Fly fishing in the state that never existed.

 
Home Sweet Home

I am about to make a bold statement; The State of Jefferson has the most underrated fishing on in the West. Now I know this is a bold claim but last year I was fortunate enough to fish with some of my great clients on the lower Klamath for a day with the guys from Wildwaters Fly Fishing. After what could only be described as an absolutely phenomenal day of fishing for Kings and Steelhead on the fly we decided to schedule multiple days with them this year. It did not disappoint.

After a short flight down from Portland or Seattle and a quick car ride we arrived at the house that would serve as our base of operations for the next several day; located on the side of a mountain the spectacular views of Mount Shasta and Lake Shastina this 8000 square foot log home was within an hour of many amazing fisheries. King Salmon, Steelhead, Half-pounders, and both Rainbows and Browns awaited us on rivers like the Pit, McCloud , Sacramento, and the Klamath.Home Sweet Home

On the first day migratory fish were the name of the game, with the group split between the Upper Klamath below Irongate dam and the Lower Klamath closer to the salt, I was in the group that would head upriver. After a quick drive through some spectacular countryside we arrived at the boat launch just below Irongate. We caught fish all day; under blue skies in 80 degree weather, every run we ran the indicator through we got fish and King Salmon, Half-Pounders, and Steelhead kept our rods bent all day. After a day that seemed all too short we arrived back at the house just in time for an amazing chef prepared meal, an amazing sunset by the fire pit and some much needed rest before day 2.

No Fish Here

No Fish Here

The second day found me chasing rainbows on the Lower Sacramento right through downtown Redding. While I have fished this section of river several times before it never fails to meet expectations;  In fact it’s always quite the opposite, the trout always seem bigger, seem to fight harder, and be more plentiful than the trip before. While I have certainly fished in more scenic locals, the quality of fishing is some of the best in the west. A quick shot back up I-5 and it was time for more amazing food and great fun at the indoor shuffleboard table before day 3.

Lower Sac Fatty

Lower Sac Fatty

We saved the best for the last day; the McCloud River. Flowing along portions of the Pacific Crest trail this river is home to both the beautiful McCloud River Rainbow and resident Browns as well as a migratory Brown Trout from Lake Shasta that can reach truly impressive sizes. We alternated between throwing streamers in the hunt for the elusive big fish as well as fishing dry/droppers for the resident fish. While the giant fish proved difficult to hook, we did see them in in a few of the deep holes and even had a few make a charge or two at our flies, proving their existence; and the smaller fish proved ready and willing to eat big dries and small nymphs to keep the day interesting. McCloud Video

The McCloud was a special place, full of rich history as well as a multitude of plants, animals, and birds, at times the scenery makes concentrating on the fly difficult as the urge to just soak it all in can be overwhelming. It’s also a place that’s hard to put down the rod and pick up a camera, thankfully John’s camerawork does the river more justice than I could ever do it. Unfortunately the day was over all too quickly and it was time to hike back to the car and head back to the airport for the flight home. As I watched the sunset as plane descended into PDX and we all relived the events of the last few days it was decided; next years trip to the State of Jefferson can’t come soon enough.

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Finding your own water

WP_20130724_024

I have been in the fly fishing industry for some time now and lately I have been noticing an interesting trend in the fishing community, it seems that more and more people are not looking to get general fishing info when talking to local experts. In talking to friends in the industry I am not alone, there is a feeling that if a local expert has come down to the shop or club to give a seminar, that people expect them to share mot just techniques or fly patterns but to actually walk them through catching a fish step by step. I have been doing classes and seminars in shops and at fly clubs for almost 10 years now and there is a discernible difference in expectations.

In the past I would go down to a club or shop and give a presentation and then a Q&A session and the questions would be pretty general; what times of year are the fish more active, how do you overcome a specific challenging condition, or elaborate on a specific technique. These are the reason we are there, they are the exact questions that make us experts in what we do and we want to share these things with other anglers to help them be more productive on the water. But there has been a fundamental shift, the more recent presentation ends with a Q&A session that sounds more like this; where should I fish tomorrow? What river? What exit off of the highway? Where should I park? What fly should I start with? Should I go upriver or down?

First of all I will tell you that some of those questions are impossible to answer, until I see the what’s going on when I get there I don’t know what fly I would start with. Without seeing what’s happening on the water I don’t know where I will start or whether I will go upstream or down. If a guide or expert is not telling you those things its not because they are holding out on you, its because fishing is a dynamic sport, one of the things that makes a great guide or angler is the ability to adapt on the water and find fish.

The second part of this is that I believe that there is great reward in accomplishing things on your own. If I call a friend and he says to go to this spot, walk up river this far, cast this fly next to this rock at this time of day; and I go there, do those things, and catch a fish I lose a little something. I would argue that there is a much greater sense of accomplishment in a fish that you did all the legwork for, that you put in the hours scouring Google maps, learned the water height that fishes well and the run timing and the fly patterns. By doing those things you find that they are your spots and that every fish is all the sweeter a prize.WP_20130724_010

I was really contemplating this yesterday as I stood with a friend, knee deep in a new Carp flat, experiencing the best Carp fishing I have seen all year. This was made all the sweeter by the fact that nobody has ever mentioned this piece of water to me before, I have never seen a person parked there or a fisherman walking down the freeway, and while I was there I got a call from a friend of mine who has fished almost every piece of Carp water in the area and he had never been in there.

So go to the clubs and shops, talk to the experts, get the fundamentals; then go out to find your own spots and reap the rewards that come with doing the work.

Some more Giant Goldfish goodness

Some more Giant Goldfish goodness

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Back to it.

Its been a long time since I made a post on here; I have been in the middle of trying to buy a newe house and it has meant moving in with in-laws and placing all of my stuff in storage. All of my stuff actually included my computer so I have been off the grid so to speak. There has been one good side effect to living without all of my stuff, I haven’t had anything to do but fish on my days off. So while I may still be out of a house (I will never try to buy a short sale again as it fell apart after 5 months, the day before we were scheduled to close) I have been fishing my butt off the last few weeks.

I will be working the next few days to update the class schedule for the shop and posting a few cool stories about the last few weeks fishing. From Carping with RA Beattie and John Montana to hiking in for some trout fishing solitude I have been taking advantage of all the Summer season in the NW has to offer.

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Becker

Spent the past two weeks guiding in the White Mountains of Arizona. It was all sight fishing and catching trophy rainbows on dries. Even though I have been getting some pretty bad reports I found fishing to be very good. It is all about time on the water and thinking outside the box. Here is a video of some of the fish landed at Becker Lake.

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San Juan River

Just returned from the San Juan River where I shot this little GoPro video.

Fishing was off the charts and the best I have experienced in over 15 years of fishing the San Juan River. Flows are down and the water is clear.
San Juan River Rainbow
Also fished some private water on the lower river. This was on Soaring Eagle Lodge’s property and caddis were coming off and there were PMD nymphs all over my boots. With the flows at 260 you can’t float this area as boats won’t make it through. We had this water to ourselves.

Lower San Juan Brown

Lower San Juan Brown


If you haven’t fished the San Juan, it should be on your list. I hear people say that they don’t go because it is too crowded. The video was taken in the public “quality water” on Memorial Day and there wasn’t a soul around. Get out there while the fishing is good!

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A quick little Carping video from the other day.

Bellevue fishing manager Jason Cotta and myself out for a little early season Columbia River Carping. It has started out really good this early spring because of the nice weather. If you are interested in getting out for some Carp this summer there are a few ways to do it.

1) Meet Brian Marz and Heidi Adcock from the shop at the Cracker Barrell just across the Sauvies Island bridge at 1pm April 20th. They will be hosting a free fish along for a couple of hours, weather permitting.

2) Come down to the shop on April 27th at 11am and learn from the master himself, John Montana will be giving a free seminar on catching Carp on the fly. No one is better than John so make sure your there to get tossed some knowledge from one of the best Carpers you’ll ever meet. We will also be announcing the specifics of this years Carpocalypse tournament so don’t miss out.

http://youtu.be/I2VITq3O0U8

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Small Stream Fishing in Arizona

It is spring and that means runoff. In some places that is a bad word but in Arizona it is the best time to catch big fish. Our waters are normally very small so when you get high off colored water you get fish that feel like kings. Trout that are normally hiding from their predators because the water is crystal clear go crazy when the water gets high and stained. It is my favorite time to fish and a lot of local anglers have no idea how good it can be. While they are waiting for waters to clear up and roads to open they are missing out on some of the largest fish of the year. In just a few weeks these same fish will develop locked jaw and will hide all day only to come out at night to feed.

Arizona Small Stream

Arizona Small Stream


Some of these places require a two plus mile hike. On this particular stream we hiked two miles down into a canyon and fished our way out. I hear some people saying that this particular spot is a treacherous hike, I would call it moderate. Most good fishing spots are like this. If you want to get to fish that few people fish to and you want to catch big wild browns you have to take some risks and move away from the most accessible spots.
Cinda Fishing and Arizona Small Stream

Cinda Fishing an Arizona Small Stream


Sometimes we deal with having to hike down roads that are closed to vehicles for the winter. Though most of our waters never close, the roads do but that doesn’t mean we don’t fish the streams.
Fishing Canyon Creek in High Water

Fishing Canyon Creek in High Water


Again, if you want to catch big fish you have to take chances. This fish was in a place that I think most local anglers have never seen and I would venture to guess that many have no idea how to access this water. Sometimes you just have to start walking.
Arizona Remote Wild Brown Trout

Arizona Remote Wild Brown Trout


Another Beautiful Wild Brown

Another Beautiful Wild Brown

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One of my Favorite Bass flies

With all of the preparation for Belize and then trying to catch up since I got home I have been seriously neglecting the blog for a little while. I am now trying to make up for lost time.

With the weather changing around here its time to start getting ready for some of our other fisheries, warm water fishing is just around the corner so its time to start stocking up the Bass box. This is one of a whole series of flies that I tie for Bass and I will expand upon the others in the next couple of weeks.  These are my go to flies for bass as they are almost impossable to get stuck in heavy cover and they hook up really well on fish.

Categories: Instruction, Tying Videos, Uncategorized, Warmwater | Leave a comment

April 7th event invite

As promise, we are having an in store event dedicated to one of the most famous rivers in the West. We will be having in store presentations from both Damien Nurre of Deep Canyon Outfitters as well as Bea Armstrong from Deschutes River Conservancy. There will be complimentary BBQ and beers from Pine Shed Ribs  and Deschutes Brewery as well as a chance to win a new 9ft 5wt H2 rod. We will also be giving away special discounts to anyone who donates $25 or more to the Deschutes River Conservancy.

We hope to see as many people as possable in the store supporting one of the greatest rivers in the Northwest so share this with your fellow fly fishers and lets help out the Deschutes.

Deschutes river happy hour

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Learn About A New Fly Fishing Opportunity

We are really lucky here in Western Oregon. Just about the time one season starts to feel a little stale there is a new opportunity knocking at the door; while the month of March still offers some of the best Steelhead fishing of the year, some days the urge to do something else just can’t be ignored.

While fly fishing off of the saltwater jetties is a common practice elsewhere there are not a lot of people doing it here on the west coast. Jetty fishing in the spring offers a chance to get out and enjoy something different(and fill your stomach with some tasty fish fillets if your into that sort of thing), while getting away from the crowds that can be so common on our local rivers during the month of March.

This is a great chance to get out and learn about this unique fishery with someone who really knows it and can help teach you the basics so you can be successful. Give Brian a call to secure your place in the class.

FF301 – Rockfish/Lingcod Seminar


Fly fishing off of the rocks in the Pacific Northwest can be very exciting, and it is a totally untapped fishery for the fly fisher seeking out an alternative to the standard trout/steelhead/salmon game. You can hook fish after fish at times, and you will often be the only person out there. Some locations offer fishing where you have no idea what fish may bite your fly next. It may be a Black Rockfish, a Quillback Rockfish, a Lingcod, etc…

Checking out a Black Rockfish caught off of a jetty

You may be wondering how do I even start to target any of those fish on my fly rod? Well this FF301 is designed to show you how to fly fish for “bottom fish” in the Pacific Northwest. It is a class, and not a guided fishing trip; so make sure before you sign up that you understand that we are not going on a guided fishing trip in the saltwater. This will be a class with 5 students, and we will be out there in waders learning how to bottom fish on our own for future outings. We will be learning how to fish for these rockfish and lingcod with our fly rods, and catching them will only be a byproduct of the demonstrations, and people learning the techniques properly. We will be fishing a lot in the class, and fish should be caught, but the point of this class is to be able to target these fish species with the right fly lines, flies, and techniques all on your own.
-My goal is to have the class participants to be able to tell me how they are successfully catching “bottom fish” on their own after they have taken the class.

Date:  Saturday March 16th  (alternate date Saturday April 6th 9:45am-12pm – If really severe weather strikes for original scheduled date)

Time:  2:15pm-6:45pm

Location: Tillamook Bay area or Netarts Bay area (to be determined according to conditions when class date arrives) – Both are similar in driving time.

Cost:   $75 per person – 5 people will be in the class

Equipment Needed:
The Basics:  Waders and Sturdy wading shoes with studs, polarized sunglasses, raingear for the elements, Oregon fishing License
Rod/Reel: A saltwater 7wt at the minimum all the way to a 10wt saltwater rod will work with a saltwater reel to match the rod. Fly lines for the class and future rockfishing trips are specialized shooting heads; so inquire about what you will need if you are serious about taking the class, and plan on doing saltwater rockfishing in the future. The same fly lines can be used for tidewater salmon fly fishing; so there are more uses for the shooting heads than just rockfish and lingcod.
-I do have some extra gear; so inquire if you are interested but lack the rod/reel to take the class. Switch rods will work for this fishing too. Ask again if you are interested, and have equipment questions. 
Flies:  The class will include several flies per person, but you may also want to pick up some flies for your own experimentation as well. If you are interested in tying up some flies for the class, or buying any to try out, then email me, and I can provide a list of some options to try out.

If you are interested in taking the class; email me at fish@mckenzieangler.com or call (541)-232-6360. 

A nice hefty Black Rockfish caught on the first cast of the day…..
Categories: Classes, Instruction, Rigging, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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