A Few Of My Favorite Fishing Things


Here are some of my favorite things related to fishing – in no particular order.

(1) – Favorite method of attaching super braid lines to either fluorocarbon or monofilament. There are a number of recommended knots for doing this, but I have had my best luck using the smaller swivels and tying the braided line to one end (I use a palomar knot) and the non-braid to the other end using either a palomar knot or a clinch knot. Depending on whether there is much breaking strength difference between the line and the leader, in order of decreasing knot strength, I attach the non-braid with either a palomar knot, an improved clinch knot or a clinch knot. I definitely want the leader to break before the main line and preferably, if it must break, at the lure. That is why I use a slightly less efficient knot at the lure.

(2) – Favorite weekly outdoor columnist – Definitely Carrie Wilson whose column appears nearly every week in Western Outdoor News. Carrie is a marine biologist who works for the California Department of Fish and Game and she does a great job of giving direct and understandable answers to a wide variety of outdoor-related questions. Those of you who have directed very many questions to outdoor biologists and enforcement personnel will realize how rare this is.

(3) – My favorite soft plastic jerkbait is – without a doubt the five-inch Castaic Jerky J series. I usually use the largemouth bass pattern and have found that the plastic used in making these lures is heavier than in most similar lures allowing much more options when retrieving it. I always make sure that there is a small bend in the upper portion of the lure which allows me to achieve better action on a slower retrieve. The five inch size seems to attract more big bass than do smaller versions of soft plastic jerkbaits. Although the company does not make a yellow perch pattern, it has a couple of patters that with a black magic marker can easily be made into a good perch imitation. My favorite choice for this strategy is the ayu color pattern.

(4) – My favorite fishing lake in central or eastern Oregon. It used to be East Lake back when it had lots of decent-sized rainbows, a few jumbo browns and a fair amount of brookies. In the fall, the brookies would school up on some very visible small gravel areas along the shoreline opposite the resort and would eagerly attack small lures and flies – and the average brookie measured all of 15-inches. Today, East Lake offers even more angling variety with rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon and kokanee salmon being stocked. However, the brookies are no longer stocked and have pretty much died out. Try as I might, I just cannot find the brookies’ replacements to be as interesting as they were. So my new favorite fishing lake for central-eastern Oregon is Lake of the Woods located between Medford and Klamath Falls. It is approximately the same size as East Lake and offers even more fishing variety. The last time I fished it, in three hours of fishing near the resort, I landed approximately 50 fish on light tackle, but even more impressive was the variety of fish I landed. On my second cast, I landed a two pound rainbow and the fishing got more interesting after that. I ended up catching rainbow trout to 18-inches, a 16-inch brown trout, a number of black crappie to ten inches, quite a few yellow perch to at least nine inches, a bunch of smallish smallmouth bass and a one-pound largemouth bass. I did not catch any of the lake’s kokanee salmon or brown bullheads and if I wanted to, I could have hiked up Rainbow Creek, one of the lake’s small inlet streams, to catch some of its smallish brook trout.

(5) – My favorite western Oregon Lake is a tossup between Loon Lake and Lake Selmac. Lake Selmac is noted as a consistent producer of jumbo largemouth bass, but also has populations of bluegill and black crappies that are abundant, yet reach good size. Brown bullheads and a small populations of warmouth round out the lake’s warmwater fish species and the lake is very heavily stocked with rainbow trout. Because much of the lake is quite shallow, Selmac starts producing good fishing well before any of the other area lakes.

As for Loon Lake, it is the lake where I learned the finer points of bass fishing and I know it well enough to fish it effectively after dark. Large sections of the lake are overhung by brush and trees that reward my ability to cast far beneath them and my very best bass catches always seem to come from Loon Lake. Although few of Loon Lake’s planted trout reach respectable size and the crappies are relatively scarce, good-sized brown bullheads are available near the inlet and the lake has an abundant population of bluegills to at least nine-inches in length. Loon Lake is a wonderful lake to flyfish, but the best fishing is in the early spring before the boat traffic gets ridiculous or in the upper end of the lake where boat speed is greatly restricted.

(6) – My favorite electronic fishing equipment is – without a doubt the Fish Buddy – which is a portable depth finder with one important difference. It does side scans that show the air bladders of fish. It works really well on warmwater fish and the bottomfish anglers encounter when fishing off jetties. However, despite salmonids not having air bladders, it will show trout measuring more than 13-inches in length. It does not tell an angler which species of fish it is marking or how large they are, but it does allow an angler to cast to fish that have not already been spooked.

(7) –  My favorite device to fish out of is called a “River Rat” and it hasn’t been made for about 20 years. It is shaped like a conventional float tube and is made out of polypropylene and only has a depression where the hole through a conventional float tube is. It allows me, with swim fins, to paddle through water as shallow as six inches at a speed of up to four miles per hour (unlike a conventional float tube, one doesn’t have to push most of their body through the water to move. It seems like it also allows me to closely approach fish without spooking them. Since it is somewhat physically demanding, I don’t know how much longer I can keep fishing out of it – but so far, so good.

(8) – When flyfishing, my favorite fly for most conditions is a black leech pattern. Ideally, it has a weighed head consisting of lead wire covered by the wrapped body material and is tied on a thin wire hook. When tied to the tippet with a loose knot (I often use a regular knot and then use another fish hook to create a little space around the hook eye so that I can more easily impart action to the fly. I really like to give a subtle up and down quiver to the fly and the number of different species that take this lure consistently surprises me.

(9) – My favorite online fishing site is WashingtonLakes.com. Although it has an Oregon section (oregonfishingnews.com), most of the site is aimed at Washington anglers and it is absolutely the best site I am aware of when it comes to getting uncluttered fishing reports. Better yet, a viewer can select any of the numerous listed fishing spots to view multiple fishing reports for any particular fishing spot. Of course, the site has lots of other reasons to give it a good luck such as helpful fishing videos, online fishing maps and much more. But I tune into this site primarily to view the fishing reports.

(10) – My favorite western Oregon river is the Umpqua River. It offers so much variety. What other northwest river system holds such varied fishing records as the national record for fly tackle-caught striped bass – at 64 pounds eight ounces, a national and world record that has stood for more than 40 years; the Oregon state record for chinook salmon at 83 pounds and the Oregon record for green sunfish at slightly more than  11 ounces.

(11) – My favorite central and eastern Oregon stream is the Deschutes River. My favorite sections of this river lie between Tumalo and Lake Billy Chinook. The fish I pursue are brown trout and there are some true lunkers in certain stretches of this river with some of the browns weighing well over ten pounds. Moving along the river is difficult, but the steep canyon walls ensure that some sections of the river are in the shade most of the day. My best brown that I actually landed was caught between the Folley Waters and Steelhead Falls and weighed more than 15 pounds on a certified scale in the supermarket in Terrebonne and it struck a hand-painted Rapala that I had added a herring scent to. Since the jumbo brown was taken above Steelhead Falls, it will most likely remain the largest stream-reared brown I will ever land.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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