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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
It's steelheading time. Don't miss out on the action.
Reserve your trip today!

The dry fly action at Giants was off the hook(at times,literally) that second year as I related in my last post. But "The One" came out of Giants on a sink tip and a black A-leech. After raising what we thought was every fish in the pool, I decided to get down and see if maybe one stayed,deep not wanting to play our little surface games. I started in the lower end of the run off the sandy beach. Starting in short, I knew I wasn't gonna make it too far. I actually made it farther then I thought I would,getting 45ft of line out or so. I stepped down and started to wonder if anything was going to eat. The next cast about mid swing, I feel a fish lightly pluck the fly, I do nothing as an eternity goes by. Slowly the line tightens and the slow steady throb of a heavy fish makes it self known. There is no line blistering long runs from this one, as I settle in and make a stand for a fight with what I assume is a large buck. Don't get me wrong, this fish is pulling and taking line,it's just staying deep and wallowing around like a pig. No jumps, just those slow powerful runs where you can do nothing to slow or turn the fish. The fish is just oblivious to my presence all together. I fight the fish for about 5 or 6 minutes and Tim comes over to see what the heck's going on. "You gonna land that fish today"? he says, ribbing me. "I'm trying to, it won't move" At that point, the fish rolls up on the surface and we see just what we are dealing with. An enormous HEN! She seems ready to give us a look after a couple more short bursts. I finally land the hen of my dreams, a 37x21 inch specimen that made me gasp for air. A few different weight formulas puts that in the high nineteen lb range.(19.8 on one) Who cares, it was the biggest hen I had ever seen! That song Lola went through my mind.....looked like a women but fought like a man oh my Lola, Lo Lo Lo Lo Lola. Just a slab.

The last good Giants story of that trip involved Tim once again. Just before we were about to leave, Tim decided to run through with the dry one last time to see if he could pull one more up. He starts in at the bottom of the riffle, just where it starts to get deep.He is waded in to his stomach and is trying to reach a far seam where we have seen some fish roll. He starts to get a couple casts over there and when he finally hits the seam, a hot little lady climbs on and as has been the drill, SMOKES his reel. After the initial run, the fish is one the other side under the trees, Tim side pressures the old 1920's perfect and put's the brakes on. The fish is having none and with a powerful burst starts to put the after burners on, thinking about leaving the park. Right about then, the screw on the old Hardy spool breaks and pops off into 3-4ft of water. Tim is waded in too deep to try and grab the spool so, as he expertly hand lines this still green fish in, he slowly boots the spool into shallower water where he may be able to grab it later. It's all by hand now. He strips in line and the current takes the slack and it dances down the river. The fish runs and those yards and yards of line he just gained are quickly pulled out of the water with a trailing spray as it shoot out the guides in an instant. This sea saw battle continues for a few minutes until Tim decides to start straight lining the fish.These fish are not leader shy and we go beefy. He quickly gains ground,eventually landing the fish with a few more backing and line burns than he started with. Another awesome display of fish fighting to watch! Ya gotta do what ya gotta do! And yes he found his spool and retired it for the rest of the trip.We ended up landing a few more on tips but it was time to let the fish be and snap out of the dream like trance we had been in the last few days.

We made our way down to our lower camp below Moose and since it was still late July, we could access the water all the way to the Jam Hole. The Jam Holed is the first place you can fish above the canyon. The power boat deadline goes to that point up until the last day of July. We fished it the last three days of July and to say it was good  would once again be a serious understatement. The fish climb the canyon and then rest in this the first pool above. The last hundred or so yards in the very tail is off limits for obvious reasons. This is a place that the guides love because it gets their sports on the board quick.

This was another of those places where you just rotate through because it will be less than 5 minutes and your buddies rod will be bucking and thumping. They come fast and furious here. The fish are super aggressive and bright being scant miles from the salt. Some of the highest jumping fish for sure were taken at the Jam.Some outrageously quick hookups, and easily the fastest I have ever seen 10 or 12 steelhead hooked and landed in my life. Seriously, It would be less than 5 minutes and you would be hooked up. After 4 or 5 a piece we moved along and let some others have at it. We spent probably a little over an hour there.......just stupid good fishing. You actually start to get used to playing super hot,ballistic fish and  become somewhat jaded, if that's possible. We knew that we had seen some beyond epic fishing and would draw from those memories many times in later years when we were around "normal" fishing conditions and fish numbers. Those kind of numbers do not always happen on the Dean above the canyon but they can on good years. I think our total number of landed between 3 dudes in 8 days was over 70 fish. A handful of fish in the 35-39 inch range and more mid teens 31-34 inch hens than you can shake a stick at. I can't even count the players, and fish hooked and lost during those days. It was a blurr of jet sleds,whirling whitewater,jumping fish, singing reels and high fives.

I will never forget those days on the Dean.

Oh to be there now......


  1. Blake Says:
  2. Amazing blog posts Mark. I cannot wait to get up there once I save up enough money. You are a lucky guy for sure. Might have to fish with you on the NU in the summer!

  3. Mark Says:
  4. Thanks Blake,

    I will be around, look me up when summer hits....the early fish on the NU are out of control!


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