They say a bad day fishing beats a good day working. It's even better when your good day working is fishing as I experienced with Mark from The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches.
I grew up fishing, but it was a completely different style than what you see here in Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory. Fortunately Mark is the guy to show me the ropes, as he is one of the preeminent guides around. Which fits perfectly with The Fly Fishing Shop because they've been around for nearly 40 years and in that time have cemented a reputation as the go-to location for anglers coming here from all around the country.
The style of fly fishing Mark showed me is called spey fishing, which is actually an incredibly old form of fly fishing. Apparently Chinese anglers have been using this method for centuries, but it's only just now becoming popular again here in the U.S. We keep rebooting old movies and TV shows, might as well bring back effective fishing techniques while we're at it, right?
Spey fishing uses a heavier rod and two-handed casting that is capable for throwing a much larger fly. In this case, the fly Mark was using is meant not to resemble a bug, but a squid or shrimp. Not something you find swimming in Oregon rivers, but it is what the steelhead and Chinook salmon are used to eating in the ocean where they spend most of their lives. Mark explained that these fish do most of their eating out there in the open sea, so we're trying to get them to bite the lure on instinct rather than out of hunger. Using a lure that looks like prey they fed on most of their lives gets that instinctive drive to bite going.
Give the video below a look to see how it works. If you'd like to learn more, check out the Sandy River Spey Clave event each year in May at Oxbow Regional Park. It's a beautiful spot out in the country. Check out nearby Sandy for other activities and lodging. If you can't make it for the clave, they have other classes or you can book a guide for your own Mt. Hood Territory fishing adventure.