Apr 29, 2016

Kids Fishing Events in the Columbia Gorge

Getting kids into fishing:

There are several kids fishing events coming up in the near future in our area.  These are an excellent way to expose kids to fishing in a positive environment that focuses on learning and fun!  Meet other families that are introducing their kids to fishing and find out when and where to take kids fishing that will keep them engaged.

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Free Youth Fishing Clinic
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Mayer State Park: The Dalles, OR
Contact:  Jeremy Stahler - 541 296 4628
8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife free youth fishing clinic. Children 11 and under are invited (license required for children 12 and older) all children must be accompanied by an adult. Loaner gear available or bring fishing gear. Free hot dogs and soft drinks! 

Saturday May 14, 2016
8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Middle Fork Pond
On Laurence Lake Road about a mile before Laurence Lake near Parkdale, OR

  • Free BBQ and refreshments
  • Fun Arts and Crafts
  • Competitions and drawings for cool prizes
For more information contact:
Darcy Saiget @ the Hood River Ranger Station

Oregon Fish Wildlife Kids Fishing Event
May 28, 2016
Mt. Hood Pond in Gresham @ Mt. Hood Community College
Contact:  Jeff Fulop - 503 673 6034
9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
This will be similar to The Dalles area event, Fun activities and clinics for kids to learn about fishing as well as for parents to find out more about when and where to fish in the future.

Klickitat, WA Chapter:  Trout Unlimited Kids Fishing Day
June 11, 2016
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Spearfish Lake and Park
Dallesport, WA
Contact:  The Dalles Lock & Dam Ranger Office (541) 506-7819 or

Klickitat Trout Unlimited (907) 205-0974 or www.facebook.com/klickitattroutunlimited

There are tons of other youth and family events across Oregon throughout the spring and summer.
Check out other ODFW youth/family events across Oregon here:

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

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 24, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (04/24/2016)

Another beautiful spring sunset driving home from a great day of lake fishing in the desert!
I hope that everyone has been able to get out and enjoy the great fishing conditions that we have had lately.  Most lakes are now open for trout, the bass are snapping, the carp are biting, and we even have some salmon and steelhead are lurking around the local rivers.

Salmonflies will soon be upon us!
Rainbow trout fishing has been great across the area, but the shining star is the Deschutes River right now.  The stoneflies are crawling and the fish are happy.  The colder weather late in the week did slow the bite down,but that is just a small step back in a long march forward.  Stonefly nymphs should be on every angler's rod at this point.  They can be doubled up with a number of smaller flies such as copper johns, pheasant tails or san juan worms, although most of the fish are being caught on the bigger bugs.  Adults will likely be popping off below Sherar's Falls by the end of the week if they haven't started already.  

Lake fishing for Rainbow Trout just started this weekend and we have not heard many reports so far, but the colder weather should have spurred Callibaetis to hatch in many locations.  Buggers, chironomids, and Callibaetis should all be in the box, and anglers should be prepared for anything this time of year.  Weather changes quickly in April, and the hatches can change in a minute with the weather.  Poor weather tends to spur on Callibaetis, while steady weather is what the chironomids seem to like best.  

Lost Lake required a hike last week to get into.  The gate was closed just above campground, but it will be opening May 1.  Fishing should be great through spring, summer and fall up there.  

Callibaetis spinner chillin on a float tube
Laurence Lake is another local favorite.  Just a reminder:  it is not legal to target bull trout in Laurence Lake.  The trout fishing at Laurence is typically great throughout the entire time its open.  Fish average size is fairly small as this lake does not tend to grow too many lunkers, but the occasional larger rainbow is caught, and bull trout are routinely caught as by-catch on buggers and leeches.  

Spearfish, Horsethief and Rowland Lakes all opened on the Washington side of the Gorge this last weekend.  They are typical put and take lakes loaded with planter rainbow trout.  The fishing is good and the trout are plentiful.  They are great places to go catch a few fish if you don't have all day, or if you have your kids with you.  Goose Lake should be accessible by now, but I haven't talked to anyone up there recently.  It is also a great place to go slay some trout early season. 

Our local streams are generally not open for trout fishing right now.  The Hood (Main and East Fork), Eagle Creek, Klickitat, Little White Salmon and the Big White Salmon River* are all closed for trout fishing right now.  The Deschutes and the White River are the only decent trout stream options close to here this time of year.  

Its a great time to swing for a late spring steelhead!
*The (Big) White Salmon opens June 1 above Northwestern Lake Park Bridge for trout and August 1 below the bridge downstream to the old power plant.  The lower couple of miles (below the old power plant) is open year round for trout.  

Chinook Salmon fishing has been slow, but improving daily.  Drano Lake is the place to be apparently.  There were about 200 boats there on Sunday morning.  The Hood River is open, but minimal effort and mediocre success has been reported so far.  We should start seeing more "springers" in the next couple weeks.  The Hood typically hosts a later run of springers, mid to later May.  

Winter Steelhead are just about done, but there are definitely a few fish still moving into local rivers.  Late for the prom, but just in time to catch the after-party, some big steelhead can come in this time of year.  Check the regulations; many of the rivers in WA are closed this time of year.  

Smallies have
been snapping!
Smallmouth Bass have been snappy this week.  Bigger fish are sitting on the bottom, but smaller guys are suspended and chasing everything.  Look for structure and rock in 2-6' of water near, not too far from shore.  They are not up on beds yet, but they will be staying in close for the next month or more as the full moon in late May should be when the bulk of the smallies spawn.

Carp fishing has been great!  I went bass fishing on Wednesday and hooked two carp dragging a crayfish fly across a shallow shelf in the Columbia.  The bass weren't cooperating in that spot yet, but the carp were happy, so I packed up, went up the road to one of the many impounded lakes along the highway in the Gorge and hooked up with two more fish on a small rubber-leg nymph.  The colder weather that moved in later in the week has not been great for the bite, but fish will be active once it warms up again.  Mid-day seems to be the best for me, but that is probably because it is easier to spot them.

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.

Local Water Flow Reports
Hood River:
Deschutes near Madras:
Deschutes at the mouth:
Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

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

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 23, 2016

I love Ole' Rubber Lips, and I’m not afraid to say it!

Ole' Rubber Lips

I spent much of my childhood in the Midwest, where carp, largemouth and panfish were easily accessible and really the only thing going. After dialing in how to catch bass (there was one identifiably scarred fish I caught 5 times in one summer) I needed a bigger challenge. Ole' Rubber Lips, Cyprinus carpio, the maligned common carp was my new target.  I was drawn to this beast that often crept silently in shallows of the creeks and ponds of my youth, grew to mythical sizes and spooked at the snap of a blade of grass from 40 paces.

There are blogs and articles a-plenty out there on carp, in which they are often referred to as "golden bonefish", a name so overused and misleading I won’t bore you with regurgitation.  They really aren’t like bonefish at all,, they just have similar mouths, and are typically bottom feeders, but I digress… If you are looking for a true challenge on a fly rod and you live near any body of water, you owe it to yourself to give these rubber lipped beasts a go.

A couple things you need to know before you dive into carpin’:

  1. They eat the same things trout do, they don’t eat trash or dead things
  2. They are not easy to catch 
  3. Most importantly, carp are moody as hell

In trying explain what I mean when I say they are moody,  I coined this term; tripolar. Bipolar isn’t adequate to explain carp behavior and as I see it, carp have 3 major states of being and with % of time they seem to spend in each phase as I have witnessed:

     A. Totally uninterested in eating at all/sun bathing- 50%
     B. Eating, but extremely spooky. Like grandma in a haunted house spooky- 40%
     C. Feeding aggressively and relatively less spooky-10%

Ok, now you may start to see why these are tough fish to catch. If you are lucky enough to find some fish that are fired up, good on you. It is a lot like hitting an evening hatch perfectly on your favorite trout stream; rare and special. When carp are aggressive you will know it. The will often be tailing and mudding hard with little regard for anything around them. The will usually not spook with a poorly placed cast, unless you line them (a cast where your line lands over the top of the fish), and they will actively chase a fly.

The B. fish are where the real challenge lies. Can you approach a fish, lead them with a perfect cast and if all of that goes right, know when to set the hook? Trust me when I say none of this is easy, but that’s what makes it fun. A one fish day is a good day. And when it all goes right, you will be rewarding with some freight train runs. The A. fish are usually the easiest to find as they are usually an inch below the surface and perfectly still or lazily swimming. They are not uncatchable, so give them a go, but don’t be bummed when they spook at any sight of you, your line, boat, or that errant whisker on your beard.

A trout fishing bycatch on a chironomid larva

Carp can be caught year round, but are most accessible to the fly angler when they come shallow, which is typically spring to fall. Sight fishing is the name of the game, though that does not always mean seeing the fish. Often times, and in particular in turbid water you will only see mud boils, bubbles, or a disturbance in the force. Wading, walking the bank or working a boat through shallow weedy/muddy flats is a great way to find fish and the key is to stay very vigilant of your surroundings. Schooling carp will spook if one fish in the school spooks, so stalk quietly and if you spot fish try to work the angles so they don’t see your fly line shadow or you. Sometimes a belly crawl or fishing from your knees is a great way to lower you profile and avoid the spook.

There are times where you can blind cast for carp, but I will tell you it isn’t a pattern you can depend on. If carp move into rocky banks or riprap they are often feeding aggressively on crayfish, insects and baitfish and working these areas with a bugger, craw pattern or Clouser minnow can be effective, or at least yield some bass. And yes I said carp feed on baitfish, I have witnessed on more than a few occasions, carp actively chasing schools of bait.

A few of Ryan's Carp Nuggets
Speaking more on flies, keep it simple and natural. Simple craw patterns and nymphs are my goto’s . Larger craws in #2 and #4 and nymphs in #4- #8s with good strong sharp hooks are the weapons of choice. Think earth tones, browns, olives, rusty orange etc. If the water is dingy or downright muddy black and chartreuse are excellent. Pretend you are trout fishing and match the hatch and the habitat. Rubber legs are always a good idea too. My favorite carp fly is a short rabbit strip on dumbbell eyes with a dubbing body and some nice rubber or silicone legs. My next favorite is the Clouser swimming nymph, which I was turned on to by the guy that wrote the book on carp fly fishing, Brad Befus. A sparse olive wooly bugger is hard to beat too, and produced my largest carp, a 47# grassy!

The White Amur, AKA Grassy

You can catch carp on dries, and if you spend enough time on the water you will inevitably see carp
feeding in the surface. Keep some midges in your box in all stages: larvae, pupae/emergers, adults. Hoppers fished near the banks in late summer will also work. I have had some killer fun at night catching caddis slurping carp too. If you have a body of water with cottonwood trees or mulberry bushes on the banks you owe it to yourself to have some flies that represent both. A few white CDC feathers on a hook worked for me when they are eating cottonwood seeds and a burgundy/purple spun deer hair bug will represent mulberries effectively. Mulberry flies not goofy enough for you?
Say what?  Bread fly, *patent pending*
Chum up some fish with bread and try to get them to eat an elk hair bread fly, serious fun and a total challenge.

So what about the gear you ask? It really depends on the average fish you are fishing for. If most of the fish in your water are 1-5lbs, your 5wt trout rod like a Winston BIIIx, NRX LP or Sage One will do the job perfectly. If you are stalking bigger fish I recommend at least a 6wt and I prefer a softer 7wt like the Winston BIIIx. You need to have a rod with some delicacy to present a fly to these fish and both the Sage and the Winston fit the bill. Your reel should have a great drag. My favorite is the Tibor BackCountry wide, but a Lamson Litespeed, Galvan Torque, or Ross Evolution in the appropriate size are all great choices.
Limited edition 1 of 2 Carp Engraved Tibors 
Fly line choice is equally as important. You can do most carpin’ with a floating line, but carp addiction will lead you to add an intermediate sink tip (Rio InTouch Streamer Tip) and intermediate full sink (Rio InTouch Camolux) to your arsenal. The floating line should be delicate, but also be able to handle bigger bugs and wind. The InTouch Rio Gold is a great choice, and if you have a softer rod the InTouch Trout LT is even better. These new InTouch lines from Rio will really help you detect subtle takes with their low stretch braided core. Bonefish or heavy trout leaders in 8-12# are ideal and if you are fishing subsurface I highly recommend fluorocarbon especially in clear water.

Inner City Carpin'!

There is no hard and fast method to catch carp on the fly, and that’s half the fun.  The beauty of these fish is that they live almost everywhere in the US and most of the world and rarely have the pressure of more glorified species. Take some of my advice or try your own ideas, but my message to you is by all means go try some carpin’.

The Bearded Pescador

Ryan Van Duzor
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

Read More from the "Bearded Pescador"

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 20, 2016

Redington Behemoth Reel Rebate (April 1st - June 30th)


The Behemoth Fly reels have been very popular since introduction. A combination of stunning looks, large arbor, powerful carbon fiber drag and unique die-cast construction all come together with a lifetime warranty in an economical package. As if that wasn't enough now for a limited time you can get an Extra Spool to go with the Behemoth reel. Just click the link for the rebate form and follow Redington's instructions. 


1. Purchase any Redington BEHEMOTH reel model between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016.
2. Download the rebate form (here).
3. Send in the completed form along with proof of purchase before July 15, 2016.

Apr 17, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (4/17/2016)

Another Nice Rainbow from a Central WA Lake
Rainbow Trout fishing is now taking center stage in the Columbia Gorge.  The Deschutes River is heating up right now and fishing has been great.  We are really looking forward to the Salmonfly/Stonefly hatch coming up soon.  Trout have really started eating stonefly nymphs with gusto, but can be found eating mayfly nymphs too and maybe even some caddis pupa too.  There have been reports of an afternoon March Brown hatch that has been bringing trout up to the surface.  Small caddis have been hatching in the evening too, but I have never done that well fishing caddis dries in the evening this time of year.

Hendrix Loves to ride along
Ryan, Jeremy and I took a trip out to some central WA desert lakes this past week.  Despite generally slow fishing, we did catch some nice fish.  We got into an epic Callibaetis hatch one evening, catching some big fish that were cruising around eating dries.

Overall we caught fish in four out of six lakes that we fished.  We found some water that could certainly give up some tankers under the right conditions but didn't show any signs of life.  For the most part, the fish we caught were averaging 16" and very spunky.  One lake we found had very few fish in it, but they were mostly huge and very wary.  We never really got a good shot at any of the lunkers in there, but did get a couple of the "smaller" fish that were not as smart as their bigger brethren.  The only time we saw consistently big fish was during the Callibaetis hatch when all the trout that we saw were 18" and larger.

Ryan loves Ole Rubber Lips!
I have been doing this trip to a variety of Central Washington lakes annually since I was a young child.  I started taking my fly bum friends in 2002.  In all of those years, I have fished about 20 different lakes and have only run into a good Callibaetis bite like that maybe one other trip.  It is usually all chironomids and woolly buggers with an occasional chironomid dry fly bite.  We were, however, mostly unprepared for such a hatch.  I only had two solid Callibaetis nymphs and two good dries.  I lost both nymphs to a couple of carp within the first few hours, which just goes to show that no matter how prepared you think you are, anything can happen.  I will be loading my box up with Callibaetis nymphs and dries again.

The annual lowland lake opener is this Saturday in Washington and Oregon.  This signifies that spring is fully here!  Laurence Lake opens here in Oregon on Saturday, April 23 along with Rowland, Horsethief and Spearfish in Washington; and dozens of other lakes across our two states here.  While several lakes in our area are still inaccessible due to snow conditions, they are rapidly clearing up with this hot weather.

Jeremy catches another!

Steelhead fishing has really taken a back seat to trout and salmon fishing as it tends to do this time of year.  Winter steelhead are still kicking around in the lower part of the Hood River. The Columbia River is really high and backing up into the Hood.  This is causing the run at the mouth of the Hood River to turn into a lake.  Most of the effort in the river happens there, so effort is fairly low and spread out when this happens.  Summer Steelhead are not going to be around in any numbers for some months now, so start tying muddlers, skunks, and coachmen for the approaching summer steelhead season.

I wish there had been fish in this lake
Spring Chinook fishing is now open on the Hood River, although the Deschutes will not open until May 1.  Salmon typically don't start to move into the Hood with any consistency until May, but the potential for hooking a chrome "springer" any day now is enough to get people onto the river.  The Hood is still in good shape as there is water flowing in it and it has not colored up yet.  It will get muddy and really hamper angling effort eventually, but for now it is in great shape.  The river typically stays in shape into May.

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.

Local Water Flow Reports
Hood River:
Deschutes near Madras:
Deschutes at the mouth:
Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

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

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 13, 2016

Chaco Sandals Review: Worth your Investment?

Gorge Fly Shop: Chaco Sandals
Great choice for the most demanding adventures!

Chaco Sandals Review:

It is that time of year…..Sandal Time, although for some of you it’s sandal time year round

Footwear is more important then you may think….if your feet are not happy you won’t be either, no matter what! I have personally been wearing my Chaco sandals for well over 7 years now.  If you are looking for a sandal that is not only  practical for many situations but comfortable and cute (nice looking “for the men readers”)  too I suggest getting yourself a pair.

When I first started wearing them I did not realize how multi-functional they would end up being.  

Gorge Fly Shop: Chaco Vibram Soles
Vibram Soles: Wet wade with confidence.
I wear mine while I am working, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and on my Outcast SUP and always appreciate how they work well in any other activity I do in them..  Their adjustable strap system makes it even easier to custom fit the sandal to your foot.  And the straps keep them on your feet no matter which activity you are doing.

They are not only durable but the foot bed is made out of antimicrobial material so they resist odors..which we can all appreciate.

Last year Fishpond USA and Chaco merged together to come up with a Custom Chaco made only for Fishpond....They both agreed to donate $5.00 of each sandal sold to the Western Waters Conservancy.  

That makes purchasing a pair of these Chaco’s worth your investment.

Chaco Sandals Features:
  • Excellent grip on wet, muddy and slippery surfaces 
  • A "sticky” but very long wearing compound 
  • Non-marking soles 
  • Z/2® features a wrap-around toe loop that keeps your feet locked to the footbed. 
  • Custom Adjust’em™ Fit adjustable straps feature soft polyester webbing that dries fast and maintains a consistent fit 
  • $5 donation to Western Rivers Conservancy for each pair sold

Gorge Fly Shop: lyndsey duddles - Deskmaster

Thank You,Lyndsey Duddles
Gorge Fly Shop | "Deskmaster"

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 11, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (4/11/16)

Winter Steelhead fishing is winding down across the area.  The hardcore steelhead junkies are still hitting it like it's batting practice and catching fish too, but effort and catch rates are declining in general as many anglers are focusing on the spring trout fishing.

After months of swinging away, Ryan finally got his first Hood River steelhead on Sunday evening and it was a nice little piece of redemption after a winter of missed opportunities and empty swings.

**Update on the Hood and Deschutes River Spring Chinook Season:

Hood, Deschutes Rivers open for spring chinook in 2016
THE DALLES, Ore. - The popular spring chinook fisheries on the Deschutes and Hood rivers will open this spring.

Deschutes River
According to Jason Seals, ODFW fish biologist, managers are predicting over 4,000 adult hatchery fish will return to the Deschutes, which is well above management goals to obtain hatchery broodstock and other management needs.

"If the run comes back as predicted, chinook salmon fishing on the Deschutes should be excellent," he said.

"The Deschutes River fishery below Sherars Falls is extremely popular because it offers a great chance to catch a Columbia River spring chinook from the bank," he continued. "In recent years, as many as 10,000 anglers have participated in the fishery annually."

Here is a summary of the temporary rules for the Deschutes River adopted by ODFW:

  *   Open for adipose fin-clipped chinook from May 1 through July 31 from the mouth of the Deschutes at the I-84 bridge upstream to Sherars Falls.
  *   The catch limit is one adult adipose fin-clipped salmon per day, and five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.
  *   All non-adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon must be released unharmed.
  *   It is unlawful to continue to fish from Sherars Falls downstream to the upper railroad trestle after taking a daily bag limit of one adult chinook salmon.

Hood River

Managers are predicting far fewer adult fish returning to the Hood River-about 970 hatchery fish.
According to Seals, the Hood River offers another good opportunity to catch a spring chinook from the bank but in conditions that are much less crowded than on the Deschutes.
In addition, the removal of Powerdale Dam in the summer of 2010 expanded the legal angling area and offers anglers considerably more room to spread out.

Here is a summary of the temporary rules for the Hood River adopted by ODFW:

*        Open for adipose fin-clipped chinook from April 15 through June 30 from the mouth to mainstem confluence with the East Fork, and the West Fork from the confluence with the mainstem upstream to the angling deadline 200 feet downstream of Punchbowl Falls.

*        The catch limit is two adult adipose fin-clipped salmon per day, and five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.

All non-adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon must be released unharmed

This is good news for salmon anglers drooling at their chance to catch a delicious, fresh spring salmon.  You can always check the general regulations online before you go:  http://www.eregulations.com/oregon/fishing/pageFlip/
The Hood River regulations appear on page 49 and 50.

Rainbow Trout fishing on the Deschutes River has been good and getting better lately.  It is about time to start drowning stonefly nymphs under an indicator.  March Browns are hatching, but loads of fish are looking for a stonefly nymph first and foremost.  There are prediction of another early stonefly hatch this year.  From now through May should be epic.

Just a word on lakes: Laurence Lake is closed until April 22. We tend to get a few phone calls this time of year asking if the road is open or if the fishing is good, but regardless of the status of the road, the lake is closed.  If it warms up enough, there can be quite a few anglers on the water in April despite the closure.  Other lakes in the Gorge that are closed until April include Spearfish and Rowland.

Other lakes in the area are open, but access is limited due to snow.  I went up to the mountain on Wednesday to see if I could get into Timothy Lake.  The road had a little too much snow for me about a half mile from the highway with about nine to go.

I went over to Clear Lake instead and had to walk in about a mile from the snow blockage, but fishing was pretty good.  I only hooked four fish in six hours, but all four were toads.  I only put one in the net and it flopped out before I was able to snap a picture.  It was absolutely gorgeous up there and very serene to have such a big lake all to myself.  All the fish I hooked were on a brown woolly bugger stripped very slow near the bottom in 6-10' of water near the stumps.

Smallmouth Bass have been somewhat sporadic this past week, but there have been some really encouraging reports.  The Columbia River flows have increased dramatically, which has really messed with the basses' routines, but they really want to eat.  They have started chasing spinners, crankbaits and baitfish patterns when they are on the bite. Things will only get better too as spring gets further along.  Once the Columbia flow stays steady for a few days, the fish should get back into a good routine and be more consistent  They are not in the shallow backwaters yet, but it shouldn't be too far off.

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.

Local Water Flow Reports

Hood River:

Sandy The NOAA prediction site is way upriver from where most of us fish.  It tells us when the river will rise and drop, but does not reflect the flows that we see down below the Bull Run River.  For real-time conditions, we use the USGS site. 


Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

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

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 9, 2016

Winston Microspey vs Sage Trout Spey

Maybe Trout Spey isn't new! 

But there's a new trout angler reaching out for new two hand trout rods and lines and defining a new passion for today's trout angling.

It wasn't long after my first trout spey catch to realize that I had a lot to learn about two hand trout spey. With much time spent researching I came to realized there wasn't much out there to help my new found interest. Basically the forefront of trout spey was and to some extent still is an open chapter in the bigger picture of modern trout fishing today.

I've had the privilege to spend some time with the best new rod offerings available from Winston and Sage. The most recent is the Sage ONE 3110 Trout Spey. I want to emphasize "spend time with" because I'm not just writing a review from an experience in a casting pond or one day on the water. I actually have these rods and spend most all of my winter and spring chasing trout with them.

Attacked my Streamer on the swing

Winner? Microspey or Trout Spey

It's not that easy. Even after countless days on the water with several models of both makes I still don't have a clear choice of which is my favorite. As we speak I am trying to pick another new rod between two choices to add to my quiver while day after day I go back and forth tormented over which one to purchase next.

Review the facts

Sage One 4116-4

I started fishing trout spey in fall of 2013 with the Sage ONE 4116. At that time it was Sage's smallest offering. If you follow my Trout Spey Chronicles then you're aware that I'm quite the fan of the 4116. After all, it was the rod that provided my first trout spey catch and since I'm opening up personal firsts then I must also admit the 4116 provided my first ever brown trout catch. Not just spey brown trout but actual brown trout catch. And since I am in the mood to admit personal feats I must confess I was not really a trout enthusiast until I discovered trout spey and the Sage 4116. So right away it's hard for me to not be a little biased toward the Sage. Aside from all that, I have always felt a little over-gunned with the 4116 for much of the trout water I wade.
Favorite Line matches
RIO Scandi Short Versitip 320gr
Airflo Switch Streamer 330gr

When deciding on what size trout spey to own one should really consider the primary use. Is this rod intended to chase giant Alaskan Rainbows with mouse patterns or will it fish a local tailwater with bunny streamers. Will chunky streamers be your go to or do you plan on swinging small streamers and soft hackle rigs?

Along comes Microspey

Winston BIII MS 4110-4

R.L.Winston BIII MS 4110-4

Having fished the ONE for a year when I first picked up the 4110 Microspey it felt a bit slower than what I had become use to thus far. Not bad, just different. But the Winston is very intuitive; so much so that after a day of fishing I had tuned to its feel and learned to really appreciate the deep loading which turned out to be a better skagit casting tool for me. 
Favorite Line Matches - 

Winston BIII MS 5116-4

R.L.Winston BIII MS 5116-4
Cannon! Wow! I have to be honest and say this is a rod for big water and big trout, maybe even small hatchery steelhead. What's cool about this rod is that it has the same trout spey size grips as the other microspeys which gives it a nice tight casting box but equipped with deep load power one would expect from a bigger rod. I don't have as many hours clocked on this rod simply because most of the water I fish on a regular basis doesn't need this much rod. Just like the 4110 though the 5116 is just as intuitive making it easy to pickup and cast like a champ anytime. 
Favorite Line Matches

Winston BIII MS 3106-4

Couldn't resist Sculpzilla
This is one that I wish to add to my arsenal. I don't own one but had the pleasure to borrow Travis' for a good while. It's easy to look at this rod and think that it is for the light work like swinging soft hackles and yes it is too sweet for this purpose. But as I started to push the limits of this rod I got surprised with what it was capable of. At the time there were no appropriate sized skagit heads for it so I fished it with a RIO Scandi Short 270gr and later started to experiment with franken skagits in that same approx grain weight range. I quickly realized we had a rod before we had a production line to work with it. Keep your Scandi handy for light work and load OPST 275gr skagit for sink tip streamer swinging and stripping. This little rod is incredible with todays ultra short skagits. I've heard the Airflo Switch Float is great on this rod too but I have not had a chance to give it a swing.
Favorite Line Matches

Enter Sage ONE Trout Spey

Sage ONE 3110

Coming down to size is what the 3110 is all about for me. The Sage ONE 4116 is quite at home skating mice for Alaskan rainbows and more than capable of tackling large western rivers but it does give you a sense of too much for many of the smaller streams that so many trout anglers call home. I wanted a lightened up version to tackle the more average size trout water. Sage must have read my mind or more likely someone from the inside felt the same as I did.
What's different besides size? For one, the handle a bit shorter than its big brother and it should be. Smaller rod, shorter handle! Of course it's also a little lighter. The 3110 feels like a smaller lighter version of the 4116 but there is a twist. I've always felt the 4116 was a bit fast for my skagit-ability. The twist in the 3110 is the skagit feel. This little rod loves the skagit lines, especially the OPST Commando heads. I found it favors the 275 grains. I paired that with a RIO Gripshooter and quickly found mojo with this setup.

Ice on rod guides and a Hot January Rainbow
The ONE Trout Spey feels right at home with all kinds of tactics. It's a super fun streamer rod and continues to surprise me with the ease at which it casts them. I also find it very sensitive when fishing small wet flies and of course it is magic with soft hackles.
Favorite Line Matches
OPST Commando 275gr
RIO Skagit Trout Max 275gr

Note: I like to load a little heavy. This rod did just fine with 250gr heads but I prefer 275 grain.

Sage ONE Trout Spey 2109

This is the other rod I wish to add to my arsenal. I have not fished it yet but I hear it's a sleeper. Ryan got behind it at George Cook's Spey Day and here are a few words he said about it..."Light in hand, crisp, casts good distance for its size and feels like you could cast for a week and never get tired. One sweet little rod." Ryan believes George had it lined with a RIO Skagit Max Short in 225gr. And Ryan and I both believe it would be a perfect candidate for a OPST Commando 225gr head.

Pros and Cons

Side by side - Sage ONE Trout Spey & Winston BIII MicroSpey
Hard to find any Cons but here's what I like. I like the Sage grip. It just fits me perfect and feels right. This is true for all Sage rods including single hand models. In the Winston I like the finish. That classic Winston green with attention to little details like a nickel silver winding check just gives these rods class.


There is no loser here. If you like Winston rods you will like the Microspey and likewise with the Sage. You can help me end my torment and tell me which one you want me to review next.

Click to respond:  Winston 3106 or Sage 2109?

While trout spey isn't new we are very fortunate to be living in a time when the equipment is starting to match the sport. Awesome time it is for the New Trout Spey Angler!


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