Friday, September 25, 2015

When Your Number Is Called...

When the fish picked up the fly, it was a subtle tip tap....and thump.

Something was up, it wasnt doing what a steelhead normally does, that first initial surge wasnt there. It casually took it's time and took a pile of line with it out to the middle of the river and just sat there and wallowed.

If I was a betting man, I would have bet the house that this was a chinook.   I couldnt move it and when I did, it just went right back in the middle of the current and gave me the middle fin.

10 pound test maxima has it's limits, and the amount of pressure I put on the fish to check it's surges and runs was about there.  Still the thing was, it was a chinook.  Unintended bi-catch that while cool, it wasn't the intended quarry.

My fishing partners began to lament the time it was taking me to land this fish.  "Put the nuts to em" "Come on, get it did already"  We shared the same feeling that this was a salmon so no real pressure was felt.

Until it came in a little closer, rolled and the red strip of a massive B-Run buck indicated to us we had ourselves a full on level 10 situation.  A full on 2 foot jump confirmed that this was no salmon

When you have to that point the fish of your life on the line, things get a, tight.    The talking got all type of serious and you could feel the pressure in the air.

Three times the buck came in to the shallows and appeared ready to be tailed, only to run out to the middle to sulk again.  I was ready for the hook to pull, as a fish like this doesnt give up the goods easily

Finally, head up on top sliding to the shore OMR grabbed it's tail and we all stood there speechless

It was a true giant of the species.

After a quick revival, we sent him on his way.  When your numbers called, enjoy it, and put it away in the memory bank to light up your days for years to come.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#FreetheSnake Flotilla October 3rd

If you're an advocate for the Snake River, there's a hell of an event you should be a part of

Join Save Our Wild Salmon, Friends of the Clearwater and a host of other conservation groups October 3rd at the Wawawai Landing on the Snake starting at 8am for the Free the Snake Flotilla.

You'll be a part of sending a message to government that these dams have outlived their purpose and there's far more to gain by letting these rivers behave as they are meant to.

The Snake is such an amazing river.  So much productivity lost but we have the ability to regain it.

Get more info on the Snake River Flotilla FB page. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

OMR's Secret Sauce...

You may have wondered why he catches so many fish on the swing?

And if you believe that, I have oceanfront property in Idaho I'll let go for really, really cheap.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The FayClave Returns...

Has it really been five years?  This weekend commences the 5th annual Fay Clave in, this time in honor of OMR's 75th birthday.

Again we'll be on the lower Clearwater in hopes of meeting a few fish, and celebrating a guy who keeps on trucking, paying no attention to creaky bones and hearing loss.

What excites me the most is the quick and deep progression into steelhead rabbit hole we have all fallen.  We picked up the spey rods 6 years ago with nary a clue.  Now look at us and we're full on steelhead dirtbags.

So if you're on the river this weekend, come share a story and a beer.  We'll be happy to have you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

10 Observations From The Blind

You dont turn down offers to go early season goose hunting with some of the best young waterfowlers in the region.  Do what you have to do and be at the meeting point at 4am, regardless of what you're doing the night before.

Well in my case I was sitting at a charity benefit, sans federal waterfowl stamp when the call came in.  Thankfully the state of Washington makes it easy by not participating in the online purchase of said stamp but I scrambled and found a retailer at the last minute that gave me the paperwork to make me legal

I should have cut down the alcohol consumption and went to bed early.  I should have gotten a good nights rest.

Meh, midnight sounds about right for bedtime, especially with a 315am wake up call

Well by shooting light our group was positioned in the field, decoys out and brushed up in our layout blinds

The shooting turned out to be a bit slow, but we had a great time.  Here are 10 observations from the blind from this great morning afield

1.  Dick and fart jokes are universal.  They help bond guys who dont really know each other quickly

2.  I've realized that waterfowlers and steelhead fisherman are very alike.  Obsessed.

3.  3 hours of sleep works a hell of a lot bettter at 22 years old than 34.

4.  6 guys in close proximity creates a lot of methane gas

5.  Laying down in the bling with the doors covered waiting for the geese to work your spread, waiting for the "take em" call is like waiting for your parents to tell you it's time to open your presents on Christmas morning

6.  Steel shot sucks

7.  Geese are massive.  Really really big creatures.

8.  Listening to 19-22 year old dudes talk about their escapades is pure comedy.  I can only imagine what I would have sounded like at that age.

9.  The notes that can come out of a goose call by one guy is just ridiculous.  Just amazing.

10.  Oh great, I found another activity in the fall that I really like.

A big thanks to the guys who invited me in to their group for the early season hunt.  I hope to join you again as the fall progresses and the northern birds make their presence known

Until then, honk on!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When the Season Really Begins...

The fish slashed across the surface and crushed my skated dry fly like a killer whale chasing a school of salmon

Hyperbole aside, the rise was so sudden and violent that the white belly of steelhead is all I can really say I saw before the line was tight and the fight was on.

There's all sorts of build up for the season.  Watching damn counts.  Tying fly after fly.

It really doesn't start till that line burns away from the reel and your giggling like a child

And when you're on the board, all you can think about is when you get the chance to try again.

Monday, September 7, 2015

From Vice To Fish...

Photo Credit--Jedi Chou.

The text comes in an instantly I am jacked.

The fly didnt last 5 minutes before getting wrecked!  Oh and BTW, your fly caught this fish behind a bait and a hardware guy

You never really know if a a vice creation has the juice.  It may say yes in hand, but something changes on the water and it just doesn't get the job done.

Its an eye opener when this was the first fly that came through after more "effective" techniques came through the pool and were blanked.   You dont expect a fly, let alone a skater , to get smashed after the egg and spoon rides through guns blazing.

Boom.  The data backs up the theory.  Now back to the vice to make more to send out to other beta testers to gather more data.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#PublicLandsProud Continues

Every once and a while, the sun shines on the ....

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and their #PublicLandsProud social media campaign picked a shot of mine for their initial winner of the contest.

Really, this hack can win?  That means anyone can win.

Over the next 3 months, TRCP and the #PublicLandsProud initiative will be running 5 separate contests and the winner of each will be win a pair of Costa Sunglasses to up your sunwear game.

And they are....

Aug. 26 – Sept. 8: Fishing

Sept. 9 – 27: Scenery

Sept. 28 – Oct. 18: Upland bird

Oct. 19 – Nov. 8: Dogs

Nov. 9 – 23: Big-game

Boil it down and public access is the base element to everyone's outdoor enjoyment.  Think about dont have to be mega rich, you dont have to have land and title to hunt, you dont have to own a river or a lake.  We are in a county that gives us more outdoor access than any other and the TRCP is behind us guaranteeing our outdoor rights now and for future generations

Ever walk on a piece of CRP grassland, hunt on BLM land,  fished a river via a sportsman's access.....then you should be #publiclandsproud

So through November 23rd, tag your social media posts with #publiclandsproud and cross your fingers.  Good luck!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Just A Pretty One...

Just a hell of a bow from a Western Montana stream this summer.   No major prose needed, a beauty in itself.