Saturday, May 21, 2016
Entering my fourth year as a hobby guide, i got to return to (what I think I'll be dubbing "the fun desk" for the summer) the center of my boat and run a few guide trips this past weekend. I realize my fishing and guiding is becoming more cliche by the minute, and to say "I just enjoy being out there" and "wow, where has the time gone" couldn't be more accurate. Even though it's only sometimes these days, the familiar acts of cleaning the boat and rigging rods and connecting with friends at fly shops is all very comforting, especially after a winter that wouldn't stop.
Of all the things I miss about guiding every day of course sitting in my boat instead of an office is high on the list, but much more than that is getting to spend time with my friends I guided. Throughout the season there were so many groups that I looked forward to seeing, catching up on life back home, and catching some fish. Watching anglers improve every year, and reminiscing about how things started made up a good portion of my summer. When i was still guiding full time I started every season with my friends Larry and Betsy, on the Big Hole. Some starts were better than others (reference: leaving my gear bag at home) but it was always a ton of fun and always the start of trout season. As luck would have it I was able to float with them to start of season 14, and although fishing was very average, it felt great to be on familiar water continuing our relationship that was built in a drift boat.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
|My friends I respect the most see a picture of a big fish and immediately ask "what did it eat?"|
The ability to restart and experience change is one of the most exciting aspects of fishing to me. No matter how much fishing you do, there is always something new somewhere you can be doing. That is one of the most alluring aspects of saltwater fishing to me. As I began to tie for my most recent trip, I started to look up patterns. Past years I've just tied what looked good to me from pictures from friends, and came up with replications that worked fine, and looked good enough. This year my flies had a purpose. The tying techniques I used were deliberate, and the end result were flies that not only looked better (although still for fishing not a fly shop bin) but were tied in a way that gave me a connection, and a confidence that patterns in years past did not possess.
Monday, March 14, 2016
I promised myself a year ago that I would only share content on my blog that was valuable, and would not simply write a blog post to drive up views. As you can tell my number of posts has gone down dramatically but I feel the content has increased (Check my FB or Instagram if you want the random fish pic).
This video was something I couldn't simply share on Facebook without a little more detail. Winston and Twin Bridges are inextricably linked, and both for good reason. This video gives insight into what a world class rod maker is all about, and the story that it tells is brief but important. Obviously Twin benefits tremendously from having Winston, but the opposite is true too. As I transition from boat paddler to desk jockey and economic developer, I spend as much time talking about business location as I do trout patterns, and to see a business like this strategically located in such an amazing spot is incredible. Twin Bridges has been home for my wife and kids for nearly 8 years now, and it's very cool to show off a little bit of it in video format. Enjoy!
Thursday, December 31, 2015
It's very difficult to not write a year end post in 100% cliche's but 2015 disappeared in a hurry. I looked back at my 2014 wrap-up post and I vowed to write less bullshit, and accomplished it. With all of the other avenues out there to get your opinion online I'll be interested to see how much longer blogs have any impact. I know the ones I get jacked to read dwindle every year. So, that being said, thank you so much for those of you that do come here and read what I periodically throw up. It means a lot to me.
Like last year's 4 for 2014 here's 5 of my favorite pics from 2015.
|Lat but certainly not least, the highlight of 2015, Michael William.|
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Thursday, December 10, 2015
|Not that much different than a gold bar.|
So for those of you who don't know almost three years ago I cut my guiding back to part time and started working as an economic development planner for a company out of Butte. Since then, I have definitely developed a passion for economic development (certainly not a passion that would rival fishing) and am fascinated by the dollars that fishing brings to my region of Montana, and particularly the juxtaposition between fishing/guiding and agriculture in a valley that is constantly yearning for more water.
I was fortunate enough to sit on the Upper Missouri Basin planning update process a couple of years ago, and helped to form a water plan for the Upper Missouri which included everything from my part of the world (Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby, Madison) to just past Great Falls and Fort Benton. One of the big takeaways I got from the economic development side was talking to fellow ED Planners from the lower river, who had no concept of use of water for recreation. To them, and obviously the bulk of the irrigators, water was something to be consumed. This consumptive use was something that those of us in the upper part of the valley, and as a minority the anglers, had to work to combat in the plan. While there is certainly a need for consumptive use, the value of non-conusumptive uses are tremendous and renewable.
Today I opened up The Chum, and saw this interesting article on the economic impacts of fishing throughout the country. I quickly scrolled though the states I was interested in and came to Montana. $350 million spent statewide directly on fishing, spread amongst 350,000 anglers, so about $1000 an angler (I know I did more than my part). One of the most interesting facts I learned at the Upper Missouri meetings was that approximately 50% of angling in the state occurs in the the Upper Missouri (including Big Hole, Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson, Gallatin). Combine those two pieces of data and you have $175 million dollars spent in our area directly on fishing. Even with more conservative number (lets do 25%) thats still $87.5 million! Obviously this is a very simple overview, but certainly enough to get my brain working.
So, why is that important? In case you haven't noticed we aren't quite packing away the snow every year like we used to 100 years ago. And with temps increasing and water decreasing, the demand for such a precious resource increases dramatically every year. When it comes down to thinner and thinner years, and more difficult decisions are to be made, being able to show where the dollars go, and more importantly where they come from, is what decision makers are going to be focused on. It's great to see that the conservation efforts that take place don't go to waste, and that there is some real economic value to leaving water in our rivers.
Part 2 of my very simplistic economic study is going to be Washington's coast. We all know the best financial use of steelhead is not dragging them out of the river in a gill net and shipping them to Pikes Place.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
For the longest time I never bothered tying intricate steelhead flies. They eat a piece of bunny or flash just as well, and catching them is the fun part, right? I was young and frankly happy anytime I hooked one that didn't involve a bobber.
During the time that I didn't get it, I was fishing every day, guiding all the time, and viewed fancy flies as getting in the way of time I could be fishing. Now that I sit here and write this post across from my daughter and her play-dough, with another kid sleeping in a swing in the other room, knowing that i will only have 5 days to go steelhead fishing this spring, I understand. Taking time to put the feathers exactly where they should go, pulling material off when it's not perfect and geeking out to the point of OCD makes sense, when time at the desk is easy to come by and time on the river is tough. It is through tying that I stay connected, think about the fish I've caught on each different pattern and color, and am reminded why these fish are so special.