Saturday, June 28, 2008

Utah Trout Unlimited Volunteer Award

Utah Trout Unlimited gives out what's called the "Bob Trowbridge Outstanding Volunteer Award". This year Paul Dremann was presented with the honor at the Wasatch Expo this past spring. I was contacted and asked if I had any photos that might go well with the theme. I sent over a few and... wallah, someone like one ; ) The final result is really cool, I like the feel of it. Congrats to Paul, his hard work didn't go unnoticed.

As I was picking out photos, I really liked the big hands with the little wild fish look… and so did they. It brought back memories of the trip. This particular day Cheech and I hiked deep into the Uinta's in search of these wild Cutthroats. I remember eating some weird fish out of a can that Cheech had brought, the gargantuan sized attractor pattern that these fish were tearing apart and the lost sunglasses that were miraculously found. These "left-over" moments make me happy I took some pics. It's almost sad that I forget these things but in a way it's pretty cool to look back on and re-experience the journey.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Quick Trip - Salmonflies

Headed out for a few hours and low and behold, Salmonflies were flying about. I enjoyed the day tossing big dries and cycling through various patterns just too see what happens. The fish really didn't mind too much but a few times an underwater strip produced a strike, Robert Williamson's O2 bugs works great fro this type of method. Some floated better than others, bullets heads last one fish before a frayed mess starts to develop and some only caught the fisherman. After a few fish to hand it was time to head to work.... it was hard to leave but hey, I gotta work sometime.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Electrified - Yellowstone Cutthroats

Sometimes the world is just too damn complicated, like daily. It's these times when I am certainly glad that my old man taught me how to fish. It helps ground my thought process so that I can see past the blinders to understand that I am exactly where I want to be… although it’s a few million dollars shorter than I had hoped for but nonetheless, its out here that I feel at home. It’s a place where I can be free of all the things that don't matter and a place where I figure out all the things that do.

The trip had no agenda and I just wanted to check out what was going on at the old stomping grounds and to get out of the city. There are so many places that I haven't visited since last summer, I wondered how they are. . Regina grabbed her camera and hoped in for the ride. Although she is a hard-core salt fisherman (Tuna and anything else) she has never fished a fly for trout…. I'm really not sure why. We set off for a general location; from there we were be able to check a few mountain drainages and have a good idea what's happening. I know, I know, I could've just google'd it but its not the same.

Over the hill and far away it felt good to breath the fresh mountain air. The view is not of concrete but of unexplainable coolness. Spirits are high… even though we almost got stuck in the mud and were a short stop away from sliding in the mud and into the lake. We decided on a perfect little spot for a first timer. With in no time she had her first trout on a fly, a cutthroat too boot! (My favorite) We fished and shot photos for the reminder of the day and the awesome display of nature's pallet. Couldn't have gone any better.

select photos courtesy of Regina Filliman

Monday, June 23, 2008

Small Streams and Big Bugs

The past few weeks have been fantastic.... big bugs are out and fish are targeting them. Chasing Salmonflies has been a blast, I found myself shooting photos more than fishing. With all the commotion I eventually had to put the camera down. Cicada's have been plentiful on many streams and lakes.

The sight fishing is heating up and watching fish swim out of their way to slurp these giant insects is one of fishings coolest opportunities. The right presentation (plop) makes cruising fish turn without hesitation... I highly recommended doing this.

Rather than a lengthy post I thought I'd just put the pics up. I am way behind on my blog and catching up is going to take some time.... and the past few weeks I've been chasing the big green bugs, Drakes, which hasn't helped out my time situation ; )

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tiger Musky

My friends and I have put in some time the past month targeting Tiger Musky. My first trip with Jay was the starting of the sickness. In the next few weeks a few of my friends eventually suffered from the same disorder.

Through trial and error we had a pretty good idea what is needed to get these alligators. For example, the net a standard trout net is way too small but you try to use it as a basket catcher anyway. You also find out your tiny little forceps still put your fingers too close to the teeth and for the rest of the day you hope for a corner hook. The learning curve of how to actually hold these things was pretty interesting; everyone did the same thing, stared at these crazy looking fish and analyzed the situation. I think everyone's first thought was the same when the saw-like teeth came in to focus, more analyzing. Grizz'z fingers were mauled while helping to tail Nick Jones behemoth he landed…. Fly patterns are a bit more dialed in now and thanks to Spicy who had great success on a prior trip, we had had another key ingredient to our arsenal. Rainy's has an articulated pattern that had received plenty of attention on the past few trips and Grizz had an all timer the week before while using it.

Everyday some new idea is sparked and the next outings there was always some entirely different situation that needed thought. Fish are fish but not all are the same, it seems to me that each have their own puzzle to be solved. Luck for me, I have a great group of guys that have different strengths. Combined we can usually figure things out in a short period of time…. but…the one factor that we hadn't factored in was the wakeboarders. With the water temperatures warming it brings out the boats. The boats create large "wakes" or ripples that smash the clay shoreline. The end result is a murky clay mess. The last day we used the wake from the boats to our advantage and actually caught fish.. Grizz noticed something happening in certain areas when the wake moves through. A few casts were all it took before he was tight. Spicy thought about it, added a twist, called it and the next cast he was tight. I gave it a go, one cast, hooked up and I lost it. The "problem" that needs solving is one of the coolest things about fishing… along with a 7wt bent in half and the reel screaming for mercy of course.

It was a cool chapter in my fishing travels. Thanks to all who helped along the way!! . I had a ton of help from Nick Jones, without him I would have snapped my 4wt for sure…borrowed his 7 and 8wt, the matching reels, lines and flies… karma is coming your way.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Under Construction

Well, I'm under construction...

Basically, I am digging myself out of a mud hole. I thought hey why not fool around with the template in the html thing-a-ma-jig? Can't be that hard. Yeah, well oops. Thanks to some quick thinking and some really cool tricks by Jay Morr, its finally getting somewhere. The new format is wider and fills out the screen but the archived posts will be altered a bit and not in original aliment.... not sure how I feel about that but change is good so well see. I know enough about websites to download photos and type some words. It been fun figuring out the many ways of not how to do things. By process of elimination and over time, OK a long time, I have figured out enough to post and haven't crashed my computer... yet.

Out of curiosity I am interested in your opinion ( as if anyone actually reads this)... do you like the new format for the better or worse?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Moldy Chum

The guys over at MOLDY CHUM posted about my blog, yep that's right I made the Chum line....not sure what that actually means but its something. Thanks for the props.

Check it out

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

North of the Border - Day 4, The Return Home

Last day of the trip and nobody wants to leave…as always. Hitting the water was refreshing this morning. Rigging up with a dry might not be the most effective way to catch on this day, after the hatch, but it’s the action we are targeting not the numbers. Met some good ol' boys on the launch. One of them just so happened to be Pat, who is the creator of the "Bennet Stone" or "Pat's Stone" or to those that don't know the" rubber legs". It was pretty cool to hear about the history of that fly and learn of its original name. I also found it interesting that the leg color cannot be bought anywhere and is specifically colored for that pattern…. figures. Fishing was OK, but it was expected to be that way, we were just hopeful for a miracle. Grizz brought some up fish and I spent the morning in tangles trying to nymph, yes, I went against my plan and now I'm paying for it and I lost a ton of bugs in the process. We fished to our take out and headed home… but first a quick stop.

At the last second we turned off the main road and headed for the lake. Upon arrival we observed zero wind and only 4 guys out. It took us about 2 minutes to be in the boat and on our way to the trees. The first spot we slowly figured it out and the second spot seemed to be the ticket. I was more interested in the birds that were nesting in the trees to be honest and I had the camera in hand most of the time. There were a couple youngsters in each nest chirping; at times it was pretty loud. The adults would take turns in feeding them and then it was really loud. It was pretty cool to watch in fact it was amazing. About that time, my bobber or indicator or whatever you must call it, moved… fish? I started taking in the slack went off to the right side of the boat a fish burst out of the water… holy Sh**! My first thought was that the fish were starting to be active, going nuts and then I felt the tug, that jumping fish was actually mine! We laughed and joked about the fish hooking themselves. Each time I set the rod down to shoot the birds it seemed that I would get a strike. I would loose fish and we would just laugh about it.

Grizz started picking up fish and for the next few hours we were entertained. Although, the two other guys near us were probably not thrilled with us. They were in better position but we could hear, and see, that they weren’t figuring it out. Each time the wind blew it would create a little disturbance on the water. This interruption would lift or jig the flies beneath the thing-a-ma-bobber, which would result in a strike. We were hoping for wind each time it went calm and I think the guys next door could hear us yelling for wind and laughing…it pretty much irritated them, that and the fact we were catching and losing fish and they were not. We each got another and we left for home, fantastic trip once again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

North of the Border - Day 3

Morning… it looked like it was going to be a great day, just not around here. We headed away from the storm towards Montana. Somehow we made it to sunshine and great weather but interesting enough, around us though were dark storm clouds. They stayed close to the mountain peeks as if they were forbidden to leave the area. The river that we just so happened to be fishing was in the "sucker hole". To clarify what a "sucker hole" is, just imagine a large storm; somewhere in the storm is a hole (one or more) in the dark clouds allowing blue skies to be seen and sunshine to pass through. It sounds odd but its quite common. Lucky for us we stumbled upon it.
The river was high and flowing faster than normal. Normal is warp speed so you could only imagine what high and fast means, uncontrolled! With the flows as they are it should be pretty easy to figure out where the fish are. The problem is getting to them. Any slow water near the edges will be holding fish, right, duh. Easier said than done. The slow water isn't a nice long run; it’s a teeny-tiny pocket in the middle
of the white water, like a "sucker hole". In order to get down to them you need weight, adding weight will inevitably get you stuck on all the wreckage that has been scattered through out the river due to the heavy flows and the slow water here wasn't always near the edges. I'm not sure how many flies we lost that day, pretty insane really. The fishing was OK at best, more of a challenge than anything. The fish were beat up, hammered and looked exhausted. One rainbow in particular was shaped like a lightning bolt, stricken with whirling disease? Perhaps.

Moving up river a few miles the water was violent, the higher we went the more power it had. It was truly amazing, scary and reverent all at the same time. We got out and fished the beast. I can't believe the fish can survive that kind of constant pounding, wow. The fish were smaller but they were wild, unsoiled and beautiful. I truly appreciated them and their struggle to survive. Time to move on.

Hit a few areas on the way home with a few more fish to hand. Then scoped out various water systems for further ideas before making it back to camp. Grizz grilled the trout while I was busy trying to take a few pics with the good light…hope the weather hold for the last day…

Monday, June 9, 2008

North of the Border - Day 2

We were out the door in a timely fashion today, feeling pretty great about things. It had rained overnight and the wind was still a blowing…it looks like another rainstorm is headed in our direction. The decision was made to check out a few areas and avoid the weather if possible; targeting the lake for some Cutthroats before we float. We scoped out a really cool bang on the way, perhaps we'll hit it.

Arriving on at the lake I was quite surprised to see the entire state of Idaho standing at the boat dock and all are casting into the same area. Holy shit! You serious? So, we rigged up and headed over to join in the junk show.

The scenario on my side of the dock was this…. the battlefield.

Two thirty foot docks with twenty feet between them. On the left is a cove; on the right are willows and a long shoreline. I really didn't know what to do, so I just walked down to the end of the line and started there. Grizz went right in the mix on the opposite side (left). The dock goes out for 30 feet, from the dock down the immediate right side of the shoreline is a "wall" of willows for about twenty feet, with a small opening three-quarter's down. Using the willows and the dock as the imaginary border ("L" shape) now draw a line from the end of the willows and connect with the dock, you have a triangle of water. In that small area there was a boat with 2 guys casting at the bank fifteen feet away. In the corner of the willows and the dock there is a dude who wiggled his way in and is now standing directly on the fish and more important, where everyone is casting. Between the dude and the end of the willows are three kids spin fishing, and then there is me. By the time I had assessed the situation there was another guy that set up on my right, then three guys next to him and two toon'ers have started to patrol the outskirts. So this is combat fishing…. Wow. It felt like the opening battle scene to Saving Private Ryan, everything was going in slow motion. People were snagging the dock, dead fish were on the shoreline, fish were being caught and people are still arriving. As the kids started to kind of loose interest and leave, I swooped in. By this time Grizz came over, I looked over to where he came from…. Insane!

Well, we figured it out… and just tossed stuff at them. Nick Jones had tied up a bunch of prototypes and I gave it a go. They worked quiet nicely. We could see the "wolf pack's

" of fish - as we called it - move through, it was really cool to see. We used the small opening in the willow to our advantage. Someone would cast between the willows then move down the shoreline to land the fish at the end of the willows, where the other guy was holding the position. In the process we'd switch spots. By the time you the fish the other guy would be on and you'd rotate… you get the idea. This continued for quite awhile. A few times we were both on. Now the guys to the right haven't even gotten a bite, it might be because the fish are tight to the shore, not 50 feet out. Who know how many fish we landed or missed but it was surprisingly high, especially with all the people. I bet over a few hundred fish were caught by all that day… at least.

The fishing was nuts. Between the two small docks was boiling with fish, both sides of the docks were boiling with fish. The guy standing in the corner (on top of the fish) didn't even have to cast. He would toss out the fly on the water after unhooking the fish and his over-sized egg pattern would be snatched less than a foot away. Personally I would have rather hand-lined them but he would rather stand on the fish and cast out to the end of the dock.

We sure witnessed some colorful individuals. I found it funny that only the fly fishermen were the ones that were walking right by the "no fishing on or between the docks" signs and then proceeding to fish on or between them. Guess it never dawned on them why the other hundred people right there aren’t fishing there, pretty observant. The line of the day was a kid yelling to his father, "it was 9 or 5, pounds". Then there was the guy carrying a fly rod and a 1940 scale ripping net. He walked up and said something like "everyone just snagging them?" and "are they biting anything but roe patterns?" It always a fly guys that seems to be the idiots and perceive to be better than everyone, this was a prime example of a dork with a fly rod.

You know, it's hard to leave fish to search for fish. By the time we stopped fishing it was already mid-afternoon. Grizz took a fish for dinner and we headed back towards camp, weather was coming in. We filleted the fish and went on the road exploring. Hope the wind dies down tomorrow…