|Fishing my namesake run on the Ronde. Photo by Mills.|
|Keven swinging. Pounce on it.|
The first day we launched the boat with our good friend Keven and outside temps hovering just below 20 degrees. After a couple quick hookups that weren't expected (while smashing ice out of the guides, really?) we spent the day practice casting and wondering when it was going to get above freezing. Still a success because the three of us hadn't seen each other for well over a year.
The next three days led to a more consistent fishing. Shawn struck first on day 2, landing a nice hatchery fish, watching me lose one, then walking right back in to the run and sticking a 2nd. Finding 4 fish in one run on the swing was pretty exceptional, and we found one more towards the very end of our float to cap off the day. Day 3 we had a more relaxed approach than the two prior, swung one fish in a run I have caught a fish out of every year for as long as I can remember, and made it to the Twisp River Pub before sunset to sample brew and enjoy their exceptional grub (try the oglio y olio).
Day 4 found me and Brazda in a raft swinging flies together on our annual day of fishing. Braz and I work together the entire year, and only get to fish together about 2-3 times a year if that. Having already caught a ton of steelhead this fall, Jeff let lead through the first run, which resulted in a nearly instant fish on the beach. As Jeff swung through, we noticed a couple of steelhead sitting about a rod length in front of us, apparently sunning them selves. A few casts later and one of the spotted fish was hooked up then spitting my fly right back at me. We swung about 4 more runs, half of which produced a couple more fish, and ended up going 4-5 on the day, including swinging up some fish in new spots for both of us.
|"I think it's a snag"|
After a stop by my parents house for dinner I made my way to Spokane and casa Mills. After changing his mind about 10 times as to where we should fish on the Ronde the next day, we headed for the bottom, and spent the day swinging both big and small water, with success on both. Josh was even nice enough to let me pick his pocket for my last fish of the trip, in the last run we were fishing. He is very generous like that!
A week of steelhead fishing and seeing old friends was absolutely as great as it sounds, and I can't wait to do it again next year. When you are guiding all of the time it is easy to forget how much fun it is to just fish, and sit on the bank and bullshit and not care if you catch anything. Being able to do all of this as well as share time with great friends is about as good as it gets.