Return of the rogues

Steve Kyle, Les Vadasz, Jim Powers and I just completed our annual pilgrimage to Southern Oregon, where we spent three soaked days fly-fishing on the Rogue River with our friend and favorite guide, Jim Andras.

The weather was cloudy and cool, and the fishing fair. We each caught and released some steelhead to about eight pounds. The rain came down in buckets on Wednesday and the river started to rise, so we came home a day early.

Except for mid-winter, a combination fishing and theater trip to Ashland is a very nice way to spend a four-day weekend. You can stay in Ashland, take in plays at night, and fish during the day. Your non-fishing partner can choose to join you, or not, depending on his/her preference.

If you go, make sure to call Rachel Andras at Andras Outfitters to arrange your trip. She’ll even make hotel reservations for you. Call her at 530-227-4837.

Steve also reminded me that he had sent me a special live report from Colorado several weeks ago, which I failed to publish. While waiting out a snowstorm, which kept him from skiing, he decided to go fishing. Here is his report:

“Today was also the day I decided to try out the Christmas present from my kids, a Tenkara fly rod. Not sure how it would all work out, off we went through a foot of dry powder snow and on to the frozen river surface in search of a fish. Holly thought I was nuts, but being a good sport, went along to document the adventure as I went to try my luck in a section of the river that runs 50 yards from the house. Great fun in theory but quickly turned to a major challenge trying to make something as simple as this Tenkara setup work in a snow storm and minus-30-degree temperature.

“I quickly decided that trying to tie on an additional fly with bare hands was a non-starter so I went with what I had tied on in the cabin. All was working fine until the water on my line froze and it went from trying to cast a very fine fly-line to casting a frozen length of 1/16-inch anchor line. After 20 minutes, I declared the outing a success and went back to the cabin to thaw out.

“For those who don’t know what a Tenkara rod is, you only need to know that it’s about as far away from traditional fly-fishing gear as you can get; a Japanese-style fishing rod that has no reel or rod guides and has but 12 feet of braided fly line tied directly to the rod tip, followed by a short section of leader and then your fly.

“That’s all you have to fish with, a rod with some 16 feet of line. What makes it even more interesting is that the rod telescopes out to almost 14 feet in length from its base size of only 15 inches. Totally excellent design and functionality – you can carry it in your back pocket.”

A cornucopia of 100-plus exhibitor booths displaying the latest tackle, clothing and fly-fishing accessories will be joined by destinations from Alaska to Argentina greeting visitors when the annual Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show starts next Friday, Feb. 21, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Show hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday (Feb. 22), 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday (Feb. 23), 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for one day, $25 for two days and $35 for three days. Children ages 5-and-under, and Scouts ages 16-and-under are free; military with ID are $10.

Casting demonstrations and instruction is scheduled by Hal Janssen, Gary Borger, Wendy Gunn, Craig Neilson, Simon Gawesworth and Prescott Smith; featured fly tiers include Dan Blanton, Ben Furimsky, Nate Brumley, Ed Engle, Borger and Janssen.

Destination Theater presentations include Stillwater Presentations; Fishing Utah; Extreme Tarpon an a Fly; Fly-fishing North Carolina’s Cape Lookout; Washington Steelhead; Fly Fishing Patagonia; Fly Fishing the Best of the Caribbean; Spey Casting Techniques for Single Handed Rods; Fishing Lee’s Ferry; and Christmas Island Adventures.

There are about 50 theater presentations, talks and demonstrations each day.