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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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Young Gun Goes Dry

Posted by Mark Monday, May 28, 2012 0 comments

  A recent trip to an undisclosed location provided action on large dry flies.K2 finally actually got to feel one on the end of a rod and listen to the Bougle scream. Yes these trout can spin a Hardy too! I have found that the 11 7wt switch rod is really a great tool for small people to cast and they can do so without a lot of arm strength. This rod, one of my steelhead setups, is slowly being taken from me by my son. He get's it and I am so proud to sit back and watch the light bulb go on. My daughter is also picking up the rod as well and has that smooth stroke of her mom's casting already.

Smiles all around as K2 puts the wood on a feisty dry fly eatin trout 
( Let go of the handle when it starts spinning son!)

A nice first trout for the boy.....he's wrecked!!!  (note the eyes rolled back into his head and the glazed look of a dry fly fisherman in post fish euphoria)

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May Day!

Posted by Mark Friday, May 25, 2012 0 comments

In this short time between winter and summer steelhead I have been skiing.....A LOT.

I figure if I can't wade around in the water for steel quite yet, I can wallow in the powder. Skiing will always be my first love and today, at the end of May, I was blessed to be able to attend a glorious powder day on the hill. There was over a foot of new snow and it was amazing, especially for so late in the year.

Steelhead are great but I am a powder hound at heart,always will be.




IN THE WHITE ROOM (they said 3 inches of was a bit more!)

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Steelheaders Dictionary(North Umpqua version)

Posted by Mark Friday, May 18, 2012 0 comments

 Poker Face

These are some helpful words and phrases in common circulation amongst my fishing friends.

In no particular order.

Farmed, farming, to farm-Losing a fish due to various technical issues, mostly operator related. These issues may include but are not limited to: bad knots, dull hooks, setting the hook too early, setting the hook too late, not setting the hook at all,not paying attention, reel,rod or line problem and getting cocky,

Overalls-What your buddies say you are wearing when you farm a particular fish.

International Harvester- What you start up when you hook and land a hatchery fish.

Eye straightener-Any available implement or tool that can be used to deliver a sharp blow on the head to said hatchery fish. As in "Find me an eye straightener, this ones going on the BBQ"

Heavy Hooker-Any one who uses large saltwater tarpon hooks or any other heavy iron for the express purpose of circumventing the no weighted fly law in the summer. They use these hooks so they can exploit the deep water sanctuary and sink flies deep with a dead drift/nymph type presentation. These people can be identified easily by the cannon ball splash at the end of their line when the fly lands. They can also be identified by the pools they fish and the times they fish them. They can also be identified by the lack of any forward movement in a particular run.

Eater-A fish that,once spotted and fished to will most likely eat a fly. Can also be used to denote the handful of spring Chinook that are caught in May.

Van Man- The person driving a van that yelled at,then low holed my wife in a run and then yelled at me and my kids.This person is known by many on the river by this name.He's famous you could say....or is that infamous?

Son of Van Man-Another van driving person who is often seen in the vicinity of Van Man.

2nd Cousin of Son of Van Man- Distantly related to Van Man on his mothers side.This third van driving person always seems to be where I want to fish.

On Deck- the next person up to fish a particular run.

Benched-What happens when you are fishing with your buddies.Especially used when you hook and land a fish. You can however be benched for several other reasons including A)being too eager and pulling a dry fly away from a fish.B) Raising a fish multiple times in a single run. As in "You had your chance,you're benched" C) any other incident that involves operator error and a fish, see Farm above. Depending on how many you are fishing with,you are forbidden to fish anymore until one or both of the other friends has had a risen, missed,farmed or landed fish. Being benched is an enviable position really and one I strive for.

Plucky- A fish that moves to the fly but only lightly plucks the fly. These are often fish that eventually become eaters with the right fly change and patience. See Closer below

Closer- A confidence fly that is used after a fish has risen or shown itself to the original fly but will not come back. See Plucky above.

Seal the deal- What a closer fly often does.

High Rent District-The best holding spot and structure in a particular pool.

Suburbs- Those secondary areas where fish hold when the High Rent District is full.

Back Alley- Where fish hold when the Suburbs are full. These lies can often be far off but the fish that hold there are often grabby as they see less flies.

O Dark Thirty-The time that you need to get up to ever be able to get into the Station first in summer.

Danger Zone-An area in a particular run where you fish your fly well down into a tail out on the far side of a large rock. Any fish hooked in this area can result in lost flies,fish, lines,broken rods, and blown up reels.

Bike Chain-Various lengths of T material often needed to get down to where the fish are in winter.
Man's Rod-A reference to a 10ft 7wt, the only rod you really need in summer.

Hoop,Hooping or Hooped- Since the NU is a drive,walk and wade river, you fish all over the place and see many people multiple times in a day.Hooping is the act or process of getting into runs in front of  certain people(buddies, fellow guides) at various key points in the day. This is in no way to be confused with low holing as it is has everything to do with timing, shade or sunlight and is ethically pure. It has to do with being at the right place at the right time as they say.  Example " I hooped so and so all day, he was always a step behind" " I got hooped by that Jackwagon again in such and such spot" or "I've been hooping that clown all week"

Wet Footprints-The tell tale signs that someone has been in the run before you. This can be both good and bad. I have hooked many fish after encountering Wet Footprints. It is knowing when to follow those wet footprints that is key. How long have they been there? Who made them? You become like a tracker and decide what your odds are before you follow some Wet Footprints.

Gang Tackle- Fishing larger stretches of water with multiple people. "Let's go Gang Tackle the Camp Water"

Poke- Any cast made with a single hander over 80 feet. "That cast to the far side of Lisa's is a poke" or " I didn't think I could poke it over there but I found a hole in the trees and a steeple cast worked" or " I have seen that guy fish this run before and he can't make the poke" This last instance would be a time when Wet Footprints would not matter and I would fish behind this guy.

It's Slow- A general reply to individuals asking for a fishing report or mining for specific information.

Poker Face- What you hope you have when your fellow guide buddies ask how you did after a particularly good day.

Tell- That itch or twitch,mouth or eye movement from your buddy that indicates he's lying his ass off when you ask him how his day was.

Ripped them- What your buddy says when you ask if such and such run is fishing yet. He caught nothing and you know he is trying to throw you off.

They don't live there this year- What your buddy says if he is asked about a particular run that he knows you know about. He actually ripped um. However, these two phrases can be swapped at any time to actually mean what they say which adds an element of difficulty to the game. See Tell and Poker Face above.

Kite String- Any of a number of brands of backing material. As in "Did you see the Kite String melt off my Bougle?" or "That fish was a pig,he took so much line I could see the metal spool showing under my Kite String, it was getting critical."

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Hardy Reels(A short history)

Posted by Mark Friday, May 11, 2012 1 comments

A very informative article that sinktip compiled on the speypages site a while back that I thought I would post here. Some of these old click and pawl reels are responsible for over a hundred years of salmon and steelhead and are still being fished today.Obviously, some of the prices he lists have changed slightly showing the value and demand for these reels is still quite high.

Here is the article:

 First off, old Hardy reels are nowhere near the fanciest or most intricately made reels out there. What they lack in engineering though, they more than make up for in both personality and functionality. I know less about the Marquis Salmons than the Bougle or Perfect so will gloss over these in hopes others can fillin the blanks. It is my understanding that they came out in the late 50s or early 60’s as more of a base level reel. There were three sizes offered: the Salmon I, Salmon II and Salmon III. The III being the largest of the lot and capable of holding the largest of the long bellied lines. They are virtually bomb-proof and like the others, are loud. Years ago, I toyed with buying one but they never appealed to my eye. Of the three though they are closest to what we think of a “normal” fly reel. The handle is on the spool and they have a palming rim. They were discontinued in the mid-90s I believe but are readily available on auctions and elsewhere for between $200-350.

The Bougle was first released before World War I as a special request. There was a need for a tournament casting reel that weighed less than the Perfect’s that were Hardy’s bread and butter at the time. Built on roughly the same design as the Perfect, the Bougle had raised crossbars with a line roller instead of the oval line guide on many of the Perfects. Originals are extremely rare and fetch a high price. Around 1995, Hardy re-released the Bougle in limited numbers and designated them the Mark IV. These were nice reels and proved so popular, they soon put them into regular production. They had a silvery or “spitfire” finish and the double check of the post-1920 Perfects. The early models had problems with the wood handles swelling when wet but this was remedied by Hardy fairly quickly. Although I have heard many reports of this handle swelling, I had one of the limited early models and I never experienced this. The Mark IV’s were discontinued last year and replaced with the Mark V’s. The newer models have a more radical spool porting and the spitfire finish is gone. Other than that and a sharp hike in price, I don’t think there is much changed. The Mark IV models are still available in some shops and on-line auctions. Expect to pay around $350 for a 4” Salmon model.

Now we are left with the Perfect. Some believe, myself included, these to be the finest mass-produced reel ever made. The earliest Perfect’s were turned out in the late 1890’s and were in production in one form or another until the early or mid 1970’s. They went from all brass to a leaded finish to finally a grey enamel finish. They can be broken into a number of models/eras but roughly can be grouped into: The brass-faced models (pre-1900 or so) which are almost worth their price in gold. These are primarily all right hand wind and cannot be converted. They are heavy but the sound they produce cannot be duplicated and is truly musical. Expect to pay upwards of $1000-1200 for one in good condition.

 Next come the early alloy models. These are fine reels and once again are primarily all right hand wind and cannot be converted. In addition the oval spring check they had was somewhat prone to breaking and was/is hard to replace. These were produced up until the early 1910’s. These can be had from time to time and depending on condition, can range from $400 - $800. Next come the 1912 check models. These are rare and the design did not last long but they are some of the sweetest Perfect’s made. As with the earlier models, most were right hand wind and non-convertible. If you are lucky enough to find one in good shape it will go in excess of $700. If you can find one of the few left hand wind models in prime shape, you can almost double that. Note that Hardy did release a commemorative run of these two years ago. I believe that they made only 250 of a set of (3 ¾”., 4” and 4 ¼”) and a like number of individual reels in each size. A few of these were released as left hand wind. (One of the LHW 4 ¼” models rests on my T&T 10150-5. It cost me $650 but was worth every penny.)

Next comes the most available of the pre-war Perfects. These are the Duplicated Mark II’s and they featured a new more dependable double check system. These first appeared around 1918-1919. They were designed for right hand retrieve but as long as there was no revolving line guard, could be easily changed over by flipping the pawls. You could engage one pawl or two as well in case of a broken spring or if you needed more "drag". Drag of course being a loose term when referring to all Hardy click and pawl models. Compared to modern disc drags, they don’t come close but they do keep the spool from over-running and the rest can be handled by side pressure to the spool plate. The Mark II’s had the long foot (of either allow, ribbed brass or smooth brass) of the earlier models and the fat stubby handle of either ebonite or Ivory. It is important to note that the long feet will not fit most modern reel seats so the seat will need to be rebuilt, the foot replaced with a shorter model or heaven forbid, filed down. Many of the Mark IIs available have an altered foot that in the collector’s eyes reduces the value. Luckily from a fishing standpoint, it doesn’t matter. I do know some friends though who refuse to modify or replace the feet so fish their Perfect’s held on with electrical tape. Before I had a foot built for my first 4”, I did this as well. This era of Perfect is also characterized with curved lettering which parallels the edge of the plate. These reels can be found fairly often on auction and the price depends greatly on condition, finish and the foot. I have picked up a 4” with a filed foot for as little at $370 and paid almost twice that for an early 1920’s model with pristine foot.

Finally come the post-war models. These have straight line writing instead of the curved, a smaller ebonite handle and an appearance that they were mass produced. They retain the Mark II check and except for aesthetics, are the functional equal of the pre-war. They also sport an enamel finish to replace the hand leaded finish of the pre-war reels. These are easily found and most sport the shorter ribbed foot that will fit modern rods. Cost is largely dependent on condition and size. I sold a 4 ¼” models of this era recently for $500 but it was in pristine condition and came with the original box. Both the Bougle and the Perfect have no palming rim, instead a spool face that you can apply finger pressure to from the side. This is possible as the handle in not on the spool as on a modern conventional fly reel but rather on the back face. Both the spool and back face turn. The Bougles top out at 4" and are limited for large weight and long bellied spey lines. The Salmon (wide-spooled) models on the Perfects come in 1/4" increments and for spey uses are available in 3 1/2", 3 3/4", 4", 4 1/4" and 4 1/2". The sizes at the extremes are rare and fairly pricey.

Well that about covers the main models. There are a few limited models out there as well that will command premium prices and I hope others can fill in the blanks there. One example of this is the Taupo Perfect of which I believe Riveraddict to be especially fond of.

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Dawn Patrol

Posted by Mark Sunday, May 6, 2012 0 comments

Those few minutes immediately preceding daylight are some of my favorite. The world is quiet, the river slumbers. Walking the trail into a favorite run at this time of day is still one thing that never gets old.As I walk,the anticipation of those first few casts and just being there as the river slowly wakes up from its summer sleep is enchanting.There is no need for a light as my feet have tread this tail so many times before. Every once in a while I look straight up through the towering cedar,fir and sugar pines to see the ever lightening day and my trail laid out in the sky. The sound of my feet on the well worn trail is a comfort. I know these trails as I know the halls of my own house.The crunch of needles,sticks and brush hitting my ankles tells me I have wandered off course and I adjust my stride and again find the smoothness of the path that will take me to my run. I arrive with time to sit and enjoy the surroundings of this place I call home.

I have already have a fly tied on and now I am just waiting for the light to be just right and I will step out and begin the day. I convince myself several times that I can see and start for the rivers edge but stop myself short. I know that I will not be able to see my fly quite yet and especially the small dimple or rise of a fish that moves,follows,flashes or rolls on the fly. I want to be able to see all of those things and I wait impatiently like a small child. Finally it is light, or at least fish able light for me. I take the hook off the keeper as I slowly and quietly step into the water. The chill of this early summer water hits me instantly. I ease my way out onto the casting station, trying desperately not to make any disturbance in the water. Even so,small ripples radiate out across the glass smooth surface and into the tail out.

I let the waves settle for a minute and strip off a handful of line in the mean time. I start with a very short line as fish can hold amazingly close in this run. As fly and line hit the water for the first time my senses go into hunter mode. I am laser focused on what I am doing now. I lengthen line accordingly, searching and probing every inch of holding water showing my fly to any likely fish that are there. I get my whole fly line out and find a rhythm.Now nice efficient loops are laying out straight,the fly fishing the instant it hits. As the purple muddler minnow arcs lazily across the pool, I see a flash down below the fly. This is the flash I may never have seen if I had not waited for proper light. I have found a player. I don't even give the fish another chance at the muddler. I go into the box and pull out a small dark fly of my own creation and tie it to my leader. Different fly same approach but I do however,reel in ten feet of line and start above where the fish showed. You never know where the fish actually was. Did he chase it down after it already passed him? Did he move up 10 feet and take a swat at it? Did he come from inside? Outside?I have had luck doing about everything on these fish but for this fish, I just went with my first feeling. Show him something smaller and darker and get him to EAT!

The casts when you are working a fly down to a known fish are some of the most nerve racking ever. At any moment you could be mauled by an eager fish, you just don't quite know where. You almost want to look away and just feel the grab and react on what you feel. But, it is more like a car accident on the side of the road, as much as you try you look away, you just can't. I am halfway now to where the fish showed and the feeling of excitement is palpable. I try to keep my composure as the fly swings slowly through the "zone". I get to where the fish rolled and put a drift through......nada. Maybe I should have left the muddler on I mutter under my breath. Another cast and another with no action. I am now 10 feet past where the fish showed and definitely second guessing my fly change. Another cast swings through the heart of the run and I have now let my guard down. The fly is in the last third of the swing and I feel a light pluck and then the line snaps tight and the reel begins to spin. Just as quickly,my mind snaps tight and it's wheels start spinning. The new day is shattered by the sound of a well used fly reel going through the paces. The sound of the reel is almost obscene in this early dawn. You could swear that everyone on the river could hear it. A pristine summer fish comes to hand as most people still have an hour or two in bed.

The dawn patrol rewards the diligent seeker once again.

Good fishing


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