Posted on Leave a comment

Open Dates for the Yak and Joe!

I leave for the St. Joe River in Idaho on June 20th through the 26th. So if you’d like to reserve a day on the St. Joe make sure you get a hold of me so I can put you in contact with my outfitter.

Until I leave I have a few days left open on the Yak.

June 14th 16th 18th and 19th on the Yakima are open.

If you’d life to reserve a day on the Yak before I’m outta town for 6 days fishing and guiding some new water let me know.

Bugs are hatching, fishing is starting to settle back after the flows bump, the sunshine is here, come get in on the early summer action before it’s too hot!

And the St. Joe is just starting its Salmon Flies and the flows are settling and its starting to fish really well from what I’m told. I’ll have reports for both places and information as we keep rambling and rolling riverside this season.

How to see ya out there anglers.

Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

That Fish

So I’ve caught a lot if fish…damn nese every freshwater species you can around here and a handful of salt water too. From Alaska to Oregon, to Montana, through to Colorado, and back up through Utah and Idaho. Even parts of Canada. From bull trout, rainbow, cutty, brown, steelhead, to coho, sockeye, rockfish, hell its easier to list the ones I haven’t caught. Like sturgeon, it a grayling, or golden trout.

But no matter where, what species, or which fly…there is always..That Fish.

These days I typically go for that one fish. On my days off I will fish and prospect, try new flies and search out and read new water to prep for clients. But as an angler…I am always on the hunt for…That Fish.

Every angler has one. It changes from day to day, outing to outing, season to season, sometimes it’s a certain spot that always holds a large fish. A place that an angler seeks redemption from a precious ass handling encounter. Or sometimes it’s a certain cast, or drift, presentation that perplexes the angler. It may not produce the biggest fish, but it’s not always about that. Sometimes it’s about testing an angkers skill and seeing if you can level up a bit.

Other times…and in most cases for me…its a fish I see during the day. Since I fish almost every day whether guiding or personally, I can’t get stuck on one spot or one fish…I’d never move as I find and see fish that strike my fancy constantly. As a guide I also get the added awesomeness of sometimes having That Fish be a clients and that’s a special thing itself.

But I typically find The Fish while riverside. I’m a very visual person and I enjoy observing the river. You learn so much by just watching, listening…intaking and processing. You start to see me more. These days not much gets by me riverside. And when I see That Fish…I tend to tunnel vision in on it. No matter the method of tricking with a fly. Mostly a dry. But at times I have been known to target nymph and streamer eaters for That Fish.

Most times it’s not the biggest fish for me…but it tends to be the most difficult to present a fly too. Could be a very technical cast, a specific drift or mend required, or something along those lines. Usually it involves a hard play after the eat…upping the difficulty with having to contest with a trout where it has more advantage. It’s a game that I like to play a lot and it’s one that I find myself on advanced levels. It’s not that other fish don’t interest me…but I like a challenge both personally and professionally. Let me tell you; the success of putting a client on That Fish is usually an intense and incredibly amazing experience both for the client and the guide. The kind of fish and moments that just light people up.

These days I have this drive to seek out more of these fish that challenge me. Watching them, learning from them, it’s what I chase these days…what else can I unlock from That Fish? What secrets does it hold? What more does the tiger have to tell and teach? It’s my lifes pursuit. It is my passion. Because every time I find another one of these fish…I learn so much more, become that much more connected, feel that something we all seek all the more…there is more to learn, to seek out, to protect, preserve, and share.

Ya…that is what…That Fish is for me these days….what is yours?

Go seek it out riverside anglers.

Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

Get a F’ing Net

So I’m a pretty chill dude. Meaning it takes a lot to make me mad. Especially when it comes to the river. But there is this one thing…this one thing that I absolutely cannot stand. It’s the only thing that may make me yell at you across the river and maybe even come up and confront you about it….

Not having a net.

It drives me fucking bonkers when I see anglers without a net. Here is why:

1. Its freaking disrespectful to the fish. You’re gonna come into its house, hook it in the face with a sharp pointy thing, fight and mess with the fish, and you dont even have the decent to land it with a net properly? WTF. You went in and bought that nice rod, those fancy waders, a sweet fishing pack, but you didn’t think to spend a little money on a net? Its selfish and disrespectful. Period. Buy a net.

2. There is zero excuse to not have a net. There are literally hundreds of types ranging from a whopping $8 bucks to hundreds of dollars for fancy ones. Shit you can get one at the local hardware store for less then $15 bucks.

3. All these photos of fish, all this fancy gear on Instagram feeds…and anglers still leave the house and walk or row the river without a net. How are you handling those fish without a net? I’ll tell ya how because I see it all the time. Most angler drag the fish onto the bank. So not only are we hooking them I the face we are gonna let them flail around on rocks and earth whacking their head and internal organs all over the riverside. Come on! Get a net. The other thing I see is anglers over playing a fish for too long because they are unable to land the fish effectively without a proper net.

4. When you use a net you give the fish the least invasive and safest introduction to the angler whether a friend, client, or yourself. With a net you can admire the fish, enjoy it a few moments longer without causing unnecessary stress. You can share a moment with a fish while letting both of you recover from the encounter. The fish can calmly revive itself whole being held in the water with a net. The trout can return to being a trout quicker and with less damage and impact to it so that another angler can share that moment and that fish can go on to produce more fish. Get a net.

5. Finally, anglers that use a net have learned respect for the fish, it also makes you looknrrally cool fully extended netting your own fish. All that fancy gear and a wicked nice net…ya now you’re doing it right.

Get a net, if you walk outta the fly shop without a net and hit the river you’re not only disrespecting the river and the trout, but also every other angler that comes after you who may not have an opportunity to catch that fish because of the way you handled it. It’s not just about you’re fish.

I keep spare nets in my rig. When I see anglers without nets riverside I typically make them take one of mine. They usually get a talking to about it too. And if I see you riverside landing fish without a net and I’m not with clients…you’re gonna hear about it. Uts not right and as a guide and angler I won’t have it. Its laziness, selfishness, and disrespect all at once. Its ugly and I hate watching it riverside.

Get a net anglers. Doesn’t have to be handy just functional. If you’ve not been using one don’t fret… we’ve all made mistakes and we are all learning…just get a net and be better. It’s not hard.

Rant over,

Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

Passion

Passion. It only gets you so far in this gig. I love to fly fish. I put myself into it fully. From the day to day fishing, the guiding, the homework, the research, the knowledge, conservation, all the things that make me what I am are wrapped up in fly fishing. That passion runs deep. But it only gets you so far.

Last season and this season are shaping up to be about the same…pretty meh. Now that’s not the fishing…because both this year and last the fishing was phenomenal except for that 3 weeks at the end of the summer when it just got too hot and smokey to chase trout.

The fishing this year has been great. Bitchen skwalla hatch, great March Browns, low water all spring due to the drought. But the trips…ya they sucked I’ll be honest. The ones I did were great, had a blast…but it wasn’t enough. 50 plus days of spring and less than half guided. That’s not good. It’s not good for me, and it sucks for clients and anglers because they truly are missing out.

I say this because at the end of the day I still have to make money at this. Can’t pay the bills with laughs and damp handshakes. The fall of last season and the start of this season required a lot of bending over backwards to make happen. Last fall I called it early due to the poor trip numbers. Fishing was amazing last fall…but the guiding was not. Same with this spring and even now with the start of summer.

This year is gonna be tough with the lack of snow and the drought coming our way hard this late summer. I have been taking advantage of the absolutely amazing fishing since April with this lower than normal flow. I try and get in while it’s the least invasive to the trout because come late summer you won’t see me riverside after 2 PM weather its enforced by a hoot owl or not. 65 plus degree water temp is inevitable this summer and I won’t fish or guide when it’s that warm. So I’m hitting it hard now when it’s as good as it can get this year. Problem is…I seem to be the only one thinking this way.

Why am I saying all this? Well, this year is shaping up to be lighter than last at this rate. As a business owner I’m trying to remedy that. Typically I’d have 3-5 trips a week as we get into June but that’s not the case and it seems to be continuing that trend. Which makes me wonder if everyone is planning on summer trips when it’s not going to be as good. Trout fishing in warm weather is never really that good. Trout are cold water temperate climate critters. When water temps jack in the summer, fishing tends to be not as good. Which is why fishing before all that nastiness hits is what I’ve been trying push.

As a guide it’s frustrating and as an angler it sucks. I put a lot of time into putting up reports, getting anglers up to speed, I fish more than anyone else out here…if someone was here fishing as much as me I’m pretty sure I would see them riverside. And in the past that kind of work ethic and philosophy has served me well. That has not been the case this past summer and fall and now through the spring.

Those reports, that knowledge, the updates, the videos, the flies, the photos, all that stuff from emails to text messages to posts to trip inquiries…it all is funded by trips. I am so grateful to all those that come out and support the guide community on rivers across the west and none so much as those that come here to the Yakima with me.

However, the industry here on the Yakima can be a tough one and years like this make it harder. When battling low trip numbers, low water, lots of pressure, and continued issues with climate change and snow pack the Yakima makes it harder than just trying to trick some of the trout that live in it.

When I post that things are good they really are. There is no BS with me. I have no secrets. I only like to sell trips when I think they will give anglers the best opportunity. So when I say you’re missing out…you are. Part of being a fly angler is realizing that sometimes that hatch only lasts 2 weeks, those flows are only here for a bit longer, those temps are good only for so long, and as an angler…if you want to experience it…you need to be there.

The other thing that is lost when guide trips are not rolling…people are not out enjoying these natural public resources with professionals like myself, really learning and getting the full experience. It is much different with me on a trip than a day on your own or with friends fishing. If you’re not out in these places, enjoying them, guided or not, then you may not care about them as much, may not understand the issues and concerns they face, anglers, guides, river peeps, we all have that in common…a love for these places and a desire to make them better than they are so we can all continue to enjoy them.

A big part of my trips are getting anglers and ‘would-be’ river stewards on the up and up with what’s happening to their favorite places to catch trout. It’s part of the unwritten rule of being a voice for the river and trout I follow when I became a guide.

I’ve known that these things will come and be part of the puzzle that is guiding on the Yakima. Adding another river is supposed to help but it’s a lot of wait and see if it works out right now which compounds the stress of being a guide. I’ve spent more of my time catching fish myself and not with clients. I don’t need to catch anymore trout…but you might.

Plus the Yakima is my homewater…and I’ve gotten really good at guiding it and I want to continue to guide, conserve, and protect this place and share it with others. But that only works if the guide calendar has dates on it.

Anglers are missing out. Guided trips, at least with me, are so much more than just putting you on fish. Sure I can do that, but so can any other Yahoo with a boat and some basic river and trout know how. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life becoming a true professional guide and especially here on the Yakima River. Guided trips are about teaching, learning, unplugging, connecting with nature, facilitating stress relief, and giving other anglers more to be passionate about. A life without passion is quite a boring life. Passion into fly fishing is by far one of the best activities to put it into.

Passion separates those who just row and net fish with those who want clients to understand the fish…because understanding the why, how, what, where of the trout is what a guide does, relaying, deciphering, the river for others so that they too can fully enjoy the experience. And at the end of the day, leaving clients with a better understanding of trout, rivers, and fly fishing so that recreating or making a better experience for oneself or for the next guide trip is attainable.

There is much more to a guide trip than just catching fish…if you let it. My trips are so much more than just fish in the net and I invite anglers new and old to come experience it this season on the Yakima.

I can make two promises with my trips…its gonna be fun. No matter the number of fish. It’s always a good time. I go out of my way everyday to make sure of it. The second promise; when you leave…you’re gonna want to come back…whether on your own or on another trip…and when you do…you’ll be better prepared and have more skills to have success fly fishing.

So come on out…see what it’s all about…the goldens are popping and if you’re not fishing….you’re missing out. That passion I have…its contagious and I am very forthcoming with it.

Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

The Golden Stone

The Golden Stone is my favorite big bug hatch on western trout rivers. Unlike the Salmon Fly which is a dark and orange behemoth of a bug, the Golden is dainty for its large size. Just a little smaller than a Salmon Fly. It’s a bright yellow and gold bug with lace like wings.

A ferocious carnivore nymph that eats other micro invertebrates for up to 4 years in the river bottom and substrate before hatching in the early summer. They like it hot, typically over 75, here on the Yak that puts their hatch after the salmon flies around the first week or two of June and into July. It’s one of the longer upper river stone hatches. Its early this year due to drought conditions so taking advantage of it while it gets started is a good idea.

The fish start to key in on those big juicy crunchy golden bugs when they start to return to the river to oviposit. Usually later in the afternoon. Then you’ll see big yellow bugs coming out of the trees and falling onto the river to lay eggs. This is what gets the troots attention. After a few days of those big bugs hitting the river. Its game on for trout. Especially cutties. They love the big yellow bugs up here.

The golden stone hatch is one of the only hatches where it will turn 20-40 trout on dries when it’s good. They just eat em all day long. Ita glorious, amazeballs, hell sometimes dare I say….epic. What is better than hucking big dries at boulders, seams, overhangs, and undercuts all day and turning trout on them!? You know the answer.

I’ve got days open during the hatch. Which is just getting started. Come get some big bug action on the upper Yak this early summer.

Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

Weekend is Open.

This weekend is wide open! The weather is forecast to be awesome, we have golden stones, pmds, yellow sallies, and caddis on the troot menu. The Teanaway River is Open if you fancy a walk and wade. Kids outta school!? Bring em along one 4 hr walk and wade and I’ll teach the whole family to fly fish! Summer is just about here…take a guided fly fishing trip with Tamarack’s Guide Service.

Posted on Leave a comment

Trout Dance

I get to guide and it’s totally my thing. But this blog really isn’t about that. I’ve guided a good run the past 10 days and watched a lot of fish get caught and even more get away. After a while…the angler in me gets the better of the guide in me and I just have to catch a few troots.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn…but I’m pretty good at this fly fishing thing. I cast and present the fly very well…no matter the technique…nymph, streamer, or dry. I play fish pretty well…I land more than I miss let’s just say. Over the past few seasons of guiding I’ve become much better at playing fish.

Playing fish is a dance. Sometimes I get to lead…other time the trout leads and I follow. Deciphering what kind of dance partner the trout is happens in the first few seconds of setting the hook. A spicy trout that wants to salsa typically leads and changes direction quickly while also getting airborne and twirling. Keeping up and moving in sync with such a spicy salsa dancing trout takes quick reflexes, instinct, and a handful of similar dance partners in an anglers history.

Trout that want to waltz play the long slow game and make big swinging moves that make the rod turn in your hand. These fish want to be lead…waiting for the angler to take charge and lead the dance. These fish are usually larger, smarter, and cooperative partners that test an anglers skill…don’t step on these troots toes…they tend to shake off the lazy or inexperienced dance partner.

But my favorite dance with a trout…the tango. The tango trout comes in two forms…the experienced, suave, elegant trout…that let’s the angler lead this intimate dance. The direction changes are robust and fast…with purpose, and an angler must lead the trout to and from the currents and depths with a steady confident hand and precise reflexes that answer the trout…not tell the trout. These trout are typically larger cutthroat that have been spun around the dance floor by inadequate partners a few times but when they meet a partner that is at their experience level…the dance becomes something intense and beautiful.

The second form of the tango trout dance is when the trout leads. The debonair and dark mysteious trout that sweeps the angler into the dance floor vigorously and with ferver. The initial hit to the fly will be forceful as if when your dance partner grabs your hand firmly, places their hand in the small of your back and moves you into the first steps of the dance with purpose. As to say…we are going to dance you and I.

Inexperienced dance partners will falter within the first few steps of this dance. The trout will lead with quick aggressive direction changes and large boisterous jumps with head shakes and tail kicks…like a flamenco dancer flourishing in a turn, or when the dance partner spins you into their body hard…and pulls you close intensely. These trout want to see if you can dance with them the way they want…if the angler can keep up they are rewarded with some of the most amazing trout in the river. Typically a large aged rainbow but other times a well learned cutthroat, who’ve seen more dance partners falter than not…this anglers…is the epitome of the dance between angler and trout.

I search out these tango trout…it is by far my favorite dance. The older I get and more dances I have with trout…the better I become at each step of all the different trout that care to dance with me.

But every once and a while…I meet a trout that leaves me breathless after the dance. One that makes my heart flutter more than any other…the kind of dance that’s three steps away from sex. The kind of trout that leads at first but then follows…but when a misstep is made they take charge and see if you can recover…the kind of trout that changes direction so rapidly it pulls the rod and turns the anglers body into the river…as if to pull you closer to make the entire encounter more intimate…so you can feel the intricate details of the current, how the fish moves through it, gliding effortlessly in places, then turning and beating its tail into the current bending and pulling the angler into its world…its embrace…until there truly is nothing but you and the trout…countering one another, feeling the river, succumbing to one another…all that is left is the river…angler…and trout…the dancefloor…and two partners in the spotlight…twisting, turning, stepping together…until the dance is done…there is a final embrace…the song ends…and the partners…part ways until another tune plays.

Have fun out there anglers…go dance with some trout.

Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

River Life

The days blur together. It’s just clients and fish and more fish. The rest of the world has faded away. My life right now, is completely enveloped by fly fishing.I wake late and fish late, when the trout are active.I fish almost everyday. Maybe 1 day in 10 do I not find myself riverside with a fly rod in my hand or my oars fanning the river current. I’m rather anti social when I’m not working. Just being out with the tiger and trout is enough company for me. The days I’m with clients I get my fill of people interaction. I find myself wanting to fish solo more this season than others. Not sure why…maybe just a phase I’m in.The riverside fires are nice. Here on the North Fork of the Teanaway near Beverly Creek it is peaceful. The tiger drowning out the silence of the forest, birds calling to one another, the crackle of wet pitched filled logs on the hot fire…its really all the stimuli I need after a good run of trips.This life opens up so much of that time everyone is chasing for themselves I feel privileged to be able to live it. To have a life filled with trout, river, river peeps, crackling fires, nights spent tying by headlamp, waking to the river every morning, listening, watching…always learning. Plugged in, and out of touch with anything and everything but that seam, with the boulder and the overhanging limb…right there, tucked up underneath…good drift…sluuuurp….What more do you need I ask…what more do you need?Tamarack

Posted on Leave a comment

Open Dates Coming Up

I have May 20th-24th and the 26th coming up. The fishing has been amazing. Salmon Flies, March Browns, and Caddis, with Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies, PMD’s, and more are coming up this summer. Reserve a guided trip on the Yakima River and chase some wild trout. Call, email, visit the website, or message to book a guided fly fishing trip.