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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.


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