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People

I meet all sorts of anglers on this gig. It’s part of the fun, meeting new people, finding a vibe with them, sharing a river, and enjoying each others company.

Over the years I have had the great pleasure of fishing with regular clients and watch them develop into amazing anglers and really get to know them as people.

Like the adorable nerdy IT couple that have been coming for the past 4 years with me to sling for trout. They’ve developed into accurate, tactical, and technical anglers and are two of the most efficient and groovy anglers I get to guide. They will tell you that it’s because they’ve been fishing with me all this time as the reason for thier abilities. And that’s partially true, but they have turned into better anglers than I was at thier stage. They fish all over now, hitting rivers in multiple states and now on to new countries. They wish they could just pack ke up and take them along with them everywhere they go which I find as the ultimate compliment. They need to seek out the Tamarack equivalent on whichever river they are on and learn and develop those relationships with rivers, guides, fish, and the places they call home.

I meet new people too. Although it happens less as my days fill up with clients that have become regulars over the years. Sometimes you meet individual who are no where near the same level of expertise when it comes to angling; but their excitement, awe, and reverance for the wild animals we chase with fly and rod rival my own. Like the cannabis farmer who has summer days of guiding himself on his mind. The amazement at the ferociousness and speed of a westslope cutthroat trout to a skwalla dry, literally taking his breath away. The complete and utter respect and awe for the trout when dangling and releasing it. I could feel it from net length away. That moments of watching how he reacted, treated, and handled his fish made me wish I had that respect when I first started out. If he ever guides hes got the right mindset for it. Skills come with practice but it’s hard to teach and learn that kind of admiration for trout.

Or two of my best friends in the world. Fishing with them is always a treat. While one has become very experienced and talented and catches more fish than me these days, his wife and other fishing partner besides me, is one of the most determined and focused anglers I’ve come across. Shes also stubborn as all hell when she meets a worth adversary.

I’ve watched as shes stood in the same spot for 40 minutes working the same large, rising trout just within casting reach across three currents with a big ass reach cast. The fish being so damn persnickety, that it refused every single perfect cast and drift she landed in its lane. To watch this trout defeat her and her finally bow out with respect and exhaustion from the encounter will stick with me to this day. One day soon she will rival all out abilities in our fishing peoples circle. It’s now the patient wait as you out the time in and being able to be a part of that and help her along the way as a guide, friend, and mentor is something I look forward to every time we fish.

Her husband, my best friend and fishing partner, fights fish like a fucking champion. His ability to feel a fish, counter, anticipate, and outsmart wild trout is something to see. He rarely misses fish these days and I can always depend on him to help me snap a few great photos.

His whole attitude towards fish has changed since we first started fishing together. He was intimidated, quiet, focused, and lost his fair share of trout on the early days. Now when he hooks fish, he is still focused, but fish are intimidated, I have seen them bow out against him. He is no longer quiet, as the fish thrashes, jumps, and or runs, he usually has some quip like “Look at this fish!” as it tries to lead the dance, but it is only the partner for this number, following the lead of the experienced angler. Until it enter my net. He still has the same exuberance and delight with each fish no matter the size just like the first time I fished with him. He chuckles this little kid chuckle when the trout eat and fight that causes that boisterous laugh I am known for on the river. It’s always a good time.

This gig is about people. As I keep doing it and am adding more I’m excited for the people and anglers I get to meet. There is nothing quite like sharing a river and some trout with people. I aim to do a lot of it over the years. Good thing I dig it.

Tamarack

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The blur.

The Blur. It’s what happens you fish consecutive days, typically for me after about 5 days in a row. It’s when you lose track of days and only really tell days and time with trout and how the river changes throughout the day.

When you fish for a few weeks straight a few things happen during the blur. There are fish…lots of fish. Some with clients, some with friends, and others solo. I constantly seek that adrenaline kick, that flutter of the heart, the tightening of the jaw, the feel of trout thrashing its head against me. I am in search if that for clients and friends and fellow anglers and put my everything to share that experience with them.

The blur is just those moments stacked on top of each other. Day after day. Trial and error, searching, hunting, deciphering, and relaying that information out into the angling community.

The world apart from the river starts to melt away and you become a part of it all. You feel it. Sense it, it talks to you. The trees sway and tell of the wind, the. IRS twitterpated and full of song, looking for spring insects and mates. The bugs, they start to flop and flap about, some dainty others robust and menacing. And the trout…they wake up, they move, they react, and they eat.

The blur is just that…a time frame that is just the river life. The goal is keep it going as long as possible throughout the season. Taking those breaks later in the year to curb burnout, which rarely becomes an issue for me. I want more, I want that blur to continue. I embrace it, the routine the river puts you on, the schedule the trout start to follow, and the angler…trying to fit themselves into that world of rivers and trout.

See ya riverside during the blur anglers.

Tamarack

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Camp Notes: 2

Things are finally turning to spring. Finally it feels like the winter has loosened its grip. It’s the birds. They’re what finally gave it away. They are noisy…and twitterpated. Which means spring is here.

There are other things, just in the past few days, despite the feet of snow at their base, the conifer trees smell, as if they’ve woken up brushing off the snow and soaking in the warm sun. The ice is gone, its warmer at night past dark, the bugs are starting to hatch, the wildlife wakes up, and the fish…they are moving, staging, preparing for what is coming. Warmer weather means runoff, what starts the annual spring season more for a fish than a surge of dirty, food filled, nutrient rich, cold water. Then the spawn will be on a troots mind.

Things are changing, I love watching the transition and being a part of it. The skwallas will be in full swing next week. BWO’s are already hatching, and steamer fishing is still pretty good. As things continue to warm these fish are really going to turn on. I also expect the dry fly fishing to pick up here in the next week considerably.

Time to book a trip. Even with the runoff headed our way as long as it doesnt go to zero visibility the fishing should be good.

Tamarack.

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Notes from Camp: 1

Fly fishing is just an activity for some. A joyful adventure partaken a few times annually. Others it’s a way to reminisce about childhood, or spend time with loved ones, there are some where fly fishing is just a job.

There are those bums that are always fishing, the young 19-20 year olds fascinated with the life and freedom fly fishing can bring, the big fish chasers, the hooligans riverside, the loud, the quiet, the great, the bad, the low holers, and the old timers they are all out there.

Fly fishing has no rules about who can participate and I always say trout dont care what’s between your legs, or how much money is in your bank account. It’s just a trout, it just wants a good presentation. The river and the trout are the great equalizer. The young kid just learning casting with a shit stick of a 2nd hand rod, cheap reel and line that came on it and a poorly tied leader and knot to completely the wrong fly…that kid can still hook into a fish that would ruin any anglers life…same as the guy upriver in the fancy waders, latest Sage X P Awesome fish catcher 9000 rod, and reel with $120 fly line and hot new fly…fish doesnt care what you’re throwing. Just how well you throw it.

That’s why I love trout fishing. I can still to this day, come out on the Yak and sling a beat up old 6wt streamer pole with some off-hand line someone handed to me, and a hand tied fly and be rewarded with pure wild beauty.

These fish…they still get to me. I see their spots and sides flash in my dreams. I’m starting to dream of the river again. Every night, hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling the river. The secrets it tells me. The trout, whispers of the world below in motion and I, trying to enter it further, with each cast, every mend, each strip, the next drift…taking another step deeper into that world…of trout…wild…natural…and intoxicating.

I’ve missed the river life. I feel like I am two people at times. The husband and dad at home trying to keep myself engaged in the lives I’ve created and the life I’ve built with my family; and the river life. One is always at odds with the other.

I miss my family. Hearing them on the phone, my son being sick hanging at home, I could be there playing video games with him making him feel better. Giving my wife a break as I’m sure shes starting to feel the stress of me being gone as we come up on 3 weeks away. My youngests 5th birthday coming up and celebrating it later so I can work and then rush back for it. The things that I miss and being away do weigh heavy sometimes.

But then there is the river. It calls, like a siren. It’s as if I can’t help myself and am hypnotized by the song the river sings. The other life, the river life, that complete plug in to the natural world, understanding it, interpreting it, becoming so intimate with it that deciphering it becomes routine. I have missed that as well.

The freedom fly fishing brings is hard to put into words. The way it clears the mind, focuses it on the task, tapping into something primal, and the connection between angler and fish…the way it can effect a person. The ability to share that with others through my work is one of the great joy’s of this gig.

Somedays its the fish chasers, the counters, or the mellow dudes, or the first timers, but other times it’s that angler or set of anglers that is looking for that connection. That freedom. Those are some of my most memorable encounters with fish and people.

I don’t care much for people outside of fishing to be honest. I like to keep to myself, and I’m loud and energetic on the river because it is where I feel like I am truly my self. But off river I am much more reserved. I enjoy the solitude of camping and having the quiet. A lot of this job is people well most of it is, so I enjoy the time with less people. I even prefer to not be bothered at camp. But I inevitably get people asking about the RTT or the boat, or why the hell I’m camping in the snow. I shrug it off, I enjoy this life. It’s a little hobo like, but I get to work and make money doing it, and my days in between are filled with becoming more in tune with what the river is doing. Meaning fishing.

I’m good at guiding this river because I take the time to listen. I’ve invested my life into becoming a good guide and the work I put in “fishing” pays dividends for my line of work.

Out here I have one focus, be good at my job so that I can support those at home. While also doing what I love and frankly about the only thing I’m any good at these days. The dedication I have to fly fishing and guiding shows in how my clients continue to come back, the compliments I receive, and how rewarding both personally and professionally fly fishing has become over the years.

There comes a time when you realize you’re a good angler. It’s usually when the hate from your fishing partners is strong. But after a while…you just know you are. I am. The same goes for guiding. The hate comes from other boats but in all reality what really shows that you’re a good guide is your clients. They are the only feedback you need in this gig. Literally nothing else matters except happy clients. And if they keep coming back, you keep putting smiles on the same faces year after year…then you’re a good guide. Clients will tell ya too but after a while…you just know.

This makes fishing both personally and professionally an absolute awesome fest. Fish eat when they should, you land more than before, you get lots of those addicting shots of adrenaline, you start to catch a good number of fish…to the point where all fish no matter the size or the take, is amazing and awe inspiring. The appreciation and admiration for the fish becomes a part of you. The satisfaction of success in oneself in passing the test against the anglers quarry. These things become what you are addicted to and are chasing to fulfill.

Fly fishing just makes you feel good. And I am firm believer in doing things that make you feel good. If you can get paid to make others and yourself feel good in the process then I would say you’re a rich person.

Tamarack

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Old Friends

I’ve fished for just over a week on the Yakima every day. Floated a few, guided a day, and have been walk and wading most days. I find walk and wading to be a much faster way of getting the body back into guide form. Rowing is great but at these flows it’s hardly work. But wading, up and down, crossing, standing in freezing water, slinging a six weight, crawling up and down snow banks and logs, post hole-ing and cursing the gods, that shit trims the winter weight right down, kinda loosens up the body and I get to walk the river a few miles a day.

I’ve missed the Yakima. That is the other reason I love wading. There is nothing quite as intimate as wading and reading a river. I can feel the currents, I can see the lanes and seams up close, I can gauge distance and change my approach and drift angles to my liking. There is something about the pull of current on me that focuses me, the feel of it against my body, like a lover who tells you her secrets with a caress. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve spent years learning, feeling, understanding, and unlocking the Yakima Rivers’ secrets. I have been fortunate to have been able to spend so much of my life involved with this river. Getting back into the river life and being riverside on the Yakima just seems like old friends getting back together.

The river in the spring is cold, hard, and slow. It takes a patient angler, a methodical and somewhat mad individual. The eyelets freeze, the line stings the hand, the reel siezes… I might just need new shit. Your toes lose feeling, as do your fingertips, nose, and ear balls. It can snow or rain on you, bring you wind that sucks the life out of you, or just freeze your appendages off until you’re limping back to the rig and blasting the heater to 11. That was last week. The past few days have been pretty decent. For the slow and patient angler.

All that misery is made up for when the fish do come to the fly on a cold early spring day. They are typically big, and beautiful, and colored and spotted up in pre spawn colors. Keep in mind for me these first few fish have been the first fish since October that I have had the pleasure of meeting.

When that fish does hit though…the adrenaline just shoots through my body. Especially after so long without such a shot it really makes the heart flutter when that strike registers. The streamer takes the past few days have been so aggressive it’s like getting a double shot and I end up shaking with excitement. So after months of not feeling that…the Yakima has given me plenty of shots of the much missed fish induced adrenaline shots that I have come so accustomed to.

I’ve been swinging a 9ft 6wt broom stick of a St. Criox with a overweighted shooting head line for heavy streamers from air flo or some shit. I’ve got a 10ft versileader in 5ips with about 2ft of 10lbs mono for tippet. I’ve been throwing sculpin style patterns, today was a sparkly conehead thing in a size 6. That’s my streamer get up. Nothing fancy, and I like a heavy stick I can put some force into and cast accurately as opposed to the trout spey rig. I also snap t and do other fancy casta with my rig too but I like to be able to pick up 30-40 feet of line and shoot it in one to two false casts with a haul or two and place the fly dead accurately and have control over the drift with the mend. Plus I fish from the boat where a two hander just doesnt make sense. And the 6wt is very nice to fight big fish on. I feel like I can play the fish better with a stronger rod as the majority of the fish hooked are large. Like really large the past two days.

My nymph set up is steiaght forward too. 9ft 5wt, standard WF line to match, and a 9ft 4x leader. I use a thingamabobber or yarn indicator, and I typically throw two flies and split shot. I change depths a lot and fish lanes multiple times. I get bored with it personally after a while. That being said, the takes can be extremely ferocious and violent and fish right now are perking up and hitting the turbo jets and looking for fast water when they get hooked. Every fight I’ve had nymphing has been intense. Purple Batman Prince is a great fly by the way.

The streamer fishing though. Oh…my…fuck…has it been good in the upper the past two days. I’ve fished for about 2-4 hrs every day day the past 4 and yesterday and today the streamer wants got really aggressive. Like really aggresive.

I’ve been swinging and breaking the runs down by targeting the slow edges of the fast heavy current of the run. Whether its outside or inside. Casting 90 to 45 degrees across and down stream, mending and letting the current do the work. Then stripping in line varying my retrieve and picking it up and doing it again. Every 3-8 swings I take 2-8 steps down depending on the read of the water.

The fish earlier last week were lightly lipping the fly at the tail end of the swing. The past two days they have been crushing it on the cross swing before it even starts to tail out. They seem to be picking up a few feet off, then waiting and swiping it from the side hard, because I’ve had great hooksets in the side of the mouth and just amazingly aggressive takes. They are literally hoovering and crushing the fly. Today I did pick up a fish at 20 inches, on the swing, and it weighed something like 4-5lbs. Fat, healthy, and turbo charged.

Today was also the first day I saw adult Skwallas on the bank doing the nasty. They are starting to wake up. There was also some sporadic BWO and March Brown adults floating around. No fish up but a few more days and I’ll be slinging dries again. Looks like we are gonna have some water dump in from snow melt, which is greatly needed. The water is low and a little charge would really get things moving.

I’ve also been camping up the Teanaway away from the noise. Its been great and still getting down to the 20s at night.

The fishing is really going to start picking up here over the next week and bugs are gonna start hatching and fish gonna be eating and slurping. I’ve got days available for spring special floats and I’m only here until April 21st before I head back home for a bit and get ready for guiding in Idaho. But dont worry I’ll be back in May for F3T in Ellensburg, bass fishing during runoff, and getting ready for the summer on the yak. Come take a trip this spring and I’ll introduce you to some Yakima troots.

Tamarack

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River Report March 2nd

I’m finally back. I drove 1000 miles over the past 3 days from Rupert Idaho. Coming over Lookout Pass through Montana was an adventure with blizzard conditions. But I made it. So did the boat.

I fished the Yakima Friday from Ringer to Reds. It was cold and slow. We picked up one fish on the streamer. We nymphed all the nymphy water and came up fish less.

The water temps are sub 40. Hovering around 36-38 degrees so fish are sleepy. The water is low. So fish are stacked in deep water chillin’. The forecast is calling for warmer days by next Thursday and into March. We may still get snow but we will start to see 40 plus degree days. This will give us the bump we need to move things around. Bugs will start hatching, we will get some runoff to move fish and food around, and the water temp will start to rise just enough to get trout into first gear and start eating.

I’m here guiding until April 15th. Reserve your dates now for spring fishing.

I also have a new job guiding for Whitepine Outfitters in Moscow Idaho on the St. Joe river. I will be posting updates to this new opportunity to guide one of the most famous free stone dry fly cutthroat rivers of the west.

I look forward to the season and seeing anglers this year. Book today!

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Book your Trips for the Spring!

I will be back on the Yakima at the end of the month. I am traveling more for work and guiding new places this year, so I have big blocks of dates where I will be riverside and open for reservations.

If you would like to reserve a Early Season Spring Day of fishing these are the dates I will be available.

I have March 5th through April 16th for this first block of spring dates open. I already have several dates booked for the Spring and weekends are filling up fast.

I also have April 1st through April 10th set aside for Bass Fishing on the Fly.

My Spring Special rate is $385 for 2 anglers for a 6hr float with a lunch. I also offer half days and walk and wade trips.

My Bass Trip rate is $500 for 2 anglers for a full 8hr day of fishing with a lunch.

So if you’d like to take a guided fly fishing trip with me between March 5th through April 16th start thinking about reserving your dates today!

You can call, email, or message to reserve.

Hope to see ya out there this season Anglers!

Tamarack

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Spring Fishing Clinic March 17th

I will be hosting a Spring Fishing Clinic on March 17th. This clinic will focus on spring fishing techniques and methods. We will go over casting, water reading, approach, wading, fish handling, bug and fly identification and more.

Open to all levels. Limited to 6 anglers. $90 per person.

Anglers will need waders and boots, and their own fly rod and line. A standard 9ft 5wt with floating line will work just fine. You can contact me with any questions.

You can sign up via FB, email, message, or call.

Hope to see ya there.

Tamarack.

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Final Days at home.

I am in my last week at home. It hasn’t stopped snowing for the past several days, it’s still wicked cold, and my patience is wearing thin. I’m ready to be back to the river life. The snow pack across the West has improved greatly. The stress of a super crummy summer has lightened after the past 10 days of storms and snow flurries. Anglers are starting to perk up with the closeness of things thawing and spring breaking through. It’s almost time.

My family knows I’m leaving soon. The kids ask me daily when I’m leaving and my lady seems to be trying to ignore the fact I will be gone for several weeks soon. There’s a lot of not wanting me to leave attitude coming from them but there is also that understanding that I need and want to go. We support our family with my guiding. Buy cloths, pay bills, rent, all that stuff is financed through guiding. As my kids have grown they see the connection between guiding and our lives more so than ever. I think my wife is just happy that I’ll be out of her hair for a bit, but she’s also understands what fly fishing and guiding means not only to our family but also to me on a personal level.

I am passionate about two things in life. My family and fly fishing. They are in a constant race for first place with me. After being here since October the fly fishing is ready to take the lead for the next few laps.

My brain has started to change, I think in terms of trout. I break down water in my head, fish for imaginary trout, run over all the places to fish on all the different floats I row. I can fish most of the Yak from memory these days, remembering that bend, this pocket, that boulder garden and that riffle. I anticipate the sights, sounds, and smells of the river in spring time. The river waking slowly every morning, the BWO hatch in the late afternoon, Skwalla stoneflies scurrying along the banks and river surface. Slurpy trout gobbling them up.

Clients are reaching out to me. Asking when and where things are gonna happen. I’m almost riverside and can finally get into the groove of interpreting and decoding the river everyday once again. The prep work, checking flows, predicting hatches, taking temps, watching the weather forecasts, flows predictions, water storage and runnoff predictions, it’s all a week away.

Fishing everyday again. The things fishing for days upon days in a row can do for your soul or whatever you wanna call it. That sweet feeling of a rod bending in your hand in the back cast. The sound the line makes as it zips through the air. The dimple of the fly as it’s placed on the rivers surface. The anxious wait as the drift goes through, the sip, the set, the shake of a wild trout tricked by a fly. The disconnect from the noise of one world and the reconnect to another through something as silly as some feathers and thread wrapped around a hook. Those that know….know and those that are trying to discover it, search for it.

A week away anglers. A week away and I’m back living riverside.

See ya out there anglers.

Tamarack