Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fishing Dogs in Action

At the beginning of the month I posted this pic of my great fishing buddy Maddie, breaking my tradition of highlighting the non-traditional fishing dogs (like my terrier Ruby).  Not much of a surprise, I got some great submissions of labs through out the NW.  Our first submission was from Ben, another Montanan, who sent in a great shot of his dog Ben giving the lab approval of a sweet Missouri River brown.  Check out Trevors new blog here as well, for another great source of the Montana life.
Ben and a big Mo brown
The next submission came from Garrett in Oregon, who sent in a shot of him and his black lab Lilly soaking in the sun in their driftboat.  Lilly clearly knows her role in the drift boat, and Garrett also sent in some shots showing that she knows her way around the duck blind as well.
Lilly doing what labs do best, unbalancing the boat.
Our final submission was from my boy Mills.  His dog Murphy is all over Josh's blog, and is a personal friend of my lab Maddie.  When the two of them get together they are ball of yellow fur rolling around in the back yard.  The pic below shows Murphy burning some calories the best way.
Murphy getting her exercise on.
Thanks to Josh, Garrett and Trevor for the submissions, stickers should already be in your mailboxes.  And to our other readers, if you have a non-traditional fishing dog, or a great picture of your lab doing something fishy, send them to and I'll feature them on the blog and get you some Evoanglers stickers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Product Review: Echo 3 13' 7wt

As slush starts flowing down the Beaverhead behind my house my mind wanders from trout fishing and tunnel vision sets in on winter steelhead.  Winter steelhead to me means standing waist deep in a glacial-green flow freezing my "waist area" off and throwing a two handed rod.  This past fall I picked up a new rod, the Echo 3 13' 7wt, and couldn't put it down.

As any spey caster knows the line makes the spey rod, and the E3 is one of those rods that can take a very wide range of lines.  I tend to like a rod that is lined with what I would call medium-heavy.  I definitely don't like a rod that is heavily lined, nor do I like one that is to light, and if choosing, I will error on the side of heavy.  For the E3 the line of choice was a Airflo 510 compact skagit.  I threw this line with a variety of tips ranging from 13' chunk of t-11 to a 15' 3"/second poly leader.  The set up I spent most time with was a 15' extra heavy fast poly leader.  I love the 15' poly leaders on skagits for fall fishing because they help my tall self to not pop the anchor, and get down nicely in the even runs on a river like the snake or Grand Ronde.

Built in Mojo?  I think yes!
The E3 7130 is what I would describe as a mellow rod with enough balls to throw anything that should be thrown on a 7wt.  You can certainly feel the rod load when you set the d-loop, but there is also a nice positive snap when you come forward.  I had no problem launching a 5" fly as far as one needs with this rod, but it was also comfortable throwing small dump casts into boulder gardens that a rod with more "feel" excels at.  While writing this review I consulted rod nerd, casting guru and all around steelhead-freak Brian, who described the action of this rod as "take-your-time-but-don't-be-late" which fits it perfectly.

As far as fit and finish goes, this rod looks better than most in it's similar price range.  I love spey rods with down locking reel seats, which this one has.  The cork is high quality with little to no filler, and it has alignment dots, something that every fly rod ever should have.  The cork is also a comfrotable diameter.  Even with my gorilla hands I don't like a thick gripped spey rod (z-axis for example, great rod, crappy grip) and the E3 has an excellent feel in hand. The green blank shines beautifully in the sun as well.

More importantly than all of the above is the built in Mojo that this rod comes with.  I have yet to spend a day swinging with this rod and not hook a steelhead.  Coincedence?  Maybe.  Built in Mojo?  Definitely!  If you're looking for a mid priced rod that looks great and performs like a champ, check out the E3 13' 7wt.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Help protect the Big Hole River

The Big Hole is the last stronghold of these guys in the lower 48.

As many of you know, I was fortunate to get involved with a great organization this past year, the Big Hole Watershed Committee (BHWC).  A conglomerate of ranchers, fishing guides, local government officials and others who share the love of the Big Hole, the BHWC has one primary goal;  Keep water in the Big Hole.  The committee accomplishes this through land use measures, ranchers directly returning water to the river during droughts, and a lot of citizen participation.

 The Big Hole is home to many great fish and animals, but it's most unique resource is it's grayling.  As one of the last strongholds of fluvial Arctic Grayling in the lower 48, these beautiful fish thrive in the cold clean water that the Big Hole is known for.  Along with the grayling the river is also home to native cutthroat as well as the more popular sport fish rainbows, browns and brook trout.

A lot of these guys in the Big Hole as well.
As I tried to write this post the many things I love about the Big Hole came to mind, and I realized I could write for a year straight about what makes this river special.  The easiest way for me to descirbe the Big Hole is how I describe it to those who have never fished it; It is exactly how you picture trout fishing in Montana to be.

Winding through lush meadows at it's headwaters, through two boiling canyons, stretching out in  the braids around Melrose and again towards Twin Bridges;  If  there is a type of trout water you like fishing, the Big Hole has it somewhere, and in that water are a lot of fish.  You could fish the Big Hole for a lifetime and never learn all of it's secrets.

Help the Big Hole, so kids like Andrew can keep making memories like this one.
The work that the BHWC does is funded in a lot of different ways, but donations are critical to it's success.  Please, help protect the Big Hole and everything that makes it great, and make a tax-deductible donation to the BHWC here.  Also, go give them a like on Facebook to stay connected to the great projects that the BHWC is working on.  And if you haven't been to the Big Hole yet, put it on "the list", preferably somewhere near the top.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Summer Revisted

Brendon and I are both 6'5", for some perspective...
I opened up my email yesterday evening and found this picture sent to me by one of the best anglers I have ever fished with, Brendon.  When him and his wife (also an incredible fly fisher) are in the boat, the fish don't stand a chance.  This sweet rainbow ate a turd, and fought as hard as any trout I saw all summer.  It is fish like this that help us make it through the winter, longing for the days of shorts, sandals and bitching in the boat all morning because it is a chilly 50 degrees out.  Thanks for sending the picture Brendon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Go Eagles! Quarter Finals Fly

After a great win last weekend, EWU plays tomorrow at home on The Inferno tomorrow against Illinois State, 6pm eastern time.  To celebrate this week I tied a Scoal (super crusher of all leeches) inferno edition.  The red polar chenille used is UV, which gives an awesome amount of extra flash.  I used the flexi-floss feelers again as well, a technique I've been screwing around with and really liking.

Last weeks winner, Shawn, shot me an email and has a red fly headed to his mailbox.  This week we are going to adapt the contest a little bit, and give away a collection of all of the EWU flies from this season.  That means the more they win, the more someone is going to win.  I will post more details soon.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Very Traditional Fishing Dog

Madi doing what she does best
One of my most popular, regular series of posts has been the "Non-traditional fishing dog" series that features dogs you wouldn't expect to see out fly fishing.  I have had great reader submissions to this segment including a weiner dog named Mini, a pitbull named Tater, and a shib inu named Autumn along with a bunch of other great dogs.  This week though, I am featuring my dog Madi, my awesome yellow lab that doesn't get near as much press on the blog as her 5lbs rat terrier sibling.  Once you own a lab, it's easy to see why they are the most popular boat to be found in a drift boat through out Montana and the west.  Sweet tempered and just happy to go along, Madi is a great companion and is just as happy resting at my feet while I tie flies as she is trying to eat everything she can find perusing the side of a steelhead run.  The picture above shows her at her finest, taking it easy, patiently waiting to go swimming behind the house or for her next chance to hop in the drift boat.

If you have a fishing dog that you love, send me a picture and some words to, and you'll get to see your friend on the blog, and get some evoangler's stickers sent your way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

OP 2012- New Video from "The Theory"

Check out this sweet video from my good buddy and fellow OP guide Aaron "The Theory" O'leary.  Shot during our season at the Bogey house last year, Aaron put together a great clip that includes a ton of really nice steelhead, cameo's from BFA, Nate, and of course Brazda.  Makes me wish I was freezing my ass off in the Bogachiel right now!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Go Eagles!

Fit for a champion?
For those of you who have been following the blog for a while will remember that I tied a red fly for my alma matter EWU during their 2010 championship run. Eastern Washington University is back in the FCS playoffs this year, and started off by beating Wagner 29-19 this past Saturday.  They now face Illinois State at home next Saturday the 8th.

This past weeks bug is one that I have been screwing around with this fall, but hadn't tied in the "inferno" edition.  It has elements of some popular flies like the "Hoser" along with some of my unique touches as well (such as the barred flexifloss wings).  This season to kick it up a notch, I am going to give away each weeks EWU Eagles fly to a blog reader.  To win, you must be an EWU alumni, and simply post what year you graduated in the comment box below along with a "GO EAGS!"  The first alumni (based on the honor system) to post gets the fly pictured above, and an Evoanglers die cut sticker sent to them.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

WIld Olympics

Wild Olympics for Our Future from Wild Olympics on Vimeo.

I've been meaning to share this for a little while, but it was released the day I left to go steelhead fishing, so here it is better late than never.  My buddy Joey was able to contribute video of me casting on the Hoh, and I feel very fortunate to be featured in this video for a great organization.  Go to the Wild Olympics website and look at the great work they are doing to protect one of the coolest places on earth!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shots of Fall

Fall in Southwest Montana is one of the best times to be here.  With the tourists gone, and the fish fattening up for winter, it can be pretty special (when it's not snowing).  Here are a couple of shots from an afternoon Ke'lah and I spent on the Beaverhead last weekend.  If you make it up there before the end of the season on the 30th be careful not to step on the redd's, there are a lot of brown trout spawning.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"The 12th Man"

My "12th Man" doing work on the Salmon River, ID.
Swinging for steelhead is like being a Seahawks fan.  You spend a lot of time freezing your ass off in cold weather, beating your head against a wall, waiting for a couple of moments of excitement that make it all worth it.  This fall while wrapping for the few fall steelhead days that I fished, I threw some neon green into the back end of one of my swinging flies, and ended up with a Seahawks colored swinger.
I stuck a couple of fish on the Ronde with "The 12th Man" and decided to fish it when I was on the Salmon last weekend.  It proved it's self again, accounting for the majority of my fish.  At first glance it looks similar to a Hoh Bo, which it is, but the innards have much more flash (big surprise for those of you who fish with me), and I use a palmered chunk of polar chenille instead of the guinea hackle that is used in a Hoh Bo.
Black, blue, green and flashy; hard to beat.

Troy Dettman's "The 12th Man"

After posting the picture of my fly and fish that is pictured at the top of this post on FB about a week ago, Troy Dettman posted the picture of his "12th Man" that he tied up last winter.  A very nasty intruder tied in similar Seahawks colors, I'm sure Troy has had the same success with his fly as I have with mine.  I may be contacting him about retiring "The 12th Man" as I am going to, because apparently the Seahawks need all of the mojo they can get, and our flies might be taking some of it.

Also, my alma matter Eastern Washington University is in the FCS playoffs again, so watch for some red swinging bugs this upcoming week.  If you remember, last time I tied playoff bugs for EWU it led to their 2010 national championship!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  We have a lot to be thankful for here in Southwest Montana, and hope that you and your family have a great holiday weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rivers and Roads

I'm not sure how this hasn't gotten any blog press that I can find, but I'm digging the crap out of this teaser for "Rivers and Roads" by Elias Carlson.  Maybe I can relate to the two brothers going fishing, maybe I just love the cinematography or maybe I'm very jealous of the soundtrack, whatever it is, I think this a cool project and am excited to see the full version.  Give it a watch and a like on Vimeo!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Trip: Grande Ronde

Hatchery fish removal via the purple and blue

For many years my Dad and I took a trip in the fall somewhere fly fishing.  It started on the Methow trout fishing the last weekend it was open.  Then we started going to the St. Joe.  Once we got the drift boat it was Montana.  Life began to move a little faster once I moved out to Montana, and although we still fish together a couple of times a year, our fall trip to a new spot had fallen away.
Great backdrop to stare at while your fly swings.
After a long summer that included more guide trips than I have ever ran, we decided this would be a good fall to reincarnate our trip.  Because of the travels I have made over the past decade as a fly fishing guide, a completely new destination was too far to travel too, so we decided on the Grande Ronde.  A new destination for my Dad and one that I have only fished a handful of times it offered everything we were looking for.  This location allowed us the opportunity to do a float that neither of us had done, from Boggan's to Schumacher.  The primary goal for this trip was to get Dad into spey casting, and hopefully land his first steelhead on the swing.
Chone unloading
We both arrived in Lewiston Sunday night, met up with good friend Chone, and woke up early monday to launch at Boggans.  The weather for our trip had been lining up to be great, and the forecasters where accurate.  High's in the mid 50's and lows in the low 40's made for very comfortable fishing conditions.  Thanks for advice from our good buddy Mills, our plan for the trip was to float the canyon twice, and then fish the lower end of the Ronde as well as the Snake.  The first day we swung through many great runs, with nothing to show for it.  About half way through the float Chone got the itch to throw the bobber rod, and about 5 casts in landed the first fish of the trip.  This increased our faith in the swing, and we pounded the water the rest of the afternoon with only one good grab to show for it.  A late dinner at Boggan's Oasis and we were out for the night and ready for the next day.
Madi relaxing from a long day of swimming.
The second day we agreed that Dad should probably catch at least a few fish this trip, and so Shawn threw him in the bow of the boat with the bobber rod, and I sat in the back and provided "constructive criticism".  Dad cracked one off in the first drift after the fish took off on it's second run, and morale was high for what would be our most successful day of the trip.  The second run we swung I came tight to a typical 6lbs ronde fish that ate on a tip, skipped around, and came unbuttoned at my feet, a perfect release.  Dad followed this up with a healthy hatchery fish that ate on the bobber as we cruised out of the run, and we continued on.   After putting Dad on a couple of fish, it was Shawn's turn for the front and I jumped on the oars.  A run or too later and Chone was on the board with a hatchery fish that was scraped up and lucky to make it as far from Astoria as it did.  After this fish we called it good on the bobber rod for the rest of the trip and set about to swing some more fish.
Dad forgetting to smile for the camera
After our successful float through the canyon we headed for the lower end.  As we drove up the big river we ran into old buddy and next level steelhead bum Andy Simon.  If you don't know Andy, just picture a friendlier less introverted version of Gus Orviston.  Andy, one of the fishiest people I have ever met, joined us for a run or two, and pointed me in the right direction of the best fish I caught of the trip.  A bright hatchery fish that grabbed the fly aggressively, sprinted out into the big riffle, and was tailed well downstream, it was one of the cooler fish that I have caught lately.  We made our way up to the lower end, and Chone struck steel right away.  I was upstream watching him fish, and it was exactly how you picture the swung fly getting eaten; The line came tight, Chone set the hook, and a bright fish skyrocketed out of the water, skipping all across the tailout of the pool.
Just how it's supposed to happen
Our final day the weather changed, as did our luck.  We swung, and swung to no avail, fished some more with Andy, sat around in the rain and cruised back to Lewiston in Chone's truck that now was filled with the musky smell of a 4 day fishing trip and rain soaked waders.  Our goal of a swung fish for Dad was not accomplished, but the improvement he had in his cast from day 1 to day 4 was impressive.  It will not be long before he properly breaks in his new VXP.  The trip was a success on many different levels though, and it was great to restart the tradition that we created years ago on the banks of the Methow.
Aww yeah!  Thanks Andy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Video: Dudes

Dudes, sports, guests, clients call them what you want, the great people that pay for fly fishing guides are the reason myself and many other bums are able to work an amazing job doing something we love.  This video features two of my favorite "dudes" on the last 2 days of the season, fishing my favorite stretch of the Big Hole.  We had a great time, tons of laughs, excellent fishing and sent the guide season off in to winter in grand fashion.  A big thanks to Lee and Corby for letting me poke the GoPro at them, and for fishing hard all of the days we got to share in the boat.  Looking forward to next trout season already!  Oh yeah, take the time to turn on the HD!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gear Review: Simms Coldweather Pants

As one who hates wearing waders, and the cold weather that calls for them, this review couldn't make me happier.  I ordered a pair of the Simms Coldweather Pants about 3 weeks ago, and they showed up just in time for the first snow of the year.  Excited to try them out I threw them on with a big pair of wool socks and headed for the river.  After half a day fishing in 50 degree weather with a nice firm breeze I new they were the real-deal, but it wasn't until the temp dropped another 10 degrees the next day that I knew how much I loved them.

Coldweather pants: built for days like this.  Photo by C.Squad.
A thick layer of fleece covered with a windproof fabric makes these pants great to slide into waders, but also decent for going into the bar afterwords (as long is the bar is something more like the Hitching Post than The Plonk).  They have full front and back pockets, as well as one cargo pocket that would be great for holding your spare chew can.  I have still yet to wear them on a full day of wade fishing, but if you layered these pants with a capilene liner i don't think you could find weather that you wouldn't stay warm in.  For the fishing in the boat that I used them for, I was more than warm enough without the base layer, and would have likely been too hot on a decent weather day.  My only complaint about these pants is the waist in size Xl is very large.  I wear a 36" waist, and these pant require a belt to stay up.  This is not completely unusual with me and Simms products and all of the plus sides of these pants make it worth throwing on the belt.

If fishing didn't stop for you at the end of September, you need to get a pair of these pants.  They will keep you as warm as you could ever need to be and help you keep looking good when the waders come off.  Hit up your local fly shop and get yourself some Simms Cold Weather Pants before it really gets cold out there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Hole River Facts

These guys like water!
If you haven't fished the Big Hole, you owe it to yourself and need to put it near the top of your places to go trout fishing.  With great hatches, lots of room, and plenty of big fish there are few rivers like the Big hole.

As some of you may know, I became a board member of the Big Hole Watershed Committee last spring.  A big part of my involvement with the committee includes a monthly meeting in Divide.  If you haven't heard of the Big Hole Watershed Committee it is a combination of all of the big hole river user groups (including a lot of ranchers) who work together to help protect and conserve the great resource that is the Big Hole River.  The work that they do is incredibly important for the watershed, and in case you didn't know this or not, fish really like water, and smart management!

At our September meeting we had a guest speaker, Jim Olson from from MT FWP.  Jim gave a great presentation and told us a lot of good stuff about the Big Hole.  Here are a few of the interesting facts from Jim, check it out:

1. Big Hole River Fish Populations
Jim has been looking through historical fish data for the Big Hole. 1981 was the first year the Big Hole had a slot limit and that limit was expanded in 1988. The change can be seen in the fish data.

- Big Hole River near Jerry Creek: Slot limit had no effect on rainbow mass. Rainbow numbers low in high water years because they are spring spawners and high water increases mortality in the redds. Brown trout responded well to the slot limit. Prior the slot limit there were few browns. Today the brown:rainbow ratio is roughly 50:50.

- Big Hole River near Melrose: Both the number and pounds of fish per mile increased with the slot limit initially, then numbers flattened as the section reached carrying capacity. Before the slot limit there were many fish greater than 25 inches. Now there are few fish greater than 25 inches as fish have become smaller and not as fat.

- Big Hole River near Hogback (Glen to Notchbottom): This section shows the most impact from drought. The population in this section is down 1/3 from the previous section; however, fish in this section tend to be larger, likely due to less competition. Rainbows numbers have doubled in the last few years while brown populations remains flat. Jefferson River rainbows may be migrating into the Big Hole to spawn and causing the increase in number.

- Big Hole River near Pennington Bridge: 700 fish per mile and 1/2 of the population in the Melrose section. Limiting factors are water quantity, water temperature, and lack of habitat. There are no tributaries below the notch, except Birch Creek (which does not reach the river). The river in this section is stabilized with riprap, preventing the river from moving to create new habitat. As a result,BHWC recently completed a Lower Corridor Report to review alternatives for fish habitat in this section. BWHC has also proposed this section as a Drought Management Plan section, for review in 2013.

Question: In Melrose, why are there fewer rainbows than browns? Ans: Whirling disease. Melrose has a high rate of Whirling disease in rainbows, while above and below this section there is little effect. This may be due to local geology creating conditions that are ideal for worm survival. Young fish less than 4 inches and prior to their bones becoming solidified are most affected.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Doppelganger

I'm in the Idylwilde catalog?
I walked in to the fly shop today and after a little catch up the Head Honcho mentioned that I was in the new Idylwilde catalog.  "Strange" I thought, I had no idea that  I was going to be.  I opened up the catalog, and sure enough on page 5 there I was.  Same red scott hat, same puffy patagonia jacket, same scott spey rod, same vanilla-gorilla-giant-step.  Everything looked like me except that I knew I hadn't been to where I thought the photo was taken in quite some time.

I looked into the bottom corner of the photo for the credit and it was shot by fellow Scott pro and exceptional videographer/photographer Bryan Huskey.  I messaged Bryan to find out if he knew my doppleganger of if Bryan was secretly hiding in the bushes last time I fished the upper Ronde.  Turns out I was wrong on both accounts, Bryan doesn't stalk me, and that wasn't the upper Ronde.  The picture turns out to be Bryans buddy "Slawdy" from WY fishing on the John Day.  Maybe one day I'll run into Slawdy on the river, and we can share one of those movie moments where it's like looking into a mirror because the resemblance is so close.
Scary resemblance

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Midge follow up

One of my recent posts about flies was a pair of midges that I have been fishing on the upper Beav.  The reason this post came about was to provide some info for my buddy Wayne as he was on his way out here the following week.  Turns out the flies paid off, as I received this picture upon his arrival back home, with the green/black midge right where it should be, the snout of a beaverhead brown trout.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Last trout day of the year

Yesterday was likely my last trout day of the year, and I got to enjoy my favorite stretch of river, without seeing another human being, let alone another boat, and fish chasing streamers from the launch to the put out.  I can't think of a better way to finish the season, and am ready to swing for steelhead back home in Eastern Washington.  I have a couple of guide days left open for fall steelhead, so shoot me an email if you're interested.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


As good as they get
Yesterday was the second big storm that we have had this fall, and hopefully one of many more to recharge our thoroughly wrung-out watersheds.  After a summer that felt like we were getting away with one given how good fishing was and how dry and hot it was, a big winter would be welcomed by all.  Yesterday's guide trip turned in to site seeing and beer drinking, but today it's off to the lower-somewhere for some wind, weather and streamer eating browns.  Only a few trout guide trips left, then time for rest and steels.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oregon Chrome

Check out this excellent video from Columbus Leth shot last winter on the PDX steelhead rivers.  The guides featured are Marty Sheppard and Jeff Hickman.  I really dug the combination of cool shots and a very mellow soundtrack, along with some beautiful fish.  Makes me ready for winter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Favorite Flies: Two Midges

Carlo holding the evidence of an effective midge

Fall in our part of MT means many different things, but if you are fishing the Beaverhead it means tiny, tiny flies when you're not lobbing the latest Kelly Galloup insert-your-sexually-confused-streamer-name-here under the willows.  This year I have two patterns that have stood out above the rest, and they both come from Idylwilde signature tier Jeremy Garrett.  Jeremy is a Dillon area guide, best known for his belly dancer series of flies, crushing huge fish and having what appear to be the most comfortable seats in any skiff I have ever seen.  The flies I mimicked in these patterns are called the "purple death" and "ribbed midge".  The changes I made were simple color variations, using green and black wire instead of silver on the "ribbed midge" and orange dyed pearl flashabou on the "purple death" (more of an orange-flashy death).  If you get to the Beav before the crank it down to winter flows go huck these bad boys under a bobber and hang on.  Oh yeah, I tie mine on Tiemco 2488H's, a strong heavy hook so those big Beav fish don't bend me out!
Black and Olive

Pink, Orange and Shiny!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Flashback: Friends who don't fly fish edition

Phil, almost too drunk to set the hook.
When I was going to school at CWU, I had a lot of friend who were interested in fly fishing, and if I had the time I would try to take them.  This weeks flashback includes Phil, an old dorm buddy and friend from my time living on "Creekside" street.  It also includes Ian and Jared, my neighbors from the creekside days.  These pics were all from their first day ever fly fishing, and a beer or two may have been involved.
Jared showing off the one hand "hold it like a hot dog" pose.
It doesn't look like it, but I remember Ian having pants on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Salmon fishing in the sound

Gary getting after it

A little over a week ago Ke'lah and I hopped on a plane and flew to Seattle for a wedding of a long time friend.  Excited about the party that would take place, and a weekend in the city, I had absolutely no plans of even thinking about fishing.  These plans were interrupted during the wedding reception when my buddy Brian asked if I would like to go salmon fishing the following morning at 5:30 a.m.  A quick glance for approval from the wife, and plans were made.

Growing up a true eastsider (509 not 425) it is still amazing to me that you can hop in a boat and run 10 minutes into the sound and catch salmon, but this is exactly what we did.  Brian picked me and Gary (another wedding guest, good friend and unplanned angler) up at Bell Harbor and 10 minutes later we were in the middle of the glassy puget sound, rigging up down riggers and hearing other boats troll by.

Brian left me the job of rigging up the downriggers while he assembled some other gear.  It has been no less than a dozen years since I had assembled this type of gear, but after a few helpful pointers we were ready to troll.  Because of the unplanned nature of this trip we had about 2.5 hours to capitalize on the Coho's that were milling around our down rigger ball.    About half way through our allotted time one of the rods sprang to life, and Garey jumped up and reeled in a nice 5lbs hatchery silver.  We quickly dispatched of the fish, and dropped the rigs again.

Our second fish was not quite as efficient as the first.  While sitting in the boat bullshitting as friends who haven't seen eachother in a while do, it took a nearby boat hollering over at us "you got one" for us to notice the rod shaking with life.  This time it was my turn, and I brought in a fish that could have been the twin sister of Gary's fish.

After dispatching of our second fish we finished out our time with a few more passes over the "kill zone" and then reeled everything in and sped back to the dock.  A quick goodbye and many thank you's and Gary and I arrived back at our hotels, coffee in hand, ahead of schedule.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pacific Fly Fishers Wheel of Backing

Ben Zander showing off the backing color wheel
One of my favorite fly shops is Pacific Fly Fishers in Mill Creek, Wa.  Located withing a mile of the inlaws is certainly a bonus.  They have an awesome selection of spey materials, great employees and are more creative than your average shop.  This creativity shows through in the backing color selector that is nailed to the wall behind the counter.  The wheel of backing color gives customers who can't chose what color to get on their new reel an easy way to select as well as a couple of different options.  Next time you're in the north sound, stop by PFF and give the wheel a spin!
Close up of the wheel

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Flashback

5 pounder in the net.

This weeks friday flashback is one of my favorite pictures from my time in Montana.  This day a pile of good friends and I went to the upper Yellowstone to go catch cutties on dries.  I don't remember why we were passing Ruby between Modobi's boat and Brazda's, but ringo snapped this shot, and it always cracks me up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Catchin' Hawgs!

Bob picking out the right bug.
Earlier this summer an old friend and client invited me to attend the 9th annual Catching Hawgs tournament that took place last week in Missoula.  The tournament consisted of 9 teams of 2 anglers fishing two days with the guides of the Kingfisher Fly Shop, one of the many great fly shops that Missoula has to offer.  I got up early on the first day and cruised I-90 for two days of fishing west of the divide, something I hadn't done in the state of Montana for 5 years.
That morning at the fly shop each guide drew a number for their team, and we were drawn by bitteroot guide Bob De Jong.  The guides then drew for their chance to choose where we floated, and Bob got to pick the float he liked, Tucker to Bell on the Bitteroot.  After a short amount of trash talking to the other teams, we loaded into the trucks and headed south to the Root.
Close up Westslope
The tournament rules called for every trout under 16" counting for 3 points, and 16" counting for 6 points, 17" for 7 points and so on.  This was a very fun twist to a guide trip, because it motivated us to land the "3 pointers" that one might normally try to let go without much effort.  This was also good because although our guide Bob absolutely worked his ass off dragging us around the Bitteroot and changing flies continuously, 3 pointers were the name of the game with a few exceptions.
Getting measured in the "Trough"
Each fish over 16" got to be put into "The Hawg Trough" a plastic slot that allowed for quick, safe measuring.  After our two days, both of which saw us put a lot of 3 pointers in the boat along with a couple of fish in the trough, we were out of contention for the championship.
Although the championship was not brought home, the amount of fun had in our raft was next level.  It was was great catching up with an old friend, and incredibly fun to fish on a guide trip rather than pull on the oars all day.  A HUGE thanks goes out to my buddy Ric for organizing this event, inviting me along and being a great partner.