comments and discussion encouraged

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Come to the best 2024 Spey Events in Washington, Montana, and Oregon!

Dax will be representing Nam Products at upcoming spey events. 

                Top 10 reasons to attend a spey event:

  1. Cast rods and check out other products from all the top brands in two handed casting.  You can read all you want about a rod, but actually getting in the water and physically casting it is the best way to choose which one to buy.  Bring your waders to these events and take advantage of this excellent opportunity.    
  2. Learn from presentations by some of the top spey instructors in the industry
  3. Get your own set up dialed in.  Rod and line reps are happy to help.  We all really want you to be using the right stuff and have the right, line/rod combination for your casting style and angling situation.  
  4. Support the “brick and mortar” fly shops that are putting in a lot of work to put on these fantastic events.  This is good fishing karma by the way.  Avoid big box stores at all costs.
  5. Check out all the cool rigs that guides and other industry dirt bags roll to the river in
  6. There is usually good beer and whiskey sampled and shared, whether legal or otherwise.  I've never seen an arrest but be prepared to be stealth if need be.
  7. Socialize with industry professionals and other spey casting enthusiasts, which tend to be an outstanding group of people who like to have fun!
  8. Minimal kook factor.  No annoying vendors from giant planet raping companies pushing their various lame plastics, leads, and scents to the mouth breathing mob.  Plenty of that and poser bead operators at the big outdoor trade shows. 
  9. They are either free or really cheap!  
  10. Learn about important conservation issues and opportunities of the watersheds that we love

Upcoming Spey Events:

Emerald Waters Angler’s “EWA Spey Day” January 27th, Fall City Washington @emeraldwateranglers 

Big Sky Angler’s “Burning Trout Spey Days” September 6-9 Big Sky Montana @bigskyanglers

Ashland Fly Shop’s “Rogue on the Fly” September 21 Grants Pass, Oregon @ashlandflyshop

If you go make sure you stop by and say hi to Dax and other Nam pros and try out a few sweet rods and shooting lines.  Free Hazumi Shooting Line raffle entry to all those who demo a rod.

Aside from a formal spey lesson, or guide day with an instruction based spey guide, a spey clave is the best way to gain valuable information to improve your craft.

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation...come to a clave and get more prepared for moments like this.

On water presentations

Moses with The 10 Commandments of Spey at Rogue on the Fly some years back

   We will have a ton of premium Nam rods rigged up for these events

Pics by Darcy Bacha 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Klamath Dam Removal Update: Iron Gate is going down!!!

Removal of the four Klamath River dams will be the largest dam removal project in the history of the United States and the largest salmon restoration project ever!!!!!

This is a really cool time lapse of the Iron Gate draw down captured by our friend Jason Hartwick of Swiftwater Films.  

From Caltrout: 

"The next big step in Klamath River dam removal is here: reservoir drawdown behind Iron Gate Dam. This morning, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation opened the gate to a higher flow that will slowly drain the reservoir over the next several weeks to a month.

This is an exciting milestone towards dam removal, and we are thrilled to share the news with you! Deconstruction of the remaining dams is expected to begin sometime in May or June. Restoration and revegetation are expected to begin next week, and crews will begin reseeding the former reservoir footprint as the reservoir recedes."

                                Copco 2 Dam Removal 

Subscribe to Swiftwater Films on You Tube to see more amazing footage of the largest River Restoration Project in History!

                                     From NBC News

Friday, September 1, 2023

 Take Action Against the complete disaster at Winchester Dam on the iconic North Umpqua River!!!  NOW!!!

From Water Watch of Oregon:

Just two weeks ago the Rogue Valley Times described the situation at Winchester Dam on the North Umpqua River as an "environmental disaster," and it's only gotten worse. In fact, it's become intolerable. 

Summer steelhead have been throwing themselves at the dam since at least Monday, trying to escape the warm lower river and reach 160 miles of cold water habitat upstream. But they're blocked from their spawning grounds and are wasting themselves against the closed dam because the no-experience dam repair contractor — and board president of the district which owns the dam — failed to finish the repairs by the scheduled deadline. 

Adding injury to insult, the just-added "improvements" to the dam structure includes dozens of new, sharp metal protrusions from the dam at fish-jumping level, as well as new gaps jumping fish will fall into that will only increase the delay, injury and mortality already suffered by salmon and steelhead attempting to pass this dam. All to ensure 156 private property owners have a place to water ski. 

And with the lack of action from regulatory agencies or elected officials, even as reports of repeated violations in broad daylight pour in, the dam repair contractor continues to behave with what can only be described as aggressive indifference. 

The grim new images of steelhead hopelessly jumping at the dam have already inspired local river advocates to stage a second protest at the dam this past week. Help ensure their voices are heard!

Tell your elected officials to remove Winchester Dam and restore a free-flowing North Umpqua River that supports fish, wildlife and communities!

To quote one WaterWatch of Oregon supporter on Instagram, "I am literally sick to my stomach over this entire situation. This is beyond words. We are being ignored." A resident of Azalea wrote this letter to the editor to the Roseburg News-Review. Another WaterWatch supporter summed up the entire Winchester Dam situation as a "disgrace." It is. 

Take action today by sending a letter to your state and federal representatives, including Governor Kotek, and ask them to ensure a full investigation into this disaster — and full accountability under the law for the repair contractor and dam owners. 

And take a moment to share this note with friends, family and colleagues. Let's work together to end the ongoing harm from Winchester Dam and restore a free-flowing North Umpqua River that benefits native fish runs, wildlife and Oregon communities. Take action now!

From Dax Messett:

Since our lawmakers and management agencies have completely and utterly failed us so far, another thing you can do is write some honest reviews on Yelp, Google, and Nextdoor about the company responsible for this complete and utter disaster TerraFirma.  You can give them a call at 1-866-303-7924 and ask them if they can fix your dam too...only issue is that hey have never worked on a dam before.  In fact, I called for an estimate on a simple retaining wall, and they said that they don't do those.  Seriously!!!!  WTFF!  Now somehow they get the gig to work on a gigantic dam project on a major river?  SHEESH!  How is this possible?

The reason why it is possible is nothing more than old school hillbilly politics.  The company's owner is Ryan Beckley, who happens to be the board president of the Winchester Water District, which is the entity of landowners that live on their private lake who own the dam.  Keep in mind that this is a private lake on a public river.  How the F does this happen?  What year is this?  How can our lawmakers and management entities allow this to happen?  Time for those responsible to pay, the management entities and lawmakers who allowed this to happen need to take some responsibility for this disaster. Time for them to step up and let the Winchester Water District know its time. It's Time to take out this fucking dam!!! 

Here are a few more pics of the hillbilly shit show dam restoration project on the most iconic steelhead river on the planet:

Monday, July 24, 2023

How to fish the Fall River...with respect to those who came before

                                          a little highlight video of fishing the Fall in 2023

The Fall River Valley, is a an amazing spring creek system in a remote part of Northern California, and is among my favorite trout fisheries on the planet, and that includes Montana, Idaho, Alaska, and New Zealand.  There is just nothing like it, not because you go there to catch a bunch of easy fish, but because of the history, scenery, people, and unique angling style in which you fish it.  Since my first trip there in 2002, I've been captivated by this most fascinating spring creek.  I was fortunate to be mentored here by some incredible guides, anglers, and clients on the unique etiquette and angling techniques here, which will forever be an influence on me not only on the Fall, but for other unique fisheries around the world.  Some fisheries are just special, and should be fished accordingly.  

The traditional way to fish the Fall on the upper and middle reaches of the river is from a small Jon boat, anchored, making presentations downstream to fish.  My favorite way to do this is to be patient, waiting to sight fish to specific targets feeding off of the surface.  But with the absence of surface feeding, you can also fish with nymphs under drys or indicators, or fish streamers with sinking lines swinging down and across, then stripping them back.  All these techniques from an anchored boat require a relatively accurate cast, sometimes at distance, and the ability to feed line downstream with a drag free presentation.  This is unique in that most anglers who are used to fishing from a boat in a river are used to making a cast, and then side drifting for very long stretches of river, which is by far the easiest and most productive way to catch a fish in moving water with a fly rod.  And thats great, because on almost every other river in the West, it is a universally accepted method to fish by the angling community on that watershed.  However, side drifting over large sections of river from a driftboat on the Fall has never been a universally accepted method of angling, in fact, it has always been frowned upon until recently.  And if one river deserves a reprieve from the numbers oriented side drifting community that is currently dominating all other fisheries, it is the Fall River.

The traditional style of angling from an anchored boat on the Fall requires the angler to utilize more precise fly fishing skills, such as actually casting a fly rod to make a specific presentation, and then actually fishing each and every cast/presentation.  This is not because it is an elitist culture on Fall River (maybe a little)it's because the traditional way is the most respectful way to fish the river regarding interaction with other anglers, as well as to respect the history and culture of the river.  Some newish anglers just don't care about the anglers who came before them or the etiquette and history of the watershed, and thats a global issue not just unique to Fall.

It's not like anglers like Bob Quigley, the famed angler and fly tier who created the best spring creek patterns known to man, didn't think of how productive side drifting the river would be...he just didn't care.  He and all other anglers of his time were interested in the whole process of fly fishing.  They wanted to accurately cast a fly, make a presentation, and catch their own fish.  In fact, most of the anglers who came before the current influx of side drifting anglers on the river had drift boats home.  They used them on other driftboat oriented/friendly rivers, which these days happen to be the majority of all other rivers in the country.  So why not just save the side drifting for all those other rivers instead of bashing your way down a quiet spring creek like Fall River where it is totally against the history and culture of the river? 

                                 Enjoy the process and the Marlee here!

                    Art Teter, local guide who was guiding here before most of you side drifters were born...

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

North Umpqua Steelhead and the dam that is killing them


These are North Umpqua steelhead trying to make their way upriver.  There is something in the way.  It's Winchester Dam a 132 year old structure that does not produce power, provide flood control, or store water for irrigation, drought, or public use.  The only reason it is still there is so a few property owners on the lake that warms the river to toxic levels can have a private ski lake.  This dam has been deemed a public hazard by state officials and the number one killer of fish on this iconic river.  

Please support these groups that are helping to remove this hazard @the_steamboaters @waterwatchoforegon @native_fish_society @umpquawatersheds @oregonwild

Here is an excellent interview about the history of Winchester, and current state of it by Alex Worth:

And here is a piece written on the current state of the dam by Kirk Blaine, which can be found here:

After a catastrophic return of summer steelhead last year and multiple years of below-average spring Chinook, Winchester Dam remains more dilapidated than ever before. How does this 130-year-old dam maintained for private recreation affect the salmon and steelhead runs we all enjoy?

Sadly, Winchester Dam is likely the most significant fish killer in the Umpqua Basin, harming and depleting every native-run attempting to migrate up or downstream from the 160 miles of high-quality habitat stretching above this structure. A multitude of large false attraction holes remains in and under the dam. A gaping hole between the face of the dam and the fish ladder is still covered by what looks like a piece of conveyor belt, attesting to its careless upkeep.

These false attraction flows mean that fish will continue to jump into the side of the dam and meet hazards, injury and delay. Eroded concrete and exposed rebar are visible in the dam’s foundations, abutments and fish ladder. The fish ladder remains confusing to navigate for fish and doesn’t meet state or federal fish passage regulations. Meanwhile, a visible downstream curve in the dam crest raises questions about whether the dam is a threat not just to fish, but to public safety.

Almost two years ago, I wrote an opinion piece sharing issues with Winchester Dam on the North Umpqua River. Over the same time, state officials have continued to urge Winchester Dam’s owners to repair the dam and fish ladder. But to this day, little has been done on the dam itself to fix glaring problems or assist our salmon and steelhead in passing the structure. This is a clear insult to those involved in the hard work all over Douglas County focused on restoring our fisheries populations, from habitat projects such as riparian planting to the modernization of fish passage at Soda Springs Dam.

Winchester Dam is unlawfully killing and harming our salmon and steelhead. State and federal agencies have an obligation to uphold the rule of law to protect citizens and our natural resources. Rules and regulations for Winchester Dam must be enforced to protect our rivers and fish.

We even have a recent successful example of an agency holding private dam owners accountable for a fish-killing dam in southern Oregon: the former Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River. In the years before the successful removal of Savage Rapids Dam, which was removed to benefit salmon runs, the National Marine Fisheries Service filed a lawsuit against its owners for unlawful harm to federally protected salmon.

The National Marine Fisheries Service should take the same action now to protect federally protected salmon at Winchester Dam.

I ask our state’s senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, to help direct federal agencies to help the North Umpqua River and its fish. The senators must continue to uphold their legacy on the North Umpqua by starting with bringing the rule of law to this dilapidated dam.

Two years ago, I saw two options for Winchester Dam:

  1. Require the dam owners to finally overcome their indifference to responsibility and repair and rebuild the dam properly to bring it and its ladder up to state and federal standards; or
  2. Remove the dam with public funds as conservation groups offered to the dam owners to do in writing back in 2020.

Today, it has unfortunately become clear that the Winchester Dam owners cannot be trusted to repair and maintain Winchester Dam to protect the North Umpqua. The dam represents a substantial financial and legal responsibility the owners have neglected to properly uphold, alongside their responsibility for the dam’s ongoing harm to salmon and steelhead in North Umpqua River. It is clear that removing Winchester Dam will benefit everyone in Douglas County and our fish.

Kirk Blaine is a Douglas County resident who spends countless days a year fishing for all species of fish in the Umpqua River system, from smallmouth bass to spring Chinook. He has a strong interest in fishing for summer steelhead. Kirk is actively engaged in multiple areas of conservation around Douglas County and the Pacific Northwest.