Feb 24, 2015

Fly Tie Night at Andrew's Pizza on March 4th, 2015

Join us for a night of fly tying at Andrew's Pizza, Hood River.  Our focus this round is Spring Steelhead favorites. Watch, learn, participate or just hang out and enjoy a slice of pizza and a local brew. 

Andrew's Pizza, Hood River
107 Oak St.
Hood River, Or 97031
Phone: 541-386-1448

Wednesday March 4th, 2015
6:30-8:30pm or until you leave!

Andrew Perrault | Gorge Fly Shop
Phone: 541-386-6977

Just one block east of Gorge Fly shop

Andrew Perrault
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Feb 18, 2015

Friends and Fishing

Josh Jablow guides at The Lodge of the Palisades Creek in Irwin Idaho

This is about friends more than it is about fishing. Every fisherman needs a good friend that is there to fish with during good and bad times. Fishermen grow and mature as anglers, and having someone to share that growth with allows them to become better anglers. This is just about the one fishing buddy that has had the most impact on me as an angler.

Josh and I have been fishing together for eight or nine years now. We were once roommates after my first year guiding for trout out in Idaho. I was just getting deep into steelheading before I moved out there, but I can say that Josh had more influence in my maturation as a steelheader than anyone else. Chasing steelhead started as more of a hobby that a lifestyle for me. I didn't think that I would miss it until it was unavailable.

I spent two entire guide seasons attempting to convince Josh to go steelheading “out west” with me. There are a lot of travel/fun options for a guide freshly finished with season, but for me, there was only one. In October of 2008, we made the trek across the great state of Idaho from one border to the other. Driving from one side of Idaho to the other doesn't seem like it should be that difficult or long, but it’s a solid 12+ hours from Driggs, ID (on the Wyoming border) to the Grande Ronde River (on the Washington border). It wouldn't be that bad if it wasn't for the giant wilderness that takes up most of central Idaho and requires a long detour around. Ironically, most of that drive across Idaho is done in Montana.

Josh first ventured out with me more out of curiosity than anything. He had heard of these mythical steelhead (unicorns), but didn’t know much else about them besides the usual; sea-run rainbows, hard to catch, etc… After spending nearly two years in the Rockies, my steelhead fever was overwhelming, like a junkie three days too long since his last fix. Trout are plenty of fun, and there are massive trout in the South Fork of the Snake, but nothing compares to the tug of a steelhead on a spey rod. Unfortunately, two years of trout fishing had really dulled my steelhead skills.

Grande Ronde Hook Up!

That first trip we took to the Ronde involved way too much driving and lots of second-guessing everything from which water to fish to what flies to use. We ended up figuring out a few things and actually catching a few fish. I was ecstatic with our results. I mean, we caught steelhead, even if it was just a handful. Success in steelheading cannot be measured in the quantity of fish caught, but the quality of the time spent on the water with good friends, and the improvement of skills. This is a hard concept for a Colorado trout fisherman to wrap his head around. In trout fishing, the more fish the better; as if you catch 60 trout in a day, you had a good day of fishing.

We did have to resort to nymphing for steelhead on that first trip; as we doubted and second-guessed our abilities to catch them on the swing. It just seemed so unnatural for guys who had just spent 150 days staring at bobbers and hopper/dropper rigs to think a fish would come up and eat a fly that in our minds, was presented so poorly that it was swinging in the current. We did swing a couple of runs unsuccessfully for most of the first day, but caught a couple of fish nearly immediately after setting up a nymph rod (2x trout tippet and a #12 prince nymph on a 6wt, right out of the guide box).

During the next two years, we took several trips out to the Upper Salmon River near Challis, ID during the springtime had satisfied our “fix” of steelhead, although that can hardly be considered true steelheading; its more like shooting fish in a barrel with a fly rod. We had one session where we hooked something like 19 steelhead in an hour and a half, none of which took any line or went airborne. After swimming somewhere around 800 miles and spending up to nine months in the river, there isn’t a whole lot of spunk left in them. They tend to pod up and bite a lot more than their fresher kin. It’s a little sad to compare them to anything we have in Washington and Oregon. They can’t help it; they have to eat a little bit to give them the last bit of energy they need to spawn.

We made another trip out the Grande Ronde two years after our first Ronde excursion. This time, we took my new raft three days from Boggan’s to Heller’s Bar. We nymphed from the boat in between swinging runs, but along the way, we ran into Ed Ward and his crew. They gave us tons of advice and set us up with some good water to work, and casually suggested that we break those nymph rods and never use them again. That was precisely the moment that we gave up the nymph rod as a primary tool; and our mutual addiction to steelhead grew to that point where it became unstoppable. Like when an alcoholic admits that they are powerless to stop it, we harness that feeling and use it to make ourselves better.
Camp Fire Tying

Later that day, we got into a run on the lower river that was stacked with fish. Josh and I each caught a couple of fish on a spey rod and dry lines. Neither of us had ever caught a fish on a scandi line and small, traditional flies. Josh had never caught one on a two-handed rod at all. We ended up camping on an uncomfortable gravel bar, sleeping on large rocks and mud, just because we did not want to leave that run. I knew at that moment that I would have to move closer to these fish.

A few years later and one more trip to the Ronde, I gave in to the power of the steelhead and moved out to Oregon. Josh stayed in Idaho, guiding trout in the summertime. He continues to come out every fall, working his way out from Idaho to California, fishing his way up the coast and then landing in the Gorge to hit the Deschutes, Klickitat and some other little spots around here before heading home (via the Clearwater and Grande Ronde of course).

Our adventure this year was probably the worst as far as fishing goes. Josh showed up right as the nasty weather hit in early November (really, the only nasty weather we’ve had this winter). He was there for the only skunking of the year on the Deschutes. We had east wind, dropping temps, dropping barometer and not a single grab with the river all to ourselves, even with the use of a jet boat to get to all the prime water.

Late Season Klickitat
Then the snow came and we had a couple of the coldest days I have ever had on the Klickitat. Icy guides, frozen lines, deep snow and overall miserable conditions made life difficult for a few days there. We had planned on doing a four day float on the Deschutes while he was here, but deep snow and arctic cold put a stop to that. He ended up leaving a week earlier than planned and went back to the Tetons to catch some powder turns and get a jump on tying flies for the upcoming season.

Even if Josh and I don’t even get to fish together all that much any more, even if we don’t catch any fish when we do see each other, it’s always a great time. Steelheading is just as much about experiencing a day on the river with good friends as it is catching a fish. I would definitely not be where I am if it wasn't for him, and he might have never known the joys and frustrations of this lifestyle we call steelheading if I hadn't dragged him out to the Ronde all those years ago.

Josh Jablow
** Winter 2015 update – Josh has just informed me that he will be coming out here in March for a couple of weeks of spring steelheading (can’t get enough). Expect a follow-up article on our adventures in early April.

Josh Jablow guides at The Lodge at Palisades Creek in Irwin, Idaho (www.tlapc.com) and can be found most of the year either at Grand Targhee Resort or fishing somewhere on the South Fork of the Snake River. If you want to have a great experience fishing for trout on one of the premier rivers of the west, book a trip with Josh.

Andrew Perrault
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Feb 12, 2015

Christmas Island, Ikari House

Zen Master Simon Corrie casting the Sage SALT 12wt, Nautilus Silver King and RIO GT 475gr Line

Christmas Island January 2015

Christmas Island may have introduced more anglers to fly fishing for bonefish and other saltwater species than any other destination. In January I hosted a group of nine anglers from the Northwest, ranging in age from 26 to 82. Seven of the nine were new to bonefishing and saltwater. Everyone had a great time and caught lots of bonefish. Anglers had action with Queenfish, Trigger Fish, Bluefin, Striped and Giant Trevally, Wahoo and Yellow Fin Tuna. What a great week on the flats! We saw more large bonefish than I have seen in 10 years. And they would eat a fly!

Jerry Brown - Christmas Island Bonefish

The food at Ikari House is way better than anywhere else on the island. We had sashimi with drinks every day after fishing. Wow! There are six rooms that are new in the last two years. All have A/C on a thermostat, on-demand hot water and are spotless everyday. This may not sound like much, but on Christmas Island this is the Ritz.

GT action with Mitch Callas
What makes Christmas unique is that it has the most extensive wade-able flats of any atoll in the world. The more you fish other locations you realize this is special. All bonefishing is done by wading. In addition the equatorial location has no seasonality, making it is a go-to saltwater destination.

My first trip to Christmas Island was 29 years ago. Quick drying tropical clothing and flats boots had not been invented yet. We were tying up new flies, drinking Australian beer and getting sun burned through the cotton sport shirts. This time I was fortunate to fish with Simon Corrie, who was one of my guides on that first trip. Moana Kofe is now the head guide at Ikari House. He fished with different anglers during the week as a special guide and that time was memorable. These two guides are Zen masters. You learn fly fishing by doing, and they have done it a lot. Both can cast a whole fly line in the wind, know the habits of fish, the tides and “know the language of fish.” I fished with 5 newer guides and would fish with any of them again or recommend them to clients. The fishery is in very good hands.

Jerry Swanson with Mustache Trigger Fish

The Gorge Fly Shop is planning a hosted trip to Christmas Island in 2016. Please let Travis Duddles, the Gorge owner, or me know if you are interested.

Call Travis

Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions, LLC


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Feb 11, 2015

Hatch Nomad Pliers - When they Grip you will Grin

Made in the USA
Hatch Outdoors continues to impress me with the precision machine work, attention to detail and flawless anodized finishes. All critical features that make Hatch fly reels some of the most popular reels on the market today. 

Those features can all be found in the new addition of the Hatch Nomad Pliers

2014 IFTD Show

The guys at Hatch showed me a prototype of the new pliers about a year before release. They looked awesome and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a pair. A year later after seeing and using the final product really indicated to me how much time and effort went into making these incredible pliers. You see it's that same kind of commitment to every detail that makes Hatch Fly Reels the benchmark standard today.

I've had some time on the water with these new pliers and while I failed to bring you a toothy critter hook removing picture (and I did try real hard) I still want to point out some of the key features that have me completely sold on these.


Precision Jaws and Cutters
At 6.25" they are "Just Right!" They fit your hand like a glove and no matter Trout to Toothy Critter they are not too big or too small. By the way 6.25" was intentional to legally clear TSA airport regulations so go ahead and carry them on.

Jaws and Cutters

Rich leather sheath
Mono, Fluoro, Bite Tippet, Braid, Dacron....it doesn't matter! The cutters cut flawlessly. Made from Tungsten Carbide and yes they are replaceable. Take note of how the cutter blades come right to the jaw's edge. It's surprisingly easy to trim even 6x right close to the fly. The jaws are machined from 1704 stainless steel for corrosion resistance and are also replaceable.


Rich Black Leather with sewn in red thread seams and an embossed Hatch Logo accent this sheath and adds the classic look to properly finish the package. Looking back I remember talking to Andrew at Hatch about the problem I have with competitors sheaths and not being able to get them to fit my wading belt. Most of my angling involves waders so what do you do? Put your pliers in your pocket...Not Cool! So not only did Hatch make the loop big enough for your wading belt they also incorporated a stainless steel snap that allows for easy on/off and no more struggling to get a buckle though the loop.


Attach lanyard to your hip pack

Even thought went into the lanyard.  Hatch took a different approach than the old coil type of lanyard and decided to go a different direction and create a custom bungee lanyard detachable at both ends. The sweet feature of this is the ability to use the lanyard on its own without the need of the sheath. You can attach it to your boat or float tube without fear of loosing your investment. You can attach them to your hip pack, wader suspenders or a belt loop. This simple feature gives your Nomad Pliers extreme versatility so no matter what fishing adventure you are pursuing your pliers can go with you.

Bottle Opener

At the end of an awesome successful day of fishing let your Nomad Pliers do the honors of popping the top on a bottle of celebration and make a toast to all the fish that got hooked, landed, released and the one that got away!

Functional, Versatile,  Bold...Are the words I use to describe the Nomad Pliers!


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Feb 10, 2015

Adventure Steelhead 1/30/2015

Recently, John and I did some serious bushwhacking/exploration. We had been looking for a new way to get down to the river, and after a failed attempt or two, we found it. 

 I should say that we found a place where you can park within a certain distance to a river, with public land from the road to the river. Unfortunately, there is no “trail” to speak of, just a poorly used game trail that meanders about 2000’ down a cliff side. It’s not a straight down type of cliff, but a definitely steep slope. I would surely ski it if it was covered in snow.

After an hour of scrambling down this slope, we managed to get to the river right where we thought we would end up (according to our calculations via Google). However, it quickly became apparent that we would not be able to leave the river in the same manner that we went down. Getting up the same way that we descended would not only have been extremely difficult, we would have spent hours climbing up the loose brush and rock. Climbing down had not been that bad, but the thought of going up was pretty much out of the question.

So we fished this run that I had been eyeing for a while. Unfortunately, it was much faster than and not as deep as we had hoped. Bummer dude… Luckily, I am Swiftwater Rescue Certified, and one of the things I learned how to do is cross a river that is moving fast by linking arms and walking in step with a partner while leaning on each other to keep steady. This was really the only way to get across the river as it is fast and forbidding. So we slowly crossed the river and walked downstream along the bank for a while until we found a decent looking piece of water.

So this is where the fish story comes in! 

 I started swinging this run and quickly got my fly into a really nice looking bucket. A fish grabbed my pink bunny leech in mid-swing. It then dropped the fly, and then hit it again even harder on the hang-down at the end of the swing. One head shake and it dropped the fly again. By this point, I was yelling and swearing at this fish. Jon had stopped and was watching the action.

After the second grab (and drop), I quickly stripped the fly twice as it was hanging down at the end of the swing. As if I was trout fishing, this steelhead boiled on my fly and slammed it as hard as possible. I saw all of this as the fly and the fish were in less than two feet of water and less than fifty feet from me. The fish then screamed about fifteen feet of line off my reel and popped off. That fish was hooked and lost. I had never had a steelhead take a fly three times like that in one swing, and never had a winter fish eat a fly on the strip.

So instead of standing there staring at the water in disbelief, I fired a cast ten feet off where that fish popped off towards the deeper side. I mended the line and stripped the fly once. Less that a second later, this fish took the fly again, even harder that the other three times, and proceeded to put me in my backing while going airborne several times.

When I finally landed him, the hook was up in the roof of his mouth, right where it should be. I thought that maybe, just maybe, there were two fish out there that were involved in this incident. When we took a closer look, we could see the fresh hole, still bleeding, in the corner of his mouth from where I had just put a hook in him on the previous cast.

I have been fishing for a long time, and I never had a steelhead ever act that aggressively towards my fly,

especially a winter steelhead. Winter fish are not exactly known for moving a long ways for a fly. Grabbing the fly four times total and getting pinned at least twice in two casts is unheard of. The adventure of getting to the river was totally worth the sweat and soreness, but the fish was a bonus that gave us both a glow and a smile for the rest of the day.

We ended up having to walk down the river for quite a while before climbing up the other bank. We then had to figure out how to get to our car on the other side of the river several miles upstream, but that is a completely different story.

Andrew Perrault | Product Specialist | Steelhead Adventurer 
Gorge Fly Shop

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Feb 9, 2015

RIO Outbound Fly Lines

We recently posted a very informative piece on Skagit lines from our ever faithful rep George Cook, titled “Skagit/ology 3.0 – The Trilogy Comes to Light” where he went deep into the end zone and scored big time points with some confused customers who were trying to make sense of it all. Well, we thought we would have him do it again, but this time we are focusing on RIO’s Outbound Family of Fly Lines

RIO Outbound Series of Fly Lines

Contribution by Northwest RIO Representative George Cook


New Year’s Greetings…

As a longtime RIO Sales Rep dating back to 1993 there’s little doubt that the subject of Spey and Switch lines indeed dominate the landscape of questions, be it from dealers, consumer’s, guide’s and outdoor writer’s, the 2nd highest level of Fly Line questions surrounds the vaunted RIO Outbound family of lines. In this, there are a number of lines and with that number comes confusion and often times a straight up “Selection Conundrum”. The crew at GFS and I have spent many an early morning plowing thru the various families of the Outbound Clan and without further ado please find the below read as the CONUNDRUM SOLVED end all, be all explanation on Who-What, Why & Where as to the proper selection and use of these outstanding, innovative fly lines.

Throw Back!
The original Outbound line (now known-listed as the Coldwater Series Outbound) brought about by the innovative mind of RIO’s founder Jim Vincent was largely formulated for the East Coast Striper/Bluefish crowd where just a little more distance was ALWAYS being sought to reach yet another far off bait ball with busting critters just waiting for their next mouthful. This 37.5’ Integrated (=Fully Built)Shooting head was truly a gift to the angler in that it sprang forth three super important aspects that had previously really only been available thru “The Chop Shop Custom Shop” in other words someone in the local “Secret Society” who likely wasn’t sharing! The 1st aspect was that of the Ultra Custom Shooting Head that was largely found in California among-st the foremost inner sanctum crowd plying the fabled California coast for Steelhead, Chinook as well as Stripers. These west coast legends the likes of Bill Shadt, Bob Nauheim, Walt Bennett, Les Eichorn and others (Buy or Rent “Rivers Of The Lost Coast” narrated by Tom Skerritt and see these cats in action!) had brought forth the next generation of super shooting heads by taking existing Weight Forward (WF) Floating or Intermediate lines applying a “One Bump Up” theorem and then custom cutting them around the 38’ mark. So for a 9’ eight weight rod these boys would get their mitts on a full WF-9-F Fly Line, come back into it 38’, cut it, then play some level of splice or possibly loop system with a given shooting line (Amnesia being a good one). The outcome of this custom chop shop masterpiece was nothing short of next level performance in that one of these babies would simply FLY, Fly Away in the hands of the ardent double haul practitioner. The theory was ultra sound here in that by extending the classic shooting head from the standard 30’ out to 38’ one could reasonably expect a number of factors to come together that would produce greater max distance potential, boy did it folks! I got to play with one of these secret society lines in January of 1988 at the ISE Sacramento Sportsmen’s show when longtime Sage Pro Staffer Walt Bennett strung one up and put it on the then brand new SAGE 890 RPL Rod. I watched Ol’ Walt belt out some mighty rip roaring cast anxiously waiting my turn to cast this west coast magic line for myself. To be sure, I’d never seen anything like it, it was truly bad ass and I could instantly see the max distance potential that such an extended length taper (Shooting Head) would provide the caster, particularly with the recent advent of the Graphite 3 class rods like the RPL of the late 1980’s. It was plain to see that at 38’ the aerial stabilization factor was greatly pronounced in such a way to gain unprecedented distance.

Fast forward to Y2K when Jim Vincent cranked out the ultra-innovative OG (Original Gangster) Outbound Fly Line. 

Jim rolled with the longer Shooting Head length at 37.5 but improved upon a couple needed aspects A) “Double Bump” weight distribution ( hence an 8 weight line kissing a 10 weight range) and B) the integration, smooth transition of head to running-shooting line as a full built, complete fly line. The double bump idea was brilliant in that the Graphite rods of today were then and are now formula one race cars compared to the Classic Fenwick Glass Rods of the 60’s and 70’s that transcended to the first low modulus graphite weapons in the 1970’s. Graphite II brought about by SAGE would not hit till the 1984 period. These were all recurve bows compared to today’s laser like tools and the “One Bump Up” idea that was so valid then had given way to Jim’s modern day, modern graphite double bump. The integrated line format was simply lovely in that it insured clean, long cast in repeatable fashion, again Jim was hitting on all cylinders!

Today, we have the luxury of many available OUTBOUND format lines, no doubt a fantastic offering but can be somewhat confusing at first glance. Here you’ll find the lowdown on just which lines right for you, your fishing, your expectations and ultimately your success.

Coldwater Series Outbound
Coldwater Series RIO Outbound: Again the OG of the group. 37.5’ Max Distance Taper. This folks is your go to line for the following task… Puget Sound Beach Bombing with flies in the ½” to 3” inch range. Throw spinning rod like distances (70’-110’) from beach or boat in pursuit of Sea Run Cutthroat, resident and migratory Silvers, Chums and Pink salmon. While often overlooked this line is a sleeper Lake Line in that the same size flies and distance expectations that are common in the beach game transcend to Western Lake fishing as well and believe me the “Bank Rats” have their day in court armed with such lines in both Intermediate and floating versions. The KEY identifier here is that this is the 37.5’ taper NOT A SHORT Version. Do note that the likely only true drawback of this line is that once the fly size gets north of 3” in length folks can and will have trouble getting this longer line up, loaded and launched.

Outbound Short 

Specialty Series RIO Outbound SHORT: Short here does indeed imply SHORTER as in a 30’ taper VS the OG 37.5’ taper found in the Coldwater series. This is a freshwater/Coldwater line as well but at a shorter 30’ length still featuring the double bump weight format. This line is ideal for a number of angling scenario’s like Western Boat Streamer Bank Banging where repetitive cast to the banks edge with nasty streamers often produce the best Trout of the day, maybe the season! Think Yellowstone, Yakima, Madison and Missouri type environments where short range 25’-45’, rapid succession cast and strip techniques are the rule of the day. Quick loading with power to turnover and deliver the big nasty’s straight to Bow Bow and Brown Town’s favorite haunts. The 30’ SHORT taper is simply ideal for this classic western streamer fishing format.

Outbound Short Coldwater

Coldwater Series RIO Outbound SHORT: Essentially the SAME Animal as the Specialty Series Outbound Short (Above). The difference being simply put is how the line is marketed by RIO and presented by dealers. Confused…don’t be, just know this is another 30’ Double Bumped Outbound Short Line that is largely promoted as a Coldwater Fresh or Coldwater Salt use line. On one hand this baby will play that Western Streamer ballgame as discussed above in the Specialty Series Outbound Short. It is also a Larger Fly (3”+, think 4” to 8”) “GO TO” line for both East and West Coast striper chasers. It will also be prescribed for the Rank Beginner who ventures onto the same Puget Sound beaches where the veteran angler is busy launching mega cast with the 37.5 Outbound line. This prescription is set to have that new beach angler in a position to make good, acceptable fishing cast as he literally gets his feet wet in the salty brine of the Pacific Northwest. I will tell that same newbie that he will ultimately WANT the 37.5 Coldwater version as he develops his game to the next level as it will outcast the 30’ Short by leaps and bounds, no getting away from that aspect. The larger fly Striper seekers will find that this is a great choice to get up, load and launch those larger baitfish patterns particularly when crashing critters offer flash opportunities.
Outbound Short Tropical

RIO Tropical Outbound SHORT: Warm-tropical water use Outbound SHORT line that once again utilizes a double bumped weight formula that is a fantastic line for the Tropical salt water angler be it beach or boat. Examples abound here….Baja Roosters, Christmas Island/Seychelles’ Trevally. Anytime big flies and quick cast meet on the curve this is the clear cut winner.
Here’s what our very own Gorge Fly Shop owner and avid tropical fisherman, Travis Duddles had to say about Rio’s Tropical Outbound Short… “I have found the Tropical Outbound Short to be my favorite line for stalking Tarpon and Snook along the mangroves. This situation requires quick 40 to 60 foot cast. The Tropical Outbound loads the rod with one quick back cast allowing for a very quick powerful cast to the mangroves. Although this would not be my choice for a distance line, this is the only line I would use in the mangrove lagoons of Mexico, Belize and Florida.

RIO Outbound Short Shooting Head: The classical 30’ freshwater shooting head now available in the vaunted double bump Outbound SHORT format as a head only. For those anglers seeking an old school shooting head experience the advent of the killer Outbound SHORT taper brings load and line speed to the forefront of today’s available shooting heads.

Whatever your angling pursuits are there is a RIO Outbound line at the ready to maximize control, distance and ultimately SUCCESS for that all important time on the water.

George Cook - January 2015

Honestly there isn’t any need for me to say anything else that Georgie hasn’t already said. Thank you Georgie for the intel! We hope that this helps make some sense of the Rio Outbound Family of Lines. Rest assured that there is an outbound line that will fill your need. We hope you enjoyed the read and look forward to seeing you out on the water… if you have any questions feel free to give us a call @ 541.386.6977 or visit us on the web at: gorgeflyshop.com

Remember, if you can’t find it at the Gorge Fly Shop, you don’t need it!

Gorge Fly Shop
John Garrett | Product Specialist


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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