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!