Monday, December 31, 2012

Poetic Waxing About 2012, Or Maybe Not....

Time for me to wax poetically about another year in the books right?

Yes, it was another great year on this little ol' planet of ours.  We saw a lot of water and a lot of fish, I watched my family grow and felt ever so more comfortable in my path in life.

Yes I have an amazing wife who knows when I get that look in my eye I need to go find some flowing water.  Really, how many dudes with a crazy 2 year old boy get the opportunity to get lost in BC for 10 days.  Not many.

Speaking of the little guy, I think I am raising an O'doyle.  No matter, I love it, cant get enough of my ginormisauras.

I got another year of chasing fish with OMR.  72 and still outfishes most.

Attending IFTD in Reno opened my eyes a little more to our great industry, of which I am thankful for my little outpost in it.

More than anything, I am happy that after 500 or so posts in 4 years, there are people around to read, comment and think about what I am throwing down here.  Much appreciated there folks, much appreciated.

Here's to a great 2013.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Dogs Think We're Nuts....

You ever get the feeling that our dogs think we're crazy?

I imagine that if they could talk, it would go something like this....

"Ahh, guys...what the hell.  It's cold as hell outside and your standing in the water for hours and you havent thrown me a stick in god knows how long.  All there is to keep me from leaving your butt right here is the occasional dead sucker or decomposing salmon.  I think I'll roll around in the sucker for a bit just to remind you that your not paying attention to me"

"And by the way, if you'd listen up, you'd hear the covey of Chuckars up that hillside.  Dont try and fake me out by bringing a shotgun and then not going bird hunting.  I am a hunting dog remember....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Success in Reverse...

Gots to celebrate a bit, right?  Looking back through the pictures from another successful day out chasing what we love to chase the most, it still amazes me that this dood is 72, bad knee and ankle and still out-fishes about 95% of us.  Sure he has his skunks like anyone, but when the chips are down and you need a fish....dont count out the mojo of OMR.

After the tussle and bustle....the reward is in hand.  Another absolute stunner of a wild fish and although this picture doesn't show it

How in the hell did the fish see the bug?

OMR running down the man.

Hooked up.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Swinging With Flasks, Volume 2...

Sent in from loyal reader Gerald Cook...looks like a day on the winter steelhead grounds is warmed nicely with a little bit of fine whiskey.

Stay warm and stay safe!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Picture Of The Year...

When I look back on 2012 and the year we had, from a fishing perspective, this is the photo that will have defined the year.

Another year to share with OMR and our friends.  Another year of early wake up calls, monosyllabic grunts and talks as we sped towards our water of choice and hoots and hollers as someone in the crew hooked up

Our trip to the Skeena system left us wanting more and a desire to come back.  The people and the land left an indelible mark on us forever.

Our year was fun, filled with amazing stories, hilarious bloopers and a few other happenings that probably should stay out of the written word to protect the innocent. haha!

So why is this the picture of the year?

It showcases the bond between my father and I.  It shows how much we're willing to go to fish for these ocean runs.

More than anything, look at this fish.....a perfect specimen.  Cleaner than clean with perfect angular fins that show that this fish is wild born and bread.  Also, this is a monster for the river it was caught on.  They dont get much bigger in this system.

My only regret is that I didnt catch it, OMR did.  On the swing.  In 37 degree water.

I will gladly play the role of gille any day

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Andy's First Steelhead...

I couldn't be happier for a good friend of mine.  He was finally rewarded.

You see Andy is about as a proficient trout angler as you'll find.  I've watched him dissect hatches and catch the un-catch-able trout. 

Steelhead on the other hand, drive him nuts.  Time after time they've given him the middle finger, causing him to loose faith and almost abandon the sport of steel.

Each fall and winter, he gets all psyched up enough to try it again.  Trip after trip....he repeats the line

"I'd rather cross I-90 at rush hour blindfolded and naked before I go steelhead fishing again"

He was batting a flat ZERO for landed steelhead in his lifetime.

With trout fishing, there is a rhyme and a reason why a fish eats.  They've keyed in a specific bug, a specific stage of that bug, so on and so forth.   Steelhead on the other hand....well there is no rhyme or reason.  They just eat, or they dont

And that fact is why Andy was so frustrated by steelhead....yet each year he musters up the courage to go get after it again.

Finally on Thursday afternoon I got the text....

"3-4 today, lost a monster"

The best rewards take work, don't they?

5 Steps to Winter Steelheading Warmth...

Step 1--Cast large fly into large river, mend

Step 2--Mend again

Step 3--Reach into breast pocket, grab flask

Step 4--Unscrew flask while completing the swing...hope for a grab on the dangle.

Step 5--Repeat if necessary

Step 5 is usually repeated a gazillion times during the day....albeit not always with a flask in your hand, that would be dangerous.

That being said, fine whiskey on a cold winter day makes the monotony of fishless casts a lot more warm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Sacred Headwaters Are Safe!!!

Oh happy day.  The good guys won, and won big.

I have only spent a week in that area of the world but was deeply touched by the rugged beauty of the land and rivers that encompass the Skeena Watershed.  Fishing aside, there's a quality and richness about it that is undeniable.

I awoke this morning with emails coming from my host on the Skeena, Shannon Mcphail with the announcement that a decision had come down and she and all that have worked tirelessly to stand up to Dutch Royal Shell all had their dancing shoes on.

The Sacred Headwaters are now protected into perpetuity.

This is the culmination of a decade of defiance of government and a MAJOR gas and oil company by as Shannon puts it "a rag tag bunch of hooligans"  It's inspiring to hear the news, it's inspiring to get to know the people who really in no uncertain terms, did the unthinkable.

I would be remiss to mention that non of this could have happened without the coordinated efforts of the Tahltan Nation.  The Sacred Headwaters is the birthplace of their clan and tribes, and without their rock solid stance...nothing would have gone as far as it did

This decision gets me thinking.....

Could this be the precedence that is needed to shut down the proposed Pebble Mine, as well as the Enbridge Pipeline?

We need gas.  We need oil.  But there are places that should be left alone, forever.  

Learn more about this decision at

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top7 Reasons You'll Love the Redington's Form Game Rod

The Redington Form Game Rod....gawd this little guy is fun.

Here are the top 7 reasons why this fly rod practice tool should be part of your arsenal.

1.  How often do you practice your casting in the house, only to look like a pantomiming idiot because there's nothing in your hands?  For me, that answer is A LOT.  Now you can cast the length of the living room with a legit fly rod

2.  The size of the rod and length of the line make it a great teaching tool for adults and children

3.  It will drive your cat or nutty Labrador absolutely nuts.  Cast and retrieve, play the cat as if it was a jumbo brown trout.  Release and send back on it's way.

4.  The 30 ft fly line loads the rod so you'll feel like you're actually casting a normal fly rod

5.  Get back to camp from fishing and now you have a way to determine who is the more accurate caster.

6.   Perfect to teach kiddo's on.

7.   It's wicked tiny.   Cast in your home to your hearts content without breaking the tip on the ceiling or getting the line caught in your wife's hair.

With Christmas rapidly approaching, you can thank me later for saving the day by suggesting that this may or may not be a heck of a gift to put under the tree.

Happy indoor casting...errr, wait.  Dont tell my wife.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Promont Outdoor Winners...

In the interest of keeping things on the up and's the screen shot of the random number puller thingy that prevents me from randomly picking my friends for our contests

For the Promont Outdoors

The three winners are in name

1st Place--Brett Angel, you win the Czech Yourself Hoodie

2nd Place--Ryan Bailey, your head will be covered by THIS

3rd Place, Mike Ediger, here's something awesome to dry your FLIES

Thanks to everyone who participated and entered the contest. 

Merry Christmas, and as Promont says, BE THERE!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Strong Work--The Big Hole Watershed Committee

I have two distinct memories of the Big Hole.

First was of our first major Montana Fly Fishing trip in 2004.  We rented a cabin, trucked across three states, tried our hands at rowing a hard boat down the river in August (terrible idea btw, especially as rookies on the sticks) for 3 days and literally got our asses handed to us.

Sure a few fish were caught, but clearly we had some learning to do.  In any case, I knew I couldn't wait to get back

For the second memory, fast forward a few years and my good buddy the Vanilla Gorilla was kind enough to invite us to his wedding on the banks of that glorious river.   After a few days of kicking around Twin Bridges fishing the holy waters that collide there, we joined the wedding party in setting up for the wedding on a private ranch with a mile's worth of Big Hole access.

Those 4 hours before the wedding were pure magic.  The Big Hole showed me a glimpse of what a world class trout river is all about

Rainbows and browns crushed the phat bugs we chucked and just before the wedding began, a special surprise and the representation of what the Big Hole Watershed Committee is working for....

The Big Hole Watershed Committee is the leader in watershed restoration in the Big Hole Valley. 

Water is gold in SW Montana, and there are many that put in claims on the water.  Ranchers, Farmers, Fishermen and Women, Homeowners, and the list goes on.

In 1988, the Big Hole ran dry for 35 days and caused fish stocks to suffer dearly, including the famous yet small population of Grayling.  Water rights conflict and drought brought the river system to it's collective knees.

For the river system to remain viable for decades to come, it all comes down to adequate flows and a good management plan.  That's where the BHWC comes in, and if you're searching for a place for where your money can do some actual kick ass boots on the ground work, here it is.

If you've ever dropped a line into the water, or hope to someday in the future and want to know it's protected, donate to the BHWC.

Learn more as they're in a fundraising push and need everyone's help.

Visit the BHWC web site and donate NOW.

The fish, the ranchers, the fisherman and the entire Big Hole Valley will thank you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Living Grass--Fall River Fly Rod Review

The glory that is the origins of our sport

Split cane started and continues to be the backbone of fly fishing.  With the majority of fly rods on the marketed as technological wonders that make you cast farther and your male parts stronger longer (ha, kidding) it was a joy to cast a contemporary bamboo fly rod that made me stop, slow down and smell the fly fishing roses.

Way back in February, I was selected to be a part of the Outdoor Blogger Network Fall River Fly Rods blogger tour.  15 lucky buggers would get the opportunity to wiggle, cast and fish a beautiful 8 ft 5 wt, that is paired with a Montana Fly Co's Madison II fly reel and a Rio 5wt LT trout series line

In short, this set up is amazing.

The order of who got the rod was completely random.

And random bit me in the butt.  I am last in the tour and by the leather bound journal that accompanied this beauty across the country several times, other's have tasted on water success with the Fall River Fly Rod in their hands. 

None the less, I can imagine what it would be like to be on the St Joe or the North Fork of the Clearwater tossing small PMD's or bushy Stimulators with this piece of living grass.  It's built not like your grandfather's bamboo...all wobbly and such.  No no, it's fairly fast and responsive, but responds to the forward casting stroke that behaves better when you slow it down a bit and let the craftsmanship of rod bend and flex, expressing the energy you as the caster put into the bamboo.

The wraps are beautiful.  The guides are beautiful.  The finish is beautiful

I sound like a 12 year old school girl.

But alas, I was reduced to casting on another form of grass.  My trout rivers were blown, the Spokane River trout thumb their noses to dry flies 97% of the time and any free time I get this time of year, I chase steelhead.

I still cant get it out of my head out fun this stick would be to use as cutthroat rise continually on a warm summer day.

That combo would be lights out.

There is hope.  The powers that be at the Outdoor Blogger Network are giving this set up away to one of the lucky 15. 

So do me a favor, send me some good juju, and somehow I will pay you all back.

Until then!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Latah Creek...

I drive across this little stream every day on my way to work.  It hides a past of extreme productivity and now bears the burden of dams and agriculture.

Latah Creek, likely named from the Nez Perce word for "fish" was once a very important natal stream for salmon and steelhead reproduction.

It's other name, Hangman Creek also denotes a past of violence as in 1854 a band of Palouse Indians were hung along the banks of the creek.  Growing up in Spokane, that's the name everyone knew it by and only recently did the official name revert to it's more PC name.

Still, I look at this little ditch with a tinge of sadness.  The Upper Columbia system was built for salmon and steelhead. 

Livingston Stone, the United States Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, wrote in his 1885 annual report about his observations of the Spokane River fishery in 1883:

“The Spokane always has been famous as a salmon River … Indians from all quarters assemble in the fall on this river and at the mouth of the Little Spokane to get their winter’s stock of salmon.”

This little creek that I drive over now takes an onslaught of silt from the wheat fields and agricultural lands to the south where it's headwaters originate.  Huge sandbanks, and I mean HUGE sit at the termination point with the Spokane River.  Its absolute quicksand and blows out the Spokane River for miles on a hard spring rain or in runoff. 

It's easy to think about how fish jammed up the big brawling Columbia River, then into the Spokane River and finally into this little creek.  The creek was the sanctuary they needed to reproduce, along with the Little Spokane and various other streams in the system.

Now, it's a ditch with zero salmon, steelhead and very few trout.  It runs super hot in the summer and stays a variable color of brown year round. 

As we work to restore this creek and others like it, my motivation to help comes from the thought of what was.  Our efforts to get it back to what was may never fully happen but its always better than what is, right now

There are hundreds if not thousands of these little creeks across this country.  What are you doing to see they stay healthy and or are recovering to their former glory?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Promont Outdoors--Scavenger Hunt Time!!

There's something to say about a start-up that gets me all jacked up to help them out.

Innovation doesn't always come from fortune 500 companies.  Innovation and great work comes from passion, and that's what Weston Paul , owner of Promont Outdoors  is all about.

Their apparel and products aren't groundbreaking and of new technology, but driven by a guy and a family who have a vision of where they wants to go with it in the future.  Start small and build it up and when they're recommended to me by my boys at Detonation Studios, I know they're a story worth telling here on my space on the interwebz

Here's their ditty on what they're all about:

We officially launched Promont Outdoors in January 2012 with the hope of bringing some unique gear and lifestyle wear to the outdoor industries that we love – fly fishing, hunting, skiing … the list is long. 

With the birth of our first child, we found ourselves rethinking what is really important in life. 

Yes – Montana provides us with more outdoor activities than we have time for, but life isn’t just about the thrill of adventure – it is about people and relationships and striving to make a difference. 

This venture has been in the making for quite some time and we are dedicated to providing you with quality gear and clothing that we know you will enjoy and benefit from.

I think I need that hoodie

To help you get to know Promont, we've got a little scavenger hunt for you to go on with some great prizes at the end.  Here you go:

Questions 1-3, you can find your answers on the Promont Outdoors web site

1.  What state is the Promont Fly Patch patterned after?

2.  When was the company founded?

3.  What's the phrase on their Hoodie?

From their FACEPAGE

1.  What instrument is the company founder's son playing?

2.  What other activity is Promont active in?

3. What did the Promont crew use to harvest their christmas tree?

This contest ends Friday December 15th, send your entry to the contest to
JMILLS81 at hotmail dot com  (sorry spam bots!)

Winners drawn via random number generator to keep it all fair and stuff.....

Here are the prizes

1st--Check Yo Self Hoodie

2nd--Flexfit Hat

3rd--Promont Fly Patch

So get on it....send in your entry and GOOD LUCK!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Detonation Studios IF4 Submission--The Last Salmon Forest

The Last Salmon Forest IF4 selection from Detonation Studios on Vimeo.

When IF4 comes a knocking in your local area this upcoming guess is that you'll be below away at this submission from Detonation Studios

Learn more today about the amazing place they call the Last Salmon Forest.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Millsfly and The Silver Bow Fly Shop Present...Low and Clear

February 19th, you have plans.

The Millsfly and Silver Bow Fly Shop's 2nd Annual Film Benefit for the Wild Steelhead Coalition is on again and this year's film looks amazing

Low and Clear's trailer hit the Fly Fishing Film tour in 2011 and I knew this was going to be a special film.  After a successful kickstarter campaign to get the distribution in order, the film is out and I have heard nothing but glowing reviews.

More than fish porn, it tells a very unique story that applies to more than just fishing.

This year's event will again be at the Lincoln Center of Spokane.  Great parking, great viewing space and a full bar will be available.

And the real reason you're coming.  The gigantic schwag pile that is growing by the day

Waders, Boots, Hand Painted Artwork, Rods, Reels, Guided Trips (lots), Shirts, Stickers....on and on and on.  In the first week I have been amazed at the industries willingness to help. 

The money raised will go to the Wild Steelhead Coalition with funds specifically designated to East of the Cascades work on salmon and steelhead restoration. 

Last year we netted over $2,000 in our showing of Confluence Films' Connect. 

I have no reason why we cant make it more this year....but you need to be there to make it happen!

Join the open Facebook Group for the screening to keep updated and to watch the raffle items fly on in.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fish Onnnnn....Oh Hell!

All day long, I wanted to get Wayne from Maine in to a swimming rocket.  Twice at this run earlier in the morning I watched success snatched from his hands when fish took and unbuttoned all in the span of 5 minutes.

Dont ask him about the Bill Dance Bassmaster Trout Set on the first fish that may or may not have took the fly out of the steelhead's mouth.  Pay no attention to that.

With a scant 15 minutes of light left in the day, we returned to this run and gave Wayne the jump.

There's a point on this piece of water where you go around the corner and the people above you cant see you any more as the rocks screen you out of view.  Just about when he had dissapeared, two glorious words ran out, loudly.


Those words cause a beautiful succession of chaos that every steelhead fisherman knows.  A quick reel up and sprint down the shore to go help.  OMR continued to fish in the hopes of the elusive double.   I tried to chronicle the moment and stopped mid run to take the picture above, hoping that it would be the first of a lively series of pictures.

I hit the beach and I am thinking to myself, "wow, Wayne's realy put the wood to this's almost to the shore"

Then he says...

What the hell is that?

followed by

Oh shit.....damn it!

I just burst into laughter.....and the reason why?

He caught the anti-steelhead.

When a 5 pound sucker gets side hooked and takes line off your reel, it's an easy stretch to think it's a steelhead.

Oh hell, to another day of fishing.  We'll continue to laugh about this one for a while!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take A Kid Hunting--4 Generation's of Cooks

Austin Cook's first pheasant...

Take a kid Hunting.  It's said all the time and it's beautiful to see happen and or in this case, in word and picture form.

My youth afield with OMR was foundational in the way I view the world, my family and my father.  My guess is that if more sons and daughters got the experience of young Mr Cook recently had, we wouldnt have the volume of problem our society has

Enjoy this guest blog post from friend Gerald Cook as 4 generations of Cooks converge an epic moment in a father and son's lives.


Family Tradition
If I’ve read it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Take a youth hunting… Share our tradition… Introduce a child to the outdoors.” Thanks, Field & Stream. I appreciate it, DU. That’s a good idea. It’s a great idea – admirable, even.
If my dad hadn’t taken me into an alfalfa field when I was 12 years old I wouldn’t be a Hunter today. I also wouldn’t have stood awe-struck with a 20-guage at my hip and my mouth gaped open as a Northern Illinois cock pheasant flushed at my feet and my dad laughed, either, but that’s a story for another time. With 27 years of hindsight and almost as many hunting seasons under my belt, I now think the sage advice “take a youth hunting” might rank up there with “just say no.” Outdoor companies may need to partner with Nike so they can legally follow “Take a youth hunting” with “Just Do It.” Now we’re getting the picture.
In 2011 I finally heeded the advice and took a youth hunting: my son. At 12 years old it was “time” to introduce The Boy to the fields. He had already shouldered a shotgun and fired on clays dozens of times. He was responsible, smart, excited, and above all, safe. He was also stepping into a priceless new tradition. His first hunt would take place in Kansas with me and my dad. For the first time, three generations of Cooks would be astride in the field chasing roosters and hoping for another first: The Boy’s first pheasant.
Did I say three generations? I’m sorry, I meant four. You see, my late grandfather’s Belgium-made Browning A5 20-guage shotgun was also in the field that day. Purchased through the mail in the 1950s, Grandpa finally got his dream gun. He carried it for years and was the only hunter in his family hunting group to consistently shoot doubles. Handed down to my father and now to me, that old A5 had dropped birds for three generations and I couldn’t help but think we were carrying a piece of Grandpa with us that day. We later learned that the gun was actually manufactured in 1930, so its unknown and untold stories of familial hunting may even predate our experiences.
Regardless of the gun’s age, one thing is sure: Grandpa’s gun rarely missed. Dad is money with the old humpback. I’m dangerous with the heirloom and have to pause writing this to remember if I’ve ever missed with it on my shoulder… maybe. You’ll never know. Like Grandpa, the gun is easy to carry with you, dependable, and willing to provide a memory. Anyway, back to The Boy’s introduction.
We walked the first field and I almost doubled over with laughter when The Boy stood in half-panic as his first rooster exploded before him. I caught myself though  and remembered my own experience as I caught Dad’s glance and suddenly understood: Yes, it’s funny, but it’s more than that. It’s why you take a youth hunting – instant addiction. The Boy didn’t even shoot during that first walk, but he was all in.
We walked the second field where Dad and I shot a few birds before magic struck. Late in the walk I heard the rooster flush. I watched The Boy fire. I saw the ringneck fall. Suddenly I was that 12-year-old boy in the alfalfa field again. I stood awestruck with a gun at my hip and my mouth gaped open. As I watched The Boy collect his first pheasant I saw my dad on the other side of him and the pride started to swell. He had done it. We had done it. In one beautiful frame on the Kansas prairie I saw my dad, my son with his first bird… and Grandpa’s A5 in his hand. Count it four generations who have bagged birds with Grandpa’s dream gun.
I’ll spare you my flush of emotion and the thousands of times I’ve replayed that scene in my mind. I’ll simply leave you with this, and I mean it: Take your youth hunting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Casting a Voice--Skeena Watershed Protection

Listen to the voices in this video.

They're on the ground, they're in the water, they know what they're talking about

I made my first trip to this glorious land and the unrelenting beauty of the land and the people who live there just doesn't stop.   We should all do a little bit to ensure that it's there for our children to experience.

Just knowing it's there, nature in it's raw form is a wonderful thing to this humble little blogger.

Dont you feel the same way?

Get more info by visiting the Skeena Watershed web site.

Donate some bones, share the video, get to know what they're facing up there and you will soon realize that beyond the Pebble Mine, there's no other greater place we need to take a stand against interests that hope to extract from some of the most sensitive ecological zones left in the planet.  This is not to mention the plans that Enbridge wants to run a pipeline from the interior out to the coast directly over and along the Morice/Bulkley/Skeena system.

Makes a lot of sense, doesnt it????

Get on it folks, get on it!

Stuffed Into a Burrito...A Lesson in Remembering Your Gear

Before every day out, I methodically check my gear the night before, and recheck it about 10 times before I go to bed

Waders...check.  Rods...check.  Gearbag...check.  So on and so forth

So when I opened up the back of OMR's truck and as we sorted out the equipment to fish the first run of the day, my jaw hit the ground.

No boots, no gear bag.

Oh shit.  oh sheeeeeeeet.

The F bombs rattled off the canyon walls as i moved into triage mode to find out if I was going to be able to fish or relegated to the shore to drink beer and take pictures.

Nobody had another reel with a skagit head to fit my Thomas and Thomas 1307, but one item would save the day.

The night before, I told my dad to throw in his old neoprene waders because my breathables were leaking.  How prophetic that I then got to experience the joy of feeling like a stuffed burrito

My god how awkward are those things are.  I'm thankful that wader technology has advanced but on this day, I would have worn anything that let me fish....and that they did

Second stop on the triage tour was assembling a line combination on a spare reel that would work enough to get the line in the water.

You know how they say that scandi heads aren't fun to cast with sink tips?  Well, that is very true.  10ft of T-14 on the head wasn't fun.  Truly it was a miracle that we had a spare head at all so I could fish.

Beyond being stuffed into a burrito sack and fishing the wrong gear.....

It was a hell of a day and somewhere, some deity took pity on me and gave me a gift

Moral of the story?  You're going to forget key items of gear.  It will happen.

But find a way to just keep fishing and good things will  happen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Return To The Biomass...

Ocean protein delivered inland and now returning to the biomass.  Now the cycle goes on as this life ends and is the base for so many in the future.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pheasant Macros....

The beauty of the bird is in the small intricate detail in each feather and feather pattern.  Every pheasant is a little bit different in their coloration and each one gives off different hues of color.

So sit back and enjoy the detail and beauty of some recent shots afield.

Orange to red to pink all in one set.

Each fiber radiates color.

After years in the field, this old boy finally is outwitted by a dog that knows how to root them out. 

More to come!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Farmland Relics...

The stories these machines could tell.

Coming from a bygone era, they're left to rot in the spot they died.   Weeds hide the hard work and toil that families poured into the land in their fight to push forward with progress.  Some won, some lost, some got new equipment.

We're constantly finding these machines tucked away on our pheasant grounds that we walk each fall.  Bailers, combines, tillers and other assorted machinery dot the land and provide habitat for the quarry of our chase.  Ever flushed a rooster in the remnants of an old combine?  It's an experience to say the least.

If you think about it, the pheasants are relic's themselves.  Product of another era itself, they struggle to maintain their foothold in the face of farm practices that become more and more efficient each year.  

Thank goodness for the glacial floods that created the channeled scablands of of Eastern and Central Washington that created the nooks and crannies that the relics of farmlands past and future cannot touch.

They both make Fall so very, very interesting.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Walking On a Dream--New Video from Evolution Anglers

Great piece of moving pictures from Joe at Evolution Anglers.

There's a reason why Montana kicks ass in the fall.   This film show's it well

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Man and His Beast....

The ducks played hop scotch with us, darting to ponds where we weren't.  Occasionally, one would buzz the tower and flare just outside of shooting range.

With waterfowling, it's either on, or very off.  There's not much in between.

Thousands of geese trumpeted around us bound for cut grain fields and it seemed that the big duck squadrons were truck and trailer with them.

Not to worry, a few quakers fell into the game bag but more than anything, it was great to watch my buddy Doc K worth with his hunting pup, Chloe.

The relationship between a man and his beast is a special thing to see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gear Review--Sage ONE Spey Rod 8126-4


First things first....let's call out the 800 pound gorilla.

The number one thing I heard about this stick was the name.  The One.

Oh good gawd, seriously.  Is it thing used by cast members of the Matrix Trilogy?  Come on!

After casting it for a solid week, I could give a rip.  Call it monkey poo, call it whatever, this is one hell of a fly rod.

On my trip to the holy land of the Skeena system this past September, I put this rod to the test.  Hour after hour after hour I changed lines, changed sink tips, rigged up different flies of different weights and it didnt matter, it handled everything.

I am of the opinion that if you're going to fork out the cheddar for one of these sticks, it better be able to do a little bit more than one adaptation of the spey game. 

This "one" does.

Here are my top 6 reasons why I dug this fly rod.

1.  As stated before, it threw everything with ease.  The 12'6 8wt that I had the chance to play with threw drylines and skagit style lines pretty damn well.  Scandi with a polyleader or a skagit head with 12ft of matter it just goes.

2.  It's lite and crisp.  Load it up and let it rip and watch what it does to the running line in your hands.  It goes bye bye.

3.  Sage's warranty is great.  You drop the dough, know that they back up their product

4.  Fast but progressive action.  Casting just the head or a pile of line, the stick loads it up. 

5.   It's offered in 3 different handle styles.  If you spey cast, you have your favorite.  At least there's options here

6.  After 5 straight days of spey casting,  I wasnt worn out.  I have a few other rods that I love, but can feel it after a single day out.  This "one", naaaa so much.

What would I change if I was Sage----?

I thought a long time about this.  The technology is well beyond my knowledge base, so I cant attest to that.   

The one thing that I believe Sage has to be careful is with it's price.  The march of the industry continues to push the price points up.  At some point, there will be a tipping point where customer base will say no and move on to other options.

With that said, I have zero hesitation saying that if you have the means, then get this rod in your hands and make it an option when you're buying your next spey rod.   If I had a stamp of approval, this double handed rod would certainly have it.

Check out Sage's complete lineup of One Double Handed spey rods by clicking HERE

Happy casting and catching!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Free Fly Apparel Review and Scavenger Hunt

Most. Comfortable. Shirt. Ever.  

I am not joking, at all.

Recently I was given the opportunity to test and review the Bamboo Tech Long Sleeve  t shirt from
Free Fly Apparel and all I have to say

I met the Free Fly Apparel crew at the IFTD showcase in Reno this past summer and was very, very impressed with the look and feel of their offerings. 

Simple and understated imbedded with real functionality. Made of a bamboo and polyester blend, it's next level comfortable and most impressive is the odor resistant property of the fabric.   As a smelly dude, I find that a high value entity.

To help you out there on the interwebz get to know Free Fly ,we've set up a little scavenger hunt with PRIZES that you all will like.

Before you start, want to know the prizes?

3rd Place--Free Fly Trucker Hat

2nd Place--Free Fly Buff

3rd Place--so you can be just like me, the Bamboo Tech Long Sleeve T Shirt.

So here's the game.  Here's five questions you to answer about Free Fly Apparel and all the info you need is on their web site.  Send your emails to jmills81 at hotmail dot com by this coming Friday the 16th.  All correct responses will be put in a hat and winners will be randomly drawn.  Good luck!

1.  What percentage of the t shirts are bamboo?

2.  Where is Free Fly based out of?

3.  What is their charity of choice?

4.  What social media buttons do they feature on their web site?

5.  How many color options are available for the bamboo tech long sleeve?

Good luck, remember to send me an email by Friday the 16th at midnight.  Winners to be posted as soon as I have time after!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ladies, Bonefish Are Better Than Diamonds...

The first time I saw a tail like that peeking up in a mangrove flat....I went to mush

The Andros South lodge run by the great folks at Deneki Outdoors and Kara Armano of  Backbone Media   are coming together for something very, very unique.

A Ladies Bonefishing School

As Angler's Tonic states, Kara's "the real deal" when it comes to fly fishing.  Having met her at this last summer in person, you cant find a nicer, more genuine lady who loves her place in the outdoors.

Here's what Kara has to say about helping ladies learn what it's all about

“A passion of mine is getting more female anglers involved in the sport. From beginners to advanced anglers, I love watching their eyes light up when it all comes together. Women are great learners and pick up fly fishing quickly. Sharing that passion is very fulfilling"

With Kara as your host and legendary saltwater guide Bruce Chard as your lead instructor, being a member of this "school" will give you years worth of experience  in one week's time.

Get all the info by visiting the Deneki Outdoors site HERE.

Ladies, when you hook into your first bonefish, lets just say you'll fall in love with another type of bling really, really fast.    

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Bend Giveth...

Nothing sweeter than a spey rod resembling a taco...

Because at the end of the line, there's some bidness to attend to....

And oh yeah, OMR cleaned up with the best looking hatchery fish that he or I have ever seen.

What a perfect day out with the person I most love sharing a river with.