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Connection.

I spend the majority of the year with people. Two at a time 150-200 days a year. Fly fishing is more than just about fishing. After 5 years full time I’ve developed relationships both professional and personal over that time.

Anglers I fish with outside of work, clients that keep coming back for more, new clients that get addicted to the energy. I connect with them all. Some more strongly than others, some less personal and more professional. But there is a very human element to this job when it becomes a career and something more than just summer work until the next thing.

This season it was made very clear the impact I’ve had on the community, clients, anglers and river peeps. The support I got from everyone from here to the St. Joe and Moscow Idaho. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have the people around me that I do.

At a time in our world when things seem to be decisive and more about this side and that…connecting with people no matter the avenue, is something I think is very important. I meet every sort of people on the river. From white to black, gay, trans, straight, male, female, old and young, wealthy and scraping by. The trout do not care. And neither do I in all honesty. We are here to share something that’s above all of that. Above where you sit on the aisle or what pew you are in on Sunday.

Connecting with nature and wild animals is a part of us as a species. We are missing connection in our lives. And the device in your hands right now isn’t real connection.

We catch two trout with one cast so to speak. I facilitate a connection to nature in a form that requires your utmost attention and focus leaving little room in the mind for much else. While also sharing that connection with other people. Typically another person you are close with. It becomes this team dynamic that feeds off the energy from the river and trout through the fly rods, into the boat, flowing through the three of us as we ramble down the river with the current.

It’s a groovy process anglers. Super groovy. As the day continues the groove sets in. Then all the drama in clients lives comes out. I can see it. We get 3 hours in and you’ve got clients still all tense and shit. So you get it out of them. You’re stress is fucken up the groove so we have to remedy that shit so we can all enjoy the day properly. So we get it out. I hear all sorts of things. Like the barber. Then it’s all out by lunch. And boom…clients are back in the groove and that connection is flowing at full power.

By the end of the day clients are exhausted. Always exhausted with my trips. And they’ve come out feeling refreshed despite. It’s because that connection just charged your battery dude. It’s why you feel so good. No matter the fish count. Nature and that human connection anglers. What it’s all about. Its what you’re really paying for. And I’m happy to oblige.

I know the effects of a river, trout, and a person or two to share it with. I understand how solo can be very fulfilling as well. Connecting with the self through the same means is highly recommended. I’ve done this a while now. This is a constant theme throughout the seasons and my returning client base can attest.

As the season ends. Despite the hardships that are here. I am a very rich person with the connections I have made with people. With the season over and that connection slowing I have more time for my kids. Connecting with them everyday. The small group of river peeps, trout bums, and dirtbags that I now can share more time and connection with. New experiences, new places, fish, things, and people to connect with.

It’s hard to be down when you’ve filled your life with so much positive. Even now things flow down river with a purpose, taking me yonder. The sun sets and the stars lead the way through the dark. A warm fire and a few people to share it with is just around the bend.

Tamarack

See ya riverside anglers.

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Trickle in the Highlands

There is a trickle of water in the highlands. The snow and rain give it life. It creeps and slings it’s way around rocks, logs, brush. It meets other trickles of water, it greets them and joins them as the descent down the mountain.

A canyon forms and the water pools. Bigger now, deeper, aged. It has weathered this canyon over time. When itz was fed snow, ice, and rain and swells to great size but ebbs back to the slow dark water where creatures lurk. It holds life within it. Brings life to all below it, it feeds, nurtures, cleans, all that it flows through.

The water turns to a creek, which meets other creeks on thier own journeys down from the highlands. They form forks of a larger river and they become counterparts to one another taking on the responsibility of thier mountains, valleys, wetlands, and all those that reside there.

There are beasts from afar with big pink bands, chrome and blue hues, some are silver, other dark, hooked jawed and toothed, some that still have the scent of salt faintly about them. There are small beings that never leave the forks or thier perspective valleys, only venturing to the highlands to pass on to the next generations. All giving thier life history back to the trickle that forms in the highlands.

The forks converge and form a single river. A river teeming with life, history, all past, present and future moving in one direction. The river swallows up all around it. Changes the course of the land it flows through, creates plains of fertile ground, gathers new beings to its edges and life abounds in all the places the river flows.

It meets other rivers as it tumbles, and rambles towards somewhere. They all bringing thier history with them. Some are boulder filled, churning ferocious fast moving rivers. Others large swaying and slow rivers lined by tall walls of stone. Some are blocked by great slabs of foreign rock and metal that bring life to places far from the banks of the flowing waters. Some are healthy and full of life, others have struggled on thier journey. All meet and come together.

They become one, starting from a single trickle of water to an immense column that shapes and effects everything near and far. A single direction towards something that always seems to be pulling each droplet of snow and rain back to it.

A large swatch of soaked earth, with winged beings that frequent the marshy wetlands that single the end of the journey from the highlands. The earth breaks and frees the waters in a final embrace. They meet every other river, drop of water or snow. The rivers dissapeared into one another forming great oceans. New and alien life resides, some venture to and from rivers, others are from far places only passing by. The ocean reaches depths that could swallow every mountain that has a trickle of water flowing from it. But would never be filled without each trickle.

Its starts with a trickle in the highlands.

Tamarack

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Winter creeps in and connections change.

When you live riverside for the better part of the year lots of things happen. You sleep on a more primal schedule. Waking with the sun fishing into the low light. You feel the weather change, you tell time by the sun, there is a feeling that sets in. A connection. You start to sense the river, the fish, it’s hard to explain you have to feel it.

It changes with the seasons, the flows, the hatches, it becomes instinctual. You anticipate all around you. Plugged in. The river and trout talk at you. When you listen you become part of the conversation.

I’ve become accustomed to it. It can drown out a lot of the other things that don’t revolve around that connection with the river. That can get in the way of those life things that are there outside the river.

I am coming into the offseason in a way that is foreign to me. I connect and share with people in my career. But that connection is through the river. In the offseason that connection dampens and I fill it with the other types of connections in my life. That being different this year with my personal life. I would normally fill my off season days with all the things outside of fly fishing. The trout season leaves me wanting that non fishing stuff with a vengeance. Not being able to satiate it this off season will be a trial for me.

As winter creeps in I feel that connection to the river starting to dampen and I’m left in a strange place with nothing to occupy my passion and energy. If you’ve fished with me you know there is a lot of energy, it needs to go somewhere in the winter. I do not like to sit still. I’m also burnt out. This season was long, filled with awesomeness and some shennanigens (fucken truck killing deer). I’ve been on water guiding or fishing for 200 days or something. I’m fished out. Rivered out.

I fished today. I landed one really nice fish…then was done. Even my fishing partner was taken back when I said I was done. The fish are sleepy, and I’ve caught enough. I work in the offseason, but its minimal compared to the guide season. This offseason will leave me more time for it. Not a place I was planning on being but when you round the river bend and there is a gnarly rapid, you’ve gotta get through it. Set your line and hit that shit. I’ve been battered around by rivers and life quite a bit so I’ve become accustomed to rough water.

Fishing in the winter can occupy the mind but it’s slow. Its repetitive, and easy to decipher. The fish and river talk really softly and not for very long. A few conversations and it loses its allure. I’ve had that conversation before many times. Look for the slow water, there are only a few small food sources, and a short window to fish them. Not much else goes on. The mayfly hatches in the upper are almost done and the fish are podded up ready for winter. They feel it creep too.

I will fill days with fly tying, a task that can be fulfilling but also mind numbing after 100 dozen or more. And I tie a few thousand flies a winter. I’ll ski, work, and try and focus on the positive. I’ll fish, when I feel it. Sharing fishing with others does help. It allows me to put energy into something. I’ll have that human connection with my kids before to long again. I’ll surround myself with the outdoorsy and river peeps that are my tribe. I’ll get out of my comfort zone both in fishing and my personal life. Kinda have to now. This offseason and the ones that follow as well are like a new river, at least that’s a positive way of looking at it.

As that connection with the river becomes less…connecting with new things, experiences, people, and putting all my energy and passion into that is all I can do. I’ll say that fly fishing has taught me many things but the lessons it teaches me that can be applied to life off river…they can be relied on and have gotten me through some tough shit. Should get me through this rapid too.

See ya riverside anglers

Tamarack.

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Life has shenanigans too

Shenanigans is the word I’d use to describe this past season. Had a lot of them from start to finish. But this post doesn’t have a lot to do with trout and river shenanigans.

Life has shenanigans too. I’m back on the homewater after only being gone for 6 days. I have had a negative event happen in my personal life that has caused me to return to the river and the people that fish and row it. People that know who I am and love me for it. People that support me and can help me through difficult times. Something I am all to familiar with.

While I am not going to get into the details as it’s my personal and not my professional life, one does have an effect on the other. I am away from my children after only a few days with them. A hardship I am battling constantly. Needing support for myself and knowing the people here that can be there for me as well as removing myself from a negative situation caused me to come back so soon. I do not want to be here. But have to be.

This season a lot of clients, followers, and river peeps saw another side of me with my accident. This current situation is another one of those real life moments that doesn’t revolve around trout but needs to be said as the questions and comments are already flooding in.

I’m back, I’m focused on work and getting a place to be with my kids. I’m taking late season trips, I’ll have flies up for sale shortly, I have more items coming up for sale, podcasts and live streams coming, tying clinics, and a southern expedition for redfish. Typically my focus in the offseason shifts to my family. Unable to be there and in dad mode full time right now means I switch gears and focus on what I can do and will still benefit and support my kids. Which means work.

I’m alright, I have people looking after me, and there are trout that can be very therapeutic. I’m staying in Roslyn, I’ll have the boat next week, so you can’t miss me.

I’ll have social media content, website content, and other things coming as we get into the offseason.

Thank you to everyone that has reached out with concern and support.

Tamarack

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As The End Draws Near.

It has been a long season. I’ve been on river since the end of February. Roughly 200 days of fishing and or guiding. Just over half will be guide days this year which is considerably better than last season.

The spring was a bust again. But what else is new. It was my last spring on the Yakima. I will not be back until Mid April or Mothers Day next season.

I dabbled in working a new river and state with a new outfitter. Learned a few things, both about my guiding and my business that really solidified this fly fishing guiding as a career for me. This was big for me as I’ve been on the Yak doing my thing for 5 seasons and it’s been going really well. Comparing that with other operations elsewhere and meeting new clients was very beneficial professionally and personally to me. Working for another outfitter had its tribulations but that is part of this gig. That doesn’t outshine the good, working with great people, guiding amazing water, and working towards something bigger and better as I chase more guide days and this guide life.

Shit goes south sometimes. After this season I know that better than most…fucken deer. But ones ability to rise up with the help of others and determination and hard work is not only a part of this gig but life in general. I’ve weathered much worse over the years so when hardships come…I find my way through. You find the line through the rapid, commit to it, and see how you come out the bottom…sometimes you get through perfect, every oar stroke on que. Other times you smack a rock, or go sideways and dump the boat…shit happens. How you come out of it is the most important thing.

I was taken aback by the support from my clients, my friends, river peeps, colleagues, fellow guides, and this community of fly anglers that I am a part of. I cannot thank all that helped and offered help enough. There are too many people to name but I will list a few.

To Tyler, Sierra, and Kyle at Whitepine, I have met a lot of people in this industry, you are all some of the best. The opportunity to guide the Joe, all the stuff and things you’ve done and accomplished and bringing me along for some of the ride…it was the adventure I had been craving. The help post accident can never truly be repaid and I look forward to the next river bend and adventure that lies around it.

To Shay and her family. Offering your home, your time, and your energy was something that I greatly needed and wholly appreciate. I would not have been able to finish the season and chase my passion without you.

To Ross and Thalledah. You know. I love you both. From Ross being one of my first clients, to the two of you becoming my closest friends, watching you both become amazing anglers, and becoming amazing people together both riverside and off…I thank you and am glad you are part of my life.

Troy. One of the truest trout bums I know. You are one of the most gracious and giving people I’ve met. Your organic love for angling is contagious. You have a big heart and freely give it to those around you. I will cherish the riverside time we had this season and look forward to many more days chasin fish.

Hannah.

Fuck dude it’s been a fun one. I gave you one hell of an anniversary present this summer. There is no other soul that understands mine like yours. None of this happens without you and everything you do behind the scenes. You give me the life I’ve always wanted and as the season closes I cannot wait to be with you and the children. This guide life has two parts…and the more important part is just getting started.

There are so many others to thank, I could write for days. I thank all of you.

This Fishtober has been DECENT! The goal was 20 more trips from Sept 10th to the end and I exceeded that. After a rough summer a good fishtober is always welcome. This business has its ups and downs, when you can look back at the season and feel positive about it and feel like the negative taught and matured you, made you better, it’s been a good season.

I have been angling for a while now, guiding too. Burnout has become a real factor even after 200 plus days I want more. A few weeks off and in wanna be back in it. The burnout isn’t from the work or the people. It’s looking at the same water and same fish all the time. Expanding to new rivers and species is the cure for burnout. I love the Yakima, but I want more. After this year I definitely crave more and new. I crave adventure, and in this gig sometimes that’s new, technical, challenging water, sometimes its business logistics and people, but it’s all part of the adventure and work of being a guide. If I didn’t absolutely love it…I wouldn’t have come back after the accident. Adventures never go according to plan, neither does business, fishing, marriage, kids, or life in general. It’s part of the gig.

As the end draws near…the older, more seasoned angler and guide in me has learned a thing or two. Living life, my life happens to be a guide life, is about truly living it, being out there in it, experiencing it, the hardships as well as the amazing…without one the other has little substance.

Life changes you, grows you, molds you, how you come out is what it’s all about. Can’t take anything with you, just what you leave behind. Leave some good shit behind, share some trout, laugh about the bad, flirt with mortality every once in a while to keep things spicy, and find passion in what you do and who you share it with. Love…and go fishing anglers.

Tamarack

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Last Open Dates of the Season

Alright anglers,

The season is coming down to its last few weeks. As of today the following dates are all that I have open.

The last Fishtober days:

8th through the 11th and the 14th 15th and 16th.

I have the 21st through the 27th open but those dates will be weather dependent.

The 8th through the 11th will be during the peak of the caddis hatch and on weekdays which is always less river traffic.

Come get bent on some trout the last few available days I have.

Reserve today.

Tamarack

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The Push

We’ve got 5 weeks left anglers. Well I do at least. Trout fishing ends in late October for this trout bum and guide.

I’ve been on water almost 200 days since March. I’ve guided around 130 something trips maybe more I have lost track a bit. I’ll end the season close to my goal of 160 ish. I was hoping for 30 trips here in the Fall and I’m 9 away from hitting that mark.

But there is burnout. I had a chunk of time off in August again but it wasnt the kinda down time I would have liked. Summer cost a lot. From gas prices to low guide days, hot water temps, deers, shennanagins, the summer was kind of a bust. Nothing new in this gig. The fall is always good to me.

But I’m ready to be home. I spend over 50 days away from home at a time. It can stress you. After 200 plus days I’m looking forward to the end of the season.

So I won’t be steelheading this year. With the recent closures in Idaho and low numbers and intense commercial and recreational pressure…I’m just not that interested in it. Plus the cost of doing it and the money to be made is a wash. My focus will be on saltwater down south this off season, tying flies, selling flies, and finding some new trout water to guide. I’ll be back to it on the Yak and Joe and other places next season in March.

The Push is here. Its fishtober. Its the last few weeks of good trout fishing on the fly rod before the cold sets in and the fish hibernate like the other critters. I hibernate too. I sleep, enjoy my children and those lives, spend time with my wife, play video games, and I’ll be looking for warmer water and bigger fish with bigger gear come the snow falling.

Tis the season anglers…

Fishtober is here.

Tamarack

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Last Open Dates of the Season!

Open Dates For Fishtober!

September:
27th and 29th.

October:
1st and 2nd
7th through 11th
14th 15th 16th.
21st-27th

We’ve got caddis and mayflies just getting started. The colors are changing fast, the fish are fat and hungry, and theres only a few weeks left of the season before it’s over!

Fishtober…until it’s over.

Reserve one of my last days of this crazy season!

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Fishtober Has Arrived

Its Fishtober Anglers.

The trout are on big caddis, streamer fishing is ramping up, the small dry game is just getting started, oh man….its just so juicy out here right now.

The fishing has been stellar, save for the off day or two over the past 2 weeks. I’ve fished everyday since I got back and it’s been pretty fucken sweet.

The big fish are starting to roll up, we’ve been getting into some good number days, and it’s been 80 percent dries, and the rest streamers or droppers.

I’ve had lots of trips this season. Somewhere over 100 now. I’ve kinda lost track. I’ve done most on the Yak. I did 14 or so trips on the St. Joe this season. So the expanding outward this season was not as lucrative as hoped but a great experience and something il continue to pursue. But the Yak, shes always good to me. Stingy sometimes…but good.

I had a great trip today. Good numbers, a really big one landed, like 2 foot of trout almost. Stuck it out till dark, was the last boat off, happy clients, fat tip, and a nice little down time at the local pub with friends talking trout afterward.

I’ve been living that ‘guide life’ for a few seasons now. When the work is there…the lifestyle follows. I’ve run inti fellow anglers, clients, and guides all chasin that lifestyle. The trout bum, fish all the time, live the river life kinda gig. I live it every day for 200 days or so a year. And the off season is just that, offseason, with offseason homework, tying, and working on new business expansions to other water and new places. It’s a full time gig. And when it truly is…then you’re living the guide life. Because at the end of the day that’s what being a guide is…its work. More than just being on time, making a nice lunch, and putting anglers on trout. There is more to it, so much more. I’ve met plenty of people in this industry and community that want the life but not the work. I fish every day…I’ve fished over 150 days this season, guided most of them. With all the shennanagins, fish, clients, car wrecks, boat fixes, fly purchases, cost analysis reports, social media shit, running invoices, emails, repairing gear, and working new angles for more guide days. That’s all I’m after…more guide days. 200 plus is the goal. Because I’m a guide, I’m best on river guiding. So any time that isn’t spent trying to chase more guide days is just fishing and I’ve done plenty of that over the past decade or so.

Lifestyle, culture, that boys club stuff, or whatever you call it…it revolves around the work. I’ve never really been a fan of it. I’m not usually the guide that hangs out to chat at the access points, I’m not out at the pub every night, I don’t typically hang with clients outside of work or guides really. I like to do my thing, unplug, then do it again. As many days as I can. My kinda gig is winding down fireside solo, outdoors. Ir maybe with a friend or two talking trout, life and other stuff. Or I talk to my wife for an hour or 3 on the phone. But mostly just trying to come down from the day, eat, relax, sleep, and do it again the next day until they run out.

My work is on a time constraint. Only so many days to work when you factor in things like weather, flows, hatches, economy, and a myriad of other things that can have an effect on trips coming in. Every trip I take these days is one I am personally chasin down through blogs, social media, or all the other things I do. Days off are spent fishing, dialing things in, checking the bugs the fish, sending emails, getting photos, reading up on new stuff and things, its constant work interrupted by fish. That’s the lifestyle. Some can hack it others try, others wannabe, and others learn to get there over time.

Doing the way I do it is different. Guiding other places and being around so many other boats this season has really showed me that. I also have a chunk of clients that have fished all over the place with all sorts of guides and I continue to hear about my uniqueness. I’m not in this to be the best, or the busiest, or famous on social media, or get sponsors, endorsements, free shit, or be an ambassador for some company trying to sell more stuff. I’ve got enough to do selling my own thing. I’m in this because I love the work. Of all the things I’ve done…I love this work. Everything about it from shit ass trailers not working, free range boulders, crazy shuttle drivers, moose, bears, camp bees, forest fires, droughts, crap conditions, rig killing deer, to big trout getting off, to big smiles on clients faces, tired back muscles, worn out eyes, burnt out brains, from the rough days to the amazing days all the ones in between even the ones when you roll your shit into the river. It’s all about the work…because that is the guide life. Not all that other off river shit…its all about that river time. If you don’t got it then you ain’t living it.

At least that’s how I feel about it. After this season, which has been busy, had some shit-tastic shit happen, but been really busy. When you get to this point in the season and you’re chasin those last 30 trips or so…if you can look back and feel good about it as a guide, a business owner, and an angler…learned some things, improve some things, and have a better plan for the next season…then ya…the guide life has been good.

See ya riverside anglers

Tamarack

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Sept 19th and 20th Open

The cranefly hatch is peaking. It’s starting to feel like fall, and the trout fishing is wicked good right now.

I’ve got the 19th and 20th still open this week. Come out for a half day or a full, or even a walk and wade. It’s all good.

I’ve also got 2 spots still open for my Fall Fishing Clinic Sept 22nd. This coming Sunday. $90 per person. Being your own gear. Come learn the fall fishing. I’ve also got more dates later this season open still but its filling up fast.

There are lots of options and the fishing is pretty good anglers. You’re missing out on Fishtober…some come get dome before it’s over.

Tamarack.