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Fly Fishing for Steelhead

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Fly Fishing for Steelhead  PAC 199                
(1 credit  hour.  Prerequisite: none)
Michael Gorman, Instructor       
phone: (541) 758-1687    email:      PAC office, Langton Hall 123

This course is intended to acquaint the student with the basic skills of fly fishing for steelhead---- fly casting, knowledge of nymphing, wet fly,
dry fly techniques, essential equipment appropriate to steelhead, fly selection, knots, and selected fly-tying methods.  In addition to lectures,
demonstrations and discussions, there will be PowerPoint presentations and video/DVD excerpts that will serve as learning aids in this course.

 Upon successful completion of FLY FISHING for STEELHEAD the student will be able to:
*Execute and analyze a standard fly cast, and have a rudimentary understanding of two-hand/spey casting..
*Demonstrate a knowledge of the steelhead life cycle, and the various life stages from egg through adulthood.
*Tie three basic fishing knots: double surgeon, clinch and nail/tube knot.
*Be able to tie basic steelhead flies.
*Discern the basic differences among these fly fishing techniques: wet fly, dry fly and nymphing.
*Select appropriate fly rod/reel/line/leader/fly combinations for steelhead in a given fly fishing situation.
*Name ten streams in Oregon of steelhead fly fishing importance, their exact location, and appropriate time of year to fly fish these
with a reasonable chance of success.    


Outline of activities

WEEK 1  What is a steelhead?  Winter vs. Summer-run.  Fishing locations and sources
                  Review course outline & grading.  Video excerpt: "Fly Fishing for Pacific Steelhead"

 WEEK 2  Basic fly fishing equipment: rods, reels and lines.  Fishing knots handout.
                  Quiz on "Fly Fishing Equipment Basics".    PowerPoint presentation: "Fishing for Summer Steelhead"

 WEEK 3   Fly casting, both one-hand and two-hand.  DVD and/or PowerPoint presentation.
                   Outdoor casting session.

 WEEK 4   The steelhead lifecycle.
**Video excerpt: "Catching More Steelhead", a systematic, strategic approach.

 WEEK 5  GRADING QUIZ.  Steelhead fly tying demonstration.
Class steelhead fly tying 

WEEK 6   Review of fly fishing techniques, drift boats, licensed fishing guides.

                 OPEN-NOTE MID TERM EXAM

WEEK 7  Fishing Regulations.  Slide presentation: "Fly Fishing for Winter Steelhead"
                Guest speaker:  Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Enforcement

WEEK 8  **Midwest-style Steelhead Fishing methods: video excerpts.
                 Midwest-style Steelhead Fishing methods: video excerpts, Part II

Jig fishing, and review of steelhead fishing techniques.  The details of trip planning.

WEEK 10  Important fishing accessories: vest, waders, technical clothing, tools, etc.

1. Grading: the final grade, scored on a point basis. 230-250 points, A; 225-229 points, A-; 221-224, B+; 205-220, B; 200-204, B-; 196-199, C+; 180-195, C; 175-179, C-; 171-174, D+; 155-170, D; 150-154, D-, 149 points or less, F.
The point total is determined by the sum associated with the following criteria:
*Participation: 40 points. After the first class day of the term, 2 points are subtracted from a starting total of 40 for each absence from participation in class.
*Fly Fishing Equipment Basics quiz, week 2: 10 points.
*Grading quiz, week 5: 10 points.
*Timed open note/open book demonstration of knowledge (mid term exam): 50 points.
*Summary of fly fishing outing taken during the current term, due beginning of class: 40 points. (To fish public waters in Oregon, the student must have a current, valid Oregon fishing license issued at most retail stores that sell sporting goods. A one-day license is about $12 for residents and nonresidents alike. Licenses of longer duration may be obtained at great reductions in per day cost. Also, the student is responsible for acquiring terminal gear, such as leaders and flies for their fishing outing. At no cost, a rod, reel, and line may be checked out to the student from Langton 127 by the instructor only.)
*Extra credit. Satisfactory completion of one of the projects listed in #3 below, due beginning of class: 10 points.
*End-of-term open note/open book Final Exam, week 10: 100 points.
Maximum point total: 250.

Students must have an ONID account in order to access their grade at the campus Blackboard site. To get an ONID account, go to Once the student has logged into Blackboard, access this class. If you cannot access the course, you are not correctly registered for this class. Again, you must have an ONID account in order to access your final grade.

2. Submit a type-written summary of a fly fishing outing taken during the current term: 150 – 200 words, not including the headings. Hard copies only, no emailed projects.
Copy/write out the first five heading items below on your paper. Under each heading, write your response for that heading. (5 points)
Date and stream or river fished, and its general geographical location (5 points). (Pretend your instructor does not know geography except for Corvallis.
Example: On Saturday, Sept. 31, I fished Steelhead Creek. From Corvallis, travel south on Hwy 99 for 26 miles to Harrisburg. Turn west (right) onto to Hwy 66. In 13 miles arrive at Steelhead Creek Park. Fished immediately below the bridge.)
Equipment used, including brand names (rod, reel, line leader) and fly names (5 points);
Description of the fishing (not casting) techniques/presentations of the flies used. Describe/explain how you presented the fly to the fish (5 points);
(If you used the "natural drift" or "nymphing" methods to present your fly, describe/explain what the "natural drift" or "nymphing" method is.)
4) Get any strikes? Catch any fish?
Significant fishing “lessons” learned (5 points).
Place a photo of yourself at the river during your fishing day on the bottom portion of your paper. (5 points)
Use spelling and grammar checks on your summary, AND write at the bottom of the page: "I have used grammar and spell check when writing this report", followed by your hand-written signature. (5 points).
Papers should include PAC course number and class meeting time (4 points), and papers should not exceed more than one side of a page of 12-point typed text (5 points). Due at the beginning of class.
9) On the back of your paper, or on an attached second sheet, place a photocopy of your fishing license. (5 points)

3. For extra credit, select, complete, and submit one of the following on or before the beginning of your regular class meeting: Maximum 10 points.

A. Build a custom fly rod. Many sources are available, but a local source where you can get help and guidance during the building process is BackCountry Fly Shop, 900 Kings Blvd., Corvallis.

B. A display of 10 different (altering just the size or colors is NOT "different") fly patterns tied by the student during the current term. These will be mounted and labeled (in type, not hand-written), and neatly displayed. Typed labeling accounts for 5 points of the total. Display method is the choice of the student. A reminder: the difference between student-tied flies and purchased, commercially-tied flies is usually very obvious to the instructor. A reminder: the difference between student-tied flies and commercially-tied flies is often extremely obvious.
On the back of your display, or on a separate piece of paper, write: "I have personally tied (made) these flies during this term." then, place your signature under the statement, and the date.

C. Collect 10 different aquatic organisms from ponds, streams or lakes, each in its own glass vial (with 50/50 mixture of tap water and rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol) available from OSU Bookstore. Each organism must be at least 1/3" long. Eggs of any organism are not acceptable. Your instructor will help with general identification if done so at least one week prior to submission deadline.. Create a typed sheet referencing each numbered vial with:
1) organism I.D. (examples: caddis larva; mayfly nymph; midge adult; midge pupa)
2) name of pond, lake or stream where it was captured
3) general habitat for each--- examples: fast water, stony bottom, vegetation at river's edge, slow water, on dead wood in water, etc

Late submissions, for any reason, will not be accepted for any credit, INCLUDING ABSENCE FROM CLASS.
All summaries and projects are due no later than the beginning of class.
Note: Students absent from class, for any reason, are responsible for securing notes from another student in class.
If there should be an obvious typing error or conflict of dates concerning deadline dates, or dates concerning the quiz, mid term exam, or final exam, the student will not be excused for missing the deadline. Announcements will be made in class lectures as deadlines or testing dates approach. These announcements will supersede any typo errors. Students are responsible for knowing this.

"Locating Productive Steelhead Water and How to Fish It with a Fly"
"Know Your Quarry --- The Steelhead Life Cycle"

"Fly Fishing Equipment Basics"

Late submissions, for any reason, will not be accepted for any credit, INCLUDING ABSENCE FROM CLASS.
All summaries and projects are due no later than the beginning of class Thursday.
Note: Students absent from class, for any reason, are responsible for securing notes from another student in class.
If there should be an obvious typing error or conflict of dates concerning deadline dates, or dates concerning the quiz, mid term exam, or final exam, the student will not be excused for missing the deadline.  Announcements will be made in class lectures as deadlines or testing dates approach.  These announcements will supersede any typo errors.  Students are responsible for knowing this.

A few recommended books and authors:                                                           A few recommended video titles:
The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide by T. Rosenbauer                                                    Fly Fishing for Trout, 3M
Fishing in Oregon by Casali and Dinesse                                                               Strategies for Selective Trout, 3M
Western Hatches by Hafele and Hughes                                                                 Advanced Strategies for Trout, 3M
Fly Casting Illustrated by F. Amato                                                                      Fly Fishing for Bass, 3M
Lake Fishing with a Fly by Kaufmann and Cordes                                                Essence of Fly Casting, Kreiger
Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies by T. Combs                                                        Fly Fishing for Pacific Steelhead, 3M

Please note:
Oregon State University provides clear definition and sanctions for academic dishonesty.  As a result, academic dishonesty of any kind is not tolerated. Students caught cheating, plagiarizing, or participating in any form of academic dishonesty will receive an F on the assignment or test (and possibly an F in the course). A formal report to the chair of the Department, to the Dean, and to the Student Conduct Program will be made.

If you have any questions about the extent and severity of sanctions that may result from dishonest behavior, I suggest that you take time to read the OSU Student Handbook or access the OSU Student Conduct Website at:

Statement of Risk: Risk is associated with many of life’s activities, including PAC classes.  It is highly recommended that you provide yourself with a student health/accident insurance policy.  These are available through the University, private carriers, or through a family policy.  If uninsured, minor accidents or health problems can lead to great expense.  If you have a condition that might affect or be affected by participation in this PAC class, you are encouraged to so inform your instructor either verbally or in writing.   Should you become ill or injured during class time, please inform the instructor or have a fellow student do so.  If you must leave class because of illness or injury it is recommended that another student accompany you. 
Sharp hooks and tools used during this class have an obvious inherent danger.  Use common sense and precautions at all times.  When on a fishing outing, common sense and precautions are urged when using sharp hooks (wearing polarized eye glasses is recommended at all times to protect your eyes and assist in safe wading) and wading in swift currents or walking on slippery rocks.  If you perceive dangerous conditions that cannot be counteracted with common sense and reasonable precautions, desist and/or speak with your instructor.

Statement for Students with Disabilities

            Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Students with accommodations approved through SSD are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through SSD should contact SSD immediately at 737-4098.

Focus Questions and Important Info to know --- Have in your notes
*What is a steelhead? Is it a member of the salmon family?
     *What does "anadromous" mean?  What does "catadromous" mean?
     *Life cycle of a steelhead: nest, redd, alevin, parr, smolt.  KNOW THE DEFINITIONS / DISTINCTIONS.
     *Where do most steelhead go once entering the ocean?  How long do they remain in saltwater?
     *Timing of spawning runs, winter vs. summer steelhead.  Generally when do these fish actually spawn?
     *Describe general activity differences between winter and summer steelhead.  Main factor for difference?
     *Describe "ideal" holding water in a stream where a steelhead would tend to linger.
     *Name 10 Oregon streams that have winter steelhead fishing opportunities.
     *Name 5 Oregon streams that have summer steelhead fishing opportunities.
     * Name 3 Oregon streams that have both winter and summer steelhead.
     *What is unique about the Siletz River and its native summer steelhead.
     *What months find the peak of the steelhead and salmon smolts migrating in our valley rivers and streams?  What is the most important environmental factor for their survival?
     *Where is the adipose fin located?  Why is it important to anglers who catch a steelhead?
     *Know: operculum, lateral line, nares, pectoral, ventral, anal fins.
     *How can you readily identify a male vs. female steelhead?  Looking at a fish photo, how can you most likely tell a living steelhead from a dead steelhead?
     *Can you tie a clinch knot, surgeon knot, and nail/tube knot?
     *Leader length?
     *What knot would you use to attach a swivel to your main line and leader? 
     *Name three commonly used steelhead fly designs.
     *Caballero fly: name materials and tools used to construct the fly.  Factoid: originally designed for winter steelhead.
     *What is a "hackle"?  Bird (and gender) producing the most commonly used hackles?   What is a half-hitch knot?
     *Describe the Hybrid Line System.  For what fish species the HLS designed and particularly effective?
     *What is a "polarized" glasses lens?  What does polarization do for the angler?  Name three benefits.
     *Name 10 handy and/or necessary items to carry in your fishing vest?
     *What type of fishing waders are considered the safest if you go for an unplanned swim while fishing?
     *What advantage do you have wearing synthetic felt soles on your wading shoes or boots?
     *What requirements must you meet to become a certified fishing guide in Oregon?



Contact Information


Postal address
Michael Gorman
330 NW Autumn Place, Corvallis OR 97330
Mckenzie River fishing guides & Rogue River fishing guides specialists

To contact me please cut and paste the following email address to help prevent spam emails,
and please include the word "fishing" in the subject line of your email so your important note is not screened out by the spam filter. 
Many thanks.
Please cut and paste this email addressgorman_flyfishing@hotmail.comPlease include the word "fishing"

 somewhere in the Subject line of your email note


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