View Full Version : sandy, clackamas & kalama?
08-17-2011, 11:57 PM
i haven't fished the sandy or clackamas and today i fished the kalama my first time after moving down the state. i'm trying to find photos of the sandy and clack so i can get an idea of the size of those rivers as i might move closer in that direction if i like what i see after driving over to check them out sometimes this week. I like the sandy from the air. seems like it has lots of gravel bars.
How small is the kalama compared to the clack and sandy? I'm greatful for any river but i tend to not be so fond particularly with small rivers like the kalama. I grew up on the rogue and there you can really get a line out and it has fantastic water at every curve. i guess i need to grow up and learn to fish these smaller clear water rivers. man, on the kalama, you can look down and spot fish from the bank but im not good at spotting them i need to practice more. thanks for your help if any.
Sandy is federally navigable and you can cover a LOT of water on foot. The Clack has limited bank access. And the Sandy is not even close to what anyone would consider clear but for a very short period of the year, it's either steelhead green, muddy, or glacial most of the time.
After seeing the McKenzie, I would personally consider the Clack and the Sandy both as medium to medium small sized rivers.
08-18-2011, 09:01 AM
Compared to the Kalama the Sandy and Clack would be very large rivers. The Kalama is very small. I fly fish with a spey rod most of the time but when I go up to the Kalama I take my single hand rod. The kalama in most spots is as wide as a average single hand cast. The Clack and Sandy have spots that a 100+ foot cast is needed to hit the sweet spot. Both rivers have decent bank access. The Clack has less obvious access but with some research there are a lot of spots you can get to in a legal way, you just need to hike a lot. All of the Clack and the Lower sandy are easily floated in boat, raft or even a small pontoon down to as small as 8ft. I say easy once you learn the water so approach with caution the first few times.
08-18-2011, 09:54 PM
Thank you guys for helping this ole timer out. It's great to be fishing clear water streams again. i guess the reason why i was kind of asking the question was because on the kalama, it seems it can be more of a challenge with the low water flows and that maybe they spook very easily but I guess if one happens to be a real pro fly fisherman, he's gonna hook his fish fairly consistant. Looking forward to seeing the sandy and clack and fishing the cowlitz, lewis, washougal, kalama.
08-19-2011, 07:10 PM
You are probably right. I have yet to catch a fish on the Kalama. I have a love hate relationship with that river. I love the looks of it, the size and it is close to portland however I have yet to figure it out. I hooked into some salmon but lost them all. You can spot fish all over when they are there but I can never get them to take. Next time I go I am going to dress in camo and be very calm and carful on my approach.
Sandy and Clack are much different. They fish best with a little color. If the water is up and dirty fish are often along the bank so short casts all the way to the bank are the norm. When low and clear fish are further out. This however again is from the view of a fly guy who swings and nothing else. I am sure there are some great spots for nymphing, drifting eggs and everything else but I go right for the water I can swing away.
08-26-2011, 11:14 AM
Can you give laymen an idea of what that means to fish the swing? I've watched it being done, I'm pretty sure but, would like hear what the approach and idea are about from someone that's all about it.
08-26-2011, 12:07 PM
There's a line in the sand Todd, one side are swingers, and the other nymphomaniacs. Each side dislikes the other for the most part.
Swingers generally have a gigantic fly and are hoping to get a impulsive rise. while the fly because of the belly in the line races across and diagonally through the run (faster than the current in most cases).
Nymphers are sorta float and jig fishing, which can be flat out deadly.
Mostly teasing ya fisherman, as I "Cheat" with the fly rod alot of the time :D
08-26-2011, 02:17 PM
The swing or swinging are modern terms for what is traditionally known as the wet fly swing. The cast is made directly across the current or slightly downstream. The belly of the flyline is mended upstream after it hits the water to set up the swing. If the line is not mended the belly of the flyline will drag in the current causing the fly to race across the current. A floating flyline, a long leader and a wet fly such as a Skunk (sz #8-#4) were traditionally used for Summer Steelhead. This medthod is especially effective on large rivers with broad flows such as the Deschutes (not the D). The angler typically starts fishing at the head of a run and takes a step down stream after the completion of each swing. It is considered poor ettiquette to step in downstream of an angler working his way through a run. The fly swings across the current in concentric arcs. The fish may see the fly several swings before she actually rises to take it. Sometimes the angler will see the fish take the fly in a swirl. It is important not to strike the fish in this situation. Wait until the fish turns and begings to return to its lie and is felt pulling line off the reel. Then sweep the rod towards the bank and into fighting position. The fish will hook itself usually in the corner of its jaw. Single handed or Spey rods can be used for the wetfly swing. Sinking tip lines can also be used with this method and larger flys like string leeches. Tips are most commonly used when the sun is on the water or in the winter when fish are unlikely to come to the surface because their metabolism is slowed by the colder flows. The wetfly swing can also be used on smaller rivers like the Kalama. However, nymphing has become more popular in modern times on smallwer rivers. Some will even nymph fish larger rivers like the Deschutes. In my opinion nothing can compare to the rise and take of a "player" to a fly swung on a dryline. May I suggest Dryline Steelhead by Bill McMillan as an excellent source of information on this topic.
08-26-2011, 09:03 PM
Yep Dillion covers most of it. I would say his explanation describes rivers like the Deschutes very well however on the Sandy and Clack it is a little different. In Winter you need to get down and have your fly swinging slow and low in the water column. The general idea is the same only you need to use heavy sink tips. I agree with Dillion about the fact that a take from a fish to a fly on the swing is awesome.
Large flies are a bit of a trend right now and they are actually on their way out. Guys toss very large flies with lots of weight but many do not. I personally do not, I fish medium flies with no weight and find I get better results and loose way less flies.
I am a 100% swing fisherman but I have absolutely nothing against anyone who chooses to nymph. If that is their pleasure then have at it. I also have nothing against gear fishing versus fly with one exception. I personally am not into treble hooks or any hook with more then one point. That is just me but I respect anyone fishing with any tackle if they are fishing only one hook.
Anyway, I can explain why I like swinging over nymphing if anyone cares. I am sure anyone on this forum is familiar with surface fishing being gear or fly. Catching a bass on a popper is awesome. Catching a fish on a dry fly is awesome. This style only works part of the time so often you need to fish below the surface. I fly fish and when this is needed I swing a fly, strip streamers over nymphing for one reason. You are waiting for an actual take, an action from the fish that can often times be hard and powerful. It gives me a rush just like when a fish takes something on the surface. With nymphing you just do not get this, you watch a indicator for the smallest of movement and when it happens you set the hook with a hard sweep of the rod. At this time there is often a moment of wondering if you actually hooked a fish or not. Sometimes you do, sometimes you get a rock and other times you get nothing. This is just not very fun to me so I go with the techniques that get the response from an aggressive fish. Granted every once in a while even on the swing you will get a soft take but that is rare.
I admit 100% that if you are going after numbers of fish then nymphing should be your poison. Personally I will take less fish for more quality in the fishing experience.
And, yes like Dillion says it is bad to step in on a person swinging. This is also for both fly and gear because I know plenty of people that swing spinners with gear rods and if I am correct they step down the run as they do it. It is just nice to ask the person if it is ok to step in behind them or if they do not mind you stepping in a ways down river. If you ask you will almost always get a nice "Yes go for it" from the person fishing. I had a guy step in on me on the Clack that was so close I could have easily hooked him with not much line out of my rod. He had no idea or he did and did not care. I wrote it off as he just did not understand but who knows. I am sure there are some guys that just do not give a f$%k. As a fly guy I do not try and swing my rod around in areas where there is a lot of people fishing shoulder to shoulder and all I ask is on the runs that involve swinging(fly or spinner) that people that get to the water after I do give me the respect to let me fish through the water.
Wow, sorry a lot of personal opinion here..
08-29-2011, 09:03 AM
I am heading to the Deschutes River today for a couple days of Steelhead fishing and will spend most of next week there. I will focus on skating dry flies, followed by traditional wet flies on the swing. A skated dry fly take is spectacular. However, a fish will sometimes rise to the dry but refuse it leaving a huge swirl behind. Switching to a wet fly will often produce a solid take. Finding a "player" and then mixing up flies, tactics and presentation is a rewarding experience. As fisherman states, it is not the numbers of fish but the quality of the experience. I whole heartedly agree. I will add that catching and releasing a wild fish is adds to the quality of the experience. It is more rewarding to me than catching and killing a hatchery fish. My non fishing friends and relatives prefer a hatchery fish for the bbq. I am happy to oblige them.