Monday, April 30, 2012

Swinging into a new season

Big Al with a Big Smile and a sea-liced steel.
My last week of winter steelhead guiding I got the opportunity to fish with some of my favorite guests, a group from the S. Sound who lives and breathes spey casting.  I think over the 4 days of fishing I had 20 different spey rods in my boat, including all sorts of cool new "short rods".  Last year this group got to experience one of the many serious downpours we had, and only fished two of the planned four days.  This years conditions couldn't have been more opposite than the year before, and rather than hiding out under trees and wringing out wet fleece we wondered who remembered the sun screen.
Bob getting it done in his signature hoodie with an orange Metal Detector.
Dealing with low clear water conditions can be equally if not more challenging than high dirty water, but we managed to find some fish looking to eat the swung fly, and one day of exceptionally good fishing.  The highlight of the week for me was Bob bringing his A-game and landing back-to-back perfect steelhead in the same run.  After selecting a nice bright orange metal detector (Thanks Marty Sheppard) the first fish crushed the fly mid-swing and came to the net after a short tussle.  The second fish was much larger, and didn't come in quite as easy.  After a couple dangerous runs into the large, un-wadeable tree below us, the fish hit the net and was followed up by a big sigh of relief.  Bob was pumped after swinging two fish in the same run on the same fly, and I couldn't have planned a better way to wrap up my winter steelhead season.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A decade under the influence: Flashback Fridays


This year is the my 10th year working as a fly fishing guide, and to celebrate I am going to run a series through the guide season called "flashback friday" with my favorite pictures and stories from the last ten years.

Using the barney boat juju to send Dave off to Missouri.

The above picture of Dave and me is from the W. Fork of the Bitteroot, 6 years ago, on one of the better salmonfly days I have ever seen.  This picture was about 4 days after we graduated college, and Dave, Scotty Dub, J.Boitano and I ran over to Missoula for a graduation celebration trip, and to send Dave off to Ft. Leaonard Wood Missouri.  Salmonflies were everywhere, the fishing was exceptional, and a lost alternator was the only major setback of the trip.  I need to make it back over to the Bitterroot one of these days, but damn it's hard to drive past the entire Big Hole to get there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Old friends, new water

Preparation
Just towards the end of my winter steelhead guide season I got the opportunity to fish with two of my oldest fishing buddies on a river that none of us had ever fished.  Stephen and I fish together about once or twice a year which is impressive considering the massive distance between us the last 6 years.  Our  friend Marc used to fish with us a lot, but again geography separated us, and our day this spring was probably the first time the 3 of us had fished together since college.  Catching up, catching fish and exploring new water was as much fun as it sounds, and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Hopefully it won't be so long until the three of us can get together again.
An appropriately large smile for a beautiful fish

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back in action

How to properly send off a guide season

So as some of you have noticed I have been MIA for the past couple weeks, and am finally back to the mountains, trout and high speed internet.  The guide season for winter steelhead finished strong, and my wife and I celebrated by a trip to Maui to stay with Shawnage.  I'll give a full write-up tomorrow or so, but for now need to do some laundry, clean up the truck, and attended to a couple dogs that I have missed the last couple of months.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fresh

Silver tail streaks.  It's how you know they are fresh, and my favorite part of steelhead.  This tail was from a Hoh fish last week, as bright as they get.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beautiful fish

As good as they get
I have a day off today, so had to throw up this dandy from a little over a week ago.  Carlo was out with the the fam from Helena, and had one day to fish.  He certainly lucked out with his one day, and found this beauty towards the end of the trip.  As fine a steelhead as I have ever landed.