Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fish From Down Under

What can I sat about today's adventures, well, cool dudes and fat fish pretty much sums it up. Jerry was farming hogs, Nick found the only Bow (fat and colorful) anyone had ever seen here, it was excited to see him but unfortunately his fish handling skill are a bit "slippery" and no photo was taken. I got into my fair share and we all learned a LOT that day. Can't wait to go back.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Day in Paradise

Arriving in paradise I was greeted with food and drink…cold Red Bull's and homemade food! Nick and Steph's place is a fly fisherman playground. Tying materials that could supply a few small shops, make it a dozen small shops, and that's only the materials, the "jar" flies could outfit a few guides all year, not including everything else, yes everything… basically a fly junkies dream. It was great to finally hang out with Nick. After many conversations about water, fish and flies and talks over sushi, I was excited to fish with the Jones's.

Well, arriving at the water it was high and off color. No biggie, we fished anyway. Had some fun with it you know, test some ideas and theory's. Not for factual stuff but just to see what happens in run-off conditions. What will they eat it, do they prefer one pattern over the next, does color matter, style, you get the picture. We fished the stream and then walked over to the lake…rinse and repeat. The lake fish were piiicccky. The fish would swim right over, check it out, taste it and then just swim away. Nick picked off a real, beauty, full of color and life… and ohh, the fins!

Steph arrived and Nick had to leave to help someone move for a few but not before we had some lunch. It seemed that these two are so busy helping others that I am amazed they find time to sleep. At around 2am that morning (night before) Nick cooked a fantastic pasta lunch for us, grilled chicken, fresh sauce and veggies... the works, tasty for sure! Nick took off for a few and Steph and I traded fish after fish, nymphing, Czeching and high-sticking. It was awesome. She was killing it! Then we headed to the lake for sippers. As soon as we switched from the nymph rig to a dry they stopped feeding on top, figures. We tossed dry's at them anyway. Steph picked up one but broke off. I just made a bunch of sloppy casts that produced some window shoppers; I think they were homeless because nobody was buying. Nick came back and we pounded the lake before deciding to move over to the river. He was tossing streamers and someone was home, the fish broke him off, bummer for sure but it must have been a hog. It was a blast fishing the river, mainly because we were all catching.

It is my understanding that this was an "off" day here and fishing tends to be fast and furious… all I have to say is WOW. Today's trip was more of a challenge for this particular place I suppose but I thought that the fishing was great overall. Tricking fish in high and off color conditions is very entertaining to do, switch it up a bit keeps me interested with fresh ideas.
We parted ways; I unfortunately have to go back to the polluted Salt Lake valley, where at this point in my life I don't want to be. I left there with so much stuff. I was given a beautiful pheasant, some flies, some materials and everything else in between. I must say that fishing with the Jones's is a time that won't be forgotten. I really enjoyed my experience up there and can't wait to return. Thanks again Nick and Steph your hospitality and giving nature is amazing, many karma points to you!

Third Bass of the Year

You know sometimes when you fish with guys that are totally on a different page and nothing seems to go right. You all know the ones…some that tell you what to do, what not to do, then there are the ones that race to the holes or try to make everything a competition. It's hard to find guys that are easy going and have the same attitude about fishing as you. Well fortunately for me Cheech is one of those laidback easy-going dudes that likes to have fun at all costs. I am always stoked when I am able to get out with him, although it's not often enough.

Cheech has been targeting Utah Bass with a fly for sometime now. I had been targeting East Coast Bass with gear. Now, I am using a fly and Cheech is using gear. The one thing overlooked by fly fishermen, in my opinion, is the fun of just fishing, whatever the weapon of choice. It was awesome to see a friend so stoked on a new style of fishing again, it was cool for me also this was something new as well. I'm not saying one method is better than the other, as both are equally fun to do and require just as much in depth knowledge and skill. I'm saying who cares, although the gear is different, we are all on the same page… or at least in my opinion, we all should be.

As I was fishing I couldn't help but think about the "labeler" fishermen and why they choose to do it. This thought finally came around to be the afternoons discussion…Separating fishermen with labels and categories is not a good thing. Especially when it comes to the preservation of our cherished water. We all have a something in common, the love for fish, and the feeling you get when you're surrounded by water.

Great day on the water as always, bass are so awesome. Parted ways and headed off to the north, to fish in paradise. Can't wait!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Day, Another Fin

Now that spring is here and snowboarding is over its
back to just fishing. On the day's I have to work I hit
the local waters. This day was just one of the many to
come. I always like to get there early; sunrise is my
time of the day and most other fisherman are still sleeping. I enjoy fishing
solo, it has a great feeling, there's pressure and I'm on my own
schedule.Taking photos of fish can get a bit tricky but it's always a fun challenge. Nobody was around and I ended my morning session with a 8 whiteys, 8 brown and a beauty of a Cutthroat.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

High Desert Recon

Headed out early this morning and once again 4 o'clock seemed to come too soon. The boys met at the house bright and early, well Nate and Will. In order to get Nick here on time he crashed out on my couch ; )…. I'm sure he is glad he did with all the noise. . The upstairs dudes were playing fetch with their dogs on the hardwood balcony/deck at 2 am, it was loud, I yelled and it sucked. We had a collective 2.4 hours of sleep, maybe. We were lucky enough to have my old friend/roomy Will Wissman come along and bring his creative camera work. This will be his first time shooting fishing; well second if you count a few minutes of playing around a long time ago. I am excited to see what he captures. We have worked together in the past and I know how superior is work is, an original artist.

Hitting the water is always a long conversation…where to start. Anyone who fishes this area knows its not a numbers thing here, there are few fish but the few are strong so finding them is key. After 4 trips up here it’s the process of elimination. We finally picked a spot and went for it. I picked up a few fish right away, a brown, bow, and whitey, all hanging out in one small hole. Nate pointed out that I almost have a quad already, just need a Cutthroat.

Searching and fishing, fishing and searching, the race began. A few fish were plucked along the way on the walk to a very large pool. Down lower I found the Cutthroat that I was looking for, purdy fish. The forecast was looking eventful, before noon I had already had a handful of fish, this is going to be a good day. Nate was working the run below the giant pool when he got into a pod of fish and a few feisty browns were netted. It’s a great start. Nick and I headed up to the large pool that covered the entire river. He took the tail and I tried to find away to get in closer, doubtful though. It was deep and one could only cove a very small percentage wading. The head of the pool was formed by a long rock "jetty ", the water was then "poured" into this mini-pond, perfect. So I went from rock to rock until I could go any further, only a quarter of the way. Too my surprise it was shallow tight to the rocks and extended maybe few feet out. So I hoped in and made my way to the middle. Walking in the tiny falling water the entire length of the jetty was a bit spooky, the water was strong and there was an abyss on the other side of me. Underfoot the shallows created a nice slippery moss bed on the rocks. So it was one hand on the jetty and one slow step at a time the entire way. I better at least find a whitey. Nick was picking off fish at the tail end, most were whitey and I think he landed a small brown. Finally getting situated I hacked my cast out and the line went tight. The fish hit hard and made its way below me, running for the deep and I had nowhere to go. Fortunately luck was on my side and a fat healthy Brown fell victim to my poor imitation of a fly. Mission accomplished.

We made our way down the river until we located a likely spot. It was a good call… we found a ton of fish. Rainbows and Whiteys occupied almost every suspicious area and only perfect drifts enticed our fined friends. Mid-day sun was upon us now and the lighting is way too bleached out for photos. Nick and Will decided to rest until the light gets better.

I went to find Nate who had disappeared some time ago. That meant two things, he found a ton of fish or he is still searching, I better find out. As I came around the bend I was surprised to see Nate just right there only a short distance away from where we were… and in a long beautiful run twisting around structure. In a few short moments I watched Nate pull fish as he slowly worked the run over. I learned that Nate could drift the fly for at least eternity, perhaps longer. Not only can he keep it going he can still stick that fish way, way, down stream and somehow he lands it. I discovered a lot about fishing watching Nate work that run…but I wasn't surprised every time I learn something new fishing with him. Not in words though because he won't say much, you have to pay attention.

We crossed the river and began working the far side. The river appears to all look the same here, shallow and smooth them flowing into a long shallow gravel bend. Taking a slow cautious approach we saw that one particular spot there is a four-foot wide section that runs deep and clear for about 30 feet. No fish were observed but I got the go ahead from Nate and lobbed it in. A few casts later and the second prized Cutthroat was to hand. The colors are one of the things that I like the about these curious fish. I offered Nate the hole and he kindly declined. A few Hail Mary's later and the line went from slack to tight. I lifted my rod and that's when I saw the flash. The Brown turned and ran down stream. Great, so I ran with it, it kept going getting closer and closer to the fast shallow water. I was trying to guide him to the bank to slow shallow slack water. Again somehow luck was on my side and he submitted there in a quiet pool. We estimated him to be about 20". Nate grabbed the tape and pulled it to 23". It seems that we are always underestimation the size of fish, ironic because I hear of all the 22" inch fish being caught, but I can't seem to ever get them… I'm buying a tape now ; ) Nate grabbed another brown before we headed back to the truck.

Nate Miller Photo's
The last spot was a tricky one. The past three weeks the fish had been right here. But now it seems that they have moved on? In the last few hours of light we all managed to get a nice fish. Nate and Nick landed some fatty bows and I was fortunate enough to touch my fourth Cutthroat. It was one of the best days for me on that water, finally. Its been a long time coming and this spring its all come together.

I am hoping that Will is going to let me post some of his "B" stuff. The photography was far better that I had anticipated. One day of shooting and 300 images were shot but 1000 photos were captured. It was insane what he was doing. and its just the beginning.

****Additional photos by Nate Miller

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

South Of Canada with Mike D - Day 2

We arrived at the river with high hopes. Right away Mike had a whitey and I think a bow, but lost it. I landed two speckled rainbows right out of the gate. I remember thinking…If this keeps up it's going to be a good day, I am sure Mike's thoughts were the same. Working our way we spooked a few fish and Mike hooked up and lost another. By this time its kinda the on going joke…. Bummer though, I have had plenty of those days where nothing goes right. Walking down river a bit further, to our destination, we saw the side channel flowing good ol' muddy water right into our perfect day. It created a river of mud below. We fished back up the clean water and made a move.

Within the first few minutes Mike was on again, a nice bow, only to loose it right at hand. I am certain by now the running joke is wearing thin. A few runs up he lost another; meanwhile I was unhooking a nice little healthy brown. Mike lost a few more, and I again unhooked another fat brown. The joke was becoming a reality when he lost another. But this time the fish came up for his indicator and latched on, Mike's reaction was to immediately set the hook. He actually fought the bow for a minute before the fish let go. For a minute there I don't think anyone knew what was going on, including the fish. Too funny… what wasn't funny was the next lengthy stretch of water. To our dismay, we counted 16 dead calf cows. More than half of the animals were in the river. Unbelievable must have been a harsh winter.

There was a lot going on around us, birds flying every which way. There was no silence, cries and hollers were heard all day. A many large anthills covered the old roots systems of a local bush that has been withered away. The ants were interesting to observe. In between the cries of the cranes and geese you could actually hear the ants moving, working and doing whatever it is that ants do, it was at times pretty loud.

It was a great few days on the water. Can't wait to return, or at least get back out of the city of salt.

First two bow photos courteous of Mike Doughty... thanks again Mike!

Monday, May 5, 2008

South Of Canada with Mike D - Day 1

A last minute quick trip sounded nice. Mike D. called, he was going to be fishing as well so we partnered up and headed for the oasis.

It's never a numbers game here, its more of a quality type of game and more often than not it has been a skunk game (not getting a zero for the day). The first stop was pretty productive, not ideal but a worthy stop. There was a lot of those good ol' white fish and I stuck a couple descent trout. Mike lucked out on a couple snooty bows, rejection after rejection, stupid picky fish.

We pushed on and fished what is usually good run; unfortunately not a fish was touched. Around the bend there was a bit of gold lying is wait. A few good looking fish were picked up and again, Mike couldn't buy a landing, two more good fish were lost. One was a really nice bow. Although, other than all the whitey's he did land a small brown that was stuffed with a enormous amount of BWO nymphs.

On the way home we received some Intel, we were coming up on the area of interest when the decision was made to stay over night and hit it in the morning. Spirits are high, hope is filling my mind, and tomorrow isn't soon enough.

last three photo's courteous Mike Doughty.... angles encouraged by me ; ) thanks Mike!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fly Pic - o2 Stonefly

I was inspired recently by a local tyer/fisherman. He has been shooting some cool really cool fly pictures the past few months. I have enjoyed watching the photo's get better and better at each attempt, the lighting gets adjusted, angles have switched, settings have changed, it looked like fun. I had been messing around shooting some other stuff and needed a break due to me being my biggest critic. So, I decided to do a test run and shoot something different, for sheer enjoyment, and in the process I tried to learn how to efficiently use photoshop... OK not efficiently.

I had recently picked up a few flies from a great tier by the name of Robert Williamson (killer bugs) and they had been sitting on the table awaiting their new box, they caught my eye and into the lights they went. For the first attempt I learned that I need better lighting, way better. Although the duct tape light-box works, it needs a helping hand.

More of Roberts ideas found here.....http://troutseeker.blogspot.com/

Here is the start to finish shots. I know its not professional quality but it was really interesting to do... I learned a ton and it gave me some new ideas for other projects.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Runnoff - On Crowded Waters

Headed out to fish a river today but we found the river chocolate. Decided to hit another and the same muddy mess. Great.... We ended up at a local Hollywood roadside. I was not really into fishing pressured, crowded areas but hey, that's the last option so you make the best of it. To my surprise I had a great day nymphing big bugs, I found a place to cross and walked down to the other side. I fished this run and caught plenty-o-fish, not what I was expecting. The let down was the heaps of trash littered everywhere. It was disheartening to say the least.

Headed down canyon to the next area. The water was low and clear here and BWO were being sipped off the surface. Fished a Nick Jones protoype and did well. Fish went out of their way to eat it. Although it wasn't the hogs of the river, for this stretch they were very healthy. A good test run for sure, they made the move to the priority one box ; )

One Fish... Two Flies