Browsing articles in "Like Minded Mofos"

Spey Nation/Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Partnership

Apr 16, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   2016 SCSDFSFNMPD, Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo  //  Comments Off on Spey Nation/Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Partnership

Over the years, we have been asked about the contributions made by Spey Nation to the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club or have fielded suggestions about what we should be doing with the money collected for the raffles.   In the spring of 2012, I spent a day stocking the fruits of our efforts into the headwaters of Fish Creek.   The following is the outcome of that day and below that is the history of the club.  We are proud to continue this partnership and are excited to continue to support those interested in returning native fish to historical watersheds.

The Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Stocking Atlantic Salmon into the headwaters of Fish Creek from Spey Nation on Vimeo.


The club has been involved with restoring Atlantic salmon since 1997. It all started in the spring of 1997 when Ed Crosby believed that Atlantic salmon belonged to Fish Creek and should be brought back to their home waters.  The club was formed and bought the initial Atlantic Salmon fry that went into Fish Creek.  Later that year Margaret Murphy joined the club as she was doing her field work in preparation for a Ph.D.  From 1998 to 2000 the club helped stock the fish obtained by Margaret for her work. She was conducting research as to the growth rate of different species of Atlantic Salmon.

In late 1999 the club decided to obtain its own supply of Atlantic salmon as Margaret’s field work was nearly done. Allen made contact with the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery in early 2000 who volunteered to hatch eggs for us. Later in the year we obtained a surplus stainless steel tank used for photographic development from Griffis Air Force Base in Rome. We took possession of the tank in late 2000 after modifications were made. It was installed at the hatchery on December 16, 2000. Allen made the trays in which to hold the eggs while they hatched.

By this time we had learned about upstream spawners and downstream spawners. It was agreed that we needed upstream spawners. Species of land locked salmon evolved in different areas of the Northeast. Those fish that had no suitable spawning areas in tributaries flowing into a lake became outlet or downstream spawners. They hatched in the outlet and then moved upstream to a lake to mature. Upstream spawners hatched in streams, matured in a lake down stream and then moved upstream to spawn, exactly the situation we have. A source of Sebago strain was found and we got the necessary permissions from the state agencies to continue.

Success for the club in the beginning was thought to be a population of adult Atlantic salmon trying to jump over the Varick street dam in Oswego. That was the goal. We had been led to believe that Atlantic salmon would transit Oneida lake and would not stay long enough to mature. In early 2000 we heard reports of large salmon being caught in the lower part of Fish Creek. The first one occurring on March 14. Was it a salmon? No one really knew. We had put up posters, identifying Atlantic salmon in various places. Some one called in May, 2000 that he had caught a large Atlantic below Taberg. How did he know? He was an experienced Atlantic salmon fisherman and fished often for them in Maine.

In July 2001 two Atlantic salmon were caught below the Caughenoy dam. One was recovered by the club and was determined to be 3 years old. Were they on the way to Fish Creek or were they on their way to Lake Ontario? No one knew. We had not found out about otolith analysis yet. In August 2002 a 303 mm long Atlantic was netted by the Cornell Field Station at Shackleton Point on Oneida lake. Another was netted in 2003. Were fish maturing in Oneida lake we wondered? The club visited various bait shops around Oneida lake, handing out identification posters and asking to be informed if anybody caught Atlantic salmon in Oneida lake. During the winter of 2003-04 the club got many reports of Atlantic salmon being caught through the ice on Oneida Lake.

Thinking we needed another source of fry the club installed a tank at the Carpenters Brook Hatchery in late 2001. We tried hatching eggs there in 2002 and 2003 without much success. Water quality was thought to be the reason. We removed our tank in 2003 and tried an experimental hatching at Tkachuks in 2004 with mixed results. We thought we knew how to remedy the situation and we tried again in 2005 and it has worked out well.

In the fall of 2005 and early winter of 2006, the club built a hatchery on Tom Tkachuk’s property. A spring on the property was tapped to provide the water flow using gravity feed. About 50,000 salmon eggs were hatched in the tanks and released in the Spring of 2006. Later in the year, the hatchery was improved and another 50,000 eggs were hatched and released into the East Branch of Fish Creek.

The hatchery in Ava was a long way from where the active members of the club lived.  Because of the difficulty of members traveling to the site during the winter to take care of the fish, the club started looking for other alternatives.  Harden furniture was contacted in 2009 to see if they were interested in helping the club.  Permission was granted to test the water of the West Branch by placing a tank in the sluice way of the dam near the factory.  The club populated the tank with a few hundred eggs.  The eggs hatched and the fish grew faster than the fish we were raising in the hatchery in Ava.

Further discussions with Harden management resulted in their decision to build a facility for the club within certain restraints.  The land below the dam was in the flood plain and we could not build there.   Then the idea occurred  that the sluiceway might  serve if there was a cover for it.  A set of plans were drawn up and agreed to by Harden.  and during the fall of 2010 a roof for the sluiceway was built.  Harden owned the dam so there was no issue with permits.  Of course the club had to accept the possibilities of flood conditions but the hatchery used  no electrical power so there was no issue there.

In January 2011 the club moved its equipment into the new site, installed pipes and got water flowing through the tanks.  The salmon eggs arrived shortly after and the McConnellsville Hatchery was in business.  Club members took turns attending to the fish every day. The hatchery and the fish survived a flood and plans were made to better secure the tanks.  At one point we had a problem with a fungal infection.  We expected problems but also expected to surmount them and on July 2, the Atlantic salmon fry were stocked in the East Branch of Fish Creek.

Each year since the club has raised Atlantic salmon at the McConnellsville Hatchery.  In late 2013 the club got permission to install an incubator in a building owned by Harden.  It worked out great and eliminated some of the problems with the hatchery.

Fenwick Joins Us

Apr 11, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes  //  Comments Off on Fenwick Joins Us

Fenwick and Pure Fishing is one of the new  companies to be at Spey Nation this year and will have a full compliment of the new switch rods for us to drool over.

We will also have one of their new switches over at the raffle table to give away at the end of the day.  The New AETOS fly rod series builds upon the rich Fenwick tradition of developing the highest quality and performance rods on the market. These rods feature fast recovering high performance modern tapers artfully crafted with a lightweight feel. With freshwater, saltwater, switch and Spey models available, the AETOS range offers a perfect rod for any location.

Fenwick Switch

Donated by Fenwick/Pure Fishing 

Streamwalker Nets joins Spey Nation

Apr 10, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes  //  Comments Off on Streamwalker Nets joins Spey Nation

Leif Mermagen of Streamwalker Nets grew up in the finger lakes region of New York and started building nets for his friends.  That has grown into a brand new company that is now going to on display at Spey Nation.  These nets, designed for our area waters are pieces of art.  Functional art.

 milled locally in to rough sawn lumber. From there I take the best cuts I can find with the best color and figuring back to my shop for planing, cutting, and shaping. The hoop wood is then cut to the desired thickness and width for the specific net model. We also do quite a bit of custom work with different wood selections, shapes , and sizes. If you don’t see something here that fits your needs don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Check out his Lake Run Net:   A longer handled model built with a 16″ by 22″ American Black Walnut hoop seated on a Curly Maple handle for an overall length of 37 inches.

Leif will be donating an InLand model built with a 15″ by 10.5″ American Black Walnut hoop

seated on a Curly Maple handle for an overall length of 23 “.

Donated BY Streamwalker Nets

Thanks Leif and can’t wait to see the artwork!

These might be the most anticipated rods at Spey Nation 2015

Apr 7, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on These might be the most anticipated rods at Spey Nation 2015

The Echo Glass 2 handers may be the most anticipated rods at Spey Nation and thanks to Nick and the boys over at the Oak Orchard Fly Shop, you may be walking home with one.  If you’re really lucky, I mean “Keith Lucky” then you may win a matching reel to hang on the bottom of the rod.

Echo Glass 12’9″ 7 wt spey



Donated By the Oak Orchard Fly Shop


Echo Ion Reel



Donated By the Oak Orchard Fly Shop

Check out the following review that Nick Pionessa wrote about the new Echo Glass 2 handers.

Confession time- I don’t fish a lot of $280 switch rods. I know it’s hard to believe but there it is. I have access to some of the world’s best fly fishing gear. Because I’ve taken the vow of poverty they allow me to purchase the expensive ones more reasonably. You wouldn’t be fishing inexpensive rods either. That said there is one that I will be using regularly and that’s the new Echo Glass Switch.

Let’s forget about the whole glass thing for a minute. This is a great rod period. Light in hand, loads easily, plenty of power and plays fish amazingly well. The fact that it’s glass never had anything to do with my fishing experience. That fact that it’s a well designed and built rod had everything to do with it.

I was fortunate enough to get the feel of a fish on it pretty quickly on its maiden voyage. A small but feisty steelhead was the first to play. Since I basically hooked it out from under a log jam I had to put the screws to it right off. Got her out of the wood and eventually to the bank and then remembered the rod when I was tailing her. That’s a good thing. It performed like it should when I needed it to. Glass or graphite, rods need to perform without worry.

The weather was blustery to say the least that day and with the spring conditions I was using a 10’ sink tip and a weighted tube streamer most of the day. The line I had on the 11’ 7 wt was the old Airflo NW Skagit. 30’ at 440 grains and a long gradual taper. One of my favorite lines and from some past glass switch experience, a good choice for glass. Yeah, Skagit heads used to be 30’. Throw on the 10’ tip and you have 40’ to move with an 11’ rod. Never a problem even in the howling wind. That was to be the real test of this rod and it not only passed, it was such a non issue I never had to think about it all day. Don’t think, just fish. That’s what I want out of my rod. At any price and made of any material.

Doubled to the cork on the best fish of the day in some fast water I had Power to turn and cushion to keep us connected. What I’ve always loved about my small, glass trout rods is now readily available at a reasonable cost for Switches and Speys.

Thanks Echo!


Wild Water Fly Fishing. A Perennial Supporter of Spey Nation

Apr 2, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on Wild Water Fly Fishing. A Perennial Supporter of Spey Nation

WildWaterSomewhere in Upstate, NY a fly rod company is building the next great Spey Nation Raffle Prize.  Eric and his company generously donates to our cause every year and I urge you to take a look at his switch rods.   All I hear is great things coming from those who use his sticks and every year it seems his business is expanding.   This year he is donating an AX Switch Rod.  Check out their website at and I urge you to take one of these rods out with you the next time you’re on the water.



Frank Swarner’s Annual Donation Confirmed.

Apr 1, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on Frank Swarner’s Annual Donation Confirmed.

 Always a perennial favorite on the tables under the tents at Spey Nation,  is Master Fly Tyer Frank Swarner III’s box of speys, hairwings, married wings, irish shrimp types flies stuffed into a Wheatley Clip Box.  Frank can usually be seen in the back corner of the parking lot making more flies for the box under the June sun.  Classic Styles and Modern Infusions of Flies to Swing for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout Frank manages the website and it’s worth the read if you’re into classic flies of today and yesteryear.

Check out the box donated by master fly tier Frank Swarner III. over the past few years


Jay Peck not only speaking at Spey Nation but supporting it as well!

Mar 31, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on Jay Peck not only speaking at Spey Nation but supporting it as well!

jayWhere can you get a fly box filled with an area’s guide’s favorite flies?  Well if you come to Spey Nation this June 27th at the Pineville Parking Lot then you can not only hear Jay Peck speak about spey fishing the Salmon River, you can win a fly box filled with his custom flies that he puts into a fishes face every day on the water.

Jay has been sharing his experience through his guiding and his writing and has been fly fishing the great Lake tributaries for more than 35 years and has been tying flies for most of this time.

Jay has been applying his experience as a guide for the past 20 plus years. Fishing the Lake Ontario tributaries from western New York to the Salmon River from fall to spring.

Along with being an expert in fishing Lake Ontario’s migratory fish, Jay is also an accomplished spey caster and has developed several techniques and fly patterns for fishing the tributaries. A few of his flies are featured in the book ‘Steelhead Guide’ by John Nagy.

If you are interested in improving your fishing skills, experiencing the excitement of fishing for Lake Ontario’s migratory fish, or enjoying a float trip on the Salmon River or the Delaware River, Jay Peck is your guide.


Vision and Reelflies Joins Spey Nation 2015

Feb 20, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on Vision and Reelflies Joins Spey Nation 2015

They haven’t been able to make an appearance every year but they are always a hit when they make it to the water.  Vision in Fly Fishing  always has an innovative and large array of 2 handed fly rods available to us and this year will be no exception when Mike Wencel, the Eastern Canada Vision and rep joins us.  You will also be able to talk to Mike about giving you a one on one casting demo with the full line of Vision products.

Don’t know much about the Vision stuff?  You probably should.  With names like “Cult” and “Catapult” you might just want to spend a bit of your day over at Mikes booth talking to him about what this Swedish Company has to offer.

Also appearing in Mike’s booth will be Reel Flies.  A Canadian Company with a full array of Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead flies.



The Presentation Line-up is Set.

Jan 30, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Spey Casting Tips, Spey Nation Presenter, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on The Presentation Line-up is Set.

2015 Presenters

The 2015 Spey Nation Presentation Line Up is Set  for June 27th.  Well, as set as it can be on the last few days of January.  Of course there may be some additions or changes and we are a few months away from picking names from a hat to determine the order and times but I think you can agree that this is an impressive collection of D-Loopers.  Appearing on that day will be Mia Sheppard, Will Turek, Michael Mauri, Andrew Moy, Jay Peck, Lee Davison, Walt Geryk, and Travis Johnson.  You can find their individual impressive credentials on our Presentations Page.


Will Turek Bringing a Mid- Western Flavor to Spey Nation

Jan 29, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Spey Nation Presenter  //  Comments Off on Will Turek Bringing a Mid- Western Flavor to Spey Nation

There’s no doubt that the mid-west has seen a good deal of play in the swinging fly world in the last couple of years. The aptly named Steelhead Alley and beyond does get it’s glut of steelhead running the rivers all fall and winter long. Since the beginning of Spey Nation, we have had a contingent of mid-west road trippers to come for the day and anybody who has witnessed them can agree that their waders never dry out.   This year we are pleased to include Will Turek in our distinguished list of presenters.   I think everybody will agree that Will’s obsession with everything Spey is contagious.

Will Turek

WillWill Turek was born and raised in NE Ohio and has been professionally employed in the Fly Fishing industry since 1995.

Will spent 10 years on the West Coast working for Fish First! in Northern California. While at Fish First! he gained considerable experience developing instructional fly fishing courses and on-stream clinics. As a licensed CA guide he lead walk/wade and drift boat trips on such notable rivers as the Yuba, Feather, Lower and Upper Sacramento and Pit Rivers. He has taught fly fishing classes for East Bay Regional Park District, Chico Area Recreation and Park District, and Chico State University’s Adventure Outings. In addition, he was an associate faculty member of Butte College where he taught a one-credit fly fishing course.

In 2005, Will moved back to OH to work with Midwest fly fishing icon Jerry Darkes’ Angling Consulting Services. As a fly fishing manufacturer’s sales rep he represented such brands as Bauer, Fishpond, Korkers, Nautilus, Pacific Fly Group, Rio, Scientific Anglers, Scott Fly Rods among others. In addition, he designed educational and sales presentations for continuing professional development of manufacturer’s dealers, sales reps, and pro-staff.

In 2008, Will joined Greg Senyo’s Steelhead Alley Outfitters as their Spey specialist with a focus on education and single person swung fly guided trips.

 Will first received his FFF Casting Instructor Certification in 1998 and was recently recertified in 2009. He has 13 years experience teaching both single and two-hand casting and fishing technique and is particularly passionate about casting and fishing with two-hand rods. Since 2005, Will has actively promoted spey casting and swung fly techniques throughout the Great Lakes region through his Midwest Spey instructional spey casting programs and private lessons,

Will is a frequent presenter at fly fishing clubs, fly shops, consumer shows and spey claves throughout the Great Lakes Region. He has appeared in The Steelhead Chronicles DVD by Jerry Darkes and in an episode of the Joe Thomas’ Reel Life show aired on ESPN2. He has spent time behind the camera as well filming several episodes for D’Arcy Egan’s Outdoors Ohio sportsman show. He regularly contributes to Steelhead Alley Outfitters’ He has also been published in Midwest Fly Fishing. He is a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers and Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders.

Will has chased trout, steelhead, salmon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, carp, muskie and striped bass in CA, OR, ID, UT, CO, MT, MI, IN, KY, OH, PA, NY and Ontario, Canada.


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