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Last of the Year

Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 26, 2012 2 comments

A couple more days and 2012 is gone, where does the time go? I have been enjoying time on the hill shredding deep powder lately and will most likely be splitting my time searching for powder stashes and steel this winter. A great combo if I do say so myself.

I am going to get in a couple more swing sessions before the bell rings closing out 2012. The rivers are on a roller coaster ride and you need to be flexible to be there when it's prime.

I had another great year of fishing in 2012 with great friends, some old and some new. I am looking forward to much more of the same this next year. I will be concentrating on getting fish on my own terms this year, using more traditional tactics and gear. I have learned much from friends and mentors and I hope that never changes.I will be employing the use of  floating lines and classic flies more this winter as I pursue more challenges in an already challenging sport.

Thanks for reading and I hope to have some more adventures worth relating in 2013.








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The Reason For The Season

Posted by Mark Sunday, December 23, 2012 1 comments

 Have a blessed Christmas everyone!





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A few of my favorite things

Posted by Mark Thursday, December 13, 2012 0 comments

Met up with my buddy Scott Travis again on the river and he has been busy. We swung some flies on a beautiful early winter day and had a great time. After fishing, he broke out a couple fly boxes that just blew me away. Here are four of his flies nestled in the snow. Oh yeah, they catch fish too!

Snow and beautiful flies, a few of my favorite things. 



A few gems from his recent labors


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Timing is everything

Posted by Mark Thursday, November 29, 2012 2 comments

Being in the right place at the right time is always crucial to success. Being on the water during those iffy times between storms and high water events will pay off if you persevere.Today was one of those days. We had a small weather window today as the river was starting to rise and will blow sky high by tomorrow. We had a great time fishing and I had the distinct pleasure of seeing my good friend Tony Wratney land this remarkable North Umpqua fish. Few know the river like Tony and finding,hooking(and then landing) a fish like this is no easy feat. Tony skillfully fought this fish to hand in short order and he swam away strong.Just an incredible creature and we are so blessed to run into them every so often.





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Powder Day

Posted by Mark Thursday, November 22, 2012 3 comments


















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It's who we are and what we do

Posted by Mark Tuesday, November 13, 2012 1 comments

A nice video by a Bend brother,Travis Lucas, talking about why we do what we do.  Enjoy, and get out there and get number 13!





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Road Trip

Posted by Mark Saturday, November 10, 2012 0 comments










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Halcyon

Posted by Mark Wednesday, November 7, 2012 0 comments

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the rivers (Psalm 24:1-2).

Glad I know who's really in charge around here........




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Autumn goodness

Posted by Mark Friday, October 26, 2012 0 comments


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It's Here!

Posted by Mark Tuesday, October 23, 2012 0 comments


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The Big River

Posted by Mark Thursday, October 4, 2012 0 comments

 Just got back from the Clearwater river. Words fail me but these pics will help.



Big Fish





Moon Rise

Great Friends


Water so perfect you could die happy after fishing it

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Get Bent!

Posted by Mark Sunday, September 16, 2012 4 comments

 Fishing is good right now if you know where to look.Beating the same old runs is not always the answer.Exploring new water and fishing weird places was the key to success this weekend.

 Below is Dan with one of three for the day.


 Dan with a hot one!


A great fish for Dan

 Longtime friend and mentor JC drifting a dry










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Simple Fishing

Posted by Mark Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4 comments

I was on the road working and found myself somewhat close to the NU this evening. Great right? Not so great as I had no gear whatsoever. I knew my buddy had rods but he was on a 4 day trip on the D and took most of them. The ones he left if any, I would not feel comfortable fishing without asking him first.I went by the house anyway and searched around in the back room for something less precious.

Low and behold,I found a 10 ft 7wt Sage SLT strung up with a SA steelhead taper line and a # 2 Skunk tied firmly to the end of 8lb maxima. "This dog will hunt" I say as I remove it from it's perch behind an old TV. Now I search in vain for a little tippet and maybe an extra fly or two to take with me on the evening session. I end up finding a Black Gordon ad stick it in my hat. I then sit at the vise and tying a quick skater and stick that in my hat and am out the door.


I have a single hand rod, a couple flies, a spool of 7lb Umpqua I found on the hall table and my street clothes, that's it. No waders ,wading boots, fly boxes nippers,files etc.


I know there are at least a few places I can fish without getting wet and I go there. I hop scotch out over the rocks to reach a suitable casting station. I am pushing the limits with where I try and get as usual,but make it safely. Once safely on a dry spot, I began to fish. It is awesome! I feel like I am naked without all the things I would normally carry.Almost instantly it is apparent that I don't use or need half the stuff I cart around with me. The single hand rod feels good in my hand. The double haul is smooth and easy, the line fairly sings as it sails out over the flat and glassy tail out. The Skunk swims gently towards the edge of the run, searching for a player.

I fish 4 runs without a pull but it was rewarding to challenge myself to fish in this somewhat restricted manner.


There is much to be said of the "simple way"


 

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Legends of the Fall

Posted by Mark Thursday, August 30, 2012 1 comments

As fall looms on the horizon, I look forward to one of my favorite times of year. Cooler days, cooler water and a few more fish around. Fish are willing to hit skated and swung flies on floating lines with reckless abandon during this, the last gasps of summer. It has already frozen at my house several times and there is a feeling in the air that is thick with anticipation. Anticipation for exploration and fishing new waters, going back to old familiar places and spending time with good friends. The river songs call me from all over the west where steelhead swim.

My guiding calendar as of today has some openings in the middle of September and also October and November. Give me a holler if you want to experience the full Fall splendor of the North Umpqua in all it's history and beauty. There is so much more to this river than just catching fish.Come with me and you will see why I love it so much.


 In the meantime,enjoy this step by step of a killer fall fly, the Purple Spey:


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What it's all about

Posted by Mark Tuesday, August 21, 2012 3 comments

I had a great time last week fishing with some great friends, Mia and Marty Sheppard. They were on the river for the NFS river steward retreat and I kidnapped them for a few sessions of steelhead fishing with floating lines. We were skating flies,fishing traditional hair wings and muddlers mostly. Just covering good water well,and basically having a very relaxed time.We laughed a lot,there was no pressure. We shared and exchanged ideas on everything from casting styles,lines and equipment to steelhead behavior. We compared the behavior of the fish on the NU with the fish on the rivers that they are familiar with. We talked about life and kids,dogs and hunting.We had a great time of fellowship over those days. What a pleasure to watch such great casters and anglers cover the water like true pros.  I fished some but really wanted to get them into some good runs and let them try to make magic happen. Marty did on his 3 and 4th casts that first morning.

Some interesting results the first morning as Marty caught this Chinook on a stripped skater after raising the fish on his third cast. Yeah, he ate it goooooood!




The Sheppard's searching for the silver lining



Mia bombing one to the dark-side



 Marty winds up his 5120 for some distance of his own


The second morning brought clouds and a light rain early. The weather stayed cool until almost noon. I was fishing just above Mia, and she hooked and landed this beautiful buck. This fish did everything a fish could do starting with a full out of the water broadside take. The fish then proceeded to run straight at her and she had to wind line like crazy to get tight to him again. When she did get a tight line to him........pandemonium erupted as the fish sought to flip a pawl on her Marquis 2 with multiple reel melting runs.The fish fought hard and jumped several times but was quickly subdued in about 4 minutes of total fight time. That's how you do it people.



Mia with her first North Umpqua Fish and it was a worthy adversary


All in all it was a typical few days on the river. The fishing was pretty tough but we all had our chances. Some capitalized some did not. I rose a fish twice in one drift that finally ate the fly. When the fish did finally eat,I got a little jumpy and may have pulled the fly away from the fish. Sometimes they don't stick but it was fun trying. That's how it goes.Marty and Mia had ringside seats from a rock perch above the pool and saw all the action making it all pretty cool.

I hope to spend many more days with these two people on all the rivers we love. They are fellow guides, and they are mentors. I know they taught me some things and I hope they learned a few things from me as well.They are humble and skilled beyond words. They are mellow, and they are both funny as all get out.They are stewards,they are role models, they are parents, they are sons and daughters.  I am so blessed to now call them friends.

Thanks Marty and Mia for a great couple of days!

Mark

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On The Surface

Posted by Mark Saturday, July 28, 2012 0 comments


 
The dry fly skitters across the pool. Then a huge boil and full body rise of a large steelhead breaks the stillness of the glassy tail out. The fish fully missed the fly but he has now given away his precise location."Did you see that"? my dude says,hardly able to contain his excitement.  "Yes! That was the target species" I say jokingly. "I told ya it would stop your heart"    "You were not kidding! he says trying to regain his composure.

We rest the fish for a minute or two and he sends the skater back out for another drift through the same lie.Nothing doing. I tell him to shorten up his line and step a couple stems back up. I tie on a small purple wet fly and he starts through again slowly lengthening line to reach the lie of the fish that rose. He makes several great drifts in the zone and no fishy. I grab his line and change flies again tying on a tiny little skater and have him start in again, 20-25 feet higher than where the fish is laying. I want to make sure we are well above the fish and slowly work the little skater down to him. This extra distance also allows the fish to calm down and the fisherman also to settle down and make good casts. It allows the fisherman to get in the grove again working his way into the fish and not throwing the first cast out to the spot on a bad cast and blowing the fish out of there. Shortening up also allows for the possibility that the fish was actually holding up much higher than he showed himself at. Fish will sometimes turn and follow a fly down 10 or more feet and then rise on it. I want to make sure all our bases are covered. This process also allows for the fact that another fish may have moved into this area of holding water or that for some reason you did not get a drift that enticed the fish in that area. This  last scenario was what we found and was a good lesson for me to step back up and shorten up and recover old ground again when working a risen fish.

He starts back in with the baby skater and on the second cast another fish rises to the fly. This is well short of the first rise and is obviously another fish, it was easy to see this fish was smaller. He sends the baby skater out again and nada. I change the fly to a purple muddler and we replay the chess game. He casts,he swings, I change flies multiple times and he covers both lies and neither fish will commit to the eat. After 40 minutes or so and much excitement we wind up and go to another spot, knowing full well we gave the fish all we could.

You don't win them all,but seeing an angler that is new to the river light up when he see's a steelhead come to the surface after his dry fly offering was satisfying indeed.

This game we play with these fish is an obsession. Sometimes they get the upper hand but it's all about the process. What we see on the surface and what really goes on underneath can be two totally different things. True in fishing and true in life.

Joe Walsh says it well in the song The Confessor:
If you look at your reflection in the bottom of a well what you see is only on the surface If you try to see the meaning hidden underneath the measure of the depth can be deceiving
The bottom has a rocky reputation
 
You can feel it in the distance the deeper down you stare From up above it's hard to see, but you know it when you're there On the bottom words are shallow - on the surface talk is cheap You can only judge the distance by the company you keep


Good fishing

Mark

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Stay dry my friends!

Posted by Mark Tuesday, July 17, 2012 0 comments





Be safe out there this year!


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Umpqua Wild Winter Kill proposals are back

Posted by Mark Sunday, July 8, 2012 11 comments



Yes friends and neighbors, there are again multiple proposals for the killing of wild fish in the Umpqua drainage. So we had a good run of fish in 2012 and the powers that be are entertaining ideas on killing wild fish again. This is LUDICROUS and short sighted on so many levels. Hard to wrap my mind around the thinking of the state to even entertain these.
The last time there was a kill policy in place the census checkers figured that there were 4,000 wild winter fish killed in one season. In this day and age where wild fish are at an all time low, that kind of killing is not sustainable.This is a big deal people. We need to rally once again and get on the bus to save one of the last healthy populations of winter steelhead anywhere. We need to show up in force when the public forum in Salem is held. As was the case last time, advocates for catch and release showed up and the guys that made the proposals did not. The fish won that round but it's round two now. If we get signatures and pack the meeting hall at the public forum we will win again.

Tony Wratney has started this petition which opposes the many kill proposals on the docket and seeks to retain the current zero kill policy that is in place now.

Sign Here: UMPQUA WILD FISH NO KILL PETITION  Donate to the petition site if you choose but please note it is possible to sign the petition without donating.

To view the Southwest zone proposals and see what they are and who is proposing them go to :UMPQUA WILD FISH KILL PROPOSALS

The SW Zone is on page 36. Once again, the vocal minority is trying to put one over on the fish. By proposing many different scenarios they figure one will get through and the slaughter of wild fish will continue.


P.S.
The ODFW public meeting packet ( http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources...18-2012_dt.pdf ) states the best ways to get involved:

1. Write a letter. All letters will be forwarded to The Fish and Wildlife Commission as part of the public record.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Angling Regulations
3406 Cherry Avenue NE
Salem, OR 97303.

2.  Testify at a commission meeting.

 It looks like there will be two commission meetings before the rule changes become final. August 3rd in Salem and September 7th in Hermiston.

Please sign the petition above and pass it along to whoever you can.

Thanks

Mark

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America The Beautiful

Posted by Mark Monday, July 2, 2012 1 comments




















 
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

Amen

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