First fish of the Season

Tis the new year. And I normally don’t fish in January. In the past 8 years, I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve fished the Yak in January. Over the past 18 years, even in my 20s, I didn’t go out much in the winter until around my birthday in February. I would chase steel back then, but those days are few and far. I don’t particularly care for fishing in the cold. It’s hard on the body, its cold, fish are sleepy, it’s cold. Places are hard to get to as well…and its cold.

After 2020 kicking my ass and still kinda smacking me around…and with shit not seeming to get that much better lately…I just can’t be inside anymore…get me. I need fish. They make life better. So does the river. It heals without really doing anything other than being there.

It has been rough for the past 2 years, mostly cooped up save for fishing and work. I got out a little but…did travel, but then didn’t. And mostly hunkered down this whole off season, it’s just time. I don’t care if it’s cold.  It is cold, though.

I went on foot a few times and had a few tugs.  But the interest wasn’t there on my end. The deep cold set in got into the teens, and then it dumped a butt ton of snow. Ugh. It wasn’t until I started to feel the weather turn, birds show up, the sun rising earlier each day. As an outdoorsy person, you get a feel or sense of things changing or shifting. That’s when my trooty senses start tingling. About a week ago. I could feel it start.

So Kirstyn and I dug out the boat, cleaned it up, warmed it up, and took it out fishing. She still floats, but she’s getting old. She might get retired this season. But the hog still has a lot of miles in her, just not guide miles. The last 7 seasons of heavy work have taken its toll. 

Floating the canyon in the winter is very pretty. But damnit it’s cold. Lol. The fish are podded up in deep, slow water. A few more are moving up and around each day. Getting ready. The spawn isn’t far off, and it has been a long frigid winter. Trout have to eat, and every tenth of a degree, the water warms a little more activity begins. Like the snow trickling as it melts at first, but as things change and move, it begins to gush, flood, and rage. Trout are no different.

Each day I’m on the water, I witness things come to life after lying dormant all winter. As most of us have done the past two winter.  Tis a thing to be able to watch the planet wake up. To see an ecosystem change and come to life. The bugs move and hatch, the fish respond. The river flows ebb higher and sink lower and cause the river to blush. Trout spawn, life begins again.  I watch the critters come out, otters playing and feasting, Salmon smolt beginning the next phase of their journey. The Elk move through the river and around the banks, deer (murderous creatures) are fing everywhere. The swallows return, the herons hunt, the beavers and bears around the banks in mornings. It’s amazing. Truly. To be able to see it, be a part of it, and share it with others for a living is something I cherish.

Fish were awake while we floated yesterday. I missed too many to admit. Like 7. But landed one of the prettier fish I’ve seen. I haven’t touched or seen a trout in months. Was nice to say hello again. Got some nice photos of me fishing for once. Thanks to the girlfriend.  It’s been a while since I’ve caught the first fish of the season in the boat. Or to share it with someone other than a client. Just a day of fishing before works starts with my partner. Not too bad.

The season is here, anglers. It’s warming up; fish are active time to fish or at least think about it. Its turds and worms, midges, streamers for a little bit, skwallas, and bwos are a few weeks out. Then it’s time to really get going!  Calendar is more full than it ever has been this early. Super stoked, and the trips and the busy schedule are much appreciated.  It gets tight for a full-time guide in the off-season!  Woo…Outta that one, and we float again! 

I invite you to come fish this season. It’s pretty awesome, and we could all use a good time. A few handshakes from troots always help the world be a little easier, time move a little differently, and the river equalizes and humbles us all. 

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

Awww ya!

We are in the final throws of winter proper. Yes there is still a fuck ton of snow…everywhere amd there still gonna be more to come. But every inch of snow now is just icing on the snowpack cake. We are at 120% of average so bring it. Means big flows and big shouldered trout.

All this water waiting to melt has me wicked stoked. Itching to get out. Cranky being stuck here in the house. The off season can be over now. I’ve sat enough. The body is yearning to work the river. Walk thigh deep against the current. The feel of my arms burning against the flows as I hold the boat in position for a few more casts. Get it. I ain’t getting any younger.

I’m in better shape than I’ve been my whole life. And coming out of this off season I didn’t put on the guide 20 like I usually do. But I do feel my age every now and then. Makes the prep work the next several weeks all the more important. I’m so ready. I feel I’ve been pretty good with the hibernating…but I’m done now. It’s time to come out and get to work.

Its gonna be wading for a minute. Gotta get the boat cleaned out and wait for access points to be drivable. It’s not putting in that’s the issue….its getting that fat water logged hog outta the river over snow and ice….I need a raft. Hmmmm.

It shouldn’t be more than a week or so before the boat gets wet. It’s got 2 feet of snow in it still, so….that’ll take a minute. But the thing about fishing in January and February is that it’s typically only about 4 to 5 hrs anyway, and we don’t need a boat to get into fish. They are still podded up in large groups. Slowly, more and more wake up and start to move, feed, and get ready to spawn.

Right now, the season is shaping up very nicely. We’ve already got over 25 days booked for the whole season. I’ve lost track with the last few days. Which is awesome. We finished with 174 guided days last season, a huge make-up from the 70 whatever we did during covid. Another year like last or better, and we might be outta that hole 2020 dug.

A huge thank you to everyone for last season. Fucken rocked. And another one to everyone that has bought flies this winter and got on the calendar early. It’s saved my ass a few times. Shit is still tight out there for people. It’s not all hunky dorey, but at least there’s troot.

I’ve got lots of days open anglers. Gonna shoot for 200 this season. We shall see. LOL. I’m so looking forward to it. All this water, we’ve got a bunch of fish that are spawning this year which means big fish before and after. We will stay outta the upper river during the spawn this season. Gonna make that a thing now. After the trout getting 10 weeks off during the 2020 spawn and seeing the results…ya we gonna let them do their thing and leave em be. Plenty of trout that aren’t up there doing the nasty we can chase. Our population is already high and a big water and big spawn year is something that doesn’t always happen so it gets the angler and guide in me a little more jazzed about the season.

It’s gonna be one of those seasons that you’re not gonna want to miss. I can feel it and I’ve been doing this a hot minute. I’m back riverside next week anglers! Got one more day to save 15% for early booking. I’ve got anglers booked into the summer! Save some dough and come chase trout this season anglers. You’re invited. Trout said I could!

See ya riverside anglers,

Tamarack

Here we go!

Guide Trip Dates are filling up! I haven’t booked this out this early ever. It’s awesome. With dates starting to fill in March, April, May, and now June! As of right now there is only the last weekend in March open, and more dates in April and May are getting taken up! Wooo!

If you’re hoping for a weekend date or one of those prime weekdays….sooner rather than later to reserve, as I’m filling up every day.

It’s not going to be one of those years where I’m just open that day or have availability to spare. It’s pretty exciting after 8 years of full time guiding.

I am so looking forward to getting back to work next week anglers! I suggest you start making your plans….because we are hitting it hard this season and we are gonna be busy!

Reserve today and still save. 5 days left to save 15% for early booking. And clients have taken advantage with dates in April and March filling up quickest. Skwalla Holla!

Get on the calendar, and let’s go chase some trout.

Tamarack

5 days left to save!

You still have 5 days left to save 15% on your final trip balance.

I’ve got my early booking special running, reserve any day in the 2022 season, and save 15% on your final balance. The spring is filling up and I’ve already got dates booking for summer.

The Trout Spey and Skwalla Special is also available through March at $325.00 for 2 anglers.

I’m trying to fill up the calendar for the season! We can only fish so many days in the spring with flows and weather, so get your dates!

Really looking forward to this season. We have lots of snow pack, a bunch of fish that have had a 3 month break, and 200 plus days of riverside awesomeness headed our way.

Come chase trout this season anglers. Book early and save, and help your local trout bum guide out as we come outta the off season

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

The Snows

Well, the big snows are here! We have a few inches of freshies out there and more coming. The pass has been closed since last night and looks to be closed for the rest of the day. Our snowpack is over 100%, and January has just started! I can smell the trootiness in the air anglers. I can smeeelllll it!

The holidays are over. I hunkered down with my girlfriend, and we celebrated with my kids. Drove down to Idaho and back twice in the past 10 days. The heater went out in the car, so that was fun, and it took 2 hrs to get over the Blue Mountains coming back due to craptastic conditions. But the guide rig handled it just fine. Got home safe just before this shitshow of a storm rolled up and shut the inlands down again. Wooo. Shenanigans.

Now, it’s time to get ready for the season. These snows may seem like they ain’t fishy, but the extended forecast for this month calls for some super winter fishy days. Any day I see sunshine and 30 degrees, it’s fishy. Snow, don’t matter to troots. We wade a lot in January. Only have about 4 hrs of fishy time anyway. By the end of the month, we will get more hrs, and by February, we are rolling.

I have never guided this early, but what the hell? Most of us out here are still in recovery mode, and my only solution to what the past 2 years have caused is to be more aggressive and work harder. Coming into 2022 just feels like the energy has to come up. Gotta compensate for the past 2 seasons. 2020 just did a number on me. 2021 was amazing and busy. Summer got wonky with smoke and heat, and July and August can always be busier. But the fall came in heavy. But I’m still hungry. I still want more. More days, more trout, more handshakes, and damp 20s. That drive is heavier in my mind this season. Clamoring and climbing out of the shit show of 2020 still.

I’ve only got maybe 5 to 8 days available in January. I don’t want too many days and have weather sour things up too much. February is wide open, which is odd? Skwallas start in Febs, and things will start to thaw by the 10th to 15th. Then, we are in early spring fishing conditions. Turds and worms, skwalla dries, and big sparkly streamers. March has dates booked, as does April. I’m 8 years into guiding. 2020 almost knocked me out of the game. 2021 made me realize I could overcome it. 2022 is kind of a make it or break it kind of year for me.

There are days when it’s hard to find the motivation. Shit is still tough, and the offseason always has its own set of challenges. I just want to get back to work.

I’ve got 2 months of tying left before I shut that down for clients and only tie for guiding. So get your orders in asap. I can only take on so much, and it’s a first come, first served kind of deal.

There are only 12 days left to get that 15% off discount. You can reserve a trip for any date in the 2022 season and get 15% off your final balance. The quicker my calendar fills up, the better. I want to be busy AF. 4 to 7 trips a week, 10 to 20 trips in a row before a break…ya…all season long…bring it. I want and need it.

The fish are going to be waking up after this bitch ass cold leaves. These single digit, below 20 days of frigid, Hoth like hellscapes are about done. 30 degrees and sunshine with snow here, and there is on its way. The ice will come off the river, and the fish will be on the hunt for food as they slowly wake up and prepare for spawning over the next 2 months.

There is a shit ton of fish in the river anglers. We are about at capacity for fishy river dwellers. And we had a lot of those 12 to 14-inch fish last season that aren’t so dinky anymore. Like a lot of juvenile fish that are just coming into their trooty selves this spring. I expect a lot of new spawners this spring which means a lot of troots looking to eat the next 2 months. Awwww ya. Stoke is high anglers. Tis high.

So book a trip, order some flies, and make plans for this summer, or fall with fish in them. I’m running overnight trips again. We have bass we can chase, the Yakima, of course, and I have 2 lakes I will be adding to the roster this season. Once they open in the spring. So, there are plenty of options.

The Trout Spey/Skwalla Special is running into March. $325 for 2 anglers. 5 hrs with a quick, hot lunch. Chasing the big boys. Book it before the 15th and really save. Or lock in those prime dares now. Remember, once we get to Mother’s Day, the river is consistent, and I book up quickly once things really get rolling.

I’ll be riverside this weekend as things warm up, and the snow settles. I’m sure we will have more snowfall, but at this point, it’s just water for the summer in my mind. Fish gotta eat, and they start in January. I’m done sitting around. I have only hit the river twice since the 1st week of November. It’s time to chase troot. Who’s coming?

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

January is here and that means troot!

The snows are rolling in.  The snowpack is above 90% and we are just now coming into the month of January.

January ushers in the harder cold, and starts the countdown to the thaw. Here on the Yakima the late winter hits hard but leaves quickly in terms of fishing. The weather may still be frigid but remember troots are cold blooded cold water critters.

Water temps also start to perk up in the lower river. The days start getting longer every day, minute by minute, every morning now. Before we know it we will have enough sunlight beaming down on the water to warm it up enough for fish to move about. The Lower Canyon of the Yakima River is a marvel of an ecosystem. As the longer days and more intense sun rays start hitting the river it warms the surface, the canyon is a basalt corridor that retains heat.  Couple that with the thermal properties of H2O and you have perfect late winter fishing conditions.

The water temps have sat below 40 degrees for the better part of 8 weeks now.  Fish have been in hibernation mode eating when its warmer for typically only an hour to 3 a day. As January comes the larger fish have burned through most of their supply for the winter. All those October Caddis and BWOs only keep you full so long. So they start to want to eat.  Despite the Hoth like conditions above, fish below are lethargically looking for food.

40 degrees is the magic number. As the sun heats the basalt and the river.  The LC turns into a refrigerator and holds its water temp. We get a few hours of solid sunlight no matter how cold the air temp is…and the water will warm and fish will munch. Science Bitches!  I’ve fished the LC when it’s 25 degrees outside and the surface water temp is 38 to 40. That’s fishy in January and February. And every day it’s gets a little better, a little warmer, fish get just slightly more active.  Every day. Its fun to be out there and watch the whole place wake up. Plus you meet some big ass fish.

The largest trout gotta eat. And they wake up first. As the water hits 40 we have another amazing thing happen. The sculpin start to get spawny and the whitefish are finishing up their spawn. As the trout start to wake up they have these two readily available and very rich food sources to partake of. Remember trout start spawning around 50 degree water and westslope around 48. Trout that wake-up around 40 degree water temps are typically sexually mature adults that need to prepare themselves for spawning in March and April. Rainbow trout can be 2 to 4 years old and westlopes are typically 3 to 5 years old when they are ready to spawn. These are big trout anglers. Some of the biggest and baddest the Yakima has to offer. Our trophies.  As a professional guide, I can tell you these fish are easier to conquer during the early season. The angler has the advantage in January and February. The water is lower and colder so fish are slower and easier to play. They can move and pull like tanks, but they aren’t turbo charged like they are above 48 degree water temps. They also don’t have 3000 to 4000 cfs of river to kick our asses in.

We swing for these trout. We nymph too especially in February as the Skwallas start migrating. Every once in a while a BWO or a Midge hatch will give you a shot at some of the first dry fly sips of the season. But the big ones…they eat meat. Sculpins, eggs, and smaller fish are the main course. A few big pieces of meat and a trout is good for a little bit while it moves about the system preparing for spawning. This is the time to chase those fish. As later in the season I won’t be fishing up river during the spawn to allow the trout time to take care of business. So now is the time to chase with spey and meat streamers for big chonkers that wanna get busy. They only spawn once a year so it’s kind of a big deal for them. And they spend the next two and a half months preparing for this monumental milestone in their trooty lives.

It’s already starting looking at the forecast. Don’t let the cold fool you. It’s all about the sun. And as this cold snap finishes off, I see some pretty awesome conditions headed our way. Already trips are on the calendar for January. Anglers ready to test their skill against these wild animals are invited to come take their shot.

I will be running Trout Spey Specials for the next 2 months. Trout Spey Specific techniques as well as nymphing and Euro-nymphing fishing. $325 for 1 or 3 angles. A 4 to 5 hr trips learning and chasing the big boys. The chonkers….the troutasaurus troots. It’s time anglers. Skwalla specials start in late February and run through March. And if you reserve a day before January 15th I’ll knock 15% off your final balance! The 2022 trout season is coming. Let’s chase some trout anglers.

Hope to see you riverside this season!

Tamarack

Winter Wonderland

Well the snows are here. And so is the holiday! It’s been a pretty normal and slow off season. I’ve been pretty hunkered down and only hit the river once since November.

I’ve been focused on off river stuff while also trying to keep the interest going for next season. The 2022 season is booking up quicker than any previous year. It’s exciting and I’m stoked. As of today it’s only 8 weeks until skwallas start migrating and possibly hatching. Awwww ya!

I’m grateful for those booking early. It makes the off season go a little smoother. It’s always a little tight in the winter and there’s still recovery happening from covid on the business side of things. 18 months of crap means there’s still some catch up. Slowly but surely. The trick is to not get down and just keep putting the work in.

I headed to Idaho tomorrow. Girlfriend and I are picking up kids and spending Christmas with them. It’s been since the summer with all the craziness this year. I think finally, 2022 will give me some semblance of normal…maybe.

The winter snows have hit the highlands. The snowpack is settling in and it looks like we are gonna have plenty of water for the summer. Stoke gets a little higher each day as we come closer to things turning over.

I’m starting trips in January this season. With 3 on the calendar already…going after those big bows on the swing and trout spey anglers. And the skwaala hatch in late February and into March is starting to get days. So the stoke is high with anglers too!

I hope to see ya riverside after the new year. It’s going to be a good season anglers. I feel it my trouty bones.

If you reserve a trip before January 15th for anytime in the 2022 season I will knock 15% off! Pretty sweet! Flies are also for sale until March 15th so get your orders in soon before I stop production tying and just tie for guiding.

Happy Christmas Anglers.

Tamarack

The Haul

The off season has become pretty familiar to me and after 2020 being one giant one I’ve gotten used to the cabin fever and the boredom. Still hate it but I’m less bothered by it.

The numbers from the 2021 season were really good. Worked almost all of my trips through my own service, did under 2 dozen for other outfits, and broke 150 trips so I can’t complain. Especially after the 2020 season, ugh. My client roster grew, we hooked into like 3000 plus trout between all the trips, stupid good dry fly fishing, and the river made it through a hot summer without anything determintal happening. Damn fine season.

Now the grind to February is here. It’s a haul. I’m tying, but its pretty light this winter. I still have a goal to sell a good 2000 flies or so, but if it doesn’t happen that’s cool too. I’m already booking trips for the 2022 season, which I’ve never booked out this early. It’s exciting to be moving forward after being in covid stasis. And while winters are always slow and tight, it’s a little easier knowing what is coming when the thaw starts.

I’ve been keeping to myself this winter. I’ve got an off river life I am pretty into. Spending time with my girlfriend and getting ready for the Holidays. I haven’t fished in a month and don’t plan to for a few more weeks. I’ll start swinging in January.

The offseason can be slow. I’m accustomed to it after 7 seasons. But I’m just kinda checked out. It was busy and it went fast last year so I’m enjoying my down time even if it’s a little slower than what I prefer. I need it, body and mind need it. Especially since next season is shaping up to be busier. Preparing mentally and physically as I come out of December will be when things start to shift back to work mode.

I know it’s been a minute since I blogged. I’m slowly coming back into it now. Flies are for sale, trips, gift certificates. I’ve got a special for reservations running through January 15th. Book a day and receive 15% off your balance. It’s pretty sweet. Saves ya a little and gets ya back on the water this coming season.

I’ll be posting blogs more regularly now. I’ve got all sorts of things to write about after the 2021 season. Hope to see ya riverside after the new year anglers.

Tamarack

Last days of Fishtober!

The end of the regular trout season is upon us. The last weeks of Fishtober are here. It’s been a great season with way more trips than I was expecting. Lots of things happening and changing the past two season with more to come.

The last remaining dates for October are up for grabs. I will be guiding through the winter teaching and guiding single hand spey and trout spey winter swinging this off season. We will also be ramping up fly tying with a goal to sell $10,000 worth of flies this winter to help start moving business forward and hopefully down south next off season!

Last dates: 15th 19th 21st and the 25th thru the 30th anglers. That’s it.

Winter Trips are open through January 1st.

Your support and patronage are always greatly appreciated and I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and making this 7th season a really good one.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

Open September Dates

The end of the season approaches. We have roughly 75 days of the trout season. September is almost here and so are the crane flies.

The following dates are still open this month.

The 2nd and 3rd, and 5th. But don’t book the 5th.

9th and 11th and 16th

19th thru the 22nd

28th thru 30th

That’s what’s left. October has days but they are going quick too. As long as the season hold we will plan on guiding into November again this year. Then Fly Tying begins!

To reserve a day hit me up via call or email and get on the calendar.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack