The Measure of a Deschutes Steelhead Season

Nothing like your Deschutes Steelhead

Nothing like your Deschutes Steelhead

As I sit on one of my few days off and see the end of the busy season for the Deschutes approaching, I think about the over all Summer Steelhead season as a whole and the victories and defeats. I think about all the great people I had the chance to spend time with. I think about the good laughs and jokes. I think about good meals on camp trips. I think about days I did not want to get out of bed… but did and it was always worth it. My first season guiding on my own under the blanket of All Waters Angling.

Always great to have familiar faces in the boat!

Always great to have familiar faces in the boat!

My mind is a wonder of the future and the past. As I focus on all my season as a guide I ask myself what is the measure of a season. That is the question. In my line of work that may be the ultimate question. Helps to validate the reasons I do what I do. I can with out looking to far into the depths of the heart tell you that the fish have very little to do with the  end judgement of a season…especially that dealing with Steelhead. I seem to have a much clearer focus on the reasons I chase these wonderful fish and why I have made my life a perpetual pursuit of fishing and saving these wonderful creatures we call Steelhead on days went I don t catch anything.

My Good friend Patrick Ross and I putting the final touches on the beautiful early winter Steelhead.

My Good friend Patrick Ross and I putting the final touches on the beautiful early winter Steelhead.

I measured my season by how many old faces I saw in my boat. By how many new connections I helped make weather it be a new client or just helping a person connect with their first chromer. By knowing I did my best everyday to help my sports enjoy my home waters. that is my measure of a season. So as this season come winding down, I am preparing for the next one…. Winter Steelhead on the West side of the Cascades. I hope you are ready too, as my calender is open and dates are filling up. let me know when your ready to get out on the water!!!!

The first winter Steelhead of last year... who is going to be first this season?

The first winter Steelhead of last year… who is going to be first this season?

Aero Head Spey Lines

Aero Heads loads like a Skagit and is easy like a Scandi

Aero Heads loads like a Skagit and is easy like a Scandi

I have recently had a lot of questions as to what, when, and why about the Aero Head.  I was also told there was a huge post on spey pages about it… I wish I had time to read the theories of other on a line I created, now open criticism that’s fine. People will always do things different then the originator intended. I don’t mind the application of alternate ideals, but I am now going to tell everyone what they are for.

A long cast found this chromer!!

A long cast found this chromer!!

I designed the Areo heads for the propose of line control and distance. I wanted a longer modern Spey line that was as easy to cast as a Scandi line but had the potential for more… much more. The taper is a line speed generating machine in itself. With the ability to generate more line speed and now coupled with a longer singular head (as opposed to the Scandi line poly leader combo) one would have at their finger tips the option for greater distance. For summer Steelhead fishing I have not yet found a smoother line…. I am bias maybe but I buy and cast every line I can get my hands on and based on comparison the is no second.

Perfect line for Perfect light!!

Perfect line for Perfect light!!

I have been able to let casters try the line out for the first almost entire floating line season. The observations that I can note to the casters goes as such:

*New casters and experienced casters love them and have no problem with the lines. The middle ground casters have the problem and from what I have seen it is not in ability but in adaptability.

*Casters wanting to take the next step love them and from a teachers point of view there is no better teaching aid for all levels of casting.

*The Aero Heads will throw almost all poly leaders, the exception is the 7.0 Rio Versi leader ( might as well use t-11) just to much for this line or most Scandi lines as well.

*There is no front loop! Front loops make turn over on long casts cumbersome. On short cast allows for smoother leader to line transfers with out a front loop. I use 30# butt section about 8″ long, some use braided loops, the choice is yours. I also build my own leaders from 25# to a tippet of 8 to 10# in almost equal sections.

*I made it a head to make easy changes for other line systems and not integrated.

Great fish for a great line!!

Great fish for a great line!!

Now here is what I have to ask you…  If you are ready to become a better, smoother, and longer caster, why have you not got your hands on one. They are sold at all great Spey shops!! If your shop does not carry them then maybe you need to ask them too. Get out fish and enjoy!!!

 

Travis

The Question Lingers, Loop or No Loop When a Steelhead Takes?

This angler is holding proper hooking position.

This angler is holding proper hooking position.

We are now in the heart of the summer Steelhead season and time and days are flying past and starting to run together. Sometime while I am guiding away or rowing the boat I try to think of topics to write about. Loop or No Loop seemed like a good one just based on how many times I have been asked this year.  The real question is what should I really do when a Steelhead takes my fly. That question seems easy, but there are a lot of variables to it.

Always keep you rod to the bank side of the fish.

Always keep you rod to the bank side of the fish.

The scene from the movie “Forgetting Sara Marshal” comes to mind, where the lead actor takes a surfing lesson. The instructors best advice was, do less… do nothing… after a couple failed attempt the lead just lays on the board. The instructor stares for an awkward length of time and changes tone… well you have to do something…. This seems how we guides sometimes simplify details like setting the hook and even casting at times.

Low and flat is where to fight them at!!

Low and flat is where to fight them at!!

The truth of the matter is every take is different and with these different take we require a different reaction. I can tell you the best takes require nothing, that’s true and I wish that all grabs were hard and the fish hooked themselves and ripped 50 feet of line off the reel before anybody could even twitch. But here lies the problem not all encounters are like that. I used to fish a shock loop of line and when anything happened i would let it go and the fish would either pull the line out or the wait for the line to catch up to see what may come takes place. This method can be effective and if it works for you don’t try to change.  Personally I like to fish off the reel as i have a bad run in with the loop method as it can wrap around the reel or reel handle if the angler is not watching close every cast. I have heard the same thing about the line wrapping on the cast but we almost always clear the line after the cast not always before the grab, if you catch my drift.

This rod angle is to high for hooking or fighting.

This rod angle is too high for hooking or fighting.

I find that it take a certain amount of pressure to set a hook well into these fish. Here is my theory if the fish grabs hard, then you do very little. If the fish grabs soft you have to cover the spread, but not until you feel the weight of the fish. Even soft takes the fish might pull and turn the reel and you lift to nothing…but maybe you give the fish a bit more love (to the bank your standing on) this just might help you put a few more to the bank!!

The Best end result!!

The Best end result!!

Get out there and fish the weather has been nice and some of the other Columbia river tribs are starting to get some great reports!!