Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fighting Gravity

I had a number of folks ask about a skater pictured in a recent post I did about the Klickitat River.  I designed "Fighting Gravity" last season and it has become my number one skater for steelhead.  It's been a great producer on the Deschutes and Klickitat.  Plus, it's easy to tie and floats like a cork. Hopefully, it'll be available in fly shops next season, until then -here's the recipe.

Hook:  3X long, 2X heavy down eye streamer hook.
Thread: 6/0 Uni-Thread
Tail: Crystal flash
Body: 2mm foam -two pieces tyed Chernobyl Ant style
Collar:  Spun deer hair, clipped on the bottom.

Pretty simple...  The pic is of my two favorite colors but you can get creative!

-Tom Larimer

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Making Poly Leaders Last

If you're not fishing a Poly Leader on your floating Spey lines, you should be.  They help turn over your fly, especially when making shorter casts.  Plus, a Poly Leader give you more "grip" on the water when forming your D-Loop.  More so, you can buy them in different densities from floating to fast sinking giving you a lot of flexibility in your dry line fishing.

Although Poly Leaders work great out of the box, you can get a lot more miles out of them with a simple modification.  Using 20 pound Maxima, tie on a 1' butt section using a seven turn Albright Knot.  Finish the other end of the butt section with a perfection loop. Loop your 2' to 4' of tippet on using a triple surgeons loop and you're ready to roll.

I've seen some leaders start to delaminate when an angler accidently places their fly into a tree and pulls like hell to get it out of squirrel land.  By doing so, the core material can separate from the polyurethane coating.  The Albright knot will displace the pressure equally on the core and coating.  It's a great trick to make your Poly Leaders last a long time.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hickman's Fish Taco

Mmmmm... Tacos
Russell Davis found this Deschutes buck on a recent guide trip with Mike Duffy.  It ate one of our favorite flies for both summer and winter steelhead... Hickman's Fish Taco.  The "Taco" is available in all the favorite food groups of steelhead and salmon. LO guide Jeff Hickman also introduced the Flash Taco last season and it too has earned is place in our box.  It's easy to cast and moves like a sea creature.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

LO Hosted Fly Fishing Travel 2012

Now is the time to start planning next years fishing adventures!  Consider spending your vacation on a hosted fly fishing trip with Larimer Outfitters.  As hosts, we’re there to ensure you have the trip of a lifetime.  From casting instruction to travel questions, we’ve got you covered.  Give me a call at 541-490-9446 or shoot me an email if I can help you plan your next trip.

BC West, Dean River 

Steelhead with Tom Larimer 8/11 -8/18
I just returned with a group of anglers from BC West last week.  We had ideal water conditions, great weather and a ton of steelhead around. Epic is too weak of a word to describe our trip.  Both the upper river and lower river fished extremely well.  Over all, it was my best trip to the Dean yet.  I’m already missing the hell out of the river (and Belinda’s cooking) -and can’t wait to return to the Dean in 2012. 
Only three spots left and will be booked solid by Saturday, August 27th

Steelhead & Salmon with Jeff Hickman 7/14 - 7-21
Larimer Outfitter Guide Jeff Hickman also hosted a trip to BC West in early July.  This is a unique time to be on the Dean because there are both steelhead and Chinook salmon in the river. Although they didn’t put huge numbers of fish on the beach, they made up for it in size.  There were many big fish in Hickman’s week!  Of course, they lost a ton of fish because you’d be hard pressed to find a hotter fish than a July steelhead on the Dean.
Only Five Spots Left!

Alaska West, Kanektok River 
Salmon & Rainbows with Tom Larimer 6/22 -6/29
I spent an awesome hosted week of Spey fishing for kings at Alaska West this summer.  After a few days of the best salmon fishing we’ve ever seen, we decided to check out what else the Kanektok had to offer.  We were blown away!  We had incredible mouse fishing for leapord rainbows, chums on switch rods and beautiful grayling on dry flies.  It really opened my eyes to how amazing that fishery is.  Not to mention, the guide & lodge staff knocked it out of the park.  It was the most memorable trip Alaska yet... And I can't wait to get back.
Only two spots left and will be booked solid on Saturday, August 27

Andros South, Bahamas 
Bonefish, Permit & Barracuda with Tom Larimer  2/25 -3/3
I spent a week of “re-con” at Andros South Lodge last winter and it was the most relaxing fishing adventure I’ve ever taken.  After most fishing trips, I feel like someone just flogged me with a 2X4! (Anadromous fishing tends to put me in “death march” mode.)  After fishing at Andros, I was totally relaxed and satisfied.  The program at Andros South is totally dialed in… I can’t say enough about the staff, the lodge, the guides and the fishing.  If you dream of beautiful white sand flats, monster bonefish, and cold Bahamian beer during our cold dreary northwest winter, you’ll love this trip!  Six spots left!

FREE Casting Lessons with Tom Larimer!
Book a hosted trip with Larimer Outfitters for the 2012 season and 
receive a FREE two hour casting "tune-up" before your trip! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Five Reasons To Fish The Klickitat This Fall

Autumn is right around the corner and with it brings another season on the Klickitat River in south central Washington.  I have a love affair with this river... It's one of my favorite rivers to guide and fish on.  Here's just a few reasons why...


Monday, August 22, 2011

Airflo Rage Compact -TL's thoughts on design

The Rage Compact -Airflo's newest floating Spey head.
Working as a fly line designer for Airflo the past few years has been a great privilege.  We've built a solid family of Spey lines including the Skagit Compact for sink-tip fishing, the Scandi Compact for finesse dry line work, the Tactical Steelhead for those that appreciate a longer casting stroke and want the versitility of a multi-tip line, and the new Skagit Switch -Which is by far the best sink-tip line for switch rods and shorter Spey rods.  However, there was a void in the line-up.

I've always loved Scandi heads for floating line presentations.  From the moment I first cast them over ten years ago, I grooved on the line speed and tight loops I could throw.  However, Scandi heads have their faults.  First, they suck in the wind.  The long, delicate front taper which gives Scandi's there finesse-like feel, crumbles in even a modest breeze.  Not sure if it isn't windy in Europe, but the summer steelhead rivers I guide -mostly the Deschutes and the Klickitat, are windy places.  As are every other big western river.  The other problem with Scandi heads is they struggle to turn-over foam skaters and large wet flies.  (Yes, I know you can do it... But it's not fun.)  There just isn't enough mass in the front of the line to give the caster sufficient turn-over.  As long as I'm ragging on Scandi heads... Another shortcoming is that most anglers struggle when they switch from their Skagit to their Scandi.  These lines cast so dramatically different!  I hate watching anglers waste precious fishing time trying to shift gears!

So why not just put a floating tip on a Skagit and call it good?  Good question!  The problem is when you cast a Skagit with a sink-tip, most of the sink-tip is in the water during the D-Loop formation.  The caster is effectively feeling the load of the Skagit head alone.  When you loop on a floating tip, you need to arialize more D-loop.  Consequently, you feel the weight of the Skagit plus the 60-some grains in the floating tip.  -60 grains is an entire line size!  Ever notice your floating tip makes your rod feel mushy?  And, its awfully easy to throw a tailing loop.  That's because your rod can't handle the added grain weight in the D-loop.  The Skagit + floating tip was a band-aid solution to a bigger problem.

What I really wanted was a Spey line built for surface and near-surface presentations that bucked like a Skagit but still had the finesse of a Scandi.  Tim Rajeff, the US. distributor of Airflo and over-all fly casting guru, gave me the green light to start working on a new breed of line.  With the help of Tim and the design team at Rajeff Sports, we came up with the answer to all of our problems.

The new Airflo Rage Compact is the perfect floating line to compliment your Skagit Compact.  To be blunt, it is by far the best floating line I've ever cast.  As a general rule of thumb, line your rod 30 grains lighter than your Skagit.  If you like a faster -livelier feel to your floating line and have a very bottom-hand dominant stroke, go 60 grains lighter.  Either way, the thing jacks!  Like all of Airflo's Spey heads, the line comes in 30 grain increments and is available in 360 grains to 600 grains.  I recommend using a 10' Airflo Poly Leader with 2' to 4' of tippet.  I fish an intermediate leader even with skaters.

Awesome for sinking Poly Leaders
If you fish shallower rivers in the West like the John Day or smaller rivers in the Great Lakes, the Rage will easily handle a sinking Poly Leader and an unweighted fly.  It's a great line on rivers where a full blown sink-tip is overkill.  I wouldn't try casting a big weighted bug, but it'll jack an unweighted tube a mile.

The Rage is also a killer floating line for switch rods!
I was blown away how well this thing casts on a switch stick.  Line it exactly the same as your Skagit Switch.  Just for reference, most #7 weight switch rods are taking a 450 grain head.  It made me re-think the rods i'll be fishing this fall!

Airflo's new loop labels...
A new feature on all Airflo Spey lines is our labeling of line type/size on the front loop, plus the old color coded system.  Now you have an easy way of identifying your Spey lines!

Smart... Very smart.

If you love the feel of casting Skagit heads and want a floating line that cuts through the wind, turns over with total ease and doesn't take a PHD. in casting to make it huck, give the new "Rage" a try.  I guarantee it will elevate your floating line casting and fishing.

-Tom Larimer

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Deschutes Steelhead Fly Fishing Report -August 18, 2011

Doesn't get anymore shit eating than that...
Two beautiful steelhead, two happy anglers.  Opitz and Bittman tore it up with Larimer Outfitters guide Jeff Hickman last week.  The recent drop in water temps have made for better fishing as of late.  Skaters are coming into play in the mornings though you're better off fishing a wet in the evenings.  The sink-tip bite in the mid-day has been strong until around 3:00pm.  Life is good on the Deschutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Final Thoughts From The Dean

Back in Hood River and I'm already missing the hell out BC West and the Dean.  This was my third time hosting a trip up there and every time it gets a little better.  The staff is continually making improvements to the lodge and the experience.  Everyone left with huge grins on there faces...  Not to mention the incredible memories forever burned into our mental fishing albums.

The fishing was good...  We hooked, landed and lost our fair share for the week.  But you go to the Dean for more than just the body count.  It's more about experiencing a healthy ecosystem where bears are still at the top of the food chain, wolfs are the night watchmen and the run of wild steelhead is strong.  It's an opportunity to glimpse through a window of time and see what our rivers here in the states were once like -and what we would all like to see them be again.  But the reality is unfortunate...  They never will be.  For that very reason, I cherish every moment, every cast and every fish on the Dean... Despite man's attempt to muck this world up, the river and it's mighty canyon are still a stronghold for all things wild.  

-Tom Larimer

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lodge Life

Life is pretty damn good at BC West Lodge.  The food is out of this world, the beer is cold, and living is easy.  It's a great place to relax after a great day of chasing steelhead the Dean.  Beats the hell out of sleeping with the bears...

Friday, August 12, 2011

This Place Breaks Shit...

I've never been on a river that destroys fishing gear like the Dean River.  Mostly, because the fish are just so damn hot.  No other river offers ass-kickings as frequent as the Dean.  So far this week, two Spey rods have blown-up, four reels have gone to the boneyard, sink-tips were snapped, many hooks were bent, three shooting lines were shredded and an entire Skagit head -sink-tip and all, were eaten by the river.  Ya gotta love when steelhead break shit.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Nice Fish

Cam Groner with a nice one...  On the Dean.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day three at BC West

There's something special about this place...  Outside of the incredible food, comfy accommodations, and genuine hospitality of the folks at BC West, there's just a feel to the Dean that's magical.  It's a combination of swinging your fly through some of the most bitchin steelhead water on the planet, while standing under the cathedral of the BC coast range, and the fact that these steelhead are truly magnificent.  More to the point, every one of them kicks the ever living crap out of you.  But it's more than that... There's an energy about this place that can't be described in words or with photographs. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Dean River is Heaven

Day one on the Dean and the river is living up to it's reputation...  We had an awesome session of fishing this evening.  Fish were hooked, fish were lost and fish were landed.  The scotch has started to flow and the stories of the day are being told in the club house.  Belinda's cooking is as good as ever and all is well in the world.  We're on the Dean again.

The Road to the Dean... Bella Coola, BC

Glad this guy knows what he's doing...
The flight into Bella Coola, BC has a tendency to make your ass-hole pucker like a balloon knot... It's kind of scary.  You descend thousands of feet very quickly and the nearby steep canyon walls are a visual reminder of why flying into remote parts of coastal BC takes a certain breed of pilot...  They must be a little crazy.  Despite the turbulence, we made it to our jumping off point for BC West and the Dean River yesterday.  Today we fly to steelhead nirvana.

-Tom Larimer

Friday, August 5, 2011

Deschutes Steelhead Fly Fishing Report

Steelhead fishing is picking up on the Deschutes.  It's still a hunt, but life is getting good for those chasing chrome on the "D".  The bite has been strong through early afternoon then shutting down as the river warms up.  The Columbia River dam counts have gone up with 6000 to 8000 fish a day coming over bonneville dam and almost as many over the Dalles Dam.  -It's only going to get better!

-Tom Larimer

Monday, August 1, 2011

Headed to BC West and the Dean

Dean River Rodeo... Try to hold on for 8 seconds...
Only four more days and I start my journey north to BC West and the Dean River.  I'm taking a great group of anglers up there this season.  Given the email traffic lately, I think they're excited!  Just saw a report on FaceBook from Simon Gawsworth...  It's on like Donkey Kong!  We fly in to camp via chopper this Saturday.  Stay tuned for posts during my trip.

Idaho Cutthroat

I just spent four days fishing one of the best cutthroat rivers in Northern Idaho with my good friend Sean Visintainer from the Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane and Larimer Outfitter's guide Joe Ringo.  Ya gotta love trout that crush big foam dries and streamers.  The fun factor was pinned at 11.

To see more photos from my trip, check out our FaceBook Page!