Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Paying Your Gear Forward...







































The box arrived at my door in 2009 and I couldn't believe what it contained

A gentlemen that I had spoken to via a fly fishing forum found out that I was headed to Belize in a couple weeks but didn't have a suitable 10 wt set up for the bigger quarry that I would be encountering.

So without me asking, he paid his gear forward.

Inside that box was a top shelf set up that I could have never afforded at that time in my life.  It was one of the first big lessons in how giving our community is and what role karma can have on a trip.

Over the years other boxes have shown up at my doorstep with fly fishing gear to accompany me on trips abroad, without much of a stipulation or question of when I'd return it.  10 and 12 weight rods, gigantic large arbored reels to put the brakes on thuggish fish, flies tied with the utmost precision, pre tied leaders to corral the biggest of oversized gigantic herring, so on and so forth.

Finally it's my turn to return the favor.  A buddy called and said he's going to Talum, Mexico and asked if there were fishing opportunities there.

Yes my friend, yes.   Lots and lots of Bonefish

My bonefish box and associative big flies for big fish aren't getting used any time soon.   The 10 wt is currently collecting dust in the closet.  I have warranties on the reels.

Time to pay my gear forward

I'm getting excited for him with his trip approaching, almost like a part of me is going with him on that trip.  It's fun to be on the other side of the karmic equation and cant wait to see him grinning ear to ear with his first bonefish to hand.

If you get the chance to put your gear in someone else's hand.  Give it a shot.  It may bring you great luck when your time comes to chase exotic fish in some beautiful exotic place.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Wild Trout: A Montana Fish Story


Wild Trout: A Montana Fish Story from Trout Unlimited on Vimeo.

Dick Vincent stepped away from the normal policy of his day and advocated for wild fish management in Montana decades ago.  Now, most say that fishing is better today than it was when they stocked rivers and streams in Montana.

Maybe a lesson to be learned within the Steelhead arena.....

Monday, December 19, 2016

Gifts...























The mall parking lots will be jammed packed this week in anticipation of the big day.  Stress levels are as raised as they get as folks clammer around to find and give the best gifts they possibly can for their loved ones

Here's an idea.

Maybe stay out of the mall and contact a few of the artisan craftsmen or women you follow on social media.

Give a gift with soul, that might come alive on a river and connect them with something that breathes life into the person who's using it.

Maybe find a gift from a company that gives back to your favorite conservation organizations,..or a print from an artist who's work is stamped with the soul of British Columbia....

How about a hat or a shirt from a guy who's taking care of disadvantaged youths and returning war veterans?

Or a guy that makes ridiculous fish art, 

Or give a book that can awaken the soul of river stewards around the world

Want to go big and really make an impression?

What about a bench made classic reel, or perhaps the gift of experience with a guided trip...?

Perhaps a subscription to one of the best magazines out there that captures the essence of steelhead and atlantic salmon craziness?

Even better, donate in the name of someone to a cause worth fighting for.

You see, there's so many options out there that keeps you out of the stores that end in Mart or rhymes with  Bacy's.  I bet there's even time and shipping options to make it happen before December 25th.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

If You've Ever Owned a Hunting Dog...



I challenge you to not cry when you watch this video.

Hunting dogs are the best.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Snow Day....














Another day up in the canyons, another day to ply the waters in winter.

Typically, the valley floor stays snow free.  The ridge tops get the brunt of winter, but the drop in elevation brings a 5-7 degree temperature difference that cancels out the brunt of winter's wrath
























Absent of wind, the snow lightly fell on us all day creating a silent escape on mid week day where work's responsibilities were put on the back burner.

The massive wild hen that took me on a sprint down the river's edge was everything we could hope for.  The grab to break the monotony and light up my nerves.  A big jump to show her size,  the powerful runs and unwillingness to give up decrying her wild origin.   She gave me the middle fin as she popped the leader with a head shake at my feat and escaped quickly back into the flow.

OMR's mouth was agape as I felt the tinge of disappointment.   I reconciled it with a celebratory shot of whiskey with my old man and the realization that I don't really need another hero shot.  It was a caught fish and my ego would survive.

























The dogs jumped around and bounded into the fresh powder all day long.  The world was quite and we had the river to ourselves.


Just like grade school kids, we all need a snow day now and again.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Meat...
























There's no cellophane to unwrap here.  No sale pricing to look for

No club cards to scan, no choice of paper or plastic.

No finding that good parking space and picking up lunch meat at the deli counter

Nope, this is get your hands dirty meat procurement. 50 pounds of super organic venison that families share around the dinner table, connect and tell stories about.

It's messy, it's labor intensive and you viscerally feel every pound you push through the grinder

If you do have to go to the store, make sure to pick up a nice red wine or a hoppy IPA, as they do well to bring the flavors out knowing where your food comes from.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meant To Be...








































Grabs come in all shapes, sizes, subtleties,  and levels of aggression.

Sometimes those grabs just dont stick.  You're asking a fish to hit a moving target and no matter how properly your fly is constructed, the arrow doesnt always hit the bullseye

On the other hand, landing a particular fish is just meant to be.  Take a peek at this example.

The grab was violent, suggesting that the hook had buried in the proper place in the fishes mouth.  When we landed the hatchery hen and took her ashore, I laughed when the hook fell out of a tiny piece of skin on the outside of her jaw.

It was literally the luckiest landed fish of my life.

It was just meant to be.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

His First Pheasant Hunt







































The dogs quivered in their kennels as we parked to hit the first piece of cover.    They dropped me off and drove back to the other side of the cover belt and we would meet in the middle, pinching the birds together

Approaching their position, I could see one big orange coat followed by a much smaller coat.  Big C's first pheasant hunt was in motion

6 years ago with the arrival of my first son came the excitement of having a partner in the field and on the river, just like my father and I.  Resisting year after year to overdue it and expose him and his brother too early he was finally ready to go.  Big enough, strong enough and showing some excitement to join his father and OMR.

A couple of hens got up out of range but the dogs indicated that there was more.  As we got closer to each other we let the dogs really get to work

"Stay behind Poppa Fay"

"Watch the dogs buddy, they're getting birdy"

"Isn't this fun!"

Finally the dogs hit paydirt and the rooster rocketed up at 15 yards going left to right.  Close enough to take my time and let the bird elevate

Boom.  Clean miss.

Shocked that I missed such an easy shot and filled with a bit of terror that I wasnt going to bring home the bacon on Big C's first experience, I re-steadied and let the pellets roll.

The wild rooster crumpled to the ground

Turning around to see the awestruck face of Big C and the big smile of OMR was a moment I'll never forget























One more bird later and a lot of walking, we called it a day a bit early.   You could see how tired he was getting by how many times he fell in the tall grass and the last thing we needed was to turn it into a forced march.

He played the roll of a typical 6 year old.  Asking questions about funny stuff, his imagination and focus wondering from time to time.  Still he saw a glimpse of what we do when we bird hunt and I knew we won the day when he said this to OMR and I at the end of the day.

"Can we go pheasant hunting again"

You bet we can buddy, you bet.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

BHA Presents Jewels of the North Umpqua...




My number one place on my bucket list is poised to have hundreds of thousands of acres permanently protected

The Frank Moore Steelhead Sanctuary needs your support.  Join the Backcountry Hunters and Angler's petition to push our legislators to put this bill into law.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Swung Fly Beanie by Rep Your Water...


































Dear Santa,

In the upcoming months, I will be standing in near freezing water with wind screwing with each of my casts.  Typically it's a war of attrition.  Who can stand there long enough to get the elusive grab?

Its been a bummer year on the fish catching front.  I can used every advantage I can get.

My ears would greatly appreciate this beanie.   Think you can hook one up from Rep Your Water?

Thanks
Josh

----

Jokes aside, check out the 13 new varieties of knit caps by our good friends at Rep Your Water. Aside of the fleece lined goodness, they donate 10% of the proceeds from their goods to rock solid non profits like the Wild Steelhead Coalition.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Fall Brown Trout PSA...

































Take a good gander at that coloration change in the picture above.  It's a Brown Trout nesting bed, aka a "redd"

Burn it into your brains.

Now couple that info with the fact that Brown Trout are Fall spawners and you now are an enlightened angler.

Right now wherever you can find them, browns are doing or staging to do the sexual tango.  At the same time, the predacious and nasty streak they have in them becomes focused on protecting their reds.  Along with with they're typically spawning in relatively shallow water and or in smaller tributaries, they become easy pickings for the less scrupulous angler.

Ladies and Gents, maybe you should leave them along right now.

Ask yourself, is it worth it to show post up a picture of a fish you caught defending a red so you can collect likes or glorify yourself with a slew of ego driven hashtags?

Every fish we pursue has their own different times we just need to leave them alone.  Rainbows in the late spring, steelhead at the end of their journey, so on and so forth.   Let them do their thang, make babies and propagate the rivers and lakes with healthy populations.

A big thanks to the West Yellowstone Fly Shop for their leadership on this issue.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Bustling Airport...







































The things you see while on the trail of feather, fur and fins.

I always get a kick out of this place.  The weeds tend to conceal the landing strip and there welcoming crew consist of Mule Deer, Chuckars, Quail, a mangy Coyote and maybe a herd of Elk.

Right smack in the midst of thousands of acres of public land, the log book has about 4-5 planes a year.

It's at the gateway to Hells Canyon, with canyon walls providing a glorious backdrop to what I have to believe is one hell of a place to land a plane.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

#FreetheSnake Rally In Spokane Nov. 14th
























It's go time.

November 14th is Spokane's opportunity to express why it's time to #freethesnake.

There's a couple of events leading up to the Public "Open House" at the Historic Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane.  Let's really be honest, these public hearings are a sham at best.   The open house format is meant to deflect away from what's really at hand, the possibility that it's time to take out these salmon and steelhead killing dams.

But what we can do is show up in force, peacefully speak our minds and tell the federal agencies that it's time to take out these deadbeat monoliths of yesteryear.

First join us at at the Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park at 3:30pm with a rally hosted by
Save Our Wild Salmon

After the hearing at the Davenport, the party moves to the Post Street Ale House to celebrate everyone's effort and the possibility of a free flowing Snake River

Come be a part of a big time opportunity, see you November 14th.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hardy Irony...























Just betting that when this reel was made in the 1960s, that it a bass wasn't the intended quarry it was made for

Just sayin...








Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hands of a Hunter...

































His hands told the story. Over his 62 years of big game hunting, these hands have been awash in blood more than most. Wrinkles and cracks of experience, the heart that drives him daily for more experience. Go grab life by the balls like OMR does. We've only got one.




Monday, October 24, 2016

The 5 Year Old Deer Hunter...
























"Dad, I think I hear the deer!"

No son, that's just wind hitting the grass.

"Who made this poop?"

That'd be a cow son....just a cow.

"Hey Dad, do you think we can have a snack break?"

Sure buddy, no problem

10 minutes later...."Dad I'm starving"

20 minutes later...."Dad, I need another snack"

"Is that hawk?"  "Is that lake cold?"  "Can I throw some rocks into the lake?"

Yes, Yes, and Yes

There's a deer, a doe

"where?"  Right there.  "where?"  To your left "I still dont see it Dad"

No problem buddy, there will be more

The best part of our 2 hour hunt?  Turning around to see him in full out prayer, asking god to get us a deer.   I had to chuckle at that one, not sure if the Lord Almighty is in the business of delivering venison.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In Respect of Private Ground...























Sometimes, I feel like the land is mine I know it so well.

We park in the same spot, direct the dogs the same way each time and patrol the draws for deer in about the same pattern

I can tell you stories like the first deer we got on the property, celebrated with a bear hug with my dad and a long drag out across the channeled scablands

I can tell you which way the birds are going to flush, or what brush will stop a running pheasant.

I can just about point out most of my embarassing misses, and can recall the birds found by our labs Willow, Dakota and Murphy after we thought they were long lost in the sea of reeds and grass

I can tell you a lot about the family that graces us with permission to hunt on their land.  Every one has a great story...... Who's retiring this year, who's getting married and who likes bottle of Canadian Whiskey on their doorstep as a thank you for the privilege of hunting on family land.

It's wide open country where a few families control or own most of the access.  There are a few pieces of public ground in this area and private land is where success happens for the most part.

Starting over 30 years ago with a polite knock of a door here and a bar door there, OMR started the process of getting access on different pieces of ground in this ocean of private land.

Some years we loose some, some years we gain some..  There are stalwarts who greet us with a smile and a handshake and always say yes.  Others it's a 50/50 proposition.   Dancing back to the truck with an approval to hunt on a choice piece of ground is great, just make sure the landowner is at least back in the house before you do.

I cannot be a bigger advocate for public land preservation.  On the other side of the coin, there are a great number of private landowners will give us as hunters and fishermen and women a wonderful privilege.  I often ask myself would I have the grace to let someone else, often times a complete stranger, traipse about my property if I had it.

It's a hard question to answer, but I thank god that many nice families give us that permission.

And with that, a tip of a hat to all the people who stared back at me from the age of 12 years old to now that give us a great gift, to hunt on their land.  If you get the yes,  please do everything in your power to keep that relationship going and do all you can to not tarnish their opinion of others who also seek that access

All in all, dont be afraid to knock on a door or two.  Smile and say thank you....the answer of yes comes a lot more than you'd think.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Free Showing of PROVIDENCE



















North 40 Fly Shop is hosting a FREE showing of the newest Confluence Films flick "Providence" this Saturday the 15th at the Post Falls Red Lion.

In hosting 2 showings of previous films from Confluence, you're in for some of the best cinematography in all of fly fishing.

The Providence Atoll where most of the filming takes place is one of the most remote destinations you can find when tossing a fly around.   Filled with big nasty predacious fish, along with Bonefish and more, this looks like a hell of a way to spend a Saturday night



Confluence Films PROVIDENCE Trailer from CONFLUENCE FILMS on Vimeo.

Pick up your free tickets at the Coeur d'Alene North 40 Fly Shop

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Backwards Fly in North 40 Fly Shop E-Mag







































North 40 Fly Shop continues to kick out the great content with this month's e-mag

This is the steelhead edition for October.  Check out the article on page 8, a little explanation of a completely backwards fly that crushes

ENJOY!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Land Transfer Forum In East Wenatchee







































If you're in Central Washington on October 12th and you value the outdoor opportunities that exist because of public land, you need to be at this meeting listed above.

First and foremost, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop is no friend to public land and public access issues.

Congressman Dan Newhouse from Washington's voting record clearly indicates he falls in the same camp as Bishop

Their position that federal land should be moved to state control because states know how to manage the land better than the federal government is a complete farce.



Dont let this opportunity to voice your opposition directly to the policymakers themselves.

RSVP your attendance to Jamie.Daniels@mail.house.gov or call 509-452-3243

Cant be there?  Let your public officials know that you wont stand for this land transfer nonsense by signing the Sportsman's Access Coalition petition.

Monday, October 3, 2016

$15 for 15...



















2016 mark's the 15th anniversary of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, and today we're kicking off a fundraising campaign to mark the occasion

We’ve come a long way since a diverse group of conservation-minded anglers decided to join forces in 2001 following the closure of North Puget Sound steelhead rivers. Now, led by a dedicated board and backed by thousands of passionate members, we are a formidable force for the protection of wild steelhead throughout the waters of the West Coast.

Take a peek at some of what we consider our top 15 accomplishments that our ragtag bunch of volunteers and advocates have accomplished.  Despite that, our work is far from over.

In the coming months alone, wild steelhead face a number of critical management decisions that will have a monumental impact – most notable is the decision on whether the Skagit Watershed will become a Wild Steelhead Gene bank. Please help us continue our fight to protect wild steelhead and ensure the Skagit becomes a WSGB by donating 15 dollars today

Just like how the WSC started small, donations on the smaller side can continue to build the groundswell that is happening in anadromous fish recovery

Of course, there's a little carrot to dangle out there make it fun

Make a donation of  $15 or more and 3 lucky winners will be randomly drawn to win these prizes from our amazing sponsors

Echo Classic 11ft 8 weight switch rod


Fisherman’s Priest by The Confluence Rod Company

Thank you in advance, click HERE to donate.

Public Hearings on Lower 4 Snake River Dam Remova




Oh how the tide has turned in the conversation of dam removal.

The Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced hearings seeking public input to develop a new plan to save endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The new process comes as the result of a U.S. District Court ruling last May siding with fishing businesses, conservation groups, clean energy advocates, the State of Oregon, and the Nez Perce Tribe that found the last federal plan for protecting endangered fish fatally flawed

Federal agencies have been kicking the can down the road for decades when the question comes up regarding the feasibility of removing the lower 4 Snake River Dams.  Court ruling after court ruling have pushed plan after plan back to the drawing board and last May's ruling finally chided the feds for the continued repackaging of a nonworking plan.

For the first time in 16 years, public comment is now being requested on what should be done with these structures that have to most, outlived their working purpose.

If you fish, hunt, live and or value healthy working riverine ecosystems, it's time to show up to as many of these public meetings and voice your opinion...LOUDLY























It's our chance to right the ship and make meaningful strides to salmon and steelhead recovery

Lets stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars on mitigation efforts that are not really working

Let's let some of the best anadromous fish habitat do it's job by giving the fish an easier path to get there.

Let's reap the economic benefits of a health river system.

Let's show up in droves and voice our opinions

Hearings begin on Oct. 24th in Wenatchee and roll all the way through December, ending in Astoria, Oregon on the 8th.  Find the nearest one to you, go to as many as you can and invite all you can.

This is a monumental opportunity, dont let it pass you by

Click HERE for a list of all scheduled hearings.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Another Reason To Support Keeping It Public




If you're not paying attention, we're going to loose a very big piece of our nation's identity.

Wake up

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Ragan Experience

































What a night...

Chuck Ragan can flat out belt out a song and play a guitar.   Along with a pedal steel guitar backing him up,  it was a real treat to watch him amongst the other 150 others who came out to support the Wild Steelhead Coalition at the new Filson flagship store in downtown Seattle this past Friday night
































After it was all said and done, the biggest feeling I came away with is gratitude

To the people who came out and shared the evening with us

To Filson, who donated the space to us for free

To the board members who ran point on the event and did all the heavy lifting to make it all run smoothly

To Georgetown Brewery who donated the delicious beer

For those who opened their wallets and gave generously to help us raise critical funds that help support the mission of recovering Wild Steelhead across their historical range

Most of all, to Chuck Ragan and his bandmate Todd Beene for donating their time and talents and kicking ass on stage.    Their music resonates with soul, truth and honesty.

Surely I am missing others that helped in the event, it takes a community to make nights like this go

Thank you to all and we cant wait to do it again.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

This Friday, Chuck Ragan







































Ok, you may have heard that we at the Wild Steelhead Coalition are having a little shinding this Friday Night.....

Good, than I'll expect to see you there.   You see, Mr Ragan is one hell of an artist.  Oh, by the way, he's flying in a steel guitar player from somewhere down south.



It's kick ass Americana, soulful as it gets.

Join us, help us raise money and have a great time.  See you Friday

Get your tickets HERE.


Monday, September 19, 2016

One Thousand....
























One thousand blog entries.  It's a number that's snuck up on me.

It all started HERE on January 25th, 2009.

It's been 7 years of writing.  The early entries sometimes make me cringe when I re read them, but they formed the base point to where this outpost is now

Most of all, I am thankful for what this blog has done for me.  I am so appreciative of the people out there that continue to read what I put out there.  The connections I have made with amazing people, the organizations, the businesses and wild places have become cornerstones of this life I am living.

Over 570,000 pageviews.  Tens of thousands of unique visitors.

I am humbled.  Here's to the next 1,000, or whatever is around the corner

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Free The Snake This Weekend
























Last year's event was amazing.  This year its going to be bigger, way bigger

Be a part of the 2nd annual "Free the Snake Floatilla" on Saturday the 17th.

From the Free The Snake web site

Last year more than 300 people from throughout the Pacific Northwest came together for a river recreation day to combine their voices in support of lower Snake River restoration. This year, the Free the Snake Floitilla is back and will paddle through the heart of Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington to the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers.

Wild salmon, steelhead, and pacific lamprey are dying by the thousands due to the dams on the lower Snake River: Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite. These four unnecessary dams are costing taxpayers millions to maintain and repair. Meanwhile, energy produced by these dams is being replaced by clean energy alternatives. The dams’ primary purpose, barge transportation, has declined nearly 70 percent. It’s time to remove these outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams.

Join us September 17, 2016 to tell our elected leaders it's time to remove the four lower Snake River dams, begin the largest wild salmon recovery effort in the world, and revitalize economies, communities, and cultures throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. It's time to free the Snake!

It was very impactful to be there last year.  My two young boys got to witness history.  The route of restoration is before us.

Register and get more info via the Free The Snake site and be a part of history, again.  

Oh, if you're struggling to understand why taking out these 4 dams on the lower Snake River is a good idea....then watch this

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Become #PublicLandsProud






















Photo-Brian Cronin

You launch in the shadows of downtown, a cool water refuge amongst 500,000 people living their lives.  Most oblivious to the jewel the city has running through it, let alone the public land adjacent to it that lets anyone and everyone use it

The 4 mile float along the lower Spokane is a corridor of wildlife in the midst of urban living. Various land grants started Riverside State Park in 1933 and today it's a vital part of the health of our river and the city itself.

It offers wildlife a place to call home.  Parkland a place flourish.  An escape into nature five minutes from the front door of Nordstrom.

It's a buffer to life's craziness.  I take solace knowing I can tangle with a wild redband rainbow as thousands of cars rush overhead the Maple Street Bridge.  It's there, in perpituity because of a strange concept that we have in America

Public Lands.

There's 640 million acres of public land across our country that are there for the good of the people. Some in far off distant and remote stretches of the West, others right smack dab in the middle of cities all around the country.

It's weird because most countries around the world have NO public land that allow for the type of recreation that we just know as normal

Private rivers and forests.  Pay to play.   The domain of kings and queens

What we have is so special.  So incredibly special and yet it's at risk.

Right now,  there are interests lining up to try and take public lands out of the public trust.

They decry the federal government's waste and poor management of land in their control all while defunding the agencies that can take care of them

They want public land in federal control transferred to state's control.

Often times when that happens, states lack the ability to care and maintain that land, and boom....the land that once was public is now purchased in excess land selloffs and into private control

You're now locked out....typically to resource extraction interests.  Timber, minerals and natural gas for example



If you spend anytime outdoors, chances are you are using public lands.  Some state, some federal, it doesnt matter.

Fish, Hunt, Hike, Bike, Swim, Run, ATV, Horseriding, Ski and so many more.  It doesnt matter, we all use it together.

It's time you become #publiclandsproud, educate yourself and act

First step in the process is get to the Sportsman's Access Coalition page and sign the petition backed by the dozens of groups and businesses that stand for public access.  You're name will be added to the list delivered to governors, local politicians, congressional delegations, senators and more as one of the tens of thousands who've drawn a line in the sand on this issue.

Second, join the awesome groups like TRCP and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.  These men and women are on the frontline of the fight to keep our land public.  They know the legislation.  They know the lands at risk and they deserve your money and support

Lastly, incorporate the hashtag #PublicLandsProud in your social media where applicable.  It will help to expand the message to others and who knows, there might be a contest or two out there sponsored by outdoor retailers who get that their success is tied to our outdoor heritage.

Imagine your favorite deer stand locked up behind a timber company gate

Imagine the boat launch roped off or the sportsman's access to your favorite river is gone.

Imagine your mountain biking trails are gone

Piss you off?  Good.  Dont let it happen on your watch.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Craigslist, Oh Thank You Craigslist...























It stared back at me from the computer screen like a gleaming piece of gold

"Fly Tying Collection--$500"

A fellow tier from Seattle clued me into this goldmine, as somehow it escaped my notice on Craigslist in Spokane.   There it was, an almost unbelievable amount of tying materials, gear, hooks and more for a ridiculous price

Finally the poster got back to me and we arranged a time to see it.  His father had passed and he doesnt fish or tie, so it was time for it to go.

It was bin after bin.  Row after row of just about everything you could think of and a little bit more.

38 full or partial necks or saddles.  Dozens and dozens of threads.  More tools than I could imagine

Did I mention 5 different vices?

If you ever need chenille, v rib or any type of pheasant, I'm your guy.

It really got me thinking about the gentleman that assembled this collection over the last few decades. What got him excited about tying and fishing?   Where was his favorite place to go, what was his favorite fish to pursue?    The amount of materials suggested he was a commercial tier, but his son said it was just his hobby

I found it a bit sad that this man's passion didnt stay in his family but in a way, I'd like to think it did.

While I never met the man, I'd hope he'd be happy to know that all of these items will be put to good use.  I hope to teach my son's on the some of the vices in the collection.  I hope they tie their first crappy, ill conceived wooly bugger with the chenille and saddle hackle that he bought years ago

It's taken me a few weeks to really go through the collection and I'm still not done.  I'm still discovering treasures daily.

Thank you craigslist, you've been good to me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chuck Ragan Wild Steelhead Coalition Benefit Concert







































Music lovers, we gots something for you!

Get ready to listen to some killer music, drink some tasty beer, and hang with some great people, all in the name of steelhead conservation. Iconoclastic singer-songwriter Chuck Ragan and Filson have teamed up and are hosting a benefit concert on Friday, September 23rd to support the Wild Steelhead Coalition’s work. The concert will be held in Filson’s new, beautiful Flagship Store in Seattle.

Chuck Ragan is renowned as a “deeply compelling songwriter and an effortlessly charismatic performer, as well as a true believer in music’s ability to illuminate and inspire”. So it is no surprise that he is an avid angler, a lover of steelhead, and a big fan of the Wild Steelhead Coalition’s work.


General Admission for the show is $25 with doors opening at 8:00 PM. There are also a limited number of $100 VIP tickets available. VIP tickets get you into the show an hour earlier (7:00 PM), so you can spend time chatting with Chuck while eating some delicious prepared by Chef Kevin Davis of Steelhead Diner, Orfeo, and Bluacre Seafood and drinking two free beers out of your complimentary Stanley Tumbler.

Pick up your tickets HERE and see you at the show.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Steelhead Country...



The Wild Steelhead Coalition, Patagonia, and award-winning filmmaker Shane Anderson have teamed up to produce a new film series called Steelhead Country. The six-episode series explores the rise and fall of angling for wild steelhead in Washington State – from the heydey of steelheading on the Puyallup River to the litany of legendary rivers that are now closed throughout Puget Sound, including the mighty Skagit. Follow along as Steelhead Country explores the past, present, and hopeful future for this iconic species.

Washington is Steelhead Country, the epicenter of the wild steelhead world. For generations, Washingtonians have been raised with a fishing rod in their hands and a love of steelhead in the hearts. This passion has proven infectious and inspired anglers from all corners of the globe to make the pilgrimage to the state’s famed waters in search of wild grey ghosts, some reaching sizes found in few other places on earth. But while the allure of Washington’s majestic wild steelhead continues to grow, regrettably the state’s steelhead stocks have suffered the opposite fate, as their numbers have plummeted to a fraction of their once great abundance.

Steelhead Country dives deep into how Washington’s mismanagement of its iconic State Fish has caused the precipitous decline of its wild steelhead populations. Moreover, Steelhead Country encourages the state to move toward a more sustainable, conservation-oriented management model for wild steelhead – a model that preserves angling opportunity while also helping restore and sustain wild runs for future generations. It’s not too late to bring them back.

Stay tuned for the full series coming in September.  Get more info via the Wild Steelhead Coalition

#WildSteelhead #BringEmBack

Monday, August 22, 2016

Are You Having Fun?







































Check this dude out, he's having fun...

You may or may not know him.  He design's fly line tapers, consults on fly rod actions and on the vice there aren't many who can match his detail and precision.  And casting.  He's the dude that you flip off from behind because he just throws laser after laser

Yeah, you could say he's on a pro staff or two.

Regardless, one the the things I love is that he's there to have fun.  If it means he takes his daughters pink four foot float rod and dead drifts a pats stone and giggles his face off when the redband rockets into the air, so be it.

Put it all aside.....drop all the preconceived notions on what we should or should not be doing...What rods we should be casting with what technique or what fly because that's what they tell you that's what you should be doing.

That's bull.  Respect the resource, work to conserve and then lets get after it.

Do the thing that lit you up as a kid when you caught your first fish.

Go and have fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Big and Small
























Big water.  Big fish.

Big odds stacked against them.

Small flies.  Big flies.  Big fly Rods.

Big casts and small mends and everything in between

Small plucks to big rips and big jumps.

Big is the reward.  Small is the margin for error.

A bigger and more profound impact on my life I cannot find.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Craziest Way To Catch A Steelhead




Sometimes, you just have to challenge the interwebz to amaze you.

Good job, good job internet.  You win.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

World Class Company...



























How the heck I found myself in this picture is a amazing thing.

You'd be hard pressed to find more knowledge about steelhead in one place and I felt a bit like the rookie called up to the big leagues for his first game

From left to right, excluding me...

Jack Mitchell.  Brian Chou.  Trey Combs.  Steelie Mike Davidchik.  Tim Rajeff.  Kerry Burkheimer

wow...just wow.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Save The Smith Sticker Fundraiser






















I have never been to the Smith.  I've never pulled a permit to float it.  I've never fished it

It doesnt matter, I'll still line up to save it.  We all should.

Rep Your Water has created a unique sticker that is available via their site and to non profits involved in the fight to Save the Smith as a fundraising tool.

The landmark Smith River in Montana is at risk. A proposed mine on a critical tributary could endanger the entire fishery and river ecosystem.  

This is not just a Montana issue, but something that the national fly fishing community needs to rally behind RIGHT NOW!

Get more info on the issues involved via the Smith River Watch site, and while you're at it....pick up a sticker or two. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Free The Snake September 17th























Free the Snake.  Free the Snake.  Free the Snake

Say it to yourself.  It's going to happen.

September 17th, join the collation of environmental, sportsman, economic and tribal groups at Swallows Park in Clarkston  for coordinated  paddle leading to the Snake and Clearwater Confluence for the second annual Free The Snake Flotilla

Last year event drew over 300 attendees of which I was proud to be a part of.  My boys and I watched as boat after boat of people committed to a cause that is ready to happen paddle towards Lower Granite Dam....it was one of the most impactful statements I had ever seen.

70% of barge traffic on  4 Snake River Dams have gone to other shipment routes.  Billions are spent on salmon and steelhead recovery with extremely low return on investment.   The power generated can we replaced immediately

The reasons go on and on.  And on, and on.

It's time to Free the Snake

Get more info via the Free The Snake site and if you can, be a part of this year's event in September




Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Incredible Irony...




Remember this?

August 4th, 2014 the Mount Polley Mine had quite the disaster on their hands

Over 10 million cubic meters of contaminated mining water and over 4.5 million cubic meter of slurry ran out of the earthen tailing pond, into Hazeltine Creek, to Polley Lake and eventually into Quesnel Lake

Environmental Disaster of epic proportions.

What the long lasting impacts are, nobody really knows.  The creeks and lakes effected will likely be monitored for years to gage what is happening.    In 2013, the mining company documented their estimates of what the tailing ponds contained.   Hundreds and hundreds of tons of nasty nasty stuff, directly into one what was described as one of the deepest, cleanest lakes in the world.  

Did we mention that Quesnel Lake is important spawning habitat for a good portion of the Fraser River Sockeye run?

And what's now ironic?







































The mine is now the sponsor of an upcoming fishing derby on Quesnel Lake

Weirdly,  zero fines or charges were levied agains the mine because of the breach.

It's like rain on your wedding day, it's a free ride when you've already paid....


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Searching for Needles in a Gigantic Haystack
























Dam counts have finally registered enough fish to make the question "is it too early" to "maybe" to "why not"

Truth be told, I had found a these rare needles in the haystack twice.  A steelhead in July, almost 400 miles inland on the tip of the impending run is a rare encounter that you can never depend on.  They are rockets that specialize in showing you your backing, quickly.

The earliness of my first trip gave me the river to myself which gives you two emotions  Elation because you are by yourself on one of the most famous steelhead rivers in the west, self doubt because why are you wasting your time being there so early.

That battle raged most of the day as I made cast after cast into a river that was in perfect early season shape.  I am sure that the flies passed over a few fish, but nothing special enough happened to incite the grab.

That time is coming, quickly.  If it could hurry up, that would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

6116-4 Redington Chromer Review























Small water, tight casting, big angry fish

Just the spot to take the Redington Chromer 6116-4 Switch for a spin.


























My April trip to Prince of Wales in Southeast Alaska required a change of pace from what I am usually doing, which are more the big Western rivers with wide open casting.  Back in 2015, I tested the 8136 on the Clearwater and Snake and that rod matches my normal scene to a T.

POW is not that, at all.

Typically, I'm not a fan of switch rods, as they usually leave me feeling a lot to be desired on both sides of single hand and spey casting.

This rod pleasantly surprised me.  Paired with a 375 RIO Skagit Max, it turned over big sink tips and big bugs in tight perimeters to buckets that required quick and accurate casts.

The break in period that I normally experience with a new spey set up was slightly longer than usual because I am not used to spey casting with shorter rods.   That being said, when I found the sweet spot, all went according to plan

The light and crisp feel of the rod really feels like it would also excel in throwing a dryline (especially dries!) on more intimate steelhead rivers in the like the Methow and the Grande Ronde.

Regardless, the rod delivers performance well beyond it's $399 price point.

Find it at your local fly shop and take it for a spin.

Swing away!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Setting Out Without Plans...

































There's a general idea.   An inkling if you will.

As much as I try to organize,  I'm always looking for what I cant find in the pile of materials.  That in itself sends you down the rabbit hole even farther putting new hides and feathers in front of you, chainging the bug away from what you had in mind in the beginning.

Somehow it all morphs in dead animal alchemy, worthy of a swing or two.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why Are You Tagging #KEEPEMWET ?



A quick search on Instagram and there's over 65,000 images with the KEEPEMWET hashtag

The overwhelming majority get it.   The point of Keep Em Wet is to encourage the angling public with better fish handling practices, lessening our overall impact on the resources if a release is in the cards

The three main principles of the initiative are well represented in most of the pictures, but there are a substantial amount that seem to be using for a popularity contest





Some fish are meant to be kept and consumed.   A quick hero shot out of the water isnt always out of the question.  But why are they using the tag beyond the attempt at gaining more likes or followers?

Weak Sauce. 

Way out of the water.  Up on the bank.  On the rocks.  Dead fish.  Fingers in gills

Completely counter to the reason #keepemwet exists.



So what to do?  Dont turn it into a shame show.  Educate, be kind.    For the very reason you see these pictures are edited to remove faces and names because that's not the point

The point comes back to what the tag is all about.  Have a great time, treat the quarry with respect and when you can, #keepemwet.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

FFC Fundraiser
































This Tuesday, pick up some amazing artwork with 100% of the proceeds going to help children in need in impoverished situations.

Renowned Seattle artist Casey Underwood is stepping up by donating his work to help the Fly Fishing Collaborative in their effort to build self sustaining talapia and produce farms in third world countries that help orphanages expand their capacities

This fall, the FFC is on pace to build their 6th and 7th farm project, this time in Kenya and the funds raised on the 12th will directly impact the success of the upcoming builds.  When completed, another 100 children will be furnished with food and additional care.

The artwork is unbelievable, the cause is just.

You know you have a wall in your house that needs some decor.....

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rep Your Water Performance Sun Shirts
































Rep Your Water's summer lineup of performance tee's are out and pretty damn killer if you ask me.
































9 new varieties ready to roll to keep you roasting like a marshmallow on the face of the sun.

As always, RYW donates a portion of sales to 10 great conservation organizations.

They put their money where it needs to be.  Support these guys.

Friday, July 1, 2016

He Really Wanted It...























Well, when you're hungry and you're a smallmouth bass, and a mouse goes in front of your face....

I suppose it looks delicious.

Nom nom nom.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Diamond From England...
































Welcome to the collection my dear.

Back when this reel was made, Woodrow Wilson was President.

The Titanic was leaving Southampton

New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union

Fenway Park opened for it's first game.

Alfred Broadley made this piece of art  for the House of Hardy in 1912 and in 2016, we're going to show it a steelhead or two

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.