Monday, September 18, 2017

From Field to Vice...

The wingbeat of the flush gave away it's location.

Extreme tight quarters prevented anything other than a quick dispatch from the limb it sat upon.  This was no egalitarian wing shooting adventure, no this was get the job done for dinner

Aside of fantastic dinner that public lands had provided,  the feathers make the fly tying junkie in me do a couple of backflips.  You just cant find these feathers in a fly shop or a catelog....they're hard earned additions to a collection that I take extra pride in.

When the big buck steelhead comes to hand with a fly that contains a breast feather from this bird, I know that my smile will be impossibly big.

The loop completed, from field to vice to fish.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Karma Fish...

The run's first grab came about 15 minutes in, delivering that jolt of electricity that we all search for.   I worked that fish for 10 minutes, changing flies three times, getting two more half hearted plucks but no real connection

I didnt care, I was repeating cast after cast lost in the rhythm of the afternoon on the water.

Spending the day before and that day at the 3rd Annual Free The Snake Flotilla,  fishing was more of an afterthought for this trip.  We showed up in great numbers to protest the continued insanity of propping up the lower 4 Snake River dams.   It filled my heart to the brim with hundreds of boats all rowing 3 miles on the Snake in solidarity and show of force that a new way of thinking was and is taking over.  It was a glorious sight to say the least

Lost in the moment, the fish grabbed solid and took off, only to immediately reverse direction and come right at me.  Reeling furiously, I wasnt sure what type of steelhead had chosen to reward me.

Big or little it really doesnt matter.  In a year where good news has been tough to come by in any sense of the word, any fish was a blessing.  A kiss of karma from forces beyond me.

The fight was a close range battle, no haymaker long runs but a series of in close body blows.

Finally, wild perfection came to hand.  A quick thank you shot and she shot away like a rocket.

And for that brief moment, all was right with the world

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Stare At These...

The West is on fire.  Smoke is everywhere.  The tyrant in chief wants to deport 800,000 dreamers.  It's hot AF.   Houston is still soggy.  2 more hurricanes are on a path towards South Florida disaster.

So many other things to be pissed off

Stare deeply at these muddlers, fresh off the vice.  Let your mind wander to a greasy tailout on your favorite run of your favorite steelhead river.   Imagine a great cast, the perfect mend and the bug pushing a trail through the bucket.  Wait for it...

Stay there.  Just stay there.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Free The Snake Flotilla Sept 8th-9th

It's flotilla time again on the Snake.

The 3rd annual Free The Snake Flotilla is returning September 8th and 9th

The event is getting bigger and bigger, now kicking off Friday night with speakers, conservation groups, tribes and more all present along with live music.

Festivities will be centered at Chief Timothy State Park starting Friday, then boat event will occur Saturday morning

Please join us as we continue to make a bigger and louder statement that the 4 deadbeat dams on the lower Snake river have outlived their usefulness.

Momentum is continuing to build on this event and the possibility of a free flowing Snake River.

Here's more information about the Flotilla via the FB event page

See you there!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fishing in a Dream

Photo Credit-Grant Rilette

We were laughing like 10 year boys on a playground.  The fishing was so good it didn't seem real.

Sneaking away from a family vacation to go on a guided fishing trip can be a precarious proposition, and I doubled down by letting the rest of the 10 people on the vacation on the Oregon Coast that I'd likely be coming back with dinner.

Time to do work.

For the longest time I've wanted to experience the unique dory boat fishery out of Pacific City, Oregon.   It's a wild experience launching from the beach, through the surf and out to the fishing grounds.

The boat and the Captain Grant Rilette were as dialed as I have ever seen and my buddy Kyle and I were giddy with anticipation as we made it through the surf line and out into the open ocean

It took about 5 minutes of driving through the thick marine layer to the appointed place that Grant had dialed in.  The first couple casts with conventional gear were met with a resounding yes, the fish were present.

We brought our fly rods as a complete maybe.  Ocean Rockbass are targeted via fly presentations effectively, but we were not going to be bound by technique to make sure we had a good time

Then we saw it.  Fish after fish finning on the surface.   Boils all around the boat.

Time to bring out the 8wts.

The best way to describe the next hour or so was like being a bird dog on point.  The action was frenetic as each cast was met with a hook up.  Miss the fish?  No worries  just keep stripping because it was going to get blasted again.

With limits filled immediately, we began a epic (hate using that word but it's the only on that applies) catch and release session that set the bar in my mind for when a plan comes together perfectly

I dove into my fly box and found a popper that I had bought for jacks and snook in Belize and the Rock Bass crushed it time after time.  A twitch twitch to a long pause had the fish rocketing up and blasting it off the surface.

Here we were in 60-80 feet of water, in the ocean, having the best top water action I had over seen.

The fog wrapped around us all morning and a more dreamlike state I cannot describe.  Big, strong and healthy Rock Bass smashing your every cast.  It was unreal, and if I could have frozen time, I would have.

And to add a dollop of whipped cream on top of the day, we pulled up to Grant's crab pots that were absolutely stuffed with Dungeness crab.

Photo Credit-Kyle Smith

Hell of a day.  Hell of a day.

Photo Credit-Kyle Smith

We drove away from Pacific City with coolers full of crab and rock bass limits, a wicked case of bass thumb and the resolve that this wont be the last time we have our hand at this fishery.

Grant's dory program is safe, affordable, family and kid friendly.  I highly suggest spending a day with Grant if you can.  It's well worth your time!

Additionally he guides for winter steelhead in the local rivers, fall Chinook and coho to go along with the dory trips in the ocean

Hook up with Grant via his FB PAGE or his WEBSITE.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Patagonia's Public Land Push

So much yes, so so so much yes.

I choose to support companies like Patagonia who draw clear lines in the sand.

Keep Public Lands in PUBLIC HANDS

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No Kill for Idaho...

And the hits keep on coming.

Idaho Fish and Wildlife commissioners voted yesterday to eliminate the catch and kill element to the 2017 fall and winter steelhead season.  Ladies and gentlemen, this run of fish we are in is HISTORICALLY bad, with current counts sitting in the 10% of the 10 year average at best.

The move to eliminate bag limits is the low hanging fruit of changes that were on the table.  The forecast is so low that many thought that and continue to think that a system wide closure is warranted.

Fishing the Clearwater as early as mid July through the end of September has always been a staple of the yearly activities when it comes to our steelhead season.  As I've watched the continued shittiness of the dam counts, I'm left with this continued feeling of a deflated balloon.

The crippling effects of the 2015 and 2016 low water years for smolt outmigration and the North Pacific Blob have come home to roost.  How long it's going to take for the fish to recover from these haymakers is unknown, but thankfully we had much better outmigration conditions this spring and early summer.  Additionally the hot water patch that destroyed the food chain in their feeding grounds is gone so with better conditions, hopefully the rebound is quick

Which brings me back to this year, and the questions it continually brings to my mind

Why didnt the IDFW commissioners put tackle restrictions in effect? AKA, get rid of bait which has a much deeper impact on fish mortality.

With fall Chinook opening on the Clearwater soon for retention, dont they think there's going to be a heavy impact on the steelhead stock?

What is Washington Fish and Game managers going to do to be proactive with these fish?

What morally is right for me?

Big questions to a crap situation.  Welcome to the 2017 steelhead season on the Columbia and Snake's fantastic.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Summer of Discontent...

What a weird summer it's been, and my mood sucks...

Maybe it's the news cycle that's constantly bringing up the office of the president and his perpetual folly.  I've never seen so much horse shit in my life.

Maybe for the first time in my life I've actually thought about nuclear war

Could it be that the Department of the Interior Secretary rode into office proclaiming his love of the Roosevelt legacy, only to institute a review of 27 national monuments, threatening our public land.

Oh, the same guy is making it easier for extractive resource companies to do bidness on public lands and along with the orange guy in charge, has reignited the possibility of the Pebble Mine.

Perhaps its 15 days straight of temps over 90 degrees, mixed with a lung and eye burning smoke that seems to have wrapped my home town and most of the west into a cocoon....

What about the fact we have a state representative in Cathy McMorris Rodgers leading the charge to put our heads back in the sand with her bill HR 3144 thats trying to protect the lower 4 Snake River dams.  Sure, lets put a Columbia River Bi-Op that's been roundly rejected in court time after time. Sure, lets cut springtime spill on the rivers that give smolt a fighting chance to get to the ocean. Sure, lets sidestep the public process that just registered hundreds of thousands of comments in the fall that was court ordered to engage constituents in looking for a new route forward on the Snake and Columbia....

I bet it has something to do with a historically bad summer steelhead return on the Columbia and it's tributaries.  A lot to do with it.  We're talking a year where you you might not make 100,000 fish on the entire system where the 10 year average is approaching 300,000.   This is the time of year I normally get so amped for my favorite chase and now I feel a bit hollow.   Looking at daily run counts is like a punch in the gut.

Call it the summer of discontent.  I cannot wait for the first rains of fall to get rid of this smoke, clear the air and give me a better picture forward.  It's hard for a normally positive person like myself to stare at all this crap and stand by the notion that it's going to work out for the best.  

Because it has to.

My route forward through this shit comes in the fact that I know what I am standing for.  I will buoy my spirits in the fight for wild fish and wild, public lands.   There's no other way around it.

So if you're like me....I encourage you to do the same

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Swing The Fly Trout Spey Fly Tying Contest

Run to your vices boys and girls, and gets to cranking

Swing The Fly Magazine is hosting a new fly tying contest centered around bugs you swing for trout.

It can be a small soft hackle, a big arse streamer, tube or intruder.  Whatever you love to entice trout with a down and across swing is eligible.  Contest goes through August 25th and you can submit up to 2 flies for consideration

There's some great gear up for grabs for the winning bug.  First place takes home a Redington Hydrogen Trout Spey, a sweet little stick if I do say so myself.

Check out more about the contest from STF Magazine.  Happy wrapping!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hey Zinke...

The challenge has now been thrown.  The chips are on the table.

When Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke instituted the review of 27 national monuments to see if they should be reduced, modified or left alone, he kicked the hornets nest.

The man came into office extolling his admiration of Teddy Roosevelt and a lover of public lands, but his actions speak much louder than his party driven policies and words

Hunting and fishing groups were cautiously optimistic about his appointment, as other candidates for the position were many times worse from a public lands perspective.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the initial front runner for the job is all about public land divestiture so when Zinke was appointed we all let out a small sigh of relief

Turns out that sigh of relief wasnt long lasting.

Back in October of 2015 I was fortunate to travel back to Washington DC to lobby with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, another institution that was and still is under attack from people who back public land disposal.

At a breakfast with congressmen and senators at the Department of Agriculture, I watched and listened to supporters of the LWCF including Zinke extol their support of our public lands.

I'm standing next to Zinke in the above picture.  I felt proud to have met him and others in that room.

Today, I am just disappointed in the track this is all going.

Zinke's national monument review threatens our heritage.

You have to let him and his office know where you stand on the fate of our public lands.

No more double talk, no more BS.  We are all public land owners.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is leading the charge to let Zinke know how we feel.  I am very proud to be a part of this group that shines the light on this issue and pulls no punches in the fight. It's not like there's more land being created or streams being born.  We have what we have now and cannot afford to let any of it go.

Join the cause today.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saved By Axe...

So amazing to see Chad and Soul River soar with the help of this amazing dog Axe

It's allowing Chad and his staff of volunteers impact countless lives, including those currently on their Arctic deployment.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Evening Hatch's Annual Klickitat 2 Hander Day

Photo Credit-Brian Chou

The Evening Hatch's annual 2 Hander Day is coming up quick, August 12th.

Superior instruction begins at 930am at the Klickitat Community Center and Town Pool with a jam packed schedule of speakers like Jack Mitchell, Brian Chou, Brian Syskal, Zack Williams and more

Expert or beginner, it's a day that everyone will learn something and have a chance to look, touch and feel offerings from many different brands in the industry and also see what's going on with non profits like Soul River

After a day of on river instruction and fishing, join the crew at the Steelhead Ranch just 15 minutes away for an evening of bbq and fishing movies under the stars

Register today via their online link HERE.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The 24 Inch Native...

The skated mouse pattern fluttered across the frog water, and right before it hit the fast seam a violent slash took it down

Fish On!!

OMR's 6 wt taco'd over and we thought we had the fish of the trip.  Target species that is.

Through a set of bolder gardens he kept up the fight until I was able to find a bank to pull over and allow him to put the screws to the fish.

As it came closer, we knew something was up.  It was target un-aquired.

Still it was the biggest northern pikeminnow we had ever seen on this river.  Native, it should be there unlike the interlopers we were after

So we put away the initial disappointment,  hooted, hollered and celebrated the 24 inch native brought to the net.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival August 11th and 12th

August 11th and 12th, if your in the vicinity of Midway, Utah I highly suggest you find your way to the Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival.

Run and hosted by Jason and Julie Zicha of Fall River Fly Rods, it's an annual event that does an amazing job of getting new folks into the sport, helping kids along their fly fishing journey and giving a ton of people a chance to hob nob with a great number of businesses and non profits in the sport.

It's a project built on the passion of Julie and Jason, and it's 100% free to the public to attend.  There are classes, demos, giveaways and lots of prizes.

Visit the Heber Valley Fly Fishing's site and check them out on FB as well


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Horrible Bill For Salmon and Steelhead

The big question is why?

Why would state representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Don Newhouse and others stare into the face of the worst predicted run of fall chinook, sockeye and summer steelhead on the Columbia and say..... "meh, screw em"

While that's hyperbole, they are in effect doing that by introducing a new bill that flies against science and judicial review on how we are managing the lower 4 Snake River Dams.

It's the definition of insanity.  They want to return to the invalidated 2014 federal Columbia River Bi-Op and hold it in place through 2022.  They want to hold water back that facilitates smolt outmigration in the spring.  They want to take the notion of breaching the lower 4 Snake River dams completely off the table

They want to circumvent the entire NEPA process that hundreds of thousands of comments were registered by the public this past fall in meetings around the Northwest as state, federal and Bonneville power were ordered to consider all options in the process of a new Biological Opinion

So in other words.  Screw the public process. Screw the science.

And oh, lets keep pouring billions of dollars at salmon and steelhead mitigation that isnt working.

They want to keep a bandaid on a hemorrhaging wound.

The special interests that keep these representatives have done a fantastic job of keeping the wool over their eyes.

It's up to us to let them know we oppose this legislation.

Contact McMorris Rodgers at 202-225-2006 and Newhouse at 202-225-5816

Also, find more ways to contact them via their websites

Speak up ladies and gentlemen.  Now.

Friday, June 30, 2017


I remember a time I had zero confidence with a skittering, shaking and churning skater.

Now if there's any chance, that's what I am throwing.   There's nothing like a 10 pound fish trying to kill the fly that has entered it's zone

Find me something else in fly fishing that makes your heart literally stop like a skater eat.

For me, it's the top of the mountain.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Muddler Magic

Muddler's are awesome.

They're one of those bugs that when they come off the vice, they always look like they have the juice

The thing is that I dont have the greatest success on them.  I put them on the end of the line and wonder if I am making the right choice.

Then I bring it up near me in the water and check it out.  The darn thing looks like a fish Snickers laying in the water and I continue on and fish it.

So enjoy Monday's muddler offering.  What are you're thoughts on the muddler?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Have A Good Trip Dad....

I was in the midst of the semi chaos of the getting ready dance that happens in the we hours of the morning when I noticed it.

A small, subtle drawing from my boys on the raft trailer.

It gave me pause, and brought a ear to ear smile to my face.  They were still fast asleep in their bunk beds but the message was loud and clear.

It was like they were saying "have a great trip dad" without saying a word.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

You Own The River

And Oregon, and Washington, and Idaho and every other darn state in the Union.

Last week a gentleman made his presence known at a public scoping meeting for the proposed Tintina mine that will impact the world famous Smith River in Montana.

While not the most pc in delivery the man's message was clear.

The public owns the river

While the mining company made up of a consortium of Australian and Canadian interests wants to put a mine into a super sensitive area, we need to remind ourselves that pubic waterways like the Smith are part of the public trust.

It scares me when companies promise that their mine will be safe, considering that just one mess up will scare the resource into perpituity.  We need mining, but there are places like Bristol Bay and the Smith that if lost, will never be able to be mitigated back into health

I bet that the mining company behind the Mt Polly disaster also promised that nothing would ever happen there.

So back to the guy who threw a world class rant at the meeting.

While the language isnt the best, understand this man's passion.

Back's against the wall, he went to the nuclear option. The best part of the whole deal, the PR person for the mining company posted the video thinking it would cause a bad reaction for the people that are against the mine


It brought more attention to the bad idea of having a mine in this special place.  Thousands shared and commented and whoops, the video was removed from social media.

Thanks to the intrepid folks who are anti mine, the video was saved and reposted

Take a look HERE

It's your fucking river.

and while you're at it, give some love to the Save Our Smith group dedicated to keeping this mine off the river.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Great Advances in Hyperrealistic Fly Tying...

A trip to Chucky Cheese renders a leap in bass fly development.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Full Circle Fly Fishing Apparel Goes Live

Passion for the sport breads great new products in the fly fishing realm, and that's the story behind hte new apparel line from Full Circle Fishing.

I was fortunate to get to know the husband and wife team of Kali and Chris Pezel when they lived in the Northwest and loved them from the moment we first fished together.  They've had a dream to create an apparel line that matched their love of the outdoors and fly fishing for a long time. and now it's finally come to fruition

You'll notice a strong commitment to conservation, public land preservation good angling ethic and a bit time sense of humor in their initial offerings

Additionally, Full Circle is donating 5% of each sale to the conservation group or non profit of your choosing.  

It's exciting to see someone's dream come to fruition.  Hopefully one of their pieces makes its way into your wardrobe soon.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Farmpond Thug....

I'd driven by it hundreds of times, and yet it never occurred to me that I should probably fish it.

First casts were rewarded by bluegill after bluegill that made me laugh like a boy again.  There's joy in those super aggressive fish that make you feel like you really know what you are doing.

With all the bait around, I had a feeling there were a few big kids running around that pond, having their way and inflicting terror whenever they pleased.

This bucketmouth confirmed it.  It engulfed their popper and dove for the weeds and if I've ever been sure my leader was going to pop, it was then.

Somehow he came to hand and after a quick picture, back into the swampy abyss that he calls home

I cant wait to tangle again.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Signs of Life on the Skagit

Take the next 20 minutes and check out the beautiful new piece from the great folks at the Fly Fish Journal, Signs of Life

The story, video and pictures really encapsulates the soul of steelhead fly fishing and at the same time, show's some of the hope that the Skagit and it's tributaries have for wild steelhead recovery


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Like a Dog On Point....

After a few hours of staring at the bobber and catching the occasional fish,  when you finally see the first smattering of bugs that make the fish loose their minds you get a bit excited.

Then the callibaetis come off in waves and it's on.   The rises come at a steady pace but with no predicability as to where so you sit on the pontoon poised and ready to strike.

Some sessions are better than others.  Over the years it's as wild as it gets with a fish every cast and others like this year are a bit different.  The bugs were there, the fish gave a lackluster effort and really didnt show like normal.   The why or why not is the part of the mystery that keeps me going, as if I am trying to solve a riddle who's answer is always a moving target.

I get a feeling that I know what it's like to be a bird dog and catch that first scent of a pheasant, and work it all the way through to the point.

Still 2 hours pass in what feels like 10 minutes.  All of a sudden you realize that you havent seen a bug in 15 minutes and the last rise was just as long ago.  I finally uncoil the tension and sit back and relax, like I just came up for air after a long deep dive into fishing mania.

After being hyper focused for that time, it's great to look up and see what's around you.  In this case, it's a beautiful lake surrounded by miles and miles of public land.

That fact gives me hope that this interaction will continue as long as I keep coming back to this place.

Till the next time when I deliver the cast in a state of bird dog like focus.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Flying T-Bones

If you found this bug in your house, you'd be calling an exterminator.

On the river, I think they make fishermen and women just as excited as the fish that eat them.

Last week I got the opportunity to fish the legendary salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes and the biomass that crawled around on the banks and grasses were as advertised.

If you've never had a 2-3 inch double winged crawling bug land on your neck mid cast, you'd bet your life it makes the hair on your neck stand at attention.

They're so damn big, lumbering around on everything and blasting through the air.

As a joke I ate one.   It had oak overtones with a hint of cherry and spices.

Not really.

They taste like shit, with just the right crunch to really make you question your decision.  It's not like the fish gave me any points for solidarity and jumped on my fake offerings at a faster rate.

But to the fish, I'm sure they're the piscatorial equivalent to medium rare T-bones rolling down the river.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Postcards From The Crapper....

One of the most stunning places to heed nature's call...

Deschutes River,  chasing down the salmon fly hatch in the canyon.

Enjoy the view...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lost River Film Co.


Man, that video has got all the feels that you want.

The demo reel is from Lost River Film Co., 3 man team that flat out produces amazing work.

To me, great work behind the camera brings out the emotion and finds it outside of the grip and grins and normal go to shots.   From their ethos on their site:


Here here!  Cant wait to see  more work from Drew, Bobby and Ivan in the near future

For more of their films and work, check out Lost River Film Co. Vimeo page.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Water to Wine For The Spokane River

May 19th is a big night for the Spokane River

The Spokane River Forum is hosting their annual benefit and auction to raise funds and create more advocates for the amazing asset to our town, the Spokane River

Rare is a river that cuts through the middle of hundreds of thousands of people that also can provide an amazing resource of recreation, civic pride, fishing opportunities, whitewater rafting and so much more.  The story of the Spokane River is one of restoration and recovery.  Decades of abuse followed by decades of resiliency and now hopefully a strong legacy is being laid down of advocacy.

The issues still facing the river and it's watershed are numerous.  Toxic runoff, excess sediment coming in from it's tributaries, remaining issues from a bygone era of hard rock mining in it's headwaters and more.  

But to me, the biggest challenge is apathy from it's surrounding residents.

What the river needs to be honest is more people on it and understanding what a asset we really have.  I've personally taken people on my raft who are just blown away at what they see on the river less than 10 minutes outside of downtown.  Moose, Beaver, Osprey, Deer on the land and hard fighting native Redband Rainbows and Whitefish below in the water.

More people using the river = more advocates = a healthier river in the future.

Take it from Sean Visintainer, owner of the Silver Bow Fly Shop.  The river means a lot to him, his business and our community.

Register for the event HERE  and more information can be found on their FB EVENT PAGE

So on May 19th, I highly encourage you to be a part of this great benefit for the Spokane River.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wild Game Feed Saturday with BHA

Another great event is on the docket for lovers of the outdoors, hunting, fishing and public lands.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is hosting a Wild Game Feed  at Big Barn Brewery in Greenbluff just north of Spokane this Saturday evening.   As the poster says, bring a wild dish or side if your able to share and engage in some of the best conversation on conservation around

I am so proud to be a member of BHA, and the people I've gotten to know over the past 2 years in the organization are the real deal in the fight to preserve public lands.

If you're looking for a group that stands up for everyone's right to public land access and preservation, BHA is it.

Join them/us this Saturday night at this great event.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Thank You--Our Two Hands Wrap Up


The Spokane showing of Bloodknot's movie Our Two Hands was a smashing success.

Months and months of planning came to fruition last Thursday and the community rallied to support the event to benefit the Wild Steelhead Coalition.

At the end of the night, I felt so proud.

Proud to be a part of a conservation community that comes out to support events like this.  You cant have the film showing without people who fill the seats.

Proud to be have great relationships with businesses and guides in the fly fishing industry that brought the noise with donations, with hardly a question asked.  There's no way to raise the kind of money we did that night

Proud that other conservation groups like Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited, Spokane Women on the Fly,  Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Spokane Riverkeeper, Spokane River Forum and Spokane Fly Fishers cam out to man booths and promote the event.  We're part of a community that gets the job done and I cant thank them enough.

Proud to have the volunteers and family step up to put on a showing that went about as well as I could have asked for.

In the end,  attendee's wallets were wide open and helped us gross over $7400 dollars.  In the end after expenses, $6000 will go to the Wild Steelhead Coalition to help continue our mission of recovery for wild steelhead across their range.

When I sat down near the end of the film in the back of the room to observe the crowd watching the film and it's great message, all I saw were backs of people's heads locked into the movie.   Nary a conversation,  people were spellbound and hopefully absorbing the information that Our Two Hands presented them with.

I believe we created more advocates that night.

And that's worth more to me than anything else.

Thank you.

Look for a summer tour of Our Two Hands, more info to come via the Bloodknots FB page

Monday, April 24, 2017

Swimming and Turkey Hunting Dont Mix

As we approached the property we had permission on, I noticed the telltale form of a gobbler in the corner of the field.  

It's on.

With OMR waiting in the truck, I began my stalk on the unsuspecting turkey

The field had not been hunted in the opening week because of the normal gently flowing creek that bisected the farmers field was a raging torrent.  Upon further inspection I found one way to cross it, shielded by a rise in the field so the turkey wouldn't event know I was there

A few hen calls and that baby should be rolling in on a string to meet it's end.  A perfect plan it was going to be


As I popped my head over the rise in the field, 10 whitetail deer which were unseen on the road busted me and ran right at the turkey.  As I'm watching this happen, I hear the truck's engine roar to life about 200 yards behind me.

"What in the hell is he doing" I think to myself as I stand up and begin to try and signal OMR that the hunt is over at that point.  He continues to back out of the old barnyard, to the pavement and then zooms away leaving me stranded frantically waving at him trying to figure out what in the hell he was doing.  

Now I know my father would never leave me, but it was such a strange move.  In all the years we've traipsed about the woods, I've never seen him up and drive off unannounced and off plan.

Did the landowner about face and come yell at him with out me knowing?

Was he having some medical emergency?

Was he possessed by Sasquatch's alpha brainwaves, rendering him certifiably nuts?

Hell if I knew.

Dejected at the failed stalk and somewhat nervous about why he left,  I began the walk back to the road thinking he may have just repositioned up on the road.  Now I was about 100 yards downstream of my initial creek crossing and in some strange line of thinking I thought I could just beeline it for the road and not go back to where I had crossed.

I gingerly began walking into the flooded portion of the field, taking time to asses each step and make sure I was taking a safe route through the creek's path

Then it happened.  One step I was fine, next step I fell off a cliff into a rushing hole of 10 foot deep water.

The rush of full submersion in icy water is no joke. Clutching my gun, I grabbed the opposite shore and drug myself out of the channel that wasn't more than 6 feet wide.  As I stood up, there was OMR returning to the barnyard.  He watched the whole folly in realtime himself

Scary, yes.  Stupid, yes.  

We met in the barnyard both yelling at each other at the same time

"What in the hell were you doing"

"Why in *&&^% did you drive off"

"Why didnt you cross where you crossed earlier"

"When have you ever just DRIVEN OFF"

Dad and I often yell at each other like brothers.  In this case, it was nervous energy on both sides of our predicament coming out in a colorful vocal display of displeasure.  

As I stripped off the drenched ice cold clothes, he explained to me he had just driven down the road a bit to get a better look at the field to see if the bird was coming in.  

Oh, so it wasnt Sasquatch's fault....

Assessing the damages, I had a wet gun, drenched clothing and ego.  

I always have extra clothing in my fishing bag.  Turkey hunting, nope. 

Thus, I had the misfortune of riding home in a old pair of camo hunting bibs and nothing else

That is a hot look. 

After the anger and confusion wore off 10 minutes down the road, I just started laughing.  Dad started smiled and then laughing as well.   There would be no turkey on this foray afield.  We got something better.  

A story for life. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Final Countdown....

6 days till showtime!

Next Thursday the doors will open at 6 to the Spokane premier of Our Two Hands from Bloodknots, and to say that I am excited is an understatement

The raffle and auction are set up to be the best we've ever had at our Spokane events.

In summary

5 guided fishing trips
2 rods
2 hand crafted nets
Dozens of hand tied flies
fly tying accessories
Lots of hats
Many, many many t-shirts

And amazing artwork like this from local Spokane artist Marcell Scott

There's more schwag coming every day, it's like Christmas daily here at Millsfly HQ.

Here's more info on the venue, the Lincoln Center,  for directional purposes

So see you next Thursday, it's going to be quite the party with the end goal of raising a lot of money for The Wild Steelhead Coalition.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Steelhead Country...Episode 4

Steelhead Country - Episode 4: Maximum Sustained Yield from Wild Steelhead Coalition on Vimeo.

Maximum Sustained Yield.

It might as well be a string of 4 letter words.

I have to hand it to the fish managers in Washington State.  They myriad of conflicts and stakeholders make their job next to near impossible, but the continued practice of MSY is cray zeeee.

Join the fight and sign the petition to bring them back at Steelhead Country today

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Weekend of Conservation

Nothing like meeting up with 1000 plus rabid public land advocates to get you fired up about keeping public lands in public hands.

The 2017 Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous is in the books and what a weekend it was.  Fast track networking, seminars, fundraising  for 3 days brought the noise.

I was given the opportunity to be a featured speaker for BHA Storytellers event at the Wilma Theater.

I can tell you there's nothing like hitting the stage with 800 or so folks looking back at you.  The nerves go next level when you realize you're about the only one without a TV show of your own.

What a weekend.  What a night.  What an organization to be a part of.

You know that feeling when you're in the right place, with the right people at the right time.  It was this past Saturday night.  The stories were hilarious, the mood was electric and the community was awesome.

Cant wait for Rendezvous 2018, slated to be in Boise, Idaho.

Join us in the public lands advocacy fight.  Join BHA today

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Steelhead Country Episode 3, The Hatchery Fix

Steelhead Country - Episode 3: The Hatchery Fix from Wild Steelhead Coalition on Vimeo.

Now we're getting juicy

Get more info, join the coalition of supporting businesses and organizationas and help us bring them back at the Steelhead Country web site

Monday, April 3, 2017

Free Spikes Or Soles From Korkers...

Korkers has a little something special for your upcoming set of boots

Pick up a pair of wading boots or wading cleats from any Korkers retailer and you'll receive a free sole or spike pack.

I have been exceedingly impressed with Korker's Darkhorse Boot.  Time and time again, my 6'8 and 280 pound frame puts outdoor gear to the test and this boot hasnt shown any signs of wear yet Additionally the Darkhorse is the most comfortable out of the box boot I've ever fished in

Get more details about Korkers April limited time offer HERE.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Two Hands Spokane Poster

Hope you can join us on April 27th at the Lincoln Center.  It's going to be one special night

Monday, March 20, 2017

Knowledge From Old to Young...

Keep the rod tip up.

When the fish goes to run, swim away....let him run.  Stop reeling

Keep the rod tip up

Keep the line tight, good job.

Let the fish run, dont horse him now.

Are you having fun, whoa that's a big fish!

No, you're reeling backwards, reel forwards.  No, the other forwards.

Ha,'re doing great

Keep the rod tip up!


If I've ever had a flashback in my life,  here it was.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

IF4 March 21st In Spokane

 March 21st in Spokane the Silver Bow Fly Shop is hosting the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) at the Garland Theatre in Northwest Spokane

It's that time of year when the lakes are still frozen, the rivers are blown out and you're just about willing to fish in a puddle so a night of killer fish porn just might be the medicine you need to get through a few more weeks of the dreaded shacknasty season

Pick up your tickets online or at the Silver Bow

See you there!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hey Seafood Watch, Why The Change?

Sure makes you cringe when you get text messages from a friend from the restaurant they're eating at in Portland.

Wild Steelhead on the menu.

Wild Steelhead from rivers that have lost a great deal of their run since 1980 and are worth 100 times more when they stay in the river

Wild Steelhead on the menu because Seafood Watch changed their designation for Olympic Peninsula Steelhead to a "good alternative"

Restaurant's and Chefs around the country depend on the industry watchdog to give recommendations on what stocks of fish to avoid, that are good to serve and which are from non sustainable sources

Seafood Watch has failed them in their designation change.  Flat out failed them.

And the seafood brokers who sell these fish and the restaurants and retailers like Whole Foods find it acceptable to aid and abide in putting these fish on the menu and on the shelves.

It's horse shit.

Watch the video for full details on why Wild Steelhead should never be a commercial food source.  Especially from rivers who have missed their minimum escapement goals year after year after year.

So back to Seafood Watch.   In the face of mountains of data that plead the case that these fish shouldnt be ok to serve and sell....they said it was ok.

The big question remains.  WHY?

If you agree that this designation change shouldnt be, join the Wild Steelhead Coalition in letting the good folks at Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium that this change should be rescinded.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Whole Video With Only 3 Fish?

Way of The Fish | Chromer Sport Fishing from Chromer Fishing on Vimeo.

And I think that's the point.

So much of what comes out fails to tell a story, relying on fish porn to make the impact.  While I am no prude when it comes to ogling at a fish or does dampen the feeling when it's non stop grip and grins.

Check out the soulful video from Chromer Sportfishing from their time in Steelhead Valhalla last fall. You're only going to see three fish the entire video but hey, it tells a hell of a story

While you're at it, take a peek at what Yos and his crew are doing with their additional expanded trips in and around Vancouver, BC all year round

Friday, March 3, 2017

FFC Explains Their Mission...

Fly Fishing Collaborative from Adventure Well on Vimeo.

Life's passion plus life's purpose equals a far reaching incredible impact

That's the best way that I can describe what the Fly Fishing Collaborative has been doing the past couple years.  By creating self sustaining fish and produce farms in conjunction with orphanages in the third world, over 1500 children have food to eat and are shielded from the devastating effects of human trafficking

Handy at the vice?  Maybe you too can be an instrument of change for people that need it.

Hats off to the FFC.  May there be more organizations like that use their passions to develop community that rallies together to bring more good into the world

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Struggle For The Snake, 1971 Edition

Originally posted on the Chum it appears that the lower 4 Snake River dams have been in question since the beginning

What strikes me is the exact same attitude that the builders of the dam had then mirrors what it is now.  In the face of opposition and science, they do what they want to do.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spokane Premier of Our Two Hands

Our Two Hands Kickstarter Campaign Teaser from BLOODKNOTS on Vimeo.

Man alive, I am fired up!

Join the Wild Steelhead Coalition April 27th for the World Premier of OUR TWO HANDS in Spokane at the Lincoln Center

Filmed and produced by Bloodknots, it's a film 3 years in the making that examines what's really going on in salmon and steelhead management

Here's the film description from the makers themselves

Society has an intimately complex and perilous relationship with salmon and steelhead. The current management paradigm has failed, and the status quo solutions for restoring impoverished wild populations have proven elusive. "Our Two Hands" is an examination of the underlying cause of this decline, as well as the innovative voices in the angling community and general public fighting for a wild fish future in the Pacific Northwest.

The event is going to be amazing.  We already have companies, craftsmen and guides lining up to donate to what's going to be a very robust raffle and auction all with the goal of raising a pile of cash for the Wild Steelhead Coalition.   If anyone has come to our events in the past when we've shown films the likes of Low and Clear and Waypoints you know it's going to be a great community building event that has everyone leaving smiling.

We are also partnering with other great conservation and community non profits like Save Our Wild Salmon, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited, Spokane Women On The Fly and more to give you ample groups to get to know and see how you can help them as well

Stayed tuned with the event by joining the Facebook Event Page as we will be updating it continually with added raffle items and groups joining in on the fun

Hope to see you there!