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Guide Season Approaches

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Spring Time Breeder Bow!

While the river takes its damn sweet time dropping into a fishable level I am getting lots on inquiries and questions on spring time guide trips.  I am running my Spring Time Special which is a 6 hour float for 2 anglers at $275.00.  That runs until April 15.  The spring is shaping up to be a good one with way more days to fish than the previous spring.

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April on the Upper Yak…lunch…while trout sip mayflies.

The spring time is a special time here on the Yakima.  Anglers that come out for a spring time guided trip are typically gifted with large trout and big fights.  The spring is when the larger fish wake up first and get hangry…for two reasons.  They just came out of a long hibernation through the winter…and the spawn will be on their minds.  Trout don’t spawn until late April and into May here and they eat ferociously in preparation for procreation!  Plus they get all colored up in the spring and are by far at their prettiest!

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Colored Up Cutties!

Spring fishing can be a challenge.  A time when weather, flows, and water temps play a very key role in how productive the river can be.  I spend my time prior to guiding in March locating fish, where they are, when they will move, and what is on the menu.  Its that time of the season where being on river everyday possible gets you that much more tuned in to what is going on under the water.  Hatches will start…BWO’s and Skwallas, then the March Browns.  And don’t forget the scuplins!

The spring fishing days are broken down into three key parts.  Searching out large fish with streamers.  This is something I will be doing a lot more of with clients this season.  I bought 2 trout spey rods and set ups for swinging streamers to big nasty trout this spring.  Trout Spey is a really fun way to get into streamer fishing and honestly makes the entire process of chucking meat to trout easier and more inviting to new anglers that want to feel the tug of aggressive predatory trout!

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Bruiser Bow

Nymphing the slow water, the deep water…can produce lunker trout.  When that indicator dives a foot and moves up river six its pretty freaking sweet.  Just last week I watched a 6lbs give an angling buddy a run for his money before being landed.  It happens in the spring!  The Skwalla Stoneflies have already started moving around and I expect that hatch to be in full swing come the first and second weeks of March.  Breaking down the Skwalla hatch and nymphing prior to the big bugs coming off can be a blast!
And of course dry flies.  While dry fly fishing in the spring can be isolated to select window during the day…it can produce some of the most explosive eats of the season.  There is nothing quite like big ol rainbow trout coming completely out of the water and engulfing large skwalla dries.  And there is nothing more painstaking than watching pods of fish below riffles feed selectively on mayflies.  The time of the year when 5X and 12 foot leaders can make all the difference between landing a picky 18’er and watching refuse your fly and give you the fin.

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Getting Bent on a glorious spring day!

The spring is a great time to be on the Yakima for anglers that are looking for a challenge and are after big ass trout.  The little guys don’t need to eat as much and its still cold for them…but big fish…they are awake and eager.  You can look back at my social media posts…the average size fish in the spring is 16 plus.  We just don’t get a lot of smaller guys yet. You may not catch a lot of them…but they make up for it with their quality and how much of a fight they put up.  There is nothing quite like the raw power of spring time trout.

My Spring days are starting to get booked so if chasing trout this early season in March and April strikes your fancy then get on the calendar before things are full!  Each year my business grows and I have all my clients to thank for it!  I am so looking forward to the guide season and sharing the experience of fly fishing familiar and new clients this season.  Things are starting, anglers are itching, and the guide season is already starting to get booked up.  Give me a call, send me a message, or yell at me on the river to reserve a day this spring with Tamarack’s Guide Service.

 

Tamarack

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It Beginsl

The spring is within sight anglers! I know everyone is chomping at the bit to chase some trout but patience always wins out when it comes to tricking trout and it is especially key here on the Yakima River, over and above most other rivers I have fished. (Save for Silver Creek ID, those big browns put Yakima Trout to shame when it comes to being persnickety.)

I’ve been out fishing about 10 times since the first of January. I’ve caught 8 fish. And I tell it to ya straight, it’s slow, sure you’ll have a day here and there where you might slay and have a good winter day. It happens, I’ve had plenty in my tenure. But it’s not what I’m really looking for in the early season these days. I use the early season as the transition period back into life revolving around the river.

From February through October, my entire life and the lives of my family are dictated by the river. It can be hard, especially when nature, fish, or a myriad of other things have a negative impact on that life. But the years where it all works out are super juicy. It’s a life that my family and I love and we would not trade. It gives us freedom, I have entire winters to be at home with my children. My lady and I are able to work as a very effective team when it comes to living this life and raising a family. My kids are exposed to a unique lifestyle and environment that has a heavy emphasis on independence, exploring and discovering for self fulfillment, good work ethic, and being passionate about the things that interest and fascinate you. My kids spend days fishing, skiing, snorkeling, hiking, camping, and learning about the connection they have to the natural world, as individuals as well as on a local, and global scale. And I get to take people fishing for a living and all the awesomeness that comes along with it.

I look forward to the early season after the winter for so many reasons but there is this natural want and need that overwhelms me as we inch closer to spring. Living a life dictated by nature will have that effect. It’s like coming out of hibernation. The days get longer, the sun is brighter, and it wakes me up now. My mind wanders river banks and reads foreign water every morning as I wake. I find myself constantly thinking about fish again. All other things have grown less and less interesting each day. Everyday I want more and more to be outside away from it all and plugged back into what the river is doing.

It’s the call…it slowly crescendos upon me, until it wakes me from my winter routine. Even today, despite the snow the the sun is bright and warm now, and enticing me to wander the literal riverbanks a mile from where I sit. It begins…life will soon be dictated by the river. The more days I am on river between now and the spring the more in sync with it all, and I like being in sync. Waking up with the river, finding out her timing, learning where the fish are, when they will move, and how. The flows and how they will determine it all. Looking over graphs and prediction charts, snowpack levels, and extended forecast models, all to plug back into nature and be on her clock. It’s a process, one that I ease myself back into before guiding starts. Think of it as warm up before the game. And I bring my A game when guide season starts. And guide season starts when the river is consistent and on her annual spring rhythm. Typically end of February start of March on a year like this.

Yes you can catch fish now, but let’s be real, you wanna catch them on dries and streamers, not on bobber rigs all day. And typically before the river gets on that spring time rhythm, the fishing is constrained to a 2-4 hour window of nymphing each day, with the occasional warmer day giving you that sweet early season slay fest if you’re lucky enough to be on river then. As a guide I don’t have to do much when the fishing is like that. It’s just not consistent and for me that means it’s not “sellable” in terms of guiding. So I wait, and I take my time getting back in touch with the river, so that when it gets to that rhythm, I have a better understanding of all the things that make for a good productive day of fishing on the Yakima. I do it for my clients, and it’s how I like to run my business, making sure that I’m back to a professional level after being off for months.

But I do it for me too. It’s a month of time where I can just be a trout bum. I get to fish this time of year, I get to row, I get to camp, I have freedom to just be on the river…literally everyday if I want. And I love the Yakima River, I’ve dedicated years to learning her and even after all this time I’m never grow tired of this river. I’m a little seasoned so I typically go out on the ‘nicer’ days now, but that’s 4-5 days a week. And ‘nicer’ is a relative term as nice weather for fishing in February can mean a lot different things. I get to hone and tune my own angling skills and bring them up to level. It’s like rehearsal if you will, pre season training for the non musician people. I get to try new techniques and refine my teaching curriculum to incorporate the things I’ve learned both from others and on my own. I test theories, I work new water reads, I row new lines and try new angles and approaches across the entire watershed. I familiarize myself with less fished stretches. I work off the winter hibernation weight and I get my body back in shape for rowing clients down the river effectively. My wife and I work the menu and how to better prep and serve meals. I start tying everyday, my days are filled with hours online doing blogs, research, checks, photo posts, video stuff. I have days of dozens of flies, days where I am riverside for hours reconnecting. It’s a good time to be a trout guide let me tell you. It’s the juicy stuff, the stuff I really dig on when it comes to fly fishing. The stuff years of river journal note taking engrained in me on how the river comes alive each season. It’s a really special time to be riverside and come alive with the river.

‘It’s a special time indeed.

As of today, the flows are expected to rise but not considerably in the upper, but the LC might see 4000 plus cfs later this week, snow pack is at 96% for the upper basin. We have snow and rain in the forecast for the next 7 days. Air temps are low to mid 40’s during the day with overnight lows in the low to mid 30’s. That trend in the upper isn’t going to change for the next 10 days. The lower river is already starting to see overnight lows stay in the 40’s, with daytime highs almost hitting 50. Which means water temps in the LC will start to break 40 over the next 10 days. Trout start to wake up around 40-42 degrees and get really active when we start hitting 50 degrees. What does this all mean? It means that the LC is in the process of warming up and picking up, looks like mid February and we will have Skwallas and BWOs but I don’t expect the Skwallas to be hot until later in the month and into March. I’d focus on streamers and trout Spey tactics over the next 20-30 days if you’re coming over to fish. The big fish eat slow easy prey that fills them up quick without a hole lot of work.

The upper river won’t be a happening place until March, the snow pack is high enough that as the lowland snow starts to melt over the next 20-30 days, we will have fluctuating flows that will bring dirty super cold water to the system. It shocks the system out of its winter time rhythm and ups the tempo to spring. But it slows the fishing down up here, so I tend to focus on the lower river and work my way up as we move into March.

So there’s the breakdown. Expect weekly reports, live feeds, and daily updates on the social media stuff as we move forward. You’ll know when I know and I’ll keep ya updated as things improve and get into that sweet spring rhythm. Really looking forward to this season and I hope to see ya all riverside!

Tamarack

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Coming out of Hibernation

The winter has been mild, but I’ve still been more bored than I ever have in an offseason. It’s hasn’t been particularly cold, and we don’t have feet of snow on the ground like last year at this time…but then again it’s not even February yet.

This offseason has been me mostly at home…being a dad, tying flies, and playing a ridiculous amount of hours of video games and Netflix binge sessions. I’m bored, I need Trout in my everyday, and I’m done waiting. Now of course it’s freakin snowing but it’s almost February and no matter what, February is the month that starts it all off.

I’ve got no hurry to get to guiding this season, I was busy last year, my lady has a full time gig, so there’s no immediate rush to get to guiding. So I can enjoy the transition from hibernation and boredom…to life dictated by River and Trout. I get to spend the month getting back into shape for the season, getting in touch with the river, turning up my own fishing and rowing skills in preparation, and spend every hour off river at the vise in the last mad dash to tie enough flies to offset the cost of the guide season! It’s here!

The desire to chase fish grows every day. I stare longingly at my boat anxious to get her all primed for the season. Rods get restrung with fresh fly lines, double tapers get turned around, New fly box foam, patch the waders, dust off the net, grab the satchel, get the oars out of the bedroom and back in the boat. It’s that frantic list of things to get done while also trying to spend every minute fishing. I had to cool my jets this week with the snowstorm and Mother Nature reminding me who’s in control here. The added snow to the mountains will only improve conditions for my beloved Trout as the season moves through the summer.

Add on top of everything else, and the dad stuff, and the conservation side of things is also picking up. Between emails, meetings, phone calls, and get togethers, some serious work to benefit the headwaters and our native Trout is coming to fruition again this season. On the backs and by the hands of the dedicated few I might add. The winter slowness is waning and the spring slowly creeps in.

It’s that time of the year where we wait, and the blogs start pouring out to make the necessary and inevitable patience that I must endure tolerable. So here we go anglers…every day we inch closer to Trout season!

Tamarack

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Looking forward to 2018 and Alaska

The new year is finally here which means we are a short 2 months away from trout season here on the Yakima. As always I am super stoked for the new season and literally cannot wait for the thaw and the wild trout of the home water waking up after a cold winter. 2018 is shaping up to be a great year and it’s my 4th season back at full time guiding here on the Yakima River.

But…trout are not the only thing I have to look forward too. I am finally headed back to Alaska this coming season. Alaska is amazing and fishing in the most northern state is like fishing on a different planet. Guiding here on the Yakima as well as all my amazing clients have made a return trip to Alaska a reality for me this season. That being said, I can’t enjoy Alaska solo… I already did that once and don’t get me wrong it was awesome but if I’ve learned anything taking people fishing it’s that this sport and especially Alaska are best experienced with fellow anglers and adventurers.

Now, when I was last in Alaska I didn’t fish as much as I would have liked. I mostly slung an 8wt off the jetty to the harbor for whatever would eat my flies. Caught all sorts of things and ruined a reel because of poor saltwater maintenance in the process. Most mornings in Sitka I would wake, have coffee with the folks I was communal living with, grab my gear and walk the few hundred yards down to the water. A few mornings there was a grey whale that would join me and I always enjoyed watching the fishing boats roll in and out. I even caught a few rock fish that the local pub cooked up for me for lunch after I dropped them off on my way to work.

Alaska was amazing, from the northern lights, whales, bears, and of course salmon and trout.  I cannot wait to share Alaska with clients for an entire week this coming year.

Now those of you who have taken a trip with me know I don’t mess around. And Alaska is no different. I spent the first part of the offseason calling and emailing all over Alaska looking for a lodge that fit the kind of experience I would want to share with clients. I am also very money conscious and don’t think $10,000 a week per person is a reasonable or real Alaska experience. Alaska is rough and tough… rugged, in every sense of the word. Witnessing it for the first time made me realize that the path I have chosen for my life was right. The beauty and wildness of Alaska but also the places that surround me here on my homewater are fulfilling. A life spent experiencing these places and the treasures they hold is a full life and something that solidified in me after visiting Alaska.

Now I don’t expect everyone who joins me on this escapade to have a soul fulfilling experience, and maybe you’ve already been to Alaska and fished your brains out. But I have 7 spots open to anglers that would like to take an adventure off the beaten path after, and I hate to use this term, legendary fish…in beautiful American wilds. Which brings me too the meat of what this trip will entail.

I’ve picked Season on the Fly Lodge after numerous calls and emails to various places around Alaska.  You can visit the Seasons On the Fly Lodge’s website here. I also got a great referral from a very good friend and mentor of mine that knows the kind of angler I am. Greg Hiester is my contact with the lodge and if you watch Season on the Fly or have seen him at Gonzaga games you know who he is. Before the holiday we got some details about the lodge and how trips go down up there as well as pricing. He’s in Belize fishing, which I’m thinking of doing next year as well so….

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Anyway, the lodge is literally on the Kvichak River and the only way to get to it is via boat. After flying into Anchorage we take a smaller charter plane just big enough to fit people and gear for the week into the small town of Igiugig, where we are then picked up by boat and taken to the lodge. Now…this lodge ain’t anything super fancy. But it has what you need to get Alaska done in comfort without being silly. It sleeps 8 plus a host, and we have hot water, and a kitchen. Food is expensive in Alaska and feeding 8 guests plus myself is quite the undertaking. Which is why I’ve got it covered. The lodge works with me and they will purchase and ship all our food supplies for $1 a pound which in Alaska is pretty freaking sweet. It takes a lot of the headache and stress out of the trip. Plus I’ll be cooking and if you’ve gone riverside with me you know what to expect. And if you’ve ever gone into the backcountry and camped with me you know I really don’t mess around. Also…pancakes and jam are basically the best thing ever when it comes to fuel for fishing. Just saying.

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SOF Lodge Kitchen

With the food taken care of and the flight and trip into the lodge covered at a great price of roughly $400 a person including gear you are looking at $2500 a person for the lodge stay. So let’s break this down so we can talk about the fishing.

$3750.00 for the charter plane to the lodge. Around $400 per person.

$2500.00 per person for 6 days at the lodge.  That’s the lodge and flight in. Once I have a full party and our menu is finalized I’ll have the food budget for each individual. The nice thing is our food is brought in separately so we don’t have to worry about weight on the plane in except people and gear. Which is around 700lbs for gear for the party.

The final cost is flying into Anchorage which is pretty straight forward.

All in all we are looking at fishing in Alaska for 6 days for under $5,000.00 a person. Which is pretty sweet considering that the average price I was finding from my shopping around was about $7,000.00 a person. If you’ve booked a trip here on the Yakima with me you know that I’m all about an affordable fly fishing experience and Alaska is no different. If I was going to Alaska on a trip for myself this is the kind of trip and lodge I would be looking for.

Now let’s get to the fishing.

The Seasons on the Fly Lodge offers some crazy awesome fishing. The Kvichak system is known for its gigantic rainbow trout, and its salmon runs. They had me at gigantic rainbow trout but silvers on top water are f’ing crazy and Greg did confirm that yes their silvers eat top water….mmmmm. The lodge also has Grayling which are on my bucket list of fish! But there is one more fish that I am really hoping to chase for a day or two… big ‘ol nasty Alaskan Northern Pike! Those toothy critters are aggressive AF and on a fly rod they are hard to beat in a fight. Plus the flies for them are rad.

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The Lodge is a true DIY place. Our group will have access to 4 Hog Island Boatworks Skiffs to use at our leisure. The boats also come with pre-programmed GPS units with fishy locations. We also have access to a guide who’s there to help us and we can book him out for the day. We can also hire a float plane and go fish with bears and chase a different species. What I’m looking forward to is spending time fishing with clients and friends together, experiencing Alaska for ourselves. Hanging out next to the wood stove, telling stories in between fishing sessions. Sitting down and eating together communally, partaking in the wilds of Alaska, and enjoying some other worldly fishing.

As we move into 2018 I have a lot to look forward to. My guide business here on the Yakima has grown almost to capacity in terms of trips. I am headed south this early spring to see what Redfish and other warm salt water species are all about. And to top it all off I’m returning to Alaska after 4 years to experience a new fishery with clients.

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They even have Hogs!

If joining me while I Host 8 anglers at the Season on the Fly Lodge strikes your fancy don’t hesitate to inquire just like any other guided trip. Alaska will be wicked fun and a great way to get out of town in August/September for a week when the home eater is slammed with people. I have 7 spots open and will be taking deposits in January for dates in August or September. I’m taking care of everything for my clients, even with gear if needed. It’s gonna be fun and a week long fishing adventure with my beardy face basically makes it a guarantee. Call, email, or message me if an Alaska 2018 adventure interests you.

It’s the new year! And fishing season is right around the corner.

Tamarack

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Water for Next Year

The end of the year is upon us. And the snow is finally rolling in. I’ve spent some time skiing in the headwaters over the holiday with the family and of course the lack of snow has me thinking of next Trout season.

But after taking a look at the map today it’s not bad not great but we’ve still got a lot of winter left. The days just started getting longer. January is typically our heavy snow month and there is lots of precipitation in the forecast so the highlands are going to get some much needed inches. Here’s to a happy Trout season in 2018!

Tamarack

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ALASKA Bound 2018

This off-season I have been putting together an Alaska Adventure for late Summer 2018.  Its something I have been looking forward too since my last stint in Alaska.  Alaska is amazing, and I am excited to host a handful of my clients on a week long adventure of fishing for multiple species throughout the wilds.

Now, I ain’t your fancy pants kinda guide, we get after it, we rough it, and we do things ourselves.  If you’ve gone on a trip with me I am very hands on and we work as a team.  Alaska will be no different, just with a bigger group.  The lodge I have selected is exactly what I would be looking for as a client.  A Do It Yourself, sleep in cabins, on an island in the middle of the river, with boats to access the area, and a communal kitchen so we can all enjoy the time in between fishing over good food!

Seasons On the Fly Lodge is situated on the Kvichak River.  You can only get there by boat.  It sleeps 8 comfortably and there is hot water and a fully functioning kitchen.  This is awesome as if you have ever been to AK, just eating up there can get real expensive.  Did you know orange juice is like $15 a gallon up there!  The lodge gives a few creature comforts, but its all about getting after it…hard.  So its isn’t some 5 star resort, its Alaska, the way its meant to be.  We will have access to Hog Island Skiffs to use to access water on our own.  We will be hiring a guide for a day or two as well.  The lodge and boasts several species of fish to chase including, Grayling, Big ol Rainbow, Northern Pike, and of course a few species of Salmon…silvers and sockeye….mmmmm.

The lodge is located on the Kvichak River south of Iguigig.  We will fly into Anchorage then fly into Iguigig where we will be picked up via boat and taken to the lodge.  We will be bringing in most of our food as well as gear to save on costs.  The nice thing about this is I will be taking care of all the leg work for those who fill the 8 spots.  I will handle everything and have packets and itineraries for everyone.  I will set up flights, we will put together a menu and gear list and make sure everyone is covered, all clients have to do is show up, enjoy the ride, and fish.

A week stay per person is $2995.00.  I will have a packet ready shortly with details on costs for food, airfare, and the other pertinent things for an Alaska Adventure.  Considering the average price for a week trip in AK is around $10,000, this is easier to manage.  That base price includes access to boats and fuel for each day of fishing as well, which is awesome.  Last time I was in AK just getting around and eating got expensive…damn fish live where only boats and float planes can go.

I’ve spend the better part of the month looking for places that would offer an Alaska Experience that I as a guide and business owner could be comfortable with sharing with clients.  I also have several good references on the lodge from people I have fished with for years and have been told time and time again a DIY place with access to boats and fishing on foot is always a more rewarding experience.  Not being tied down to guided only stuff is a huge thing in AK.

So, Alaska 2018 is happening!  I have 8 spots open and they will fill up fast.  Many clients have known this was coming.  The lodge takes Deposits in January.  So I would like to get everything locked in by December 20th in terms of commitments.  My wife and I are working on the food and gear lists and budgets as well as airfare.

If taking a week long Do It Yourself Alaska Fishing Trip with my beardy face sounds like something you would like to do…please fill out a guided trip inquiry here on the website or call me directly.  I am wicked stoked for this guys, and I know a handful of clients have been patiently waiting for details on this.  Below is the link to the lodge’s website.  You can contact me with any questions.

Seasons on the Fly Lodge

Thanks everyone,

Looking forward to a new Adventure!

Tamarack

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Thankful for Family

I’ll give the cliche blog post here on Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful for my family. My wife and children are something I talk about a lot in the boat, and if you’ve done an upper river float with me you may have met them during shuttles or at the end the day. Without them I wouldn’t be a guide.

I get asked what drives me all the time? What gives me all the energy I seem to have in unlimited supply? It all comes back to my lady and those little turds we’ve created. There’s are a few things that keep me going but my family is by far the biggest determining factor.

I have struggled with depression, unemployment, being overweight and homelessness, and through it all my lady has been there for me, dealing with me, pushing me, keeping me sane. My kids have grown up somehow, without knowing the struggles I had growing up, despite not having a home and being nomadic for a time. Through it all they have been amazing while their mother and I have done our best to make a life for them; our kids are strong, well mannered, and happy…and for someone like me who looks back on his life and doesn’t see a lot of happiness it’s one of the most important things I can provide for my family…happiness. Which means I have to be happy to. It’s an all or nothing kind of thing in our house. We are all part of this lifestyle or none of us are.

Our lifestyle is pretty laid back but it’s a team effort. Every trip I run I go through my routine prepping. Every trip my family also has a routine. My wife, gets up before I do and gets the kids up for school. Around the time she has the youngest settled, she starts making my lunches for the day. I haven’t made a lunch for my clients in 3 years because Hannah is up every morning making sure I don’t have to worry about it while I get ready for the work day. She makes this entire operation possible.

When she’s done with that and I leave her for the day she makes sure that our house and kids are in order while I’m out chasin trout with clients. Not an easy job. When our kids get home from school she makes sure their homework is done, she keeps them fed, and on the long days of the summer when I’m not off until dark:30 she puts the kids to bed and ready to do it again the next day.

When I get home she’s there ready to hear all about the day. Hannah probably knows more about fishing through association than anyone I know. We don’t get to fish together during this time in our lives as we’ve got adult stuff to take care of instead of just being trout bums. We do look forward to our late 40’s when our kids will be gone and we can enjoy each other and the pursuit of fish with fly and rod together more.

We planned it that way. Get kids out of the way when we were young and energetic, and we will enjoy our careers and lives together as we work into our middle and older age. In all reality the only reason my ass gets outta bed each morning and gets that boat in the water is because 3 years ago my wife told me to do it. She told me to chase trout when I was at my lowest because she knew what it would do to me, since we were 17 Hannah has always known me better than anyone, she’s truthfully always right, especially when it comes to important life stuff. She’s the best partner both off and on water and I’d rather spend every day with her fishing than any one else.

I don’t work without her, and my kids. They are what drives me, gives me motivation, and gives me energy. They are the behind the scenes but make no mistake this operation only happens with them. When you pay me and tip me that money goes right to them. It’s a true family run business meaning the family makes it run. Someday I hope t guide alongside one or all my children, and I look forward to the days when I get to spend my time riverside with my kids and lady. I’m thankful for them, everyday not just today.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. My whole family is thankful to those who take trips with me and help us make this fly angler life possible. Thank you…now…is it trout season yet?

Tamarack

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Intimidation

Whenever I think of the word intimidation, I see the scene of the little gangly kid in The Little Giants prepping himself for the game game. Did I just show my age? Anyway, intimidation is something that I don’t see on a personal level in trout fishing too much anymore, and I still search out quarry that amaze and strike me with utter fear, admiration, and fulfillment. But that’s between angler and fish, and every good angler seeks out those fish that haunt them…even without ever casting a fly to them.

Intimidation between anglers…between professionals and novice alike; it used to be rampant in the industry when I first started. Hell my entire initiation into the guide world was through those old school, boys club, F with the new guy, bullshit that turned me off to the whole damn thing in the first place. If you’ve met me you know I’m not like that…aside from the occasional shenanigan or two. As I’ve gotten older, and better at fly fishing and guiding, I guess I’ve risen above all that crap. It annoys me to this day when I see it though.

I see it less than I did but it’s still there. I see it in two places mostly, with newbies, and women. It’s sad really, because these demographics are the two most growing factors in fly fishing right now. There are more young people and more women who participate in fly fishing than ever…EVER. Where intimidation seems to still be a huge issue like most things is on social media. I see it on my Instagram feed and FB stuff all the time. It’s happened to good friends of mine, fellow guides, tiers, weekend warriors, first timers, and Trout bums. It’s stupid and you’re kind of an asshat for doing it…just saying.

I let the fish and the river do all the intimidating I need. Tricky fish will equalize everyone. So will the river. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, how many big fish you’ve landed…the river and the fish don’t care. I’ve put a fly rod in the hand of someone who’s never cast before and had them trick, play, and land trophy sized trout…I’ve done it lots of times truthfully. And it’s a team effort guiding. By the end of the day if I’ve done my job right you can come back out on your own and be successful.

But when I see intimidation on the river or on social media it really strikes me as so out of place in fly fishing. I fish with so many people and I hear stories of not so great encounters that honestly just make me feel for people. I’ve been there. It sucks and it makes you not wanna fish. And that’s the crummy part. Because in a lot of cases where you feel intimidated it’s because you’re unwelcome, and that’s not cool because damnit…fly fishing is a community, and that’s now you treat fellow anglers.

I’ve had conversations this season and just in the past few weeks with people about this very issue. This bullying, because that’s what it is. I always tell my clients if you walk into a shop or talk to another angler and feel intimidated or unwelcome or like you’re not worth their time…find another shop, or walk over to the next angler.

It’s one thing to critique and there is a time and place for it, and there are times when I get heated or upset but it’s all just fishing, remember that. I’ll yell, curse, get on people about setting the damn hook…ya know normal things. But I’ve always felt that fly fishing should be open and welcoming to anglers. No matter the skill level. I strive to make sure that I make fly fishing fun, as a guide I’m there to introduce people to it all, and I want that experience to be wicked awesome. If you’ve done it all before, you know what’s up.

So for those of you out there that feel intimidated, or have been turned off to fly fishing because of it…don’t let that it get ya down. There are always gonna be asshats out there…my rule is let them be asshats. If you feel like you’re getting the ring-around, or you’ve just had a crappy experience, fly fishing is worth it so get back after it. Just ignore that stuff and find fellow anglers that will support you in your pursuit of chasing fish with flies. We all started out somewhere, good anglers will share what they know because fly fishing is just more than fishing.

Tamarack

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The End is Finally Here…and I’m already bored.


Well anglers, the end of the season is here.  I took my last trip on October 26th, after 150 plus guide trips this season and man was it a good season.  Of course I would like to thank everyone that came out and took a trip with me and supported the little guy with no shop or big operation.  My clients fuel my passion for fly fishing and I hope that I inspire them to chase fish outside of the handful of trips they take with me.

So the end of the season is here…and I am already bored.  If you’ve spent any time with me on the water you’ll now I am a high energy busy body.  If you’ve hung out with me at the house on a day off you know that I don’t like to sit still and being couch locked only has its appeal for a few days before I become restless.

I used to chase mountains.  Their peaks, their trails, the outcroppings overlooking the world; the trees that covered them and the wildlife that call them home, I used to adventure far and wide searching for those moments of pure awesome, the moments that area concoction of fear, intimidation, excitement, adrenaline, euphoria, and wonder.  The mountains called to me and I would answer.  After so many miles and too many accidents I stopped chasing the tops of mountains and decided to go for fish once again.  Trout specifically, but these days I find that trout are presenting less of a challenge to me.  Much like the mountains lost their allure, trout have lost their shine for me personally, and while they still present a challenge for me as a guide, I find that as I have gotten older I have a need for higher doses of awesome in my life.

This is why this will be my last season only working the Yakima River.  I will always guide the Yakima, it is home and I have just about maxed out my days here.  With only around 170 days of workable river and weather conditions, I have tapped out here on the homewater.  So its time to add and expand.  I need something new to chase.  I need something that intimidates me, scares me, makes my whole body pulse with adrenaline…because at heart…I am still an adrenaline junky.  Something I can tap clients into and have them get the same sensations and fulfillment from angling with fly and rod.


I have chased salmon and steel, but in reality they are either just big sea run trout…or hatchery bred cows that serve only one purpose…which is to fuel a commercial fishing market that has been floundering for years.  And after spending some time on the west side again this past year, and researching into what fishing is like out here in Washington for salmon and steel…it just doesn’t appeal to me.  Especially fishing on the gear/bait saturated side of the state when you only want to swing for illusive fish.  Yes I am elitist and I know it.  
Freshwater species are no longer on my radar for new things.  I have the southern warm waters on my mind.  I have slowly begun delving into the world of Redfish, Tarpon, Snook, and other fish that frequent warm coastal southern waters and have a hankering for big flies on big rods.  Something that is out of my comfort zone, something I know little about, but that passion and desire to learn, explore, and my need for a new adventure are all driving me south.  This will be my last winter bored as I have plans to make the trek south this spring and then make semi annual trips south chasing new fish species and hopefully guide anglers for those fish in the near future.  That being said I still have this winter to deal with.

This winter I will be revamping my business.  New logo, new media content, new YouTube channel with fishing vids but also the lifestyle side of things, which is what I get more and more requests for.  I will also…be tying this winter.  Here over the next week or two I will have a select handful of my personal patterns up for sale throughout the season.  I am also looking for a place to teach fly tying this winter and will have dates for classes available for sign up as soon as that comes through.  Finally, I will be doing live videos of tying sessions this winter as well.  So look for scheduled tying events and join me.

The last thing I am currently prepping for next season already is an ALASKA ADVENTURE!  I am currently looking at several lodges in Alaska for a week long trip with clients and myself to chase those crazy Alaska fish.  It has been years since I have been to Alaska and I am looking forward to spending time with clients in that wild place once again.  So keep an eye out for info on an Alaska Trip with my beardy face for next summer as I finish up the details.

So there we go.  I have had a week off, I’m already bored, and we literally just got done.  The blogging will kick back up here this week and I will have one out once a week if not more for the off season.  I will have tying classes available as soon as I lock down an area to do them in.  I will have flies up for sale on the website, instagram and FB for anglers.  A new revamp of the businesses media and outreach is also happening.  Plus, and Alaska Adventure with clients next summer to break up the trout fishing and give clients something new and exciting to try.  When the fishing stops the business has gotta keep moving and I don’t like to sit still.

I hope to see a few of you out there on the west side chasing unicorns and that with something other than a 5wt.  Thanks again everyone who came out and I can’t wait to get back to it next season, and to add and expand and make the adventure bigger and better!  Thanks again.  See ya out there anglers.

 

Tamarack