McKenzie River fly fishing guide specialists, McKenzie River fishing guide Oregon trout red head Prince Oregon River Levels Oregon Weather Forecasts Fishing Report

Trout Book Excerpts

Home | Up | McKenzie River Fly Fishing Overview | McKenzie River Fishing Guide Trip | Book A Fishing Trip | McKenzie River Fly Patterns | McKenzie River Fishing Guide Pointers | OSU PAC Classes Links 

The following is an excerpt from a book on stream fly fishing for trout currently being written by Michael Gorman.  As yet, completion of the book and the publishing date are not finalized.  Stay tuned.

In Search of the Holy Grail

The endpoint mission of all fishing gear is to present the fly.  There is no fly fishing without the fly.  Boats, waders, vests, books, fly tying tools, rain jackets, rods, reels, lines all join together, each playing its part, united in one central mission: get the fly to the fish.  Here is the distilled essence of the sport.  Sounds simple.  But getting to Simple is sometimes complex, sometimes hard, and always challenging.  That’s why thoughtful, mystery-loving people are drawn to fly fishing and its many facets.  There is much to learn, much to unravel, sort, experiment, and strategize about in order to get to Simple.  The beautiful secret is that you never quite get there.  It’s always just beyond our reach, and that’s good.  We are better for continuing to reach, always in search of the Holy Grail.
Prettier than a picture
Early on I dedicated myself to find and possess the Holy Grail.  No, not the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper.  I’ll leave that to England’s Monty Python gang.  If you saw this very disrespectful, very hilarious movie out of the Seventies, “In Search of the Holy Grail”, you know that interesting, unexpected challenges will arise. How the traveler handles these encounters says much about him or her.  So I discovered much during my search for the Ultimate Fly, the single Hooked Offering that no trout could resist.

The first pretender to pose as the Holy Grail was the Bucktail Royal Coachman.  The Royal Coachman past the first test.  It’s very beautiful.  Adorned with a an orange Golden Pheasant tippet tail, a peacock herl body with a scarlet cummerbund, a rich dark brown hackle feather, all topped by an elegant snow white wing.

I established a new personal best one summer afternoon when I landed more than a dozen rainbow trout on the North Santiam River, not too far from my Oregon home.  These fish could not resist the BRC.  For awhile, subsequent flyfishing trips to the same location with the same pattern produced the same results. But as the summer waned so did the consistency of my first Holy Grail.  Eventually there were times it produced nothing, while a "second team" pattern would catch a few fish. 

The Humpy, besides a name that often provokes a snicker, has a rather unique design, an interesting look.  I remember it graced the front cover of the first fly-tying book that served as a tremendous aid along my path to creating my own flies.  The book cover showed a split, upright white hair wing and a red body, somewhat reminiscent, coincidentally, of my once-beloved Royal Bucktail.  It was exciting to watch the heads of numerous Deschutes River trout emerge through the river’s surface to grab this fly and run.  It floated well, even in rough water, and I could see it at great distance.  I expanded into additional colors and sizes.  This pattern filled my lone fly box.  No matter morning, noon or twilight the Humpy was the fly on the end of my leader.  If I was not catching fish I assumed it was only because I had not chosen the right color or size Humpy.

Fueled by my flyfishing success of late I started to read every book and magazine article I could find dealing with fly fishing.  Everything!  The sport was promoted from passionate past time to obsession. I loved, in particular, lists of  authors’ very favorite fly patterns.  Those that did not list the Humpy among their top choices I assumed had not fished it.  If they had they, too, would have found the Holy Grail.  In spite of their ignorance I discover a few fly names that repeatedly showed up on many Top Ten lists.  I acquired a few of these to squeeze into my fly box among the Humpy horde.  One of them would eventually lead a revolt to dethrone the King.Gorman SteelieTrout Stonefly

The revolution began late afternoon, an August day like any other on central Oregon’s Deschutes River.  The sun began to sink below the high canyon rim.  As shadow overtook the river, trout began to rise in pursuit of caddisflies.  The targets were obvious and near me --- along a mid stream rocky bar that I risked a swim to reach --- at point blank range.  The proverbial fish in a barrel.  Cast.  Nothing.  Cast, again.  Nothing.  Shockingly, the feeding rainbows ignored my Humpies, no matter the size or color combination.  How could this be?

When I finally resigned myself to the obvious, I pulled a Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph from my box.  I had exactly one.  After a few casts I wished I had more.  The trout were, apparently, intercepting the emerging caddisflies as they swam from the bottom toward the river’s surface.  The upward momentum of the pursuing fish caused it to break the surface as it intercepted those insects very near or in the surface film.  They appeared to be rising for floating flies but it was energy efficient for them to grab the hapless emergers rather than expending calories, often futilely, to chase a darting, bouncing adult insect. 

Not being skilled at fishing submerged “wet flies” flies --- the Bucktail Royal Coachman and Humpy were floating “dry flies” --- I did little more than cast my Hare’s Ear slightly above the rising fish, allow it to sink out of sight, and let the fly swing into their general vicinity.  This, much to my delight, elicited some ferocious strikes on a tight fly line.  I would feel the hard tug of an eager trout.  Very cool!  But the fishing was short-lived when one of the hard strikes broke off my only Hare’s Ear.  Nothing else in my box enticed the fish as they continued to rise.  Though I have carelessly and dangerously violated the rule since, I vowed to never carry only a single representative of any fly in my box again.  In fact my preference is to carry a minimum of four: two to lose to fish or trees; one to give an unprepared companion; and, the last to tie onto a stout leader to insure I finish the day’s outing with this fly.

As you might guess the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear was soon deposed.  There were occasions when the exiled pretenders were temporarily reinstated to their former status as Holy Grail, only to fall from grace again.  I changed Holy Grails faster than third world countries change dictators.  All the while my search continued for The One True Fly.

My search for the Ultimate Fly began anew.  The quest would take me to distant places, through countless books, to emotional peaks and valleys, and numerous dead-ends.  All were opportunities to learn about fly fishing . . . . and myself.

(The next installment of The Search will follow soon . . . . )

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

McKenzie native rainbow / McKenzie River fly fishing / McKenzie River fly fishing guide

                        Copyright © 2004 Scarlet Ibis Fly Fishing Tours Inc






An excellent McKenzie River fishing guide is uses effective McKenzie River flies, is a skilled boatman, conversational, and shows courtesy to any other McKenzie River guide. Not all McKenzie River guide use flies initially, but may  evolve into being McKenzie River fly fishing guide.