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Steelhead Fishing  PAC 180

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Steelhead Fishing    PAC 180        Michael Gorman, Instructor    
Michael G with McKenzie River steelhead             
Steelhead Fishing    PAC 180        Michael Gorman, Instructor
his course is intended to acquaint the student with the basic skills of steelhead fishing ---- rods, reels, lines, lures, baits, flies, and an array of angling techniques.  There will be a general overview of the steelheads life cycle and behavioral habits that are of interest to the angler.   In addition to lectures, demonstrations and discussions, there will be slide presentations and video excerpts that will serve as learning aids in this course.

 Upon successful completion of STEELHEAD FISHING the student will be able to:
*Intelligently discuss the life cycle of a steelhead.
*Know the components and differences among spinning, casting and fly fishing rods/reels/lines, and demonstrate basic knowledge of how to effectively use each type.
*Tie three basic fishing knots: double surgeon, clinch and egg loop.
*Identify the basic components of a fishing rod and know, generally, how the rod is constructed from these..
*Discern the basic differences among these fishing techniques --- jigs, bait, spinners, spoons, plugs, bobbers, and flies.
*Select appropriate fly rod/reel/line/leader/fly combinations for a given steelhead fishing situation.
*Name five streams or lakes in Oregon of steelhead fishing importance, their exact location, and appropriate time of year to fish these with a reasonable chance of success.                 

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

 WEEK 2  Basic fishing equipment: rods, reels and lines.  Fishing knots handout.
                  Slide presentation: "Fishing for Summer Steelhead"

 WEEK 3   **Video excerpt: "Catching More Steelhead", a systematic, strategic approach.
Various steelheading techniques: bait, spoons, spinners, corkies

 WEEK 4  Fly tying demonstration.
Class fly tying              

 WEEK 5  The components and construction of a fishing rod.
                  Diving Plugs, drift boats, licensed fishing guides.   

WEEK 6   Fly Fishing for steelhead: fly rods, fly reels, leaders, flies and Hybrid Line System.


WEEK 7  2004 Fishing Regulations.  Slide presentation: "Fishing for Winter Steelhead"
                Guest speaker:  Trooper Mary Branson, Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Enforcement

WEEK 8  Midwest-style Steelhead Fishing methods: video excerpts.
Jig fishing, and review of steelhead fishing techniques.  The details of trip planning. 


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

Instructor: Michael Gorman         
758-1687  Phone message

 1.  Grading: the final grade, scored on a 60-70-80-90 % (D-C-B-A) basis, is determined by the sum of the points associated with the following criteria:
*Participation: 40 points.  After the first week of the term, 2 points are subtracted from a starting total of 20 for each absence from participation in class.
*Grading quiz, week 5,
*Timed open note/open book demonstration of knowledge during week 6:points.
*Summary of steelhead fishing outing taken during the current term, due beginning of class:points.
*Satisfactory completion of one of the projects listed in #3 below, due beginning of class: points.
*End-of-term open note/open book demonstration of knowledge, week 10: points.
Maximum point total: 250.

 2. Submit a type-written summary of a steelhead fishing outing taken during the current term: 75 – 100 words indicating: 1) date and stream or lake fished, and its general geographical location (5 points); 2) exact equipment (rod reel, line leader, tippet) and flies (5 points); 3) description of the fishing (not casting) techniques/presentations of the fly used (5 points); and, 4) significant fishing “lessons” learned (5 points).  5) Use spelling and grammar checks on your summary (5 points).  6) Papers should include PAC and class meeting time, and papers should not exceed more than half a page of 12-point typed text (5 points).  Due at the beginning of class March 2.  Only typed summaries submitted at the beginning of class will be accepted.  Late submissions will receive no credit.

 3Select, complete, and submit one of the following on or before:
    A.  Typed summary of a steelhead fishing book (non-cartoon) of at least 100 pages, read during the current term.  Include: 1) author, publisher and publishing date, 2) a concise summary between 150 and 300 words, not to exceed one page of 12-point text (5 points).  3) Refer to two or more specific items of particular interest to you.  4) Use spelling and grammar checks on your summary (5 points).  5) Papers should include PAC number (PAC 179) and class meeting time as part of the heading.  6) At the very bottom of the of your report type: “I have read this book in its entirety during the current term”.  Place your handwritten signature below it.

    B.  Typed summary and review (150 – 300 words each) of two different steelhead fishing videos.  In addition to the video title, include the name of the host/narrator and video-production company.  Then, follow exactly the guidelines stipulated in Project A, above, as you write your summaries.  Students must locate the videos outside class and OSU.  NONE ARE AVAILABLE FOR STUDENT USE FROM OSU OR PAC DEPARTMENT.

    C.   A custom fishing rod built by the student during the current term.

    D.   A display of 12 different fly patterns, jigs, and/or spinners tied by the student during the current term.  These will be mounted, labeled (in type, not hand-written), and neatly displayed.  Display method is the choice of the student.

    E.  A critique and written comments on a short, one-chapter fly fishing book manuscript.  Please limit your TOTAL remarks to one page.  Was the chapter clear, complete and helpful?  How could it be improved?  (Was manuscript chapter understandable?  Explain and give 2 examples.  Was the specific topic discussed complete?     Explain.  What specifically was left incomplete, or no thoroughly explained?  Examples, if any.  Attempts at humor --- did these work, or not?  Example.  Suggestions in the humor department?  Write some "general remarks" about what you read.

 Late submissions, for any reason, will not be accepted for credit.  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.

A few recommended books and authors:                                                           A few recommended video titles:

Steelhead Trout by T. Combs                                                                                Fly Fishing for Pacific Steelhead, 3M

Fishing in Oregon by Casali and Dinesse                                                               Catching More Steeelhead, 3M

Steelhead Fly Fishing by T. Combs                                                                       Advanced Strategies for Trout, 3M

Jig Fishing for Steelhead by J. Bradbury                                                                Fly Fishing for Trophy Steelhead, 3M

Drift Fishing for Steelehead  by Ed Luch                                                                 Essence of Fly Casting, Kreiger

Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies by T. Combs                                                        Advanced Fly Fishing for Pacific Steelhead, 3M

 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.

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.
     *Spinning rod/reel vs. level wind reel/casting rod vs. fly rod/reel.  Pros and cons.  Rod actions: fast, medium, slow/full flex.  Pros and cons.
     *Spinners, spoons, corkies, diving plugs, jigs, various baits, flies: differences, pros and cons.
     *Spinners, spoons, corkies, diving plugs, jigs, various baits, flies: describe methods for fishing these.
     *Trooper Mary Branson: what did she discuss?  What was the average angling violation fine mentioned?
     *Biologist Steve Mamoyac: what did he discuss?  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 an egg loop?  What is an egg loop for?
     *Why is it important to use a leader when fishing spinners, spoons, bait and corkies?  Leader length?
     *What knot would you use to attach a swivel to your main line and leader?  What does a swivel prevent?
     *What is a slinky?  How is it attached to your line?
     *Describe the materials used and how to construct a "spawn sack".  How is a spawn sack fished?
     *Name three commonly used steelhead baits.
     *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 fly fishing guide & Fly fishing Oregon McKenzie River trout
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.  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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