My New Bamboo Rod Shop In Sisters, Oregon

Mary Ann and I just sold our house in Corvallis, Oregon after 18 years and moved about 120 miles to the east in the town of Sisters, Oregon.  We’re both very excited about the move and our new house, and we are much closer to terrific year-around trout fishing…and much drier weather.  Mary Ann has also started guiding in the fall and spring timeframes for Jeff Perin of The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters.  But, I don’t have a fully set-up and functional workshop for my bamboo rod building at the new house.  For now, I’ve shoe-horned my big tools into a corner of the garage.  And, I’ve put up plastic in the corner for a make-shift rod dipping operation.  In fact, later today I’ll be dipping the fourth coat of varnish on a new 8′ 0″ 3 piece 6 wt. rod.  Finally, I’ve temporarily taken over a bedroom in the house for rod wrapping and finishing work…sharing that space with fly tying.  I’m fully functional and building bamboo rods to meet all my orders, but it’s very cramped in this new arrangement.  I’ll break ground in the spring on a complete new rod shop…boy is that ever an exciting prospect!  Here are a few pictures of my temporary rod building set-up:

My big tools in the garage.

My big tools in the garage.

My big tools in the garage.

My big tools in the garage.

My "rod dipping" room in the garage.

My “plastic-walled rod dipping” room in the garage.

My rod dipping set-up.

My rod dipping set-up.

Rod wrapping and finishing.

Rod wrapping and finishing.

Photographing Fish When Your Alone

Trying to photograph a good sized fish when you’re out by yourself can certainly be challenging…and frustrating.  I learned the hard way last year, and ended up with a cell phone going for a swim!  Wrestling with a fish one-handed, getting it out of the net, removing the hook, positioning everything just right, and then operating your camera for a self portrait often just doesn’t work.  Here is a great way to get a beautiful shot:

Find a spot where the water is calm and only about an inch or two deep, hopefully that you haven’t muddied up yet.  Lay your rod down in the water.  Holding the leader about a foot above the fish, guide the fish out of the net with the hook still in place and slide it up to your fly rod.  In most cases, I’ve found that the fish will cooperate and lay on it’s side for a quick photo….and….you haven’t even needed to touch the fish or take it out of the water.  Slide the hook out, and with a little nudging, the fish will slowly move away.  Here is a photo I took yesterday while fishing Marsh Creek here in Idaho:

A Beautiful Marsh Creek Cutthroat Trout.

A Beautiful Marsh Creek Cutthroat Trout.

Fishing Bamboo on the Salmon River, Idaho

It’s interesting how quickly trout respond to changes in river conditions.  For the past several days, the Salmon River here in Stanley, Idaho has been blown out from flash floods that resulted in serious mud being dumped into the river.  The normal crystal clear Salmon River had become a water system of chocolate milk, with visibility being reduced to nearly zero.  But, a few days ago the river started to clear and Mary Ann and I were able to get out on the drift boat with one of my 8′  3″  5 wt. bamboo fly rods.  We weren’t really expecting much out of the day but the fishing gods smiled on us.  We managed to raise several fish on tan hoppers, and large streamers stripped through the deep runs worked also.  Here are a couple of fat fish that came to the boat:

The Salmon River after clearing from a muddy mess.

The Salmon River after clearing from a muddy mess.

A fat Westslope Cutthroat that took a large JJ Special streamer pattern.

A fat Westslope Cutthroat that took a large JJ Special streamer pattern.

A beautifully colored up Westslope Cutthroat that took a hopper.

A beautifully colored up Westslope Cutthroat that took a hopper.

 

 

First Fish On Bamboo

I recently built a new bamboo fly rod, 8′  3″  medium action 5 wt, for Noel from Australia.  On a visit to the states, I got the chance to present the rod to him and take him fishing with his new rod.  On one of my favorite creeks here in central Idaho, Noel was able to hook this great cutthroat on a #14 tan ant pattern.

First Fish on Bamboo

First Fish on Bamboo

Fishing Bamboo on Bear Valley Creek, Idaho

I’ve had the opportunity to fish one of my favorite stretches of water on Bear Valley Creek near Stanley, Idaho over the past week.  Bear Valley Creek offers spring creek like water for sizable cutthroats, smaller feisty brookies, a few rainbows, and whitefish.  But, fishing there is not always beginner fishing 101….it often can be graduate level and very technical if you want to tempt the larger fish.  Sometimes, you can’t seem to raise a fish, other times, you opportunistically catch a few isolated fish on a variety of dry fly patterns.  But, occasionally the stars all align properly and you slay a big cutthroat like the one pictured below.  But, its really all about getting out with a bamboo fly rod, an old Hardy reel, and experiencing a beautiful piece of water in total solitude…it’s not about the numbers of fish you catch.

A Big Cutthroat That Rose to a Little Yellow Sally Dry Pattern.

A Big Cutthroat That Rose to a Little Yellow Sally Dry Pattern.

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