The Deschutes River Steelhead Camp, Sept 11-20, 2017

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The Deschutes Steelhead Camp, operated by Jeff Hickman’s Fish The Swing, is one of our most popular trips and many anglers return year after year.

In order to accommodate more anglers we are excited to be extending this year’s trip with an additional group. The trip is broken into 3 groups fishing Sept 11-14, Sept 14-17 & Sept 17-20. You could choose to join us for 3, 6 or all 9 days. The cost for each 3 day session is $2200 and includes guided fishing, instruction, lodging and chef-prepared meals.

The Deschutes steelhead camp is a blast. Jeff’s operations, both here in the states and at his lodge in BC, have a fun mellow vibe. Just good times and good fishing, no attitude or pressure. The Deschutes is a beautiful river and has a fantastic steelhead run. We fish the lower river. The Deschutes is a major cold water tributary of the mid-Columbia, so steelhead bound for all of the rivers of the upper system stray into the lower Deschutes to take advantage of the cool oxygen rich water. You have a chance to catch steelhead that are headed for Idaho there.

The Deschutes is one of the best rivers anywhere to catch a steelhead on a floating line. Casting a dry line is a real pleasure, but when a big steelhead rockets up through eight feet of fast water to eat a small traditional fly, it’s anything but relaxing. The steep canyon walls offer us plenty of shaded water through the day to take advantage of the dry line bite, and even wake dry flies. It’s super fun fishing!

We run up river in jet boats to the campsite and use that as our base. There are only a few outfitters licensed to run jet boats on the river. The jets give us the ability to access fresh water any time we like, which is huge. After we get settled in at camp and have a bite to eat, we hit the river and fish until dark. The next two days we start fishing before first light and fish until lunch. We return to camp for a hot lunch and a big nap, then head back out in the afternoon as the shadows fall on the river and fish until dark. Then we have a big dinner (the food is awesome) maybe a drink or two, and hit the sack. The last day we fish until lunch and head back to the boat ramp.

Jeff and his crew set the camp in advance. You arrive to a big stand-up tent with cots and sleeping pads. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag and pillow. There is a screened dining tent, a tent with a camp toilet and a shower tent. There is electricity from a bank of solar cells and batteries. It’s ridiculously nice. There are also ample public composting toilets along the river if you prefer those.

The river is beautiful and the stars at night are amazing. You can see the milky way clear as a bell. The water is beautiful. There are great steelhead runs everywhere you look and dramatic rapids. It’s fishing

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Sunday Classic / Gary Merriman Ties The Tarpon Toad

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Watch the Video!


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Saturday Shoutout / Simon Says Streamers

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Watch the Video!

Here’s an excellent streamer tutorial from Simon Gawesworth.

This video, part of RIO’s “How To” series, features two of my favorite people. Simon Gawesworth and Rob “Silent Bob” Parkins throw streamers on the South Fork and Simon does an excellent job imparting serious wisdom.

Simon covers virtually every technique you need to be a successful meat chucker. If you’re looking to up your streamer game, this is a great place to start.


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Shea Gunkel’s Radiation Baetis

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By Bob Reece

The creation of some fly patterns results purely from the need to fill a niche.

Others however, result from a blending of emotions and experience. This latter path of development leads signature Umpqua tyer Shea Gunkel to the creation of his Radiation Baetis.

Moms are in integral part in many of our lives. A couple years ago, Shea received news that his mom had been diagnosed with cancer. His heartfelt emotion drove him to create a new pattern, the original highlighted with pink, in an effort to raise awareness for cancer and show support for his mom.

The earlier versions of this bug were often pinned in hats and sweaters, where they made frequent trips to chemotherapy treatments. As time passed, Shea began to see the pattern in an additional light. After fishing it heavily and sharing samples with guides around Colorado, on the water success stories began to flow in. Shea then

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Steelhead Flies, Half As Much

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By Louis Cahill


Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but we all do it. I spent an evening like this with a group of friends recently. One of the guys had just started tying his own steelhead flies and they were pretty nice. Beautifully tapered, undulating forms with ostrich hurl and marabou and jungle cock eyes. They looked pretty deadly.

He would sort carefully through the box, selecting the perfect specimen, and passing it to Barrett, our guide. Barrett would give each fly a brief glance and toss it carelessly back across the table.

“Half as much,” he’d say and go back to his drink.

“They’re great flies,” he went on, “and they’ll catch fish, just not as many fish.” The reason is pretty simple. Bulky flies with lots of materials look great, but they don’t sink as quickly or as deep as sparse flies do. That’s one of the reasons simple flies often catch the most fish.

This is never more true than when swinging flies for steelhead. A fly with just enough material to create a

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Strike Indicators, What Matters to Me

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There is a lot of debate over whether strike indicators spook fish. I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one folks. I truly believe that most of the time they don’t. Especially if you rule out calm and slow moving shallow water. Only when I’m dealing with really spooky fish, do I downsize and dull down the color of my strike indicators. The other 80% of the time I think the fish pretty much just find them interesting, possibly a tasty morsel, or just another piece of trash floating over their heads.

What I really think we should be doing is looking at the other side of the coin. In my opinion, we should worry less about spooking fish with our indicators, and worry more about matching the correct size strike indicator to the type of water and rig we’re fishing. That makes much more sense to me, anyway. Now I know there’s lots of you probably saying this is obvious rookie stuff, Kent. I hear you all loud and clear, but bare with me a minute, because I still find myself having to explain to anglers why it’s a good idea to carry different sizes and colors of strike indicators on the water. And as long as I’m doing that, there’s a need for this information to be out there for people to read.


I Fish Big Bright Indicators For: High Turbulent Water, Harsh Glare, Big Heavy Flies & Split-Shot
It doesn’t make any sense to use a strike indicator that’s too small to stay afloat in turbulent water. Some will argue with me on this, but I believe it’s much easier to see strikes when the indicator is above the surface, not below it. Same goes for harsh glare conditions. If you can’t see your indicator how are you going to be able to see the strikes? Upsize your strike indicator and change to a bright color if needed. Lastly, when you’re going to be fishing big heavy flies or lots of split-shot, you’ll need to go bigger with your indicator to keep it afloat. It’s also important to remember that strike indicators aren’t just used for seeing strikes. We also use them to control and maintain the depth at which we want our flies drifting.

I Fish Small Dull Colored Indicators For

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Keep Your Flies Below Your Eyes

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By Justin Pickett

The dense canopies of the southeastern streams that I grew up on have groomed my casting stroke over the years.

Favoring function over style, I adopted a low, sidearm casting stroke that has served me well over the years. For my clients that haven’t spent much, if any, time on these Rhodo-infested streams, I recommend they take a peek at their surroundings before casting. There are always vines, limbs, and leaves lurking over the water, waiting like Venus fly traps to snatch their fly from flight. The best piece of advice I give these anglers though, is that they will keep themselves out of the most trouble by simply keeping their flies below their eyes.

Whether that be with a water haul, a roll cast, or a sidearm presentation, this gives my client a reference point of where they need to keep their cast. It also

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The Two-Rod Bonefish Solution

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By Louis Cahill

Saltwater fly-fishing is condition dependent, and conditions often change without warning. That’s why I carry two fly rods.

Your strategy for presenting a fly to bonefish can change radically depending on conditions. Bonefishing is always challenging, but not always for the same reasons. That’s what keeps it fun. Having the right setup for the conditions really helps you overcome the challenges, so let’s look at those challenges and how to be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at you.

The most decisive factor in any flats fishing is wind. Most anglers dread fishing on a windy day, but they miss that wind when it’s gone. Making a good cast and turning your leader over in wind can be a real challenge, but the wind gives you an advantage, too. Wind disturbs the surface of the water, making it less likely that your presentation will spook the fish. This allows you to drive a powerful cast into the wind, if you have a fly rod and line that are up to the task.

On days when there is no wind, bonefish can be unbelievably spooky, leaving anglers frustrated as fish run for cover at their false casting. On days like that, your ultra-fast fly rod and front loaded line are a liability, not an asset. So what is the bonefish angler to do? Well, my answer is carry two rods.

My common quiver consists of two 8-weights. One for windy conditions and one for calm. Each of these rods is paired with a fly line which will perform in these given conditions. That way, no mater what happens, I’m ready. These two rods look very similar under casual observation but they perform very differently.

Windy day setups

Your windy day rod needs to be firm and fast. It’s totally ok for this rod to be a little heavier. We aren’t looking for the kind of recovery rate that comes

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Sunday Classic / Streamer Retrieves For Different Current Speeds

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I’ve talked in great detail about streamer fishing since I began writing articles for Gink & Gasoline. Most of my time has been spent talking about color and pattern choice, streamer gear/rigging for both big and small water and how to locate and target prime trout water with streamers. One area of streamer fishing I’ve yet to talk about in detail is retrieve speed and candor with streamers.

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Saturday Shoutout / Michigan Fly Tying

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Those boys in Michigan are taking streamer fishing to a whole new level!

Simply some of the most stunning streamer patterns I’ve ever seen. I’ll be whipping some of these babies up next time I hit the water. Don’t be a loser, tie some for your local trout stream and get out and catch that monster.


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