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Tie-Fast Knot Tying Tool
The TIE-FAST Knot Tyer is the ultimate “nail” knot tool
20880
id::20880
thumbnail::tie fast tool.jpg
desc::The TIE-FAST Knot Tyer is the ultimate “nail” knot tool
itemprice::$7.95
Price::$7.95
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Name::Tie-Fast Knot Tying Tool
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mediaimg::http://www.lelandfly.com/core/media/media.nl?id=719360&c=3316021&h=8f3c5519c9e1f0dd6530
url::http://www.lelandfly.com/In-Stock/Accessories_6/Tie-Fast-Knot-Tying-Tool.html
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detdesc::Made of one
piece stainless steel, this tool enables anglers to tie secure knots in a
matter of seconds. Features: Tie Nail Knot, Tie Needle Nail Knots, One
Piece Stainless Steel, Non-Reflective Finish, and Handy Reference Card
Included. The TIE-FAST Knot Tyer is praised by fishing experts for it’s
simplicity and for the strength of it’s knots. It can be used to tie a
number of different varieties of the “nail” knot. Unlike other knots
that have only one turn holding their ends, the “nail” knot cannot
become untied because the tag end of the line is secured by all turns of
the knot
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What is a Steelhead
Each year, a sturdy population of tiny, but energetic, steelhead fry grows a bit larger and begins the journey of a lifetime, a watery trek that will take them from their sleepy home tributaries to the raging mouth of the Pacific Ocean and ultimately to the other end of the world
78
id::78
thumbnail::125-lpp-steelhead-1.jpg
desc::Each year, a sturdy population of tiny, but energetic, steelhead fry grows a bit larger and begins the journey of a lifetime, a watery trek that will take them from their sleepy home tributaries to the raging mouth of the Pacific Ocean and ultimately to the other end of the world
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mediaimg::http://www.lelandfly.com/What-is-a-Steelhead-image.jpg
url::http://www.lelandfly.com/In-Stock/Fly-Fishes/What-is-a-Steelhead.html
thumb::http://www.lelandfly.com/What-is-a-Steelhead-thumb.jpg
detdesc::Oncorhynchus mykiss

Johann Julius Walbaum, 1792

“We met because she crossed thousands of ocean miles to negotiate
this narrow corridor of freshwater currents … These few minutes become
our first and only meeting, and I always find in that bittersweet fact
the ultimate wildness of these remarkable creatures. Once you have
caught a steelhead you can’t go back to the river and say, ‘This is
where my steelhead lives,’ for the fish of your memory may be ten miles
upstream or thousands of miles offshore, near lands you’ll never know.”

- Trey Combs, Steelhead Fly Fishing
Each year, a sturdy population of tiny, but energetic, steelhead fry grows
a bit larger and begins the journey of a lifetime, a watery trek that
will take them from their sleepy home tributaries to the raging mouth of
the Pacific Ocean and ultimately to the other end of the world.


Each collection of migrating fish will grow from fry to adult steelhead, aided by the bounty of their new
surroundings. Eventually these hearty fish will tire of grazing the
vast open waters and will begin to find their way home. Driven now by
the raw and instinctual urge to spawn, these quite large and commanding
adult steelhead swim stoically to their natal stream to procreate and
begin the odyssey anew.


Each fall, as these great wild fish begin to make their return trip, fly
anglers across the reaches of the Pacific Northwest from California to
British Columbia, within the volcanic confines of Russia’s Kamchatka
Peninsula, and throughout the Great Lakes regions of North America flock
to large, fast, tree-lined rivers and their myriad tributaries to
“chase chrome.”


Naming the Steelhead
Steelhead are complicated and compelling creatures,
worthy of great reams of literature, intense study, and much fireside
mythology. These powerful, steel-grey fish have given biologists and
ichthyologists fits and have driven generations of fly fishers crazy.
Fly anglers who have plied waters for and caught steelhead generally
develop an obsessive connection to these fish and for good reason;
steelhead are some of the most striking, strongest and most aggressive
fighters in freshwater, and a great deal of knowledge and attention to
detail are absolutely necessary to catching a steelhead. These beautiful
and brilliant fish have also been dubbed “the fish of 1,000 casts” and
there’s nothing quite like some good old-fashioned perseverance when fly
fishing for steelhead.


Part of the steelhead’s unique complexity stems from the species’
somewhat confusing naming history. For all intents and purposes,
steelhead are migratory or non-resident rainbow trout. This has not
always been the contention. When initially named, these fish were
thought to be more closely and generically related to Atlantic salmon
populations, and accordingly, the species’ initial classification was Salmo gairdeneri.
The publisher, In 1836, Sir John Richardson, included this new
classification in Fauna Boreali Americana based on information provided
by a doctor by the name of Gairdner who was working on the broad banks
of the Columbia River with the Hudsons Bay Company at Fort Vancouver.
Nineteen years later, the rainbow trout was classified as Salmo irideus
by the founder of the California Academy of Sciences, Dr. William P.
Gibbons. It was later established that Gibbon’s “new” species was not
new at all as his observations were based on a pre-migratory steelhead
specimen taken from San Leandro Creek (a beautiful creek located in
Leland’s back yard and home to what is possibly California’s largest
population of rainbow trout). In an instant, steelhead became anadromous
rainbow trout and rainbow trout became non-migratory steelhead.


The separate, but equal classification of rainbow trout as Salmo irideus
and steelhead as Salmo gairdeneri survived until 1989 when the
Committee on Names of Fishes assembled by the
American Fisheries Society threw a knuckleball at all who knew and
understood the species of migratory rainbow trout as cousins of the
Atlantic salmon population. The committee announced that all species of
trout native to western North America would be re-assigned the generic
name Oncorhynchus, linking the trout of western North America to the Pacific salmon.


Once established as a Pacific species, more than the Salmo
designation needed alteration. In 1792, the prolific German taxonomist,
Johann Julius Walbaum classified several species of Pacific salmon as
well as the Dolly Varden char, and the rainbow trout of Russia’s
Kamchatka Peninsula. It became clear that the steelhead was a more
likely cousin of Walbaum’s Kamchatkan rainbows (Salmo mykiss)
and, according to the strictures of scientific naming conventions, the
populations of steelhead native to western North America should take
Walbaum’s earlier species classification of mykiss. In a flash,
steelhead morphed, at least in the land of nomenclature, from Salmo gairdeneri to Oncorhynchus mykiss. Such is the steelhead’s complexity.


An Anadromous Adventurer
Like their genetic counterparts, rainbow trout, steelhead are
born in freshwater and are known among fly fishers for their aggressive
jumps and long runs. Steelhead will spend anywhere from six months to
three years in their home rivers and tributaries before riding the
strong outgoing currents and migrating to the Pacific Ocean or to one of
the Great Lakes of North America (the species was successfully
transplanted to the Great Lakes region during several stocking campaigns
during the mid-1800s).


Once in their new, larger (and, for some, saltier) homes, these fish
feed hungrily on a fat smorgasbord of baitfish, squid, and crustaceans.
Here, the species trades its pink band for a new set of chrome silver
sides and translucent fins. The fish will retain its deep green back and
dorsal spots as well. Steelhead will spend one to five years “a sea”
and, like ocean-going salmon, will utilize their strong sense of smell
to sniff out the unique chemistry of their native waters and return
exactly home, sometimes hundreds of miles upstream to spawn. These fish
don’t just get close to home, tagged steelhead have been observed
returning to precisely the same spawning bed from which they were born,
actually closing the loop on an incredible journey.


The most famous runs of steelhead occur in the late summer months and continue throughout the fall to November.
However, steelhead can be caught year-round and, since the early 1900s,
winter steelhead fly fishing has steadily increased in popularity among
fly anglers, especially in California, Oregon, British Columbia and the
Great Lakes region of North America. When on the spawn these fish will
slowly regain their pinkish banding and will begin to look more like the
resident or non-migratory rainbow trout.


Step, Cast, Mend … Step, Cast, Mend …
Perhaps the most important and most difficult task to master in fly fishing for steelhead

lies in understanding how to read steelhead water. Gaining such
understanding takes fly anglers years to acquire and is truly a
life-long pursuit. This is not to say that steelhead cannot be caught on
a fly by a novice angler, but experience in steelheading makes a big
difference in an angler’s ability to secure hookups and land fish.



During their upstream migration, steelhead are most interested in
conserving their energy, and this is especially true of steelhead
returning to streams located farther inland. Idaho steelhead
populations, for example, must pass several dams and cross high
mountainous regions, while battling fierce currents along the journey of
several hundred miles. In this effort to conserve energy, steelhead
will often make short, powerful upstream runs, separated by longer
periods of rest out of the main current. The virulent upstream runs can
last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and rest periods can range
from a single night of quiet to several long days of relief.



Fly anglers enjoy their best chances at steelhead while they are at
rest. During these times, fish will sit singly or in pairs along the
river banks, in shallow pools, in broad tailouts, and along current
seams where the moving water provides travel weary fish with much needed
and appreciated pockets of lesser resistance. Learning to find and fish
these parts of a river and types of water is invaluable in the
steelhead game.


Unlike their bull-headed counterparts, the Atlantic salmon, steelhead
are ultimately smart about how they use water to their advantage. Rather
than simply charging through the main channel, steelhead will choose
the optimal pathway up a river, bobbing and weaving from slow current
seam to slow current seam until they reach their destination. This quite
brilliant behavior is difficult on even the most accomplished fly
fishers because the optimal pathway upriver may not always mean the
steelhead in front of you is holding in the slowest current in front of
you; the fish may have determined that holding in a slightly faster
current at an angler’s position in the river will optimize the aggregate
journey. Again, such are steelhead.


Due to the wide variety of water in which steelhead can be found as well as the wide
size range steelhead take on (steelhead can be as small as a foot long
like the Klamath River “half-pounders” or as large as twenty pounds in
British Columbia’s famous Kispiox River), a host of methods for chasing
steelhead with a fly fishing rod have been productive throughout fly
fishing’s history.



When chasing steelhead, many fly anglers utilize and swear only by a
classic approach of swinging dry flies on floating lines. Techniques
within this category include pure “greased-lining” and “skating”
steelhead bomber and skater fly patterns. Recently, a small group of
more adventuresome traditionalists have discovered success in “chugging”
their steelhead bugs to imitate the rhythmic motion of hatching caddis.
Other steelhead anglers employ trout nymphing strategy with indicators
and floating lines, while other fly anglers borrow equipment and flies
from Atlantic salmon fly fishing traditions to catch their steelhead. In
larger rivers, two-handed Spey casting techniques are employed to
efficently cover the vast amounts of water required for success in
steelheading.



Steelhead fly fishing rods can range from small 4-weight single-handed
trout rods for smaller steelhead to large 10- and 11-weight Spey rods of
14 or 15 feet in length for the largest, and usually British Columbian,
members of the species. Despite the tremendous variation in tackle and
technique, the preferred steelhead rod today is a 7-weight two hand rod,
running from 12 to 13 feet in length.  By far, our favorite steelhead
fly rod is Loop's Cross S1 7120-4
This rod bridges the gap between summer and winter run fish.  It
elegantly delivers topwater flies, yet can still turn over heaver flies
and fast-sinking tips.



The complexity of the steelhead game continues as there is a great deal
of observed but poorly understood behavioral traits occurring in
populations of steelhead from river to river. To this end, how a fly
fisher presents the fly to a holding steelhead at a particular location
on a particular river, is an equally important component that must be
considered rigorously before even the very first cast is made. Ask
around about and read up on how local steelhead behave in the river
you’re going to fish. Knowing even a small amount about how aggressively
the steelhead you’re after takes (or leaves) a well-presented fly or if
they are more apt to take a deeply-dredged nymph along the bottom of a
pool than rise to a properly swung dry fly at the surface can be a
skeleton key for hooking a steelhead on your trip.



When practicing reading steelhead water, it is important to clearly
define where each pocket, tailout, seamline, and pool are located. A
good pair of polarized sunglasses with copper or yellow photochromatic
lenses will ease the strain of this challenge. Make sure you look for
well-defined water features where fish may hold and cast to these areas.
It may take a couple of passes through a run or pool to learn at which
depth in the water column the fish are stacking and how aggressive or
non-aggressive the fish may be, but only with patience, experience, and
experimentation, are steelhead caught.



What’s on the Menu?
Hardcore steelheaders can easily spend more time
thinking about what their beloved quarry eats and what flies to tie than
actually casting to fish. This outwitting of fish is not uncommon in
fly fishing and is perhaps the sport’s most enduring trait, but
steelheaders take it to an extreme that others in the sport do not frequent.
Subsequently, there are three leading and competing theories about how
steelhead feed. There is no consensus on which theory should rise to the
fore of the debate, but it’s most likely that none of the theories are
wrong and that steelhead use some combination of the three when choosing
what to eat.


Some steelheaders are convinced that the chromers they’re after feed off
of surface bugs most like the caddis they ate when they were smolts.
These anglers will often cast only caddis patterns and more recently
chugging bugs. These fly patterns are thought to imitate most closely
the movement and appearance of the juvenile steelhead’s earliest diet.
The thought is that once the fish are back in their native waters, they
will revert to their very first feeding patterns and habits.


Another camp is of mind that steelhead feed instinctively when in the
open ocean and that only movement and profile should be presented to a
fish holding in a river.

These modern steelhead fly anglers believe that these fish develop an
almost purely instinctual feeding response while maturing and feeding in
the ocean environment. This instinct-driven feeding pattern is thought
to follow the fish back to their home water, and fly fishers of this ilk
and belief will confidently say that size, movement, and profile are
the three most important characteristics in creating a successful
steelhead fly.


The last group believe that the most realistic patterns should be fished
at all times – the trick is to imitate closely what was in the ocean
from whence the fresh steelhead came or to mimic precisely what bugs are
in the river as the fish work their way upstream. These steelhead
anglers choose to cast more realistic flies and within this camp there
are anglers who favor baitfish, squid, and crustaceans (staples of the
ocean-going steelhead’s diet) over the freshwater nymphs, shrimp, and
dry fly patterns touted by still other hardcore steelheaders.


The debate on the best steelhead flies rages on and the result is an
incredibly creative and prolific catalog of successfully tied and fished
steelhead flies.


Flies commonly used to catch steelhead range from standard trout
patterns to streamers and baitfish patterns to the most modern and
innovative tube flies and marabou recipes. Spey and Atlantic salmon
flies have also proven to be successful choices, especially on the large
rivers of the western United States and British Columbia. The Green
Butt Skunk and the General Practitioner are more traditional flies that
will work well in the Pacific Northwest.
Lage marabou flies like the Marabou Spey or the Popsicle will raise
steelhead in Alaska and British Columbia and really wild marabou
patterns (usually tied as tube flies) and large sculpin patterns will be
productive on Russia’s pristine steelhead waters. Leland’s Keith Westra
has tied and fished successfully his favorite marabou pattern with a
bunny strip tail for British Columbian steelhead and Leland’s Proprietor
Josh Frazier loves the action produced on the famed North Umpqua by
Scott Howell’s Ska Hopper, a newer deer hair and foam chugging bug.


Steelhead are haunting creatures. They enter a fly fisher’s life
suddenly and with the powerful burst of a rumbling freight train. No
matter how hard an obsessive fly angler prepares for each steelhead
trip, or how an experienced steelheader expertly tries to reach the edge
of a distant and promising pool, or how well a practiced and polished
Spey caster mends line in anticipation of a long, smooth swing, the
strike of a fresh steelhead is always unexpected. Steelheading’s
seductive draw lies in this unexpectedness, this uncertainty, and it is
with this stinking irony that the steelhead has been quietly humbling
the generations of fly fishers who have chased her. The suddenness of a
fly angler’s connection with a wild steelhead is compounded by its
brevity and finality. Legendary steelheader, Trey Combs, writes of this
feeling eloquently, and it’s this feeling and understanding, that an
angler is just a single signpost on the steelhead’s long journey, that
keeps serious steelheaders dreaming of the next sweet cast, unexpected
take, and boundless run.


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