Yesterday, on a bright sunny day, I took off work a little early to try some late afternoon smallmouth fly fishing in Stevenson, WA, next to the Columbia River. The main stem is pretty murky and cold but feeder backwater and sloughs are better in clarity and slightly warmer temperature. I fly fished out of my 13' Smokercraft boat. A westerly wind was throwing a good breeze forcing me to use my anchor to spot fish on target spots, though the lee side of of points and islands allowed me to use the bow mount trolling motor. I used an Airflo type III integrated sinking shooting head with intermediate sinking running line and a black glass beaded bugger on the tippet. After the first two hours it seemed pretty hopeless and I switch to one of my white and silver glass beaded buggers. First cast to a flowing storm drain into the cove, my line stopped hard and I thought it was hung up on the bottom until the rod tip came alive! Surprised by the take, I finally cracked a grin and enjoyed the bull dog pull of my first smallmouth of this year! I was using my favorite 8' 3", 4 pc, 6 wt NIRVANA Super glass fly rod from Moonlit Fly Fishing. I suspect the water temperature was in the low 50's, but not by much. A long time local bass angler fishing out of a float tube and casting plastics, managed two nice bass; one more than 3 lbs and the other over 4 lbs. At least there are quality bass showing and the numbers should pick up as the conditions warm up!
If you fish before the water clears up, I highly suggest a white or chartreuse fly, weighted, and fished from a type II sink line or less. A floating line will probably work too using a 10-12 ft leader with 10-12 lb tippet. As the water clears up, you can switch to other colors such as olive, black or red. Suggestive crayfish patterns should work very well as in a simple weighted bugger in olive or red.
Feel free to drop a comment on the blog to share your Columbia River smallmouth fly fishing!
Took the annual fly fishing trip to Pyramid Lake, NV, during the middle of March in search of the +20 pounda! Didn't happen this year but some nice cutthroats were landed. The weather was pretty nice and so was the fishing but unfortunately the catching was slow as in 3-4 fish per day slow. Me and a buddy gave an honest 4 1/2 days of effort. As usual, I should been there a month earlier. Water temps were in mid to low 40's.
The first evening was productive for me, big fish moved in after the sun dropped behind the ridge. I went to a streamer and hooked up with a 28 1/2, 25 1/2 and a 24 incher. A few days in the about the same time of day, my buddy Erik Hallen, a first timer to Pyramid, caught his trout of a life time, a 31 1/4 incher followed by a 26 incher! Both were on stripping a black bugger. He made many casts as we all do, but for coming out on a first time trip, he nailed it!
Both fish were released unharmed to hopefully continue their growth to "jumbo" 20 pounda's! Next year will be another adventure and I can hardly wait.
Ever since I read Trey Combs' book, Bluewater Fly Fishing and heard the incredible stories from Ed Rice on fly fishing on a long range boat out of San Diego down the Baja Coast, I could only dream about it. Finally the chance arrived at the end of November last year. I embarked with 15 other anglers from CA, OR, ID, WA and BC, to join in on a trip of a lifetime for some 550 miles down the Baja coast to seek the fastest pelagic fish in the sea. We were aboard the 92' Shogun from Fisherman's Landing, San Diego, and hoping for shots on various species of tuna, striped marlin, dorado, yellowtail or whatever predator was available to eat our fly! This was a 10-day trip as we fished our way to Thetis Banks for the renowned striped marlin and wahoo. Most of us were first timers to this game and believe me, this is completely different than fly fishing in a panga. The captain and boat crew were highly experienced in bluewater fishing and the boat had thousands of live sardines along with extra mackeral caught by the crew. Live chum is key and I can't imagine being on the open ocean without it!
It had been over 20+ years since the last bluewater fly fishing trip and thanks to Rustry Travis and his uncle, Ray Beadle, it became reality. Ray is a long time saltwater fly fisherman and overall salty dog his whole life. He has landed many pelagic species on the fly per IGFA regulations and especially billfish. We were also fortunate to have Steve Abel and Marty and Janet Downey (Janet was the only female angler and even managed a nice marlin all on her own!). Steve and Ray were very generous in helping out the "newbies" to make sure their gear was in order and were also fantastic coaches! Steve Abel has many experiences on the ocean and he was very helpful to explain how everything goes down (literally) when the wide open bite comes on! He also added a great sense of humor in his story telling!
I've caught a few tuna on the fly rod as in small skip jacks and bonito, but never in a Chinese fire drill with a big school around the boat going crazy on live chum! A short roll coast, a quick strip or two and WHAM! No need to set the hook. Its been said that if a skipjack could grow over 20 lbs, you'd never land one. In fact one guy on the trip broke his 12 wt SAGE trying to horse one in! They are powerful!
My first goal was to hook up with a yellowfin tuna and this happened right out of the gate on the first stop at a place called, The Ridge. I never could begin to imagine even after being told, how powerful the yellowfin really is. My first one was about 17 lbs and at first, I thought for sure it was going to empty my reel! After about 20-30 min, when it hit the deck, I was entranced with buck fever like non other! I was really hoping for an all out tug of war, ass whupin with a yellowfin over 50 lbs, but we did not encounter fish of that size. Definitely another bar set for a future trip!
Last but not least was the action from striped marlin. We had 8 fly hook ups and 4 landed and I was fortunate to be one of them. At incredible speeds and a matter of seconds, a striped marlin is well past 200 yards on its initial run and flying out of the ocean as if it had attached rocket boosters. Very impressive to say the least. It is glorious agony and pain never felt so good! If you've never had bruises on or around your navel, this how you do it, lol. I was also the only angler who was able to jump off the mother ship and onto a inflatable to chase down my marlin. We were given two bottles of water and a handheld radio! I always made sure the big boat was in site! After I landed my marlin, the deck hand says, "Quick! Get ready to cast there's another marlin up ahead!". I'm completely worn out and I told him, " I don't think I have enough in me to fight another one"! But he just smiled and said, "no worries, I'll fight it for ya".
There were also dorado, black skipjack and bonito caught to add to the list. The fishing as great, but we had ocean temperature conditions that were changing and unfortunately cooling off and that made things a little more challenging. In all, I had a great time and I hope to do it again. The comradery was great, met some super nice and experienced fly fishers, and the boat crew was awsome. They worked very hard to insure us the best trip we could have! If you think you might be interested in a trip like this, please contact me and I'd be happy to give the details. Or , if you would like to pick my brains on preparing for a trip like this, fire away!
By Joe | February 27, 2019 at 12:24 AM EST | No Comments
NIRVANA SuperGLASS Rod By MoonLit Fly Fishing
During the 2018 NW Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo in Albany, OR, I met a two fly enthusiasts from a small fly fishing company in Chubbuck, ID, called MoonLit Fly Fishing (cool name). A relatively new business with innovative fly fishing and tying products. One of which is the NIRVANA Super GLASS fly rod in a gorgeous seafoam green color, the first thing that caught my eye. Made of the new S-glass material, for a lighter touch and slightly faster action. Currently they have two models, the 7-ft, 3wt. (2.8 oz), 4 pc. and the 8-ft 3-in, 6 wt. (3.9 oz), 4pc. On the pond they were so sweet and easy to cast and I was sold! But which one? The 6wt won out because I'm a streamer fanatic and this rod has the backbone for it. Needless to say when I had my first outing with it catching ice-out, feisty rainbows, it was a blast. I let a friend try it out and after he caught a trout with it, I thought I would never get the rod back! Needless to say, this one will stay in my collection for ever.
These rods are made of quality components in a beautiful design and include rod bag and fiberglass case at $349.99. Check out the details on their website and contact Brandon Moon at MoonLit Fly Fishing, www.moonlitflyfishing.com
The smallmouth bite is on! Finally had a brief moment to fish local water with two friends, Bill and John Thayer this last Saturday. At first, it was a slow start in the late afternoon but I finally manage to remove the skunk from the boat with a nice 16-incher to start the season off. As the day wore on, the fishing only got better. Quite a bit of flooding going on right now but the water color is good. Didn't really need a fast sinking line either as we caught bass with either floating or short, 6' sinktip fly lines. They certainly were not picky or selective on fly color either, but we stuck with black and did well (chartreuse also fished well). For now, I'd say stick to the inside water if you can and wait for the main stem to slow down a bit. Temps are well into the upper 50's, so fishing conditions will only improve from here to end of June. We saw plenty of nice bass from 15 to 19 inches and a few dinks too but overall good fishing!
Hope you make it out for some excellent smallie fly fishing and don't forget your poppers!
Hip-Hip Hooray!!! Tim Rajeff from Echo brought back the big sticks in fiberglass, 9-footers in 8,9,10 and 12 weights. Beautiful construction in 4pc with all the right stuff in an elegant sea blue color made in fast S glass material. One special feature I really noticed and appreciated was the special markings on the reel seat to quickly place the reel where it goes! So, last year I added the 10 wt to my arsenal and put to the test for tarpon in Puerto Rico. My biggest poon was 75 lbs and I had no problems to put the big fish down in good time. Most of all, it was a sensational feel to have that rod bent the way glass is meant to bend! When I first showed the guide this rod, he asked, "Glass?" After I nodded my head he said, "Fiberglass is old school, man!" Well, it wasn't old school after I demonstrated my casting and landed a nice tarpon on it. BAZINGA!
I've also used this rod for tiger muskies in Western WA throwing flies up to 10" long and also loved the pull on some nice muskies up to 36" long. Can't wait to battle the monsta one of these days.
If you want to go big with a modern glass fly rod like the BAGs you won't be disappointed. If you need help with sizing up the right fly line just ask the folks at Rajeff Sports and they'll set you up! Tite lines, Joe
Jackson Leong warms up with a nice Lahontan. (joe warren photo)
My first opportunity to wet a fly line for the year! I was able to fish 4 days last week with some friends that are hard core big trout hunters! First off, the lake has gained +10 feet, so that changed the presentation quite a bit at the North and South nets. You can pretty much have the South nets all to yourself. North nets was crowded and fishers are wading out to their armpits to position their platforms! Didn't even bother to fish there as we found plenty of space either further south towards Indian Head Beach and beyond or going to north towards Spider Pt. Basically the fishing was very tough and after 4 days I managed to pull out 8 fish (5 of which came on the last eve). There was virtually no morning bite and most fish came at late afternoon till dark. Our group stripped streamers and the hot fly was the white Popcorn Beetle. I did manage a few cutts on chub looking streamers 3-4" long. Unfortunately, our group did not hook up to any monsters, but the range was 20-26 inchers. I did see a pic on a guys phone from someone else of a 26 pounda caught that week, beauty!
My buddies hooked up with local guide, Doug Oulette, from Pyramid Lake Guide Service and a personal friend of mine. O'l Doug put us on the fish and we had our best day of the week with his best instincts. Well, the big cutthroat hawg eluded this year, but we'll be back again soon to prowl the beaches.