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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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Secondary Holding Lies

Posted by Mark Saturday, May 25, 2013 1 comments


So every year I have places I want to explore on the North Umpqua. Places that I have fished before but have not fished in many years....some are harder to get to places, some are so obvious and people stumble right over them without knowing it. Places rarely fished. You may say to me, "Hey man,everything on the NU in the fly water gets fished and fished a lot" and you would be wrong. Amazingly, there are many runs and holding lies in some of the most crowded and popular sections of the river that rarely see a fly. It's true.

 People are creatures of habit and fishermen often even more so. You fish a run a certain way because that is the way it was shown to you or that is how you have seen others fish it. You fish runs the same way after that method is proven to work and fish are found. We rarely break out of a routine or pattern that has been shown to be effective. Despite thoughts to the contrary we should vary from our routine or pattern and seek out other holding lies in that run by changing our approach.  Start higher in the run than you normally do, fish lower into and through the tail into the next run. Cast farther, wade deeper, wade shallower, fish close fish far,change cast angles, mend, don't mend. All of these actions may find a fish that was not in the primary holding water. The more fish there are in a given run in the primary spots,the chance of fish holding in these secondary areas will increase dramatically. People will hammer the primary spots and the grabby fish will be plucked out if they are there fairly easily. Meanwhile, there are grabby, willing fish in secondary spots that do not see a fly due to the average fisherman's adherence to routine.

 Ever wonder why someone can come in behind you and pick up a fish? There are obviously many reasons for this including but not limited to, a new fish just pulling in, fly pattern,color and size, technique,tactics,line  used,skill, and knowledge etc. Sometimes it is sheer luck. But more often than not I believe the reason that the person who picks up a fish behind someone is that the person following watched how and where the first person fished. The person following was aware of how far the person before him was casting where he was standing. He was acutely aware of  the cast angle and other factors learned from the preceding fisherman. It is my belief that many times the following fisherman has targeted a fish holding in a secondary lie that the first fisherman did not cover. I think this happens a lot. I know it happens a lot. It has happened to me and I have caught fish behind others by observing and doing something different.

 I need to continually re-adjust and rethink the places I fish. Every year,I incorporate long lost runs of yesteryear back into my routine. There is no way I can fish all the runs I know on a regular basis so I rotate runs in and out of my routine based on water levels,crowds,fish counts,weather,and structure changes.This is a key to success and keeping the river fresh and new for me. On a river as popular as the North Umpqua, you will find that exploring new water and targeting secondary holding lies is always a good thing, it will reward the person who persists.

There is more water that holds fish than one could possibly master in a short lifetime. Go out and seek some new areas. Don't follow the sheep around fishing the same runs the same way. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find, and what you find will include more than just new places to fish.  It will include the rich diversity of God's creation, the river, trees,creatures and wilds of a place that many dream about fishing and few get to experience. The exploration and willingness to search to find your own places to fish will make the old river become new again.

That goes for life as well.The willingness to search for the truth in a world full of untruth may also lead you to some amazing discoveries...........

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

See ya out there!

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Early Season Tactics(Go Big Or Go Home)

Posted by Mark Thursday, May 16, 2013 0 comments

  Fluffy Skunk

When searching for early season steelhead, it's all about covering water, a LOT of water. These fish are few and far between but will move aggressively to a fly if you can cross paths with one. Precise and careful presentation, while always something to be mindful of, is not at the forefront when searching for these early fish.  It is not the low clear of late summer so don't treat it that way.  Fish are moving hard and the water is up a bit. The job of the angler in these early times is to target specific moving lanes and tail outs. On the North Umpqua there are many of these areas that will produce fish and these places are learned only after many years of observing these early movements. In other words......go figure it out yourself!  Recently, my buddy spotted a fish in one of these known early season tail outs. The fish was only in the holding spot for maybe 10 minutes and then gone, spurred forward by the scent of the gravel and waters where he was born.

 I like to fish big profile wet flies on a floating line in the early season. When I say big I mean up to 1/0. Don't be afraid to tie them a fluffy. A bigger profile will be seen better by these fish in the slightly higher water. Remember that even though flows may be up a bit, water temps will be too. There is no need to fish a sink tip when waters warm into the high 40's and 50's. Trust me, these early fish will rip your arm off and have no trouble moving to maul subsurface presentations at these temps.

Go Big

Psalm 1:3
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

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Ever the Optomist

Posted by Mark Monday, May 13, 2013 0 comments

 K2 tied into a good one at the Riffle Ranch

Looking at historical numbers of fish over Winchester lately. I always get excited around now but realize that run timings are fairly consistent. The numbers and dates tell the tale and you can almost set your clock to it. There are always a few early fish out there and catching one is always fun. What I have come to realize is that we haven't had a "normal" year of fishing in a few years. Last year was high water which allowed many fish to blaze through the fly water and up the creek.....a good thing. Sure, there were fish caught last year and I had decent fishing, it just didn't ever get hot for me. I had some good stretches but I actually did much better with my dudes last year than I did on my own...go figure.

I have a good feeling about this year, I can't explain it. My boy is ready to bust some string, I think he may just get a steelhead on a dry this year.  

The fish will come when they come as they always do, and we will be ready.

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Swing The Fly

Posted by Mark Friday, May 3, 2013 0 comments

Friend and fellow guide Zack Williams is starting a new project. Very cool.........Check it out!!!!

Image: Jonathan Barlow, Barlow Photo Arts

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