation 
  • Shooting Texture running line delivers longer casts 
  • The ultimate general presentation line 
  • Improved version of our GPX taper 
  • Made a half-size heavy to load fast-action rods 
  • Best for large dry flies, nymphs, and streamers 
  • For use in moderate and cold climates 
  • Braided multifilament core 
Amplitude MPX Profile
WF6F thru WF12F

Amplitude Grand Slam

Tarpon. Bonefish. Permit. All in one day. All on one fly line. That’s the idea behind the Amplitude Grand Slam, a line designed specifically to help you achieve one of angling’s most elusive accomplishments. With a short, powerful head the Grand Slam cuts through wind and turns over crabs, shrimp, and tarpon toads with ease. We’ve got the line. You just need the fish.

Features -
  • Revolutionary AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability 
  • Floating Texture on the tip section for the ultimate in flotation 
  • Shooting Texture running line delivers longer casts 
  • Designed for demanding tropical saltwater applications 
  • Loads rods quickly, cuts through the wind with ease, and turns over big saltwater flies 
  • Short, powerful head for quick casts to moving targets 
  • Tropi-Core technology for tropical climates 
Amplitude Grand Slam Profile

AST PLUS


Available October 2016

The Gorge Fly Shop Team - "Fly Fish The World With Us"

Sep 14, 2016

Redington Waders - New for 2017


Over the last few years Redington has built a solid reputation in the wader market. Users are bragging about how durable they are and provide a very comfortable fit. Yes, they are imported. All waders that we are aware of are imported with the exception of the Gore-Tex line of Simms Waders. Is that really a big deal? Maybe but it's not like you are buying a New Fly Rod or New Fly Reel. No one argues the fact that the best waders are still made in Bozeman Montana by Simms. View our Wader Survey Results to see how popular Simms Waders are. But many ask if I have to budget should I save a few bucks on a cheaper fly rod or save a few bucks and buy imported waders? Personally I want the best fly rod I can afford since I plan on having it a long time and it will bring me great joy. I don't hear anglers talking that way about their waders.

I wrote an article a while back that I think did a pretty good job of highlighting the pros and cons of USA vs Import waders. View...Wader Comparison - G3 Guide Vs. Sonic Pro

I'm not writing this to convince anyone to buy this Redington brand of waders over the skilled labor USA made Simms Gore-Tex Waders but if you're going to buy imported waders anyway for any reason then I think it's fair to say Redington is providing a very good product in this market and I can honestly say that from 3 years of personal use.

Sonic-Pro - "The Workhorse" - Updated for 2017

Sonic-Pro

While you can buy a more expensive Redington wader the Sonic-Pro is the the workhorse in the lineup. It's designed to be a feature rich wader, built to last and be price attractive.

Features:
  • Ergonomic 3.5mm neoprene bootie with 4mm bottom for additional comfort and increased durability against punctures 
  • Slim wading belt compatible with majority of pliers and staffs 
  • Flip out pocket with zipper and mesh tippet pocket 
  • Two-sided fleece lined hand warmer pocket 
  • Anti-corrosive hardware
  • 4-layer, 100% nylon waterproof/breathable DWR coated
  • Sonic Welded Seams
At about $200 less than the USA counterpart what you DO NOT get is Gore-Tex. Warranties differ a little and are subject to change. So rather than write the said warranty I'll just provide the links for you to do your own research.

Simms Wader Warranty
Redington Wader Warranty 

Palix River Wader - "Surprisingly Good Performance"


Palix River Wader
Revised in 2016 - Carry Over for 2017
The Palix River is the sleeper wader (not meant to sleep in). What I mean is it falls into that category of must not be worth much for the price they are asking when in fact this little wader offers surprisingly good performance.
Three layer construction with all the usual features such as hand warmer pockets, flip out pocket and gravel guards. Buckles oppose for conversion to a waist high. Same Redington Warranty as others.

A few major differences between the Palix Wader versus the Sonic-Pro Wader are 3 layer construction versus 4 layer, web belt instead of neoprene belt and less available sizes in the Palix River Wader. For those that fit in and use these waders they report good comfort and durability.



Sonic-Pro HD Wader - "New for 2017"

Sonic-Pro HD
Some anglers are just tough on waders so here is your heavy duty version of the popular Sonic-Pro. All the same warranty and features in a heavy duty design. At this time of writing these waders are not even out yet. While I cannot comment anything from experience I think I can safely say if you live in your waders the extra cow these waders cost should pay you back in longevity and still provide all the comforts and features we've come to know from the original Sonic-Pro.

Features:
  • Ergonomic 3.5mm neoprene bootie with 4mm bottom for additional comfort and increased durability against punctures 
  • Two-sided fleece hand warmer pockets 
  • Large water-resistant chest pocket 
  • Anti-corrosive hardware 
  • Slim wading belt compatible with majority of pliers and staffs 
  • Flip out pocket with zipper and mesh tippet pocket

Sonic-Pro HDZ Zipper - "Once You Go Zipper, It's Hard To Go Back!" 

Sonic-Pro HDZ

New for 2017

Built with similar construction as the HD version with incorporating a waterproof TIZIP zipper.

A big difference in any brand zipper wader is the front has to take on some different characteristics. Most notable is the lack of the pass through hand  pocket. Winter anglers all agree that taking a warm up break with both hands in a pass through pocket is an advantage with non-zip waders but is that alone enough reason to give up ease of in and out as well as other occasional bodily requirements. This HDZ Wader still has fleece lined hand warmer pockets like the non-zip counterparts.

I was around when Simms introduced the G4Z Zip Wader. We all pretty much thought they would be a bust. Once a few anglers got into them they all agreed that they would not want to go back to a non-zip wader. The little extra convenience was worth the extra money. You do have options in this area. First I personally think that if you are willing to spend the extra money for a zipper then go all the way and get the top line Simms and plan on having them for a long time. Even if down the road they get a leak Simms can fix them and longevity will eventually pay off for the investment.
If you still want zipper waders for less besides the Sonic-Pro HDZ's you also have the choice of the Simms Freestone Zipper Wader. The Freestone is Simms import version of a zipper wader.

Crosswater and Crosswater Youth

Crosswater - New for 2017

Updated for 2017. The Redington Crosswater Wader can get you going for less and provide your basic needs. If you are going to budget a wader to the base level make sure you are getting built in gravel guards, opposing buckles to convert to waist high, a flip out zippered pocket and an included wading belt. Crosswater has all these features. The Crosswater waders also make a good backup option. If your trip is taking you outside of civilization it's a good idea to have a back up pair of waders. Available in basic sizes Small through XXLarge.

Also the Crosswater wader comes in a Crosswater Youth version. It includes all the same features as the adult version. Available in two sizes: K8-10 and K12-14.

Women's Siren and Willow - Still Going Strong

Also offered from Redington is two different models of women's waders. The Redington Siren takes a new approach in sizing for women offering sizing appropriately named "Kate" and "Marilyn". The Siren is a better fitting, better looking, and more comfortable wader built exclusively for women.
The Willow is similar to the Palix River men's waders but styled and sized for women.

Palix River Pant - Proven Wading Pant

When you don't need a full on chest wader the Palix River Pant has you covered just were you need it. Great for skipping around small streams and creeks.

No matter what brand wader you choose to purchase the bottom line is they need to keep you dry and provide all day comfort on the water that will allow you to enjoy your time fishing. Redington is doing a very good job providing just that. 


BassProGreg




Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 12, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (09/12/2016)


What a difference a week or two makes!  Fishing has improved dramatically on the  Deschutes River for summer steelhead.  Anglers that had been scraping by with a grab or two a day are now hitting fish with consistency.  The best action has been in the lower 15 miles of the river but there are fish scattered throughout the system now.  Fishing should continue to improve for the rest of September.

The Klickitat has been on and off the past week.  Cold nights have put the river into a low and clear state and with the Chinook Salmon piling in, steelhead fishing has been tougher than it was earlier this summer.  There are plenty of steelhead in the system but they are not super happy to be chasing flies all the time.  Guys are still picking up fish, and it is September, a.k.a. Fishtember.  There is always a good shot at a steelhead every day on the Klick.  Early mornings have been good and there is also a decent chance of hooking a salmon.

Trout fishing on the East Fork Hood River has been great lately.  My fly of choice would be an elk hair caddis, but most attractor style dry flies should work fine.  Trout Lake Creek and Eagle Creek have both been fishing well too.

Lakes are still doing very well.  September is a good time to go lake fishing.  Both ODFW and WDFW stock many lakes with jumbo trout in September.  Goose, Laurance and Lost Lakes are the go-to lakes for us, but Trillium, Clear, and Timothy are starting to fish well again as the weather cools.

Bass fishing is still good on the Columbia.  Nice bass are still eating poppers in the early mornings and evenings, while getting a streamer down towards the bottom is the key to finding them in the middle of the day.  Not much word from the John Day on bass recently, but I would suspect that it is still very good.

Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.  You can also check water temps here too...

Hood River:

Klickitat
USGS
NOAA

Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River
Bonneville Dam Water Temps
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.  541.386.6977




Andrew Perrault
Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist
541.386.6977


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 6, 2016

Simms Headwaters Boot Review

A solid boot that should last for years to come

It has been about six months now since I got my new Simms Headwaters Wading Boots.  Six solid months of fishing is enough that I feel that I have a good idea how they will preform over the long-haul.  I have really been procrastinating on posting this because I really, really want to make sure that these boots are going to continue to perform; and they are still holding up as well today as they did on day one.

 I have been burned before by writing a review of a product without putting it through strenuous field testing first.  In some cases, like the Sling Pack Showdown, we just don't have the time or resources to extensively field test everything.  In the case of wading boots however, it is very important to actually put the miles on those soles.  I feel that I have put more than enough miles on these boots now to see how they have performed and how well they will hold up.

I absolutely loved my Simms G3 Guide Boots.  They were easily hands-down the best boots I have ever owned.  You can see my post on those here: Killing my G3 Boots.  So needless to say, the Headwaters Boots have a high standard to meet.

I chose felt soles. Why?  Well this could easily be an entirely different article, but a quick explanation is always welcome.  Felt soles are far more "grippy" on the slick basalt that is abundant in many of our local rivers than a Vibram or sticky rubber sole.  Even with Simms Hardbite Felt Studs, I still fall in the Deschutes on average of once every other day.  I fell into a run called Hot Rocks twice in one pass earlier this summer.  Had I been wearing Vibram soles, I doubt I would have even made it the 30 yards from shore to the rock where you start fishing before falling in.  I am sure that I would not be able to effectively fish the water I want to fish without studded felt.  Some rivers are not an issue, but two in particular have caused me to fall in and bang up my shins more than any other... the Deschutes and the Wilson.

I would only get Vibram soles if I legally was required to do so, and I always put studs in all soles.  I have a raft and was concerned for a couple of years about studs on the raft, but it has not been an issue.  I do have a hard floor in my raft that is definitely scratched up now, but there is no excess wear on the raft itself.

Because everyone like ratings!
My first and most important conclusion about the Headwaters Boots: They are built like a rock.  While the boots are solid and sturdy, there is no overkill on the materials or design.  The lace eyelets are riveted well, the stitching is smooth and well-placed, and the materials are heavy-duty, durable, but not too heavy to be comfortable.

The collar, or strap that you grab on the top rear of the boot when putting them on is not as beefy as with the G3 Guide Boot, but it is very functional, well designed, and has shown no signs of durability issues after month of abuse.  The padding around the top of the boot is similar in quality and comfort to the Guide Boot, although these boots are not quite as tall, which reduces the overall weight on the Headwaters.  While not as tall as the G3, they still provides good ankle support.  They are taller than the Vapor Boots, and about the same height as the Freestone Boots.

The biggest difference between the two boots that I noticed is that the Guide Boot has more of a flexible, form fit, while the Headwaters Boot has more of a solid, roomy construction.  The material has stayed rigid over several months, and that provides plenty of room for your feet (especially the toes).  Simms is known for having rock-solid boots that take quite some time to wear in and these boots are still almost as solid as the day I first tried them on.

The first handful of times I wore these boots I did have to work to get the laces cinched down as tight as I wanted.  The boots did feel a little bit loose, even after tightening the laces down as far as they would reasonably tighten.  Now that I am six months into these boots, they are quite a bit easier to get them sufficiently tight against my feet, but it is nowhere near "form fitting".  Although the boots are still roomy around the toes, the top of the foot and ankle are adequately tight and very comfortable.

One drawback about Simms Boots is that the laces that come with their boots are not the most heavy-duty laces out there.  I have already busted through a lace, and I would bet it has a lot to do with putting heavy pressure on the laces in the first two months in order to get them cinched down as the rigid material is not entirely easy to tighten up.  Good thing that I always keep a pair of Simms Replacement Laces in my pack.  Everyone should order a set when they get a new pair of boots.

I do have to loosen the laces up before I can get my feet into them, especially at the top eyelet. It is in that perfect spot to prevent your feet from sliding in with ease.  Once that one eyelet is loosened, it is easy to get in and out of because the boots are roomy.  Minor, very minor...
Six months old, still looking brand new
and just seconds before I broke a lace!

The toe guard at the end of the boot is not as large as with the Guide Boot, but again, still very adequate.  I have seen no sign of durability issues yet with the toe guard, which is one of the most likely spots to experience failure.  That is generally a long term issue, but I think that in six months of solid use I would have seen them starting to separate if they were going to do so.

Jeff's G3 Guide Boots failed at the toe guard fairly quickly, while my pair never showed any sign of trouble.  It is one of those spots that is prone to wearing out, yet that wear seems highly dependent on how you walk in them.

These boots are easy enough to hike in, but the Vapor Boot is a better choice if you hike 5 miles before ever casting a line.  The stiff  materials make it a solid boot, but not the most comfortable for hiking long distances because it does create resistance around your ankles, and resistance equals more energy spent over a long time period.  Short hikes are no problem.  I haven't hiked more than three miles at a time in them yet, but I can feel my feet dragging a little after hiking to the Helicopter Hole and back (1.5 miles each way).  

These boots are aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and well built, without being too heavy, clunky or expensive.  At $179.95, these boots are near the top end in both price and quality.  They are definitely not as heavy-duty as the G3 Guide Boots (nor as expensive), but I believe that the quality and durability should be more than sufficient for even the most hardcore anglers.





Andrew Perrault
Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist
541.386.6977


"Fly Fish the World with Us"


Sep 4, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report - 09/04/2016

Another beautiful sunset on the Lower Deschutes; August 29, 2016

It feels like fall out there and we couldn't be happier!  Fall is our favorite time of year to fish.  Fall Chinook are pouring into the rivers and catching has been good.  Summer Steelhead numbers are still down, but anglers are still catching them on the Deschutes and the Klickitat.  The fishing on the Klickitat has actually been pretty good this summer and continues to give up fish to dedicated anglers.

The Cowlitz has had a good summer as well.  One of our regulars went 4/4 there one day last week having never set foot near the river before that day.

Yes, the Deschutes has been slower than in recent years, but anglers are catching fish.  Another local went 1/3 in two hours on Friday evening.  He was fishing a dry line just up from the mouth and hooked three fish in less than three hours.

Bass fishing is steady on the Columbia and good on the John Day.  Poppers on the C. early and late in the day and dragging a crayfish pattern near the bottom during mid-day has been the program.  Poppers all day on the JD.

Trout fishing on the Deschcutes has been absolutely fantastic.  The cooler, cloudy weather produced some nice Mahogany mayfly hatches, while the evening caddis hatches have been nothing short of epic.  I was stripping a bugger on the lower river and caught a couple of nice trout last week with little effort.  The fish were fat, happy and scrappy despite 70+ degree water temps for much of the summer.

Goose Lake was recently planted with trout and fishing couldn't be better.  Lost and Laraunce Lakes have also been very good recently.  On good days, anglers should be able to fish a small dry fly all day.  If the fishing is "tough" anglers should use an intermediate line and retrieve a small, weighted olive woolly bugger with a small hares ear (or similar) trailer.  This technique is still very productive, but trout don't always eat dry flies all day every day as some anglers like to believe.

Poor steelhead returns this year have definitely spurred a few anglers into dusting off their unused trout gear for the first time in a long while.  While steelheading on the Deschutes has been slower than usual, trout fishing has been very good.  Whether you try to catch an elusive steelhead or hit up a trout stream, we hope you find yourself a nice piece of water this week to call your own for a few hours.

Flows:  The USGS sites give us real-time flows, while the NOAA site shows us predictions based on weather patterns.  Both are invaluable tools.  You can also check water temps here too...

Hood River:

Klickitat
USGS
NOAA

Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River
Bonneville Dam Water Temps
Columbia @ Hood River (The mouth of the Hood backs up at 75 feet)

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.  541.386.6977




Andrew Perrault
Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist
541.386.6977


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Aug 30, 2016

RIO Coastal QuickShooter Fly Line - New for 2017

New for 2017
I hit the water the other day with the New RIO Coastal Quickshooter in a 6 weight size. While I wasn't on any coast the line still has a place in my lake streamer angling vice for freshwater bass and pike. Equipped with a White/Chartreuse Clouser minnow I put it to work. I was a bit concerned about summer air and water temps being a problem for this cool saltwater line but soon that concern was put to rest. The line performed excellent in 70 degree Fahrenheit conditions. 





Mr. Pike found the line to perform to his liking!
I found this line to be a great casters line. What does that mean? While it is no doubt bumped up in size/grains, it performs shooting cast effortlessly and way less clunky than many shooting head lines. Also the intermediate line coating feels very slick and shoots without hesitation.

Typically I'm not a fan of intermediate lines but the Coastal Quickshooter is a refreshing change. I have also acquired the Coastal Quickshooter XP version in a WF8I for further testing. The XP (Extra Power) version is even heavier with more weight in the forward end of the line.


BassProGreg




Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist


"Fly Fish the World with Us"






More about RIO Coastal Quickshooter

Coastal anglers face demanding conditions. Whether pursuing Stripers in the East or Salmon and Sea Run Cutts in the west one thing is for sure, it takes real gear and real commitment. Big flies, long cast, cold water and wind are the regular conditions faced with these great fisheries. 

RIO’s new Coastal QuickShooter features a clear intermediate head specifically designed for anglers fishing off the coast in cooler conditions. The short front taper has no problem turning over large baitfish and shrimp patterns in typical coastal winds, and the short, easy-casting head helps load the rod quickly at close range. Available in WF5I-WF8I.

In addition...
A powerful Coastal QuickShooter XP (Extra Powerful) version with a heavily weighted head, and an aggressive front taper is perfect for casting large flies, and ideal for the striped bass angler. This line is available in WF8I-WF10I sizes

All lines are available August 2016 for $79.95.

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