Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Art of Lake Fly Fishing

This evening President Tom called our meeting to order at 7:30.

We had 16 club members and guest in attendance.

Tom announced that he had attended the Walla Walla 2015 4-H Achievement / Awards Program
on November 15 on behalf of our club, and awarded $25 to their fishing / fly tyer winner.

Tom brought to our attention that the Tri-States Steelheaders had made a public request via their Fall Newsletter (PDF) to help in their effort to recondition Lion’s Park in College Place which provides many community amenities, including a youth fishing pond.
Tom also announced that with the club taking our annual Fall/Winter Holiday Fishing Break, the next meeting would be in January 2016, and Grant Richie would be making a 2015 recap fly fishing presentation to us from the Minam Raft Rentals and Guide Service.

Club blog-master Dale gave a brief report of the 2015 Walla² Fly Fishers blog hits stats. He reported that the blog hit count was currently at 33,157.

Blog Hits from around the world
United Kingdom
Some of the other countries visiting our blog site are – Canada, Poland, Netherlands, China, etc.
The most hit upon blog page – A Blue Mountain Fly Hatch Chart with 4258 hits
The second most hit upon blog page – Steelhead fishing on the John Day River with 473 hits

This evening we had the pleasure to meet a rather new resident to Walla Walla, and enjoyed the program presentation of Daniel Biggs. 

 Daniel moved to the Walla Walla area about a year ago from Bend, OR, and currently works for a local real estate company. While in Bend, Daniel tells us that he was inspired by our friend Brian O’Keefe to get into fly fishing photography. On an amateur / semi-professional level he begin to filming his fly fishing outings of the Central Oregon high lakes. Some of his “work” has been shown on local TV stations -sportsmen’s shows- around Oregon. This evening's program was a fly fishers’ treat to see some of the success that Daniel and company has had fishing the stillwaters of Central Oregon. 

Some of the lakes fished being shown in this presentation were, Crane Prairie Reservoir, Hosmer Lake, Paulina Lake, Wickiup Reservoir, Mann Lake and more.
High lakes of Central Oregon

Also discussed was the fly fishing gear needed to successfully catch some of the trophy size fish in these lakes. A good floatation craft (float tube, pontoon boat, canoe, John boat, etc. – no motors allowed on most lakes) is the best first line of attack. 


Daniel suggested that one uses a 5 weight rod system preferably 9’ in length. For fly line, he noted that floating line with a strike indicator would work well, but for better catching results one should use a sinking line – intermediate sink or full sinking. He said that he had found that a fast full-sinking-line worked best in the deep lakes as the fish are usually close to the bottom, particularly during mid-day, and bright light conditions. 

Fast sinking

Intermediate sinking

Flies to use are mostly subsurface flies as 90% of all trout’s diet is  aquatic insects, smaller fish, leeches and crustaceans.
Green Callibaetis

chironomid larvae - blood worms
Rufus Blood Leech

90 - 95% of a trout's diet is sub-surface animal and plant life
 Since a picture is worth-a-thousand-words, this blog posting will feature pictures from the screen of Daniel’s video presentation. Many of the fish that Daniel caught on-the-fly were of trophy size 16"-20"+. Stillwater fish do get large and fat as they do not have to spend their energy to swim into or against current to gather food as do river and stream habitat trout. Hooking and setting the hook on stillwater trout is also much differently done than on moving water fish. Because of the large number of fish that can be caught in a day of stillwater fly fishing (50-100-200), it is suggested that one uses barbless hooks for quick and easy catch & releases.


a steelhead size -"trophy"- stillwater rainbow trout - aka. a lunker or a hog

Stillwater fly fishing is probably the most relaxing fishing that one can be involved in particularly in the high lakes of the Pacific Northwest. There is no riverside hiking pace to keep up with, there is no current to stand-up or wade against, and all of the fishing is done while sitting down. Depending on your flotation craft, about the only peril one has to deal with while stillwater fishing is the wind.
Yep, that is a left ear hookup - OUCH! %^$#%
Daniel mentioned that on Mann Lake this can really be an issue, and it is catch-can depending on the day and the weather the days spent fishing there.

Another interesting point discussed this evening, a very interesting point in stillwater fly fishing is that most women fishing partners always catch more fish. It has been discovered that the simple fact is - pheromone; so guys don't bet with a woman as to who might have the better day of catching, particularly if fishing in stillwaters - lakes.

The fly boxes of the evening were won by:
Dick - the door prize
Robert - the raffle drawing

Tis steelhead season in the Pacific Northwest as our fly boxes would indicate tonight

Our meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm
Our next monthly meeting will be held Wednesday. 20 January 2016 at...

Smith's Family Restaurant

1425 Pine Street
Walla Walla

Dinner and social at 6:00 pm with meeting following at 7:00

  Respectfully submitted
Dale McKain
Club Secretary ~ Blog-master

Tight lines and Good Fishing

Tom Craig – President
Dave Stemmer – Vice President
Doug Coe – Treasurer
Dale McKain – Secretary - Blogmaster 
Gerald Newell - PROJECT HEALING WATERS Coordinator

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Update on Summer Steelhead in the Tucannon River

Social Hour and Dutch Treat dinner begins at 6:00 pm and business meeting follows thereafter...
This evening President Tom called our meeting to order at 7:11.
We had 14 members and guest in attendance.

Business at hand was:
~Tom is considering giving up his Presidency to the Walla² Fly Fishers. He said he wanted to maintain a very active role as a member, but felt that it was time for some new energy to lead the club.

~Jerry said he could use some helping hands next Tuesday 10/27 @ 1:00pm to load a 12’ NRS pontoon boat onto a trailer which is being donated to our local Project Healing Waters organization.

~Barbara gave us a good fishing report from her fishing trip on the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers with Grant Richie. See the blog posting of this trip for fun fishing details.

~Treasurer Doug reported that the club currently has over $1075.00 in our checking account. He also reported that the club donated $270.oo to Project Healing Waters after our 2015 Fly Fishing Fair.
This evening's fly boxes ~ club archives ~ library(books and disc)

This evening Dave won the fly box door prize, and Jerry won the fly box raffle. Thank you everyone for you fly donations and purchase of raffle ticket for club funding.

Jerry wins the door prize fly box

Our speaker for this evening was Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) salmon and steelhead biologist Joe Bumgarner. 

Joe has been the lead bio for compiling information on salmon and steelhead in the Tucannon River basin since 1993.
His presentation was a very through PowerPoint Presentation of maps, facts and statistics of particularly the steelhead population of the Tucannon River basin and that of the lower Snake River drainage.

Joe gave us a recent history of the stocked steelhead population of our area fisheries, the data that he WDFW, NOAA, the CTUIR and Nez Pierce tribes have kept over the years since 1993.
His report (PDF) can be downloaded and viewed by following this link ---> Washington Grande Ronde steelhead mitigation Wallowa program

He also told us about the complication of dealing with this many organizations in setting rules and regulations for this particular region’s fisheries programs.

It was strongly suggested that before fishing in the Tucannon River basin particularly for steelhead that one has an understanding of the Washington State fishing regulation for these waters.
Because of the large amount of data, that Joe gave us this evening and the changing fishing regulations that govern the Tucannon and lower Snake rivers, this writer is going to point our readers in the direction of the authority of WDFW for the most current updates of fishery and conservation rules.

- and -


After Joe’s formal presentation he took quite a few Q&A’s from the club members that have spent many days “working” at steelhead fishing the Tucannon River.

Joe, Thank You for your time, effort and updated information-presentation to our club.

This meeting was adjourned at 8:30 and thereafter many of us stuck around to discuss recent fly fishing adventures and to talk with Joe.

Respectfully submitted,
Dale McKain
Club Secretary

Tom Craig – President
Dave Stemmer – Vice President
Doug Coe – Treasurer
Dale McKain – Secretary - Blogmaster 
Gerald Newell - PROJECT HEALING WATERS Coordinator