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Last Summer Yak Dates Open

Hey Anglers,

I’ve only got 4 open spots before I leave for North Idaho for the remainder of the summer.

July 25th 26th 30th and 31st.

I’ll be on the St. Joe River in Idaho for the rest of the summer season. You can reserve a day with me on the Joe through White Pine Outfitters in Moscow ID.

I will be back on the Yakima after Labor Day Weekend and am already filling in late season fishing dates.

Hope to see ya riverside anglers!

Tamarack

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Summer

It’s the busy season. Trips are rolling and I’m back to snorkeling and fishing in between. The Yak in the summer is a happening place. Its busy riverside. Not so much anglers but all the other river users are out. Rafters, tubers, kayakers, paddle boarders, all hanging out riverside.

The fishing is good. Pretty normal for summer. The fishing in the Yak in the summer is a whole different ball game. The river is 3 times its normal size. She is running at 3200 cfs. Below average for this time of year but not by much. With the dams running conservatively during the drought year we have a little less than we typically do. Later this summer is when potential warm water and low flows will be an issue. But right now the water is cold, fast, and fish are happy and healthy.

Experiencing the Yakima in the summer can be overwhelming. It’s big and can be hard to read. There is a lot of water and the fish spread out all over in the upper river. We dry fly fish almost exclusively in the summer. Nymphing and streamer fishing are in select areas. The rest of the time we are targeting trout in areas where they will opportunistically eat on food that passes by. This can be terrestrial insects, stoneflies, caddis, and spent mayflies. What it boils down to a lot of the time is slinging a single dry into tight short drifts 3-6 times to get a fish to rise. Its quick, dirty, and really fun. Anglers have to be on their game, accurate, and able to play fish smart in heavy flows where the trout has all the advantage.

I’m all about the dry fly fishing. If that makes be begoiuse or slightly elitist so be it. I’m under the impression that most anglers like dry fly eats and I have put a lot of time into figuring out how to make the upper Yakima river a dry fly fishery. Around 80% of the fish caught on my trips throughout the season end up being dry fly eats.

It’s all about perfect presentation. Multiple times, to entice these persnickety trout. So we slow the boat down in these heavy flows, work the right kinda dry fly water, and produce fish on top. It can be work, but it pays off damn near every time. And it’s not like we dont switch to other stuff when dries dont produce. But I always read the water for dry fly lines and presentations first.

These fish get shoved into some gnarly water at this flow. They adapt very quickly and efficiently to their environment and for 3-4 months of the year for generations of trout, these fish have adapted to the summer time conditions. It makes for an amazing summer time experience that is unlike any other time of the year here. Plus, to this day, I have not found a harder fighting fish in this current. These trout have some shoulders hen the flows are up. It’s a constant work out which is why these fish are so spicey.

We throw big bugs with heavy tippet, fight fish fast and smart, and get back to it after fast releases. Typically fish are landed and caught in under 2 minutes, and when you get chances at 20-40 a day it can get silly.

The upper is graduate school for anglers and guides. To produce fish you’ve gotta take your time and slowdown. Run and gun doesn’t work up here. Well it does, for that typical 8-10 fish day. Accurate casts, good row lines, lots of back strokes to keep that speed off, and giving anglers ample opportunity to present the fly to these tricky troots.

I love the summer fishing because once the boat hits the river it’s on. It doesnt stop, the flows are moving, and it’s time to get after it. It’s high energy, lots of action hopefully, and a whole lotta fun. I invite everyone to come out and see how you stack up against the Yakina Trout in the summer. It’s a good game to play and I love coaching anglers through it.

See ya riverside.

Tamarack

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Be Safe

Yesterday I was with clients and wr had a kayaker wreck on a log pile near us. It was a bad smack that upended the boat onto the jam. We pulled over and went up to help. Bruised and stunned but okay we helped the guy get over the jam safely and try him back on his way.

He did not have a life jacket on and if he had hit the jam sideways the results could have been much worse.

Please be safe, wear a life jacket, bring a whistle, tell people where and when you are floating, know your access points, and never go if you feel scared or nervous when looking at the water. That’s your body and mind telling you you’re not ready. It’s very high and very fast, inexperience can be fatal on the Yakima. Please be careful. I end up having to help or rescue half a dozen or more a summer.

Be safe. And have fun!

Tamarack

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The Job

So we are roughly halfway through the season. I’ve put somewhere around 60 trips and over 100 days riverside. I really won’t know the actual numbers until I do taxes. I have been in that sweet guide grind for a bit now. 4-6 days a week, familiar faces, lots of new ones, and a few trips on the new guide waters in Idaho.

I’ve been live streaming, tying, chasin trout, and chatting fish, rivers, and all the things and stuff that come along with this gig. This blog is just kind of a list of thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks. Lots of time to contemplate when driving and rowing all the time.

First thing…live streams and the places I say I’m fishing aren’t secrets. I’m purposely saying where I’m at because people want to know where they can float and wade safely and without being on private property. They also want to know because so many times anglers just dont know where to go and what to look for. It seems selfish to keep that stuff to myself. Every angler has the right to enjoy the public access and lands we have. They belong to no one…they are for everyone. Now anglers should always have respect and fish ethically but I cant make anglers that visit these places do that. I can educate anglers but at the end of the day its about what kind of angler you are or want to be.

Let’s talk about the spawning fish I found yesterday that could be steelhead. So I live streamed some fish I found near three bridges on the upper yak. At first I fished for them because i just saw a fish. But when I saw the pairs of them I pulled my fly out and watched.

First off spawning fish are amazing to watch. And everyone knows you shouldn’t fish them. In my younger days I didnt know any better and I did fish them. But education and developing into a better angler changed that. I was contacted by an individual who told me people went in to that area and may or may not have been targeting those fish.

That’s illegal first, if they are steelhead, which they potentially are spawning this late. So enforcement should always be called in those situations. Always. Whether it’s a guide or not. I call in at least a dozen illegal activities happening on this river a year. Some of them have even been people I would consider friends.

Second. I cant change that kind of angler. The kind of angler that knows and watches for those spawners and targets them is gonna do that no matter what. A ticket is the only thing that’s gonna work in that situation and a poacher is gonna a poach even after the ticket in most cases.

So…be ethical. Be respectful, and when someone like myself goes out of thier way to help others dont bastardized it by being a dick angler.

Moving on, social media. So I’ve gotten some shit this year for my posts and my tell all approach. But when I get those comments I remind myself that I am really busy with trips so I’m doing something right. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m just gonna leave it at that. It works for my business model and has kept me in 100-150 Yakima trips for 5 seasons now.

People. I meet a lot of people. Lots on trips, riverside, and the always curious fellow camper or angler that wanders into my camp with questions. I love watching it. They keep looking over, seeing the rig, the tent, the boat, all the stickers, the beard, and they slowly work their way over and usually ask one of three things.

You a guide?

Hows the fishing?

That’s a cool boat/tent thingy.

It’s great. Dont feel like you’re going to bother me. If I don’t want to be around people you wouldn’t find me. I still know a few secret spots I keep to myself. But part of this gig is people and I cannot tell you how many clients I get from just being riverside everyday. That face to face with people is still the best way to do business and I do business on the river. So many times a person I helped, or gave advice, or handed some flies, or just ran into has turned into a client. Too many guides miss out on those kinds of clients because they arent out fishing.

Those people are usually two types. Very experienced, and not at all. The expeirmced guys book less but I run into more frequently. They fish a lot, know thier stuff, and always like to hear a good story and share a few. The others are the newbies, typically just trying to figure it out, maybe haven’t even been in a shop yet because they are intimidated. Which sucks…if you’re local shops are intimidating or not helping then find new ones. It’s still to common in this industry especially to female and younger anglers.

The newbies are great, they are sponges, they take flies readily, and they listen intently. I usually hear of thier success later at camp or they find me on social media. I never go out of my way for those encounters. They just happen. They tend to turn into clients at some point. It’s one of my favorites ways to meet fellow anglers. Just be riverside.

The stuff and things. I have a lot of stuff and things to share, and I’m constantly learning and incorporating more. What the hell am I gonna do with it all. My kids arent as interested yet and may never be. I fish on my own and it’s just fishing to me. I can figure out the puzzle and find success with trout and most other species around. So what would I do, just keep getting better and better myself? For what? I’m not competitive at least not with people, only trout. I am not in this for followers or to be famous, to be the best caster or guide or trouty person, I’m not in this for anything but the pure act of fishing. But I gotta make a living. I’m not the guide who is an ambassador to a bunch of companies, my gear is worn, tattered, and well used. My boat is old. And it shows. Even my own body and how I present myself doesnt always mesh with your typical guide. This is about the experience, the life, and making money at it is part of it. The trick is to love what you do and make it fun for clients but also yourself. I’m all about sharing that experience, it does something to you. Of all the ways to enjoy the natural world, fly fishing just has something more to it. That’s what it’s all about.

I am constantly reminded by clients, anglers, and people I meet that I have a unique approach and do things unlike many others. I dont know how to do it any other way. Guiding to me is what I do, I never had some standard to work off of really. And over the years my ways of doing things has evolved into more my own thing than I ever realized it would be. With the St. Joe added to the roster and getting a whole new slew of clients and anglers as well as a totally different type of guiding experience for me the fact of that uniqueness has become more apparent to me.

I’m gonna keep doing me I guess. Seems to work and now that we are really in the peak of it and July is over half booked…I’m gonna keep on ramblin doen the road and the rivers anglers. See ya riverside.

Tamarack

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4th of July Special

Hey Anglers!

The 4th of July weekend is coming up!

I’m offering half day floats for $280.00 for 2 anglers.

Anglers have the option of morning or evening floats.

Come out to the Yakima River and get in on the summer fishing before it fills up and gets too hot! Morning and evening start times means we miss all the floater, tuber, and rafting traffic and fish the river when conditions are best for troots.

We have goldens, yellow sallies, pmds, drakes, and the flows are up! Trout are hungry and the summer fishing is here.

Call, email, messages or tell at me riverside to reserve a 4th of July Weekemd fishing trip.

I have the 4th through the 7th still open and its the only weekend left open on July! I’ll be on the St. Joe for most of August so get in on the Yakima Trips while I’m still here!

$280 plus tax for 2 anglers half day floats, morning and evening. 4th-7th open!

Tamarack

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The St. Joe

The St. Joe River in North Idaho from a Yakima River Guide’s Perspective.

Well…if you know me…let’s start this off right. Holy Fuck!

I have the amazing opportunity to guide one of the most awesome rivers I’ve ever had the pleasure of fishing. Guiding it for the first day was something I have looked forward to since this off season. More than that, since I’ve started fly fishing, and guiding, that need for adventure, a challenge, pitting my skills against a new river, countering different trout, a new puzzle…its something I am always chasing.

The St. Joe is one of the best rivers I’ve ever fished and guiding it was exhausting…in the best way possible.

Fish right from the get go. I was on a double boater with a family, father and sons. I had two sons and the other guide and dad and son. When we arrived that morning I think our first impression with the clients was unexpected. Here are two rather trout bummy dudes who look like they’ve been camping and fishing for a week. Yes I’m super beardy, and I’m not in the latest waders and boots, hell I’m in board shorts and a t shirt with a sweaty old flat brim hat filled with flies that isn’t even a fishing endorsed hat. I know that I may not look the part of a fly fishing guide to some.

So that initial impression had us a little on edge. But, once you get people like us on the river…it all changes. You’re not looking at the guide all day.

The other boat was into fish at the put in. The put in was a fun one. So I pushed down river and looked for some proper nymphy water. Wasnt hard. Around the next bend within 15 minutes of starting and boom, big ass trout on then off. Woo. We pulled over, and nymphed on foot. Missed another one. Feeling the pressure of not having landed one yet with that friendly guide competition brewing I had the clients switch to streamers.

For two reasons…its wicked fun for clients when a fish takes a streamer. And because as a guide, a streamer eat makes the trout do the hard part and the angler just has to hang on, listen, and land the fish. It takes a lot of the intricate work out of the process and gets clients on a fish quickly to help kickstart the energy level and focus for the day. It was needed as it was early and everyone knew it was my first day. I read a sweet run below a 90 degree turn that had a rapid, big boulders and a deep water tail out with a gravel bar on the inside that created a shelf where a large trout could lie in wait for prey. 20 swings layer…and the client is yelling “I got one!”

The chaos begins, walk up the bank, tip up, let ’em run, strip strip strip, hold ’em, walk back, pull up, reel reel reel, and in the net! Awww ya.

“Holy shit you weren’t lying Nate, he tried to take the rod from me!” Mmmmm. The energy between the two clients climaxed post release when they started chatting and breaking down how the fish hit and fought between themselves as I chuckled to myself listening. Boom.

The St. Joe is beautiful and at 2400 cfs and gin clear…you see everything. So many fish. There are areas where laps can be run by back rowing up and running multiple drift lines, with fish hooked in every pass. Was doubled up two times during the day. At lunch the boat had already landed over a dozen and missed that many plus. By the end of the day it was 2 dozen landed and that many plus missed. As many as you can catch.

I would run a lap at one depth, land or miss fish. Change depths, back row, pick another lane, run it, miss and land more. Multiple times. As a guide I wanted to keep doing it just to see how many times it would produce. Clients were getting a kick out of it.

The trip turned into a blur of trout. Trout missed, trout landed, trout talked about. One of the troutiest days I have ever had guiding.

Crazy thing about the Joe. We nymphed all day. Fish just weren’t interested in dries on our section. But 10 river miles down the other two boats we had out fished dries all day and had almost identical days fish wise. Mmmm. The Joe changes a lot, but westslope cutthroat make it an easier fishery as they are a more eager species. The puzzle of the Joe is one I am also eager to put together.

I haven’t had to guide, read water, and put anglers on fish cold like that. Haven’t floated it, haven’t fished it, haven’t read it…having to do it live was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had guiding. Especially when it just keeps working all day. The Yakima I can fish from memory. I know every inch of it. The Joe is new and intoxicating because of that.

Deciphering, interpreting, and discovering a new fishery via guiding is pretty fucken rad.

I’ll be back up there Tueaday to take my lady on a float and to spend some more time learning the water.

I plan on being on the St. Joe all of August as the Yakina will be in full drought mode at that time. I invite you all to come experience the St. Joe this year with White Pine Outfitter and myself. It’s one of those places you’ll never forget and always want to keep coming back to. It’s one of those perfect yearly trip kinda places. Two three days, take a trip one day, fish it on foot the others, explore the local area, visit the local businesses, soak up some of that rugged north Idaho culture and take in one of the most pristine, wild, and scenic rivers I’ve ever fished.

Ya buddy.

Tamarack.

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Open Dates for the Yak and Joe!

I leave for the St. Joe River in Idaho on June 20th through the 26th. So if you’d like to reserve a day on the St. Joe make sure you get a hold of me so I can put you in contact with my outfitter.

Until I leave I have a few days left open on the Yak.

June 14th 16th 18th and 19th on the Yakima are open.

If you’d life to reserve a day on the Yak before I’m outta town for 6 days fishing and guiding some new water let me know.

Bugs are hatching, fishing is starting to settle back after the flows bump, the sunshine is here, come get in on the early summer action before it’s too hot!

And the St. Joe is just starting its Salmon Flies and the flows are settling and its starting to fish really well from what I’m told. I’ll have reports for both places and information as we keep rambling and rolling riverside this season.

How to see ya out there anglers.

Tamarack