I just got back from 3 days of fly fishing on the Upper Williamson River in Southern Oregon with my good friend and fishing buddy Bill. We stayed a great place, Yamsi Ranch, which has 8 miles of spring creek water flowing through the ranch. Ranch guests are the only ones who have access to the river so there is plenty of water to get out and fish. John, Gerry, Dayton, and Sally are fantastic hosts at the ranch, which has been around for over 100 years. Fishing is for native brookies and rainbows on miles of beautiful spring creek water. Fishing in the river was non-stop action for Bill and I…small bead head leaches in the mornings, mahogany dun dries mid-day, and hoppers in the afternoons. Bill and I lost track of how many fish we caught. I fished most of the time with my 8′ 0″ 5 wt Signature Series medium action bamboo fly rod, but went to my 8′ 0″ 6 wt medium fast action Freestone Series rod for the afternoon hopper sessions. We also got the chance to fish for a few hours in Hyde Lake on the ranch. It was loaded with huge rainbows…nothing was under 21″. Again, leaches worked great for these big rainbows, as well as callibaetis nymphs stripped slowly along the weed beds. What a great trip we had. Here are a few photos:
I get asked occasionally “What is the best reel for a bamboo fly rod?” Well, there is no one answer to that question. But, a lot of the modern day reels are very light weight and don’t balance a bamboo rod very well, while many of the older reels that were made years ago are heavier. And, there is just something about putting a reel with a “classic look” on a fine bamboo fly rod. When I’m out fishing, I usually have an older classic reel on my rods. I have several old Hardy reels and Pflueger reels, and also have a very nice Saracione reel and a Bellinger reel for my two-handed Trout Spey rods. Here are a couple of photos of my set-ups:
While attending the 2018 Fly Fishers International Fly Fishing Fair in Boise, Idaho last week, I got the chance to fish for a day with my good friend from Australia, Noel Williams. We drove the 90 minutes it took to get to the Owyhee River and tempted the big brown trout for the day. Noel fished with his 8′ 3″ 5 wt medium action bamboo fly rod, while I used my 9′ 0″ 3 wt EuroNymphing Bamboo Rod. We had pretty slow fishing early in the day, but the PMDs came out in the afternoon and we found an area with some rising fish. Noel bested me for the day, landing his largest brown trout ever (about 20″)…on a fly he tied himself…how great is that.! I hooked into a few nice browns but couldn’t land any of them. Noel’s wife, Sue, joined us for the day, and although she doesn’t fish, she did a great job netting fish and taking some excellent photos.
I hiked down to Whychus Creek recently at the bottom of the canyon just below our house for some morning fly fishing. Whychus is a beautiful small local creek that gets almost no fishing pressure. Most of the trout are on the small side (5″ to 9″) but it’s not uncommon to get into a few larger fish also. Because the creek is heavily treed in along the banks, I like to fish the creek with a 7′ 0″ 4 wt bamboo fly rod. Longer 8 or 9 ft. rods are just too long for this little creek. Nymphs tend to work well on the resident fish, but they’ll come up for dries occasionally also. For the morning, I picked up about 15 fish on #18 black zebra midges, #16 black AP nymphs, #10 black stonefly nymphs, #16 copper johns, and #14 Royal Wulffs. Here is a fun little video that I pulled together of my morning.
I came across an interesting add in an old archived edition of a Central Oregon Newspaper (The Brownsville Times) this week. In 1925, a Bamboo Fishing Rod was only $3.25, Leaders (the expensive ones) were 20 cents, and flies were 15 cents each. Interestingly, Fly Books (the good ones) were $1.90. Here is a look: