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2011 is gonna be good!

Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 29, 2010 0 comments

 A few shots of winter fish from the past few years. We swing flies for these guys and it's a hoot! Weather and water level/conditions are always a factor but if you keep an eye on things and have an open schedule you can have some good chances at fish like this. If you fish the NU in summer it is a whole new ballgame in winter. Higher water, even sketchier wading and fish holding in different types of water. Knowing where,when and why these fish hold where they do at the various water levels is not an easy game but it is a fun one, and one I have become good at. 

I will start booking trips in January.  The months of February, March and April are generally the best times with more fish around,but we can see some fish in January as well.

 Perfection
 Uncle Buck

 Chubby Bunny

 Chunky Monkey

 Very Nice!



 A staggeringly large North Umpqua buck!


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Sunday Funnies

Posted by Mark Sunday, December 26, 2010 0 comments

I know this has made the rounds but it still kills me every time I see it.....enjoy!



Switch and Spey Fly Fishing Rods -- Red Truck Fly Fishing from Leland Fly Fish on Vimeo.

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Snow,Wild Steel & Double Rainbows

Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 22, 2010 1 comments

A bunch of snow hit the Deschutes river(8 inches or so) and it was pretty cool to fish in the winter wonderland it created.





I had the chance to fish with a friend a little yesterday after work. We landed 3 on the swing in short order.We are still finding some bright fish that are larger than average and willing to move aggressively to the fly. A good mix of big wild ones in there too.

This wild hen my buddy found was worth a picture.



The best kind of stocking stuffers


Some killer double rainbow shots from before the snow




Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

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Santa gettin it done with a two hander!

Posted by Mark Monday, December 20, 2010 2 comments

He is pretty quick on the uptake for a portly fellow!


The Fly Fishing Santa from Third Coast Fly on Vimeo.

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Managing Shooting Line

Posted by Mark Sunday, December 19, 2010 0 comments

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Red Shed Fly Shop

Posted by Mark Saturday, December 18, 2010 1 comments

 I know many of you may be familiar with Poppy, I just can't say enough about how well he treats all his customers. Best customer service I have experienced anywhere. If you need something, anything in the spey world, Poppy can get it done. He will send you rods and lines etc to test cast....he goes above and beyond in serving his customers. He's one cool cat!   Go here to check out the bounty of stuff Red Shed

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Catfish John

Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 15, 2010 0 comments

I think we all know a Catfish John or two.

Mama said don't go near that river...........

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Steamboat Falls fish ladder

Posted by Mark Thursday, December 9, 2010 1 comments

From the North Umpqua Foundation Website: Written by Lee Spencer


Aspects of the Fifty Two Year History of the Steamboat Falls Ladder

At around 11:00 on the morning of July 14th—a Wednesday—this season, as Maggie and I returned from our downcreek walk, I saw an ODFW rig parked at the pool and three people were standing around it.  They were Larry Cooper, Tim Walters, and Laura Jackson—all ODFW people.  Introductions were made and we had a reasonably convivial visit that lasted about twenty minutes.  Under light discussion were the flows they had experienced inside the ladder that day and the future modifications to the ladder to solve the regular early-season blockage problems.  I mentioned that steelhead showed up in the pool here only after I noticed strong flows exiting the bottom of the ladder for the first time late in the day on 7/1 and I carefully emphasized that the ladder had been blocked five out of the last five years.
This was a pleasant visit with no hint of the uniformly stilted and always somewhat adversarial encounters of the past between the local ODFW and myself.
Because of this visit, I have rewritten and changed the tone of this piece. 
Historically and prehistorically, the wild steelhead populations native to the middle and upper reaches of Steamboat Creek successfully jumped the major falls located about six miles above the confluence of Steamboat Creek and the North Umpqua River, an eight to ten-foot leap according to a one-foot contour map made before construction on the ladder began in 1957.  These wild fish spawned upstream of these falls.  This innate ability to leap past Steamboat Falls is natural to wild steelhead populations which have the highest burst speed of any of the species in the Pacific salmon genus. 
A little thoughtless help from us humans made this capacity for making great and sufficient leaps at Steamboat Falls irrelevant.  Steelhead were stopped from being able to surmount these falls by the disappearance of the major plunge pool they used to do so . . . by filling it in with concrete and rebar as an adjunct to constructing a ladder there.  Why build this ladder?  To make it easier on the steelhead, I guess, and thereby testing the old truck adage that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
The ladder was built by the state game management agency in 1958 and rebuilt in 1966 to deal with blockage from winter debris—especially the 1964 flood—and modified again in 1985 in another attempt to deal with a blockage problem from the accumulation of debris during the higher flows of winter.  Note that it is the statutory responsibility of the local ODFW office to clear blockages and also to maintain the ladder in working order.
Since I began to pay attention to this ladder as a barrier to fish passage  in 2006—quite late in its history—it has been unambiguously blocked five out of the last five seasons when I arrived at the pool in the middle of May [during my first seven years here at Big Bend Pool I had—I guess—naturally assumed a fish ladder doesn’t form a barrier to fish migration].  When this blockage five out of the last five seasons is considered with the rebuilding and modification of the ladder in an attempt to eliminate this blockage problem, it is clear that for the last fifty-two years, blockage has been the rule in at least the early part of the wild summer steelhead migration into and up through their home-stream system.

YEAR
Date I First Called the ODFW About Jumping Steelhead
Date Ladder Unblocked by ODFW
High Daily Creek Temperature at Steamboat Falls Ladder
Date Steelhead First Appeared In Pool
2006
6/28
7/3rd
72°
7/5th
2007
—*
6/20th
68°
6/22nd
2008
6/22
7/1st
64°-65°
7/2nd
2009
5/28
6/18th
64°
6/23rd
2010
6/21
6/30th –7/1st
[60° on 7/1]
7/2nd
—* in 2007 my good friend Peter Tronquet called the local ODFW office about steelhead jumping at the falls sometime after June 4th
ODFW/Foundation work crew
Ladder cleaning crew on June 20th, 2007.  Beginning second from the left are Pat McRae, Peter Tronquet, and Rich Zellman.  Pat and Peter are board members of The North Umpqua Foundation and Rich is a fly fishing guide on the North Umpqua River.  The rest of these good people are ODFW staff.
Winter flow debris in the form of wood and gravel through boulders-size rock is what blocks the ladder.  This blockage happens sometime during the high flows of late autumn, winter, and early spring and this means that potentially important portions of whatever wild populations of winter steelhead are left in the Steamboat Creek Basin are often/usually/always stopped from making it to their spawning gravels.
Altogether, the ladder at Steamboat Falls has been, thus, a serious problem for the wild steelhead of Steamboat Creek.  This problem is now finally being addressed therapeutically with engineered solutions paid for by The North Umpqua Foundation.
This season, as I drove by Steamboat Falls on my way up to Big Bend Pool for the first time on May 16th, a quick look showed that there was no current coming out of the bottom of the ladder:  clear and again unambiguous evidence that there was no water making its way through and that the ladder was again blocked.  A few steelhead fresh from the ocean were jumping at Steamboat Falls in late May, but a tremendous June 2nd creek rise of six feet or more put a stop to that.  Steelhead were jumping there again on the solstice—June 21st—at which time I documented twenty-five steelhead leaps during a five minute period.  I then went on down to the Steamboat Inn in the late afternoon to phone the local ODFW office in Roseburg and other interested people to report on the activity by the wild summer steelhead at the falls.
The people at the ODFW office reacted and contacted various people, including me c/o Frank Moore’s computer, to report that the ladder didn’t look blocked to them.  However, ten days later on July 1st, there was a conspicuously strong current exiting the bottom of the ladder clearly showing that the blockage in the ladder had been cleared either that day or on the one previous to it .
Big Bend Creek enters Steamboat Creek about a hundred yards above Big Bend Pool where I sit to deter poachers.  Big Bend Creek is the much colder of the two creeks during the hot time of the year, sometimes measuring 15º to 16º cooler in the late afternoon.  It also flows at twice the rate of Steamboat Creek at this time.  An idiosyncrasy of Steamboat Creek is that, once Big Bend Creek water has entered Steamboat Creek, it takes this plume of cooler water approximately four miles to warm up again to the temperature Steamboat Creek was just above its confluence with Big Bend Creek.  Steamboat Falls is approximately four miles below the pool and I have verified that the water temperature of Steamboat Creek above Big Bend Creek is effectively the same as at Steamboat Falls. 
During a time when Steamboat Creek temperatures in the area of Steamboat Falls and Big Bend Pool were varying around 9º during a given day in 2008, Steamboat Creek above the pool was documented as reaching 57º in the late afternoon on June 22nd.  On the 23rd around noon, no steelhead were jumping over a five-minute observation period at Steamboat Falls.  At around 5:00 in that same afternoon, upwards of fifteen steelhead jumped during a five-minute period (I was talking with a human couple at the time of this visit to the falls and wasn’t able to give the attention I wanted to counting the jumping fish).
The next day, June 24th, Steamboat Creek temperatures above the pool—above its confluence with Big Bend Creek—and at the falls around 9:45 in the morning were 50º, the campground at the falls was empty, and no steelhead jumped during a five-minute observation period.  That afternoon around 4:00, the temperature above the pool and at the falls was 59º and forty-two steelhead were counted as they jumped during a five-minute period at the falls.  This jumping stopped about a minute after my dog Sis stepped into the creek—only as deep as her ankles, for no more than forty-five seconds, and about a hundred yards above the falls.  Since 2008, I have verified that, if steelhead are present, they will be jumping once the water reaches 57° and I have also confirmed that swimmers or dogs in the water just above Steamboat Falls will put a stop to the jumping by steelhead, jumping that is landing these sea-run rainbows on concrete and the exposed ends of rebar—and the discarded bit of a rock drill (?)—projecting from the ladder and hidden in the turmoil of water going over the falls during the early season.

Date and Time
Temperature in Steamboat Creek above Big Bend Creek
Temperature in Steamboat Creek at  Steamboat Falls
No. of jumping steelhead over a five-minute period
JUNE 22, 2008
           4:12 PM
57º
JUNE 23, 2008
        11:43 AM
0 steelhead
JUNE 23, 2008
          5:15 PM
15+ steelhead
JUNE 24, 2008
9:45-10:03 AM
50º
50º
0 steelhead
JUNE 24, 2008
       4:02-42 PM
59º
59º
42 steelhead
= not measured or counted
Why are the wild steelhead that are holding in the very deep hole below the ladder at Steamboat Falls driven to jump when creek temperature reach the neighborhood of 57° and not so when the creek temperatures are lower?  Is this only true for the steelhead that have been trapped below the ladder for awhile ?  The easy answer is that they want to leave water that has warmed up to a level that is warm enough to trigger upstream migration in search of cooler water.
Finally, here are a list of reasons why the local ODFW office should be paying more attention to clearing the ladder and allowing the timely passage of steelhead above Steamboat Falls.
The wild steelhead populations native to the creek begin their jumps at the falls in late May on your average year.  This jumping in May usually represents a small number of steelhead, perhaps less than ten, but these fish are using up finite reserves of energy that could better be used finding their summer and fall holding pools, maturing their gametes, carrying out sexual selection behaviors in early winter, digging their redds, and spawning successfully.  All these same things are true for the initial major influx of wild summer steelhead sometime in June.  All fish jumping at the falls damage themselves at the ladder which has been allowed to fall into a degraded state that was reached long ago.
Beginning sometime in June on the hot days and particularly on hot weekend days, Steamboat Falls becomes a very popular swimming hole.  People are wading and swimming and washing in the water above the falls and they are diving and jumping into the pool below the falls from twenty-feet above on the edges of the bedrock formations that rim the pool.  Undoubtedly, this activity is stressful to the wild summer steelhead holding in that pool.
Something else to be considered is the susceptibility of the steelhead below the falls to poaching.  On June 27th, 2006, an average-size wild steelhead was found in shallow water within 100 yards below Steamboat Falls.  It had been gutted and filleted (see photo).  The fish in the pool below the falls are not protected like they are once they have reached Big Bend Pool.
Another reason to clear the ladder sooner than later is the temperature of the water at the falls.  High water temperature is in and of itself stressful to steelhead without having to consider jumping at a falls that, by the construction of a ladder, has been made impassible during the early season.  As an example of what can happen, in 2006 the Steamboat Falls ladder was cleared on July 3rd when the high daily temperature at the falls was 72°.  Seventy degrees (70°) is a critical temperature for steelhead.  In 70° water, there is a metabolic cost to simply holding in place in slow currents and breathing for a steelhead, let alone jumping and landing on a slab of concrete and sliding into rebar . . . again and again and again.

Lee Spencer
July 22, 2010

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The Hunt

Posted by Mark Thursday, December 2, 2010 1 comments

It's all about the hunt.An absolutely perfect wild fish, I am always stunned by their beauty.......what more can I say.





The Red Truck Diesel rod gets another wild one.



Tommy E. just kills this song called The Hunt


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