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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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Dan Callahan Memorial Threatened

Posted by Mark Monday, January 30, 2012 5 comments

 Apparently, there are some that are trying to have a memorial plaque dedicated to Dan at the Wright Creek tail-out removed. Those that have fished the run have seen it. With hard work and dedication, Dan devoted his life to this river,it's fish and it's conservation.His pictures of the river are unmatched and have been seen all over the world. If anyone deserves a memorial on the river it is Dan. The very reason the river is the way it is, is due to in large part to wild fish advocates like Dan

Below is a short history of the some of the conservation groups that Dan founded or was a part of:

Dan loved rivers, and he devoted his life to helping preserve them as a serious conservationist, avid fly fisherman, and gifted photographer, He was one of the founders of The Steamboaters, a fly fishing and conservation club which originated at Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua River, which he considered the most beautiful river he had ever seen, He was also a founder of the North Umpqua Foundation, Dan served as a director of those organizations as well as for The Museum of American Flyfishing, the Federation of Flyfishers, and the Salem Art Association, He served as a Commissioner on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, and served on the Willamette River Greenway Commission, He also served as house counsel for several flyfishing organizations, He received the Wild Trout Award from Oregon Trout and the Federation of Flyfishers' Brooks Memorial Life Membership award for his efforts in conservation and photography.
Dan was a member and supporter of the Steamboaters, North Umpqua Foundation, Federation of Flyfishers, Oregon Trout, Yellowstone Association, Trout Unlimited, 1,000 Friends of Oregon, Friends of Columbia Gorge, Nature Conservancy, Native Fish Society, American Museum of Flyfishing, High Desert Museum, Haig-Brown Kingfisher Society, American Rivers, Steelhead Society of British Columbia, Montana Trout Foundation, Water Watch of Oregon, Henry's Fork Foundation, and the Pacific Rivers Council, He was a Nikon Professional and a member of the International Association of Panoramic Photographers and the Portland Photographer's Forum, Dan fly fished and photographed many rivers in the Western United States, Canada, Alaska, Europe, Iceland, Central America, and South America, He was also a member of the golf team at Willamette University.
Dan's work has been published in Fly Fisherman, Fly Fisher, Rod & Reel, Outdoor Life, Newsweek, Country Gentleman, Outside, The Art of Angling Journal, Wild Steelhead and countless other publications.

Thanks for your help!

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The Right Place

Posted by Mark Sunday, January 29, 2012 0 comments

The water has been at flood stage and virtually un-fishable for days. I am finally on the river and fishing has been tough because water is up in the trees. Conditions are improving dramatically as the water drops 1000 cfs a day.I have been planning this trip down to the river for weeks.Everything is aligning for some epic conditions Saturday and Sunday maybe Monday before the next round of rain blows the ditch out. Everything is moving perfectly according to plan. Sunday is gonna be the day. But, before noon on Saturday I am in my truck driving up and out of the river heading home to a sick son who needs his Dad. The love for my son and family pulls harder now than the fish once did and I grind my foot on the accelerator and roar out of the canyon. The fish can wait this time, we will do battle later.

Make sure in the pursuit of fish that you don't neglect the one's you love. We are here a very short time and family and relationships must come first. I have made the wrong choices in the past and I vow to not let that happen again.

Happy fishing!

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Blue Rodeo

Posted by Mark Saturday, January 21, 2012 0 comments

 Love this guys style. Killer looking winter fly!

The "Blue Rodeo" Steelhead Fly from Dimitri Gammer on Vimeo.

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Tribute To One Of Skiings Greatest

Posted by Mark Friday, January 20, 2012 2 comments

 As a longtime skier it is with great sadness that I post this. God bless those that try to go on after this terrible tragedy.

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How High's The Water?

Posted by Mark Thursday, January 19, 2012 0 comments

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Posted by Mark Monday, January 16, 2012 0 comments

Finally a little powder in the hills......

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The Light

Posted by Mark Thursday, January 12, 2012 1 comments

The cold of the 35 degree water penetrates my waders and every layer I have. Fingers struggle to function as water from the fly line drips off them and falls to the water below. I recast and exhale, the fog from my breath hangs in a thick cloud, hardly moving or dissipating. I zip my coat up and nestle my chin deep into the fleece liner. Pulling my hood up over my head I try and savor every ounce of heat that my body produces. The sun has not yet risen but the light from the East tells me it is on it's way. Casting, swinging, stepping, I move in a rhythm that is efficient and measured. As the fly hits the water, my non rod hand always searches for the warmer pocket on the front of my coat or waders. There it sits in a Napoleon fashion until I must withdraw it and strip in line to do it again.

The sun hovers just below the horizon, teasing me with it's leisurely ascent. Splintered shards of light pierce the rivers fog and refract onto the higher hills above me,bathing them in a purple and pink light. Those upper reaches are lucky to be first to feel it's warmth. Within minutes, the purple and pink hues on the upper hills give way to brilliant yellow, orange and red. The river level light is also undergoing a change. The drabness of the pre-dawn is now becoming clearer as things overlooked and unseen snap into focus. The clarity of the water is what I notice first, staring 3 feet down and clearly seeing spent casings attached to a rock from stone flies. A fresh water lobster prowls the bottom looking for breakfast and quickly darts into the deep when I shuffle my feet for a step down stream. A water ouzel flickers by and lands, waiting for the sun like me. I continue to fish, the warmth of the sun is now moments away and I somehow feel warmer knowing it is so close. The tree tops across the river light up like a downtown marquee. With each step down the run I make,the sun drips down the fir and cedar trees inching ever closer to my position. The first golden rays reach me, playing tag as they try to penetrate the canopy behind me, only sometimes getting a clear shot to hit me. This goes on for some time and the anticipation of it's full presence is peaking.And then it's here. The radiant beams finally break free of the earthly obstacles and soar above unencumbered, and wrap me in their arms warming me to my core.  Looking straight into the sun and feeling it's full warmth and goodness is amazing. The cold of moments ago is but a memory as the sunlight soaks into me.

I fish with a new found passion, energized by this miracle of the dawning of a new day. It never fails to impress no matter how many I see. It's all a miracle really,the turning of the earth, our path around the sun, our place in the solar system, the fine tuning of the universe that allows for life on this blue ball in space.I live confident with the knowledge that there is a God who is Creator of all things and he made the sun that warms me, this liquid environment that I now stand in and the fish that I love so much, and it is GOOD!

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The lord of the swing

Posted by Mark Monday, January 9, 2012 0 comments


Do you know a guy that just get's um? I have a couple friends that qualify in this regard. You know,fishermen who by either hard work and years of experience, or a combination of both, just seem to hook a lot of fish. I have one friend in particular who is just an outstanding fisherman in all respects. He knows his home field better than almost anyone alive right now. His attention to the subtleties of the swing game and the ever changing ways to make the presentation that is right for the run and seasons make him a guy that flat out gets it done. His knowledge of every rock in the ditch and where fish sit at every level is legendary. His approach is often different than the average angler and he manages his swing the way Joe Torre managed the Yankees. Tight and right.He knows these fish..... we say he has gills. When he goes to new waters these same instincts allow him to fish and find fish like he is on his home field.
He has called fish in a run, much like the Babe pointing to the fence before smashing it out of the park. I have seen him approach a run and tell me where they sit and where I will hook one on more than one occasion. Once he did this in ridiculously high water, almost un-fishable water. We questioned even being out but he was undaunted. He pointed to a spot with his rod and said "at these levels the fish is gonna be right there".  Several minutes later in that exact spot a chrome hen crushed my offering. You just don't see that every day. This guy is on another level. Like we often say, the rest of us may be on the pro tour and playing the same course with him, he just happens to be Jack Nicklaus.The things that I have learned under his watchful eye are priceless.

Another friend is a fish magnate as well. He is a guy who is a great caster and fisherman in his own right. His approach is different as are most of the people I know. No one does it the same every time. This particular guy has all the skills and he also has a sixth sense. His years of experience give him the ability to not over think a situation. He knows when to be where and is not afraid to fish behind someone else. His skills at presenting a fly give him confidence to follow even the best of fisherman through, knowing his fly is searching and hunting better.He just fishes in a methodical and measured manner and quietly hooks many,many fish. He doesn't get ruffled by crowds, he doesn't run around on the river with his hair on fire. He fishes tried and true spots carefully and completely. He branches out and finds fish in new places. He has been catching steelhead since I was in diapers. He is a master and a friend. He is someone who I learn from every time I am out with him.

I catch plenty of fish but I also know that I can improve my game in almost every aspect.It takes a life time but every day fishing I aspire to learn and improve and one day, maybe when I am 80,be worthy of the title The lord of the swing.

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The Fellowship Of The Swing

Posted by Mark Saturday, January 7, 2012 5 comments

 One of the brothers in the fellowship getting his swing on old school

I am constantly amazed at the tight knit group of people that I meet that have one thing in common....we all love to swing flies for steelhead. This brotherhood of friends, some of whom I have never even met in person yet, is really unlike anything I have been a part of. And,it is not a group that you join, you are almost born into it. It starts the day you are old enough to fish and continues through all the progressions of childhood fishing. Pan fish,bass, small stream trout, lakes, etc. All of the experiences from your youth shape you as you grow.You are heading for a final destination but you haven't got the map yet. It will be revealed to you in due time.Your first fly rod starts you on a collision course with the swing. You are not fully aware of what this fly rod in your hands will do for you. The places it will take you and the stories you will tell because of this thin piece of fiberglass, bamboo or graphite will fill volumes before you die. As you develop as a caster and fisherman you challenge yourself to cast more efficiently with less effort.As technique grows keener you seek more of a challenge.Experiences are built upon and friendships are being made all along the road. Many of your friends are developing at much the same rate as you are. You have mentors who guide and mold you along the way, each step getting you ready for the future, and the culmination of events that will ultimately become a lifelong passion..

A little brother and a mom are fully in tune with the fellowship

And then one day, you discover steelhead and are forever changed in an instant. Sure, you still fish for other fish, but the unmistakeable pull of this fish has captured you and you can't escape....and you don't want to. The friendships that are forged in the pursuit of these fish become some of the strongest bonds I know. Road trips,endless talk around the fly shop counter,and telephone conversations that stretch on for hours.Sitting around the fishing shack,camp or house and going over the day you have just experienced or babbling excitedly about the next day to come, are some of the best times I can remember. The ability to converse about a common theme breaks down doors of communication that may never have come down in normal "life"talk. The swing is the only thing that matters and learning more about it, doing it and discussing it are all encompassing.

  Gandalf, a great brother and teacher

This fellowship, this brotherhood is every where. It extends to our Atlantic Salmon brothers who fish for another fish but share the technique and passion for the sport. We can talk to any of these brothers in exactly the same language.A common thread exist through all of it. A true love of the outdoors and a passion for the target species, whatever that may be.The characteristics of this fellowship which draw us in and are on display on a regular basis are,excitement, patience, endurance,camaraderie, unselfish sharing and giving to others, an exchange of both teaching and learning. There are no best ways to do things, just different ways. All have a place and all are accepted and taken with the same authority. As my Dad always said "There is more than one way to remove the outer epidermal layer from a feline". This rings true as it applies to the swing as there are as many ways to swing a fly as there are players in this game. That is the fun part of this fellowship. There is ALWAYS something to be learned from someone else. The day I quit learning and growing on the river is the day I will quit fishing. It hasn't happened yet in almost 30 years swinging for steel and I still have plenty of things to learn.

It truly is a lifelong pursuit as we all learn more about the fish we chase,the spots that hold them, the currents that keep them there, and the wonderful times we share with others in The Fellowship Of The Swing.

I have a limited run of Fellowship Of The Swing bumper stickers in the works.

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Short Session

Posted by Mark Wednesday, January 4, 2012 1 comments

I fished a total of 10 minutes the other day and landed my first fish of the year, a spellbinding buck in the upper teens.
 Here is a short excerpt from the story I wrote and posted on the The Long Line Collective.............

 The line tightens agonizingly slow, the Daiwa 812 gives 6 inches of line and clicks a few times. Wait for it.......Bam!!! I raise the rod firmly and strike a heavy fish.He shakes his massive head in disagreement of his new found predicament and the rod throbs in tandem. I fight this fish quickly and cleanly, nothing truly remarkable about it,just a good solid fight. As I slide him into the shallows, I am awed by his size.He is easily the largest fish I have seen in winter in quite some time.He is perfect in every way with barely a hint of rose along the side and cheek.I am awed by his strength. I am awed by his beauty.  In a dream like state,I twist the hook out of this magnificent creature, watching his silver body glide silently into the main current and disappear.

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