Update: 9/30/15

Water clarity remains excellent.  I snuck down to the river around 6:30 last evening for a little fishing, casting practice in this instance.  The water was perfect and I did have some action, even hooked what I assume was a juvenile rainbow or pre-smolt steelhead, long distance release.  I was surprised to NOT see any sign of salmon while I was there, no low-light flopping as I expected…and hoped for.  It was a gorgeous evening, no wind and perfect fall conditions.  Took the following pic wading about knee deep and looking toward deeper water.

water92915Shortly after noon today I took out the 10′ spliced greenheart rod I’d been messing with.  Installed too little backing and an old (but new) SA Aircell DT7F fly line on one of my favorite old reels.  I figured the 7 would be about close, now I think I was wrong on that and likely some other things.  The rod was a bit softer than I anticipated and the line may have been on the heavy side.  Fished for about 20 minutes and worked out about 50′ of line when the rod let me know I’d made a mistake.  The mid section (of 3 sections) snapped just below its upper splice.  Seems to me if rods break under normal casting conditions the break will always occur near the junction of stiffening agents like ferrules or thread wraps, even if it’s spliced!

After some reconsideration I don’t think my “care & feeding” of the long dead greenheart was sufficient and am certain the DT7 was too much…or maybe I wanted too much from it?  I’ll try to repair the break, it is very horizontal (splice like) so I’ll glue it up again and wrap the span with some invisible rod wrapping thread.  Also think I need to somehow feed more moisture into the wood.  I soaked the sections in teak oil but didn’t factor “thickness” into the soak time so will the next time. Some pics…Greenheart break_1Greenheart break_2I’ll be re-soaking the two lower sections and wrapping the guides back on the 12 footer in the near future so will likely try that one next.  Hoping for better luck.


Update: 9/24/15, something different.

Recent years Sept. and Oct’s have been extremely busy due to the fall chinook returns.  Some of these “up river brights” (URB’s) can exceed 30 pounds, as a steelhead generalist the chinook mess with my fishing this time of year. Don’t mind hooking a chinook from time to time but they don’t fight like steelhead.  Since I prefer acrobats over bulldogs I don’t seem to fish as much when the fall chinook arrive.

Spey casting and two-hand flyrods have influenced my fishing and my interests significantly over the last couple decades.  I’ve become obsessed with Scottish/Irish speycasting history and the rods used a 100 years ago to deliver flies to trout and Atlantic Salmon.  A guy named Alex Grant came up with a rod he called the “vibration” and he made them in all lengths imaginable.  Mr Grant didn’t use ferrules, instead he used spliced joints that required lashing together.  Alexander Grant also made violins, the following link provides a little background on Mr. Grant.  You might need to copy and paste the link.


Today we tape the sections together instead of wetting the leather stips and tying it down tight.  Over time I’ve collected a few spliced greenheart rods (none of which are actually authentic, they are C. Playfair made rods, Playfair bought the business from Mr. Grant).  I’ve long thought about attempting to hook and land a steelhead on one.  So far I haven’t fished one but am getting closer to trying.  The longer the rod the more tip heavy they get so I’ve concentrated on two rods, a 10′ and a 12′ rod.  Both rods are 3pc. with 2 tip sections and each of them had experienced a break in one of the tip sections prior to my ownership. Both breaks had been repaired, with splices, thread wraps and glue, who’d a thunk?  I stripped both rods of their varnish and guides and am in the process of refurbishing.  The 10′ rod is getting close to being fished though the extra tip and mid section are on my rod drying motors as I write this. The 12 footer still needs guide wrapping etc. (see pic)  These rods require humidity or they will dry out and become brittle…and likely break…again, since they are likely close to 80 years old they need some extra care and feeding.  The main trick is to maintain the humidity, the oils the greenheart type trees (could be made of multiple very dense straight grained South American woods) created to keep them strong and flexible.  I intend to soak them in teak oil and keep them in my more humid basement since I’m certain they are extremely dried out. Not sure yet if I’ll put a final varnish on them…we’ll see.  Mostly experimentation here. And, I intend to fish them and catch steelhead on them, both of them.  I’ll try the longer ones later if the short one’s trip my trigger.  Here’s a pic of the two, the short one is missing two sections, those sections are on the guide wrap drying motors as I type. One pic.spliced playfair rods 10 and 12

Update: 9/22/15

The Klickitat remains in perfect shape and I haven’t come across any info suggesting it won’t stay this way for the next week.  We could use rain for many reasons, even to get the salmon moving… steelhead too.   Water pic looks good…


Update: 9/20/15

Haven’t had much to say because the water has remained perfect, maybe too clear for salmon anglers but for fly fishermen it’s been perfect.  Very busy weekend and lots of fish hooked.

The fall chinook numbers over Bonneville are fantastic, almost 20K yesterday so they’re still coming strong.  Bonneville coho numbers look terrible, already declining and way below the 10 yr avg.  The coho returns are commonly bimodal though, so we might see another bump in passage.  Steelhead numbers are lagging way below the 10yr averages, both wild and hatchery numbers.  The Klickitat doesn’t seem to be suffering from a lack of steelhead though, looks like she remains attractive to steelhead that pass Bonneville.

We had warmer weather the last couple days but the little blips in discharge likely won’t increase turbidity noticeably.  Temps are predicted to be quite comfortable the next 10 days or so with a chance for rain near the end of this week.

The river will be busy for the next couple weeks, weekends will likely be extremely busy.  I’d suggest a mid-week visit if you have the option.

Update: 9/15/15

Please forgive the lack of posts, pretty busy over the weekend but got a chance to get a good look this evening.  The Klickitat did go sort of brown on Sunday but it’s back in excellent shape tonight.  Fished the home water this evening and didn’t hook anything but there were kings around.  Seemed like they were slurping bugs from the surface but there was no hatch occurring?

I got all messed up changing my mind, thinking of different tactics and trying them all and therefore spending most of my time changing something instead of fishing, rookie mistake!


Update: 9/11/15

Not much to say other than the water hasn’t changed from the last pic, still as good as it gets.  I’m expecting it to remain excellent through the weekend.  We’re expecting temps into the 90’s again tomorrow but I think the river will hold up fine.  Glacial melt is certainly occurring but not at a rate that is noticeable in the river.  The sun is lower in the sky, days are shorter and nights are much colder.

Update: 9/8/15

Water remains about perfect.  Both fall chinook and steelhead are around but I can’t seem to hook one.  Fished the easy water this evening but didn’t get any attention from any largish fish.  Water is about as good as it gets, evening pic.


Quick Sat. night update: 9/5/15

The water remains perfect and fisher-folk are catching fish.  Fall chinook returns are predicted to be high and it looks like the ladder counts at Lyle Falls are headed up.  It’s about to begin, plenty of salmon caught upriver already so maybe it has already begun.

Steelhead fishing has been excellent also.

Quick Friday night update: 9/4/15

We had a little rain in the valley this afternoon, the clouds were expansive and looked heavy with water vapor.  I worried we’d see a notable increase in discharge and maybe muddy water tomorrow.  The indicators I use suggest anything that fell on Mt. Adams was snow and I don’t think we had any gully washers in the basin.  Looks like a small blip in discharge, likely not noticeable.  I’m guessing the water will be excellent tomorrow and through the weekend.

Update: 9/2/15

Have you checked the “useful links” tab lately, specifically the Klickitat discharge USGS link?  If you’ve seen it within the last 24 hours you’d see the Klickitat is not cycling as usual,  It’s autumn now, the sun is lower in the sky and the days are getting shorter and the water is getting better.

The Klickitat is steelhead green and I’d guess it’ll stay that way until we get more rain, daily temps are about done melting the glaciers which are completely covered with a fresh blanket of snow.

Took 3 pics I’m gonna upload tonight.  First is the water I fished, second shows some vis depth near where I walked in and the 3rd is the Mangy Moose I fished this evening.  Love that fly.

9215water_1Turbidity example:

9215water_2Mangy Moose tied by “Owl Creek Flies” http://www.owlcreekflies.com/customflies.html.  Call it an October caddis with a big and uneven head, makes for more water disturbance..

9215MangyMooseI loop the Mangy Moose because I want it to move as much as possible in fast water, not just sit on the surface.  Had a good bunch of action on the Mangy Moose but didn’t hook anything.  One serious bump could have been a steelhead but most were small fish. This morning I was using a Green Butt Sub, spey type fly, also from Owl Creek Flies. Alyssa and Neil tie quality flies.  Hooked a steelhead on it but it threw the fly within the first 15 seconds, LDR’s happen.  Gonna fish the AM tomorrow with the Mangy Moose above, water doesn’t get any better and the Moose should do me good in water under 3′ deep.