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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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