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Sept 19th and 20th Open

The cranefly hatch is peaking. It’s starting to feel like fall, and the trout fishing is wicked good right now.

I’ve got the 19th and 20th still open this week. Come out for a half day or a full, or even a walk and wade. It’s all good.

I’ve also got 2 spots still open for my Fall Fishing Clinic Sept 22nd. This coming Sunday. $90 per person. Being your own gear. Come learn the fall fishing. I’ve also got more dates later this season open still but its filling up fast.

There are lots of options and the fishing is pretty good anglers. You’re missing out on Fishtober…some come get dome before it’s over.

Tamarack.

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Craneflies Cometh

The craneflies are hatching anglers. They are hatching and it is glorious.

As I say constantly…the fall is my favorite time to chase trout and guide. The late season fishing is ushered in by a very distinct hatch…the cranefly.

What my kids call a Mosquito Eater, it’s actually a cranefly. There are multiple species, both terrestrial and aquatic. We shall focus on the latter of course. Trout can’t eat the ones hatching in your lawn.

The larva of the cranefly are algae eaters. They hang out in the slower shallow water munching on that sludgy green stuff. They are usually tan, brown, or green and resemble a big ass caddis pupa. Size 10 and 8 anglers. It’s like a grub. Or a underwater Caterpillar . Then when the water drops they all congregate in the slow slack water and typically hatch in the mornings. They like it under 75 degrees in air temp. When the adults hatch they go and find mates and do thier thing. It’s a mad dash across the river to find mates and spawn on the river banks and in the grass. They bumbled and skitter across the river and fish take advantage, the water here is lower flow, the fish are a hangry as they know winter is coming. Gotta pack in the food to store up for the winter just like every other critter.

So suffice it to say…they are aggressive. They chase down food with a purpose. They search cranes out of the air they want then so bad. It’s amazing to watch and even more incredible to fish. Unlike any other time of year the fish resist the urge for cover, food, and oxygen and will only focus on food, sacrificing themselves to predators to eat as much as possible. They can get that way with drakes too. But it seems to be more intense with cranes on the Yakima.

For the next 2 weeks these dangly bugs will be one of the key food sources for trout in the upper river. BWO and Mahogany Mayflies are there on cooler and soggy days and I’ll become more prevalent post crane hatch. There are caddis coming off frequently, a few large October Caddis but that hatch is still weeks out.

It’s all about cranes anglers. The time is now. It’s on and I’ve got open days this weekend and into next week. So come get in on the peak of the cranefly hatch.

Awww ya.

Tamarack

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Back on the Homewater

It feels like it’s been ages. But it’s only been a month of summer.

I haven’t fished the Yak in about 4 weeks. I’ve been on the Joe and dealing with the aftermath of that truck reducing deer encounter.

I drove 800 miles the last two days. From home in Rupert Idaho to the Joe then the Yak. A much needed short trip to see the family. It had been 70 days or so since I had seen or held my wife and children. There was some emotion when we picked up my son from school. We couldn’t see him in the cafeteria and after everyone looking for him I just yelled his name MARSHALL! With a big dad voice. He jumped up, sitting literally right in front of us, realized he had really just heard his dad call his name, ran to me and nearly knocked me over. He was in tears immediately, as was his mother and teacher. Its was a pretty awesome reaction. My son gets pretty emotional, has battled some demons similar to his dad, and was very worried after the accident. So going home was a much needed trip for all of us. I walked my 5 year old home from Kindergarten for two days, something I look forward to doing more when the season is over. I also got my eldest her first phone so she can text and call me when she needs to and to satiate her teenage need and want for one.

My wife and I had a date night, chilled, detoxed, reflected on the season and the accident, and made plans and ran logistics on the rest of the season and the bounce back from the cost of the accident. A quick visit. But I was anxious to get back to it after being laid up for 2 weeks ish. My lady could tell, not happy but happy to see me leave.

New rig is sweet. Upgrade from the last. Drove the last 800 plus miles like a dream. It’s a pretty drive up through Idaho on 95 through the Salmon River and Hells Canyon area. I really enjoyed seeing all the rafts on my way through. My father in law recommended the route instead of through Mcall, he does know me pretty well these days. Kind of drive I needed after not really wanting to drive since rolling.

Grabbed the boat in the evening, slept in Spokane, and left and hit the Yak around 3 ish. Grabbed oars, and new Sawyer Stickers, and headed up river.

Damn I missed the Yak. And shes starting to look like her normal self again.

I couldn’t help it. I had other things I needed to do. But the trout bum in me said fuck it and go fish. So I did.

I walked up the Cle Elum from the old bridge below Tumble Creek. I missed all but 1. Like I said, haven’t fished the yak in a bit. The Joe is easy sauce comparatively. And that’s all I’ve fished recently. Yakima fish are wicked fast. And in the lower flows…they haven’t slowed down at all. Woo. Little slow on the set anglers. Little slow. So we will be fixing that this week.

The Yak in the Fall is my favorite time to fish and guide. I’ve got a decent number of guide days up and more coming. I plan on fishing every day guiding or myself from now until the end of Fishtober.

The colors are changing, the weather is cooling. The rains are here, the mayflies are hatching. There are craneflies and caddis about. The fish are happy to be through the summer. Aggressive to strike a dry and streamer…when presented well multiple times of course…but aggressive all the same.

I missed the challenge of the Yakima Trout. Well conditioned to the angler these wild trout. Unforgiving. Unwilling. But worth the frustration and tribulation. Rewarding to say the least. And beautiful as ever. These trout…to this day…after 13 years, hundreds of days, hundreds of trips over the past 5, thousands of fish…they still get me.

I’m am happy and honestly…relieved to be back on the homewater. This river and I have history. Summer break is over…its almost Fishtober. Tis the Season anglers….tis the fucken fishtober season.

See ya riverside.

Tamarack

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Fall Season Availability

Late Season Availabiltiy.

Hey anglers,

I cannot thank those who have reserved days for the fall fishing on the Yakima enough. You’re all keeping this thing going with your conitued support and patronage.

Weekends are filling up fast. I’ve had multiple clients try to book the same days. So here is an updated list of what Weekend Days are still open as of today.

September:
14th and 15th
28th and 29th.

October:
19th and 20th
26th.

Weekdays are still open. Reserve online, DM, call, or text.

Thank you and I’m super stoked to get back riverside for Fishtober

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The Big One.

So…I’ve seen a lot of big fish over the years. Big steelhead over 20lbs, Kings, well all the salmon species, pike, musky, bass, carp, multiple trout species, even walleye perch, sunfish, and other panfish. I’ve got some big ones.

But let’s talk about cutties.

I’ve got some big ones. Out of lots of places. Specically let’s talk about Westslopes. Not known for getting super huge, westlope cutthroat are a very interesting trout. They are unlike other trout and when they get larger they become something very special. They use their camouflage, lateral line, speed, and vast range to survive. On the Joe, where these wild westies have literally hundreds of miles of water to range through seeing a big one is still rare.

Well…I seened one.

I was fishing up high on the Joe. I’ll keep the exact spot to myself but the adventurous angler can find the spot way above Avery. It’s a big fish place. Big rapids, canyon walls, deep underwater trench with boulders some as big as a house. This place is loaded with trout, as is the whole river, but this place in particular has some rather large cutties in it.

I was dry fly fishing. Small size 16 bow dry. I hooked a nice 15 inch cutty. As I was bringing it in…a leviathan from the depths slowly came towards the struggling trout I had tricked and then hit it…hard. Bending the rod. It happened about 30 feet from me. I thought…holy hell that was a decent sized bull trout giving me a slap. Something that is common with bulls…hitting a trout already hooked. I landed a smaller bull on Rock Creek MT in a similar encounter with a 8 inch trout.

My heart raced. I couldn’t believe I saw a bulltrout. I landed the 15 inch cutty and recasted to other rising trout. Hoping I’d see the big trout again and maybe give me a chance to target it with a streamer.

I hooked another good sized cutty on the dry. As I was bringing it in this large trout was back, this time much more aggressive. It chased the fish in all the way to my feet. Literally could have kicked the fish in the head. But when it got close enough to really see…I realized it wasnt a bulltrout.

It was one of the biggest Westslope Cutthroat Trout I have ever seen. Over 2 ft of trout easy. It came right to me, insane ita insanely pink gill plate, its orange and red belly, and when it took a swipe at the smaller trout I had hooked, literally at my feet, I saw those bright orange cutts flash. It cared very little that I was standing there. When I landed the fish it hung out within a rod length and chased the smaller trout after I released it

Now…I’ve seen some big fish…this fish was massive…to the point I thought it was a bulltrout. 2 foot cutties are super rare. At least of the westslope variety.

I switched to a streamer. I swung and stripped theee different patterns. The big trout only showed interest in the double sparkle minnow…it gave it a chase before diving to the depths never to be seen again.

I still am having dreams about this fish. Just to have seen such a large westie is a special thing. To land one like the one I saw would be a once in alifetime experience. I know they are up there. Big old cutties, in the 5-7 year old range. Spawned a time or two, ranged hundreds of miles over their life history, survived predators, droughts, warm water, anglers, and more to become one of the gnarliest of Clarkii’s.

Spending as much time as I do riverside, I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit when it comes to wildlife…seeing that trout reignited something in me. That desire to know more, to see more, to experience more. There are trout out there that hold secrets, have history, have lessons to learn from…to have seen it was humbling. Such an impressive animal, just to see, in a time where wildlife, public lands, and the very planet seem under attack…its moments like this one involving a truly amazing and rare creature of the earth…that one can see why they are so important. Because if trout like that can still survive and pass on to the next generation…then there is still hope.

Big fish stir something inside most anglers. For me it’s that deep founded passion within. It brings it up. All the things a trout like that has had to go through just to survive boggles the mind. And having the ability to see, and be a part of its world is precious and should never be taken for granted. For when we stop seeing those trout…we know…that we are on a path that may never allow us to see them again.

Just some thoughts on what happens when I see and meet trout that literally scare the shit out of me.

Tamarack.

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Fishtober

The summer is coming to an end…finally. It seems like every summer some crazy shit happens. Then the fall settles in and things go back to a more normal pace. I love the fall fishing and the Yakima River is at it’s best in the autumn.

I’m down a trailer still. Which I’m hoping to have remedied soon. May end up borrowing a reserve trailer until I can fix mine. Boat has new parts and pieces waiting to be installed. I haven’t tied any late season flies but what else is new.

I’m here in Spokane waiting until Wednesday to fly home and see my family and to pick up my new rig. I’ll be driving back up the 8th. Grabbing my shit and heading over to the Yak. I love the Joe. Its proven to be a slightly difficult place to work even though the fishing is worth it. Big thing about the Joe…it needs days stacked in a row or blocks to be a cost effective for me to guide.

I’ll be very happy to be back on the homewater for a spell. The Yakima in the fall is some of the best fishing there is and I’ve spent seasons learning it better than most. It provides anglers with some of the best and most memorable dry fly fishing experiences there are. Big wild trout on big silly dries.

It’s been a busy year. There has been some hardships, frustrations, growing pains, and amazing moments shared riverside with clients. Trying to keep the positive highlighted over the negative can be a struggle. I tend to get burnt out on the little things that get in the way or cause problems of just running the river. As the season gets to its end my patience for that stuff wanes considerably. I just wanna be riverside. And things that keep me from that tend to get me pretty irate. I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at and when shit goes south it can get the better of you sometimes.

Its been a year of growing too. Working for another outfitter on new water and in a new state has had its challenges. It’s part of the process. It’s also allowing me to figure out how working for others and with others can be and if it’s something I want to continue to pursue. So far yes…and I want to look into more Outfitters for more work as I chase 270 days of guide work. I’ve given up working for Outfitters in Washington State save for one. Every experience I’ve had working for or with the list of Outfitters in WA for fly fishing has been a shit show, save for the little shop in Roslyn. That’s just my opinion and my experience. I’ve done this long enough now and do alright on my own that I say no to trips a lot more than yes when it comes to guiding outside my own business.

Expanding to other waters and other Outfitters I knew was going to bring a boat load of new things to work through. Again part of the process of expanding and growing a business. This late in the season I’m to a point now where I just wanna get back into a routine of guide work. When we hit Fishtober anything that is gonna get in the way of the guide work and rivertime is getting pushed aside. That’s because this work is seasonal…there is a time constraint. And wasted time this late in the season costs money. So I focus on where I can succeed the most for the rest of the season. About 60 days for me as I dont do steelhead. Although I might…but that’s a big might.

I’ve ran this business for a few years now, and have two other businesses behind me that failed. This one is going well and is successful and on track with business plans. I know when it’s time to cut losses, revamp, reflect, and make changes. I made several changes this season, added new water, fine tuning the camp life routine, building the business more and getting 60% new clientele over the past 100 plus trips. I’m seeing repeat business sky rocket this season over the course of the year. But I am losing money in fuel. Losing money due to shennanagins big and small. Losing money on lack of days due to splitting time between two rivers, and that split time takes away from one river or the other. I haven’t been on the Yak in weeks…that’s a concern for me. Even though 13 seasons of fishing it I have it dialed in, without being riverside everyday, live streaming, and promoting my business regularly…I’m losing money. With the fall approaching it’s time to dig in and push through to the end where things will be the most successful for me.

At the end of the day anglers…this is a business not a lifestyle and if I’m not making money then what am I doing? I dont need to be a guide to be a trout bum fishy person. I guide because I love the work, am really good at it, and have set out to make it a career. At this stage in my life this is what I’ve picked to do so I’m gonna put everything I can into it. I’ve got things I could fall back on…but Tamarack’s Guide Service has done everything I have set out to do with it. It is on track, hitting our milestones, our goals, expanding, growing, and turning a profit. I am constantly fine tuning the operation with Hannah, my wife and business partner. Running cost analysis reports while on the road via speaker phone, ordering gear, coordinating a new rig, business loans, tax payments, savings, depreciation on equipment, all the things that have jack shit to do with fishing…all that is done behind the scenes between floats and fishing and social media posts. And I couldn’t have done any of this without my wife’s intuition, patience, financial know how, and understanding of how this business works. I trust her opinion on all things above all…but especially her insight and perspective on business. No major decision gets made without her counsel. With all this down time we have had a lot of time to talk and reflect on the season so far, the expanding to another river, the hardships, the good stuff, and how the business is faring this season. Identifying where improvements can he made, cutting losses, tightening overhead, keeping the scope of our business from creeping, and making sure we arent over reaching. Doing to much to fast can be disastrous and cost a lot of money. The situation I find myself in presently is due to over reaching. So we evaluate, downsize, and refocus.

With all that my focus is now on the Yakima River. The St. Joe is an amazing place to fish and guide. I may be back up the Joe this fall for myself. But I’ve never missed a fall season on the Yak. It’s where I want to be and where I want to work. It is my homewater.

The craneflies are already starting. The water is dropping, the temperatures are cooling and rodeo weekend is done today…I dont work labor day weekend anymore. I’ll have a new rig, a loaner trailer until mine gets fixed, and a slightly dented boat that still gets the job done like she always has.

Come out this fall. I invite you. The best way to help out since the accident is to come fishing. I love to guide and love to share the river with others. It’s all I want to get back to. The business side of this has taken up enough time this year…let’s just get back to fishing.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack.

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The Joe.

Well today sucked. Which is becoming all too common. But in this business there are gonna be some scheduling snafus and today was one of those.

I drove up the to the Joe Monday, took care of releasing the wrecked car. (And I can’t thank Benewah Motors in St. Marie’s enough for helping make that whole process easier.) Which also sucked sifting through the wreck and gathering all the salvageable gear. Then I drove up the Joe, organized my crap, and prepped for my trip. Spent 2 hrs organizing my flies. All my other shit is a mess so I figured having organized fly boxes would help. Then woke up had a shenanigan that made the trip not happen. Drove all the way back to Spokane to turn in the rental car early. Got a little money back which was nice.

Then got a call from a Yakima River Peep and fellow Guide saying they were headed to the Joe to fish with me for two days. He was checking out before a big run of trips over Labor Day Weekend and I need to break from guiding until the 10th because of the accident and dealing with everything because of it.

So I’m back up on the Joe.

This river makes me keep coming back. I’m addicted…no matter the shenanigans…I keep coming back. I want to come back, I want to guide it more. I want to tap it, feel it, learn it, understand it…and trick its troots.

A few days of just fishing then getting into prep work for the fall. Fishing in the late season is my jam. I need to tie flies, get my mind in the autumn headspace for fishing. I also need to promote and book trips which requires work.

I want to guide, but logistically its proving to be to difficult to here without all my shit in order. I’ve got a new rig waiting for me in Rupert. Wife picked it up today. I’ll be driving it back. Hoping to get the trailer fixed but have loaner options until then. So it’s best to just wait, settle, and not push or rush things. That only causes for shenanigans. I’m set to run around 140 plus trips this season so it’s never a bad idea to take some time and recharge. Especially when you roll a truck into a river. Might mean you need to chill out a bit. I’m all about getting after it, but sometimes you gotta listen to others telking you what’s good for you, listen to your body and your mind, and take care of yourself. I can’t be at my best guiding if I’m not good off river. And I need more time.

So I will be fishing with a friend in the high country, then tying and prepping promoting the fall season before heading home to see the family before the last run of the season. About 60 days of trout season left anglers. I wanna be at my best for it.

See ya riverside.

Tamarack

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Aftermath

I’ve been through some crazy shit over the seasons. Almost drowned a few times, crashed my boat on the Naches, fell off Iron Peak and had to self arrest, hit log jams and boulders, lost things broke things, never body parts, was in an Avalanche, fell off a waterfall, and yes rolled my truck down an embankment into the St. Joe river. In the list of things that I’ve been through this accident was about a 9.7 on the Shitastic River Shenanigan Scale. It sucked and I’m still processing and healing both physically and mentally.

The shock was something I’m all to familiar with. I’ve been through it before and you never really know how your body and mind will rebound. It takes time. I still have to shake the accidnet out of my head from time to time and I’ve woke up several times during the nights feeling like I’m rolling again.

Truck is gone. I hated that truck anyway. I’ll miss my roof top for the rest of the season. Cleaning up my gear and equipment and releasing the rig today was not fun. My whole life in terms of fishing and guiding was in that rig. Shit happens anglers. What matters is how you deal with it and how you pull yourself back up.

I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the help and support. I was overwhelmed with the response. From Tyler, Sierra, and Kyle with White Pine that have bent over backwards to keep me going. To the friends and river peeps and clients who reached out…you all know who you are….thank you. Truly.

I’m a guide. And that’s what I do. Getting back to the river and doing what I do is all I have on my mind. This community of fly anglers, river rats, outdoorsy folks, and fellow trout bums have been my people for years and I cannot express my gratitude fully.

My family thanks you too. It was my wife and I’s 15th wedding anniversary the day after the accident. Also the first day of school for my kids and my youngest, Zoey, it was her first day of Kindergarten. Needless to say…I really fucked up thier day. I am lucky and thankful that I walked away from the accident and get to see my wife and kids again. Shit was a little scary there for a bit.

My body seems to have recovered. The soreness is gone. Bruising healing. My mind is still jarred. Which will take time. Riverside time heals and guiding keeps me busy and focused on more important things than near death experiences of the deer kind.

I fly home the 4th of September. For some much needed family time, haven’t seen my family since June. I’ll be driving a new guide rig up to finish the season out. I’m hoping my trailer can be repaired, a new hitch needs welded on and a new axle…which I am all too familiar with. Boat floats, needs a little love but she still gets me down river and that’s all that matters.

Life is always filled with shenanigans. My life especially. I’ve learned to be resilient and bounce back quickly. Not much keeps me down and hard work always pays off. This season has been a roller coaster of amazing and shit but I wouldn’t change it…well maybe the rolling the rig part but….

With the Fall season approaching I am super stoked. The autumn is my favorite time to fish and guide. It’s the best time of the year. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss it.

Book a trip, a lesson, a clinic spot, come out and see what Fishtober is all about. And support my trout bum beardy ass getting back into the swing of things in the process. With the Yakima and the St. Joe transiting to fall, and potential Grand Ronde guide days in late October and early November I’m just anxious to get back to it. The waiting for things to come together is never my strong suite and I’m more annoyed now with what happened than anything else. Money takes care of itself when you put the work in, but time…that shit cant be sped up. In 2 weeks this will just be another River Shenanigan Episode that is my guide life. Add it to the story list.

By next spring I’ll be back to that sweet camp life guiding. Until then I am humbled and ever thankful to those that have offered help and a place to stay while I finish the season.

I’ve gotta guide the Joe in the morning. I’ll see ya riverside anglers….watch out for deers.

Tamarack

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Fall Fishing Clinic Sept 22nd

I will be hosting a Fall Season Clinic during the Cranefly Hatch on Sept. 22nd on the Yakima River. This clinic focuses on late season fishing tactics, reading water, and flies, as well as wading techniques.

I have 6 spots open. $90 per person. The majority of the clinic is spent teaching with hand on help and some fishing. Waders and boots are required for participants and a fly rod and reel with floating line in a 4 or 5 wt is also needed. You can DM me to sign up, or email me, call, or text.

Tamarack