Sep 28, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (September 29th)

Fishing Report
Andrew's first fish on his new Burkheimer 7134


Fishing is most likely fabulous wherever you happen to be, I mean it is Fishtember

Chinook Salmon are really thick everywhere right now and crowds reflect that.  Most of the rivers are full of people as well as fish, but putting a few miles on your wading boots will get you into some good water with relative solitude.  The bite has been good, but catching them on a fly rod is still a frustrating proposition.  It’s not that it cant be done, but the bite is so inconsistent that targeting them is not something that everyone wants to put that much effort into. 

Rob fishing at Harris (the rock wall)

Summer Steelhead are in the rivers in good numbers now.  The Chinook are pushing them around and fishing can be tough some days, but overall, fishing has been great.  Dry line fishing is the prime technique on the Deschutes, while fishermen on the Klickitat tend to fish more with sink tips.  The clarity on the Deschutes is great.   

The Hood River is still awfully low and colored up.  Very little to no pressure lately and not much in terms of action from the few locals that hit it up.  Remember, targeting Chinook Salmon is not allowed on the Hood this time of year.  Wait for some steady rains to bring the level up and some cold weather to clear it up and it might fish well later this fall. 

Lost Lake, Trillium Lake and Timothy Lake have all been fishing really well.  Trout are up in the water column and eating dries when hatches are prevalent.  The big trout are always eating an olive woolly bugger. 
Smallmouth Bass fishing has been good.  Fish are really active and eating a variety of lures, flies and baits.  Finding good numbers of fish without a boat is tough.  Make friends with people that own bass boats.    

Rob swinging Fall Canyon on the Deschutes

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.  

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 15, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (September 14th)

Ryan and Jeremy's trek to the Deschutes

Fishing Report

While trout fishing has been fabulous and will continue to be for the next month or two, the focus is primarily on summer steelhead in our area.  Fishing for these sea-run beauties is about as good as it gets right now.  There are epic days and tough days, but in general, fishing is on and it’s hot! 

Chinook Salmon have really moved into the local rivers and definitely are pushing steelhead around.  Some runs will be loaded with salmon and vacant of steelhead, while others that tend to not hold salmon will load up with steelies.  There are other pieces of water that will hold both salmon and steelhead, but generally in different areas of the run.  You just have to put in some time to figure out what is holding in the water you’re in.  Either way, there are a lot of fish in all of our rivers.  The Klickitat and the Deschutes are the two best options for steelhead, while Drano Lake and the Klickitat are the best choices for salmon fishing. 

"the bearded guy"
Clarity on the Deschutes is great.  Dry line fishing is going as well as can be expected.  The cloudy, cool weather should provide some consistency and really get the fish active. 

Lost Lake has still been fishing really well.  Reports of large fish being taken lately have signaled the start of fall.  Trillium Lake traditionally is planted with large trout in September as well, and with the hordes of people descending on the rivers, it is a great place to hang out for a weekend.  

Laurence Lake is still fishing really well too.  Remember, targeting bull trout in Laurence Lake is prohibited. No reasonable fisherman would be able to argue that an 8wt and a six inch rainbow trout pattern are appropriate gear for catching the 12 inch average rainbow trout that reside in the lake. 
Smallmouth Bass fishing is really starting to turn on again.  Give it a couple of weeks and the top-water bite should be killer on the Columbia. Fish are starting to feel the water cooling and the sense of urgency to fatten up before winter is making them particularly dumb right now. 

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.  

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 9, 2015

Sam Sickles - Steelhead Outfitters (Open Dates)

Steelhead Outfitters - Open dates for October and November

Guide Service: Steelhead Outfitters

Guide Name: Sam, Marni Sickles

Guided Rivers: Deschutes, Sandy, Clackamas

  • October 19th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 27th, 28th

PO Box 115 
Hood River, OR 97031 
(541) 400-0855

Book your day(s) quick while they last.

Sep 8, 2015

Redington Wader Rebate (Deadline September 11th)

Redington Wader Rebate


  1. Purchase any of our qualifying Redington wader models between April 1, 2015 and September 11, 2015
  2. Download our WADER REBATE FORM
  3. Send in the completed rebate form along with the proof of purchase before September 25, 2015


The SonicDry Series is Redingtons' premium wader line and features 37.5™ technology, an active particle permanently embedded in the fabric to capture and release moisture, drying up to five times faster than similar fabrics, diminishing wet cling and keeping you more comfortable.

Left to right are the SonicDry FlySonicDry Stockingfoot and the SonicDry Pant
Rebate $50 Visa Card

With Redington's SonicPro waders, thousands of stitch holes found in traditional waders just vanished in the blink of superior technology. As Redington's premier wader, they feature seams welded with sound, not sewn with needles - the latest technology in waterproof waders.
 The Siren waders were designed to fit a woman’s body properly. Created in two different fit patterns specifically for the female angler. 

On the left is the popular SonicPro and on the right is the new Women's Siren Wader
Rebate $50

The Redington Palix River Wader offers some great features for the price like fleece lined handwarmer pockets, flip out zippered pocket, neoprene wading belt and integrated gravel guards. The Redington Crosswater wader keeps you dry for less so you can afford that great new fly rod.

Left to right is Palix River and Crosswater
Rebate $25
Most Redington Waders qualify for the rebate. View the entire collection on our website

***Promotion dates: 4/1/15 - 9/11/15. Submission must be postmarked by 9/25/15. Offer valid in the U.S. and Canada. This rebate cannot be combined with any other offers from Far Bank. Void where prohibited by law. Non compliant requests will be eliminated without response. Offer good while supplies last.

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ORDER TODAY: 541.386.6977
"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 7, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (September 7th)

A great evening on the Klickitat
Fishing Report

For this week’s fishing report, we have a guest contributor.  Sam Sickles of gave us an update on Saturday. 

The Klickitat is really starting to turn on too.  Chinook are now piling into the river and the meat crowd should be showing up in full force rather quickly.  The steelheading is really becoming more consistent every day and we are shaping up to have a great fall. 

Hailey had a great evening fishing on the Klickitat on Saturday, swinging flies on a dry line with her new Sage ONE and Lamson Litespeed.  She swung up a dozen trout, including a couple of really nice ones.  What a way to break in that new rod and reel. 

For the Deschutes, see the screenshot…  Clarity has dramatically improved from the White and dry line fishing is happening.  See you out there.

Drano Lake has been great for steelhead and fair for Chinook.  Fishing should dramatically pick up for salmon this week as numbers are skyrocketing.  Traditionally, we peak out around this week for Fall Chinook numbers through Bonneville, and with falling river temps, the bite should really turn on quickly. 

We have heard very few reports on the trout fishing lately, but I would bet that it is improving nearly everywhere.  The lower river temps should really get bugs hatching and the fish biting.  I would love to be able to head over to the Metolius this month, as the fishing is at its best there in September and October.  Mahogany Dun Mayflies should be hatching on rivers, and trout love them.  Caddis hatches in the evening are also bringing trout up to the surface. 

Lost Lake has still been fishing really well.  It has been one of the bright spots to holdup this summer during the heat.  Laurence Lake has been great too.  The level in either lake never got too low and fishing has been really good.  Remember, targeting bull trout in Laurence Lake is prohibited. No reasonable fisherman would be able to argue that an 8wt and a six inch rainbow trout pattern are appropriate gear for catching the 12 inch average rainbow trout that reside in the lake. 

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.  

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Sep 3, 2015

Cinco Rios Lodge and Estancia Del Zorro Lodge, Coyhaique Chile

Chilean Brown

Cinco Rios Lodge and Estancia Del Zorro Lodge
Coyhaique Chile

Save $1400 per angler for a week in Chile!
The peak season double occupancy rate is $ 4375, Reduced to $2975 per angler for the same lodge and guides. 

The discount that they are offering has to do with trying to fill a few more spots in a less attractive travel period. It HAS NOTHING to do with reduced quality of fishing. In fact for the wading enthusiast it's as prime as it gets. Please inquire as to reduced single angler rates. This is like fishing in June in the US, long days with hungry trout!

Aqua Blue Waters

There are 2 types of specials available:

Option 1 :
A dedicated week at either of the two lodges above or a combination of the two. The weeks available for option 1 are : Dec 12-19, Dec 19-26 and Dec 26-Jan 2.
Price is $ 2975 double occ.
They can also provide very attractive private room/shared guide rates as well but this will be based on availability.

Option 2 :
The same discount is available anytime Nov 14-21, Nov 21-28 and Nov 28-Dec 5 and Dec 5-12 for a dedicated week at Estancia del Zorro program. This is truly world class wade fishing for mostly browns up to 27 inches. The variety of rivers make it a good combination of size and Numbers. 50 and 60 fish days will happen on some rivers.
All photo credits to Mr. Brian O'Keefe

The private rivers they wade fish are:
Rio Zorro
Rio Nirehuao
Rio Norte
Rio Pedragoso
Rio Mayo ( Argentina ).

These rivers are totally open and are made for wade fishing. Uncluttered banks, small gravel river beds and totally unobstructed casting. This is the best wade fishing available in all of Chilean Patagonia. They provide comfortable 4 wheel drive vehicles taking you right to the waters edge on
private ranches. There is even fishing on the local spring creek, a 10 minute drive from the lodge, right on the estancia. This also can be an after dinner option. They access the most private waters in the region. 

Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions, LLC


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Tarpon Trip 2015


I have just boarded my flight from Florida to Oregon (home). 

My adventure started Saturday morning in Orlando, Florida where we all met up for our trip. Seven of us gathered in the lobby where we awaited our replacement rental car, the eighth member of our team Andy would meet us the next night at the house. We were supposed to have a suburban, but the rental car company had mixed up and rented our suburban to someone else.

This trip was a mix of guys from all over the US and Canada. Other than myself there was Andy, Ebon, Sam, Scott, Steve, Tom and Whitey. Some I knew and some I did not. So we spent the time talking,getting to know each other. Meanwhile our fearless leader Whitey found our replacement car. Things didn't look to good, the new car was a Chrysler Town and Country minivan. First of all, there is seven of us. Secondly all of our gear. And lastly we had a 5 to 6 hour trip to our destination. None of us thought the Town and Country was going to work. Whitey loaded our luggage with precision proving us all wrong. We piled in the van, it was tight, but we made it work and on the road we went.

Stories started flowing about last year's tarpon trip. I am now more ready than ever for my first big tarpon trip. I could tell that this was going to be a really great group of guys and a absolute blast of a trip. AC/DC blasting on the stereo, rolling in the T&C, tarponland here we come! Several hours of travel later, one awesome BBQ place later we were getting close to tarponland.

We eventually arrived at the house that Whitey had rented. A nice pad for the 8 of us for the next 5 days. I quickly tossed my bag on a bed to stake claim and rushed out back to the dock to join the rest. The dock went out into the shallow bay behind the house. From there we could see what we believed were speckled trout busting on bait all around the dock. There was lots of talk about trying to go catch whatever was busting bait around the dock, but after a few more cold beers it was just talk.

After dinner Whitey gave us the lineup for the next day. I would be fishing with Ebon and our guide would be Travis. This got me all wound up with excitement of my first day of giant tarpon fishing. It was getting late now so I hit the sack.

Morning came quickly, awakened by the others excited voices getting ready to go meet the guides. Sam had made everyone a hearty breakfast casserole. We ate quickly, raced out the door, piled in the T&C and we were off. A little AC/DC to wake us up on the way to the marina. A few minutes later we pulled into the marina where our guides were waiting. We all split up to board our guides flats skiffs.

Ebon and I met our guide Travis, boarded the skiff and Travis quickly speeded the skiff out of the bay. As we sped along the coast line I could not help scanning the water for signs of tarpon rolling. To my surprise I thought I saw a big fish roll on the horizon, it looked like a tarpon. Then another, was I just dreaming or was it really tarpon. About that time Travis shut down the motor and said "we will try to catch one of these fish here".

That is when Ebon and I realized that we were surrounded by big tarpon rolling, splashing and crushing bait fish for as far as we could see. It was like a dream, giant tarpon everywhere. The water was quite muddy on this flat due to the wind and tide. Travis said that this was not going to be easy fishing in this spot due to the water color. Hard for us to see the fish and hard for the fish to see the fly. He said that it was worth a shot until the sun got a little higher so we could see fish in the next flat and travel lane he wanted to fish.

I was first up to the front to fish. I could hardly control my excitement as I stepped up on the casting platform, never fishing for giant tarpon, I was trying to think of all the things I had to do if I hooked one. The most important steps, get the hook bared and then make sure the line clears the deck as the fish screams line across the sea. Travis instructed me that he wanted me to wait to cast until I see a fish roll in range. Once a fish rolls try to cast in front of the fish, let the fly sink a few seconds then start my retrieve.

The first fish rolled with in range, I launched my cast, let the fly sink, then started my retrieve. Nothing! Travis said this would not be easy in these conditions, so I got ready for the next one. The next fish boiled I could not see which way he was going. So I bombed a cast to the center of the boil, let the fly sink and started stripping. One strip, two strip, three strips, my fly gets hammered. I kept the rod low, strip set several times as hard as I could waiting for the line to go flying off the deck as the tarpon exploded, but that did not happen. Travis told me to tighten up on it and see if I could move it. What are you crazy I thought, this tarpon is way to big, but I did what he said. To my amazement I could start moving it towards us. Travis, said it is a catfish. Catfish what are you talking about??? There are no catfish on saltwater flats are there I thought. Sure enough it was the oddest looking catfish I had ever seen. Travis quickly got the catfish free from the hook.

I cast to another tarpon, stripped the fly all the way to the boat right at the boat I had another hard hit. Then a huge boil of a tarpon as I set the hook. I quickly realized it was another catfish, my heart sunk. Travis said “ the tarpon chased it, but the catfish beat it to the fly. That was the tarpon making the huge boil”. Once again Travis got the catfish off the hook quickly so we could continue to fish. Travis said that the flat was covered with catfish and if we hook anymore we were going to move on. The cats just do nothing but get in the way and waste our time. So a few minutes later it happened again another catfish.

Travis said the light should be up enough that we could hopefully see fish cruising in another flat close by. The water should be clearer there so we could see them and make better cast to them. So we moved on.

It was now Ebon’s turn up to cast. Travis moved the boat over to a sand bar where the water was much clearer. He positioned the boat on the edge of the sand bar. He explained that the tarpon would run into the shallow bar near the beach. Then they would travel up the edge of the bar right to us. We had some overcast conditions so being able to see the tarpon a ways out would be tough. "So be ready for a short cast" Travis said.

A few minutes went by and then Travis yelled "tarpon ten o'clock forty feet cast now!" Ebon cast without being able to see the tarpon. Travis said "you were just behind him, cast to twelve o'clock". That is when we both saw the monster, it was big! Ebon made the cast, but the tarpon ignored the fly.

Ebon had a few more shots over the next hour, but no hook ups. I was up and had about the same results. Conditions seemed to be making it tough to see the tarpon until they were right on top of us.

I also realized that making 15 to 20 foot cast with a 12 weight rod was very difficult. I had outfitted myself with a Sage SALT 9' 12 wt., Nautilus CCF-X2 Silver King Fly Reel, lined with Hatch backing and a RIO Tarpon Quickshooter line. This outfit was well balanced. I cast it with ease at home in the yard, but with super short cast I was struggling.

We did not hook any tarpon this first day, but had a blast. Ebon was a very funny guy and kept us well entertained. We headed back to the house to meet up with the rest of the crew. Travis dropped us off at the dock in front of the house. It was hot and a ice cold beer was in order.

Slowly the rest of the crew returned. Scotty and Steve both hooked some fish. They had some pretty good pictures of them jumping. Whitey the "Tarponator" hooked I believe 3 and landed 2. This is the way most of the week went for Whitey.

We all stayed up to late having cocktails and telling fishing stories. Once I went to bed, morning came way to soon, but the thought of tarpon quickly gets the blood a flowing.

On the second day I was paired up with my buddy Tom and our guide Greg. Same as the day before we set off to meet our guides at the marina where they were all waiting. We met up with Greg, got in the boat and quickly head out on a 45 minute ride to his favorite flat at the edge of a bay. He explained to us how the tide would drop then the tarpon would hit a shallow bar which direct them right to us. He positioned us on the edge of a white sand area about 50 feet by 50 feet. The idea was that the tarpon would cross over this making it easier for us to see them. Greg did warn us that we might see tarpon come in from straight in front of the boat. These fish would be over grass and hard to see.

I was first up and right away Greg spotted a tarpon crossing in front of the boat 30 feet away. At first I did not see it, he said "cast to 12 o'clock 30 feet". I failed a cast and Greg said "more right! More right!". I missed again. I just kept telling myself to calm down, but easier said than done. A few minutes later Greg said "I see one coming in right down the bar, do you see it". "No I don't see it" I replied.

"It is at about 100 feet, it is going to disappear on the grass. Then it will appear again at the edge of the sand about 50 feet. Be ready! " Greg said. The tarpon appeared. I made the cast, right on target! "Long strip, long strip" Greg said. "strip, strip, faster, short strip, strip" Greg said. The tarpon turned away. Greg said " you were not listening to the speed and change of speed I was asking you to do"

I knew he was right, I could hear him but my mind and eyes were just locked on the tarpon. Just too excited and no control. It was now Tom's turn up, he handed the rod to Greg and asked him to show us how it is down. Greg said "no! it is your trip, I can't fish". Tom said "please we will learn more watching". " besides we won't tip you if you don't make some cast" Tom said jokingly.

So Greg got up on the front of the boat, right away he said "I see one coming in about 100 feet away do you guys see the wake from the tarpon?". I was sitting on the pulling platform and could see it. Greg talked us through what he was doing.

"The tarpon is going to appear about 40 feet 9 o'clock. There it is" he explained. Greg made his cast about 30 feet from the boat. "Long strip to get the fly in front of the tarpon. Now short strips" Greg informed us. The tarpon inhaled the fly. Greg set the hook, as the tarpon exploded on the surface of the water. Then before you could blink was gone like a missile. Take a rats nest of line with it, the tangled line about ripping every guide off the rod. Greg turned to us "do one of you guys want to fight this fish?" We both said "it is all yours Greg". Greg quickly broke the fish off, to our amazement the line broke in half where the rats nest was.

Greg turned to us as Tom and I said " that looks easy". We just laughed.

Tom got up to the front and had about the same luck I did. A few shots, a few mistakes. It just is not as easy as Greg made it look.

It was now my turn backup. I used Tom's G. Lomis NRX 1290 loaded with Airflo Bruce Chard Tropical Punch line. This was a much easier short range combo for me. I no longer got to the front of the boat and Greg said " tarpon coming in at 8 o'clock. Do you see it, 40 feet".

I could see it, I started to cast when Greg said "that is good lay your cast down". I did 5 feet in front of the tarpon. Greg said "good, long strip, short strip, short strip"

The massive tarpon opened it's mouth inhaling the fly. I set the hook hard several times as the tarpon exploded out of the water. Line flew off the reel as Greg fired the motor. The tarpon jumped again about 250 yards away. Greg put the boat in gear to take chase. He told me to reel as fast as I could. For the first few minutes the tarpon continued to run jumping several times, I gained little line as we followed. Greg told me to try to get the fly line back on the reel. By keeping the fly line on the reel I could really start applying the pressure to the tarpon.

Greg told me "give it everything you got, don't rest or it will take much longer."

So I put as much pressure on the tarpon as my 12 weight fly rod could handle. After about 15 minutes I got the tarpon to the leader for the first time. It rolled where we could get a chance to see this giant up close. She did not give us much of a look, before taking a quick run and jump.

Greg said "that fish is easily 150 pounds plus"!

I am now hitting the point of all out exhaustion, my arms, shoulders and back are all burning. After a few minutes I had her back to the front of the boat, leader in the rod guides. I pulled as hard as I could trying to get her to the side of the boat.

Greg told me " if she is hooked inside the mouth it is only a few minutes until she wears through the leader. If she is hooked in the lip we can get her up so I can grab her by the lip for a photo".

I kept as much pressure on her as I could keeping her most of the time right in front of the boat with the leader in the rod. She made a couple of short runs, but I could quickly pull her back to me.

Just as I thought I could not go anymore the rod snapped back limp. The leader had wore through. I didn't know whether I should be glad or sad. I do know there was a little relief.

Greg looked at me and said "don't be upset, be glad, you can battle those monsters for another 20 minutes before they will be calm enough to lip them and get photos". "Besides a tarpon counts as caught if you touch the leader. We could have done that almost any time over the last 5 minutes".

The word is the 70 to 80 pounders are the ones to land for the lip and grin photos.

We all high fived, it was now Tom's turn back up. Greg returned the boat back to the spot where the battle began. I climbed up on the pulling platform to watch Tom and think about the tarpon.

I realized at that moment I had to come back down to Florida and do this again!

The next day brought windy stormy conditions. So there was not much action from any of the boats.

The fourth and final day I fished with Sam and our guide was Greg. Conditions once again were not great, I had a few follows, but no eats. Sam had two tarpon eat, but they quickly threw the hook.

Once again fishing was slower for most the boats this last day. All though we were at the tail end of the migration, water temperatures were getting warm and we had bad weather, I was very happy with my first big tarpon trip. Sad to see it coming to an end.

That night we had a excellent dinner with the guides at a local restaurant. We told lots of stories, jokes and more. We talked about the hardest part of this giant tarpon fishing was controlling our nerves. All of us had the skills to do this, but our excitement would take over and we would mess up our chance. I guess it would not be so much fun if we did not get excited.

Here's to Next Year, but sadly tarpon trip 2015 has come to an end.

Travis Duddles
Owner and CEO | Gorge Fly Shop

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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