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The Joe.

Well today sucked. Which is becoming all too common. But in this business there are gonna be some scheduling snafus and today was one of those.

I drove up the to the Joe Monday, took care of releasing the wrecked car. (And I can’t thank Benewah Motors in St. Marie’s enough for helping make that whole process easier.) Which also sucked sifting through the wreck and gathering all the salvageable gear. Then I drove up the Joe, organized my crap, and prepped for my trip. Spent 2 hrs organizing my flies. All my other shit is a mess so I figured having organized fly boxes would help. Then woke up had a shenanigan that made the trip not happen. Drove all the way back to Spokane to turn in the rental car early. Got a little money back which was nice.

Then got a call from a Yakima River Peep and fellow Guide saying they were headed to the Joe to fish with me for two days. He was checking out before a big run of trips over Labor Day Weekend and I need to break from guiding until the 10th because of the accident and dealing with everything because of it.

So I’m back up on the Joe.

This river makes me keep coming back. I’m addicted…no matter the shenanigans…I keep coming back. I want to come back, I want to guide it more. I want to tap it, feel it, learn it, understand it…and trick its troots.

A few days of just fishing then getting into prep work for the fall. Fishing in the late season is my jam. I need to tie flies, get my mind in the autumn headspace for fishing. I also need to promote and book trips which requires work.

I want to guide, but logistically its proving to be to difficult to here without all my shit in order. I’ve got a new rig waiting for me in Rupert. Wife picked it up today. I’ll be driving it back. Hoping to get the trailer fixed but have loaner options until then. So it’s best to just wait, settle, and not push or rush things. That only causes for shenanigans. I’m set to run around 140 plus trips this season so it’s never a bad idea to take some time and recharge. Especially when you roll a truck into a river. Might mean you need to chill out a bit. I’m all about getting after it, but sometimes you gotta listen to others telking you what’s good for you, listen to your body and your mind, and take care of yourself. I can’t be at my best guiding if I’m not good off river. And I need more time.

So I will be fishing with a friend in the high country, then tying and prepping promoting the fall season before heading home to see the family before the last run of the season. About 60 days of trout season left anglers. I wanna be at my best for it.

See ya riverside.

Tamarack

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Aftermath

I’ve been through some crazy shit over the seasons. Almost drowned a few times, crashed my boat on the Naches, fell off Iron Peak and had to self arrest, hit log jams and boulders, lost things broke things, never body parts, was in an Avalanche, fell off a waterfall, and yes rolled my truck down an embankment into the St. Joe river. In the list of things that I’ve been through this accident was about a 9.7 on the Shitastic River Shenanigan Scale. It sucked and I’m still processing and healing both physically and mentally.

The shock was something I’m all to familiar with. I’ve been through it before and you never really know how your body and mind will rebound. It takes time. I still have to shake the accidnet out of my head from time to time and I’ve woke up several times during the nights feeling like I’m rolling again.

Truck is gone. I hated that truck anyway. I’ll miss my roof top for the rest of the season. Cleaning up my gear and equipment and releasing the rig today was not fun. My whole life in terms of fishing and guiding was in that rig. Shit happens anglers. What matters is how you deal with it and how you pull yourself back up.

I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the help and support. I was overwhelmed with the response. From Tyler, Sierra, and Kyle with White Pine that have bent over backwards to keep me going. To the friends and river peeps and clients who reached out…you all know who you are….thank you. Truly.

I’m a guide. And that’s what I do. Getting back to the river and doing what I do is all I have on my mind. This community of fly anglers, river rats, outdoorsy folks, and fellow trout bums have been my people for years and I cannot express my gratitude fully.

My family thanks you too. It was my wife and I’s 15th wedding anniversary the day after the accident. Also the first day of school for my kids and my youngest, Zoey, it was her first day of Kindergarten. Needless to say…I really fucked up thier day. I am lucky and thankful that I walked away from the accident and get to see my wife and kids again. Shit was a little scary there for a bit.

My body seems to have recovered. The soreness is gone. Bruising healing. My mind is still jarred. Which will take time. Riverside time heals and guiding keeps me busy and focused on more important things than near death experiences of the deer kind.

I fly home the 4th of September. For some much needed family time, haven’t seen my family since June. I’ll be driving a new guide rig up to finish the season out. I’m hoping my trailer can be repaired, a new hitch needs welded on and a new axle…which I am all too familiar with. Boat floats, needs a little love but she still gets me down river and that’s all that matters.

Life is always filled with shenanigans. My life especially. I’ve learned to be resilient and bounce back quickly. Not much keeps me down and hard work always pays off. This season has been a roller coaster of amazing and shit but I wouldn’t change it…well maybe the rolling the rig part but….

With the Fall season approaching I am super stoked. The autumn is my favorite time to fish and guide. It’s the best time of the year. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss it.

Book a trip, a lesson, a clinic spot, come out and see what Fishtober is all about. And support my trout bum beardy ass getting back into the swing of things in the process. With the Yakima and the St. Joe transiting to fall, and potential Grand Ronde guide days in late October and early November I’m just anxious to get back to it. The waiting for things to come together is never my strong suite and I’m more annoyed now with what happened than anything else. Money takes care of itself when you put the work in, but time…that shit cant be sped up. In 2 weeks this will just be another River Shenanigan Episode that is my guide life. Add it to the story list.

By next spring I’ll be back to that sweet camp life guiding. Until then I am humbled and ever thankful to those that have offered help and a place to stay while I finish the season.

I’ve gotta guide the Joe in the morning. I’ll see ya riverside anglers….watch out for deers.

Tamarack

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Fall Fishing Clinic Sept 22nd

I will be hosting a Fall Season Clinic during the Cranefly Hatch on Sept. 22nd on the Yakima River. This clinic focuses on late season fishing tactics, reading water, and flies, as well as wading techniques.

I have 6 spots open. $90 per person. The majority of the clinic is spent teaching with hand on help and some fishing. Waders and boots are required for participants and a fly rod and reel with floating line in a 4 or 5 wt is also needed. You can DM me to sign up, or email me, call, or text.

Tamarack

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Rollover accident on the Joe.

Yep, I was in a roll over into the St. Joe river due to deers on the road. It sucked. My truck and trailer are totalled. Boat is doing alright. We’ve got parts coming to fix her up. Already in the process of getting a new rig and trailer. Have temporary stuff until then. Fly rods and reels are being sent in for warranty this week. Thank you to everyone for your support. The best way you can help me…is to book trips on the Yakima or St. Joe Rivers through October.

The fishing is always amazing, its my favorite time of year to guide, and if you’re gonna give me money to help out it might as well be for a trip. So book a trip, a lesson, sign up for a clinic, walk and wade, halfer, full what have you. I just wanna get back to work and doing what I love. Trips are how things keep going and things get replaced, bills paid, and kids fed. Thank you to everyone. I’m slowly getting to everyone who has reached out.

Thank you and I’m sure there will be more details and posts about it and so much more from this season. Just wicked busy with guiding. Stay safe, wear your seat belt always, drive the speed limits, don’t drive intoxicated, and watch out for wildlife. It can be a real bitch otherwise. I got super lucky people, really lucky that I wasn’t injured and walked away with only stuff and things broken and damaged.

See you Riverside.

Tamarack

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The High Country

A Summer Stone just crawled over my bare foot. It’s just after 11 PM and the stoneflies are hatching on the St. Joe. I flip on my headlamp and see several crawling around the bank and flying into the trees. I can hear bats chirping and eating. We are 77 miles up the St. Joe River in North Idaho.

I have not fished up this high. The river is simply beautiful. The kind of river I’ve had dreams about and only thought existed in my mind. The fish are plentiful and come in all shapes and sizes. Big ones…oh yes. Very big. Lots of little ones. Yep. Cookie cutters galore…fosho.

In 4 hours and 2 miles I landed over 30 missed another 30 and hooked into and lost 4 very very large cutties on the streamer. Dry fly fishing is spectacular. The river is cold…and it holds its temp throughout the day. The fish have a rhythm. They move about frequently. Fish you hooked an hour ago, have moved up or down and maybe 3 miles away by next week. Cutthroat move, and with a range like this with so many tribs…these fish can move like they were meant to. Cutties like high grade, higher elevation water. When it gets hot fish always seek out the cooler water. They use thier speed, range, and camouflage to survive. Westslope cutthroat blend right in. For such a colorful fish, they have the ability to disappear against the river bottom and the broken up currents. They are amazing, using thier camouflage to tuck in, rest, then move, feed, move, tuck in rest, move feed, up and down and up and down the river system. Sometimes 100 plus miles a year. Hundreds of miles over their life span. Truly amazing critters.

Up here, way the fuck up here, is where some of the oldest, most gnarliest of clarkii-iest of westslope cutthroat reside. Ranging high into the back country to spawn and moving about the high country ranges throughout the year. I saw a few today. Flashing bright aged colors at me with a streamer lodged in thier lip. They all bested me with aggressive headshakes. I’m very out of practice. Having only touched a fly rod to teach and rig up, not to fish with for several weeks now. Tomorrow will be better.

There are also bull trout up here. I am cautiously optimistic that I will meet one over the next few days. Having finally made it up here, and knowing a little about bulltrout…this place may have a few willing to test my angling abilities. Rarely do I feel the absolute need to fish…but seeing this place up here…ya…I could spend the rest of my life here and it be a happy and fulfilling one…

Tamarack

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Thoughts upon return after a hard run.

I’m back on the homewater. It feels like we’ve only seen each other in passing lately. My heart fluttered a little when I saw Castle Rock on the Bristol to Greenbridge Section. The Yakima will always be my favorite river. From the challenges it faces, the trout it holds, and the community it supports, the Yakima will always be my one true river so to speak.

I’ve spent thousands of hours over the last decade on the Yakima. I’ve been tested, beaten, and amazingly successful tricking the wild trout that lie within. Thousands of fish I’ve met, generations I’ve seen, I’ve even saved a few, lost a few, and spent many minutes in the embrace of truly wild and beautiful creatures. I care about them. It sounds weird but after all this time and with what I was taught about being a guide, I have this feeling of responsibility to the Yakima. I owe her that. A river steward. I know I’m not the only one. From guides, to anglers, to rafting guides, tubers, homeowners, landowners, farmers, busiessowners and every member of the community and the angling community are connected to this river in some way. It behooves a select few of us to take on some of those responsibilities. When I come back to the Yak, I’m reminded of that as I drive from one end to the other and see what life this river brings and what more we can to do keep her healthy. We’ve messed up this planet a lot, it’s time to start coming together and recognizing that these places need us and we are responsible for their well being. Taking care of them is taking care of us.

Keep that in mind when you’re riverside. Have an open mind about the world, listen, critically think, and remember these places are for everyone to enjoy and all deserve respect and courtesy when enjoying the rivers and public lands we hold so dear.

Tamarack.

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Trout Season

Fishing has been stellar. Landing fish always has room for improvement. This year I’ve worked a good chunk. Not my busiest season, not the slowest, and the fall is still to come.

I’m currently on a rougher week and a half of work where I’m bouncing back and forth between the Joe and the Yak. A 280 mile trek one way. Like 4 hrs cuz I drive 60 with the boat. I also just dont drive fast. Everyone is a fucken hurry these days and I dont understand it.

I’ve run 1500 road miles on freeways, back dirt roads, washboard and potholed to hell, down steep rock filled embankments, and put over 50 miles of rowing in there as well. I think I’ve slept a total of 25-30 hrs in the last 5-6 days. My body is racked, my mind is mush, my patience is waning, and my sassy-ness riverside is coming out.

I want more. A day of downtime is needed, and there are always shenanigans, issues, and frustrations that arise with this gig. There is always stress and frustration when working for others too. Something I haven’t had to factor into my guiding for a few seasons as I have been running my own gig.

I’m a very trouty person. The more I guide, fish, and meet, and work with others in this community and industry the more I realize that all the time, passion, and energy I have put into learning and advancing as an angler have paid off. My experience over the past 5 seasons also shows the more I do this. I will be honest…it feels good…to know that I’m really good at my job. The successes and memorable moments are so numerous it’s a blur of awesome. I’ve reached that groovy mode of everything else fading away and I’m just guiding. Sure theres all the stuff off river that comes up… but when I sit in that boat, grab those oars, and feel that river under me as I glide my boat through its currents….its all just faint background noise. Just get me in the boat and let me do my thang. The money will come in, the clients always seem to keep coming back for more. Just get me and my boat in the river and the rest takes care of itself.

The haters are quiet, or I’m too busy and having too much fun to notice. I swing back to the Yak, run it like I always do, it gives me what I expect consistenly… even on the tougher days. It’s just groovy.

The Joe is different, harder, more rugged, hard on gear, and me, the boat. But those fish, and that water…fuck its decent. I may not guide it for long. This career will take me to lots of different places and I enjoy the nomad river lifestyle. Where there is fish to be tricked with a fly, and clients that want to experience them…I will ramble to it.

With every new river, species, or place and people, there are challenges, pains, stresses, and there are amazing moments, incredible people, and beautiful fish that connect us all through a fly and a rod. At the end of the day…I just wanna be riverside tricking trout with anglers and flies. All the other stuff just seems to get in the way.

I like things smooth, efficient, and quick. More time for fishing that way. I’ve built a very well functioning business with the Yakima. It takes care of itself for the most part. I put hours in and trips get booked. Managing my business while also working for another has been a challenge. Definitely made me better, also making me smarter. Always learning and adapting, fine tuning. This gig in all aspects is 80% people, whether its clients, co workers, bosses, fellow river guides, or social media….its a lot of people with some fish peppered in. Sometimes I dont do people well. Those are the days when you dont see a photo post or a live stream. Days where I’m lost in a current somewhere. I’m due up for a few of those kinda days.

Most days I just wanna take people fishing. Getting paid for it is a bonus and a necessity with my family…but I just wanna take people fishing really. I’ve fished a lot, and there are times that fishing strikes my fancy. But it doesn’t present the same kind of challenge that guiding or taking others fishing does.

With 90 days or so left of the trout season. I just wanna take more people fishing. Wherever that may be. I don’t wanna sit still, or have a lot of down time, thats what the winter is for. It’s called trout season for a reason. Its seasonal. So get after it while its here.

I’m ready for the fall. With the summer just past halfway I’m ready for the chill riverside life of the autumn. I also prefer the fishing in the fall. The summer in August is always a crapshoot and even though it’s called trout season sometimes trout need a break. With water temps starting to creep closer to 65 I’m just not interested in pressuring trout. With both rivers I work on facing warm water temps this season I’ll be switching to bass and muskie for a few weeks. Let the fish chill so they are ready and healthy for the fall. Go fuck with some, bass, muskie, and carp while it’s hot. Get your redneck on, and catch some different fish. It’s time to do more of that and put anglers and clients onto warmwater species when trout need less pressure. So we adapt just like the trout.

So I will see ya out there…

Tamarack

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Rambling Notes

I’m in the thick of it now. Around 80 guide days done. More on the schedule and still days to book. Since May the fishing has been stellar on the Yakima. The guide season has been more than I could have planned for. With two rivers and my skills tested, my mind challenged as well as my patience, and some amazing fishing and people to share it all with.

Its busy. So busy I’m turning down trips this season because I’m full. The late season is filling up sooner and faster than I anticipated. Thankful is the word that comes to mind.

It’s a ramble. I got done with three intense days on the St. Joe. Intense fishing, rowing, and clients. I wont get into the clients. At the end of the day you give every client the best experience you know how, and you put them on fish. There is no shortage of good times or fish in my boat.

The Joe is a neat place. Never have I had to read water 80 yards down river, while setting up anglers on the water to fish, while also prepping myself, the boat, and them for the water coming up. Constant real time reading and guiding. The Joe is new to me, I dont know it from memory like all 75 miles of the Yakima. I can recall almost every boulder, log, drop off, turn, seam, every fishy spot, at every possible flows and what food sources are there, how the fish relate to them, and how to drift a fly to them. I know the Yakima. But the Joe, mmmm that shit is fresh. Like a new ski line in fresh pow. This place is a constant test and challenge and I welcome it.

I test myself on the Yak constantly. Today I ran a 4 hr half day float over 8 miles of river, with multiple other boats, and we produced lots of trout on a single dry fly pattern. I hit the water where I knew the fish would eat that type of fly and drift and we just fished that water hard for the drift and did really well. I only stopped the boat once to take a break and to fix knots a few times. I rarely do the run and gun style trip, but when I do I like to test myself that I can still produce fish that way on a tougher fishery. It doesnt always work the way I like but years of watching conditions and really dialing in a fishery makes me confident that we can put ourselves into it and hit the take out with a successful fish filled day.

The Joe is the opposite. Not knowing what is around the bend, how the fish are holding, or moving, and to present the fly whether it be nymph dry or streamer. There is nothing better to test ones guide skills than by doing it cold and new water with new clients. There is something really intoxicating about it and I’ve never had the desire and push for that challenge like I do here on the Joe.

It’s making me a better angler and guide. I can feel it, and so can my clients. Always improving and evaluated, fine tuning and adapting. Like the trout I chase.

I cant sit still and with a hard summer headed to the Yakima and the Joe giving me some days I’m still wanting more. Even though I’m exhausted I want more. I’ll be back on the Yak in August it’s looking like. Gonna run that lower river for smallies. Hit the basin for bass and musky. I’ll be posting dates and availability for chasin other fish with a fly. With trout days filling the layers season I dont wanna stop like I have the past few Augusts. So I’m gonna chase more fish and more guide days anywhere I can. I want days on the water with clients making money and memories. Challenge and test myself more. And put anglers on more and different fish and share that experience with them.

There are only 3 months of trout season left. I wanna guide and fish every single one of them before I hibernate for the winter with my family. I’m here to guide and fish.

The days bleed together, the trips and clients are a blur of fish and smiles, and the boat and I couldn’t be happier to be rambling and rolling down rivers and lakes chasin trout and fish living that fly angler guide life.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack