Fun and Frustration Weekend [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fun and Frustration Weekend

09-09-2002, 10:34 PM
Rereading old spey pages, my casting was decent this weekend, and I was rewarded with lots of interest from Umpqua. steelhead. I consider 8 rises to a waker over a weekend to be pretty darn good, and coupled with a few whacks at my wets, you'd think I had some pretty good fishing.

It was a very fun weekend. Frustrating, though, I only had one solid hookup, and it turned out to be the smallest steelhead I've ever seen north of half-pounder country.

All weekend, it seemed the fish were trying to kill the fly, rather than actually "eat" it. To both the wakers and the wets, the fish just hit it, but didn't actually take it. Well, one steelhead took the waker and took my rod tip down, but I only had about 25 feet of line out, and the slack was not enough, I guess. Next cast he came back, and my trout reflexes killed that chance. The steelhead came back one more time, I saw him, I waited, and pricked him, but that was it. Five minutes later, another fish boiled, the fly went down--I think--and I gave slack and paused for a second, but when I lifted there was nothing there.

Except for the one steelhead caught, the rest of the takes were just a hard bump or thump. Wierd, most times I don't feel the grab to a dry, but I did this weekend, and it wasn't a good thing. I wasn't fishing any differently than normal. (I don't think I was, anyway!)

I normally associate the smack-but-don't-take scenario with a fly that is too large. But even with my smaller wakers I had the problem, and the wets I fished were typically #6, slightly low-water. The Umpqua is known for large flies, yet I couldn't get solid takes on #6 flies?

Even stranger, the one steelhead landed came on a very large size 1 or 1/0 muddler, and it took solidly--the slow building pull that you know will be a good hookup.

Anybody have any suggestions to improve the takes to the dry? I've never had days like these. All the activity was fun,'s nice to hook up a little more consistently!

--Bill Koran

beau purvis
09-10-2002, 08:57 PM
maybe some of it was the weather.i fished the deschutes and had 6 hard boils on saturday but only two fish touched the fly. i nailed those two. seemed like a low% for such nice aggressive fish would not come back either. beau

09-15-2002, 12:08 PM

Thanks for the reply. I hope you're right about the weather being the problem. I'm headed back just in time for a little rain, if I'm lucky, so hopefully my hookup ratio will improve. I've got to tie some more wakers...mine are getting too ragged to stay on top...


09-15-2002, 01:50 PM
Bill I saw your truck up there parked at W. creek several times. My wetflies for the umpqua are typically 1/0 or larger. Every grab i had on a wet resulted in a solid hook-up. Over the week i moved 12 fish. 6 were hooked solid of thoes I landed 4. 3 hatchery 1 wild.
Grabs on wakers are unpredictable at best all you can do is to drop and hope for the best. However with the wets most grabsshould result in hook-ups I suggest going to larger flies!!
A good friend of mine is an absolutely superb fly tier and I had the good fortune to find a nice heron feather. he tied me a beautiful Black king with it on a 3/0 partridge "N" I used it one morning and hooked 2 fish, bith of which came unbuttoned, then I lost the fly :( .
Anyway I don't think there is anything you can do about the top water grabs but I strongly recommend switching to a much larger wet fly!
4's and 6's are tiny! It may not look like a big river but the Umpqua fishes like a big river so big flies are certainly in order.

09-15-2002, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, Rob.

(I didn't know you knew what my truck looked like...sure you weren't thinking of somebody else? I was parked at the turnout below Bogus camp a couple times...)

One question in response, since I don't think I was clear in my post: I seldom fished the wets as a first option. The vast majority of their use was a follow-up if a fish wouldn't come back to the waker. I did fish slightly larger wets (#2 Tiemco 7999 or the big #1 Mustad 79580, muddler tied large) the few times they were the first the one fish landed.

So, the question is, would you still typically fish larger wets as a follow-up to a raised fish?


09-15-2002, 11:05 PM

Rob failed to mention that he had the best landing average of everyone in our camp this year. Everyone excepting Rob, was complaining how few fish they were landing relative to the numbers raised and/or hooked. The individual that tied Rob's Black King only landed a single fish of 12 moved - by the end of the week he was practically pulling his hair out. I fared a little better and landed 4 of 8 fish hooked, but only because I landed my last 3 fish in a row. Personally I think there was some strange ju-ju going on the NU this last week.:whoa:

09-16-2002, 11:34 AM
In my experience I've found that some drys produce solid hookups better than others. Last fall I did some experimenting with various drys and some drys, like tubeflys, rarely got a solid hook up while others did better. I found the best dry for a solid hookup to be a Steelhead Caddis tied on a #6 Wilson. See the boil, drop the rod tip, wait a sec, lift up, yee ha! I think it was because the Steelhead Caddis was more in the film of the water as opposed to a Moose Turd or my foam skater were more on top. Just my $.02.

09-18-2002, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, Gordon.

I'll let you know if the ju-ju (?) has changed, as I'm hoping for another 5 days coming up. I think I missed the hot rained last night and this AM, and was cloudy today.

And GBS, thanks for the comment about damper vs. drier flies. I think I'm OK there; my dry is damp but not heavy.

Oh, one more question for you Umpqua regulars--

I regrettably got upset and yelled repeatedly at an angler my last trip. I mentally kicked myself all the way home, since I impacted my feeling about an otherwise great weekend by allowing myself to get upset.

Anyway, I was frustrated when I felt I was pool-jumped as dusk was coming on. I was below the chute entering the Bend pool, working my way downstream in plain site, and somebody waded right in at the tailout and started casting. This was probably 30 to 45 minutes before dark, and I had planned to work down to the tailout and fish it as the light dimmed, but got jumped.

Is the Bend Pool considered so large that that is acceptable behavior? I stayed where I was until the other angler left, but I made clear my displeasure. It's not worth it to get upset, regardless, but I would like to know if I was in the wrong, anyway.


09-18-2002, 11:45 PM
I once had a guide put two sports below me in the Bend pool and then wade upstream to put another right above me. The two guys below me obviously felt pretty uncomfortable with the situation because they just kept looking at me and not fishing. This seemed to annoy the guide and he yelled at them to start fishing. They were still reluctant to fish which really pissed the guide off. At that point I felt sorry for his sports, reeled in and waded out. As I passed one of the clients, he said he was really sorry. I thought how sad it is when the clients have more class than the guide.

To answer your question more directly. Everyone that I know treats the Bend pool as a single run - if you're first in line you have free reign all the way to the tailout. You were jumped.

10-01-2002, 08:56 PM
The Bed Pool is one pool and most people that have fished the N.Umpqua regularly consider it so. It's one of my favorite sections to fish with a partner or alone. I've been dropped in on many times from both the road and trailside.

Just relax and remember that you are on the Umpqua.