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Fly Fishing For Trout From The SUP at Swift Reservoir

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In mid-August, I enjoyed my first SUP fishing trip in nearly a year. The opportunity came up when MAC Executive Chef Philippe asked me to join him at his cabin near Swift Reservoir (check out the video here)

Swift is always good for fly fishing, especially where the Lewis River drops into the reservoir. Of course having been stocked with 500,000 trout in late April helps.

On this trip, since I was only going for a night and Philippe already had his boat in the water, I didn't want to take the trailer and the kayaks and I didn't want to put the Hobie Pro Angler on top of the Escape.

As I was contemplating the need for a kayak, I decided I should get the SUP out again. It had spent many months traveling unused on the kayak trailer and it was time to put it back on the water. It was also easy to put it on top of the car.

I loaded up and headed out shortly before noon and arrived at Swift within a couple hours. Soon Philippe and I were on the water fishing. He had been out for the…

An Epic Birthday Catching Oregon Tuna

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This year's birthday was memorable for two reasons:
I caught a lot of fishEveryone on the boat caught a lot of fish Like most tuna trips the day started early and ended late. In fact it was a 26 hour day with a 1:30 a.m. wake up call and a 3:30 a.m. crash in the bed. 
The opportunity to catch tuna is always questionable because the fish are often miles off shore and the weather can change quickly. This day proved advantageous for us with the forecasted winds showing up late in the day.
We started the day slowly with a couple singles caught while trolling. We would try a bait stop and jigs but we were rewarded with nothing. The third fish was a different story and while slowly reeling it in, we fished anchovies and jigs. There are few experiences as thrilling as reeling in a tuna and watching another rod get buried by another tuna. Multiply that and it is chaos with rods bouncing and people reeling in fish. 
We picked up a few more throughout the day and as quitting time grew closer…

Water Everywhere but Few Fish

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What a wet winter it has been. This is an obvious statement to anyone living in Portland this past winter. Record rains, snow and cloudy days are actually normal for Oregon and since the past couple winters and summers were relatively dry I suppose we are experiencing the swings that create the "average."
What seems to be missing in all this water are fish, especially spring chinook. The counts have been low on the Willamette and Columbia and the fishing tough. At least for me. I have plied the Willamette for several days with not a single bite.

The only solace in my efforts is that I haven't seen anyone around me catch a fish either. In fact, I have yet to see a single salmon caught this year. That's not to say they aren't being caught. Several of my fellow kayakers have posted happy selfies with big fish. I have not lost hope. In fact I expect the high water is causing the run to be late and by May and June, my luck will change. At least I hope.

For now, I wil…

A wild ride with a wild steelhead

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I consider fly fishing for winter steelhead an optimist's sport. During my many years of chasing these fish from sleds, drift boats, on the bank and more recently from the kayak, expectations of catching one on a fly are low. Of course, if catching fish were a requirement for fishing trips, they would be called "catching" trips.

With this in mind, I was looking forward to my first winter steelhead trip of 2017 more for the company and as a way of scouting a section of river in a drift boat before taking the Pro Angler.

Steve and I arrived at the launch as the faint light of winter morning was fast pushing the darkness aside. Pulling away from the shore, we could barely see the water - and the obstacles in front of us. We talked as we drifted through the long run towards the first rapid. Steve rowed into position and we dropped through the rapid. It was short and we floated a minute before Steve slowly guided the boat to our first stop. We rigged up the rods as the sun t…

A fantasy comes true: two spring salmon on two herring in three hours

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Spring Chinook are nearly as mythical as steelhead. Persistence, skill, tools and a really lucky day are key to success. My recent trip to the Willamette River was heavily weighted on the last one.

Work had consumed me for the past month and I needed a day in the kayak. I woke up Sunday morning torn between fishing for trout or salmon. Based on my previous salmon trips, I was leaning more towards trout. But, I also wasn't interested in driving two hours in hopes of catching a couple large trout that had recently been stocked in Timothy Lake. Besides, it was cold on the mountain.

I spent an hour getting ready and as I pulled out of the driveway with the trailer and kayaks I decided I would mull it over on my way to get coffee. I had two fly rods, a sturgeon rod and a salmon rod and gear so no matter what choice I made, I was prepared.

I walked into Safeway, grabbed three nearly expired yogurts that were 50 percent off, and stepped up to the Starbucks coffee stand. I ordered a larg…

SUPin' New

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SUPin' New Ok, that's a cringe but accurate.

I recently bought my first SUP and I am onto a new experience and project. The goal is fly fishing on the SUP in a variety of situations ranging from small lakes to large rivers. Ultimately I want to catch a steelhead or sturgeon from it.

The board, a Lifetime Amped, cost only $240 with a paddle - an excellent deal from Dick's Sporting Goods. It has a some scratches and the foam decking has bubbled in a few places but overall, it's a cheap intro to a SUP.

It is 11 feet long, weighs less than 50 pounds and includes a small drop-down rudder or fin. It's hollow and seems to have a well designed hull.

My first trip was to Benson Lake, really a pond, in the Columbia Gorge. A few days before the trip, I read it had been stocked with trout. If true, the lake offered me a chance to catch something on my first SUP trip.

Safety First Since in was early April, I put on my dry suit and PFD for safety. After gearing up, I easily carrie…

Back on the water

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So far this winter has set records for warm temps and little snow in the Oregon Cascades. Drought is not in the picture so far since there has been no shortage of moisture. However, instead of snow, we have seen a lot of rain and rivers that flow high and muddy or low and clear.

Monty, a new kayaker, joined me on a couple trips this winter. the first on the Willamette during one one of the high and muddy flows. The second on the lower Sandy River during a break between the rains.

Both were learning experiences. The Willamette provided me a chance to secure two boats on one anchor. I chose this idea because anchoring a kayak in a big, cold river in winter is one of the most dangerous parts of kayak fishing. Since Monty was a rookie kayak angler, I wanted to be as safe as possible which meant anchoring my kayak and then having him bring his kayak alongside mine and lashing onto it.

The idea proved effective, although it took a couple tries to get the anchor to stick. When it finally di…