Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oregon Bass


It's September and prime steelhead time, but I can't help but reflect on the Summer and time spent with the family and friends on the water. This year I was able to spend many quality hours on the water chasing other species of fish that everyone can enjoy. Steelhead are a blast, but trying to get kids into fishing is not about chasing that grab, more about constant interaction with nature, and fun activities that will keep their attention. 


Jennifer with her first ever smallmouth bass. 














Though smallmouth bass are not native to the Pacific Northwest, they are a perfect species in areas like the John Day River that kids and newcomers can interact with. At times the numbers alone on the John Day helped to maintain the attention my kids to the point where after enough positive reinforcement, you could see the confidence in the kids building.

First Daddy, daughter double.

Learning how to cast both spinning gear and flies can be hard for the newcomer. Coordination and attention can be difficult, but with patience, both from parent and child, fun and success can be found. As we all know, beginners have difficulty casting fly rods and with kids, its more about encouraging them working on their technique. There are times and places to help, but when frustration is written all over everyone's faces, there is nothing wrong with taking a break or introducing them to a spinning rod. One thing that I have learned over the years is the best anglers are able to adapt and fishing all methods can lead to becoming a better angler. 


A priceless moment finding your child casting on her own. 

When it comes down to it, I want everyone I am fishing with, kids or adults alike to enjoy their time on the water. As much as many of us label ourselves are fly anglers, what we really want it to enjoy that time on the water and make sure everyone around us does the same. Making sure your kids are having fun and bonding with them helps to carry the torch and appreciation for our resources. Though my daughter may not be fish crazy like her old man, I want her to learn how important this resource is and one day help to protect it when I am gone. 

Surafce oriented fish lead to smiles. 















We all hold lasting memories of our childhood fishing with family and that is the most important thing that we want our family to bring home. Spending time together brings us all together and the adventures we share are bonus.
Goose eggs














There are lots of things that both you and the family can learn about nature by just taking a walk along the river.

Kade with a Surprise Catch!














Every know and then you might even be surprised what you catch when bass fishing.

Matt Klara with a Oregon smallmouth. A nice one!

One thing that returned to my memory this year was the love of throwing and stripping streamers. You just do not do that with steelhead fishing, and since we do not have trout like Montana, we have an alternative. Smallmouth are everywhere, in most ponds, lakes and rivers etc and with a little exploring can find them. A lot of the same places you find bass you will find carp and sunfish as well to play with. 















You can find large smallmouth in certain locations at certain times of the year. It's not a mystery, especially in the places where there are a lot of crayfish and anadromous smolts.

For those of you interested in a John Day smallmouth adventure, check out Little Creek Outfitters.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebration of Wild Steelhead, Sept 7th in Portland



Portland, OR: Soul River/New Currents, Outdoors and the US Fish and Wildlife are teaming up with other area vendors to organize a fun-filled, family-friendly outdoor music event, Celebration of Wild Steelhead.
The event promotes ethical and respectful fly fishing and the conservation of Wild North American Steelhead with music, fly fishing workshops, conservation booths, and other exciting activities. This legendary species’ habitat along the western coast of North America is being threatened by outside forces and as a result the steelhead populations are being destroyed. This community outreach event encourages the community to come together to learn more about this iconic species and how we can come together and save them from extinction. Local businesses are reaching out to share the sport of fly fishing with inner city youth, veterans groups, and new generations to share responsible practices to fish respectfully and minimize angler’s footprints. There will be free fly fishing instructional workshops that cover fly casting, fly tying, responsible practices, as well as conservation seminars. By teaching new anglers the values of responsible fly fishing we can ensure the future of wild steelhead and the river ecosystems. Soul River will also be giving out free beginner fly rod kits to youth in attendance (quantities are limited.)
The celebration kicks off Sunday, September 7th at 1pm in Peninsula Park. Live reggae/blues performance is by the local band The Rising Buffalo Tribe. This event will continue until 8pm. The event is free and open to the public. Celebration of Wild Steelhead encourages the participation of youth groups and families to promote safe, responsible, and respectful fly fishing to a new generation of environmentally conscious anglers while teaching the community about their impact on the environment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dam Removal, Trout and Hope For Wild Steelhead

White Salmon River
A few weeks ago I found myself on a unique piece of water that I have not fished in years, the White Salmon. In that time of absence one thing stands out more than anything, there is no longer a dam present. On October 26, 2011 Condit dam was breached opening up thirty plus miles of spawning habitat for steelhead, chinook salmon and lamprey.


For almost one hundred years Condit dam blocked migration of anadromous fish to their spawning tributaries, and now with it gone, I could not help but to think of what’s next in the process of healing. The few native fish that find their way home are fighting the odds of not only nets, fishing, warm water and Bonneville Dam,  but also repopulating a section of river that their lineage have not seen in a century.

Though doubtful of swinging a fish that day, I continued to have hope for a grab. After a few hours of fishing, that hope lead me to a fish, a rainbow trout. Throughout the morning I encountered several more and then something dawned on me. The hope for wild steelhead in this watershed does not only reside in the few returning adult steelhead, but also these resident trout that had been living behind the dam over the last century. Though I do not know if there were plants of hatchery trout above the dam previously, a native population of trout can and will hold the genetic heritage of the fish that returned to the river over a century ago.

Resident White Salmon Rainbow Trout

Studies have shown that adult resident male trout will spawn at times with steelhead. Read more via the Wild Steelhead Coalition. By the end of the afternoon I could not help but smile with the realization that there is indeed hope for these native fish.  A few days later I randomly met a fisheries biologist from the Yakama Nation. With a big smile on his face he informed me about how many spring chinook that he had recently tagged in the upper watershed.

There is indeed hope for the White Salmon River. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Geobass: Botswana



Not the same as the smallmouth in the pond down by the house.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Soul River Shop Opening



Portland-based Soul River Runs Deep is launching a unique, one of a kind lifestyle boutique with intention to transition the passion of an angler on the wild river waters into everyday urban life. In essence, “trails to cocktails”, “riverbanks to boardrooms”, and “aquatic life to street life”. Soul River’s space provides not just a haven for anglers but also acts as an incubator embracing our next generation of diverse outdoors people. 

We sit nestled in the North Portland Kenton neighborhood, intertwined into a tight-knit community brimming full of small businesses and quaint residential streets to stroll. We are strategically planting our roots in Kenton because of the accessibility by bus and MAX lines, bikes and cars (we are less than ½ mile off Interstate 5) targeting all people – from youth to the expert angler to a family of five – we welcome all! 

We desire to engage minds with thoughts of conscious conservation, big fish stories and entertain wild river stories all while sipping on locally-crafted kombucha and offering variety of lifestyle products. Products offered extend beyond the artistically designed Soul River apparel and include artisan organic soaps, custom-tied flies from anglers all over the world, hand-crafted shaving kits made of antler and wood, Loop rods and reels, and registration for guided trips along incredible Pacific Northwest rivers with The Evening Hatch owner Jack Mitchell. 

You can find your own Soul River within the retail space anywhere from a beginners interest (with ongoing offerings of workshops about fly tying, casting, and conservation) to the most advanced angler. Soul River provides an authentic and unique experience of lifestyle and fly fishing!

 Come by and check us out! The Shop Opening is July 31st.  


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Searsville Dam and San Francisquito Creek






































San Francisquito Creek, flowing out of Searsville Dam located on Stanford University has become a recent debate among Environmentalists who support one of San Francisco Bay's last populations of Wild Steelhead. Historically these steelhead spawned in the headwaters above this dam and have been blocked for decades in order to fill the reservoir above for irrigation water for Stanford's gold course and grass on its community.

This remnant steelhead population struggle through drought, depleted flows, degraded habitat and blocked access by Searville Dam. This dam that is currently being assessed for removal and with out help can be removed to help this dwindling population of native fish. With no meaningful benefits, safety concerns and the benefit to our native fish, the removal of this dam need to be taken under consideration.

In the end we are either protecting green lawns or steelhead. Which would you rather see? With Stanford University touting themselves as a leader in global stability, lets hope they make the right decision, removing this dam from campus and leading the way, proving they are leaders providing environmental stability in this community and the San Francisco Bay.

Read move via Ecowatch.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Two Hander Day on the Klick 2014

Jack Mitchell Helping to Create proper Loop Formation. 
Its that time of year again for the second annual Klickitat Two Hander Day. Though last years the river was blown out, this year is looking promising. Regardless this spey gathering was a great success and lots was learned for all. 

Trey Combs













Come join us Saturday August 9th, 2014 for this years event at Leidl Access on the Klickitat. The event starts with a 11:00 am check in and ends with a riverside barbecue. After the afternoon classes you have the option to fish or hang out with the gang at the Steelhead Ranch where Todd Moen from Catch Magazine will be showcasing some film work.


Jeff Cottrell
This years group includes Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch, Jeff Klick Skater Cottrell , Brian "Snake Eyes: Chou, Brian Styskal the Hammer Tosser, Judge Ben Dow,  Eric Easy Neufield and myself.

Brian "Snake Eyes" Chou and Chad Brown from Soul River rolling in Clyde.
This years Itinerary.

This years topics include:

-Demystifying the variety of two hand lines
-Beginner two hand casting
-Intermediate/advanced two hand casting
-Getting More Distance
-Fishing the Fly, hooking and fighting fish
-Single hand spey casting
-Up against the trees
-Combining casts to optimizing efficiency
-Long belly vs underhand casting
-Overhead casting with the two hander

Product Representation Include:

-Airflo
-Echo
-Hardy/Greys
-Vision
-Rio
-Sage
-Redington