Trying Out a New Bamboo Rod on the Crooked River

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been out fishing….been real busy in the shop with rod building.  Mary Ann just finished building her second bamboo rod, a beautiful 7′  9″  4 wt Progressive Medium-Action rod.  What a great taper…casts dries like a dream.  She cast dry flies hard for a few hours while I took out my 9′  0″  3 wt Czech Nymphing rod with #20 zebra nymphs and Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs.  I picked up several fish on nymphs, but there was nothing hatching and she was fishless on dries.  But, she eventually went over to small nymphs, and her new rod handled them great.  And….she got several fish to the net.  As her first fish on her new rod she picked up a nice 13” whitefish.  After that, several feisty rainbows. Here are a few photos from our day.

Here we are on the Crooked River this past week.

A nice little rainbow that took my #20 black Zebra Midge.

Mary Ann putting a bend on her new 7′ 9″ 4 wt rod.

Mary Ann with her first fish on her new rod.

 

Should I use a DT or a WF line on my bamboo fly rod?

I get this question a lot.  And, there are a lot of misperceptions/beliefs about the differences between the two types of lines.  I often hear “A DT line casts better on a bamboo fly rod”, or “I use a DT 4 or a WF 5 on my bamboo fly rods”, or “I just don’t like DT lines so I always use WF lines.  So, let’s look at line construction for a bit.  Below are the line profiles for the popular Corland 444 Peach fly line taken from the Cortland WEB site:

Cortland 444 Peach Line Profiles

You’ll notice that the Level Tip and the Front Taper are the same on both kinds of lines.  It’s only until you get to the end of the body on the WF line that things change and you get into the back taper and running line.  So, if you’re casting either line and do not have more than 34 ft. of line (the length of the Level Tip + the Front Taper + the Body on the WF line) past the rod tip, the two lines will cast the same.  In this instance, both lines have the same profile and weigh the same…so they’ll cast the same.  If you have more than 34 ft. of line past the rod tip, then the WF line will start to have problems because the small diameter running line will not transmit energy through the fly line effectively.  The DT line will continue to cast well.  That said, with any longer casts, the WF line will shoot easier because the smaller diameter will move through the guides on your rod better.

I’ve looked at a lot of similar profiles of lines from a number of different line manufactures.  Those manufactures that make specific lines in both WF and DT, the front profiles are the same.  However, we’re now seeing some manufactures coming out with special DT lines (not available in WF) with front head profiles specifically designed for delicate presentations, and these lines might be desirable for bamboo fly rods.  And, DT lines have the added advantage of being able to turn around on your reel and use both ends, allowing you to get longer life out of your fly line.

Most of us don’t have good enough casting strokes to carry a huge amount of line past the rod tip at still get great presentations…I certainly don’t.  And, I find that most of my fishing is done from 10 ft. to 30 ft. in front of me.  If you consider 34 ft. of fly line + a 9 ft. leader + the length of your fly rod, that covers most fishing conditions where we actually fish.  Bottom line…use the line that you like on your bamboo fly rods.  There aren’t huge differences between DT and WF lines for most fishing conditions.

If you want to know more, noted casting expert, Bruce Richards, has written some great articles on the subject of fly lines.  Check out this article at:   http://www.sexyloops.com/articles/wfvsdt.shtml.

Czech Nymphing with Bamboo on the East Walker River

I got the chance to meet up with my “San Jose Fishing Buddies” in Eastern California for a few days last week to fish Crowley Lake.  They have been talking with me about joining them at Crowley for the past few years, with stories of lots of big fish.  While fishing on Crowley was rather slow for us, on the way down there I stopped and fished the East Walker River for a couple of hours.  I’ve read a lot about the East Walker for several years as being a great trout fishery, but I really didn’t know what to expect.  The weather was cold, about 45 degrees, but the overcast conditions were a good sign for some fish activity.  What I found was what seemed to be relatively high and off-color water, with the banks heavily lined with trees and brush.  Take a look:

East Walker River

East Walker River

The only bugs I saw flying were midges and a few small blue-winged olives.  No rising fish were seen.  But, there was a lot of great pocket water that screamed nymphing, and although the water was on the high side, it was fairly easy to move along the river’s edge to hit the good “fishy looking spots”.  I used my 9′  0″  3 wt Bamboo Czech Nymphing rod, and started with several variations of small mayfly and midge imitations.  I picked up a few smaller brown trout on a #18 Psycho Mayfly pattern, but was a little discouraged that I wasn’t picking up more fish since the water looked so good.

A 10″ brown that took a #18 Psycho Mayfly Pattern.

After going through my standard Go-To flies that usually work for me, I finally put on a #16 Prince Nymph just to see if any fish were interested.  That was the ticket, and the fishing, or should I say catching turned on.  In the next hour, I caught 8 fish on the Prince Nymph…6 browns and 2 rainbows…ranging in size from 12″ to 18″.  I sort of pride myself in being able to “match the hatch” with my small nymph selections, but on that day, it was the Prince Nymph.  I’m not sure why the fish liked it or what it was imitating, but what a great day.  Here are a couple of the nicer fish I caught:

A nice 18″ Rainbow

A beautiful 17″ Brown

For any of you who are looking for an interesting fishery with some large rainbows and browns in eastern California, I would highly recommend the East Walker River.  It was definitely not water for the beginning fisherman as it required strong wading skills, and it was very important to be able to put the fly in precise spots with little to no backcast room.  But, with the right fly in the right spot, the fishing was great.

 

 

Fly Fishing on Whychus Creek Today.

I took a break from rod building today and ventured out on Whychus Creek below our house here in Sisters, Oregon.  It’s about 400 feet down a steep canyon to get to the water, but rather than climb down the hillside from my house, I drove over to a nice trailhead on the other side of the creek just across from our house.  It’s about a mile hike from the trailhead down a nice trail to the creek.  This area get’s almost no people fishing these waters so I was pretty excited to see how I would do.  The creek is a nice water level this time of the summer, and the water temperature was still nice and cool.  Because it’s small water and quite overgrown with trees, I selected my 7′  0″  4 wt Signature Series bamboo fly rod for the day.  Some of the smaller fish were willing to take dry flies but it wasn’t until I changed over to nymphs that I got into half a dozen  nicer fish in the 11″ to 12″ range.  I had the creek to myself and loved my time searching the creek for “fishy water”.  And…I also donated quite a few flies in the tree branches along the stream edge.  Here are a few photos of my morning adventure:

Here I am at the edge of Whychus Creek with my 7′ 0″ 4 wt bamboo fly rod.

Some nice pocket water where I picked up several good fish on nymphs.

Several little rainbows showed interest in my dry flies.

A beautiful 12″ rainbow that took a #16 Pheasant Tail Nymph.

Yep, there is my house about 400 ft. up from the creek at the top of the canyon.

New 9 ft. 0 in. 3 and 4 wt. Czech Nymphing Bamboo Rods

I recently redesigned my tapers for my Czech Nymphing Bamboo Fly Rods and I can’t tell you how great they’ve come out.  First, as a Czech Nymphing rod, I want the rods to be a light line wt rods, have a slow action to them, and have a very soft tip to detect subtle takes.  And, I also want the rods to cast dry flies well in the event you’re out on the stream nymphing and a hatch happens.  These new tapers in 3 wt and 4 wt rods do just that.  I build these rods with Custom Engraved Reel Seat Hardware, Figured English Walnut Reel Seats, and Olive Wraps with Straw and Black Tipping.

Earlier this week I tested out the new 9 ft. 0″  3 wt. rod on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon.  For Czech Nymphing, it roll/lob casts small to medium sized weighted nymphs great.  And, at 9 feet in length, it lets you get further out in the stream than traditional bamboo fly rods.  The soft tip is super-sensitive and light takes are easily felt.  I then put on a standard 3 wt floating fly line with a 10 ft. 5 wt dry fly leader.  The rod did well at casting large #8 Hopper patterns, as well as #20 PMD dries.  The slow action of this rod wants you to slow your dry fly casts down, but once you do, the rod loads deeply and turns over flies nicely with very little power put into the cast.  These rods will prove to be great longer, lighter line wt. bamboo fly rods for those anglers who utilize Czech Nymping in their fly fishing adventures.

My 9′ 0″ 3 wt Czech Nymphing Rod.

My 9′ 0″ 3 wt Czech Nymphing Rod