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.


My New Student

Mary Ann has started building her second bamboo fly rod, so I now have two students in the shop working with me….keeps me pretty busy.  She is building a very nice progressive 7′  9″  4 wt rod, perfect for dry flies on spring creeks.  Here are a couple of photos from this past week.

Running strips through the Bellinger Beveller.

Checking the dimensions.

Tipping your Fly Fishing Guide

Since my wife, Mary Ann, is a fly fishing guide, I hear a lot from her and her fellow guides about tips they do or don’t get from their clients they’ve taken on the river.  Occasionally, they get no tip, and we all like to think that their clients just weren’t aware that tipping guides is a common practice in the fly fishing community.  Other times, they get very nice tips for working hard to help make their clients day an enjoyable experience.

While this post has nothing to do with bamboo fly rods, I wanted to share a few aspects about “tipping your guide”.  The fee you pay your outfitter/fly shop to hire a guide, somewhere between $400 and $550/day, does not all go to the guide.  Actually, the guide usually gets paid about 50% of that fee, and the outfitter gets about 50%.  The outfitter typically has costs for insurance, meals, permits, and flies, while the guide has costs like gas, guide insurance, and their own “special flies” that they tie themselves.  The distribution of these costs vary from outfitter-to-outfitter, as well as state-to-state.  The rule-of-thumb for tipping is to give somewhere between 10% and 20% of the total cost of your guided day if you feel your guide has worked hard and you’ve had a good day.

Your guides work very hard to make your day enjoyable.  Their day usually starts an hour or two before they meet you to get setup for the day, and ends another hour or two after they drop you off back at the fly shop.  So, the guide’s day is often 10 or 12 hours long.  Sometimes fishing is slow and they have to work extra hard just to get you into a few fish.  Other times, the fish just seem to “jump into your net” and the guide’s day is easier.  But, their main goal is to make your day as enjoyable as possible, get you into fish, and pass on helpful information if you need it to improve your overall fly fishing skills.  I recently read a great article in Mid-Current that talks about Tipping Your Guide.  Check it out if you’re more interested at:

More Bamboo on the Deschutes River

Mary Ann and I got out again two days ago on the Deschutes River to see how the Salmon Flies were doing.  I chose my 7′  6″  5 wt Freestone Series bamboo rod for the day.  While there were lots of Salmon Flies and Golden Stoneflies on the bushes, and a few flying around, the fish seemed pretty disinterested in them during the sunny afternoon.  Instead, I again caught several nice rainbows on a #18 Tan Lafontaine Caddis drifted towards the bottom.  I may have been the only angler on the river during the day who was not throwing big ugly bugs.  But, once the sun went down, the fish turned on to a #8 Clarks Stonefly on the surface.  This pattern has proved to be the most effective adult stonefly for me lately.  Even when the giant Salmon Flies are out, the trout have always seemed to prefer the smaller Golden Stonefly imitation.  Here are a few photos of our day.

Golden Stonefly

Giant Salmonfly

#16 Tan Lafontaine Caddis

Clarks Stonefly

A nice rainbow putting a big bend in my 5 wt bamboo.

One that came to the net.

Drifting the Deschutes River

Mary Ann and I braved the high water on the Deschutes River yesterday and drifted the Warm Springs to Trout Creek stretch of the river.  Yep, the water was fast and high (6500 cfs), but the color was decent and we found a few spots where we could get out and drift our nymphs.  It’s still too early for the legendary salmon fly hatch on the Deschutes but we found some willing rainbows interested in a tan LaFontaine Caddis drifted near the bottom with a Czech Nymphing style.  We didn’t get any huge fish, but it was still fun to get out and tempt the smaller ones.  Here are a couple photos of our day.

Mary Ann on the sticks!

A small immature stonefly that crawled up on our boat.

The hot fly of the day….a #16 tan LaFontaine Caddis.

A nice rainbow for the day.