Spey flies for summer steelhead

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ycxc16588

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Hello all, I am new to flyfishing steelhead. I have been learning spey casting and I'd like to fish Sandy and Clackmas for summer steelhead this year. Can anyone here recommend some good spey flies for summer steelhead? Which public parks are suitable for flyfishing at Sandy and Clarkmas? Thanks in advance.
 
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redhawk50

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Spey Clave I think it is called is at Oxbow Park on the Sandy this weekend Sat-Sunday. Anything you need to know about spey will probably be answered there. I know I am planning on seeing what it is all about and possibly trying it before buying it. So if you can get there on the weekend that will provide you with tons of info I am assuming and hoping.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you really are dead-set about traditionally two-handing bugs on those rivers, you will want to get a slightly smaller Skagit set-up. Rio makes a Compact Skagit line, that I can say is fantastic! I cut them down from 100 feet, and add in my own butt sections, and sometimes tips, but it is because I am picky, picky! You can't find a spot with enough room to backcast on the Clackamas. Skagits, in compact form, are the only way! 450-675 grain lines, short belly sections(20-35 feet depending on casting style, and water fished), 6-8, maybe 10 foot sink tips, heavy bugs, and something, sub 11 feet in the rod department would be ideal around here. And the Spey Clave is normally kind of a hoot to watch. As most guys doing demos are conditon fishermen and are trying to cast 44-56 foot bellies, on light weight lines, and 14 footers at the Garbage hole! Good luck gettin to the far side of that one with a traditional cast into the wind! f you can get schooled up on compact Skagit systems(Look it up online) before you go, there will be at least two gents there who are good at knowing what to use, and where. So if you see guys with tight D-Loops about to rip their ear off, you found the right people! I am not syaing you can't Spey cast a traditional rig, but we have brushy banks around here, and the only way to two-hand our rivers effectively is by adapting the systems of old, and learning new techniques. Although Short Skag's are at least few years old, they are just gettin popular in OR. So there is my rant on bug smashin the OR rivers. It justisn't possible to be all that successfuyl on classic gear. It simply was not designed to be used here...But Rio has it as close as you'll get off the shelf. I have made some 700-900 grain units, with 10-12 foot belly's, 4 -6 foot sink tips, and massively heavy butt sections for the OP but that is a different ball game up there. And I really am not trying to burst bubbles! Just lettin you know what works around here.
 
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ycxc16588

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hello Arctic-, Thank you for your advices. I've not tried skagit yet, but I do cast both long belly DT and scandi shooting head. I am working on my underhand casting now. I feel it works with short shooting head nicely and it doesn't take too much back space. It looks like I've to save my DT lines for some big rivers. I thought skagit is quite popular for winter fishing especially where large heavy flies are used to get deep in the water quickly. For summer fishing, do you think that Skagit is superior than scandi also? What flies do you use for summer steelhead on sandy and Clackmas? Thanks.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Summer Steelhead eat big presentations for sure. It is a myth that the only time to use Skagit systems is for Winters. Scandinavian(Scandi) stuff is a preferred choice around here for Summers, but I believe it to be a "follow the leader thing." Where everyone just does what the other guy did. The reason I use a Skagit stuff for early Summers is because you are targeting fish in very heavy flows, and heavy flies are the only ones that get down to them quick enough. They hold in the heads of moderately deep riffles taking in the highly oxygenated water before they move up to the next rifle. So getting a fly to their level is imperative. We do not have fish like they do in WA. Ours do not rise to take poorly weighted/presented flies like in the Hoh, and Snohomish/Skykomish basins particularly. So being uncomfortable with how heavy that bug is....Is right, essentially. My only Scandi set-up has a very short, 30 foot, 550 grain shooting head to form larger, but shorter D-loops, for the tight quarters casting around here. The 550 grain'r is because I fling large, unruley, custom tied bugs. But 400's will work fine. But unlike my Skagit systems, I always run at least 10-12 feet of leader material above my tippett when I have the Scandi set-up loaded. This is to properly set the anchor, to make a nice underhand cast. I do not think any of these fly fishing techniques are superior over the other, but it is mostly a game of choosing the right line for the bugs, and area you will fish. Hope you have fun this Summer with the Scandi set you already have! It should work out well enough to learn proper presentation on. It may not be friendly to you in super tight quarters, but the first year you are doing this, you should never need to worry about how much room you have to cast. It is about making lots of casts in an easy spot, rather than making them in your favorite brush laden hole! If you are going to go out and buy some flies, these have all done a decent job: Purple Perils, Silver Hiltons, Skykomish Sunrises, Leeches, Colored Butt Skunks, and any Atomic Shrimp patterns. Especially pink, and white.
 
Irishrover

Irishrover

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Gotta vote for the Skagit line. I spent forever tying to make that windcutter line work, with poor results. One day on the Clack with Catch-22 and his Skagit set up and I was sold. I went with a 540 grain Air Flo and cut down my Rio sinking tips. They are a blast to cast. I've been trying to do that snap-t left handed and I was doing OK until I stuck a bug in my left rear cheek and put a hole in my waders! I'll get that left handed cast down yet. I tie my own bugs and they are nameless but have lots of marabou and bunny hackle!
 
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ycxc16588

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Hello, Arctic-, I really appreciate your sharing your experience here. I've heard a lot good feedback on the new airflo compact skagit heads. I'll try to cast it this weekend at Sandy spey clave. I am still new to the game. Can you recommend where to purchase high quality steelhead flies you mentioned in your previous message If you don't mind, may I ask suaully where you go fly fishing with spey setup on Sany/Clackmas? Thanks.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Yeah, no problem... I'm no two-hand bug rod expert, but I have a pretty durn good Skagit presentation, and I have caught a lot of fish on both the Scandi rig I own, as well as the Skagit spool. And I really have been pleaded with the quality of River City Fly Shop's fur collection. Lots of selection, and thier lead head egg patterns are pure dominators. I drift fish 'em over yarnies on some days.
 
Irishrover

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If you are looking for a location to to use your spey rod here are some spots on the Sandy. Oxbow Park, Dodge Park, Just east of Dodge park on Marsh Rd is a spot owned by Clackamas County called the garbage hole. I dont fish the Clackamas River much anymore, but once in a while I'll hit Barton Park and walk up river. Good luck
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Scandi and Skagit systems are wickid at the Garbage Hole. The fish like to hide from the sun on the far side, and a fat shooting head, or big 'ol bug, shot over there is a proven killer most of the Summer. You also have enough room for long, tight D-Loop'n along that whole bank. It runs as far as you can see form the main area people fish. Lotsa water!
 
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ycxc16588

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Hello, arctic-, How far do I need to cast to the other side of garbage pool if I wade to knee to waist level. Will 85-90 feet enough to reach it, which is what I can do reasonably well with the scandi head? If more than that, I will need DT line for longer distance. Thanks.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Nah, you will be fine runnin the Scandi. Don't wade in waist, or even knee deep. THere will be fish in that water, but just get your gear to cover the most water out there. They fill in all across the river, and huddle on the far side, only when the sun is beating the holy grapes out of the river. Otherwise, like 80% of the time I'd say... The fish will be scattered, in one-sy, two-sy resting areas. Like big rocks, and small boulders out there hold fish normally.
 
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Catch 22

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Gotta vote for the Skagit line. I spent forever tying to make that windcutter line work, with poor results. One day on the Clack with Catch-22 and his Skagit set up and I was sold. I went with a 540 grain Air Flo and cut down my Rio sinking tips. They are a blast to cast. I've been trying to do that snap-t left handed and I was doing OK until I stuck a bug in my left rear cheek and put a hole in my waders! I'll get that left handed cast down yet. I tie my own bugs and they are nameless but have lots of marabou and bunny hackle!

Hard to beat the skagit huh? Especially when talking about HEAVY tips and fast water. We in the NW almost have to use them to swing flies effectively. I find myself yearning to toss a nymph more and more though. And it's not feasable with a true spey setup. I think I'm going to break down and go to a switch rod for all my steelie fishing. I'm tired of taking 2 rods everywhere. My 10' 7wt single hander as a nymph rig and my 13" 9wt spey rod for swinging.

Anyway.... As for the original question. Intruders!! Mini Intruders as well!! Multiple colors and sizes. That's all you need to know. :shock:

Ok if you want to have an impressive fly box, you should throw in some egg sucking leeches, bunny leeches, popcycles, etc. But only for show. Just actually fish the intruders.
Ultra low clear water, revert to typical wet flies. Green butt skunk, POLAR SHRIMP, did I mention the polar shrimp? Haha. Have fun and good luck.

Start with a few of each size and color and change them out throughout the day. Fish with confidence. Later!

Jason
 

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