Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Great minds think alike: Raincoast Guides

I just got off of the phone with steel master Doodah, and realized he has a similar post on I had this post sitting ready to go when I realized this, so I guess great minds do think alike.

If you are looking for great info about the OP and probably the funniest fishing reports on the web, check out my buddy Jim Kerr's website,, and shoot to his fishing reports page (There is a direct link in my blog roll).  Also, do yourself a favor and book a day with him on the coast, money well spent. Direct from his site:

Thats me with my best "Blue Steel"   Gus as always with "Magnum"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2 dudes 1 shack

I spent the morning ice fishing on Clark Canyon reservoir, the headwaters of the Beaverhead River.  This was my first time ice fishing and it was a blast.  Actually, fishing in the shack was unproductive, so we hopped on the back of a friends 4-wheeler and went to the other side of a big cove.  I was lucky enough to catch a couple of fish, and create some good comedy when my bobber went into the drink and I was a few feet away (just about lost a rod to the ice).  In the end we got a couple nice fish for the smoker, and had a great morning chilling on the headwaters of one of best trout streams in the country.

Also, check out this amazing video.  This pretty much sums up the ice fishing experience.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reason #357 that Montana might be the best state in the union: "I used to grow big bushy ones"

I typically try to avoid anything associated with Butte, but this is awesome.  Your local paper is definitely bad ass when they have a manliest beard contest.

Standard announces manliest beard winner

By The Montana Standard Staff - 12/16/2009

The Montana Standard kicked off the Manliest Beard Contest by asking men in the community to grow the manliest beard they could between Sept. 14 and Nov. 30.

Eight contestants followed through with the contest by getting their before and after photos taken so readers could vote online for their favorite manliest beard.

After all the votes were tallied, Regan Dean of Butte is the winner.

"I used to grow big bushy ones," Dean said, referring to his past beard growing abilities when informed he was the winner.

Dean also said he would like to thank everyone who voted for him.

A special thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite manliest beard and congratulations to all entrants of the contest, which included Fred Giacomino, Bill Shaw, Adrian Guidoni, Dillon Grady, Patrick Kenny, David Stordahl and Michael Clark.

Take another look at the before and after photos online of all contestants at

— Montana Standard staff


Here's a little preview from some work that Joey Macomber ( did this fall for our mutual friend Jeff Brazda. The clip is short, but a sign of good things to come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Growing up in a baseball town I was introduced to bloopers at a very young age, and the appreciation for a good blooper continues on with me today.  Barry and Cathy Beck I am not, and although i am continuously trying to improve as a photographer, I like a good blooper as much as a hero shot.  Here is a great fish that murdered a dry super early in hopper season, only to be captured in a horrible picture.  I know my buddy was thrilled to see this great shot showcasing his coinslot, while the trout is mostly hidden in shadow.

Stream of Consciousness

Stream of Consciousness from RA Beattie on Vimeo.

This is hands down the funniest piece of fly fishing film out there, and a scarily accurate depiction of the burnt-out brain of MANY guides. It comes from the creative mind of R.A. Beattie, a new friend from this past summer, who does some next level work with the video camera (and a pool cue). The clip is a short he submitted for the Drake film contest, and is a bonus part of his rad DVD, Nervous Water (click link for more info).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guard dog training

Ruby in guard dog training on the Upper Beav. If a brown trout ever sneaks over our fence from the Beaverhead, it's on!

Friday, December 11, 2009

What's in your driftboat?

It's that time of year, and after putting it off by tying flies and watching Desperate Housewives re-runs on Hulu, the time had come to clean the old boat. It's amazing what is found in a driftboat, especially after it's been sitting for a couple of months (I've been rowing the Clackaacraft headhunter skiff, best trout boat going for SW MT). Fortunately there was about 3" of ice in the bottom of the boat, which actually led to a good morning work out. Beating ice out of a driftboat with a rubber mallet while rocking out to some Cold War Kids is a great way to start the day. The real fun came from the randomness that was found inside, starting at the left of the picture.

Shrimp oil and a Snelled Gamakatsu with attached "fresh roe" yarn.
I don't gear fish for steelhead at all, not that I'm against it, but just not my thing. Last winter in Forks, while leaving our hotel, a couple of nice Brit's on their way home gave us this smelly-jelly along with a roll of pencil lead big enough it could have doubled as a spare anchor. I can't remember but I think the snelled gami belongs to Kraig with a K from his birthday gear fishing celebration.

Soft tape, unopened.
I like the idea of measuring fish, but when a steelhead is on the beach I never think to do it, oh well. The only fish that get measured are hatchery fish to make sure they are legal before they get bonked.

Pink Thermos.
A color coordinated gift from my buddy Joe Mass, accompanied by a purple anchor rope, back when I had Barney the purple steelhead raft. How it ended up in the driftboat though I'm not sure. More on Barney in future posts.

BBQ gasket.
I will not serve another steak at lunch on the side of the Yakima, ever! Petite sirloin, Johhny's salt, 4 minutes each side, medium rare everytime! Who really wants a steak at 1 in the afternoon when you could be fishing? "Good steaks, huh?"

A must have for any driftboat. "Hang on guys, I think I have something wrong with my stomach, I'll be right back" "I'm not hungover, are you?" "my arm hurts"

Also a must have. This bottle of Woodford courtesy of Stevsie and our last winter steelhead trip (obviously if i had bought, it would have been R&R). Funny, it didn't help him or me land any steelhead. See above item when you've had too much of this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lost and Found

The Chubby, back at home in Twin Bridges.

Every fly tier can recognize their own work, and the above fly belongs to me. It came out of a fish's throat on a river that does not receive a significant amount of pressure, and ended up in a shop in Bozeman that my friend Greg frequents. The shop knew that Greg fishes this same river some, and assumed that it might be one of his flies. Upon seeing the fly he knew whose it was, and returned it to me. I probably should have fished that fly again, clearly it has some major karma.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Now Playing on the Internets

Northwest Flying Fisherman Season 1 Ep 2 The Deschutes River from Scott Gribble on Vimeo.

Was killing time this morning and ran across this on the ol' facey-space. Looks like Steve Apple hasn't been wasting any time since he got his movie Hustle and Fish out earlier this year, and has been working on what seems to be a bad ass new fishing show. The above link is the first 6 minutes of an epsiode on the Deschutes with Tom Larimer (It takes a while to load but is well worth it). Check out their vimeo channel here: It has enough videos to kill a couple an hour or so of work, and get you pumped to go swing some steel.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Probably not going to fish the Jeff today

Jefferson River at Silver Star. All of that snow is often a river, though not right now.

Went on a quick run up to Butte this morning and was amazed at how frozen the Jeff is. The Beav behind my house looks about the same, but it is impressive to see a river as large as the Jeff completely frozen over. I wonder what the trout are doing? Probably wasting time on facebook.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Future?

I sure hope not. Introducing the Caddis all in one breathable wading jacket combo, AKA the fishing jumpsuit. The Jacket can roll down into a pouch in the back, but is permanently attached. And you thought taking a leak was a chore with normal waders. The only person I can think of that shoud be allowed to rock a fishing jumpsuit is of course, "The Jesus."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Photographers you haven't heard of, yet.

In what will become a trend here I am going to highlight some of my buddies who are shooting some awesome pictures. I love good fishing photography, and with the increased amount of DSLR's, there are alot of guys out there taking good photos. I want to highlight guys who are not just shooting grip and grins or casting shots, but more so capturing all aspects of fishing through their work.

The first photographer, and a shameless family self promotion, is my brother, jergenscsquad. He used to have no interest in fly fishing, which was great because he would just come along in the boat to take pictures. Now he has gotten much more into the fishing side of things, but also does great work behind the lens. Here are a couple of his photos from this year, and you can follow his recent work at

Last chance fish at the take out on the Beaverhead

This was one of the most unbelievable storms i have seen in Montana. This is at a spot on the Lower Big Hole called the Notch Bottom. Lewis and Clark have been here.

Klickitat steelhead from this fall.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Team Jergens

If it weren't for a couple of the original members of Team Jergens, I wouldn't be who I am as a flyfisherman today. Here is a definition courtesy of The Evening Hatch.

Willoman is the 2005 Captain of Team Jergens which is a team of guide extraordinaires. However, in all fairness, credit needs to be given where credit is due...

Charter members of Team Jergens...
  • Carsten Killmer – “el presidente”
  • Wick VD ------- The biggest jergens, figuratively and specifically
  • Joe Rotter----- For making it all possible-the actual egoinspirator!
  • Brazda -------- doo dah Jergens
  • Keith W-------- for thinking that we are Jergens
  • Me, Myself and I –Truly a Jergens, The Dark Swede
  • Jack Mitchell ---- You Jergens!
Long Live the team!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


No, not the lip candy, the "Super Killer of All Leeches". I have been tinkering with this pattern as a variation of Derek Fergus' MOAL leech, one of the best known steelhead crushers on earth. The idea was to get the action of the MOAL with marabou and synthetics so that it was lighter and sank faster. So far so good.
Color scheme inspired by Steelie Mike, and being shipped to SW WA tomorrow
The Lineup

Early sample crushing on the Ronde. Photo by Josh Mills

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter is here.

Hard to believe it's the First of December already, but the weather made sure to remind us in SW MT. Crushing winds and snow made me dream of the great hopper fishing this past summer. Here are a couple of hook sets from the Beav this past August. Hopefully this cold is just the beginning of things to come though, as the snow now equals water in August, and hopefuly a great hopper summer next year!
Good friend T-Craig putting the smack down on a brown we spotted eating hoppers.
T-Craig returning the favor as photographer.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fishing Towns

There are probably some fish around when you see this at the gas station. North Fork, ID.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Welcome Version 2.0

After trying to join the blogosphere in March, and getting crushed by other responsibilties, I am going to give this thing a go. I am now living out in SW Montana, hanging with my GF and Dogs, tying flies, and waiting for the weather to warm up. In the meantime, you can't beat the scenery in this area. Here are a couple shots from Wednesday, gotta love 40+ degree weather in November!

The view from the back deck of the new Dig's. Too bad the Beaverhead doesn't have to many trout in town, but definitely enough to keep it interesting. Plenty of beavers though, and apparently they like the bottom of our fence.
The lower Big Hole and Tobacco Root Mountains. Three great swings within 5 minutes of town.

Had to take advantage of the nice weather and go swing the lower big hole with the 5/6 spey. After spending October chasing steel it's been hard to give up the spey rod and go nymph for trout. It is nice how well browns respond to a bugger on the swing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Welcome, I'm Joe Willauer, a graduate student and fly fishing guide trying to come to grips with the real world and responsibility. I have spent the last 6 years guiding through out Washington and Montana, for both The Evening Hatch,, and The Stonefly Inn, I am currently getting my MURP from Eastern Washington University in Spokane, and guiding/fishing when I can.

Im hoping to keep up this blog as a way to work on my writing skills, as well as provide useful info for what i find important in fly fishing and life (as if they are two seperate things).