Saturday, June 30, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Humpty Dumpty - in the loop

Trip Report...

Less than graceful elementary physics: a body in motion [me], will stay in motion, until one's hand [mine], comes into contact [sudden impact] with parking lot asphalt.

Temporarily relegated to 1 hand, but still slinging.

Zippy Roll Cast

Photos courtesy of Donna Walkuski.

© Marian Tallon June, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Uh-oh, Ya'll

Oops, a funny thing happened on the way to casting practice.

Post ER
Get it, casting practice? Cheers.

© Marian Tallon, June, 2012

Boot Camp

Just sayin'...

These studs are pretty wimpy and chewed up! If you're like me and bang your shins, fall on your patootie, and/or into the river, and depend on your wading staff to stay upright, it's exhausting. Exhaustion interferes with fishing.

Before you go steelheading, or wading anywhere, get the real scoop on traction. See here & here & here.

Some guides aren't crazy about studs in their boats. If you encounter such an experience suggest cardboard or car mats*. Alternatively, find a different guide, wading safely is paramount.

* Tip is from Mark Bachmann, The Fly Fishing Store, Welches, Oregon, online at

© Marian Tallon June, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

12 Miles in 12 Hours

Every Steelheader Has to Start Somewhere.

Tents and awnings were struck Sunday afternoon as the Spey Clave wound to a close. Huddled together in the dining pavilion, Mark Bachmann talked to us at length about navigating the Sandy River with him in the morning. Meet at 6:00 for breakfast, "wader-up", put in at Dodge Park.


Bring a hook hone, nippers, 10lb Maxima and a change of clothes in a dry bag. Very minimalist...our primary responsibility was to stay dry and Mark assumed responsibility for everything else.

There's fly fishing shops, then there's fly fishing shops. In Welshes, Oregon, they even sell fishing licenses - imagine, what a novel idea! We met Mark again a little before closing time Sunday evening. Despite TSA delaying our suspiciously long [spey] fly rods, we had a 9wt and 8wt. Mark decided to equip us with a couple of 7wts, which he considered perfect for the task at hand.

You've heard of "convenient hearing". Well, I have incredibly inconvenient hearing. That is, I don't hear what I heard. No matter how exacting Mark was in his description of fishing the Sandy for Steelhead and Chinook, the closest I came to ever being prepared was having goose bumps in anticipation.

If I had a nickel for every time I was mistaken, I could be steelheading right now instead of saving my pennies 'til next trip. I initially thought Mark was our guide, but that wasn't the whole of it. We were privileged in that Mark immersed us in intense steelhead fishing school!

What Mark doesn't know geographically, geologically, ecologically about his home waters probably doesn't need knowing. His take on how to catch steelhead is to (effectively) cover water while fishing: cast progressively further for a longer swing and keep moving. From put-in to take-out, we traveled a lot of river with plenty opportunities to swing a fly.

I felt a good tug once and line tripped off my reel. It gave me pause for a split second, until I confirmed I was solidly snagged. Mark said we'd have no doubt if we hooked a steelhead; it'd be like having a washing machine on the end of our line. At first I wasn't too keen with the analogy, mixing household appliances/chores with my fishing, but I've had a few clunkers like that on the spin cycle, so I understood exactly what I had to look forward to.

Mistakes cost me fishing time, especially silly mistakes. Often I knew what I was doing wrong, but kept doing it anyway, as though neither Mark's instruction, or my brain could persuade my cast to perform as directed. My skagit learning curve was fairly steep, still Mark taught us to be confidently self-sufficient. We went back out on our own the next day, before our flight home.

Everything you've ever heard about steelheading is probably true. If it's raining, snowing, howling, sleeting, or hailing, you go steelheading. Tired, hungry, achy, cold and damp to the bone - keep fishing! Ya' gotta' love it. I still have goose-bumps thinking about it.

© Marian Tallon May, 2012