Saturday, September 30, 2023

I'll Go Out Howling at the Moon Tonight

Time and timing are essential elements when fly fishing for musky with any degree of success. For an angler bound to weekend warrior status during peak musky season, timing can be an oxymoron. The best conditions almost always fall on working days leaving scarce opportunities to make it out on the water. When you finally do, shitty conditions create a general lack of confidence and a whole lot of hope dangling on a string. Even the best hunters can turn into hopers, which leads to missed opportunities when that big girl appears out of the gloom. This past year, my opportunities were scarce and I was getting a little antsy. I had not caught a musky on fly for almost an entire year. My worries slowly grew into a desperation and I decided that a mental health day was in order. I checked the week's weather window, flows, and the calendar. My analysis zeroed in on a key day with ripe conditions on a haunt I know well. I decided to call in sick. Sometimes, you just have to make the time when you the know the timing is right...

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Walking the Line

My parents took a lot of time, research, and savings, to plan a family vacation in the Bahamas. Due to the pandemic, it was canceled twice. When it was finally rescheduled and the green light was given, I was in the midst of a cross country exploration in the van. I ended up flying out of Boise and convened with my family members in Atlanta for the last leg to the islands. Unlike my prior trip, I decided to pack fishing gear this time. It had been over ten years since I did some legit flats fishing, and with the target species being one of my favorites to pursue, I was stoked. I also couldn't wait to walk a flat with my brother again. This time, I even checked a bag that was filled with fishing gear, cameras, foam rollers, straps, and other equipment to put a kayak on top of the rental vehicle. That's right, the family rental car. In order to bonefish proper, I'd be walking the proverbial line between family time and fly fishing. Lucky for me, my family understands who I am, what I love to do, and willingly embraced some exploration. Despite that, I put some boundaries on myself to avoid crossing the line...

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Hallowed Water

After almost a quarter century of fly fishing, you inevitably develop a "bucket" list of rivers that you want to wade into and species that you want to shake hands with. Idaho's Silver Creek has always graced the pages of the catalogs, magazines, and the books I perused as a young teen. It is famous for its brown drake hatch in the early portion of the summer, but the images that captured my attention weren't of storming mayflies. They were of anglers in float tubes fishing a relatively small, meandering meadow stream, with high grassed banks. Held aloft in their hands, arms extended, were the most beautiful, and massive, hook jawed brown trout you'd ever lay eyes on. Before the days of the internet, these types of images etched themselves into my long term memory never to be forgotten. After a lovely day floating a blown out Snake River, I decided to head further west to fish Silver Creek. With a day and a half before catching a flight in Boise, I bypassed the famed Henry's Fork to head to the horseshoe bend...

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Yellowstone Teton Territory

A Beautiful Cutthroat From the Upper Teton River

One of America's most majestic views resides just outside Jackson, Wyoming in Grand Teton National Park. Towering over the serene fields, woods, lakes, and rivers are the peaks of Grand Teton, Mount Owen, Middle Teton, Mount Moran, and others. They vault directly upwards off the valley floor producing jaw dropping scenery from the surrounding countryside. This particular area has been fly fishing "meme'd" to death thanks to a variety of accounts making fun of Mark Melnyk's repeated use of the phrase, "Yellowstone Teton Territory," on his show: The New Fly Fisher. All jokes aside, the area is expansive, featuring famed waters and access to almost all trout species in the lower 48. With good reason, some of the most famous names in the fishing business call this, or have called this area, home. The wide variety of waterways to fish is astounding, it is relatively accessible, mostly on the lower end of the difficulty spectrum, and a whole lot of fun. On my end, I was simply passing through...

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Green

Picture Stories From The Flaming Gorge

I'll be honest, I never heard of the Flaming Gorge of the Green River until the day before I fished it during the summer of 21'. I had just departed Oregon and was traveling through Salt Lake City, Utah to check out the famous Provo River. Disappointed in the Provo, I ended up texting my friend Austin for recommendations. When he said, "The Flaming Gorge," I remember chuckling at the name and of the local town: "Dutch John." After a quick internet search, I found that the river has insane numbers of trout that reach upwards of 15,000 per mile. In addition, it has a reputation for growing some very large trout. A few hours later, I was boondocking on some BLM land prepping for the following day of hiking and fishing. Arriving at the "Little Hole," I hiked a ways up into the lower end of the Flaming Gorge. In the early morning light, I swung up a few solid browns before the sun revealed sight fishing opportunities to brown trout up to 22". I caught them on top, on droppers, and on streamers. As I hiked further into the gorge, I was taken aback at the beauty of the canyon walls, the wildlife, and the sheer quality of the fishing experience. The only downside, especially for an angler on foot, was the amount of people floating the river. Starting around noon, an endless procession of guides, rafts, kayaks, and SUPS formed a continuous line down the middle of the river. I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend, but the river planted a seed in my mind to eventually return. In the summer of 22', I came back to Dutch John at a slightly different time and with an entirely different approach. 

It was memorable...

Monday, June 12, 2023

One and Done on the Deschutes

A Story of Highs and Lows Shooting the Deschutes
August 22'

Maupin is a quintessential western river town nestled along the Deschutes River canyon in central Oregon. It is an oasis amongst the surrounding high desert and sage brush, attracting tourists intent on enjoying the river’s bountiful recreational opportunities. The community consists almost entirely of rafting and fishing outfitters, guides, and the small businesses that support tourism. The main drag features bars, a coffee shop, a hardware store, a cafe, the rafting companies, and probably the best fly shop in the United States: Deschutes Angler. I was simply another tourist, of the fish bum variety, intent on catching a wild steelhead on a swung dry line. The ODFW decided on August 15 as the day to reopen steelhead fishing after the brutally low return numbers and high water temperatures of 2021. Stepping out of my van onto Main Street, I could sense that there was a buzz in the air, and that I wasn’t alone in my intended pursuit.