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Camp Water

Camp water is close to home. Here you will find information on stuff happening here in the shop and on our local waters. You'll also find our weekly newsletter feature, Trailer Trash Thursday, a fun collection of fly fishing videos, perfect for a midweek distraction. If you don't get the newsletter, be sure to sign up today!

The Art of the Dry Fly ~ Vintage Fishing Report

Joel La Follette - Thursday, August 10, 2017


DRY FLY ART LURES 
English Branch of Water Sport Is Delicate One. 
FLIES MUST BE NATURAL 
W. F. Backus Tells Some Fine Points in Attracting Fish by Artificial Bait; Anglers Now Seek Choice Spots in State.

BY W. F. BACKUS.

Just imagine yourself on your favorite trout stream, near one of those rippling pools that ends in a quiet bit of water before breaking into another riffle. You stand below the break, and can barely make out the boulders in the still deep water just above. Your rod is set up, with the casting line well greased to keep it on the surface. Your leader is made up of gut strands of gradually lessening diameter, ending with a piece almost as fine as hair. At the end of this gossamer cast you fasten the daintiest fly imaginable, no larger than a half-opened violet bud, with a fuzzy yellow body and a pair of pearl gray wings cocked bolt up right in a most jaunty fashion. With your eye on the lazy water some 50 feet beyond you commence working out this cast, sending the little fly whizzing back and forth, but never touching the water. Finally, as the fly stretches out at the end of the forward throw, you see that it is hovering just above the desired spot. Then you get your feet well braced, make an extra careful cast and the fly settles calmly on the unruffled surface of the pool.


Fly is Snapped Up

In perfect tune with the sluggish flow it comes drifting toward you. Its pert little wings set at a most tantalizing angle, while your left hand is kept very busy taking care of the slack line. Then just as you decide that it's time to retrieve, there is a flash, a snap, and the fly has disappeared in the maw of a hungry trout, who promptly raises a most welcome fuss. That is dry fly fishing, the very highest branch of angling.

This style of fishing had its inception in England, where the nature of the streams is such as to make Impossible any other method of fly fishing. Their so-called chalk streams are very clear, of shallow depth and with very slow and uniform current. The fish feed almost entirely on the insects which hatch along the banks of the stream, and to fool them you must present a mighty close Imitation. English fly tyers have devoted years of patient study to the making of floating flies, and some of their copies are of a microscopic exactness. They will take a fly no larger than a good-sized mosquito and duplicate exactly every shade of color, and the general shape of the legs and body.

The favorite method of fishing there is to discover a rising trout and then put their fly over him with all the skill at their command. Not only must the fly drop lightly and naturally, but n must float down stream in perfect ac cord with the current Any drag on such smooth water Is fatal. As most of the English streams are open, it Is often necessary to crawl on hands and knees in order to get a good cast without being seen.

English Flies Too Small
 
On most of our Western streams such tactics would be entirely out of place, but there Is no disputing the fact that most excellent dry-fly fishing can be had on certain portions of many of our best streams. A few changes in tackle, however, would be necessary, for instance. It strikes me that the favorite English flies are too small. On account of the extremely clean and comparatively shallow water, their flies are tied on No. 12 and 14 sneek hooks. I believe that for our fishing dry flies dressed on No. 10 and 12 sproat hooks would get better results. Our streams are just as clear, it Is true, but there is nearly always some motion to the water, and the ever-present, foliage tends to darken many of the pools For these reasons it would seem that flies a trifle larger than the favorite English sizes would be better suited to our waters.

Your regular rod and line will do for this fishing, provided the line is heavy enough to carry up well.

The leader must be at least six feet long, while a nine foot is even better, and if tapered to a fine point will work admirably. Tapered leaders are expensive and rather hard to find, so an excellent substitute can be had by attaching a six-foot light midge leader to a three-foot length of medium weight gut. In this way the difference between the heavy line and the fine gut is gradually equalized, and a more delicate cast is sure to be the reward.

Prescription Ought to Do
 
With an outfit such as I have described, and an assortment of No. 10 double-wing floating flies, including, the Coachman, Governor, Black Ant, Flying Caddis and Blue Upright. I believe you can get some high-class sport on most of our streams. At any rate I intend to try my own prescription on the McKenzie very shortly, and may have some stories to tell a little later.

Portland anglers are now making excursions to all corners of the state. Dr. E DeWltt Connell and E. O. Mattern left recently for a trip to Alsea Bay, and are prepared to handle anything from a 10-inch trout to a 50-pound salmon. The Chinook salmon have begun to enter the bays along the coast, so these anglers are quite likely to find the big fellows waiting for them.

Devereaux Expects “Time”

E. L. Devereaux is another local angler who expects to have a big time next week, as he left for the McKenzie River a few days ago, taking along enough bucktail flies to feed a hundred hungry trout. This grand river should be at its best during the next few weeks, and E. L. will probably get his share.

Bass fishing at Sucker Lake has been good this week, and the fish are taking more interest in artificial lures. Dick Coles took six fine ones there during an evening's casting, one of which weighed almost four pounds.

Clackamas is Prolific
 
The Clackamas River has yielded several good catches during the past 10 days, in spite of the fact that it is still too high for real good fishing. Herman Schneider, who hands out the anglers' licenses at the Courthouse, brought in a fine basket last week. He had 42 fish, all of nice size, with a few of the long ones we are all looking for, and he caught them all on flies. That old reliable fly the Gray Drake, proved the most attractive to the trout, and most of his fish were taken on this pattern.

Fishing on the coast rivers is improving dally. As the vacation season approaches, these streams are sure to be visited by many local anglers, as the getting there is now an easy matter. You can hardly go wrong In selecting any of the Tillamook streams for an extended trip. The fish there take the fly very eagerly and there are still enough of them to make things interesting for you.

This report come from the pages of the Sunday Oregonian circa June 23, 1912

Catching Speckled Beauties

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The Sunday Oregonian April 28th, 1912

PORTLAND fishermen enjoy a novel privilege. With but a single day of leisure at hand, or even with half a day, the local Isaak Walton is able to put in the day to good advantage on trout stream or salmon pool. For after all the years of arduous fishing the streams hereabouts continue holding up under the strain and yielding fine catches. Although the fishing season has been legally open for the past month the real angling and casting period is just starting towards its zenith. In the course of the next month the sport will come to its very best in a score of streams. It is the impending transition from bait casting to fly casting that rings out the full army of Portland's exponents of rod and stream. With the average city dweller fishing trips are events to be dreamed of and realized once or twice in a year or a decade. While love of rod and stream is bred into hundreds of thousands a majority of these find no indulgence in the sport because of the busy swirl of metropolitan existence.

And here In Portland is the happy combination, a great busy city with trout streams in profusion close at hand. Year after year these streams continue yielding their good catches. Occasionally the fisherman returns with empty creel, but he generally is encouraged by a fair catch and during the season is certain of many exceptional takes if he persists. An hour of travel from the heart of the city, for example, will take the fisherman to the haunt of "minnows" weighing from five to 50 pounds. This "big game" fishing is now excellent and is getting better. The scene is below the Willamette Falls at Oregon City and the game Is the Spring run of Salmon. These big scrappy fellows take a spoon readily and once you hook one there is half an hour or more of an animated struggle.

Big Game Fishing
Every day scores of fishermen are enjoying his splendid sport which never gives out during the season. The supply of salmon seems inexhaustible. Now and then a fisherman returns from the Falls with nothing to show for his outing, but the average catch is from one to half a dozen and when you consider that the average fish there will run better than ten pounds you need not feel the day lost if you catch but one fish.

It is a common occurrence for the fisherman to catch more fish there than he can carry home. Those big fellows, you see, run into weight fast. You get one weighing 40 pounds, an other weighing 20 and a couple of more in the 15 pound class and you will need stout shoulders to tote away your catch. This big game fishing is done mainly from boats. Spoons are cast out and drawn up and down until a Chinook, his curiosity aroused, strikes it "like one dog biting another" as the fishermen say. Then commences the battle. The gamy fish invariably takes one prodigious sheet across the river, leaping several feet out of the water and shaking himself in the process. For the first ten minutes of play the fish fights with every ounce there is in him, darting and thrusting, striking with his tall and dashing up and down. It is not until his splendid strength begins to wane that he gives in to the inevitable and the instinct of self-preservation is rendered nil. Slowly he Is brought up to the boat and as he catches a flash of his tormentors he puts his remaining strength into a final flurry. In the end he is drawn up and "gaffed" and then lifted into the boat.

Comparatively few fishermen go in for this magnificent sport, however. It is the smaller fish of the trout streams that lure the majority. There are half a hundred of these small streams within a radius of 25 miles of Portland and each stream is the favorite place of scores of fishermen.

The Clackamas River is the hardest fished stream in Oregon, if not in the Northwest. You can strike the Clackamas in a run of 45 minutes by auto or streetcar, or you can travel for hours and even days up towards its source. Notwithstanding the inroads of tens of thousands of fishermen during the past 50 years the Clackamas can be relied upon for good catches the year around. It is particularly the standby of the bait fisherman, who is especially busy at this early part of the fishing season.

Big Fish In the Clackamas
Although the fisherman may meet an occasional day of hard luck in the Clackamas, it is unusual to return there from with empty creel. The beauty of fishing in the Clackamas is that it is the haunt of schools of big fish, and it is not at all unusual to get into a likely pool only to have the one and two-pounders begin fighting for first place on the hook. It is not, to be sure, a stream where the unskilled man may go out and get a day's record catch. The old river has been so hard fished that the fish, especially the larger ones, become quite fastidious as to the bait they take. So the man who doesn't know how to drape his salmon eggs, disguise his leader and let his bait fall with the water in a natural fashion, is reasonably certain of failure. It is not an uncommon sight to see two men fishing side by side one with empty creel and the other with a fine take. Until late in the Summer bait fishing prevails on the Clackamas, which has an average width of some 50 yards. In its upper reaches it passes through rugged country that is difficult of access, and here some exceptional sport is to be had fly fishing in August and September.

Among the network of trout streams directly east of the city are the Little Sandy, Salmon River, Bull Run, Clear Creek, Deep Creek, Eagle Creek, Johnson Creek and the North Fork of the Clackamas. West of Portland is a number of splendid early trout streams. The water in these does not run off the icy mountains, and is of a temperature that admits of good catches much earlier than in the typical mountain streams. In the list is Scroggins Creek, Patton Creek on the Tualatin, Gales Creek and Dairy Creek.

Small tributaries of the Columbia also afford much good sport easy of access. The best early fishing is on the Lower Columbia, the streams most fished being Scappoose Creek, Tide Creek, Clatskanie, Big Creek and the Necanicum. When you go into the topic of fishing in Oregon the field is a big one. No better fishing, perhaps, can be found any place on earth than in some of the unfrequented streams of this state. Every county has its renowned trout streams, the most noted fishing places being the McKenzie River, out of Eugene; the Deschutes, in Eastern Oregon, and the Rogue River, in Southern Oregon.

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