Monday, June 27, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Imperiled Cutthroat By Greg French







































If there is a fish that represents the west, it's the Cutthroat.

It's the fish that really hooked me into fly fishing, and I am sure the story is the same for countless other anglers.  They seduce you with fairly easy success and are never hard on the eye

New from Patagonia and acclaimed fly fishing writer Greg French is the new book The Imperiled Cutthroat, Tracing the Fate of Yellowstone's Native Trout

A decade ago I was fortunate to read French's book Frog Call back in 2002 and was excited to read the book through the lens of a author who aside of being a wonderful fly fishing writer, but a person who hasn't lived in the west and constantly entrenched preconceived notions and opinions.

He and his wife Francis, with diligent planning and research, spent weeks in and around the park and it's river tributaries getting inside the issues that the fish and the fish managers are dealing with.

It's a hell of a book.

It's not an easy time to be a cutty in the west, especially in the Yellowstone region which is famed for it's different varieties of native cutthroat.

The Yellowstone Basin and outlying streams, rivers and creeks are at a bit of a crossroads with concerns to the fish that represent the region.  The issues are long and numerable......

Yellowstone Lake's explosion of illegally introduced Mackinaw.  Pressure from sporting favorable, but non native rainbows, browns and brookies. Climate Change.  Hybridization.

It's extremely interesting to learn about the reasons why one species of cutthroat exists in one basin or the other, or why some spawning tributaries are crashing and others are maintaining.  To say the issue of their recovery is complex is too simple of a word

Aside of these items, what our role in deciding what the future holds for these emblematic fish? Choosing one over the other, making decisions to return ecosystems to as close to pre-human involvement are just some of the questions French poses to the reader.

As he and his wife fish through the park, the historical context and stories woven into this book are a must read.   There's never just a linear answer to why, but a serendipitous route of historical perspective that makes this book a page turner.    Are we going to make the mistakes of the past in fish science and recovery, or is there a new way to go?  Boiling it down, can we learn from our mistakes and get it right?

I learned a lot, and I hope to continue to learn more about what's going on with the Imperiled Cutthroat

Get more information on this book via Patagonia HERE.  I highly suggest adding this book to your library.

Monday, June 20, 2016

3 Generations




The idea of 3 generations of Mills boys riding down a river in our raft had been in my head since our Big C had entered the world.  

Finally it happened last week after waiting for over 5 years.

The weather could have been better.  The fishing could have been better.  We should have done a shorter float.  I should have packed more clothes in case he fell in (he did).  There were a lot of things we could have done better, but it was an incredible day on the river.


I loved watching the day through the eyes of a 5 year old boy and the wisdom of 75 year old grandpa.  
Big C's questions and comments were unending, and usually hilarious

"How do we get back to the truck?"  "Do fish have birthdays?"   "What if we could do the float in 1 second?"

Cheetos fingers were in full effect, all day


As the older boys switched off from oars to fly rod, Big C was our trusty net man.  He'd scoop the fish, ask how many inches each fish was and beg to hold each one.  It was awesome



As we hit the take out, 3 tired but happy Mills boys celebrated a successful float.

The older generation smiled ear to ear, the younger generation said he couldn't wait to do it again

I couldn't have been happier

Monday, June 13, 2016

Before...
















Before the children wake and ask for cereal.

Before emails, texts and inane facebook notifications that mean nothing.

Before the dog gets fed, lunch assembled, and commute begins and ends at the same place where responsibility, clients, co workers and deadlines live.

The alarm goes off, I tip toe through the house and get to the river for 2 hours of pure, unencumbered fishing.

It's glorious.  It's dawn patrol.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Elephants Eat Peanuts...



























The biggest steelhead of my life ate a bug just like this.  Over 40 inches, it damn near ripped the rod out of my hands by eating a bug that was, in comparison, like an elephant eating a peanut

When we first began this journey of fly fishing for steelhead, I assumed that everything needed to be big and bold.  Full of flash and substance.

Attach a chicken to a hook and hold on, like it needed to be the neon buffet sign to get them to eat it.

How wrong I was.

The truth is now during dryline season, through learning and trial, I force myself to try sparser and smaller flies.  Flies that you'd look at and say...."no way"

Sure, they're going to eat the big bugs but it's more exciting when an elephant eats a peanut.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

On a 94 Degree Day...







































I take solace in a cold winter day in the big canyons chasing big fish....

To each their own.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shuttle Snap Open On The Yak....























For those who float and fish the Yakima, Shuttle Snap is now open for business.

The web based app has been very successful in Montana and now has teamed with Emerging Rivers Guide Service to simplify the process of shuttling your rig to the take out on the Yak.


































The 5 step process to setting up the shuttle is easy.  In the case of the Yakima,  there's 17 put in locations all the way down to the final take out in their system at Roza.

Give it a shot when on the yak, or the other rivers it services in Montana and Idaho.....and with time I'm sure you'll see Shuttle Snap expanding to more rivers near you soon.