Intimidation

Whenever I think of the word intimidation, I see the scene of the little gangly kid in The Little Giants prepping himself for the game game. Did I just show my age? Anyway, intimidation is something that I don’t see on a personal level in trout fishing too much anymore, and I still search out quarry that amaze and strike me with utter fear, admiration, and fulfillment. But that’s between angler and fish, and every good angler seeks out those fish that haunt them…even without ever casting a fly to them.

Intimidation between anglers…between professionals and novice alike; it used to be rampant in the industry when I first started. Hell my entire initiation into the guide world was through those old school, boys club, F with the new guy, bullshit that turned me off to the whole damn thing in the first place. If you’ve met me you know I’m not like that…aside from the occasional shenanigan or two. As I’ve gotten older, and better at fly fishing and guiding, I guess I’ve risen above all that crap. It annoys me to this day when I see it though.

I see it less than I did but it’s still there. I see it in two places mostly, with newbies, and women. It’s sad really, because these demographics are the two most growing factors in fly fishing right now. There are more young people and more women who participate in fly fishing than ever…EVER. Where intimidation seems to still be a huge issue like most things is on social media. I see it on my Instagram feed and FB stuff all the time. It’s happened to good friends of mine, fellow guides, tiers, weekend warriors, first timers, and Trout bums. It’s stupid and you’re kind of an asshat for doing it…just saying.

I let the fish and the river do all the intimidating I need. Tricky fish will equalize everyone. So will the river. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, how many big fish you’ve landed…the river and the fish don’t care. I’ve put a fly rod in the hand of someone who’s never cast before and had them trick, play, and land trophy sized trout…I’ve done it lots of times truthfully. And it’s a team effort guiding. By the end of the day if I’ve done my job right you can come back out on your own and be successful.

But when I see intimidation on the river or on social media it really strikes me as so out of place in fly fishing. I fish with so many people and I hear stories of not so great encounters that honestly just make me feel for people. I’ve been there. It sucks and it makes you not wanna fish. And that’s the crummy part. Because in a lot of cases where you feel intimidated it’s because you’re unwelcome, and that’s not cool because damnit…fly fishing is a community, and that’s now you treat fellow anglers.

I’ve had conversations this season and just in the past few weeks with people about this very issue. This bullying, because that’s what it is. I always tell my clients if you walk into a shop or talk to another angler and feel intimidated or unwelcome or like you’re not worth their time…find another shop, or walk over to the next angler.

It’s one thing to critique and there is a time and place for it, and there are times when I get heated or upset but it’s all just fishing, remember that. I’ll yell, curse, get on people about setting the damn hook…ya know normal things. But I’ve always felt that fly fishing should be open and welcoming to anglers. No matter the skill level. I strive to make sure that I make fly fishing fun, as a guide I’m there to introduce people to it all, and I want that experience to be wicked awesome. If you’ve done it all before, you know what’s up.

So for those of you out there that feel intimidated, or have been turned off to fly fishing because of it…don’t let that it get ya down. There are always gonna be asshats out there…my rule is let them be asshats. If you feel like you’re getting the ring-around, or you’ve just had a crappy experience, fly fishing is worth it so get back after it. Just ignore that stuff and find fellow anglers that will support you in your pursuit of chasing fish with flies. We all started out somewhere, good anglers will share what they know because fly fishing is just more than fishing.

Tamarack

The End is Finally Here…and I’m already bored.


Well anglers, the end of the season is here.  I took my last trip on October 26th, after 150 plus guide trips this season and man was it a good season.  Of course I would like to thank everyone that came out and took a trip with me and supported the little guy with no shop or big operation.  My clients fuel my passion for fly fishing and I hope that I inspire them to chase fish outside of the handful of trips they take with me.

So the end of the season is here…and I am already bored.  If you’ve spent any time with me on the water you’ll now I am a high energy busy body.  If you’ve hung out with me at the house on a day off you know that I don’t like to sit still and being couch locked only has its appeal for a few days before I become restless.

I used to chase mountains.  Their peaks, their trails, the outcroppings overlooking the world; the trees that covered them and the wildlife that call them home, I used to adventure far and wide searching for those moments of pure awesome, the moments that area concoction of fear, intimidation, excitement, adrenaline, euphoria, and wonder.  The mountains called to me and I would answer.  After so many miles and too many accidents I stopped chasing the tops of mountains and decided to go for fish once again.  Trout specifically, but these days I find that trout are presenting less of a challenge to me.  Much like the mountains lost their allure, trout have lost their shine for me personally, and while they still present a challenge for me as a guide, I find that as I have gotten older I have a need for higher doses of awesome in my life.

This is why this will be my last season only working the Yakima River.  I will always guide the Yakima, it is home and I have just about maxed out my days here.  With only around 170 days of workable river and weather conditions, I have tapped out here on the homewater.  So its time to add and expand.  I need something new to chase.  I need something that intimidates me, scares me, makes my whole body pulse with adrenaline…because at heart…I am still an adrenaline junky.  Something I can tap clients into and have them get the same sensations and fulfillment from angling with fly and rod.


I have chased salmon and steel, but in reality they are either just big sea run trout…or hatchery bred cows that serve only one purpose…which is to fuel a commercial fishing market that has been floundering for years.  And after spending some time on the west side again this past year, and researching into what fishing is like out here in Washington for salmon and steel…it just doesn’t appeal to me.  Especially fishing on the gear/bait saturated side of the state when you only want to swing for illusive fish.  Yes I am elitist and I know it.  
Freshwater species are no longer on my radar for new things.  I have the southern warm waters on my mind.  I have slowly begun delving into the world of Redfish, Tarpon, Snook, and other fish that frequent warm coastal southern waters and have a hankering for big flies on big rods.  Something that is out of my comfort zone, something I know little about, but that passion and desire to learn, explore, and my need for a new adventure are all driving me south.  This will be my last winter bored as I have plans to make the trek south this spring and then make semi annual trips south chasing new fish species and hopefully guide anglers for those fish in the near future.  That being said I still have this winter to deal with.

This winter I will be revamping my business.  New logo, new media content, new YouTube channel with fishing vids but also the lifestyle side of things, which is what I get more and more requests for.  I will also…be tying this winter.  Here over the next week or two I will have a select handful of my personal patterns up for sale throughout the season.  I am also looking for a place to teach fly tying this winter and will have dates for classes available for sign up as soon as that comes through.  Finally, I will be doing live videos of tying sessions this winter as well.  So look for scheduled tying events and join me.

The last thing I am currently prepping for next season already is an ALASKA ADVENTURE!  I am currently looking at several lodges in Alaska for a week long trip with clients and myself to chase those crazy Alaska fish.  It has been years since I have been to Alaska and I am looking forward to spending time with clients in that wild place once again.  So keep an eye out for info on an Alaska Trip with my beardy face for next summer as I finish up the details.

So there we go.  I have had a week off, I’m already bored, and we literally just got done.  The blogging will kick back up here this week and I will have one out once a week if not more for the off season.  I will have tying classes available as soon as I lock down an area to do them in.  I will have flies up for sale on the website, instagram and FB for anglers.  A new revamp of the businesses media and outreach is also happening.  Plus, and Alaska Adventure with clients next summer to break up the trout fishing and give clients something new and exciting to try.  When the fishing stops the business has gotta keep moving and I don’t like to sit still.

I hope to see a few of you out there on the west side chasing unicorns and that with something other than a 5wt.  Thanks again everyone who came out and I can’t wait to get back to it next season, and to add and expand and make the adventure bigger and better!  Thanks again.  See ya out there anglers.

 

Tamarack

 

FISHTOBER is almost over!!!


The end of the season is upon us anglers. We have maybe 10 days left in the upper river before it really slows down. It has already started to slow and fish are moving into their winter holding areas. 

The Lower River should continue to fish well through the end of the month, with the current forecasts and overnight lows dropping into freezing the fishing season is coming to an end. 

I’ve got the 15-18th and 22nd-25th open and won’t be taking anymore trips after the 25th.  

FISHTOBER is almost over! Come get in on the last few days anglers!!!

October Availability

Well Anglers…the end of the season is fast approaching.  We have 3 weeks of the season left before things start to really slow down here on the Yakima.

The October Caddis are hatching, the salmon are spawning, the fish are chasing streamers, and our late season mayfly hatches are in full swing.  The time is now…it is FISHTOBER and you need to get in on it before its over!!!

These are the following days I still have open for the first 3 weeks of the month:

Dates Available:
8th, 9th, 11th
15th-18th
20th, 21st, 22nd

I am wide open after that but the fishing have slowed so if you are looking for a date in late October into early November just contact me and we can talk about it…I may also be fishing for steelhead and salmon and may not answer by the end of the month…just fyi.

26th-29th of September Open

I’ve got the 26th – 29th still open for this month. We’ve got about 4-5 weeks of fishing left before things really ramp down here on the Yakima. 

The month of FISHTOBER is here. The dry fly fishing is amazing, the weather is great, the wading is perfect, the smoke is gone, and the mayfly hatches are here, as well as craneflies, October Caddis, and streamers are picking up fish on the swing. It’s time to chase trout and my calendar is almost full for this month and October is filling in quick. 

Reserve a day with me in the water, it’s all good, walk and wades, half day, full day floats.  The upper is fishing amazing right now and the lower will be in great shape soon as it cools down and the hatches start coming off. 

Call, email, or yell at me on the river, you can also hit the Reserve Today tab in the menu. 

Autumn 2017 Part 1 ( The Precursor)

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Fall Season Walk and Wade Trips

The end of August is upon us.  The Labor Day Weekend will be over soon.  And despite the wildfire currently raging only 11 miles from where I am sitting…the Autumn will take on a softer tone, a slower pace, with a briskness to each morning, and a slow cool down every evening.  Everything around me on the river points to its approach.  The caterpillars in the trees in cocoon.  The preliminary large fall caddis hatching sporadically.   The craneflies dancing and dabbing along the river’s soft edges.  The water has dropped, even with the heat and can feel the cold creeping back into the water.  My toes ache after standing in the river in the mornings.  The sun angle, even through the amber haze from the smoke, has changed, elongating the shadows, and shortening the days.  The heat of the day dissipates hastily, leaving the fringes of the day cool and calm.

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Fall Season Cutty

I love the slowness of the Autumn.  June, July, and August this season have been busy, heavy rowing, and lots of fish.  With around 100 trips already completed this season I feel pretty fortunate considering the way this season started.  The Yakima may be cold hearted some times, but she is the most consistent in the Autumn, and above all things required for good trout fishing….consistency is the key.  In my angling opinion the Yakima River is the best in the Autumn, as a guide she becomes an absolute blast…but more of a challenge.  Already the upper river trout are becoming selective, shy, and tricky to locate from day to day.  But…nature works in favor of the angler, and as the temps drop, the hatches return to normal schedules, and the trout feed in trance like rhythms…the fishing becomes…well for me its that perfect balance between utterly unforgiving and frustrating….and fucking amazing.

 

This time usually comes about around the 2nd week of September when we’ve beaten the last throws of summer.  A few things are happening as we inch closer to the end of the season.  The stonefly hatch returns a normal time…Right now the temperatures and conditions for good a decent stonefly hatch are around 4 am right now…when its dark.  And fish in the upper river are eating them.  I know this, because I’ve seen them do it.  I saw them do it this morning.  The first three fish of today’s trip, all good size, all good solid smacks at the fly, no thought, just a big ol’ eat…all three missed!   I was a little bummed before 8 am today.

 

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Summer/Shortwing Stonefly

There are Summer Stones or Shortwing Stones hatching.  And they continue to hatch into mid September in the upper river.  While the lower river stones are just about done, on a normal year the colder water and colder nights in the upper river elongate the hatch and as the temps settle the hatch shifts from 4 am to around 7 am.  This is already starting in the upper.  We’ve had some 40 degree nights.  When this happens the stoneflies hatch earlier in the evening, but the majority of the hatch shifts to the morning.  Then the shortwing males that typically hatch first show up and are all over the banks and brushy overhangs.  The females don’t arrive until the morning.  So its just a bunch of dude stoneflies hanging out in the evening getting hoovered by nocturnal feeding trout.  Right now the females are around at 4 am.  Those bigger wet shucks on the rocks when you get on water at 7 am right now.   Those are the females and you missed them by 3 hours.  But it’s dark AF so its not your fault.

But the Autumn works in favor of the angler.  The temperatures shift and the hatch follows.  The males still hatch when its evening and typically around 9-11pm if you camp on the river in early September.  The ladies show up at first light typically.  They hatch, quickly, along the rocks, where fish can’t get them.  They find a mate along the bank, do their thing, and then the males die…get eaten…and the females return to oviposit before it gets to hot and light out so the birds can’t get at them.  A big big flying around in the afternoon light gets eaten 9 times out of 10.  So the Summer or Shortwing Stones get down to business early before the temps start getting closer to freezing.  I have seen that hatch last into the week of the 20th in the upper river.   While the LC is in that weird lull of lower flows, fish moving, and no bugs yet because the water is still to warm and the summer lingers in that basalt canyon.

img_5792Fishing large dry flies as the light comes onto the river is the preferred method to trick fish in early September.  Trout will eat nymphs in the am…but come on…2 nice trout on a nymph are better than 5 on the nymph…at least for me anyway but I don’t chase numbers and I like dry fly eats better than indicator drops.  Besides…as that pink sunlight hits the edges of the river through the trees.  Long warm shadows against the cool night air clinging to the surface of the river.  A slight mist, breath just visible.  A deep inhale…as the large dry fly drifts along the seam, touching the light, presenting a dark silhouette to the trout lurking just below.  The nose breaking the surface, your breath pushing through the cold air billowing with your excitement.  The rod bends, and there is a deep, ferocious, and quite angry headshake from the wild animal who’s morning you just completely ruined.  It’s F’ing glorious people, and after 5 refusals from 5 bigger trout the past 20 minutes as the sweet spot of when big fish eat fades; it beats an orange indicator dipping in the morning…just saying.

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The Famous, “Nate’s Crane”

The afternoons are filled with cranefly eats.  Smaller fish snapping at dabbing and skating cranes as they bustle about the river’s surface gangily and clumsily, rolling across a riffle only to have a large cutthroat lunge out of the river at it and miss.  But a cranefly dry stuck in the surface attached to my fly line…ya…they don’t miss that very much.  Dead drift them through the fast water, and skate them through the soft edges and eddies…trout will be there…the more bugs you see flying around the more you should be throwing big cranefly dries.  They are already hatching and as the temps settle and cool they will only get thicker, typically peaking around the 15th-20th of September and trailing into the last week of the month.  A great hatch, thick up here, and cutthroat and cranes are what dry fly fishing is all about…its amazing…and anxiously wait for it every season…its my second favorite hatch behind March Browns.

 

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Autumn Rain and Mayfly Eats

The cooler days will bring us mayflies but they won’t be prolific until the day times highs stay under 65 and the low pressure systems return and bring us rains and cloud cover.  Then Light Cahills, Mahogany’s, and BWO’s will be on the menu in the afternoon when pods of fish get into that oh so sweet rhythm and you have to cast in time and sync up with the river, the drift, and the trout.  The juicy stuff.

But everyone knows that there is this large moth like insect that arrives in the last week of September and brings us into the month of Fishtober.   The last of the season…the home stretch…the final countdown…the end of the season.  We shall touch on Fishtober and those deliciously delectable October Caddis show up.  They are getting there.  You can grab one off the under side of the rocks and open them up and see for yourself.  If they still have a black head then they are not ready.  If they are all orange but don’t have wings formed yet, they are about 10 days to 2 weeks out.  If they have wings…you will probably see them flying around in the evenings at dusk.  As the temps get colder the hatch intensifies and settles in the later afternoon.

Last season globs of them were falling out of the trees the 3rd week of October…I know because I took the whole week off and fished every day.  I will be working this season…so don’t hesitate to get on the calendar soon…I am almost full in September and October goes fast.

Hope to see ya out here this Autumn.  Part 2 will come out after I finish the next 5 trips in a row.

 

Tamarack