Monday, November 20, 2017

Boggans Burns To The Ground

It doesnt seem real

We were on another river chasing steelhead when we ran into a friend who immediately said...

"Boggans burned to the ground last night"

What the...

When our phones hit cell service the news was all across social media.  About 11pm on Saturday night the fire started and the iconic respit of weary travelers, river runners and steelhead junkies went down in flames. 


It flat out made me sick and doesnt feel real.  There for decades after decades, I myself had been going there for close to 18 years and began my steelhead journey right in that very spot.  I caught my first fish just around the corner from there and celebrated with a gigantic milkshake that the cafe was known for.


There's been so many times that we've wearily walked into the cafe before sunrise with it bustling with activity, full of would be anglers amped up on coffee and breakfast from Farrel's grill, waiting to meet their guides for the day.  Those morning pulsed with an energy like nowhere else

We've listened to ranchers talk about the cow business.  It was the first and only place I saw a real, legit cowboy walk in with sheepskin chaps and real actual spurs connected to his boots

So many shuttles paid for and received from.   Metric tons of steelhead and angling stories told.

We all felt Bill an Farrel's time was limited in the canyon as owners and operators of Boggans, but each year would turn and there they were continuing on the hard life of operating the oasis in the middle of nowhere.  Bill recovered from his horrific stroke a few years back and his classic sharpness and whit was right where it needed to be.  Farrel's smile was always looking back at you from the grill or the register.

Father time just kept marching on and the couple just kept opening their doors

It was like a given as the sun comes up.

That given, that sure thing is now gone.

It doesnt seem real, but it is. 

Goodnight Boggans Oasis

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

From Field To Fish

From field to fish, and the steps in between. 

Get out there and enjoy your time outside in the dirt and water.

Monday, November 6, 2017

DIY Waterfowl Bucket List in Montana

Looking for a place to go in Montana that's loaded with Geese and other waterfowl?

A place that you can do it D.I.Y. style?

I found your spot

PR Country Comforts in Forsyth, Montana.  Get there, 2018 dates are still available

My good buddy and all around elk killer Drew and his family run this working ranch that also doubles as an amazing waterfowl retreat.

Just off the Yellowstone river, the ranch is close to thousands of birds, both resident and the migratory honkers as they descend from Canada.

You can harvest up to 5 birds per day, the ranch is super affordable at just $56 bucks a night with a $200 minimum.  With that they have two full trailers full of blinds and decoys so you can travel light out to Montana to hunt.

Side note, if the weather is right it might be the perfect place to make a cast and blast trip.  The Big Horn River is just 2 hours away.  Limit out and then go fishing!

The more time I spend in a ground blind in Eastern Washington, listening to the birds circle overhead and my buddies call them in, the more I want to make this trip.  Hopefully it will happen soon

Get more info at PR Country Comfort's web site

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Fly Tapes...

This podcast has soul baby...

Fly fishing has some of amazing storytellers out there, and Jason Rolfe from Syzygy Fly Fishing has been doing a killer job of bringing the best of the best together over the last couple years with his Writers On The Fly Events

Now he's taken it a step further and given us the opportunity to hear from these great writers anytime we want with The Fly Tapes podcast series.

The first two sessions feature Dylan Tomine, who personally is one of my hero's in conservation and writing.  His book Closer To The Ground awoke in me a higher sense of connecting my outdoor activities to my plate and bringing my children along in a life that includes hunting, fishing, foraging and a lot less "screen time" if you know what I mean.

It's great content, give it a TRY

Lastly, the 2017 Writers On The Fly Cascadia Tour is coming up.  I highly suggest going to one of the live events if you can swing it

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cheap Sunglasses

Minutes after leaving Lewiston, I realized they were gone.  Crushed.  Rolled over by the back tired and splattered into a thousand tiny pieces

My new Costa sunglasses had inadvertently fallen out of the truck at a mid-trip rest stop and later we realized that the "pop" sound as we drove away wasn't a soda can, that was my glasses not standing up to the weight of a Nissan Titan.

Dejected, I went full ZZ Top and picked out some terribly cheap sunglasses at the last place I could acquire them before the fishing began.

I hate cheap sunglasses.

I really do.

The sun was in full effect and the glasses showed that 12 bucks was probably at least 11 dollars more than they cost to make.  I know, first world problems

Still, this isnt the first time this has happened to our fishing crew.  The same gas station sunnies produced a 3 fish day for a buddy who forgot his glasses at home

Maybe there is something to this in the world of karma?

Fifth or so cast into the first run and boom, a big time grab and go. 

10 minutes later, my muddler was slammed by this wild buck that took to the air 3 times

Ok then....

2 other grabs and one other hatchery fish to the bank for the day...

Maybe cheap sunglasses is where it's at?

God I hope not.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Our Two Hands West Coast Tour

One of the best films in steelhead and salmon conservation is coming to a town near you.

Our Two Hands from the creative team at Bloodknots is about to embark on a 8 city tour and if you're anywhere near any of those stops, I highly suggest you go.

Our Two Hands from BLOODKNOTS on Vimeo.

It's a beautiful film that gets to the point on how we're at the precipice of some irreversible damage to our foundational West Coast species and at the same time, offers hope to a new way to manage our resources

Link into the FB page of Bloodnots for event pages on each specific screening of the film

Additionally, the filmmakers have chosen the Wild Steelhead Coalition as a main benefactor of many of the stops on the tour.   They've done a amazing job at supporting wild fish conservation and a big thank you goes their way first for the film and second to supporting groups like the WSC.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Spokane Anti-Pebble Mine Rally

This damn mine has more lives than 10 cats

Thanks to the morally corrupt administration and EPA head Scott Pruitt, the shuttered plans to create the biggest open pit mine are now alive again.  Yeah, that mine. 

The one that threatens the fishery in Bristol Bay. 

The ecosystem that 49 million salmon were sustainably harvested in last fishing season. 

The rivers and creeks that sustains dozens of lodges, jobs and fishing economy

The land and water that is sacred to local native groups who've roundly rejected the possibility of this mine

It turns out that a small gift has dropped in our lap, with Pebble Mine CEO John Shively will be in Spokane Tuesday afternoon speaking to a mining group and it's time to voice our opinion of his mine.

I've never been to Bristol Bay.  I've never fished the Kvichak, Naknek, Nushagak, or Alagnak, but I'll be damned to sit by on the sidelines knowing that they could be destroyed with this mine

As we've always said, it's the wrong mine in the worst possible place

So join Tuesday afternoon as we peacefully and respectfully voice our opinions at Shively's speech.  Directly after we will be showing Red Gold, the award winning documentary from Felt Soul Media that shows just what we stand to loose.

Here's the link to the FB EVENT, hope to see you Tuesday night.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

North 40 Emag Goes Big

The North 40 Fly Shops have really stepped up their game in their newest edition of their emag

Greg Thomas from Anglers Tonic has joined their team as editor in chief and you'll see some great content from George Cook,  Marty Shepard, David Moscowitz, Dave McCoy and others who have killer pieces

Take a peek at Moscowitz's piece on this year's periled Columbia River steelhead run.   It sheds great light on what's really going on.

All in all, it's full of flat out great content and photography.   Check it out.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Speak Up for Idaho Steelhead

A bit of your time is needed, pretty please.  TODAY.

If you fish for steelhead in Idaho, or in the Columbia/Snake/Clearwater drainages for that matter, you need to take action today to maintain this year's catch and release regulations on this year's terrible A and B run returns

A month ago, fishery managers in Idaho felt strongly enough that they proactively instituted a C and R  only season on the Clearwater and connecting basins.  Now that the run has been upgraded from apocalyptic to shitty, shitty, shitty.....they feel it's ok to open a catch and kill season

The biggest issue are the B-Run wild fish.  There's a tragic amount forecasted back to the Clearwater, some say less than 1200 wild fish.  In a state that continues to allow for barbs, bait and wild fish out of the water, the impact on the tiny amount of wild returns is far too great to allow for a catch and kill season

Opponents to the C and R season say that it's causing undo economic impact on the local communities.  People wont go unless they can take a fish home.

I call bullshit.  Run your trips C and R.  Sell the experience, show prudence in fish handling.  Teach anglers about what a unique resource we have and that this year needs extra TLC.

If we keep kicking the B Run fish in the nuts, they're going to go away.  Forever. 

In the meantime, we have exactly 1 day to get your voices to the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners.

Follow the link to submit your comments.  Keep the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake systems C and R this year.

Friday, October 6, 2017

When You Think Your Hot Stuff...

Well hell, didnt I think I was hot shit

Circa 2006 on a freezing day on the Grande Ronde.   There was icebergs rolling down the river and I was convinced that we weren't going to find anything that day

You'd make a cast and think your bugs were in the zone, only to find them sitting on a a chunk of frozen water.   It was a hell of a day.

Towards the end of the day, we sat on an island dejected.   Finally I looked up and noticed how the ice would pile up, giving you a brief moment to cast and sink the bugs.

I have to tell you, it's interesting to fight a big hatchery fish as it slices through the iceburgs

Extra points for the moose knuckle I'm sporting

We all have our past.  It's best to just look back and laugh.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bucket List Article...

I've read the Drake for a dozen or so years now, and I've always thought...

One day, one day....I'm going to be in that magazine.

A bucket list item of sorts, we all have to have our goals that drive our craft.  Weight lifters  and runners have their PRs,  steelhead fisherman who  search for that 40 inch buck, so on and so forth.

In the process of writing this piece on the Spokane River, what I really learned is that it's the community that you surround yourself with that will drive or hinder your development.  Like the 10 year old playing basketball with the junior high kids, I was fortunate to have the council of other great writers  and advisors that I look up to as this article took on it's final incarnation. 

The emails to fellow writers who suggested some great edits

The collaborators and photographers like Michael Visintainer who bring the words to life with his images

My friends and fellow Spokane River enthusiasts who gave me great quotes and insight to really bring the pieces together.

And most importantly, the editor who gave me a shot.

Writing the article was the easy part.  Assembling the right people in my life has taken years and that  what I am most proud of.

Friday, September 29, 2017

About Dam Time...

Another reminder that Cathy McMorris Rodger's House Resolution 3144 is bad, bad, bad, bad bad for the Snake River System.

It's bad for the fish

It's ecosystem

It's economic development

You know what it's good for?

A handful of special interests that have the Congresswoman's ear.

If you're interested in spending another 15 billion over 20 years in Salmon and Steelhead mitigation costs, with no real recovery in sight?  It's the bill for you!

If you're interested in kicking the can down the road for the next 5 or so years with no attention go increased in reservoir temps, poorer juvenile salmonid health while in river, reduced springtime spill, and continued downward trends in wild stocks, it's the bill for you!

If you're down with subverting a NEPA public comment process, basically saying that the 400,000 public comments are worthless?  Sign yourself up to this legislation.

If you're happy with re-instituting a Columbia River Biological Opinion that's been federally invalidated 5 times by more than one judge.  Boom, get you some of this action.

I, on the other hand believe that this bill is really bad.  Check it out, as I think you'll have a mind to agree

It's time to #FREETHESNAKE

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Day With Dad...

Lets spout the cliches....

It was good to just be out there.

A bad day fishing is better than any day working

They're a fish of a thousand casts.

That's why they call it fishing, not catching.

We should have been there yesterday

and so on and so on.

Spending the day fishing 3 great steelhead rivers in that day made for a great day.  We didnt catch anything except for OMR's brief hookup and extra long distance release.   I think I had a grab but who knows, maybe it was a rock.

We ate bad gas station hotcase food.  We made fun of each other.  We discussed life and kids.

We second guessed our choices of runs, rivers and flies.

We snuck in a few beers and maybe a pull of whiskey. 

We started the day and ended the day in the dark

It was a hell of a day with dad.

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.