Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Go Hawks!
Not one to be overly superstitious when it comes to fishing, but there are two superstitions I follow closely.  One is to not bring banana's on the boat.  Nothing good ever comes from this, and I have seen enough of their bad juju to not allow them.  The second is the good luck of a trusty fishing hat.  My good friend Tom has the absolutely most lucky fishing hat that has ever entered into my boat.

After watching steelhead bounce off the end of Gary's line, and Tom's lucky hat not being able to come to the rescue because it had taken a swim during one of the many hail storms, we had to dig deep to find some reserve juju.  At this moment I had a flashback to putting lunch into the cooler, and remembered there was a slice of bread in there that was not part of the sandwich.  We had been banana breaded!  Within an hour of evacuating the banana bread, our juju was returned, and we went back to business time.  The luck of Tom's hat continues!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fishing with Dad

Left side is the best side

My Dad and I got together and found a few steelhead before we got hit with the blizzard that is currently flushing out the rivers.  We have not fished out here much, one rainy day about 8 years ago is it in fact, so it was a nice chance for him to see some different stuff.  Our first day was succesful, and Dad got his first winter steelhead which was a hoot, but it was certainly not the rocket that these rivers are known for.
The second day we had more favorable conditions, and this certainly helped.  Dad got in to a big fish early on in the day that found some wood and cracked some leader.  After landing a nice buck, he hooked in to a silver bullet, and could only utter "whoa" when he saw it hit the net.  Super bright fish tend to have that impact on people, and it was very cool too hear my Dad be completely speecheles at the sight of such a beautiful fish.  After that he said "wow, that is the same type of fish as every other steelhead, they look so much different."  Definitley a successful day, and no better way to share a day of fishing that with you Dad.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back to Basics

No flash involved in catching this shiny thing.
If there is one thing I believe in when it comes to swinging bugs it is having confidence in what you are throwing.  I follow some very simple principals such as bigger flies in bigger water, but for the more part keep it simple.  For those that read the blog, you are well aware that I have been a big fan of Scott Howell's Prom Dresses lately.  While fishing with my buddy Brett last week, I decided to go anti-prom dress and follow him through with a fly that was a basically blue and purple Silvey's Tandem Tube.  The bunny tube is simple, not-flashy, and very fishy.  Last year I tied a pile of simple bunny bugs for the winter season, largely because I can bust them off on the bottom and not worry about it.  Bunny string leeches like the T-squared have accounted for a pile of fish for me, but I don't fish them that often in the winter.  That has definitely now changed, and the anti-prom dress paid off with my first steelhead of the season.  Cracked another one off today on another simple  bunny tube that I will share soon.
Dude flies, simple and crazy effective.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More firsts.

I got to start last week guiding and fishing with one of my close friends, Brett A.  Brett and I have fished together for a few years now, and he has some serious Juju everytime.  You may recognize Brett as the face that took up a bunch of camera time in my summer highlights video, because he caught a crapload of trout in MT this summer.  This winter we spent 2.95 days swinging flies for winter fish and were certainly rewarded.  The first fish hooked between us gave Brett a good yank, started pulling line off of the reel, and then cracked the 15lbs like it was nothing.  The fish pictured above was Brett's first swung winter steelhead.  A hatchery fish, it was certainly not the beast that punched his 15lbs earlier in the day, but it crushed the fly, jumped around, and did all that a steelhead is supposed to.  Brett and I were fishing together for his first steelhead, his first swung steelhead, and now his first swung winter steelhead, so the juju continues!

A gorgeous fish from the .05 fishing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Tongass: Americas Salmon Forest

Check out this new site about the Tongass in Alaska.  As both a fishing guide, and having a background in land use planning, I find this issue particularly interesting, and a great opportunity to protect some really unique land.   The Tongass is located in S.E. Alaska, and at 17 million acres is the country's largest national forrest.   The Tongass as described above is an incredibly rich resource, and the "Tongass 77" are the 77 most valuable streams to protect in the national forrest.  The new site is also running a blog as well that will keep you up-to-date on the "Tongass 77"

Here is what Tim Bristol, TU AK Director, has to say:

“The Tongass is America’s salmon forest and one of the few places in the world where wild salmon and trout still thrive. Some 65 percent of  Tongass salmon and trout habitat is not Congressionally protected at the watershed scale, and is currently open to development activities that could harm fish. It’s time for Congress to better protect the richest resource of the Tongass: wild salmon.”
- Tim Bristol, Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program Director

Friday, March 2, 2012

A preacher, a cop and a fishing guide....

The Preacher getting it done!

Although the headline suggests a good Joke, it was actually the combination of anglers I had in the boat last weekend.  Wes, who married a good high shcool friend of mine, is a lutheran preacher from "The Eastside" (not to be confused with the 509).  We have been trying to get together to hang out, and ideally fish, for a couple of years now.  With my schedule as a transient fishing guide and Wes' responsibilities at work and as a new dad we never connected until this past weekend.  Wes drug his friend Jeremiah, an Oregon State Trooper, along for the ride.

We had one day of fishing on the calendar, and for winter steelhead this is often risky because of the rapidly changing conditions.  Friday, the day before we fished, was a cold constant-drip day that saw the rivers rise and brown and become unfishable by noon.  A quick call to Wes confirmed that they had already arrived, and were fishing as well.  If nothing else we were going to be able to hang out and talk fishing, if the rivers wouldn't allow us to do the real thing.

On the morning of fishing a check of the flows showed that the river levels were very high, but if they were clear enough we would be able to fish.  A short drive to the river confirmed our hopes, and we threw the boat in and were on our way.  Not long into our day (We'll say 4th good run) Wes connected and put his first steelhead on the beach.  A beauty of about ten pounds it was great to see the smiles and excitement that a first steelhead brings to an angler.
Definitely not officer Farva

After 8 more hours of a couple whities and fruitless casts, Jeremiah got his first steelhead within site of the get-out.  Jeremiah's hatchery fish definitely gave him the same excitement that Wes enjoyed at the very beginning of our float, and both had now caught their first steelhead.  Anymore I rarely get to fish with anglers who have never caught a steelhead, and it was awesome to be reminded how exciting it is to put that first fish in the net.  It definitely wont be 3 years before Wes and I get together and fish again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The cost of a steelhead.

Saw these poor guys this morning at Jack's Fish Spot in Pike's place market.  Quinalt Fish.  Wild. Disrespected in an icy display with a wildly disrespectful price.