Greatest steelheader ever a Californian?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by bananafish, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. Mark Bové

    Mark Bové Chasin tail

    Hey justin, fuck off :rofl:
  2. dids

    dids New Member

    Just to get some feedback, would people here be interested in some type of podcast or weekly updates about Bill Schaadt and the film 'Rivers of a Lost Coast'? We have a lot of extra material and are wondering if a lot of people would enjoy this or is it just a waste of time?

    Any thoughts?
  3. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Outstanding site and film clips, especially the one about how Jim Pray created the Thor.

    I grew up in Fortuna on the banks of the Eel, starting to flyfish in pools named after people I knew like Lee Dungan, son of the namesake of the Dungan pool. I caught my first steelhead just upstream from Fernbridge. One early morning not far from the mouth of the Van Duzen, I had a twofer with my father in what was to be the last time we fished together before he passed.

    Thanks for the memories. I can't wait to see the film.

  4. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Judging from the comment following your second post, such materials might be lost on some of us here. OTOH, please post or at least post a link. I'd love to see more.

  5. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

    Bill Schaadt

    Definately not a waste of time! And the film, Rivers of a Lost Coast? Is that going to be a full length film? Shown in theaters? Or as a dvd available to purchase? Or what? Sure would make a nice presentation at a club meeting.
  6. dids

    dids New Member

    It is a full length feature film, hopefully it will be shown in theaters, some type of tour, and definitely eventually on DVD. So far, it seems that those that know about Bill want to know more and those that don't know about Bill want to know who he was. That being said, I'm guessing the more material and media that one can put out there on Bill, the better. I've found that there is definitely a small niche of people that are intimately tied to the North Coast and Bill Schaadt, but I'm not sure how big it actually is or if others that aren't tied to Cal's north coast want to know more and are interested.

    Contact us too if you have any ideas through the contact link. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  7. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Bill Schaadt was a sign painter by trade who lived in Gurneville, California. He was a curmudgeon practically from birth and when it came to fly-fishing tackle, the last great minimalist. Bill could cast a length of lead core about as far as anyone I ever witnesses and did it with great form and amazing ease. He used to piss other anglers off at the famous Bucket hole on the lower Gualala River on the Cal Northcoast. He would go to the top of the line, wade across to the far side and then long line them right into the bucket, more than 100 feet straight downstream and catch steelhead.
    Bill used rods that he made up from blanks in the seconds barrel at Winston in downtown San Francisco, or J. Kennedy Fisher in Reno. Oftentimes he would tape on guides and build a rudimentary twine grip, tape on a reel and then go fishing, planning to finish up the rod later. The finish work sometimes did not occur. He just kept fishing with the taped up blank.
    Bill's friends included; Russ Chatham, Bob Nauheim, Mike Fong, Mel Krieger, Grant King, Lani Waller, Trey Combs and many, many others not so well known. When I lived in San Francisco in the mid 1980s I had the pleasure of fishing for steelhead with Bill on the Russian River a few times. When asked a question he was short with his answers, well punchuated with some world-class profanity, but had a heart of gold. He smoked like a stove and it brought on the cancer that eventually got him. Bill passed while stayng at the home of one of his dearest friends, Bob Nauheim. There is a photo of Bill Schaadt (taken by Russell Chatham) on page 40 of Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II displaying a large, fly-caught Smith River salmon. There were a lot of highly accomplished steelhead fly fishermen up and down the Pacific Coast who considered Bill Schaadt as good a steelheader as they had ever seen.
    Tacoma Red likes this.
  8. FlyNewbie

    FlyNewbie Hooked...


    I think there has been a big oversight with regards to this thread. I have not seen any mention of the greatest stealheader of all time.

    Click the link
  9. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    Haig-Brown was a slouch
  10. bananafish

    bananafish New Member

    Recently talked with some of the guy's at the Targus Co. about Schaadt and they were re-telling stories about how crazy he was. The guy's influence was incredible. From the threads and what I'm picking up through email Schaadt's enthusiasm was unmatched. Beat you to the hole in the morning and last one to leave at night. Day in and day out, everyday the river was fishable.
  11. I was elated to see Art Dedini's photo and bio listed on the website under ". . . Legends." I discovered his shop in the early 1970s when stationed at Fort Ord. I had gotten into the habit of going up to Ferndale on the Eel River on leave every fall for a week or so of fishing. On one of these trips, I took along my brand new graphite Fenwick HMG 8 wt; the HMG, I think, was the first graphite rod that was widely available. It cost me about $110--big bucks then, so you can imagine how miserable I was when I lost it (and the reel and line) the first time I used it. I left it on the top of my camper when I drove away from the first hole. I backtracked, of course, but it was nowhere to be found. With a week of fishing to go, the idea of having now to use my back-up fiberglass rod after I'd tasted graphite made me feel even more miserable.

    Then I remembered Art's shop. He was working in his garden when I got to his house, but he opened up the shop after hearing my tale of woe. He had a few factory-made graphites, which I couldn't afford, so he found a Lamiglass graphite blank and within 45 minutes or so he had rolled a new rod for me. While things were drying he took me up to the house and gave me lunch; the makings for the salad came right out of his own garden. For about an hour and a half he entertained me with talk of gear, patterns, fishing lore, and friends. He even introduced me to his sister (from Roseburg, I believe) who was as warm-hearted and as open as he. I'll never forget my surprise when she lifted her sweater to show me the scars where her breasts had been before her fairly recent cancer surgery. Anyway, we eventually got back to the rod waiting in the shop. It was dry--they didn't use epoxy wrap finishes much then--but I'd need to wait to use it until the next day. And what did he charge me? Approximately what the materials had cost him, and about a third of what the Fenwick had cost me.

    I used that tough old Lami frequently until a couple of years ago when I gave it to one of my sons. And every time I used it I thought of Art Dedini, a fine angler, a real gentleman, and a great steelheader.

    A few years after this, I had my son Roy, who was about ten years old, with me when fishing the Russian River in Northern Cal. He was getting pretty good with a fly rod and had started to tie flies, including the Boss Fly and other comet patterns. For him Grant King, whom he had read and heard about, had a sort of star status. So I asked him if he'd like to stop at Grant's fly shop. I couldn't promise that Mr. King would be there, I said, but it was a possibility. Sure enough Grant was in and when I mentioned to the young lady behind the counter that my son was a fan of Grant's, she took Roy to his office upstairs in the back of the place, where Mr. King chatted with him while tying several flies for him. He even gave him a little personal note and his autograph.

    Grant King, another real gentleman, made a kid really happy that day. Roy never used those flies. They and the autograph are still prized possessions, though.
  12. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    I read a crazy Bill Schaadt story recently. He went off the road and flipped his car on the way to fishing. After climbing out unscathed he walked down to the river, fished the entire day and called the tow truck that evening. wow

    Not sure where I read it, perhaps in Tre Comb's second book.

  13. dids

    dids New Member

    Both Art and Grant were great men and well known/respected along the north coast. Bill often frequented Grant's shop along the Russian. Apparently he would pick up the fly tying scraps from the floor of Grant's shop for his own flies. If someone wasn't going to use it, he would find a use for it. Nothing went to waste.
  14. salt dog

    salt dog card shark

    Drag-Free Drift, great stories, thanks for sharing those personal memories.
  15. Bill Kiene

    Bill Kiene New Member

    I am new to this message board but I am in the movie, I am old and I fished with Bill Schaadt, once on the Gualala River on Minor Hole in the 1970s.

    That doesn't make me any kind of great steelheader though. I am still a wannabe......I am just an old fishing tackle salesman who was lucky enough to witness some of the last days of great Steelheading on the CA north coast with those old timers.

    I am a baby boomer, born in 1945 but I know/knew many of the great generation of Nor Cal Steelheaders.

    I helped Jason Coupe first compile a big list of old Nor Cal steelhead/salmon fly fishers to interview several years ago.

    This is a very special movie and I am so happy Justin was able to get it all down before more of these old times passed away.

    I was always going to get some of them together and just audio tape them about the old days but Justin did it right......thank God.
  16. pollopato

    pollopato New Member

    pretty great stretch of water right thar. My family lives on Indian creek not far from DC
  17. Cougar97

    Cougar97 Member


    I will be up on the Trinity over Christmas, any chance fish have moved up? I was there over Turkey Day and water was low and most of the fish were still in the canyon between the Klamath and Burnt Ranch. I need to get a tug!! BTW can't believe all the work the State has done above the bridge by DC, hope it works!

    Tight Lines,
  18. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Check your local Craigslist under "Adult Adds".
  19. Cougar97

    Cougar97 Member


    We all have the utmost respect for you.... Get your mind out of the gutter. BTW I think it "ads" not "adds"

    Tight Lines,
  20. rick matney

    rick matney Active Member

    Can I get a link to that Jason B?