Mitch From Northern California Writes:
Yesterday I had the opportunity to fish with Nate Bailey, On the Fly Guide Service, on the Rogue River for the ever elusive steelhead. Would I recommend Nate Bailey? I would recommend, no make
that highly recommend Nate on the Rogue River, that is if you want to be around a pleasant, funny, knowledgeable guide who worked his butt off.
To break the trip down Nate had said he would pick up up at the Hotel and a specified time, he was early and ready to go so he gets an A+ for dependability. He had a plan on where to fish but due to circumstances, which were fully discussed with us, we changed that plan, so flexibility/adaptability he gets another A+. It was very easy to be around Nate, he is a pleasant, people person who adapt to his clients and does not try to make the clients adapt to his "way" so another A+. Weather, although this one he really couldn't control, I will give him credit for perfect rainy steelhead fishing weather, so another A+. Overall knowledge of local lore and probably more important fishing techniques gets him anther A+. I probably should add here that some of Nate's ideas are "out of the box" concepts, and he readily says so, but he demonstrates what he is saying, with a caveat this may not work for you. Nate is very good at teaching so another A+.
Rodney from Wisconsin Wites:
Just wanted to do a quick report on my trip out to the Rogue River in Oregon last weekend, February 8th and 9th. I had asked advice from the board in an earlier post ( http://www.speypages.com/speyclave/s...ad.php?t=83689 ) and ended up connecting
with Nate Bailey, who guides in the area. I realized that I was not heading out in the peak season
but wanted to find some water that wasn’t frozen (I am in Wisconsin), and was primarily looking for Spey Instruction. I had previous really only been out once with a Spey rod and wanted to get some
instruction before too many bad habits formed. Nate confirmed my suspicions about the winter steelhead requiring a little more work to find, but
we put together a plan for instruction and I planned the trip out.
I arrived in Medford, Oregon last weekend to steady rain and a forecast for rain all weekend. I suited up in the rain gear and met Nate at my motel the next morning. Plan was to drift down the upper Rogue, stopping at various runs along the way, with a couple hours working through casting, trying out different rods, and dialing in what line would work best on the rods I brought along. Nate had 4-5 rods to try and a variety of lines, both Scandi and Skagit. I was really surprised how different various rods felt (LTS, Echo, TFO), how length (switch vs longer rods) affected casting, how different lines behaved, etc. Its one thing to read about it but another to actually be able to try one rod after another. I can see now how being able to do this at the various clave events would be valuable. Nate was a great teacher, and a good ambassador for the sport. We spent time not just on mechanics of casting, but how to most efficiently cover water, work down a run, fish a seam, etc. I was encouraged by the respect that Nate had for the fishery and he is clearly someone who enjoys what he is doing, and doesn’t just fish, but is looking to fish in the most ethical way possible, while preserving the resource.
Now for the great news! I caught my first steelhead on the swing, and now I am totally hooked. Caught a smaller two or so pounder the first day, and the second morning, landed a beautiful 9 pounder. I could not be happier. Nothing like it. We also stopped the boat and fished a 3wt single hander on the way down and caught numerous smaller cut throats and small steelhead on dry flies, which was fun, but not like swinging with the spey rod.
For those just starting out like myself that have not had the opportunity to work with an instructor I would very much encourage you to do so. I feel like I cut years of time off the progression of my casting ability and by the second day was able to shoot the line to the opposite bank consistently and progress down a run like a real Spey fisherman. Not sure I could have done this without Nate constantly critiquing and helping me tweak. As expected, we identified some of my bad “habits“ pretty early on, like bending my wrist on my upper hand, and collapsing my D loop, which was hard to break. The instruction was the main purpose of the trip and it was time well spent.
Had a couple folks tell me before I went out I was unlikely to catch anything swinging this time of year (winter) and I am happy to say that was not the case. Can’t wait to get back out there.
I live in Oakland California, and recently had an automotive errand I needed to run in Oregon. With very little time to research, I managed to find a guide (Nate Bailey) with a weekday free for a
I wasn't too picky re: species, or water, and was mostly out for nice day not at work. Nate set me up on the Williamson River near Chiloquin, Oregon; and we were after redband trout.
In summary we had an awesome day fishing, but the real story is that in 90 to 120 minutes, Nate taught me how to spey cast! I am still learning the terms, so apologies in advance if I use the wrong language, but I learned two techniques to fish both sides of the river (which I guess in Scotland has some history to it), and both were just magical to me.
I am hooked, joined this site, and now have a goal to go steelhead fishing. And for background, I am not an expert fly fisherman, and tend to fish small high sierra streams where a cane pole would probably cover most of my casting (flip, roll, drop). So the idea of 100+ foot casts was material for those fishing DVDs watched at the lodge with your buddies.
Although it is a poor workman who blames his tools - I have to think in addition to excellent instruction from Nate, the equipment and his knowledge of the equipment was key to my immediate success. So, as I understand the setup was an LTS 12'6" Explosive Light, and intermediate line (which was fascinating to watch sink/swing), perhaps 6/7 WT. I am sure there is more to it, but if you have friends who are novices, this setup was great for me and 2-3 lbs trout.
Now, I am going to start reading and understanding more about Spey casting from you all!
Just spent two days with Nate on the Williamson and the Wood river. Good guy and very competent guide. It's a complicated fishery and he grew up there and has a good handle on the area. We had a
great trip with Nate and got into some fine steelhead size rainbows on his most innovative flies. I know he's a sponsor on Spey Pages and deserves a good review. Highly recommend!!
Thanks again Nate