Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stay Committed

Sticking too it

Over the last month I have guided a lot of people new to spey casting and spey fishing. Trying to convert yourself to getting a steelhead on the swing when your fishing buddies are fishing with other techniques and catching all the fish is tough. You need to stick with it and commit yourself; it will all come together in time. You can catch 20 steelhead under a float and a bead, every drop of the float is the same, not one really stands out. You get 10 takes on the swing with a tight line to the fly and you remember every awesome grab, granted swinging flies isn’t a numbers thing but you can very successful even in 33 degree water.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's In The Vise??

A new feature on Salmon River Spey is "What's In The Vise."  Want to see what were tying?  The good, The Bad and The Very Ugly, from simple "Guide Flies" to more traditional Spey flies.

Rhea Egg Sucking Leech

             Hook: Alec Jackson 3/0 cut 
    Tail: Purple Marabou   
                Hackle: Purple, Palmered        
           Body: Purple SLF Dubbing
Collar: Purple Rhea  
                Feelers: Purple Lady Amherest
        Head: Pink Laser Dubbing

                  You can tie these in wide range of colors.

Skagit Master Volume 2 Featuring Scott Howell

The long awaited Volume 2 is almost out, checkout the new trailer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Stay shallow, cast further

about as deep as you want to wade

I just want to share an observation regarding line management and wading depth in high water flows. There are a few occasions when wading deep is necessary, like when using long lines. You may have to wade away from the bank unless you want to single spey all day long. I see more and more anglers wading out into the river at least knee to mid thigh immediately upon entering the river! This can not only spook those early fish sitting close to the bank (the easy ones), but also can cause problems with casting. As you wade deeper, you need to adjust some things in the casting stroke because the path of your rod tip is now a little closer to the water. No biggie but needs to be addressed for sure.
With Skagit lines, we obviously have to strip in line and this results in loops of line dangling in the water. Loops of running line in the water mean more resistance on the flight of my skagit head, which in the end equals a sacrifice in distance. So I have discovered that by wading calf deep to just above my knees, far less of my running line sits in the swirly currents below me. I figure this allows me to have an extra loop and a half of running line to shoot. For me this is about 6 strips, or somewhere around 20ft. Yes, I have measure how much line I pull in on each strip! This allows me to judge my casting distance with very good accuracy. SO, I ask you, is wading out an extra 3 feet towards the middle of the river worth 20ft less distance?? Not to me. Now don't get me wrong, there are times when I am belly deep into the river. However this is more for presentation and angles than trying to cast across the river.
So try to stay shallow when you can, I promise you will gain more distance on your cast no matter what type of line system you fish and you may even pick up an extra fish or two.
Better quality video than before:

Untitled from Zack Brooks on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mono Alternative

Product Review: Rio Shooting line

Having used mono shooting line behind my Skagit head for about 6 months now, I can say I love the stuff. I did however run into some coils and twisting recently on a cold morning and it kinda scared me for this winter so I bought some Rio powerflex mono core shooting line. I remember Scott O'Donnell using the stuff back when the Skagiteers were here. I asked him why he doesn't use mono and his reply was: because I want to feel like I'm fly fishing. I got quite a chuckle out of that one. So I figured I'd give it a shot. Well, it's great! It has a 25lb mono core with a thin coating of something that feels like a fly line, with a cold water supple coating to help limit tangles. Overall thickness is that of 40lb mono, REALLY thin-exactly what I want. It is 100 ft long and comes with a nice big loop at the business end.

Having used it on some below freezing mornings I have notices that it does want to coil coming off the spool, but can be fished this way with no issues. However, a quick pull to stretch it out as you pull it off the reel solves this problem pronto. It then becomes a super thin, non tangling shooting line with the advantages of mono but feels like "flyline". I have the thinnest they make in the cold water coating, .024. I will still use my mono shooting line without a doubt, but this stuff gives a nice alternative to those who "want to feel like they're fly fishing".

Sunday, November 14, 2010

First day back...

Here is a short clip of my first venture back into flowing water in over 3 weeks. Been down with a disc issue in my lower back. Casting was a bit rusty, but I did manage to break in my new 2010 Taupo Perfect, which isn't as loud as my originals but she'll work just fine. I just need more time on the water with it so she gets that lovely patina of an old hard used reel overflowing with soul and purpose. I was also late on the hook set but as you can see it didn't matter in the end. Watch as my rod bobs 3 times before I set. Oh well, thankfully the fish hooked himself.

Gear Set-up:
2010 Hardy Taupo Perfect
11'7" 5/6/7 Meiser MKS (custom built) 400-600 grain window
425 Rio Skagit Flight (really weighs 441 grains)
10 ft T-14
10lb Maxima tippet material

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Beloved Taupo

The above photo shows the change in check system. On the left is the modern, convertible LHW to RHW check mechanism. While on the right you will see the original MKII check in the 1958-62 Taupos, which are RHW only. You can also see in this photo the difference in bearings between the two reels as well.

A shot of the exterior changes from the original Taupos to the modern version. The picture above shows a modern Taupo sandwiched between two originals. Note the lineguide version on the right. You can see the leading they now use is also a bit different.

I gotta start by saying I am a gear junkie, specifically Hardy Perfects. They are, well, perfect. Nothing beats the sound of a fish pulling line on a loud Perfect. Click and pawl reels also require more interaction by the angler. Some people will say "Yeah but they have no drag". It's true that click and pawl style reels have just enough resistance to prevent spool overrun. HOWEVER, when an angler knows how to use a palming reel, you can go to full lockdown. Meaning when you palm the back of the spool, you can hold it as tight or loose as you wish. You can actually apply more "drag" than the best disc drag system on the market and this system requires very little attention. A little grease on the pawl, gear, and spring once every 6 months of hard use and you're good to go.

Now onto the Taupo Perfect! The Taupo was originally made by Hardy from 1958-1962 only. They were built for the large rainbows and browns in Lake Taupo New Zealand, which required a larger reel than the standard 3 7/8 trout Perfect. The Taupo is wider than the narrow trout Perfects, yet not as wide as the wide drum Salmon Perfects. The originals had an optional lineguide. The Taupo is sweet on two handers from 11' up to 12'6". They will hold 120 yards of 30lb dacron and a mid belly line, 150 yds of 30 lb plus 125 ft of mono shooting line and the skagit or scandi line of your choice. They are Right Hand Wind only.

Hardy recently released a modern version of the reel. It has the same specs, 3 7/8" diameter with a 1" spool width. They did change some things however. Now they are convertible LHW or RHW, the new Taupos also have a ivorine type handle, smaller bearing race, and a screw on the back of the spool like the old salmon reels. They are also about an ounce lighter than the originals.

Once you fish with a click and pawl reel, I can assure you that you will rapidly ditch the modern disc drag reels that offer barely a whisper of inspiration while hooked into a fresh Steelhead cartwheeling and screaming down stream!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The International Fly Tying Symposium

It's that time of the of the year when the Fly Fishing Show's start, the first one is The International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset NJ. This is the Worlds largest show for fly tying, if you are looking for hard to find feather's, tool's, hook's this is the place to find them.  Plus watch some of the best fly tiers in the world,  take a class & plenty of programs to watch.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Since the Flood last month we have had great flows in the river.  The river has been running at 750cfs with another 200cfs of run-off in the system, this has made for good flows for the wading angler as well as the drift boats.  So lets get out there and chase some Steelhead with two hands before Ole' man Winter really sets in..

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ross Reach Switch Rods for 2011

Ross Reach Spey Rods -

The ReachTM spey rod series was designed with the help of an underground group of soulful spey junkies that eat, sleep and breathe big water, big fish and two-handed rods. Our goal was very simple - produce a series of spey rods that will handle a full range of fly line types and successfully execute all types of spey and Skagit casts. Mission accomplished! This 4-piece, fast action rod series is made from our proprietary R4 graphite design, resulting in a series that is lightweight, powerful and precise. The rods load deep into the core, allowing for a fast action design that still maintains casting sensitivity and tremendous line control. The Reach series easily covers big water, be it with AFS, Skagit style or longer bellied spey lines. This lightweight rod series is easily cast by anglers of all skill levels. Once you have experienced the sensitivity, responsiveness and performance of this series, you will be left wondering why it doesn't cost twice as much. Hey, a spey junky still has to eat, right?

- The ReachTM spey rod series comes with the following standard features:
- Ross proprietary R4 graphite design
- Fast action rod taper, perfect for all types of spey and Skagit casts
- 4-piece design - great for travel
- Smooth casting, powerful and precise
- Titanium oxide, super strong guides
- Rod piece alignment dots
- Anodized aluminum reel seat
- Two-handed spey handle with fighting butt
- Cordura rod case
- Lifetime warranty


5109-4    10'9"    4 Piece       5WT      $359.00.

6113-4    11'3"    4 Piece        6WT      $379.00.

7119-4    11'9"    4 Piece        7WT      $379.00.   

For more Ross Products check out their site.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


RIO Switch line

New for 2011
RIO's Switch line is designed for a multitude of applications for anglers using Switch rods. The long head and thick diameter tip turns over big flies and indicator rigs while allowing anglers to throw mends and control the fly's drift at great distance. The front taper and weight distribution form tight loops with minimum of effort, also enabling anglers to cast streamers and sinking VersiLeaders. The perfect all round line for Switch rods.

Sizes: 4/5, 5/6, 6.7, 7/8 & 8/9
Length: 100 ft (30.5m)

Color:Beige/Pale green.

This should be a very popular line for the Salmon River Switch Rod angler.

Monday, October 25, 2010

River Etiquette

Here’s the Dean River Angler’sCreed, as posted at the airstripnear the mouth of the river. This is a pretty good set of commitments to make on anyriver, wouldn’t you say?

Dean River Anglers’ Creed

I will:
  • respect the river, its fish and fellow anglers.
  • share the water and practice rotation angling.
  • park my vehicle out of sight and sound of other anglers.
  • keep my camp clean and bearproof.
  • leave only my footprints: my garbage goes out with me.
  • be careful with my campfire.
  • maintain a pit toilet and not foul the river.
  • give wading anglers a wide berth with my powerboat.
  • not discharge firearms unnecessarily.
  • respect and not harass wildlife.
I found this on Deneki's blog. Lack of river side etiquette is rampant on all rivers and streams. I think it is just an extension of our current society and I'm more than certain this lack of etiquette carries over into their everyday lives.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Fall Swing: Keep it High and Tight!

As I enjoy a day off the water, I find myself pondering the steelhead swing on our unique, dynamic, shallow river. Two very common mistakes I see anglers make is the depth of their presentation, and lack of tension. I believe these are rooted in the Salmon River tradition of drifting flies.

Steelhead, as all fish, are built to look up an away-using a "cone of vision." This cone grows in radius as the depth increases, so the fish can see farther away the deeper the water is. Logically, the swung fly will draw more fish when the number of fish exposed to the fly is increased. By simply shifting the depth of the swing up in the water column, you will allow more fish to see your creation, and for a longer period of time. A drifted fly should be "with the fish" as the intent is to make it easy for the fish to eat-however we are not trying to make it easy when we swing, that would result in lost tips and boring bites. Who wants that!? I firmly believe the angler will recieve better bites, and more of them, when they lighten the load and swing higher in the column. Temperatures need to be factored, as does depth and speed of the current when selecting tips. However, it is rarely necessary to plummet to the depths, the steelhead we want will come to the fly. I find that a proper swing depth has a certain feel to it-when the hairs on my neck stand erect, then I know I have the right tip. Once I gain that feel I stick with the tip unless the conditions change very drastically. I will make minor adjustments by shifting my cast angle or how I lead or follow the swing with my rod tip. I want my fly as high in the water as the fish will move! It's a game of chess, but for me, the quality of the take is more important than the number of takes. My efforts are directed at finding that area of the column that will be up near the maximum distance the fish will move, but just close enough to them to get consistent results.

Tension on your fly is absolutely required in order for the fly to come to life and attract fish. Tension should be established immediately after the cast, or the pull mend if required, and sustained throughout the entire drift. One of the magical properties of swinging flies is that you can incorporate all of your senses into the experience. By learning to "feel" the water against your fly, you can free your mind to smell, listen, taste, and hear the river environment as your fly does its work. I see too many anglers cast upstream, toss repeated mends, and swing spaghetti with tiny flies. Simply put, that approach is limiting their success; the fly is not alive since it is not under tension, and with all the slack bite detection in minimal at best. Even if you did get, and detect, a bite it would be BORING! You would be better drifting the fly in a straight line path to maximize response time. A swung fly needs to be seen for an extended period of time (read: ABOVE the fish), and it needs to be ALIVE (read: under tension).

So, next time out try swinging high and tight!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When it all comes together

Paul aka "Fish Tech" laying out a nice cast.
 You spend hour upon hour hour practicing the lift, anchor placement, watching the D-loop, the sweep, the foward casting stroke and trying to figure out how to hold all the loops of running line, but when it all comes together its a sexy thing..

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What more could you ask for

We got all the bases covered, two handed spey rod, skagit line, a MOW tip, some Hot ass flies and a pimped out Drift Boat.  Just add some prime water = Fish on!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anchors and fast water.....

Fishing the fast water this time of year is absolutely necessary, and productive. Especially with the Rio MOW tips. I used to pass up this type of water because I wanted to fish the classic runs and pools. But ended up getting crowded out of the "classic" runs in the fall. So I started hitting the pockets and faster areas. Whoa, was I nuts. With water temps around the low 50's, Steelhead can be found in the pockets and faster water. Sometimes in really fast water. But this type of water can create havoc with your anchor placement, whether it's an upstream anchor or downstream anchor.

There are a few things that can help remedy this while providing maximum casting performance out of Sustained Anchor casting (skagit casting). On an upstream anchor you can simply place your anchor a few feet further upstream than normal. This will give you the time to complete the cast into the sweep, 45 thrust, and turnover before your anchor is swept back down to you by the current. This is fine and the only drawback I have found with this is that it requires a fairly significant change in how I lift and drag my line into the set. I like to keep things as consistent as possible. So, on the upstream Perry Poke, after I set the anchor, I don't let my rod tip hit the water like I normally would on that cast during the stop, or "poke" portion of the cast. I find that the faster current not only helps grab the line and create water tension immediately, but it does a good job of keeping it there as well. This will aid in "blown anchors". Same with a down stream Poke. I like to drop the rod tip down within 3' or so of the water instead of INTO the water as you would in a normal Poke.

Don't overlook the faster water, heavy chops or pocket white water. With the proper presentation and frisky Steelhead, you'll be surprised at the results. Plus it's a fun challenge managing line, anchors, and getting a good presentation in fast water.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Salmon River Sport Shop

The Salmon River Sport Shop located at the Short Bridge in the center of Pulaski is now carrying RIO Spey products. They also have a good selection of spey flies that have arrived and just need to be put in stock.  So if your if your fishing the lower end of the river and are in need of spey gear, check them out.

Monday, October 4, 2010

After the Flood -

Looks we'll be fishing a whole new river, learning it all over.  At the present time the river is very muddy still, be safe.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Swinging for Kings

Swinging for Kings:

Cast across and slightly downstream - This will give plenty of time to mend and get the fly down for that long, slow swing. I like to cast right across, throw a upstream mend and with the rod tip raised up, slowly back the fly down til it starts to swing (gives the fly that plugging appearance, backing down in front of them).

Throw a big mend upstream - Kings like the fly slow, a big upstream mend will slow the fly down and help get the fly in their face.

Don't set to early - The classic King take feels like, Headshake....Headshake..............Pull... Wait for the pull before you set the hook. If the King immediately starts screaming line off your reel, you don't need to wait, it's game on.....

Put the Boots to 'em - Once you set the hook and the game has begun, after that first run, fight them hard. If your not working, they are resting. The longer the fight, the more chance they will get off.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Managing line

Just a little tip when using mono shooting lines. As Paul added before, using Skagit heads requires stripping and handling some sort of shooting line. I was introduced to mono shooting line this past spring while the Skagiteers were in town. Shoots like crazy, and I am hoping it helps with icing this winter. I have high hopes. Love it.

One tricky thing with mono shooting line is that sometimes it can slip while casting. This can and will happen when you apply too much power on the casting stroke, that's for sure. But it also just happens sometimes. One thing I do to limit this annoyance is to pinch it against a rubber band placed on the cork. I just wrap the rubber band on and slide it to where I hold the rod while casting with my upper hand. Whether you hold your loops of the line with your thumb(preferred) or trigger finger, pushing against a rubber band helps with mono shooting lines. I am still in the experimental phase but so far so good! Used it in the rain yesterday and it worked well when wet. We'll see come winter and freezing temps!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gettin' Ready

Get your flies ready to swim! Now that the nights are getting cooler, days shorter and the rain is coming down, better have your gear prepped. This means FLIES FLIES FLIES. I have a good start as you can see. Still playing with some new combos to find that magic fly, even though the purple and blue leech is stellar on any trib all year long....

I am a big fan of rabbit, marabou, slim hackles and Rhea in my flies. In fact, one of those materials is always attached to the end of my line. They move so sweetly in the water-on their own or in combination with each other. Plus they have great movement in various water types. Fast, froggy, doesn't matter these materials move. Add some lead eyes and you have a wiggly, diving, jigging streamer that fishes deep and slow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cut Shank Flies

Begin by cutting a hook to the length you want the BODY of your fly to be. On longer patterns, I will bend the hook out straight and cut to length. I use Partridge salmon hooks in 3/0 as they are heavy irons and are over 2" when bent all the way out. This gives me a good variety of length choices.

Next cut a short section of maxima, I like the 20lb brown for my loops.

Now tie a small loop with that short piece of mono, leaving enough room on the shank for the junction tubing. I like to prop it up with the thread or even a wire tag. This helps me find it when rigging the fly.

Then tie your fly, whatever pattern you wish. Now it's time to rig the fly! For the junction tubing, I use 14 or 16 gauge copper wire coating. This can be bought at most any hardware store. Comes in black and red. Cut the wire at about 6". Then with pliers strip out the copper wire inside, and viola! You have junction tubing and more copper wire for ribbing than you will ever use. Any junction tubing matched to the hook shank diameter will work though. Just make sure it's nice and snug so it doesn't come undone while casting. In colder months, the tubing will shrink a bit so beware come November, December and on!

To rig the fly. Thread your tippet thru the hook eye, along the top of the fly, thru the mono loop and then thru the junction tubing. Next tie on the hook to the tippet. I use a simple improved cinch knot or non slip mono loop. Pull the hook tight into the tubing.

Next just snug up the tubing onto the shank and you are ready to fish! This positions the hook in the back 1/3 of the fly-just where I want it for those short nippers. Most of the time when a fish is hooked the fly will slide up the leader and away from teeth. I have been fishing some flies for 2 seasons because they take less abuse this way.

Finished fly rigged and ready to fish. I do my rigging stream side as it gives me time to sit and take everything in before I start the hunt.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August=Carp time...


August is a good time to prep for the beginning of Salmon/Steelhead season. Check and double check all gear, backing, lines. Maybe tie some flies. They will be here soon, probably the first scouts will show up in the DSR sometime during the last 2 weeks of August. I always see a few small pods early every morning beginning the 3rd week. Get ready for the clownfest, neoprene's, 50lb test line, shark rods that serve double duty for Salmon, and as always-members of the deep wading association!

Now a quick note about something that is as big as a Salmon, pulls just as hard-possibly harder, and is tough to take on a fly-CARP! Yeah, I know what your thinking. What? Carp? No way. WAY. Using two hand overhead casting techniques sight fishing to actively feeding moster carp in the Finger Lakes is way too much fun. They are big (ranging from 15-40+lbs on average), super spooky and plentiful. Carp will actually flip over rocks with their noses and suck in the nymphs or crayfish as they scurry away. This is why when a carp is feeding there is a prominent "mud line" around or behind them. Something I love to see in otherwise crystal clear water (thanks to the zebra mussels). Landed my first 2 of the summer this past weekend. I use a 10' 7/8 wt Diamondback single hander that I converted to a double hander by adding a few inches of cork to the top grip and milling a 3.5" piece of black walnut as a bottom handle. Works great and also will be my small stream double hander (custom chopped a 15' 340 grain skagit head for it). For two hand overhead casting I really like the Rio Outbound lines. I've gone to the Outbound Short (30ft) in a 10wt-435 grains for carp. Add 12' of straight 10 lb Maxima Ultragreen, a small lead eyed bugger or crayfish imitation, and off you go. ALWAYS tie carp flies so they ride hook point up. This allows me to drag that fly literally along the bottom, like a crayfish.
So....if you ever have the chance, give carp a try sometime. Preferably in a lake setting, shallow water, to actively feeding fish. Just make sure not to land your fly within 3' or so of the fish since this will guarantee a spooked carp as your fly hits the water. Take one look at the colors of this carp and you will see why they are also referred to as Golden Bones.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rod Review - TFO Deer Creek Switch 8110-4

First off I will answer the question, What is a switch rod? "Switch Rods" are multi-task fly rods designed to allow a variety of both one handed and two handed casting options.

Temple Fork Outfitters - Deer Creek Series Switch Rod. This switch rod has a simple design by Bob Meiser and Mike Kinney. The rod is rated as an 8wt and for 400-600 grains and is 11 feet in length.  It's a deep cobalt blue blank with blue & copper wraps.  The handle is spot on in length for the 11' rod and looks great too.  The rod is light and a pleasure to cast all day long.

I have mine loaded with a 600 Rio Skagit cut back to 24' (brings down to about 535 grains).  Using 10' tips of T-8 up to T-14.  If you keep your stroke really tight, this setup will sing.  For Dryline swinging, I use a Delta Spey 7/8 which casts really nice, you just need to find the right loading point for your casting stroke on the head, for me a few into the head is perfect.

The price point of this rod is $349.95 and accompanied by the "No Fault" warranty, in my book it’s as good as gold, trust me I know.  I broke the tip off in the truck door, sent the rod back with $25 on a Thursday and had it back in 5 working days.
TFO Line Recommendations:

Scandi: Rio AFS 7/8
Skagit: Airflo Skagit Compact 450/480 & Tips to +-130 grains
Short belly Spey: Delta 6/7

This is a great rod for the Salmon River, it's short enough to sneak into small spots when the river is crowded and swing thru pockets, yet powerfull enough to make a 80' cast if needed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Skagit Master Forum

Ed, Scott, Mike and crew from the Skagit Master have added a forum along with a blog to the Skagit Master site, Check it out and get your Skagit fix.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Managing Running Line - Simple Tips

When using Skagit spey lines – short, heavy heads connected to a running line of one type or another – casting far means stripping off and managing 40' - 70' of running line.

Managing your running line well helps prevent tangles and allows for easier long casts. Here are a few tips to help with tangle-free and long casts. 

Make Loops in Descending Size - When making long casts you need to be able to hold multiple loops on line - you wont be able to cast far with 45' of line in a downstream loop in the current. On a cast that shoots 7 strips of line, count 4 strips, hold a loop, count 3 strips, hold a loop, and then make a cast. Holding a couple of the same length is OK, but for some reason that our brains are too small to figure out, loops of the same size tend to tangle.

Mono Running lines - Berkley 25lb - 40lb mono works very well, but the downside it is very slippery when wet. Try pinching the mono running line under your thumb on the top of the cork instead of under with your fingers, I found this works great (thanks Ed).  On the Salmon River during those guide freezing days mono running line saves the day when stripping in line all day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Well, we've been blessed with water....LOTS of it. Here's a shot of the Altmar bridge. Discharge hit 4500cfs, enough water to cause change throughout the river. Especially in gravel areas. Hopefully we see some monster log jams this fall because of it! The Salmon doesn't have enough fishy log jams anyways!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unicorns and Spey Nation III

What a great turn out for Spey Nation III this past Saturday.  The Raffle raised a ton of money for the Fish  Creek Atlantic Salmon Club.  Along with the Spey Nation event a few Unicorns were caught on the Salmon River, what more could you ask for....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Skagit Master Volume 2 Featuring Scott Howell

Rio has Skagit Master Volume II coming out Sept 2010. Looks like Volume II has more "Fishing" in it. But Where's ED???

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Historic Site

The Salmon River Falls was the highest point on the main stem of the river (before the lower reservoir and dam) that native, wild Atlantic Salmon could migrate. Pretty cool to stand and think about what that scene must have looked like 125 years ago!
So I had a few minutes and needed some new photos of the Falls, and since there is a huge deep isolated pool below I of course brought along the trout switch rod. Glad I did. Caught a few smallies and a nice sucker stripping streamers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Spey Nation

Less then two weeks away from the Third Annual Spey Nation.

Come celebrate the emerging 2-handed rod culture in the Great Lakes Fishery on Saturday June 19, 2010. Spey Nation offers the unique opportunity for enthusiasts and manufacturers to gather in a stream side setting. The Location is still the Pineville Boat Launch on the Salmon River in Pineville, NY.

Spey Nation features a full BBQ, raffles, “On the water” demonstrations, and interaction with some of the biggest names in 2 handed casting from the East and West Coasts. Mixing styles, knowledge, and backgrounds, Great Lakes anglers finally have the opportunity to learn Traditional Spey, Scandinavian, and Skagit techniques from the experts, try specialized equipment on the water and talk with other fishermen in an atmosphere dedicated exclusively to 2-handed casting while enjoying a burger and a brew.
Confirmed companies include Scott, Echo, Airflo, Wild Water Fly Rods, Hardy/Greys, CND, CF Burkheimer, Guideline, Buelah, The Spey Company, Temple Forks Outfitters, JP Ross, and Orvis. Representatives from each of these companies will be on hand let you know the latest and greatest from the 2 handed world.

There will be opportunities to take formal lessons on the Sunday after Spey Nation. Please visit our website for the announcement on those and who will be appearing during the event giving demonstrations.

Admission is free. The BBQ is free; Spey Nation is funded completely by generous donations to our raffles. All “Profit” is donated to grass routes Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead conservation projects in our watershed.

To learn more about Spey Nation, visit or to join our emailing list, send an email to

See ya there.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dog Days Of Summer - Well Almost

On these Hot and Humid days of Summer (It is June, so close enough) sure makes you miss the cold mornings on the water.  Followed by a nice bright Chrome Steelhead! 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review - Ross CLA Fly Reel

If you’re looking for a tough dependable reel that won’t break the bank, the Ross CLA is a great choice. Guiding for steelhead is without a doubt one of the best tests for a reel’s longevity. They’re constantly being thrown around, fallen on, set in the dirt, and most of all, given a good work out by pissed-off steelhead.  While they lack some of the aesthetics of higher priced reels, they make up for it in price and over-all dependability.

The #6 Reel Specs:
  • Frame / Spool Material - 6061 TT6 proprietary aluminum alloy.
  • Drag - Delrin 500AF with impregnated Teflon and maintenance free.
  • Width: 1.20"
  • Diameter: 4.25". 
  • Weight: 9.1 oz.
  • Line weight: 10-12wt, WF11 + 275yds Spey lines 9/10/11 +200yds.
  • Retail Price: $270

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Switch Rods, they’re not just for Steelhead and Salmon!
So now that the typical Steelhead season has come to an end, I just have to swing flies and practice my Skagit casting somehow. Stream trout, that’s just the ticket. Most people probably think of hatches and dry flies when talking stream trout fishing. Not me. Time for the streamers and crayfish patterns. In the past, I have been spey casting with my little 8’ 3wt single hander, it gets the job done but with way too much effort! This year I am armed with a custom 8’9” 4/5wt that I built with a bottom grip of 3”. Chopped up a 6/7 Delta Long to make a custom Skagit head for the rod. After multiple trips to a local trout stream during higher water periods, I can officially claim success! What a great way to spend the day trout fishing, as a good buddy claimed after multiple aggressive takes-”this is like mini Steelhead fishing”. Yup, exactly.
Using a small double hander has many advantages. The first being that it allows me to throw 3” string leeches and a short sinktip for those chunky browns. I can very easily cast it with one hand when the need arises, which isn’t very often. It keeps me in tune with my casting while covering bank to bank effectively. I can also fish spots that other fisherman pass by because of back casting room. Boy do I love those spots, not only for the challenge of casting in tight quarters but for the simple fact that they are not fished as heavily compared to other locations on the stream. Swinging streamers for resident trout also immediately vaults you into the top 10% of the trout population. Now a 13” trout sounds dull, but when that 13” trout is 6” around-that’s a whole new fish!
Follow the same principles as you would while casting a true double handed rod and it will transform your summer trout fishing. All while practicing your casting for the big show come September.
One disclaimer though. Be prepared for conversation and strange looks on a trout stream with a double handed rod. Seems as though the hard core trout guys are feeling a bit invaded by my antics with this strange casting style. Now I just need to pick up a 3.5/8” Perfect for my smaller rods.
Here’s the fruit of my labor while banging log jams and over hanging brush with a double hander, custom line, and some creative thinking....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Skagit Masters invade the Salmon River

Well Ed Ward, Scott O'Donnell and Mike McCune made the trip east to the Salmon River, to show us first hand their style of Skagit casting. 

Friday we met up with them to float the river, What a great time.  These guys opened all sorts of windows for the upcoming fall season. 

                                  Scott O' Donnell demonstrating a cast.

Ed Ward giving Loren William's a casting stroke tip.

Mike McCune and Drew watch Scott fish thru a run.

Part of Sunday's Beginner class

Mike McCune Fishing the tail out

These guys are die hard steelhead bums, we had to almost force them off the river to be at a gathering at the DSR on time. 

Saturday's event at the Douglaston Salmon had a good turnout. In the morning session Ed, Mike and Scott did casting demo's and a Cast Crasher's demo, to show common things people do wrong. Hardy, Loop, TFO were a few of the rod companies on hand and all had plenty of rods to try out. After lunch we moved up river to Pineville, here they did more casting demo's and answered questions til 5:30. They also helped a lot of people with their casting if they were up talking.

Sunday Skagit classes were held at Pineville, the morning class had a lot of people attending it. They afternoon class had about 15 people, a good number of women were in attendance for both classes.

I asked Ed, Mike and Scott if they planned on coming back next year and the were excited too, they couldn't wait to.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fishing Your Fly

Most Spey fisherman get stuck in their ways fishing, they think that if they make a cast and the fly is swinging it will do the rest all by itself.  What you need to do is make your fly swim properly, How??  Steer the line with the rod tip is key.  If your line isn't doing the right thing, you fly isn't doing the right thing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Time High Water -

We are at that time of the year where we have prespawn, spawning and post spawn fish, combined with ice cold run-off from the snow melt makes it a tough time for the angler.  Where do you fish, up high in the river, Mid river or the lower river?  Well that depends on how much run off is coming in from the tribs. If they are blown out you need to be above them. 
  • Choose a couple of proven patterns that you have confidence in.
  • Don't fish one area to long, anchor your line, not your feet.
  • Look for runs that have soft seams, inside of corners or gravel flats (which in low water would be bare ground).
  • Lighten up on your sink tips, you don't need to be dredging the bottom, in high flows the fish feel more secure and will move to well swung fly. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Think Spring

Well Spring is in the air, Last week we had temperatures in the 60's near 70 a couple of day's. Steelhead and Rainbow's have started to spawn in the rivers and creeks and just around the corner we'll be packing away those sink tips we have been throwing all Winter and swinging a dry line.  Some of the best swinging is on the way, who will be the first one to get one on a skated fly??

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RIO Announces the new M.O.W. Sink Tip System

It has finally happened! With the help of Mike McCune, Scott O'Donnell, and Ed Ward, Rio is introducing unique sink tip system called the M.O.W. (McCune, O'Donnell, Ward). This is a tip system these guys developed over the years and guiding and fishing skagit lines and having to alter tips to meet their demands. I was fortunate enough to learn this tip system a number of years ago from Mike and have been fishing them for a couple of years now. The M.O.W systems consist of 2.5', 5', 7.5', 10', 12' sink tips and a 10' floating tip. For example, the 2.5' tip has 2.5' of T-11/14 integrated to a 7.5' section of floating line. 5' tip is equals lengths of T-11/14 and floating line. This was the 2.5', 5', 7.5', and 10' sink tips are all 10' in length helping to keep a more consistent anchor. This tip system is ideal for switch and spey rods in the 11'-13'9" range and will come in T-8, T-11, and T-14 varieties. Look for the T-11/14 systems to be available by early May and the T-8 by fall. All kits will retail for $149.95 with a leader wallet. These are a must for any two-hand angler.

For more info check out the Spey Pages thread

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sink Tip Rates

This a basic rule of thumb to go by, there are a lot of variables that will change the approximate rates posted below.

Poly Leader Sink Rates -

Floating = 0" ips

Clear Hover = .5" ips

Clear Intermediate = 1.5" ips

Slow Sinking = 2.6" ips

Fast Sinking = 3.9" ips

Extra Fast Sinking = 4.9" ips

Super Extra Fast Sinking = 6.1" ips

"T" Sink Tip Material Sink Rates

T-8 = 7" ips 8 grains per foot

T-11 = 8" ips 11 grains per foot

T-14 = 9" ips, 14 grains per foot

High Water Tips -

So the water on your favorite Steelhead river is high, Here are so tips on how to make a high water event more successful.

Go Fishing - Nobody ever caught a steelhead sitting at home on their couch. Don't give up just because you don't have 3 feet of viability. The fish are still there, just in different places.

Fish At Your Feet - When the river’s low, the best holding water for steelhead is often out in the middle of the river in the main current. When the river is high, they still prefer the same kind of water – only now, that water is often right up against the bank. Fish won't going to fight heavy flows in the middle of the runs when the water is up, so keep your line short and cover the holding water that’s now often 2 to 30 feet in front of you.

Fish Lighter Tips - Contrary to what you may think, you, you generally don't need to be too deep when the water is up. With less clarity and higher flows, steelhead feel safer in shallower, softer water. That means that dredging may put your fly beneath the fish. On the end of that short line that you're casting, fish a lighter sinktip. You may be surprised at what you find in not very much water.

Fish Big Flies - Here’s your chance to break out the Big Intruders you have been tying. Those big profile flies were designed for conditions in which it takes a big fly to get the attention of the fish. Remember darker colors tend to be more visible in dirty water.

Look For Soft Water - You already know that you should mostly be fishing a in close to stay out of the really heavy current. Steelhead like softer water when the level is up, so you should be on the lookout for it at all times. Maybe it’s right up against the bank.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Skagit Expo

Hey All, I wanted to make an official announcement that May 1 and 2, 2010 Spey nation will be hosting the Skagiteers on the Salmon River in NY. Pineville parking lot, same as our June clave. Kind of a mini Skagit Clave if you will. Saturday will be demos, hanging out talking rods, lines, flies with Ed Ward, Scott O'Donnell, and Mike McCune. We are also trying to line up a few more demonstrators for Saturday.

Classes will be held on Sunday. There will be a Beginner Skagit class, and an intermediate/advanced class as well. Max 5 people per instructor and at $165 per person, a fantastic deal. Please pm me or email me at to sign up for the class. I already have 3 spots spoken for.

We are still working on rods, lines to play with on Saturday. I will update this post as things progress. Thank and hope to see you there for this rare opportunity!

- Zach

I hate these type of days

As I sit here at my desk at 8:15 am doing paperwork on a Sunny Friday morning, Four of my friends are all out swinging flies searching for that explosive take. I'm sure it won't be long before the first text message of a take or that phone call you answer and all you hear is someones drag screaming with grown men giggling in the background, then they hangup.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why Spey Cast

Why Spey Cast -

It’s easier to cover the water with a spey rod.
If you need to cast more than 20 feet to get your fly to the fish, you can do it with a spey rod, with less effort than with a single-handed rod.

Spey rods give better line control.
Mending with a 13′ rod allows you to move more line than mending with a 9′ rod.

Spey casting is easier on your body – especially your shoulders.
You can keep your arms close to your body and still get the line out with a spey rod.

During those occasional stretches where you’re not catching fish, the casting itself is fun.
Practicing some new cast's, cheer yourself on when you really bang one out there.

All the gear.
Guilty as charged most steelhead fisherman I know are gear whores. Spey fishing tackle and techniques are changing constantly, and it’s interesting to keep up with the cutting edge.

Welcome to Salmon River Spey -

A online resource for the Lake Ontario tributary Spey fisherman.