Sandy River Speyclave, McKenzie River & Shasta Area Report

IMGP2457May 13-28th

It’s been a few weeks since I have posted a report as I have been traveling and spending time with family as my father has been ill.  He passed peacefully on Wednesday morning May 25th with my mother and his wife of 63 years at his bedside.  He was a good man, and a great father.  He taught me to fly fish and tie flies and to play baseball though he never had a chance to do those things as a child.  He started working to help support his impoverished family in the Mission District before he was old enough to drive.  I will miss our conversations about the Giants, Warriors and Niners, he was a lifelong San Francisco sports fan, having worked at Seal Stadium as a vendor when the Giants moved from New York.  I  enjoyed a visit with him on Monday and Tuesday and was able to comfort him before his passing.

IMGP2452IMGP2466Last week I drove to Portland Oregon for the Sandy River Speyclave fishing the McKenzie River with my friends Tim, Katie and Brandon on my way there.  The McKenzie is just minutes east of Eugene and I had stopped to walk and wade it on previous trips north but this is the first chance I’ve had to float it.  This is the place where driftboats got their start and back in the day we even called them McKenzie River Boats.  The McKenzie is incredibly scenic and fishing from a boat  allowed us to experience in a historic way, at it’s best.  We took the opportunity to get out and wade a few exceptional runs but most of the time on the first day we fished indicators from the boat.  On the second day we fished further upstream where the river is faster and has fewer deep runs so we fished dry dropper rigs.  The action was nearly nonstop, there was a brief period of about ten or fifteen minutes one afternoon when no one got a grab and we were wondering what was going on.  Not to worry a quick fly change and a few minutes later we were back into them.  If you are driving north or visiting the Eugene area I highly recommend taking a day or two to sample this outstanding fishery, drop me a line and I can arrange a trip with the finest local guides.

Gary AndersonThe Speyclave was a great time as usual though the weather didn’t cooperate on Saturday and Sunday when it was very windy and rained hard.  I visited with long time friends and met some new folks I hope to fish with in the near future as well.  I was able to sample some new products including Gary Anderson’s new Elite and Elite light series Speyrods.   Wow!  Gary has new proprietary graphite that is incredibly light and powerful, allowing him to build tapers that for my tastes are the best in the business.  Though I already own nearly 30 rods, including several ACR’s I need to convince my wife the need to purchase his new 12’5″ Elite 5 weight and the 12’7″ Elite Light 5 weight for this season on the Klamath.  The whole series is exceptional but the 12’7″ 7 weight is also a rod I hope to add to the arsenal for this coming winter.  During my visit I fished the Clackamas and met area guide Jeff Hickman who suggested rigging a second rod with a floating line and a muddler which paid off the following morning on the Sandy with a bright fresh wild hen, marking my first fish of the new season.  My favorite time of year has arrived, summer steelhead are on their way!

Fishing in the shadow of Shasta is taking off, the weather forecast is perfect and spring bugs are starting to pop, including Salmonflies and Goldenstones!  I have been fishing the McCloud and Upper Sacramento typically nymphing in the early day and fishing dries and droppers later in the day including a couple days when we cut our droppers off as the fish were looking up.  My availability in the next few weeks is limited but I work with the finest local guides so drop me a line if you are able to head this way to enjoy the bounty!

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