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Archive for January, 2011

Winter Steelhead Overview

Winter Steelhead season is upon us. Most of our major river systems in the Pacific Northwest have experienced high water in the last few weeks and are currently dropping into shape. The early rains served as a “green light” for winter steelhead to ascend rivers from northern California to Washington. With the beginning of winter steelhead season it is time for steelhead anglers to make plans for fishing some of the most beautiful and magical rivers the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Following is an overview of your winter steelhead fishing opportunities with Fly Water Travel.

Northern Oregon Coast

From mid February through early May the rivers surrounding the greater Tillamook Bay region on the Northern Oregon coast transform into some of the most productive and seductive winter steelhead rivers in North America. Structurally they are a “swing” fisherman’s paradise and the quarry is almost always sea bright, wild and willing to chase a well swung fly. There are a number of excellent rivers in the greater Tillamook Bay region. Our guides, headed by veteran spey guru Scott O’Donnell, fly fish all of these systems depending of flows, time of year and preferences. All are floated and all fly fishing is done while wading. The guides greatly prefer swinging flies with spey rods and are excellent instructors.

Clackamas and Sandy Rivers

The Clackamas and Sandy Rivers, both within 30 minutes of downtown Portland, offer steelheaders the opportunity to fish for wild winter steelhead without large amounts of travel time. On the Sandy River we’ve enlisted the local guides from Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters. Their proximity to the river (5 minutes) and years of guiding experience ensure you the best possible shot at bright winter fish that can reach 15+ pounds. Sandy River trips will use a raft for transportation from run to run.

We’ve recently begun offering Clackamas River trips with local guide Jeff Hickman. Jeff not only grew up on the “Clack” but currently lives on the river, steps away from productive swing water. Jeff uses a 20ft. jet boat to move you around the river. All fishing will be done while wading and Jeff is happy to show you the intricacies of swinging a fly for fish that average 6-10 pounds. The Clackamas and Sandy River will produce steelhead through May.

The North Umpqua

Oregon’s North Umpqua River is the quintessential Cascadian river – steep, swift, crystal clear, and incredibly beautiful. It is also an iconic American classic that has captured the souls of countless anglers and drawn them back year after year to test their skills against one of the most challenging and rewarding races of steelhead in the world. Winter fishing on the North Umpqua will continue through April. These are almost all walk-and-wade trips where your guide will move you from run to run in the car. This gives the guides maximum flexibility in dealing with ever-changing water conditions.

Southern Oregon Coast

There are a number of excellent rivers in the greater Gold Beach region including the Rogue, Chetco, Elk and Sixes. The guides at Confluence Outfitters fly fish all of these systems depending of flows, time of year and preferences. Jet boats are used for transportation on the larger systems while the smaller rivers are accessed by raft or on foot. Fishing techniques include the wet fly swing with spey rods and dead-drift techniques, depending on water conditions and rivers fished. Our guides will be fishing the southern Oregon coast through the beginning of March when they move inland to guide on the Rogue and Applegate Rivers.

Rogue and Applegate Rivers

The months of March and April are prime time for the Applegate River and Rogue River above Grants Pass. The Applegate is a little-known tributary to the Rogue that provides an intimate setting. Limited access on the Applegate ensures you will not see many other anglers. Applegate days incorporate a combination of swung fly and dead-drift techniques. All trips will use a boat for transportation but there is no fishing from the boat on the Applegate. As the season winds down on the Applegate our guides move onto the Rogue River and continue fishing through the month of April.

What To Expect
This is true winter steelhead fishing and as such challenging weather conditions and relatively low catch rates are the norm. Under good conditions two “pulls” or takes per person per day would be considered very acceptable. On the bright side, the wild coastal steelhead in the region are typically very bright and often large. Additionally, the rivers are very well suited to the fly and a great pleasure to fish.

River conditions tend to vary wildly in the wintertime. All of our winter steelhead guides work on multiple rivers so that they have the flexibility to move around according to conditions. As we’re booking your steelhead trip we will be sure to make you aware of the options available to you and your guide. If conditions take a turn for the worse on your chosen river, be prepared for your guide to take you to another river the next day.

What’s In Store
Aside from my usual winter fishing I am looking forward to visiting some new areas this winter. In April I will be exploring the various rivers of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with Dave McCoy and his group of guides at Emerald Water Anglers. I am also excited to visit Jerry French (founding member of the Intruder cult) in Northwest Washington and learn about his guiding program on the Skagit and Sauk Rivers.

I look forward to discussing these options with you. This is an exciting time year for northwest steelheaders and is not to be missed! Give me a call at 800-552-2729.

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Giant Chile Trout

From our Friends at Martin Pescador Lodge, Chile.  All three fish were landed January 18th, 2011 at Martin Pescador Lodge.

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From Guillermo at Challhuaquen Lodge:

“December started with very good expectations, as we have witnessed a lot of activity of hatches and the usual flow of nymphs along the river. However, weather conditions, like the wind, the sun and the moon, and potentially abrupt changes in the atmospheric pressure, are always wild cards. Fortunately, our great Futaleufu once again delivered very interesting fly-fishing last month. We discovered the presence of a large group of midge nymphs (something rare in the river); and the trout selected them as their main source of food. Indeed, we got a lot of catches by fishing with midge imitations, using the dead drift method, near to the end of the rivers bed. This technique meant a great challenge since midge imitations are tied on very small hooks, with very thin tippets, but the catches were from a very good size (average of 12 inches) and quite strong. Besides that anomaly, we experienced the usual fishing of beautiful browns with streamers and dry attractors, in some cases obtaining captures above 20 inches. As always, the bottoms and the back eddies provided us with a lot of fishing on the surface, for which we used mayflies spent spinners and mosquitoes. This was really fun and very encouraging fishing! After Christmas, the weather stabilized and the sunny days begun, with no wind and hot temperatures, which allowed us to enjoy the river through fishing in all its modalities. Trout are in perfect condition and very spirited. The alternative places we proposed to our anglers, like Willmanco lagoon, Rivadavia River and Nant y Fall River, had all the same marvelous performances. This noted, we expect that performance in these places could deteriorate a bit as the summer goes and water temperature increases. Whereas the Futaleufu River is likely to remain a great fishing spot thanks to its massive water flow that maintains water temperature and volume mostly unchanged. In sum, quite a few days in December showed the best of flying fishing potential in the area. We hope you will have the chance to enjoy this extraordinary experience soon.”

Tight Lines & Singing reels!!!!
Guillermo Sag
Head Guide



Give us a call at 800-552-2729 if you’d like to visit Challhuaquen Lodge!

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Last minute offer for Challhuaquen Lodge in Argentina

Dates available:
Week 1: from January 25 to February 1, 2011
Week 2: from February 17 to February 24, 2011

Maximum rods: 6
Minimum nights: 5

Package Price, per person:
7 nights / 6 fishing days: $ 2.450 – (regular price: $ 4,900 / Saving 50%!!)
6 nights / 5 fishing days: $ 2,100 – (regular price: $ 4,200 / Saving 50%!!)
5 nights / 4 fishing days: $ 1.750 – (regular price: $ 3.500 / Saving 50%!!)

Our All Inclusive Packages include:
Transfer between lodge and Esquel airport.
Lodging in room with private bath and excellent Futaleufú River and mountain views.
All meals (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner), with fine Argentinean wines, beer and soft drinks.
Open Bar 24 hours a day: whiskey & hard liquors
Daily SPA: sauna, Jacuzzi, scotch shower.
Fly Fishing days with professional guides.
Transportation to/from fishing areas (4×4 – boats).
Fishing license (included private waters).
Fishing equipment: rods, waders and Fly Casting course.

Our packages do not include:
Plane transportation, airport taxes, personal life insurance, laundry, personal phone bills, tips, gratuities and all the things that is not included in the program.


Sample Itineraries:

7 nights / 6 fly fishing days
Day 1: Fishing in Futaleufú River- north area
Day 2: Fishing in Rivadavia River (Los Alerces National Park)
Day 3: Fishing in Futaleufú River- south area
Day 4: Fishing in Nant and Fall River or Corinto
Day 5: Fishing in Futaleufú River – best spots
Day 6: Fishing in Famous Spring Creek Arroyo Pescado

6 nights / 5 fly fishing days
Day 1: Fishing in Futaleufú River- north area
Day 2: Fishing in Rivadavia River (Los Alerces National Park)
Day 3: Fishing in Futaleufú River- south area
Day 4: Fishing in Famous Spring Creek Arroyo Pescado
Day 5: Fishing in Futaleufú River – best spots

5 nights / 4 fly fishing days
Day 1: Fishing in Futaleufú River – north area
Day 2: Fishing in Rivadavia River (Los Alerces National Park)
Day 3: Fishing in Futaleufú River – south area
Day 5: Fishing in Futaleufú River – better spots

Give us a call toll-free at 800-552-2729 if you’re interested in this great offer!

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The Clackamas River begins as a high alpine stream in the Northern Oregon Cascade Mountains before it descends over eighty miles to the west where it eventually meets the tidally influenced Willamette River in Oregon City . Known locally as the Clack, it drains the forests, springs and snowmelt of the western Cascadian ridgeline between Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson. The source of its most northern fork is less than ten miles from the house guide Jeff Hickman grew up in. This cold, clear, nutrient-rich water is perfect habitat for many fish species, both resident and anadromous.

The Clack’s water from the mouth upstream to River Mill Dam near Estacada is where all of its anadromous fishing takes place. This section of river provides an abundance of awesome year-round opportunity for a steelheader. Its waters beg for flies swung on two-handed rods and chrome fish are present twelve months out of the year to intercept your flies and stretch your backing.

Fishing the lower Clack, you will wade in the green water and swing flies through the river’s countless ledgy slots, boulder strewn runs and broad tailouts. Jeff prefers to use his 20ft jet boat to get from spot to spot. The jet boat gives Jeff maximum flexibility to adjust and adapt to changing conditions and the ability to stay in the fish and not waste time floating between spots. The Clack’s bounty is no secret. Don’t expect to be the only boat on the water, though with the flexibility of the jet boat you can usually find solitude and be at the right spot at the right time to connect with the river’s awesome ocean bright fish. The fact that there are others on the water factors into choice of fishing techniques. First thing in the morning with good water conditions you may fish a bigger fly on a light sink tip over a broad tail out to rested fish. When you pull into another run later in the day, Jeff assumes that you are not the first person to fish that spot and switch to a smaller fly with a larger sink-tip and concentrate your efforts on the deepest slot of the run.

Taking into consideration all of the factors on the river greatly increases the odds of finding fish on a swung fly. Luckily for us, Clack fish are very aggressive to the fly, and if your efforts are concentrated in the right places, you are often rewarded.

“For me, the waters of the Clack run deep into my memory and heritage. It is where I caught many of my first small-stream trout on dry flies, and also where I was first introduced to wild winter steelhead, and I now live only ten steps from a great piece of swinging water. For a fly swinging junkie like me, I feel unbelievably lucky to have such an amazing river right in my backyard. I would love to take you out for a day or two on my home water to show you some of the tricks I have learned and give the river a chance to reveal some of its secrets to you. The rewards can be immense and unforgettable. Though you can catch steelhead on the Clack every month of the year, my favorite time is December through June. Winter is the season the river is known for, but one secret that is not often known is May and June can also be incredibly productive.” – Jeff Hickman

Give us a call toll-free at 800-552-2729 if you’re interested in fishing for steelhead less than an hour outside of Portland!

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To all our Z-Boat friends:

Wishing you a Happy New Year! May all your fishing dreams come true!
And to inspire your dreams, a few photos to get you excited about 2011…

Tight lines,
Brad, Kim & Scott
Z-Boat Lodge
Terrace, BC





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With the calm winds and seas…. well it is going to be a little warm during the middle of the day, but you can modify your day to leave early and come back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta in the A/C. Then take off later in the afternoon for some evening tailers. Or take advantage of the best lighting during the middle of the day, and finish the day off in your air conditioned room with a cocktail.

$3225 per person, double occupancy
Roundtrip air charter(Cancun-Island) included

Come and experience what keeps people coming back to Casa Blanca Lodge year after year.

 

 

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