My Bamboo EuroNymphing Rod on the Lower Deschutes River

I got out on the Lower Deschutes River yesterday for a day float with Mary Ann, and our good friends Alice and Mike, who are both guides from West Yellowstone, MT. Mary Ann, Alice, and Mike took out their two hand rods and chased steelhead for the day. But, I was more interested in looking for the larger rainbows in the Deschutes River with my 9′ 0″ 4 wt bamboo EuroNymphing rod. I had some great action with small #18 and #20 mayfly nymphs, with several fish in the 15″ to 19″ range landed. My 4 wt rod managed these larger fish very well, and I never felt I wasn’t in complete control. And the sensitivity of the rod made it easy to detect the light takes on these small flies. I even hooked a nice steelhead momentarily on one of my small nymphs, but after a few head shakes, it easily broke my 4X tippet…not sure how well my 4 wt rod would have handled that fish.! Here are a few photos of my day.

Fighting a nice fish.
First fish of the day.
Another nice one.
Colorful Deschutes River Redside.

Router Bit for Cutting Reel Seat Mortices

Hi Everyone,

I often get the question of what router bit I use to cut the mortices on my wood reel seat inserts on my bamboo fly rods. I’ve found one that works pretty well from Rockler (, a Convex Edge Rounding Bit…Item No. 22597. I also had another question about how I hold the reel seat insert to make the router cut. I’ve come with a simple solution….I’ve routered a 5/16″ slot in a piece of melamine, and then notched out the area where the insert is held. I put the insert on a 5/16″ threaded rod, which then fits down into the slot in the melamine. The edge of the melamine can then slide on the router table fence to make the cut.

Convex Edge Rounding Bit
Finished Reel Seats
Reel Seat holder for cutting mortices on a router table.

Another bamboo rod building class is completed

It was busy in the workshop last week as I was conducting my bamboo fly rod building class for two great guys (Mark and Jeff) who came up here from Davis, California. First we got them on the Fall River to test out some bamboo rods to figure out what taper they each wanted. Funny…they each like the same rod, my 7′ 6″ 5 wt Progressive Action Signature Series Rod…so that is what they each built. We spent 7 days going through the bamboo rod building process. They each had strong woodworking backgrounds so they took to the rod building process well. Their rods came out great, and they are now back in California completing the final finishing steps on their rods. Here are a few pictures of our week:

Testing out bamboo fly rods on the Fall River.
A nice catch on bamboo.
Mark is splitting strips for his rod.
Mark and Jeff tag-teaming it on the beveller.
Jeff working hard on his hand planing of thin strips for his tip sections.
All glued up and checking for straightness.
Shaping the cork grip.
Proud and happy students with their bamboo fly rods.

Another Customer’s Comments…

Our good friend, Carol Morris, is now the proud owner of one of my 10′ 6″ Bamboo Trout Spey Rods. And, She has already had it on the water, tempting some nice rainbows on the Crooked River this week. Not only do Carol and her husband, Skip, write some fantastic books on fly fishing and fly patterns, Carol is also a fantastic artist. You can check out her work on her ETSY page at:

Here are a few of Carol’s comments about her new rod: I’m still reeling (lol), from an awesome day on the river yesterday casting my new rod. I got home a couple hours ago, and Skip and I have been pouring over this beauty, looking at all the amazing details and stunning craftsmanship. I’ve already had some unforgettable memories with it in hand…thanks very much, both of you, for your hospitality, and the time you guys spent in getting me educated on spey casting with bamboo! I had a great time. I’ve never held a rod I’ve felt so connected to before…it is an amazing feeling, and I’m over-the-moon happy to own this beautiful rod…🎣🎣🎣♥️😍

Here is Carol in my shop this week picking up her new rod:

A happy bamboo rod owner.

My Recent Rod Building Student’s Experiences

I recently completed one of my bamboo fly rod building classes with a local Bend resident, Joe. He chose to build a very nice 7′ 6″ medium progressive action 5 wt rod. Joe was quite meticulous in his building efforts, and his new rod came out great. He paired his new rod with a Hardy-built Orvis CFO reel…pretty sweet.

Joe’s new bamboo fly rod

Joe got the chance to take out his new bamboo rod a few days ago on the Middle Deschutes River. Here are his great comments about his experience: “And there I was, catching a nice 14 inch rainbow at Steelhead Falls on a bamboo rod that I made, with great tutoring, and a fly that I tied. Great fun. Man, that rod flexes down to the cork. VERY COOL. Thanks a bunch, Dave! That’s about as good as it gets.”