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Focus

This gig can get a little distracting. Not the fishing…but the bullshit…and I’ll be the first to admit that I succumb to drama from time to time. A little confrontation means you’re doing something right. Its competition, and when you’re doing a good job there is gonna be drama that follows. The trick is to stay above it. Just do you and let others be asshats. Stand your ground, make your point professionally, and move on down river. I never engage riverside, I just pull over and let the drama pass me by. I’ll talk and blog about the things that come my way, make my opinion known, and move on. I’m in this gig to share fly fishing with anglers and enjoy wild places and the fish that live in them.

I just dont have time to get into Twitter spats and messenger and PM arguments. Thanks for the comment and the input, I’ll take it into consideration, and move on. I never engage in drama riverside. Theres no place for it, I follow standard river ethics and just run my boat.

Focus, on the task at hand, not being the best, the busiest, the loudest, catch the most fish, nope…none of that…all I’m after is doing my best each guide day so that my clients have the best possible experience riverside. No matter what the day throws at us.

So to those that have commented, said things, and all that drama that seems to seep out of the guide community on my homewater….you keep doing you, I’ll do me and we can just leave it at that. I’ve got more important things to focus on…like clients and reading water, and tricking trout. This gig is all about that and that’s where my attention will focus. Taking some time off makes that more apparent.

So I’ll make my posts, take my photos, blog my thoughts, show my clients super awesome times, catch a few fish, and live that river life. It’s been working just fine the past 4 seasons, and at some point you just have to focus on the river, fish, and clients, and let haters hate and move on down to the next bend.

Tamarack

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Rest, reflection, down time.

So I’m here at home with my family for 10 days. It’s been 53 days since I’ve seen any of them. Which was a long time, longest I’ve been away from them. So that had its ups and downs. Luckily I have trout to occupy the mind.

After spending almost the entire 53 days outside a few things come to mind being back at home. First, the quiet…I miss it. So many evenings and days where there is nothing but the sounds of river life around you. Here at home the sounds of cars and trucks driving by, sirens, people; things I forget about when riverside. Sleeping…sleeping indoors sucks. After so much time sleeping outside, in the cool air, the quiet, and let’s face it my roof top tent is wicked comfortable…I don’t sleep so well inside 4 traditional walls. I find myself restless, but that’s also because I’ve been active and doing something physical and mentally straining each day. Now I’m sedentary and my body and mind doesn’t like it. Even my lady notices it. I’m aloof, slightly out of place here because my mind and body are elsewhere. They are still on the Yak and Joe.

I missed the sound of my children so much. My boisterous eldest, my shrieking son, and my giggly youngest. I’ll tell you watching my 5 year old blow bubbles for two hours yesterday was some of the best two hours I’ve ever had. My children are happy, and that’s all the reassurance I need as a father. Yes we miss each other, but they see me happy doing what I love. Even though they are young, learning the life lesson of doing what makes you happy and finding a good balance with family, yourself, and work is one of the most important.

I missed my lady. The sounds of her snoring next to me are about the only comfort I have sleeping inside. Her smile warms me more than the morning sun after a frigid night. Putting my hands on her skin is better than being fireside. Time away makes you appreciate and notice all the things…all the things. Still to this day I can’t believe the women who chose me and is my partner in this life. She is the best woman I know and really…she gets me…the trout, the guiding, the solo time, the addiction to the outdoors and tricking fish with flies and how it completely involves me…she gets me.

I do feel that anxiousness of wanting to get back. Feel like I’m missing out. And I am, but it is a worthwhile respite from the river before things really ramp up for the season. My family won’t want me to leave, but I’ll be torn between the two…and I usually find myself knee deep in a river eventually anyway.

I do dig the indoor showers though, while I don’t mind pooping in the woods as I have vast experience in back country poops, the outdoor showers aren’t the greatest in the early season. Bit chilly. However I do feel slightly claustrophobic inside, especially a small bathroom…one of those weird things you notice after being outside a lot.

The spring was fun, always want more trips and more fish but you get what the river gives you and you make it work. Exploring new waters, ruffling some feathers, getting a new guide gig on a new river in a new state, that shit was dope and I’m super stoked. The Yak, like she always is, predictably inconsistent, with ridiculously persnickety trout. Challenging and rewarding wrapped up with a big bow of frustration…mmmm…I do love the Yakima River. I really can’t wait to get back.

Summer trips are already starting to book up on both rivers. Plus bass fishing will ramp up, it’s just gonna be a good season of chasin fish no matter where I’m at. Come get some…

Tamarack

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Its good!

Hey anglers I have Wednesday and Thursday still open this week and the weather is amazing with sunshine and 60 plus degrees and the fish are eating skwallas and the March Browns which are coming off strong in the upper.

My last two open days for Spring Special Pricing at $385 for two anglers and a lunch.

I’ll be back May 3rd for the start of summer and the caddis hatch!

Reserve today. !

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The Spring

The spring is always a crapshoot when it comes to fishing. It’s all about consistency with fly fishing and the spring is anything but. It can reward those who put in the work and have the patience but it can also hand your ass to you all day.

We have the winds now. I’ve got the tent buttoned down so I dont blow away tonight. The weather can never seem to make up its mind this time of year. Its supposed to snow tonight.

Fishing in the spring can be misery filled, but it can also introduce the adventurous and determined angler to some amazing trout.

Big fish eat in the spring. The water is also wicked cold, and trout, especially of the rainbow variety, fight very hard in the spring. They play for keeps out here on the Yak.

There is a lot about the spring I love. The cooler weather and mayfly fishing. The rain, when it’s not incessant. The showers perk up the trout and the bugs. The trees are budding, the scent of pine is carried on the breeze. The river is emerald, the fish colored up like neon signs. The deer and elk are frequent, as are the eagles, geese and ducks. The swallows are here, skating and dancing along the river surface.

The days are slower, the starts later, river time is leisure in the spring. The campfires are warm and much appreciated on the damp cold nights. The waders have that well worn smell, I’ve fished for almost 6 weeks straight. Only a handful of days where I didn’t have a rod in my hand or my oars fanning the current off the boat.

I miss my family though. I am looking forward to some time off with them. However I am eager to get going on this summer season. I crave the blur of just days of guiding and fishing, only thing separating them are the people and the two rivers I get to share with them this year.

I have one week left here for the spring on the Yak before heading home until May. Come share it with me on a guided trip and see for yourself. Maybe catch a big trout. Definitely have a wicked awesome time.

Tamarack

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St. Joe Day 5 and final thoughts.

I’m left wanting more. A feeling that has been subdued by years on the Yakima River. The opportunity to spend 5 days of fishing and floating was a treat itself but being able to guide it; that still makes me smile ear to ear. Especially after seeing the river, meeting its fish, some of the people who call it home, and a few of the anglers that frequent its banks.

I felt more welcomed than ever on the St. Joe, not only did the river make me want to come back for years but so did the people. Heartfelt, warm, people who were more interested in the loud colorful bearded individual that invaded thier river with his big beard, big boat, and big loud voice echoing down the water. People were eager to hear my feelings on the river, my story, what brought me here. And I the same to them. This life inteoduces you to so many different types of people but we all share that love of moving water and wild and natural places.

The fishing on day 5 was superb as well. With some funkiness we decided to see if fish would come up for skwallas in the skwalla dry water. They did and I have never seen so many quality, healthy, absolutley gorgeous westlope cutthroat in a single day of chucking dries. The river is simply amazing. It enco is passes every facet of the word.

I am so fortunate to be part of the crew at Whitepine Outfitters and have this lifetime of an opportunity to guide the pristine, wild, freestone, St. Joe River in Northern Idaho.

I cant wait to get started and enjoy and share the river with others. I am so stoked to be guiding two amazing rivers that will give anglers to incredible fly fishing experiences.

See you riverside…on the Joe or the Yak.

Tamarack

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Last Days of Spring Special Trips

Hey Anglers

I have the 14th-18th still open for Spring Special Rates on Guided Trips. $385.00 for two anglers includes lunch!

The Skwallas are still here, we have BWO and March Brown Mayflies hatching and water temps are rising. The river is on the drop this week, and fishing has been good.

I’ll be gone from April 21st to May 2nd to see my family after 7 weeks away and get ready for the summer seasons on the Yakima and St. Joe River in Idaho this year.

Reserve today, call email, visit the trip inquiry page and get in on some spring fishing on the Yakima River.

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St. Joe Day 4

Today was amazing. I’ve never seen so many fish come up for dries like I did today in a long time. Never on the Yakima. In the span of about 3 hours I saw over 50 trout hooked and over 30 landed on dries. For spring fishing with 41 degree water churning at 8000 cfs…shit was amazing.

This river is beautiful, free flowing, and filled with eager westslope cutthroat trout.

I’ve met a handful of the locals while here. I’ve never felt more welcomed to a river as an outsider like I have here. The people are warm, kind, and always eager to help.

The community here wants guides like what Whitepine and Tyler, who owns the shop, are trying to do here. Its bringing business to the community, showing people how amazing and gorgeous this place is, and those who come here and experience it leave feeling just as welcomed and want to take care of and protect this river and the community that calls it home.

I was called out on social media for ‘blowing up’ the St. Joe and was told I should lie about where I’m fishing. But I’m not here just fishing. I’m here learning and getting certified so I can guide it this year. So of course I’m going to share it…because I want others to see it, fish it, appreciate it, and share it with others. I also want people to book trips so I can support my family and chase my dream of guiding as a career. It also seems a little ironic being called out on social media by people who have made a name for themselves by traveling around the world and to watersheds across the country posting photos and vids to make a name for themselves not as a guide, or a conservationists, but just to make themselves out to be traveling amazing anglers to thier followers. And then be told to keep a particular ‘local’ water a secret. I smell bullshit.

There are no secrets in this fly fishing gig with me. Your secret spot is also someone elses spot that they’ve fished for 20 years. That pattern you love so much was based on something developed in the 20’s or 70’s by the true pioneers of our beloved angling method. Nothing new or secret anymore. Just repackaged.

I’m gonna blow this watershed up, share it, talk about it, take clients down it, and chase its fish. I’m here as a guide, I was hired because I’m experienced, come highly recommended, am very good at my job, have a conservation mindset when it comes to angling and guiding, and I am also very good at this social media thing and was brought in to help promote the outfitter as well as the river. So no…I won’t be toning down my social media posts…in fact there will only be more to come. You don’t have to like it but at least my reasons are based on something other than my own personal gains.

I also guide on one of the most pressured rivers in Washington State with 5 guide shops, over 70 guides, and only 1000 fish per mile on a 75 mile stretch of river. The St. Joe has two outfitters with a guide license for this area with a total of 1-5 guides on any given day…nothing is blowing up here let’s be honest. This place is a gem, and should be taken care of, but who wants to take care of something they know nothing about? Who wants to preserve something when its considered a ‘locals only’ place? When someone tells me to keep something quiet I just see a selfish person wanting to keep something all to themselves. Fuck that, these wild and natural places are for all of us to enjoy. Those who try to tell me how to run my boat or my business get ignored and forgotten about.

This place is wonderful and I can’t wait to share it with every angler I can. Day 5 tomorrow and certified to guide in Idaho on the St. Joe, hoping for another bitchen day of fish on dries before heading back to the Yakima for my last 10 days before a break to see the wife and kids after 7 weeks away.

I’ll be back riverside in May. Bouncing between two beautiful and astounding rivers. Two amazingly different rivers.

Tamarack

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St. Joe Day 3

Today was rough. The river hit 8 G’s and was ripping. Fish were very hard to find but I’m not here for fish I’m here for the floats so that I’m certified to guide. I’ve got 2 more days of certification floats. After today…they will be shorter ones.

I’ve floated all but a few miles of the river section that I’ll be guiding. But so far my favorite oa the section from Avery to Marble Creek. The water is big, turbulant, lots of rollers and I know when the river drops in the summer and fall it will be a boulder filled paradise to row and fish.

We did Marble Creek to Calder today. We found a few fish but the weather made for some river misery. Misery on the river is fine…when there are fish…its kind of a grind when there aren’t.

The rain has been heavy since yesterday and got so hard overnight it woke both me and Kyle my guide colleague up. We figured the river would really blow out but it held its color and flow. It looks like it will peak later in the season with the heavy snowpack.

It got windy half way through and the misery really sank in. We were soaked, cold, and our brains fried from trying to decipher this river in these flows. A welcome challenge. Even in the crappy weather I still love every minute of it.

We ended early and came back to camp and made a huge fire in the wood stove and warmed ourselves while sharing fishing stories.

I do miss my family though. It is starting to wane on me, not seeing them, hearing my children play, waking next to my lady. It’s been 6 weeks and will be just over 7 when I finally see then again in 11 days. Being here and out of service not able to talk to my family has been a little tough especially after 6 weeks. But it’s that final push for me this spring and it’s always the hardest part for me…that internal struggle of wanting to connect with my wife and children but also wanting this freedom and connection to rivers and trout.

This spring has been better than last year but not super busy. I’ve only got 11 more days of the spring season before I take a break until May 3rd. Then it’s the long push through the summer to the fall…on two rivers. I’m stoked and can’t wait to run my first trip on the St. Joe. I also cant wait to get back to the Yakima and chase fish. I do feel like one of the luckiest fly fishing guides right now and it’s pretty sweet. Even if I’m a little fried right now.

Be back at it again tomorrow.

Tamarack.

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St. Joe Day 2

Hot damn today was wicked. We floated from Avery to Marble Creek. I’m doing these floats in order to have enough river time to be certified as a guide for it. I’ll be done Thursday.

The float was long, and the water was big. Around 5 G’s. Some viv rollers and gnarly hydraulics at that flow. The water had good streamer green clarity of about 4 feet. The water temp was 41-42. So troots are still sleepy. But they weren’t in the slow walking speed water deep. No they were deep on the big seams and drop offs near hydraulics and big fat eddys. We found a handful on nymphs and streamers but it was definitely slow and still wintery.

I’m of course falling in love with this river. It’s a little rugged and rough up here, theres some big water this time of year, which I like a lot, and the cutties are absolutley gorgeous and so much different than the Yak westslope. I’m not fishing, I’m rowing, taking it all in. I’ll fish later when I know it will be better, my only focus right now is learning, trying to understand, and deciphering this freestone wild river. Familiraizing myself with the access points, the shuttle drivers, the locals. Getting to know my new coworkers and gather and absorb as much info from them as I can.

I’m very much looking forward to bouncing between two rivers this year. The Yakima and the St. Joe. Two rivers on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of western troot rivers. The yak a tailwater, very pressured system, with irrigation water, salmon pulses, lots of anglers, tougher technical fishing, with some of the most persnickety trout I’ve ever met.

To the St. Joe, a freestone, wild river, with a massive population of Westslope that puts the Yakima to shame in terms of just numbers alone. They are cutties, they are numerous, and they like to eat flies here. The water is big and swollen in the spring the flood plane here is saturated and amazing to look at on the drives up and down the basin. The tributary streams are so frequent I’m in heaven with all the places I can start to discover on my own. They also have bulltrout here…and it’s legal to fish for them….seriously friends of mine told me of never want to leave this river and they aren’t far off after my first impressions. The way this river changes over the year, oh the stories it will tell me, the secrets I will learn, the trout I will meet and introduce anglers to.

This has been a dream of mine since I started fishing, to guide other rivers. I never set out to only guide the Yakima, it is near and dear to me, my homewater, and a place I have learned intimately and will always guide anglers on. But expanding, exploring, discovering, and sharing other rivers, waters, and fish with more anglers.

I’ll be back on the Yak Thursday night and have Friday through Sunday open. Weather is looking good, flows are stable, and fish should be hungry pre and post spawn. The St. Joe isn’t quite ready yet…but soon.

Tamarack.

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St. Joe Day 1

As many know I have the opportunity to guide the St. Joe River in Idaho this year. Today was my first day of certification on the river. Here in Idaho a guide must work for a licensed outfitter or obtain an outfitter permit and a permit for a open section of river. The stretch I will be learning and working on is from Avery to Mile Marker 16 I believe. I’ve only fished above Avery several years ago for a day. So this is all new to me.

The Yakima blew out and the weather was craptastic and I was at a loss to what to do with myself since the weather was crap for the bass lakes too. The Whitepine Outfitters Crew was floating Sunday and I decided to join my new outfitter crew and headed for the St. Joe.

I was given a drop pin and told to meet at 8:15 am at some take out near Caulder ID. I left Spokane at 4 am and made it to the meet point an hour early. I napped in the car and the crew showed up around 9 am. Literally meet on a door road outside a podunk town near the river. No cell service once I got out of St. Marie’s so I a little worried at first. But its guide time so nothing is ever on schedule. The days shenanigans were only just starting.

We met up, I got to meet a lot of new people, many I had been told about through stories from river peeps. I was first amazed and intrigued by the small tight knit community here, and how everyone knows everyone. I was greeted with open and welcoming arms by everyone today.

Then we all got turned around trying to follow our leader as he hauled ass out of view to the put in. We ended up passing each other a few times as we played tag with the three rigs and trailers all trying to end in the same place. We made it at about 10:30 am.

Then it was time to launch boats. The put in at The former Cutthroat Lodge was a bit of a doozy, dropping and sliding the boats down a rather steep bramble covered bank. Hog slid into the St. Joe like she was hungry to eat up the current.

Then we had some issues about where exactly we were taking out. And on the way to the take out, a few range boulder took out the passenger side front tire of our shuttle driver rig. We spent the better part of 45 minutes using three different jacks to put this donut on. Finally at the take out around 11:30 am.

We meet back up at the boats, everyone else has been waiting a while, and we finally are floating by 12:05 PM.

Its pissing rain, the water is up around 5 grand, and it’s got 15 inches of vis. Streamer water. We hook one on the streamer not to far in.

The tiger is big, swollen, legs floating down river bumping the boat, the brambles and submerged and the river is a slow powerful boil in most places. It’s beautiful and so much different than the Yak. We see BWOs and some MBs, we see feeders, but we are mostly talking about fishing philosophy, guiding, the river, and getting to know each other while sharing stories, beers, and herb.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of a guide crew and after 1 day with this one, I already feel at home. These people up here are some of the nicest and most polite kind people I’ve met. They love the owner of the outfit and I was introduced to everyone as part of the crew. It was a great first impression, even with the shenanigans.

I’m so looking forward to this jeep guiding opportunity. This river is so far on the other end of the spectrum from the Yak. Freestone, big water, lots of bugs, and more westslope cutthroat then I could dream for. Plus, theres just 4 guides that work this stretch, and I am fortunate enough…somehow! To be one of them.

I cant wait to explore this river more, guide it, share it, and be able to finally guide more than just the Yakima…I will always love and guide the Yakima for as long as I am a guide…but this place…ya…I could lose myself here.

Day 2 tomorrow.

Tamarack