Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ma Lady's On The Sticks....

On our first date almost a decade ago, I asked the question

"So, do you like to fish?"

"Oh yeah, I used to fish all the time with my dad"

Check that off the list, this girls awesome

It's almost become a running joke in our near 8 year marriage, she's never gone on the river with me.   But really, who could blame her.  I live on the lunatic fringe of fly fishing, reveling in getting up at 4am to fish in cold water all day.

Non the less, I was determined.  Just get on the boat, and you'll have a great time.

Finally yesterday she hopped in the raft for our first rafting/fishing adventure

About a half mile into the raft she says...."I want to row"

Now to put it plainly, the Spokane River is not one to begin your rowing career.  But alas, there's no way to get experience than putting your hands on the oars and getting after it

It wasn't perfect, but she's a quick learner.  The art of reading a river's hydrology takes time to get a handle on but with good instruction from the river's new Riverkeeper, Jerry White....she's off and running in her river rowing career

I'm a happy man.    Here's to more great adventures with my lovely wife from here on out.

Now to get her to double haul.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Once, Twice, Three Times.....

The first rise was surprising.   There are trout in this run that give a skated dry fly a tussle that raise your heart rate but put no bend in the spey rod.

Still, you have to give every rise it's due and shuffle back up a few steps to re-offer.

The second rise displaced enough water to make me think.....maybe.

It's dramatically early in the calendar for steelhead on the rivers that aren't adjacent to the ocean.  You can sit and stare at dam counts and tell yourself that the 50-80 fish a day over Lower Granite, but the odds are not in the favor of catching

It's really hard to step back up and wait a minute or two before you offer again.  Standing in the river, all I wanted to do was cast but experience tells me .....settle the hell down, give it time

The first cast through the bucket and all doubt of what it was was quickly erased when the fish slashed and became connected to the bug.  Right away it was evident that this was going to be a hell of a show and 2 full jumps later, we settled right in and duked it out.  She added 2 more sky dotting jumps for good measure to let me know what was up.

Ole Murphy showed up and my reel's drag stopped functioning almost altogether, but with luck and help from the big man upstairs, the fish came to hand......

That time you spend with a wild fish is special.  You only have a few brief moments to examine the beauty, stamp it into your mind and let it go.  It's in that moment that the gong show of landing a big fish stops and you get lost in why you get up so early, stay so late and cast hundreds of times without any response.

With grace the hen swam off and so deepened my love for everything steelhead...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Big Gulps, Welp....See You This Weekend

This weekend endeavors may or may not involve swimming protein sources and river thugs who love to eat them

Snarf goes the mouse.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Two Handers on the Klickitat August 9th

A re-post from the Dirty Water Blog on regarding the 2nd annual 2 Hander Day August 9th on the Klickitat------

This free gathering is for those who would like to learn not only how to cast the two hander better and further, but also how to fish it!

11AM - 12PM CHECK IN at Leidl Access on the Klickitat - Directions to Leidl - After crossing the bridge...Leidl campground is on both sides of the highway... Take a left to enter the west side campground and follow the sign down river...

Class topics to most likely include but not limited to...

-> Demystifying the variety of two hand lines
-> Beginner two hand casting
-> Intermediate/advanced two hand casting
-> Getting more distance
-> Fishing the fly, hooking and fighting fish
-> Single hand spey casting
-> Up against the trees
-> Combining casts to optimize efficiency
-> Long Belly Casting vs Underhand Casting
-> Overhead Casting with the Two Hander

Schedule of Events

-> 12-4:30 PM free classes and free riverside barbecue
-> 4:30 - 6:30 Open time
-> 6:30 - 8:30 Free Barbecue and Catch Mag viewing at The Steelhead Ranch
-> At Dark at The Steelhead Ranch - A Special Outside and Under the Stars Presentation of and by Catch Magazine.

Product lines represented by Echo, Redington, Sage, Rio, Airflo, Hardy/Greys, Vision and more to come.

Speakers; Brian Chou, Brian Styskal, Eric Neufeld, Ben Dow, Jack Mitchell, Steelie Mike, Trey Combs. Jeff Cottrell.

Monday, July 14, 2014

From Fluff To Fly...

Clearly, my mind is on steelhead.  Sitting down at the vice, I realized the almost comical transformation some flies have from their initial stages to the final one that hits the water and hunts for fish.

Stacking deer hair upon deer hair, along with some other items like rubber legs and in this case, mallard flank ends up looking like a fluff pile with a few accents of color.  Not very fishy right?

The real work comes in with the scissors and imagination.  This is my variation of Scott Howell's Ska-Opper and I am sure there's a more precise and correct way to tie it, but it's what my mind has come up with on the vice

Non the less, the fly works and as dam counts are beginning to pop on the Columbia, get on the vice and get ready because we're on the cusp of the best time of the fishing year

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Day With Sharp Cheddar On The Colorado...

God bless the smallness of our fishing world.

Through the social media channels that we all visit, it's brought our fly fishing community together into a tighter web.  Case in point, my recent float down the Colorado river with Joey Macomber of Lateral Line Media and The Colorado Fly Fishing Blog

I was in the midst of my best Clark W Grizzwold impersonation in Steamboat Springs for a family vacation, but arranged a float thanks to Joey's generosity.   He and I had worked on several conservation projects over the years but never had met in person to this day on the river,  but our world is so interconnected it was if we had been buddies for years.

Joey's creative anchor system caused the first laughs of the day...and by no means, the last.

Fishing was tough.  Really hot, really high sun and zero clouds tends to put the fish down from a dry fly perspective.  We did work and scratched a few out on nymphs and my fishing partner that day, John worked hard to get his first brown trout on the fly.

Here's a guy who took a day away from his work and family and jumped at the chance to run a few dudes down the river he's never met in person.  It speaks volumes to the quality of person that Joey is. He worked with John all day long at improving his casting, mending and overall fishing ability and finally it paid off on this beautiful brown.

The highlight of the day was a blasting canyon stretch throwing streamers tight to the bank.  It was a rocket ride through some serious rapids but the browns slashed at the moving meat numerous times including some really savage eats that I will see in my mind continually.  How some didn't hook up is beyond me

All in all it was a great day on the river and a big thanks to Sharp Cheddar for his river knowledge, rowing and hospitality.  I guarantee it wont be the last time we fish together.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Find Your Spirit Animal...

Walmart T-Shirts have unlimited river ju-ju.  Put the Gucci down and drop five bucks on some high quality threads.

The next time you're on a trip and you haven't aligned your moons and dreamcatchers, check out the collections of wolf, tiger, kitty, and teenage mutant ninja turtle shirts at your local supercenter.  It might bring you a few more fish to hand