Monday, November 23, 2009

Steelhead trips

John and I are recently back from our steelhead trips but pining for more. How could one ever get enough though? Our two trips were entirely different. Both were wonderful fishing trips with great memories of beutiful rivers, classic steelhead runs and good company. And as we all know, you don't need to catch fish to make for a great trip - that's steelheading...

Part of the fun of any fishing trip is the pre-trip preparation and one of the most enjoyable is getting together with your buddies and tying flies. John and I tied a verity of tube flies for our trips and we both fished these tube flies eagerly over good steelhead holding water - John in the Pacific Northwest and I in New York.

Pacific Northwest
Weather is always a wildcard...For weeks we had heard the Pacific Northwest Rivers were enjoying great numbers of returning steelhead - "the best run in years". We've all learned over the years to take these reports with a grain of salt and not get too overly optimistic. However, when I wished John safe travels for his trip I was somewhat jealous and bummed about missing out on the great return of steel in the northwest. While the weather back home was perfect, the weather in Washington State was frigid! Water temps dropped 10 degrees prior to John's arrival and while there were good numbers of fish in the river, they responded to these sudden drops in air and water temperature by doing little more than just hanging at the bottom of the river.

John reported that he tried everything from floating lines and large flies to sinking tips with very small flies and even dead drift nymphing. Steelhead definitely saw his offering but not willing to take - even when the fly would scrape across their noses! Did I mention weather is always a wild card?

Great Lakes
We had heard that the steelhead fishing was also good in upstate New York. I had never fished for Great Lakes steelhead but always wanted to fish Cattaraugus Creek and I looked forward to swinging tubes flies on two-handers like I had always done out west. The Buffalo, NY Rivers were only a ten hour drive from home and I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by what they had to offer...

I had been talking to both Nick Pionessa and Rick Kustich about river conditions and where we might want to fish. As it turned out the Cat was not fishing due to high water from recent rains and never did clear during our stay. Eighteen Mile Creek was high and off color but dropping nicely so Mike, Curtis and I would start there. To make a long story short, we had one day of fantastic steelheading during our four day trip. Water conditions were high and muddy the other three days and we couldn't fish at all on the third day of our trip due to inches of rain that fell the night before. Weather - always a wildcard!

I was surprised by the steelheading in the Great Lakes and I'll certainly be back for more...For more pictures of the New York trip please visit the HMH forum and go to "fish pics". I'll also be posting some of the tube flies we were using soon...

Craig Uecker

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An HMH forum member's post

At The Fly Shop

On a recent road trip with the wife I pulled off the freeway to fill up the car. I noticed a fly shop, so I told the wife I needed to take a driving break and stretch my legs.

Entering the shop I couldn't help but look over all of the vises on display. This fly shop has a great selection of vises. Several models of Dyna-King (I was gifted a used Dyna-King when a friend upgraded to more complicated model) at least four different Renzettis, and few other vises I never heard of. I think they were Peak, Apex, and Griffins? Doesn't matter, I can't remeber the names of the vises, but they had a great selection to say the least. Some of these vises looked like they were designed by Rube Goldberg. There were all kinds of attachments and gizmos. In any event, among these fine vises sat an HMH Standard and a Spartan.

Sitting right next to these other fine tools, the clean lines of the HMH, the seeming simplicity, the unmistakable quality, the sheer beauty, just took my breath away.

I did not think I needed another vise; but after seeing the HMH next to the "other guys" I haven't wanted anything as much as I now want an HMH in a long time.

So I guess I need a new vise after all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

John's steelhead tube fly selection

As you can see, John from HMH has been busy tying tube flies for his upcoming steelhead trip...Look for future blog entries regarding John's trip to Washington state.

Tube flies lend themselves very well to steelhead flies for many reasons. We can vary the weight to tube flies simply by choosing what type of tube we tie on. Skaters and waking flies can be tied on plastic tubes such as the HMH Micro, cut-to-length or new Hybrid tubing - making the fly very light weight. Need to get down a little further in the water column? Try tying on aluminum or copper tubes. Want to put your fly right on the nose of a steely? Add a brass or tungsten cone to the head of your fly...

The advantages don't stop there. We can make conscious decision where we'd like to place the hook within the fly as well. If we want the hook closer to the head of the fly we'll choose or cut a short piece of tubing material combined with a short piece of hook holding junction tube (unless using our Hybrid tubing which acts as its own junction tube). If we want the hook to ride further back in the pattern we can choose a longer tube and/or junction tubing.

We can also tie big profile flies without having to use really large hooks. When using short shank hooks on any tube fly your landing ratio will increase dramatically compared to long shank convention hooks.

Bottle tube flies can be made using HMH tubing and components where the conehead helps support winging material as well as adds weight to the fly (I'll post a tutorial soon on HMH bottle style tubes).

With steelhead season almost in full swing (pun intended), tube flies should be part of the steelheaders arsenal.

If you have any questions about tube flies or any HMH products please don't hesitate to call us. We're always very eager to help.



Friday, October 2, 2009

We're going steelheading!

John and I are steelhead junkies - or as much of a steelhead junkie as you can be living in Maine. We fished steelhead together for the first time on the Deschutes River two years ago. The next year we fished the Grande Ronde and Clearwater rivers. While both trips were met with limited success, just being on steelhead rivers, fishing two-handed rods and swinging flies was all that was needed.

John is heading back to Washington state in a few days and I've got a trip planned to the Cattaraugus (western NY) towards the end of Oct. We'll be sharing pre-trip details (flies we're tying, etc) along with reports from the river as well as post-trip info and photos. We hope you'll follow our adventures as we chase steel separately from two very different eco systems... Think Steel!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome to the new HMH Vises Fly Tyers Blog

Welcome to the new HMH Vises Fly Tyers Blog.

Our goal is to provide information here that will be both entertaining and helpful to you as a fly tyer and fly fisherman.