Oregon Fly Fishing Guide            541-895-2708           email: fishin-musician@centurytel.net

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 Fly Fishing Lessons
     I look back over 30 years of casting the fly with memories of rivers, seasons, youth, loved ones and lovers, optimism, struggles, first car, and sometimes fish. Of course there are many more memories but I would have to write a book. If you were to fish with me I could tell you my stories. Perhaps the stories of your life could be more interesting than mine.
umpqua river When I got my first fly rod in 1974 it was a Fenwick four piece fiberglass rod for a six weight line. I wish I still had that rod. I didn't know anyone who fly fished so I learned most everything out of books. I have known that there is always someone who will rise to the pinnacle of his craft and some of these people will write books. And it happens that many people who fly fish are literary so you will find no shortage of books. If you are a beginner and have no one to teach you I suggest you start with a beginners "how to" fly fishing book.
There are so many of these books that I can't recommend one. Most all these books are good and they all start with tackle... rod, reel, line selection. Your next chapter will be fly casting. Rest of the book will cover flies and basic aquatic entolmology, reading the water, trout and trout requirements, and fly presentations and strategies for catching trout. Some books will also have information on fly tying. Many fly fishermen become fly tiers and to a lesser degree...rod builders. For the beginner...this is where I come in...I can guide you on the river to put all these things together. Is your tackle selection correct? Are you casting correctly? Is that insect a caddisfly or a mayfly? Do you think there is a trout over there? Why? Should we use a dry fly or a wet fly?  We will catch some trout. I forgot to mention that in the 21st century we have instructional videos and dvd.
     If you are not a beginner I will put you on fish. The only help you might need could be fly selection, presentation, and strategy. I also know some advanced casting such as the curve cast right and left, the tuck cast, the reach cast, the roll cast, the puddle cast, and different ways to mend the line "in the air."
     I became a fly fisherman after I saw many trout feeding on flies and nothing I offered them could entice a bite. My thinking was if I learned to fly fish I would be able to catch these feeding trout easily. After I learned how to cast a fly I found out that there are times when they are easy to catch and there are many times when they are most difficult to catch even when they are actively feeding on flies. The lesson I learned was the selectivity of trout. Trout have a one track mind. That is why they would not bite bait or lures when they were feeding on flies. They could only take flies because they were being selective at this particular time. I later found out that trout can be selective to one particular fly when many different types of flies are present. When many types of aquatic insects are in the air and on the water ( the "hatch") and the trout key in on one particular insect... the fly fisherman's moment of truth has arrived. Can he figure out which insect the trout is feeding on (assuming he is carrying an artificial fly with him that will match) and will he be able to present this artificial to the trout in a natural manner? This moment will distinguish the angler as good, better, and best.
umpqua river  I fly fish for trout because I think it is the most natural and efficient way to catch them. You are trying to trick them into thinking that your artificial fly is the real insect (a case for learning to tie your own flies). I have mixed emotions when it comes to fly fishing for other species of fish. The Summer Steelhead will sometimes feed on insects in the latter part of his spawning run and this fish is marginal as to whether fly fishing is the most natural and efficient way to catch him. Most all the Summer Steelhead I have caught are on attractor flies which are not true representations of natural aquatic insects. The Summer Steelhead that is the exception is the "half pounders" on the Rogue River. These teenage Steelhead come back into the river after a few months out to sea to feed on insects. They go back to the sea after feeding and come back later as adults to spawn. These fish are one of my favorites.
     I know that many people fish for all kinds of fish with the fly rod because they like the feel of the fight on the long fly rod. I still tend to stick to my "natural and efficient" theory. A marlin will not see me standing on the fly deck with a big fly rod. Give me the fighting chair and the big gold Penn reel!
     In the Willamette Valley our fly fishing starts in March with the March Brown hatch. I have a special rate for this fishing...look up rates and specials. We fly fish into October and after October our fishing usually stops in our valley and most everyone will be fishing on our Oregon coastal rivers until next March. But do remember that I also use spinning and casting gear and I can accomodate most anglers with any method to catch our fish in Oregon.
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