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Fly Angler Life Part 2

Trout Bums, Fly Fishermen, Feather Chuckers, Fly Anglers, whatever it is that you may be labeled on your homewater there are always a handful of those peculiar people that are just a little…too involved with it.  Take any western river (but really anywhere anglers chase fish with flies), from the Hoh to the Gallatin, from the Dechutes to the Elk River B.C. you will find those anglers that live that way of life so many of us seek and are envious of.

They come in all forms.  I’ve met many in my travels to trout filled places.  I remember when I was in Steamboat Springs and I was introduced to that Colorado mountain town hospitality at the local guide hang out.  Sunpies if I recall.  Amazing little bar and eatery.  Great sliders, loud and boisterous crowd the night we were there.  I remember talking with a handful of local guides from competing shops.  A thing they laughed off.  They didn’t compete, except how some guides will while riverside of course, but at the end of the day when the trip was over, the client back at the hotel, and the pressure was off, the guides were just colleagues.  Fellow river rats, trout bums united.  I was in Steamboat to pick up my Hog Island Drift Boat in order to chase my own dreams of becoming a guide.  I was ecstatic.  My own driftboat.  Telling these much older and seasoned gentlemen why I was in town was one of the coolest things of the trip.

There was no jesting, no jokes, no newbie bs, there was just a congratulations on a new boat, a welcome to the fold, and a drink bought for me with the days tip money.  A different experience than I was accustomed to on my homewater or in the local bar when the guides came off river.  It humbled me, it made me realize that this business was about people, the stories, and the trout met.  It was a brotherhood of river stewards that put their life’s passion into trout and the rivers where they lived; and the people that enjoy them.

I left Colorado with a new sense of what I was becoming a part of.  I never understood why my homewater had so much tension between those that worked the river.  Granted it was quite a bit worse back then, and worse before I even knew what fly fishing was.  The Yakima is a much different river these days.  It has its moments of testosterone driven stupidity but what activity with a bunch of dudes doesn’t.  But I remember a lot of BS thrown around when I started floating the river in my big hog.  Haters gonna hate.  They hate us cause they ain’t us.   

When I traveled to Montana for the first time the trip turned into an epic failure.  Broke my boat trailer, limped out of Rock Creek and back to Missoula on the frontage rd at 8 mph with a busted spindle and a guide trip in three days.  Good times.  But before the shit hit the fan I was cruising around a dirt road on the backside of some field with the Bitteroot in sight.  I wasn’t really chasin’ trout, I was more trying to get lost in Montana.  I ended up in Darby.  One of the quirkiest and coolest little towns in MT for me.  I walked into one of the many fly shops looking for a map and maybe a place to float.  Talked to this older lady tying flies in the back asking about the usual.  She asked where I was from.  We got to talking, and she showed me the flies she was tying up, simple prince nymphs, but elegant and perfect.  Then she showed me the flies that she had tied and that were on sale.  Got some of the best salmon fly dries ever from her.  I remember the creak of the floor under my feet.  The dust on the unpopular flies in the bin.  The old photos, some with a younger version of the fly tier and beautiful trout.  The country music in the background, old school, I remember the end of a Willie song when I came in.  Old clangy bell on the door.  She asked me about my boat, saw my guide permit at the counter and asked me where I guided.  Told her the Yak.  She knew it, knew it wasn’t the kindest river.  I chuckled.  She sold me all the flies for $1 a fly.  I told her the total wasn’t right.  “Nah hun, you’re here to get away from guiding, you go enjoy the river.” I thanked her and left for the Bitteroot.

I visit that shop when I go through Darby every time now.  Just in hopes I might see her again and hear another story and see what she’s tying that day.  There is a genuine and very human connection that can happen with anglers.  Even anglers that don’t know each other or meet in passing.  Its something that I began to crave almost as much as trout.  The people the stories, that shared experience.

When I was in Wyoming I remember talking loudly over a football game at one of the many bars in Jackson Hole.  We met up with a guide after his trip for dinner. We had fished a side channel near Black Tail Ponds that day.  Was one of the best days I have ever had fishing.  Big techy cutthroat slapping big ol late season mayflies.  Grand Tetons in the background.  A grizzly bear was prowling around, my friend hooked a monster brown trout that broke him off, huge fish.  I was relaying the day to the local guide, I remember it being one of those conversations that turned into a back and forth of fishing stories from Canada to Louisiana.  Talking about the things that drive us nuts, when burnout hits, bananas, how we do lunches.  Just guide stuff.  That stuff we all get to talking about if you let us.

I started to realize during that trip that that peculiar group of too involved angers on my homewater…may include me.  It solidified that last day before we made the long melancholy trek back home.  It was cold.  Rock Creek in late September will be like that.  We had just finished our second day on the MO.  It was grueling with 30mph winds, which is nothing for a couple of guides that work the Yakima, but we did a 15 mile float like frattadas.  I rowed most of the day as I had already took the cake in terms of browns the previous day with a DECENT 25 inch male all spawny colored and hangry.  We stripped streamers in that wind and killed it for most of the day.  Then drove all the way to Rock Creek.  We were beat.  I remember curling up in my hammock, smoking a fatty, and falling asleep to the faint sound of the river and the Montana night sky.

The morning was frosty.  Heavy low wet fog was stuck in the pines above my head.  My fishing partner, which for all I knew had died in the night of exhaustion or was hauled off by a bear, was not having any of the morning.  I pulled myself into stiff waders, grabbed my satchel and fly rod and made for the river.  I was first on it that morning.  There were small mayflies and sneaky cutthroat.  By 9 am I was joined by a fellow angler.  He waved and walked by while I was tying up another fly.  Of course he asked how it was.  I told him they were sipping small para adams in the seams but were light lipping the fly.  We got to talking.  His camp was just next to ours.  He mentioned the swanky boat we were using.  Not mine, a flashy adipose, not my style.  Asked where we were from and why we got in so late.  Told him about the MO and where I guided and lived.  He was from Pennsylvania, loved Rock Creek, grew up fishing it with his Dad.  Was camping with his family and trying to get a few casts in before his kids got up.  He hadn’t even cast yet and it was 10 am when we finally parted ways with a handshake and a few stories exchanged. 

Tricking trout as the sun rose, waking with rivers, not the guy sleeping off a hangover, being exhausted after fishing for 6 days straight, driving over 1200 miles, listening and talking with a complete stranger and sharing that common fly fishing passion…that connection.  I knew it…  I was finishing up a week long fishing trip, fished 8 different rivers, caught fish everyday, did the whole trip on a budget of less than $500 bucks, tied all the flies except those sex dungeons on the MO, almost died in a class 4 rapid, guide trip the next day after I get home.  Trout Bum…yep.

On my homewater.  I find myself in these situations that remind me constantly that what I do, how I live my life, the stories and moments I share with others…they make up as much of this life as the trout and the wild places they live do.  Fly fishing facilitates that connection to nature and other humans that we seem to be lacking these days.  In a world filled with FB posts and picture filled feeds of fish conquered and products to sell; the essence of what makes fly fishing such a uniquely rich, natural, and human experience is hard to pick out of the scrolling.  I live a rich and happy life because of fly fishing.  I am a steward for the trout and their home.  It’s my home.  I learned early on that money really doesn’t make you happy.  Because if it did I should be miserable all the time.  Money is not necessary to live a rich and happy life.  The stories and people I meet, even if its only for a few minutes of riverside conversation, are worth more than any amount of money.  I found my passion, put myself into it fully, my family has followed me around that bend, and we live and breath rivers and trout.  As the offseason comes to a close I am anxious.  I love my work, cannot wait to share that passion with others.

I also cannot wait to dive back into that world fully.  Not for profit, not for clients, not for anything or anyone other than myself.  To be out on the river, listening to it, hearing its stories.  Meeting trout.  Meeting people.  Those early spring anglers…the ones who sleep in their waders, who are at the coffee shop before it opens, gear already strung up, boats with ice in the cup holders, each breath a visible puff.  The anglers that all know each other because they all share the same level of insanity in some form.  The ones not on a guide trip in February.  That need, the tug, that handshake, the release, that entrance into the world of trout that we all chase.  It changes some.  To their core.  To the point that it is part of their everyday lives.  Those trout bums, feather chuckers, full time river rats, they’re out there, and if you find yourself in the company of them more often than not…you probably are one.

 

Tamarack

 

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A fly anglers life. Part 1

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Fly fishing.  Some learn it from their fathers or grandfathers.  Others learn it from their mums.  A few are just innately good at it.  Others chase it and spend years learning it…not for profit, not to be the best, but just to learn, and have something that fulfills the self.  That accomplishment of figuring something out, the satisfaction of learning and be able to apply a skill and it be successful.  Some people spend their entire lives looking for something that brings their life joy and gratification.

I consider myself very fortunate.  Despite the hardship my family and I have overcome since my lady.  Got started at 18 right out of school.  Became adults together.  People still think we are young and my lady and I laugh.  Just starting out our 30’s with 3 kids under out belt, college degrees, debt, bills, the crap that builds up with life, my lady and I have a few things figured out and some experience with life compared to others our age.  We’ve been homeless, poor, living out a car, hotel rooms, bumming up with parents, if my 20’s taught me anything it was how to survive.  A few years back, my lady and I made a plan.  A very adult plan.  We cut the fat, got serious, and stopped fucking around so to speak.  We set a course, checked our barrings, and struck out on a new adventure…our adventure.

Fly Fishing, it seems, found me right when I needed it.  Fly fishing was and has been one of the only constant things in my adult life.  I stumbled upon it, and a long relationship began.  I sought it out, chased it down, I needed to know everything I could about it, to understand it, to find out all its secrets.  Not to be the best, not to eventually guide and make money, I did it because I was drawn into it. It called to me.  It pulled me in, like a big ‘ol 2’fer trout on the end of your line that won’t give up.  Every time I thought I was ahead of the game, it threw me a curve ball, typically right when life would throw me one as well.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  I always wanted one last cast, one more bend, one more run.  No matter what obstacles were there I kept working my way up river.  Life was no different.

Now I’m not gonna get into all the negative and bad shit that befell my family.  It doesn’t really matter anymore.  But it should be pointed out that I would not be the man I am today with the reservations, resolve, and perspective I have without those years of hardship and in a sense I am grateful for them.  Because, what is life without hardship?  What is fly fishing if the trout does not need to be tricked?  The most memorable fish, have come from some of the hardest to reach spots, the longest and toughest days, and when you least expect it after hours, days, months, hell years, of hard days…then…it happens….and every bad day is worth it.  The journey to that day becomes the story, it becomes the focal point of conversation.  The trout that came of it is secondary, what came before, the lead in, that is what becomes memorable.  Life is no different.  At least not for this trout bum.

The skills required to pursue such places and such memorable stories and trout waiting to be made and tricked, they do not just appear.  Unless you are like my son and are just somehow a tuning fork for trout.  But I was not so inclined.  Fishing was very hard for me.  I was very bad at it for a very long time.  I didn’t catch my first trout for almost 4 months after I started.  But as many know, when you get that first trout, one of two things happen.  You either get over it, or you become addicted.  I was of course the latter.  And I hit it hard.

But I was horrible at it people.  Missed everything.  Just didn’t get it.  Didn’t understand what I was doing.  But that pull, that feeling that something was lurking under that root wad that was life changing, something no other person had ever caught or seen.  I had the bug, I was drawn into fly fishing like nothing I had ever experienced in my young life.   At 30 that hasn’t changed, maybe more controlled, but that need, that pull to the river and what lies beneath has not lost any of its lust since that cold February day over 10 years ago now.  When I think back to how I was during those first few years and what I’ve seen and done, some of it such a blur, that I can’t do anything but smile.  No matter what life threw at me, the years have been filled with some absolutely amazing fishing.

I was able to experience things that anglers twice my age with way more skill still strive for.  With no money mind you.  I learned early on that you don’t need money to enjoy all that fly fishing has to offer.  Expensive gear and fancy accommodations are not a necessity for fly fishing, in fact, in my opinion they are a distraction.  Sleeping under that stars, the river rambling in the background, the birds in the morning, the crackle of the fire, and the sounds of the night, those things are not present in a hotel room or a resort and fly fishing is best experienced as a whole package.  I was able to visit places and fish them, way before YouTube and FB, and digital cameras, on a shit budget, with cheap gear, and hand tied flies, sleeping in the back of my truck or on the ground along the river.  Gone for days at a time, being completely irresponsible as an adult and skipping work and class to do so.  The PNW was my playground and I played hard.  My lady always vigilant and supportive of my trout bum behavior.  When kids got thrown in the mix…we adapted our lives to accommodate both my insatiable appetite for chasin’ trout and having a family.

It’s not like I didn’t put effort into school or my family, but like many from my generation we got dealt a shit hand and had to make due.  We were in college thinking it was a necessity for a good life.  That’s bullshit by the way.  We grew up thinking that was the path we needed to take.  Looking back on it…a lot of wasted time and money.  So when it all went to hell in ’08 and the aftermath of trying to become a regular adult with a standard 9-5 career went down the toilet, after literally 100’s of job interviews, passed up left and right for more experienced  and seasoned individuals I developed a distaste for that lifestyle and the reasons for needing one.  As we grew closer to our 30’s my lady and I made another big change.  This also was when I had a resurgence of fly fishing in my life.  I was fishing more than I had ever before at this time.  I began delving farther and farther into the world of trout and insects, the connection between mountain, river, fish, land, human, all that…stuff!  I couldn’t stop.  With everything that I was told life was supposed to be, then real life giving me one hell of a dick punch, I decided…fuck it…I’m going fishing.  It wasn’t until recently that I thought of putting the skills I had been learning and the trout I had been chasing to work for monetary gain.

img_5821With life kicking me when I was down and a push from the best woman in the world; I took the plunge and went full into the business of guiding.  Struck out on my own, that college business stuff giving me the confidence and skills to do it, so there is that from the college debacle.  Being an adult is seeing positive out of shit situations.  Or maybe that’s just the trout bum in me, hell at this point they are interchangeable I guess.  I knew right off the bat, that the time and patience I had put into learning the ins and outs of fly fishing and the years of fishing a ridiculous amount had prepared me on a skill and technique level.  The life that lead me to that point prepped me for the rest.

I learned to teach, I learned to run a business and how not to run one.  I learned who to trust and who to cut out of your life.  I learned from many different people, but developed a strong intuition and technique of my own in the process.  I learned to never stop learning.  That the skills necessary for being a fly fishing guide must be exercised like any other muscle.  This includes the mind as well as the body.  I learned in my first year that this is a people business, not a fishing business.  My time as a musician and entertainer prepared me for that.  My guide trips are gigs, and I play them to the best of my abilities every time I sit at the oars.  I took all that hardship and turned it into a tool set.  Cut out what was unnecessary and focused on what made me happy and have confidence in myself that the money would figure itself out over time.

Business takes time, and must be built, one client and one trip at a time.  Just like catching the most persnickety and wildest of trouts takes time, patience, and a strong skill set with an aptitude for thinking like a trout.  Everything that led me to today was prep…the preseason.  People ask me how I keep my energy level up the way I do.  They ask if its just a show…its not, when trout season starts I start, when it ends I take a breather.  Its my life, and if you can’t get excited about life then what the hell are you doing.  I get to live, I’m not chasin’ bills, and I don’t have a lot of stress in my life other than the little things.

The off season is for rest, reflections, preparation, and to focus on the other things life gives you, like kids and shit.  The off season is long though.  But I’m young still and about half way through the off season…I get anxious…I feel that call, the pull, the river enticing and inviting.  The trout…oh the trout…intoxicating just to watch, habit forming and very addictive to trick and become involved in their world.  The satisfaction I feel knowing what it took to be able to enjoy fly fishing as life.  It’s not just a business for me, but my business is hand built, like my flies making it mean something more to me than just financial stability.  It’s mine, I’m building it, I’m putting in the work and time, that little slice of American Dream for myself I guess.

boomIt’s funny, I talk about business, but in reality I’m thinking about how I can skate through the early season by only taking as many trips as necessary so I can fish myself.  When you work in your passion you don’t get to enjoy it as much.  Like the artist constantly working on commissions instead of their own artistic pieces.  Like having to play cover tunes at a gig when you have a library of originals.  Luckily I love my job as much as I love fishing.  But I do get burnt out.  On a people level and a skill level.  When I burn out on people I fish with friends or solo, or go see a movie.  When I burn out on clients missed fish…I go fish.

I bare witness to many a missed fish by clients.  It breaks my heart, but its also part of the fun.  I do have days where I know that skills I have honed over the years are what are needed for a particular fish or situation.  Some people just aren’t on the level yet.  I do my best to get clients close, and many times it works out…well….a lot of the time actually now that I think on it.  Ha…sweet.  Anyway, when I start to feel like snatching the rod out of a persons hand and doing it myself.  I take a break and fish myself.  If you tried to book a trip with me the last week of October, I was taking one of those breaks.  I fished everyday for a week straight.  Slayed trout too.  There are times that those skills need to be practiced, to be tested, tuned up, and enjoyed.  I didn’t learn all this stuff to not go fishing.  I add and test skills and techniques as well.  Constantly learning and retooling and tuning.  As I’ve gotten older and life has simplified, I find myself wanting to fish even more.  I know that I cannot be an effective guide if I myself am not an effective angler.  Those who teach should also do.  If this is life…I wanna do it right.

Fly fishing is so much more than business or hobby to me and my family.  It is our lives.  From the food we eat, to the cloths we wear, to the conversations at the dinner table, and the adventures we have as a family, its what we do.  My lady and I are already planning shuttle stuff, prepping the kids and house for trout season, the days are getting longer, the river starts is quiet call.  Our whole lives revolve around the river here.  It’s a good place to be.  The journey here wasn’t easy…but nothing worth a damn is easy.  2’fer trout don’t just trick and catch themselves they require patience, skill, time, a developed angler, and a few big fuckers missed that haunt you.  Prep work.  Life.  Fly Fishing.  Boom.

 

Tamarack

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To ‘Slay Trout’

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I rarely leave the house for a day of fishing with the words Slay and Trout in mind.  I find it strange to say ‘slay trout’ when most of us practice catch and release in the fly fishing world, unless its a dirty brook trout or hatchery fish.  To Slay Trout means one thing in my mind.  To catch every fucking fish in the river that day.  Like I said, I don’t fish with this mindset much anymore.  There’s a reason why, but when I decide to slay said troots… nowadays it usually goes pretty well.

I’m not here to toot my own angling horn.  I am confident in my abilities to trick trout on my homewater and any freshwater river for that matter.  A trout is a trout.  They have a set of rules they follow like all other things, when you know those rules, and how to bend them and use them to your advantage as an angler…the trouts slay you.  I know that I come off as arrogant and cocky to some, loud and obnoxious to others.  A wicked good time to most.  But there is method and reason behind my madness and sometimes insatiable energy level when it comes to chasin wild trout.

I was young, and naive, thought I was hot shit for a few years when I first started out.  I was catching a lot of fish…but not all the fish.  I came into the shop one day after what I thought was a pretty damn good day of fishing while wading.  I was talking it up like anglers, especially young anglers, will do.  When a mentor of mine, just out of the blue from the back of the room, his eyes fixated on a fly in the vise, a feather in one hand, thread and bobbin in the other, “You haven’t had a good day fishing, until you’ve caught all the fish in the river.”

Like a punk, I laughed it off, but the other guys around me didn’t.  The guys that knew, that had some experience under their belt, they leaned in.  Their attention went to the guy meticulously tying flies in the back of the shop.  He had been quietly listening, and being my mentor, let me put my foot in my mouth so I would learn a few valuable lessons from an old timer who really had caught all the fish in his tenure as a river and trout bum.

I will paraphrase what was said, and eliminate a majority of the curse words but ‘Slaying Trout’ took on a whole new meaning to me after that day:

A good day of fishing is when you catch every fish in the river.  This was explained as meaning; on any given day in trout season…there are a few that happen every season…that every trout that will eat…eats.  They happen more often than you think.  And those days are the ones you hear being quietly whispered about at the TU meeting, or at the local shop, or among a handful of close angling friends that get quiet when others walk by at the bar.  These are days when the hatch is perfect, the water temps align with the air temps, all the factors that need to come together for once in the whole universe do!  These days are truly ‘Epic’ in every sense of the word.

These days have rules and things that must fall into place for it to work out in nature before the angling part even comes into play.  The entire winter snows have to be perfect, the snow melt through spring must be on time, the spawn must start and end on a normal schedule.  The air temp, cloud cover, barometric pressure, light angles, it all has to come together the way nature intended…and then you will see it….every fish in the river that will eat…eating.  It’s like a switch.  When you are on river and see it for the first time, engage in it for the first time…its like the fly fishing gods opened up a freaking door to Shangri-la dudes.  Fucking Epic Shit…real epic shit.

As my mentor describes all the pieces that must fall into place I see a few of my fellow angling peeps lose interest.  They get bored with the ‘how to’ and wanna cut straight to the end product.  There are many anglers that just wanna know when these days happen and then show up and fish them…these anglers miss the point and the difference between a few days of ‘Slaying Trout’ and a lifetime of it.

After my mentor finished telling his story…I was in disbelief.  The type of day he was describing could not be possible.  Something guides told people to sell more trips I thought.  I was wrong…The thought of one of these days stuck with me.  For days…then weeks…before I knew it my entire off season was enveloped in discovering if there was any truth to the claims of an old timer guide who spent more time tying flies and selling things than he did fishing.  (More on that in a later blog…some guys…really have caught all the fish in the river and don’t need to do it anymore.)

img_4313My every free moment in between changing diapers and feeding my first kid at the time, was spent chasing this newly developed obsession.  I had seen days where fish rose all over the river and you could pick them off, bug number days and big bad ass troots.  Weekend stretches where I had caught literally hundreds of fish.  But every fish….did my mentor mean to say that you don’t miss a single one?  Every fish landed? Was it a joke and even the little dudes under 10 inches counted?  (I had a fish size complex for a while back then.  Cured it with a 3Wt Fiberglass and fish that had never seen another angler.)

What was he talking about!!!?  I watched and read everything I could.  Every tutorial, every fly pattern, every technique, stuff from all over the country’s trout rivers, journals, fishing reports, bought books and movies about trout feeding habits, metabolism, weather, scientific studies, if it could be linked to having an effect on a troots desire to feed…I was waist deep in that shit.  I wanted one of these days…at first it was because I wanted to be there…rod and fly in hand ready to catch every fish in the river…but as I went through this process of learning, expanding my knowledge and truly opening up an entire world of angler and nature interaction I became…Enthralled.

Was this what my mentor was talking about?  Learning the sequence…the algorithm, the code behind how a river, trout, and angler worked.  (Keep in mind I was knee deep in an IT and Business Management degree at college during this time…and spent more time on river than in class.)  I was into it.  Like really into it.  My lady hated it.  I’d have a kid on my knee with food sliding down her face, flinging a spoon around telling them both about all the cool shit I was finding.  I was up late every night, tying flies to work in conjunction with all the things I had learned.  The way I thought about trout, the way I tied my flies, the way I approached the river, my cast, the way I waded, everything about my angling began to change.  The trout season was fast approaching…and after a long winter I felt I had come out of the thaw with a better understanding of what I was looking for in these days of ‘Slaying Trout’ and catching every fish in the river.

Now this isn’t about to go into a few paragraphs of it happening right away.  Hell no, like all things in my fly fishing career…it took months of frustration filled patience and a side of crazy.  I broke two rods during this time…like a bad golfer throwing a fit on the fairway dudes…I was that guy.  I knew all this shit, where are the damn fish!?  Then you get the shanks, you start hooking lots of fish…but missing…80% of the bastards.  They outsmart ya at every turn, you get a shitty hook set 7 out of 10 times.  You’re so focused you miss out on…IT.  It wasn’t until the Golden Stonefly Hatch that July…9 months later…after I had listened to my mentor tell of such a day…that I was present for one finally.  (I knew full well I had missed so many of these day during the season.  Just hit the tail end of it, missed it by a day or a week.  Happened all season.  Until July came.)

July…mid July if memory serves me right (I‘ve enjoyed a lot of smoke since then) it was warm…but not so warm my fat ass was sweating in my board shorts and a pair of shitty Teva water sandals at the end of the day.  I had some ridiculous Simms fishing shirt on now that I think on it.  I had a fishpond vest filled the brim with stuff…still have it…sitting in the closet.  I remember taking it off to wade out into the summer current in the upper river that day after seeing it all unfold.  I was in my early 20’s and would wade shit I wouldn’t even touch without my boat now.  (Such a dumbass back then.)  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The day started early.  Wicked early.  I skipped class that day.  For good reason…I had a feeling…the first spark of that intuition I rely so heavily on now. I remember leaving the hoimg_3992use wicked early and my lady asking what I was doing…I just said ‘fishing’ and grabbed that silly vest and left.  She was wicked pregnant…our son was born a few weeks later.  We need this day, I was on her nerves, our son was on her bladder all the time, and I was running on empty with the toddler.  Needed some dad time.  Of course, I spent it riverside.

I was out the door before she could say no…not that she would have.  Drove to one of my favorite upper river spots just above the State Boat Launch east of Cle Elum.  (I didn’t have a boat yet.  Was a hardcore wader.  The following year I was swimming the rapids of the Cooper River with a 3Wt in my teeth chasing 10-12 inch wild AF little troots more on that to come.)  I love the side channels and braids of this section in the summer.  An adventurous angler that is a strong swimmer can access some amazingly untouched water for the Yakima River in the summer.  The entire drive my mind was foggy with all the factors leading up to this particular day making me wake up at 4 am and drive to the river.  The previous few days had been productive…but something seemed to be happening…I could feel it.  The fish were…just weird, man.  They were in the right places…but they wouldn’t f’ing eat.  I could see them!  They were right there…there’s my freaking fly…just eat it…literally fish touching the fly with their nose…and giving me a big fat…’NOPE!’  Ugh.  (I fished a lot, 3-5 days a week in between classes, sometimes only for an hour.)  And things seemed to be staging for something.  All the things I had read and absorbed during my winter solstice of trout enlightenment had lead me to believe that something was about to happen…and I didn’t wanna freaking miss it.  I had been working toward this…was this it…was this the day all the trout in the river eat?

The morning was cooler than normal.  Light breeze…blowing slightly upriver.  A slight shiver in the trees at times from it.  The cloud cover was around 30% that morning.  Better than any other day that week.  Temps only hit 78 on the river… in the river was a nice 58 rising to 60 or so that day.  I waded into my usual spot to watch.  I found a side channel the boats couldn’t access due to a log, still there, that filled with trout during the summer flows.  Was a bitch to bushwhack to but today it was particularly worth it.  This spot requires some swimming in summer flows, unless you use the trails and possibly engage in a little trespassing…maybe.  I found myself there by my normal means, and watched.  I could see trout.  This time of year they were always in there resting out of the irrigation flows in the main river.  This area also gave me access to 3 good miles of water to work…and work it I did.

I waited.  I didn’t want them to know I was there.  They weren’t ready yet.  This could be the day…this could be it.  As I sat there watching the fish, prepping my gear, checking my flies, I remember thinking about the birth of my son coming up.  It was distracting me, stressing me out, was a big reason why I was fishing so much.  Those pre-baby jitters Dads can get.  Took me three tries to tie the fly on.  Then my attention shifted to the river.

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I saw it.  Like a cliche dudes.  So much time had past since I had sat down I almost missed why I was there in the first place.  It was a faint flash.  The fish I had spotted moved.  For the first time.  It moved out of its way and ate something.  Then I saw another.  SHIT!  I had the wrong fly on.  Like a noob I rigged up my dry rod first.  I grabbed my nymph stick and put on a nymph that I still use today.  A single golden stonefly nymph lightly weighted, under a small yarn indicator about 3 feet for this section.  So I missed those first few feeders…but what came after my hurried run down the bank into the river, was by far something amazing to witness and be a part of.  Literally…every fish in that side channel was eating.  Every where I looked there was a flash.  I looked into the river and there were stoneflies…everywhere.  The pre-hatch…the migration…the time of the day when you put up the numbers.  The light was just starting to hit the river.  Early…cool…my feet were cold.  Each flash caught the morning sun and each trout was eager to eat.  Not every cast…but pretty close.  Didn’t even need the little yarn indicator as I could see the fish eat everything.  By the time I was done with releasing one fish I had another one to deal with.  This went on for a good 20-30 minutes.  I lost count after the first 12, like I usually do.  Big and little, cutties and bows, fat and healthy, hard fighting with super charged turbo boosters.  I could see the others spook when one would run through them, and then reset immediately after the commotion died down.  The food was there…they were hungry, they didn’t care about anything else, the conditions were as close to perfect as they were gonna get…and I knew…this was just the first part.  The fish go into that trance like state of feeding and an angler matches it with every cast.  A single nymph…sight cast to feeding fish in gin clear summer water…utter bliss for 30 minutes.

Then it stopped.  The flashes ceased.  The fish were done.  I spent the down time moving to my next spot.  Carefully thought out ahead of time, knowing that when the hatch starts this spot had the best opportunity.  All those things I spent the winter delving into, my mentors words, it all was resonating in my head after being jacked about some stellar fishing that I was just part of.

The next spot.  Water had dropped a little.  Excellent.  Didn’t need as long a cast.  The Purple Chubby, not a hand tied I know, but cutthroat are stupid for purple and a good starting fly.  I waited.   An area on a bend with brush and trees close to the bank, slightly shaded this time of day, known to hold large fish under the root wads and junk submerged.  Not a good spot to nymph, but a place where stoneflies crawl up after hatching.  (The Golden Stonefly in the upper Yakima hatches like a drake mayfly.  Many times you will see them together.  They pop up out in the middle of the river making all sorts of racket as they hatch.  Fish holding in deep fast summer flows are known to shoot up through several feet of water and explode on these big yellow insects…like a big trout twinky!)

Then I saw it.  The first of thousands.  Like Salmonflies on Rock Creek MT, they appeared.  Big fluttering buttery colored morsels.  They were everywhere, coming up off the river, coming down from the trees.  Just all of the sudden popped.  I cast.  No shit…didn’t take three feet…fish all over it.  Nice 12 incher just wailing on the fly.  Another fish chasing it as I brought it in.  The hair on the back of my neck bristled.  Aggressive fish…was this it…was it about to happen?  I could feel it…its sound corny but its true.  I cast again…closer to the bank…another fish.  Another cast, another fish.  Then…they started to rise.  I couldn’t keep up.  All of the sudden there were slashes at bugs all over the river.  There were fish rising in places I didn’t even know fish would be!  I stopped fishing.  I watched.  One after another…10-15 rises all within a few moments of each other, looked behind me down river, same thing happening.  Bugs…everywhere, flapping by, hitting my face, falling from the trees, the ones that hatched yesterday oviposting, the ones currently hatching not standing a chance, the birds…good god the birds dive bombing the sky, darting above my head taking stoneflies out of mid air…a few trout doing the same to oviposting females.  Literally the entire section of river alive, moving, breathing, everything in sync…a new fly…and then I cast into the fray.

img_4062When I say every cast…I mean it this time.  I would spot a trout rising…cast 2 feet ahead of it…catch it.  Release…see another rise…2 feet upstream…boom.  Release…another near the bank below an overhang…skip underneath the limb…BOOM! Release…repeat.  Then I started targeting the bigger rises.  The ones that made a big gulping sound or a violent slash when they broke the surface.  Big fish…the bigger, and biggest fish.  In the foamy seam sipping heavy,  1 inch from the bank, in the eddy literally chasing down skittering bugs, in 8 inches of water in the shade of a downed log, behind the big rock in the fastest run, hit the rock and drop the fly, boom!  Every fight hard, no fish left behind, every one hooked and netted, every fish that I saw eat I cast at.  Every fish that I cast at…ate.

My mind was blank, or at peace I guess.  There was just me, this stretch of river, and this wondrous event unfolding in front of me…and I was playing in it.  Like a nerd.  It was awesome…it was Epic.  Everything that I thought it would be…before it was even over I was satiated.  I knew what to look for now.  I knew that all the time studying lead me to this day…and if I kept at it…I’d get more days just like it.  At the end of it all, walking back to the truck, the day I had been searching and waiting for finally at an end, success on the fly fishing front…my mind turned to my soon to arrive son.  The drive home I was able to think about being a dad to a son clearly, the stress of the ‘what ifs’, am I ready, all those questions and more…they just faded away.  They didn’t matter.  I was having a son, and if we get to share even a piece of the moment I had just experienced I knew things would be good.

That’s what I got out of, “A day when all the fish that will eat. Eat.”  I was there, I saw trout, river, wildlife, all of it come together…and do what it does best…just be there…ya know…doing…it.  Life.  That’s life, the struggle of the stonefly to pass on its genetics, the struggle for trout to feed and survive among their brethren and the wilds and stresses of their life in the river, the connections the birds and other wildlife have to these moments of life on the river where everything works together and happens the way its supposed to.  The snows that had to fall to get the water just right, the days leading up to this day that brought the insects, trout, and river all together and aligned.  The time I spent learning it all, getting to this point, seeing everything that my mentor lead me towards.  What followed in my fishing career just opened that world to me even more.  Life happens, you just need to get after it.  Sometimes getting after means hooking every one of those trout that rise and enjoying life no matter what it throws at you. (Are you the stonefly ormm the trout so to say.)

That day and many days since, I have left the house to ‘Slay Trout’.  I figured out the code, I understand the solution and how to arrive at it.  After that day angling took on a new path for me.  I chased fish, and those moments when life presents itself and I get to be there and witness it, I became addicted to it.  Chasing those days when everything aligns and you see it.  Something happens to me now when I am there.  There is a connection to that event when a trout eats your fly…a connection I have a hard time disconnecting from.  Fly fishing is different for everyone.  But to me its life, in every sense of the word.

I rarely leave the house for a day of fishing with the words ‘Slay and Trout’ in mind now.  I’ve done it.  Its fun, I do it from time to time now.  Its more about exploring those moments with others now, including my son.  But when I see a trout rise or flash, and I know all the things it took for that to happen…and I cast to that trout…and I catch it, I remember those days I’ve had and look forward to ones I will have.  I appreciate each day on the river more than my younger self because I understand what To “Slay Trout” really involves.  Remember that when you catch a trout on a fly next time, a lot has to happen for that to work.  You get to play in the original playground, and share it with people, enjoy and witness it together.  Never shirk off the awesomeness of it all.  Pass it on and don’t doubt that there is more to fly fishing than just tricking a trout with a fly and a good cast.

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Tamarack

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Respect and Fly Fishing

Respect.  Something my generation has a hard time with.  We don’t get a whole lot of it, and we demand too much of it, it seems.  Respect is earned.  It does not grow with age, you can be a royal asshat and be old.  Respect is earned through action, how you speak and treat others…including trout.  Respect is important to me, because for the 11 years of my adult life I have had very little in many things…except fly fishing.

I fish a lot.  Put more time on the river both professionally and personally than most.  I have high regards for wild trout above all others.  And the West Slope Cutthroat holds a special place in my heart.  They possess me, wild trout, all that they encompass possesses me, intoxicates me, I hold them in awe.  Interacting with them, angling for them, it brings me into their world.  I get a taste of that wild raw nature that so many of us seem to yearn for but never truly connect with.  I facilitate that connection professionally, and I chase it constantly personally.  Respect has been given to me in the angling community because of my passion.  And fellow anglers receive that respect from me because of theirs.   Respect doesn’t mean I like you, there are plenty of people in the angling community that I don’t like…but I respect them as guides and anglers.  Which is why you will never see me arguing, fighting, or otherwise being an asshat on the river.  No matter how crowded or ridiculous it gets out there…and the past two summers were not free from tense encounters with other people on the river let me tell you.

I don’t always get to pick who I fish with.  Many times my clients have no idea what they are getting themselves into with me.  The big, loud, beardy dude who knows too much about fish for his own good, who gets more excited for fish on flies than his clients, the guy who spends most of his free time fishing, snorkeling, working with these wild animals.  For those who have went with me, its an experience, and no matter how many fish hit the net, its fun.

But there are days, when I do get to pick who I fish with.  And I am very selective in who I choose to spend my personal river time with.  Many times I spend it solo, as a lot of the time I am the only person I can stand to be around riverside after days and days of new faces and skill levels.  Other times its my kids, my lady, but not often enough as I tend to be very selfish when it comes to my personal fishing time.  But there are days when a fishing companion is what I am after.  There are less than 5 individuals I call on a day off to come fish with me now.  They know who they are.  I’ve stopped fishing with many people this past year.  Mostly because when you fish enough with someone you start to learn more about them as a person and sometimes you learn that they just aren’t the type of people you want to share the river with.  Some people change when they go from river to home, others don’t.  People, just like trout, can be finicky persnickety bastards that are just hard to figure out or deal with.

I fish with people who respect the trout.  Maybe they don’t respect trout for the same reasons I do, but they have a respect and awe for them that mirrors mine in some form.  I don’t go on the river in my free time to slay trout.  I don’t need to slay trout anymore…I did that for years, and realized that catching all those fish didn’t satiate me.  Then I started exploring more water, targeting different fish, learning everything there was to know about my quarry.  The connections of the ecosystem that I use as a playground all started to show themselves.  And respect for wild trout and their homes grew and became an integral part of me as a person.

I fish with people that respect life.  You won’t see me out on the river on my day off with the other guides that don’t share the same passion I have for the river and trout.  I’ve stopped fishing with people who use fly fishing as a way to lie to their loved ones, skirt responsibilities, or make every riverside adventure one that is fueled by beer and drunkenness.  I’ve used fly fishing to escape life…but at the end of it, I find myself with a clearer perspective of things.  Every major decision I have made in my adult life can find fly fishing at it’s root.  Some people fish just to catch fish…I don’t and there is more to fly fishing than that.  I don’t wanna spend my free time fishing with people like that.  That’s what trips are for.  Whether I use fly fishing to relieve stress, to think, or just to unplug and connect to something wild and natural, fly fishing and chasing wild trout has been a constant for the past 11 years in my life and it means so much more to me than just catching fish.

Respect is earned from people and trout.  I used to catch all the fish…like all of them.  Before instagram, facebook, youtube, gave the world ‘proof’ of the fish you caught, there was a scruffy young adult chasing trout and catching every single one he could find.  Big, little, didn’t matter, if it rose or flashed, I went after it.  I got really good at it.  After a few years of it…I got bored.  It wasn’t until then that I started to see the other things that make fly fishing so unique.  The places anglers get to see, the tactics used, the science, the bugs, the life that needs to be understood to really become a through and through fly angler.  Sometimes you gotta look up from the river, take your eyes off the fly for a second, see what it is that you are really doing.

It is something I see every one of my clients strive for.  They ask all the questions that let me know they are thinking about it.  That Zen State of Fly Fishing that so many look for.  When the catching becomes easy.  And let me tell you, its not the fly you use, its not the perfect presentation, none of that matters in the end.  That Zen State comes when you understand it all.  You can’t reach Zen without becoming Enlightened.  I spent several years working towards that ‘Enlightenment’ and you can see the results when you fish with me.  Both personally and professionally.  Some think I am different in the boat when I’m not with clients…they’d be wrong.  I don’t need an audience to be excited about trout, its not a show, its real, organic, I can’t control it.  Sometimes I don’t even know I’m doing it until someone shows me the video of it.  That comes from a place of deep respect and understanding of what is going on when I cast a fly to a trout.  Its amazing in every sense of the word when you get a wild trout to commit to a hook tied with feather and hair.  Amazing…tricking a wild animal into thinking something is real but it isn’t.  Its not like hunting, not like skiing a big run, not like climbing that summit, or making that long distance trek, fly fishing is incredibly unique in its very essence.  Its not a method of fishing to feed oneself, its a completely useless endeavor that so many seem intent on chasing.  Why?  Its fun first and foremost, and tricking a wild animal appeals to my primal instincts.  Fighting a trout and releasing it only makes me want to do it more.  Understanding the how and why that trout decided to eat that fly is part of the path to that Zen state.  Its roots are in respect, education, and skill.  But at the end of the day…you have to be open to the corny and cliche notion of…”Hey man, this is really cool.  The river, the trees, the fish…ya man…I can dig it.”

That respect for the trout and their home is a large part of that Zen state.  Understanding how it all works together, from the weather, to the hatches, the water temp, the season, the species of fish, everything and more come into play to make that trout eat that fly.   To me…that shit is really cool.  Some days luck is a factor, but more often its knowledge and a little skill that put trout in the net and smiles on faces.  What is more fulfilling than figuring out all the intricacies of something and seeing the results come to fruition?  Every cast, every rise, every trout to the net is a step into that wild world that we as anglers always seem to be trying to get into.

As a guide, I can take someone who has never cast a fly rod or even seen a fly before, and lead them into that world.  As a guide I get off on it.  One of the only ways this sport challenges me is to work with new anglers and get them to that point.  And let me tell you, there isn’t much that is sweeter than a rising trout to a fly, a gasp from a new client, the look on their face when the rod bends and that wild animal says hello, and the client meeting that trout face to face.  Even some of the experienced anglers I have taken out have similar reactions to these wild fish here.  Clients that show that raw and unfiltered passion for this sport and the animals it engages garner my respect and I earn theirs.

A handful of people get calls from me to fish and it doesn’t cost them anything.  Some of them were clients at one time, others met just walking the river bank on a Sunday afternoon.  I’ve lost some angling companions as well, some because they would rather drink than fish, others because they lied to their loved ones about what they were doing.  Some because they saw me as a free boat trip to get some photos for their facebook.  Some that have left a void in me that can never be filled no matter how many trout I catch.  Those that I do call now I have the utmost respect for in terms of fly fishing.  They may not be the best anglers, they may not catch very many fish when we go, but they get it…and if you don’t get it…then you don’t get it.  It can’t be explained, it can be shown, and some people see it and others don’t.

A lot happens on the river…its my opinion that too many people are missing out and that’s part of the problem.  The river slows everything down.  It makes you think about things.  Some of the best conversations and discussions I have had in my life have been in a driftboat casting flies to trout.  We need more of that; more respectful and meaningful conversations and discussions with a slow pace, cool heads, and the sound of a river and a rising trout in the background.

 

Hope to see ya riverside.

Tamarack

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It’s the Apocalypse…too bad its not trout season.

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So…for some the end of the world is nigh, for others…its no surprise, to some its the lesser of two evils, for others its a notice its time to get a passport.  But no matter what, today…right now we are all Americans….so f’ing act like it.  And that’s all we are gonna say on the matter.

Because politics and trout fishing should never mix….like ever.  I am so relieved that I no longer have to dodge that conversation in my boat.  No matter what side you were on, I was in the damn middle, listening to it while trying to enjoy fishing.  I didn’t like it, and now that part is finally over for me.  The only issues I care to discuss in the boat are those that have an effect on trout and where they live.  I don’t care what party you support neither side is doing anything close to right for the environment and I would like my kids to still be able to breath and have places to hike and fish when they have kids.  There are a few unwritten rules of fly fishing…one of them is…No Politics or Religion on the river.  If a trout doesn’t care about it…neither should you during the act of fly fishing…leave that shit at the car.

This all being said…it would be nice if Election Day wasn’t Nov. 8th, and was in freaking July or something…at least then it would happen right in the middle of trout season.  Now I am forced to think and contemplate things while playing video games.  Not exactly the most constructive way to do any critical thinking.  While I could go fishing this time of year…I don’t really want to…which brings us to the real reason for the blog.

The boredom has set in.  It is now the offseason.  We are into the month of Novembeard, mine is doing fine by the way, and the winter is coming in.  Leaves are gone, downtown Cle Elum smells of wood fire smoke and burnt coffee beans.  The days are short but bright.  I enjoy the late mornings on the stoop, with a smoke and a just as bored dog at my side.  It takes a little getting used to; being off river and at home every day.  I had over 200 days on the water this year.  I have spent more time out of the house on the river in some form this year than I have at home.

Fly tying is on the agenda.  Although I am slow to get to it.  The trout season burned me out.  Especially the last part.  I stacked trips from August-October.   I cashed out right on time with the river though.  I fished everyday once I stopped guiding…the fishing slowed progressively each day.  You can go catch a few still…they might smack something on top down low but you can trick them with a worm, pats, or midge nymph pattern.  Fish the slow deep stuff.  Hope for trout but expect a whitefish 6 times out of 10.  Winter conditions.  Other than that I really don’t have much to say in the way of fishing.  This season was f’ing spectacular.  But most people know that from my FB, Instagram feed, and this blog.  No…I am fished out…with little or no desire to chase a trout now.  I caught a lot of really nice trout last month.  Both guiding and personally.  I am ready for snow.  I am ready for a slow pace to life.  Just not ready for the boredom that usually accompanies it.  I have plans to combat it.  Getting my tying stuff up and going strong.  A lot of books picked out to read once the snow falls.   Video games, my only other hobby really.  Chasin’ some mountains on the snowshoes and skis this winter after a long hiatus.  And getting ready for next season.  There is a lot happening next year, I’ve already got bookings on the calendar.  It’s shaping up to be a good winter so that should mean a good year for water and trout.  If next year improves over this year….whooo….shit ya.

The blogs will start to come more regularly as the boredom settles in.  The flies will start popping up on Instagram more.  Enjoy the offseason my friends.  You might even see me over on one of those coastal rivers this winter swinging for steel for the first time in a long time.  Hope to see ya riverside.

 

Tamarack

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Offseason

I’ll be back at the blog here in the next week. I’m enjoying the offseason and catching up on some video games. My son has played them all and keeps spoiling them. 

I’m gonna be doing a lot with tying and flies this offseason so check back. I’ll be getting one more float in this week before putting the hog up for the winter.  Already got my skis and  snowshoes out along with all the winter gear to play in the snow with the kids. 
Thanks to everyone for a fantastic season. Over 130 trips for the year!  Could not be living this dream without the support of fly anglers like you.  Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you riverside after the thaw next year!  

Tamarack

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Tis the Season


Well, I could go into a lengthy blog about the adventures I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of this season.  The fish caught, the stories told, the good company.  But there are so many this season I don’t know where to start.  I am thankful for all that have come to chase trout with me this season.  I have a trip this afternoon so I figured I would squeeze in a quick post before I head to the LC for a big cooperate float for one of the outfitters here.

 I have not had the opportunity to fish myself as much as I would like this season.  I have had to live through my clients and the experiences we have shared on the river this year.  However, there was one day where I was able to venture out on foot alone for the majority of the day.  Nothing special mind you, no large trout feeding cautiously that I stalked and tricked, no wildlife to flirt with, no major hatches coming off.  In fact the day I recall was pretty uneventful save for few trout that were tricked by my cranefly.

No the day was just a regular day.  The sounds and smells of autumn and the river enveloped the senses.  The smells of the trees, a slight fishy smell of the decaying salmon, the sound of a quick riffle, the faint singing of frogs, a raven calls, the thicket shifts from a critter within, the distinct sound of a fish rising slowly on the surface.

My attention of course focuses on the trout.  I watch intently, seeing the small cutthroat rise on occasion for the small BWO Mayflies that are sporadically hatching out of the riffle above the wild animal.  My thumb taps the cork of my fly rod rhythmically, as if I have a tick that develops every time I see a trout feed.  I want to cast to it, but I have the wrong fly on, the fish is on a slow easy feeding rhythm, and a part of me doesn’t want to bother this particular trout for some reason.  Content with just watching this fish, I lay my fly rod and net down along a fallen log covered in damp moss.  The clouds above are heavy with moisture, the moment is quiet, save for the riffle and the trout dimpling the surface ever so slightly.  I sit along the bank, enjoy a smoke, and it is as if the trout knew I was there and was not a threat.  It began to feed more aggressively.  With slashes to the surface and showing its small head from time to time.  The flash of neon orange from its cutts and the chartreuse shimmer of the tail as the trout moves about the feeding lie with ease.  My hand twitches again but I stay it, relaxed and enthralled by this small wild westslope cutthroat no more than 12 inches or so.

There are days, especially this season, when I forget about the wild places I work in.  I have to remind my clients to look up at the scenery and wildlife all the time.  I have to remember to heed my own words when I walk the banks of my homewater.  This life connects you to the wilds, and those of us who stop and listen from time to time, we learn things about the world that surrounds us but also about ourselves.  This feeding trout is just a part of the puzzle.  So much has to come together just for that trout to be there and be feeding actively.  Even more has to come together for an angler to trick said trout.  But this day I was content just observing that which was before me, without invading it, without making my presence known, just there, in the moment, watching a trout…do what a trout does.  Wild and free, nothing but a few insects to eat, and a trout eager to eat them.

I am looking forward to the offseason.  It has been a long season for me, with over 220 days on the river with guiding, fishing, conservation work, and snorkeling.  My mind and body are ready for a type of hibernation.  As are the trout as my boat and clients have been putting some hurt down this season.  For the first time in a few years I long for snow covered peaks, the quiet of snow falling, and the cold and solitude that winter brings.  After a season of telling the same stories, listening to many new ones, meeting hundreds of new people, and introducing them to hundreds of wild trout, a complete change of pace is something I look forward to.  The sound of my skis as they run the snow between the trees, the crunch under my snowshoe, the snow covered landscape, devoid of people but full of quiet resting life.  As I see the larches change, and feel winters frosty tendrils creep ever closer, as the river slows its pace…so do I.  The mountains and woods are calling to me, as the river begins its long winter slumber.  I hope to see everyone again next season.  Meet new anglers, hear new stories, and enjoy this river and the wild trout within.  As this season comes to a close, I am thankful, supporting my family with this gig and living this lifestyle is all I have ever wanted and it doesn’t happen without those who enjoy fly fishing and chasing trout with me.

I’ve got a good run of trips to finish out this month, I will take a week or two off afterwards to settle back into the life of being at home.  Blogs, new website updates, some business expansion, and flies galore will pop up throughout the offseason.

Hope to see ya riverside before the snows fly.

Tamarack

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September Availability

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Alright!  Fishing is really turning up for the fall season.  This next week the river will settle after the flip flop, the salmon will show up in greater numbers, and the hatches will begin to come off on a schedule throughout the day.  The time to come fish the Yakima River is upon us.

There are a lot of options, from Full Day floats, Half Days, and the Walk and Wade, which is my personal favorite.  Walk and Wade trips during the fall season on the Yakima are really fun, cost less, and give anglers who want to DIY a chance to learn access points and wading and fishing techniques that will up your game.
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I have 10 days still available in September as of today.

Friday the 9th just became available.

I have the 11th-14th open still, and these four days are looking to be prime fishing weather.  Possible peak of Crane Fly hatch and start of shortwing stones.

The 23rd and 25th, and the 28th-30th, October Caddis should be showing up buy these dates.